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Did the GOP Play Hooky During Third Grade Math?

12:52 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Compared to laying siege to government, hurting millions, and putting the economy at risk, it’s only a minor irritant, I suppose, one of the dozens of little misrepresentations that we are so used to hearing from the right wing that we just shrug our shoulders and wait for something new. But the fact the media almost never pushes back suggests that letting it slide is a mistake. And it’s just fractions!

Remember third grade math? Sure you do. It’s when you probably first learned fractions. Numerators! Denominators? Percentages! Pies! Well, it seems many right wingers skipped that year, because they can’t recall that a fraction has both a numerator and a denominator, so the size of the fraction depends on both.

So night after night, apparent third grade dropouts tell news anchors and talk show hosts, none of whom even sighs (sigh), that government spending has exploded under Socialist Obama. Before Obama, it was about 19 percent of GDP or 1/5th. But now its almost 1/4th, or 24 percent of GDP.

Tom Coburn said that on my public tv. Boehner and McConnell and Kyl say that. Every Tea-GOP and rightwinger has it tatooed on their foreheads, and Sarah Palin has is written on her palm. From 19 to 24 percent! Yikes!

Here’s Professor Krugman dragging us back to third grade with The Truth about federal spending:

The fact is that federal spending rose from 19.6% of GDP in fiscal 2007 to 23.8% of GDP in fiscal 2010. So isn’t that a huge spending spree? Well, no.

First of all, the size of a ratio depends on the denominator as well as the numerator. GDP has fallen sharply relative to the economy’s potential; here’s the ratio of real GDP to the CBO’s estimate of potential GDP:

Krugman goes on to use actual data related to the denominator. Facts! math! Annoying. How does he remember this complicated stuff?

He then shows that the remaining increase in the numerator is due almost entirely to reduced revenues and higher safety net spending caused by the recession, plus temporary stimulus spending, also necessitated by the recession, that’s now phasing out.

Bottom line. No permanent increase in the size of government. It’s the recession, not due to Obama. And Republicans either don’t know third grade math or they’re just lying.

We all know this, but it’s still stunning, and disheartening, that an entire party can be that dishonest and get away with this nonsense night after night.

Update: Mark Thoma of the Economist’s View finds David Frum also stunned by the Wall Street Journal’s denial of elementary math.

If you were to write a story about government debt, you’d probably be inclined to write about the two sets of government decisions that produce deficits or surpluses: decisions about expenditure and decisions about revenue. You’d want to do that not only as a matter of fairness, but also as a matter of math.

And that’s why, my friend, you would wash out as a WSJ editorialist. They wrote this editorial without any reference to revenues whatsoever. Boom! Gone! Don’t deny reality. Defy reality. . . .

One of the many traps and impediments facing a Journal editorialist writing about debt is that up until 2009, the US debt burden rose most under the two presidents the Journal most ardently supported: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The debt burden declined most under the presidents the Journal most despises – Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Math has a well known liberal bias.

WaPo/Bloomberg: Classic Bait and Switch Argument About Social Security

12:22 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

[Note: Along with Jane Hamsher and the folks at Firedoglake, I'll be making calls this month to urge FDL's past supporters to become Founding Members of Firedoglake. So if you get a call from me (617 area code), pick up the phone. It's just Scarecrow! And we'd really appreciate your help. Or you can just become a member by clicking here, and I promise not to call you.]

The Washington Post/Bloomberg Business section recently published an op-ed by Allan Sloan arguing that the only relevant point about Social Security is it’s current negative cash flow.

Only current cash flow matters, he says. So if Social Security payroll taxes are currently taking in less revenues than current payouts to beneficiaries, that means Social Security is in trouble, and not later, but now.

Sloan says this cash flow situation will continue years into the future. Since the Trust Fund doesn’t matter in his accounting, this means Social Security is trouble today, right now, not just in 2036 or so when the Social Security Administration’s most recent official reports tell us the Trust Fund balance runs out.

if I’m not mistaken, this is a classic bait and switch argument he’s making, the one we’ve been warned about before by Paul Krugman, Dean Baker and others.

You can view Social Security accounting two ways: First, you can view it as a separate fund, in which case the Trust Fund surplus of $2.5 trillion is very relevant. Or you can view the issue from the perspective of the entire budget, and ask, “how much of the total is paid for by total incoming revenues?” But what you can’t do is mix the two; you can’t honestly switch between the two accounting perspectives just to make a political point about Social Security.
Read the rest of this entry →

Obama Flunks Economics with Pointless Federal Wage Freeze

8:35 am in Economy, Executive Branch, Uncategorized by Scarecrow

The Obama White House just announced details of a two-year federal wage freeze as a means to reduce federal spending and deficits. [David Dayen has more.] The move is obviously political and only symbolic, because the dollars involved are trivial in relation to the total deficit. But more important, the White House rationale confirms for the umpteenth time that the Obama White House’s economic thinking and priorities are deeply flawed.

