~ Thursday, March 06, 2003
Cynical or Delusional?
In The American Prospect's article about the Bush administration's ugly initimidation campaign against Mexico, there's this little gem:
Despicable, for sure, but what stuns me is the sheer absurdity. As I pointed out yesterday, American business leaders have already expressed their economic opinion of the war: the stock markets are tanking and hiring is at a standstill. If they aren't willing to risk bad investments at home to support a war, what on earth makes the Bushies think that war fever would make them forego good investments in Mexico? Are they stupid enough to believe this, or just brazen enough to lie about it?
According to the New York Times, a Harvard economist wants to offer a new freshman economics course at the university. Professor Stephen Marglin wants to correct the right wing-bias of Martin Feldstein's freshman economics course with a more balanced approach.
The article goes on to mention that a student group has endorsed Dr. Marglin's effort.
My question is this: why choose the name Students for a Humane and Responsible Economics? That's just a rhetorical gift for conservatives. "Humane and Responsible" just plays into the stereotype that liberals are fuzzy, muddle-headed bleeding hearts. It also cedes exactly the turf that the conservatives want, namely, the claim to being objective, hard-headed realists. "Well," they will say, "we have to face up to hard truths; we can't be sentimental; little as it pleases our humane instincts, economics proves that we must bribe the rich with huge tax cuts, etc."
Liberals could learn some marketing savvy from conservatives. Conservatives choose names to steal the ground from under their opponents. So, for instance, they have groups called the Global Climate Coalition and the Environmental Conservation Organization to fight against stronger environmental protections.
So, come on guys, let's have another try at it. You need to say conservatives are wrong about economics, and that they have distorted it. You need to paint them as partisan ideologues. So, how about Students for an Empirical and Scientific Economics? Or Students for an Empirical and Non-Sectarian Economics (which produces SENSE as an acronym!)?
~ Wednesday, March 05, 2003
Has Bush no shame?
How disgusting is Bush's chintzy proposal for investigating the September 11 attacks, and the failures that led to them? Consider this: the University of Minnesota spent $2.5 million just to investigate an academic fraud case in their basketball program. And now we're going to spend just half a mil more than that to find out how we let terrorists slaughter 3000 people on American soil.
Voting with their wallets
Reuters reports in a story today that businesses are cutting back on hiring because of war fears.
This isn't the first signal of war worries from the business sector. After all, Wall Street has been growling bearishly about Iraq for over three months. But now Main Street has joined Wall Street. Even more than increasingly shaky poll results, this shows the political damage Bush is taking for his war push.
Business leaders are just about the most likely people in America to support Bush and the Republicans. If anyone is going to give Bush the benefit of the doubt, these guys will. Furthermore, executives and market traders aren't going to make important business moves based on whims or flights of fancy. Their very lucrative careers are at stake, after all. So when these guys are so sure that the war will trash the economy that they dump equities and slash payrolls, Bush has really lost the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. Some of his most fervent supporters are voting with their wallets, and they're voting against the war.
~ Tuesday, March 04, 2003