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Anti American

October 3rd, 2012 at 6:55 am

Open thread for night owls: U.S. conservatives who scorn Europe sure love its austerity

William K. Black, an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, writes, Robert J. Samuelson tries to create a moral panic about deficits:

The Washington Post leads the pack when it comes to generating what scientists term a “moral panic” about budget deficits. As part of that effort they generated the series of myths that Paul Ryan was “serious,” “courageous,” and “expert” about “solving” the “deficit crisis.” The newspaper’s theme is that anyone who doesn’t fall for their effort to create a moral panic is not “serious” and should be ignored. The paper runs a column by Robert J. Samuelson that is devoted to generating a moral panic about the deficit. Like Ryan, his central targets are imposing austerity and cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

William K. Black, economist at University of Missouri. An adherent of Modern Monetary Theory.

William K. Black

Samuelson’s latest column claims that President Obama and Governor Romney are lying to the nation because they have not sufficiently embraced the moral panic as the transcendent campaign issue that will determine America’s future. Samuelson demands the candidates implore the American people to urgently adopt austerity and attack Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

We have known for over 75 years that the key to recovering from a recession is to follow a counter-cyclical fiscal policy that will reduce unemployment. We have long exhibited the wisdom to adopt automatic stabilizers that increase government services and decrease taxes when a recession strikes.

What would have happened if Obama had adopted austerity as Berlin imposed austerity on the European periphery? It would have prevented any recovery, throwing the U.S. into an even more severe recession. Berlin’s austerity demands have thrown the Eurozone back into a gratuitous recession, increasing the budget deficit in many nations and plunging Greece and Spain into depressions. Europe has followed Samuelson’s and Ryan’s policy advice and the results have been disastrous. Samuelson’s and Ryan’s austerity policies violate economic theory, economic history, and a natural experiment in Europe with austerity that has proved catastrophic. Samuelson, however, makes bizarre odes to Irish austerity, emphasizing the necessity of “persuading ordinary citizens to tolerate austerity (higher unemployment, lower social benefits, [and] heavier taxes) without resorting to paralyzing street protests or ineffectual parliamentary coalitions.” [...]

Samuelson is most amazing, however, in explaining how the victims of austerity should react to a response to a recession that will make the recession worse. Samuelson’s world of insane economic policies requires the victims to be political masochists.  Samuelson demands that the victims of austerity suffer in silence without protesting austerity or using their democratic rights to form coalitions to reverse the insane economic policies. Samuelson is not afraid of “ineffectual parliamentary coalitions” — he is terrified of effectual coalitions that would end the economic insanity of responding to a recession with a pro-cyclical policy of austerity.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Big shocker: no WMDs in Iraq

Hold on to your seats:

The U.S-led team hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has not found any stockpiles of biological or chemical weapons, but will keep searching the country, CIA adviser David Kay said on Thursday.

Kay, heading the search for chemical and biological weapons as well as evidence of any effort to develop nuclear weapons, presented a classified interim report to U.S. lawmakers behind closed doors [...]

But multiple sources have told the team that “Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled CW (chemical warfare) program after 1991,” Kay said. And information found so far suggests that Iraq’s large-scale capability to develop and produce and fill new chemical warfare weapons was “reduced — if not entirely destroyed.”

Kay concluded that “whatever we find will probably differ from pre-war intelligence. Empirical reality on the ground is, and has always been, different from intelligence judgments that must be made under serious constraints of time, distance and information.”

“Serious constraints of time”? The only time limit was self-imposed by a petulant Bush eager to get his war on. And those “intelligence judgments” were not made by professionals — the CIA or DIA, but by political hacks out of the Pentagon.

There’s no excuse for the lies and deceptions employed by the administration to justify their war.

Tweet of the Day:

A new chip? “Advisers Say Romney Will Show Empathy In Debate”…
@JoshuaHol via TweetDeck

A Kagro in the Morning hat trick today, with Greg Dworkin on polling & punditry, Meteor Blades on Romney’s hackneyed foreign policy attacks, and Armando on the PA voter ID case. And of course, we have a good laugh at Scott Brown’s deer-in-the-headlights-gets-booed-by-the-audience debate moment, as well! Help support Daily Kos Radio, for FREE!

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