From today’s White House Fact Sheet: [my bold]

Because of the irresponsibility of the past decade, the President inherited a $1.3 trillion projected deficit upon taking office and an economic crisis that threatened to put the nation into a second Great Depression. He moved quickly to get the economy moving again. Now, the economy is growing, and we have gained private sector jobs for the past 10 months. But families and businesses are still hurting, and our top priority is making sure that we are doing everything we can to help boost economic growth and spur job creation.

Now, we need to turn our attention to addressing the massive deficits we inherited and the unsustainable fiscal course that we are on. Doing so will take some very tough choices. Just as families and businesses around the nation have tightened their belts so must their government. That must be done in a targeted way that focuses our investments in what works and in what will lay the foundation for job creation and economic growth for years to come while cutting back elsewhere in our budget.

For the umpteenth time, the Obama White House has made the foolish mistake of confusing efforts to “boost economic growth and spur job creation” with the need for near-term deficit reduction. Even his economic team tried to keep the two different time frames — short run vs long-run — separate. And for the umpteenth time, this President has repeated discredited Republican gibberish that when households are having to cut back spending during a recession, government should do the same thing.

That’s just wrong. Foolishly wrong. Depressingly (literally), tragically wrong.

The economy is suffering from, among other things, the collapse of the housing market and it’s relationship to a massively fraudulent, rapacious financial system. When housing prices collapsed — and they’re not done yet — households lost over $6 trillion in wealth and families lost trillions in retirement savings. With 15 million unemployed and millions more living in job and health insecurity, typical non-wealthy households have no choice but to cut back. So private spending cannot pull the economy out of the ditch as it has in the past. But that is not true of the federal government.

Government spending can pull the economy up from the bottom. And only government has the resources and the power to fill in the gap in aggregate demand to bring the economy and jobs back.

A government with its own currency is not a household. It has different abilities, different ways of affecting the economy and paying for things. It controls the money supply. And it has different responsibilities, including the obligation to pull the economy out of a deep recession, to help create jobs and foster job creation in the private sector. To do this under today’s conditions requires enhanced spending/investments by government, not less. And there has never been a better time for government to act, nor has the cost of acting ever been lower.

It’s counterproductive and stupid for the President of the United States to keep telling Americans the false argument that government needs to tighten its belt when households are tightening theirs. And it’s even worse to falsely claim that by focusing on deficit reduction, the government is “doing everything we can to help boost economic growth and spur job creation.”

It’s clear from watching Ireland, Portugal and Spain that government-imposed austerity does not solve the problem of depressed demand. It makes it worse, deepening the recession, worsening unemployment and imposing pain on the populace while crippling government’s ability to act. We’re watching these countries test all of the Republican and neo-liberal doctrines, and they’re all failing, yet we pretend not to notice and follow the same path. Republicans would even force the US to act as though it’s Spain, even though Spain is trapped into austerity by the Euro. That’s mindless.

As DeLong often explains, those who have the ability to borrow (or create money) — e.g., the federal government — must do so when the private sector can’t or won’t. As Krugman recently wrote in discussing austerity in Ireland, “punishing the populace for the bankers’ sins is worse than a crime; it’s a mistake.”

This is not the first time this President has issued such, uh, unhelpful statements on the economy and deficit. Maybe he’s just badly served by economic or political advisers, or just doesn’t know any better. Either way, get some decent help, Mr. President, including someone who can tell you “NO!” the next time your instincts or advisers tell you to keep making the same mistakes, over and over.

John Chandley

NYT’s Norris Surprised by Low Interest Rates, Can’t Figure Out What to Do

11:39 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

For some unknown reason, the New York Times editors chose to print on the front page of my delivered Times a confusing "news analysis" by its business/economics writer, Floyd Norris. Norris is surprised, shocked that interest rates are at record low levels when "financial circles" he apparently listens to predicted just the opposite.

As 2010 began, there was nearly unanimous agreement in financial circles on at least one thing: Interest rates were sure to rise during the year.

Quite to the contrary. As Labor Day approaches, interest rates have collapsed, plunging along with economic optimism.

That turn of events, which has shocked savers and stunned investors, appears to indicate that financial markets’ worries are turning in a very different direction from those of many governments.
. . .
Now, far from showing a reluctance to finance the American government, investors are seeking safety and evidently believe American government debt is the safest possible investment. They have rushed to send money to the Treasury, thereby reducing borrowing costs for the government.

Lions and tigers and bears, Oh My! What could this mean? Norris just can’t seem to sort it out.

