hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Monday, May 21, 2012
Sasha Said - Desperate To Find Full-Time Employment

Arthur Silber - On to the Main Event

Karam Nachar twitter feed

Juan Cole (Informed Comment) - Aleppo (Syria)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Paul Krugman, End This Depression Now!

Steve Randy Waldman - Interfluidity

Evan Soltas - Could India Implode?

The funny thing is, I can't recall India having a financial "implosion", in the sense of a financial crisis which caused a sharp hit to GDP or unemployment. The 1991 crisis was a crisis because the central bank was so low on foreign reserves, but I don't recall it causing a GDP shock. India surely has 999 problems, but financial implosions don't seem to be one. Maybe it's the lack of leverage?

In looking up Indian financial crisises, I came across this thoroughly depressing Wikipedia list of scandals in India. There's one interesting thing to note, in how we reckon corruption: A public official who privatizes and deregulates the telecom industry, then demands bribes, is rightly condemned for corruption. But what about the public officials who came before, who instead of presiding over wealth creation and taking their cut, simply refused to allow the wealth creation in the first place, and kept the entire, ridiculously inefficient (2 years to get a phone line) telecom industry under their personal control? How are they to be held to account?

Digby (Hullabaloo) - Et tu, Cory Booker?

I guess my question re: Cory Booker's comments is this: Does Booker think that using corporate bankruptcy laws (whether for a parent company or a subsidiary company) is:

A) More moral than using personal bankruptcy laws
B) Less moral than using personal bankruptcy laws
C) Equally moral to using personal bankruptcy laws

I believe strongly in C: Using corporate bankruptcy laws is neither more, nor less, moral than using personal bankruptcy laws. As it happens, I don't think worse of an individual for using personal bankruptcy laws, and therefore I also don't think worse of Mitt Romney and other Bain Partners for using corporate bankruptcy laws (for subsidiary companies, not their parent company).

What I cannot stand, cannot tolerate, cannot support, is the double standard for personal and corporate bankruptcy: Treating people who use personal bankruptcy laws as if they're shit, while simultaneously treating people who use corporate bankruptcy laws as if their shit don't stink.

If Cory Booker is merely cautioning against demonizing an entire industry, that's fine. But if Cory Booker is saying that using corporate bankruptcy laws is more moral than using personal bankruptcy laws, that we should judge people who use personal bankruptcy more harshly than we should judge people who use corporate bankruptcy, then. . .that's not so fine.

I guess my take on the 2012 election: "trying at least a little to clean up the mess" versus "same policies that got us into the mess".

What is "the mess"?

1) Iraq
2) Afghanistan
3) Drone strikes.
4) Unjustly aggressive policies toward Iran (unjust because, why are the Iranians punished for their nuclear program when other countries get off scott-free?)
5) Homelessness, healthcarelessness, unemployment.
6) Increase in public & private-sector debt, leverage, balance-sheet problems

What is "cleaning up the mess"?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Matthew Yglesias (Slate) - Spain’s economy is collapsing. So why is vacationing there still so expensive?

I wonder what Spanish price-setters would say if you asked them?

One way to sell quantitative easing: "We're going to decrease the amount of US Government debt available, and encourage savers to increase their holdings of non-US government assets, including, we hope, US private-sector assets. Quantitative easing is very good news for private sector entrepreneurs seeking to attract savings in order to fund worthwhile investments. In addition, it will improve the government balance sheet, and decrease the amount of money the American people need to spend on debt servicing."

I find it cheering to see that some red-meat Democrats can be as vicious as Republicans. Apparently, some Democrats, bless their racist little hearts, have convinced themselves that Bobby Jindal's first name is not "Piyush", but "Pashtun". . .a fact that seems to me to indicate we need to get out of Afghanistan ASAP, if we're stigmatizing the Afghan majority in such bitter terms.

Which Michael Kinsley column is it where he wrote words to the effect "Having sincere convictions against the grain of public opinion is something politicians usually accuse other politicians of doing, an accusation which is usually false"?

Thought of that quote when reading MJ Rosenberg. Even after the horror of Iraq, our elected officials can't avoid endorsing the logic behind another unnecessary war?

next post: 8/10/2012

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