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Aug 12 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: Milton Friedman, Unperson

Recently Senator Rand Paul, potential presidential candidate and self-proclaimed expert on monetary issues, sat down for an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. It didn’t go too well. For example, Mr. Paul talked about America running “a trillion-dollar deficit every year”; actually, the deficit is projected to be only $642 billion in 2013, and it’s falling fast.

But the most interesting moment may have been when Mr. Paul was asked whom he would choose, ideally, to head the Federal Reserve and he suggested Milton Friedman – “he’s not an Austrian, but he would be better than what we have.” The interviewer then gently informed him that Friedman – who would have been 101 years old if he were still alive – is, in fact, dead. O.K., said Mr. Paul, “Let’s just go with dead, because then you probably really wouldn’t have much of a functioning Federal Reserve.”

Which suggests an interesting question: What ever happened to Friedman’s role as a free-market icon? The answer to that question says a lot about what has happened to modern conservatism.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Four Questions for Fed Chair Candidates

The decisions made by the next chair of the Federal Reserve will have a powerful impact on the economic well-being of every person in America.

While the largest financial institutions and corporations in this country have been bailed out and are now back to making enormous profits and rewarding their executives with outsized compensation packages, recovery hasn’t gone so well for the rest of America. Middle class families have continued to lose ground economically, the number of Americans living in poverty is near an all-time high, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider.

The next Fed chair will have enormous power and influence over our entire financial system and the direction of the economy. The Fed is responsible not only for our country’s monetary policy, but it is also a key regulator of financial institutions. In our view, the president’s nominee for Fed chair must be committed to improving the lives of working Americans who are still struggling through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Robert Kuttner: We Are All Detroit

Do you think the damage from the pending bankruptcy of the city of Detroit will be limited to Detroit? Think again.

Detroit is partly the victim of economic trends far beyond its control, the downsizing and outsourcing of the auto industry and the collapse of the sub-prime bubble, to name just two. And yes, the city has suffered from corrupt and inept local government. But leaving Detroit to a bankruptcy process that favors investment bankers over local pensioners will neither provide a fair outcome nor contain the damage.

Joe Firestone: What Would You Have the President Do?

There were varying reactions to the President’s recent speech at Knox College this week. My reaction was that the speech was deeply dishonest in light of the President’s previous policies, actions, and results, and I intended to do a critique, but Michael Hudson and Yves Smith beat me to it. In a fine post at Naked Capitalism, entitled “Michael Hudson Shreds Obama’s Orwellian Speech On Middle Class Prosperity,” Michael Hudson, with occasional added comments from Yves, deconstructs the speech paragraph by paragraph, and sometimes line-by-line, pointing out disingenuous assertions and outright dishonesty. [..]

The reaction to the post was vigorous with most of the discussion supporting and amplifying the views presented. However, there was one comment which said: [..]

What would u have him do? [..]

Of course, that persistent rationalization offered by the world’s Obamabots is my cue. What I want him to do falls into two major categories. First, there are necessary first moves he can probably get done which will facilitate passing all the other policies I propose. Second, there are the policies that will restore prosperity to poor and middle class over time.

Thom Hartman: We’re All Being Poisoned by Deregulated Capitalism

There’s an undeclared war going on between the rich and the poor right here in the United States and the rich think they’ve found a way to win it.

They’ve locked themselves into gated communities, lily-white suburbs, and wealthy urban neighborhoods and they’ve priced the poor out.

Happy and blissful in their one percent paradise, the richest Americans think they can ignore how their policies have decimated the poor and the working-class.

Think they can live in a “me” society, and ignore the larger “we society.”

But they’re wrong and here’s why.

It’s pretty much common knowledge in the United States that poverty and health are inseparable. All the major indicators of physical health – diabetes, heart-disease, and even access to nutritious foods – are connected to socioeconomic status.

Jim Hightower: The Border-Industrial Complex

War profiteers have spied a new place they can militarize with their high-tech, high-cost weaponry.

At last, both Republicans and Democrats are beginning to respond aggressively to economic needs. “It has been a tough time,” admits one Washington insider, applauding a new spending proposal that “could help out.”

Unfortunately, he and Congress aren’t referring to your tough times. No, no – they’re rushing to the aid of the multi-billion-dollar Military-Industrial Complex.

The government, you see, hasn’t been getting our nation into enough wars to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Northrop Grumman and its ilk for government money. So those war profiteers have spied a new place they can militarize with their high-tech, high-cost weaponry: The U.S.-Mexican border.