James Fallows studied economics in the seventies, as did I. His take on our current situation:
Those days of the 1970s are now nearly 40 years in the past. And this morning’s jobs report makes me wonder whether, as a political system, we ever learn anything. Even this basic thing: That when tens of millions of people cannot find work because of an overall “failure of demand” — not enough paychecks going to not enough people who can not make enough payments to create jobs for enough other people — the main problem facing the nation is not “runaway government spending.” Any more than it was when Herbert Hoover tightened up on spending as markets crashed, in the wave of folly that Keynes and Ahamed in their different ways chronicled. A lot has changed since the 1930s, and the 1970s. But not this basic principle.
A week or so ago, Martin Peretz, of The New Republic published the following:
[F]rankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf [of the NYC "mosque" project] there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.
I couldn’t have come up with a response as good as James Fallows, at The Atlantic.
I can’t at the moment think of another mainstream publication whose editor-in-chief has expressed similar sentiments — whether about Muslims or blacks or Jews or women or any other class — and not had to apologize or step down. Or a national political figure: compare this with Trent Lott’s objectively milder statement about Strom Thurmond, which cost him his job in the Senate leadership. Peretz can of course say whatever he wants. It’s a free country, and he is entitled to the “privileges” of the First Amendment, much as I might think he is abusing them here. But Nicholas Kristof has set an example of people stepping up to say: That’s him, not us. This representative of “us” is entitled to say what he chooses, but we think he’s wrong, and on this he does not speak for us.