This is the question that Ronald Reagan used to devastating effect against Jimmy Carter in 1980, when inflation was nearly 14 percent and interest rates were around 21 percent. This time, the question is not so simple, as the New York Times pointed out. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post considers it a dumb campaign question.
Four years ago, the world financial system was headed into meltdown. Actions by the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as the Federal Reserve, prevented a new great depression. The Obama stimulus also worked to keep the collapse from being much worse. The remains of the safety net and the FDIC, put in place beginning with the New Deal, prevented financial ruin for many millions.
On the other hand, saving the banks didn’t bring financial reform. The banksters got away with it. The 30-year slide of the middle class has continued even as the plutocracy has gained even more political power. The Military-Industrial Complex and national security state are even more entrenched. For all this, the Republican Party has nominated a feckless character who has supported any position to “close the deal” and this week showed himself profoundly unprepared for the presidency (his “Lehman moment”).
So I’ll try to keep the poll simple. And you have the comments section to vent your spleen and say how I don’t know Econ 101. Constructive comments would be welcome, too.
Read on for the best links of the week and the haiku:
This Week’s Links:
- Profitable bailout? Inside the real costs of saving AIG and Wall Street || The Atlantic
- Time to come home? || The American Conservative
- What Krugman and Stiglitz can tell us || New York Review of Books
- What the official poverty rate is missing || Conversable Economist
- How inequality affects saving behavior || IMFdirect blog
- Is income inequality rising? || Freakonomics
- Where have all the workers gone? || Economist’s View
- What does trade have to do with climate change? || Vox
- Corporate front group ALEC tightens grip on GOP || Salon
- Is Medicare going bankrupt? Definitely not || Columbia Journalism Review
Today’s Econ Haiku:
NYSE’s in trouble
Gave some clients a head start
New frauds in a flash