He might start by reading the Times economic writers, some of whom have figured out, as the Times columnist, a Nobel economist, and friends have been explaining for more than a year, that rising interest rates and inflation were never going to be a problem as long as the economy languished in a near depression. They knew the government’s fiscal and monetary policies remained woefully inadequate to stimulate aggregate demand enough in a nation that had just lost $12-14 trillion in housing and stocks/pensions wealth.

Under those conditions, an even half-sentient Federal Reserve — about what we have today — would be unlikely to raise interest rates nor need to worry about inflation. So for more than a year, Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong and others who understood this have been alternating between educating us (thank you!) and ridiculing those deficit hysterics who fear-mongered about exploding inflation and rising interest rates when the economic recovery was timid, jobless and, so far, virtually groundless. They’ve been proven right.

What this hardly "news" to those paying attention means is that everyone who has been hysterical about near-term deficits, loading "unsustainable debt" on our grandchildren and interest payments leading to sovereign default has been 100 percent dead wrong, and listening to them, even without the "deficit [catfood] commission" has made matters worse.

There’s no surprise that the same people who were wrong about the market’s self-correcting ideology and unable to see the recession’s causes nor the need to deflect/mitigate them have proved incapable of fashioning effective remedies. They were wrong about the theory and now Norris notes they’re wrong on the facts and their predictions. No kidding. They were wrong. Just say it straight out, Mr. Norris, and you’d have a coherent column.

Unfortunately, Norris gets lost on a detour of Greece and Germany, neither of whose circumstances are similar to the US economy, though he does concede this:

The problems that confronted Greece could not precisely replicate themselves in either the United States or Britain. Both borrow in their own currencies, which they could print if others were reluctant to make loans.

"Not precisely?" Uh, if you have to mention Greece, how about explaining why Greece is "not even remotely" applicable to the US, so those who draw parallels are charlatans.

And what exactly is the point of suggesting the end of Keynes, when the facts Norris is surprised by tell us the Keynesians are correct?

Norris recognizes that, gosh, with interest rates so low, this is a really good time for smart businesses to be borrowing and investing. But he doesn’t explain that strategy makes sense only if we can stimulate demand for their products/services or our trading partners are not similarly crippled by inappropriate austerity measures.

Worse, Norris doesn’t draw the obvious conclusion for government: with government able to pay record low interest rates to US bond holders, this may be the most propitious time in his or my lifetimes for the US to spend and invest in American jobs, public infrastructure and institutions. And that’s especially true since business investment remains risky as long as aggregate demand is low.

The nation’s economic conditions cry out for more government spending and public investment now. The cost is as low as it may ever be, the need is obvious and virtually unlimited, and the dividends to our future would be immense. And if that’s not enough, the correct policy just happens to be the best politics for the governing party.

But instead of drawing the obvious conclusion that Congress’ deficit hysteria and fear of spending are not only belied by the facts but grossly irresponsible, Norris can quote only Republican Senator Lamar Alexander:

Deficit hawks are leaning forward in the United States as well. “Many Americans and most senators feel that the level of the federal debt is at crisis levels,” Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said in a Senate debate last month, adding that the debt “threatens the security of our country.”

Uh, this is where Norris should give us a resounding "Wrong!" The federal debt is not at "crisis levels," and it doesn’t "threaten[] the security of the country," so if most senators believe that, they should be hounded out of office and sent to reeducation camps.

There are genuine threats to America’s economic present and future, starting with the failure to make public investments in its future when it makes sense to do so. That failure can only leave a crumbling nation and impoverished, not to mention uncompetitive, people. The only surprise here is that what is so obvious to the rest of us remains a surprise to much of America’s elite media and political leadership.

Leeches: Nelson, Lieiberman Help Republicans Retard Economy, Increase Jobless

6:44 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

David Dayen reported last night that the Senate once again came up short — 56-40 — trying to overcome a Republican filibuster of a jobs and state budget relief bill. And once again this insane obstruction was aided and abetted by Ben (Bad) Nelson, Joe Lieberman and the two Maine Senators, Snowe and Collins, who continue to be misidentified as "moderates."

Voting for two unpaid wars, an unfunded drug plan, and massive tax cuts for the wealthy, while worrying about deficit spending when there are 15 million people unemployed, doesn’t make you a "moderate." It makes you hypocritical, stupid and cruel. None of these people deserves to be in office.

The harm their misguided obstruction will cause is profound. Nearly a million more people will lose their jobs because states — whose revenues have tanked during the recession while safety-net costs have exploded — must balance their budgets and either raise taxes or curtail essential government services or both. Hundreds of thousands of teachers and others will be layed off, thousands more will lose Medicaid and even more will see their unemployment benefits end or curtailed. The harm is inexcusable, unnecessary, because there isn’t a single credible reason for inflicting this pain.

