Friday, November 12, 2010

Dave Brooks on the Deficit Reduction Commission

Dave Brooks takes a look at this issue from the big picture, and he makes important points. While Krugman goes for the details, Brooks does a good job of trying to see the big picture. I wold hasten to note, however, the Krugman has expressed a very real appreciation of the danger of the deficit, and he's not moved by the fear of bond markets that Brooks, like Niall Ferguson,share. Both express a fear of market collapse. Nonetheless, I think Brooks joins the debate. In the end, to reduce this deficit, we're going to have to do some things differently. Cut defense spending significantly would be a great start. Maintaining slightly higher taxes on the wealthiest would also be fine by me. Ending breaks for economic interests that don't serve the general welfare would work for me. A higher retirement age for Social Security? Perhaps for some. Anyway, we should engage in a vigorous public debate on these issues and take steps to reduce the deficit, but not by hurting those at the lowest end of the economic spectrum.

Krugman on the Deficit Reduction Commission

This link is to Krugman's take on the deficit reduction commission. Krugman, as usual, cuts to the chase and criticizes aggressively where he thinks it's warranted. I really applaud this. We all have to serve as advocates for what we believe is right. N.B., this doesn't mean that we act like jerks toward one another, but neither must we cower at the prospect of conflict.

My next post is of Dave Brooks today: read and compare.

Robert Kaplan on Obama's Asian Tour & Strategic Balancing

This article by Kaplan in the NYT today is an interesting one. We are living through a period of rising new global powers, especially China, but also India, Turkey, and Brazil, among others. How the reigning hegemon, the U.S., reacts to these changes is a major challenge to U.S. leaders. Can we accommodate and reach a working understanding with the new players, or will we panic and try to spend all of them under the table? The latter was the Bush administration plan until 9/11 sent us scurrying off to Afghanistan and Iraq. It does seem that the rise of China poses many of the same challenges for the U.S. that the rise of Germany did for Great Britain at the beginning of this century. Let hope it all works out better than that relationship did.

Of course, one may ask if there is an alternative to all of this balancing of forces and such, and the answer is probably "no". However, as we pour lives and resources into Iraq and Afghanistan, can we afford an active role in all of this?

Be Afraid? Glen Beck on George Soros: Echos of the Past?

I don't know what to make of Glen Beck. I want to think of him as an ignorant, albeit malevolent, clown. However, this piece from The Daily Dish takes my wishful thinking to task. How do we, how should we, respond to what seems to be a real anti-Semitic tirade? Is he really so ignorant that he doesn't know that he's echoing the archetypes of anti-Semitic slander? Do we ignore him? And if not, how does one respond? One has to doubt the efficacy of rational argument in the face of such nonsense? Like the crazies from Kansas, I want to ignore them, I don't want to feed their hatred mixed with a need for attention; however, neither should such statements or prejudices go unchallenged. This is a real dilemma, certainly for anyone who considers oneself any kind of a liberal (at least as it relates to free speech).