I broke my own rule by sending the following to students in an email, rather than posting to the web:
[Student] and I had a talk about economics journalism, and how CNN and even Reuters and McClatchy are second-rate (for CNN, third-rate) compared to professional economists who blog their views regularly. Since you guys seem interested in figuring this stuff out, but don’t seem to have figured out that the hardest-hitting and most in-depth (and readable) analysis is in the top-tier economists’ blogs, I offer the following starter-pack. It’s multipartisan, from right to left (especially Economists Club).
You’re smart enough to figure out Google Reader and RSS feed subscriptions with a simple Google search (use those terms), so I’ll just share a few economics blogs that go way deeper than the mainstream media.
Subscribe to them, read them regularly, and you’ll feel your brain swell beyond the pop journalism dimensions:
Here’s a Google Reader Bundle of the Econ blogs I read. Click the image to go to the RSS feed for all of them (and feel free to drop recommendations in comments) Update: As a perceptive reader points out, Matt Taibbi is not an economist — though he’s a valuable (and hilarious) investigative journalist specializing in the Wall St./Politics nexus — so I removed him from the bundle:
Click the image for the Bundle page, subscribe there.
To riff off Bush/McCain’s mantra until they woke up last week: The fundamentalisms of our economy are strong.
So here’s to some economic heresy.
With Bush, Obama, McCain, and most of the media all urging us not to think there are alternatives to Main Street paying taxes for Wall Street – being economic fundamentalists spouting suddenly bi-partisan, pro-banking dogma – hats off to Lou Dobbs (and I didn’t think you’d ever hear me say that) for giving a solid chunk of time to listen to an alternative “No Bailout Plan” by my old congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon, and Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio.
I’m sorely disappointed in Obama, particularly, for joining the Bush stampede to give $.7 trillion to an egregiously corrupt Wall Street. 1 + 1 always equals 2, but this economic crisis isn’t a math problem with only one solution. Obama should show that, his over $9 million in campaign contributions from the banking industry notwithstanding, he can lead against it when appropriate.
As for McCain? He’s put deregulation first for 26 years – enough said.
So give a listen to these good economic heretics, and consider joining them in urging the Congress not to rush us all into a give-away that may not even solve the problem. See my last post for more.
h/t to Crooks and Liars’ very lively comment thread for tipping me off, way out here in Korea, to this CNN clip:
Thom Hartmann has yet another take on a possible “No Bailout” plan:
How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar
For Grover “Drown Government In The Bathtub” Norquist, this bailout deal will work out very well. At a proposed cost of $4,780 per taxpayer, it’ll further the David Stockman strategy of so indebting us that the next president won’t have the luxury of even thinking of new social spending (expanding health care, social security, education, infrastructure, etc.); taxes will even have to be raised just to pay for the bailout. It’ll debase our currency, driving up commodity prices and interest rates, which will benefit the Investor Class while further impoverishing the pesky Middle Class, rendering them less prone to protest (because they’re so busy working trying to pay off their debt). It’ll create stagflation for at least the next half decade, which can be blamed on Democrats who currently control Congress and, should Obama be elected, be blamed on him.
But there’s another way: Create an agency to fund the bailout, loan that agency the money from the treasury, and then have that agency tax Wall Street to pay us (the treasury) back.
It’s been done before, and has several benefits…..(read on)
I’m no economist. But judging by the inability of the experts to explain their plan’s superiority to other plans, I’m not convinced blindly following their rush to a hand-out is the sensible thing to do. Shouldn’t we at least consider the argument that drastic measures should come only when more moderate, less expensive, and more just ones fail?
Is it just me, or is anybody else suspicious of the way the entire mainstream media and both major parties of the US government are characterizing the failure of the bailout bill as a disaster?
While I won’t vote for Nader simply because Palin-McCain frightens me too much, his interview with Amy Goodman, below, is the highest-quality analysis of the meltdown I’ve been able to find. He does what every teacher would demand of any student writing an intro to economics paper: he asks basic questions about the meltdown and the bailout. He analyzes the details of both, gives historical precedents, and suggests several alternative possibilities for a solution.
And he confirms my sense of smell over the last few days as I’ve watched the mainstream media coverage. The bailout smells bad. (To see just how much the “compromise taxpayer protections” were mere window-dressing, read this LA Times analysis.) Bush and Bernancke and all their Wall Street cronies who got us into this mess are saying “Trust us. We’re the experts. Now hand us the blank check.” Pelosi and the congressional democrats, as usual, are letting the Bush administration steamroll them, instead of standing firm. And while I’d like to give credit to the House Republicans for an apparent sense of justice in refusing to pass a bill that rewards the wrong-doers, Boehner and company nip that one in the bud with his pouting schoolboy’s excuse that Republicans bailed on the bailout because of Pelosi’s speech, of all things, blaming Bush economic policies for contributing to this mess.
Thank goodness for Amy Goodman and Ralph Nader, and the fresh air of an intelligent discussion about all of this below. Notice, especially, the mention of the FDIC as a better candidate for funds than the Wall Street firms. Why is nobody talking about that on CNN and other networks? [Update: Obama must have read this post. He's proposing hiking FDIC insurance to $250,000. That's a start toward protecting the victims instead of the criminals. But he still seems beholden to Wall Street, judging by his insistence that Congress should "not start from scratch" on a new bill.] (And notice, too, that Nader places much of the blame on the Clinton administration as well as the Bush.)
Decisiveness can be recklessness. The faster you rush, the more painful when you collide. Maybe the failure of this bill will create a pause, and people can start thinking critically instead of reacting hysterically.