As Krugman, DeLong, Baker, Stiglitz, Galbraith, Johnson, Mosher . . . and many other reputable economists keep insisting, this is exactly the wrong time to be reducing government spending. The increased economic demand it enables is the one thing that keeps this laggard "recovery" from falling back into a severe recession.

The deficit vultures who insist that hurting people is a virtue have no coherent story, no set of facts that can withstand the slightest scrutiny:

– It is not expensive to borrow now; we should be borrowing, buying stuff and rebuilding infrastructure much more now because it may never be cheaper than now to do so.

– The deficit impacts are minimized because interest rates are near record lows, and being at the zero bound limits the Fed’s ability to use traditional monetary policy to keep the economy afloat.

– The markets are not spooked or about to be spooked by US deficits, as the vultures continually claim; investors with plenty of money are eager to buy safe US bonds.

– And inflation is approaching non-existent, less than half the 2 percent target rate set by the Federal Reserve.

But the deficit vultures have convinced Congress to believe a lie, as they keep repeating the same fact-free arguments, over and over to an uncritical or complicit media.

The Obama Administration now seems to recognize they made a huge strategic blunder last year in not working for a much larger, better focused stimulus, just as the best economists begged them to do. To be sure, it was the same clueless gang of Snowe and Collins, Lieberman and Nelson, who insisted the Senate weaken that stimulus, strip out much of the needed help for states, and remove critical infrastructure spending. They’ve learned nothing, but what is the Administration’s excuse?

Obama has legitimized Pete Peterson’s deficit vultures with his Deficit (Let them Eat Cat Food) Commission. Even worse, he elevated a blowhard deficit jerk, Alan Simpson, who has it in for the middle class and feels free to insult and condescend to reporters. That should get him fired; tell me why the country has to put up with such behavior?

The video-reporter, Alex Lawson’s only crime was to try to get a secret commission to tell the public what they doing on a matter every American cares about. Lawson asked the obvious question: why are worried about a Social Security System that has a 25 to 30-year surplus but not curtailing defense or fixing the excessive payment schemes for doctors and hospitals?

Administration economists are now trying to get their "stimulus now, deficit later" messaging/priorities straight, but it’s too late. Obama let the vultures run, and now he has to push Congress from behind to get even a tiny jobs package through the dysfunctional, leaderless Senate. You owe us this one, Mr. President.

I was watching MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan yesterday, as he allowed the disingenuous Tom Coburn (R. Okla) rant for five minutes about the deficits and how we’re just piling debt on our grandkids. It’s gibberish, but Dylan offered no resistance or facts to counter this false framing. Where are the economists who know better, Dylan? Try educating your audience instead of giving time to the carnival hucksters.

Coburn is one of the Republican’s Congressional budget doctors who, like the self-certified "Doctor" Rand Paul, keep insisting that the best way to cure an anemic economy that’s being malnourished and about to lose more of its lifeblood is to apply leeches. They should lose their licenses to practice on their victims.

John Chandley

Update: NYT, Obama urges Europe not to drop stimulus measures yet

In a public letter to other leaders of the Group of 20 nations in advance of a summit meeting in Toronto next week, Mr. Obama wrote, “Our highest priority in Toronto must be to safeguard and strengthen the recovery.”

. . .

Mr. Obama also wrote, “We must be flexible in adjusting the pace of consolidation and learn from the consequential mistakes of the past when stimulus was too quickly withdrawn and resulted in renewed economic hardships and recession.”

"Consolidation" is what Europeans call reducing their budget deficits and forcing "austerity" (cut wages, benefits) measures on their citizens. Earlier this year, the Administration said it would use increase exports to help boost the US economy. But if our major trading partners are curtailing their own demand and letting their currencies fall against ours, expanding US exports to them is not plausible. Everyone’s moving in the wrong direction, just like the 1930s.

Gallup Poll: Americans back more stimulus spending to create jobs:

Among four pieces of legislation Congress could consider this year, Americans are most supportive of authorizing more economic stimulus spending. Specifically, according to a June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll, 60% of Americans say they would favor "additional government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy."

Brad DeLong, encourages Ezra Klein to keep correcting the Washington Post; and links to Ryan Avent tutoring Bad Nelson; and notes some British get the zero bound problem
Paul Krugman, explains Europe’s fiscal fantasies (same as ours); then he notes why the US in 2010 is starting to feel like the US in the 1930s.

Serious Pundits: Everything’s Okay at the Obama White House . . . Except We’re Losing

9:32 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

After a spate of "it isn’t I, Lord" leaks to the media on what’s happening in the Obama White House, the Dean of the Beltway media has called a halt to such unseemly musings, and so serious people have now retaken charge of the discussion.

It is reassuring to learn that the President is both listening to serious policy advisers while taking advantage of experienced, successful political advisers to get those policies enacted. So they must be succeeding, right?

It remains for the rest of us only to wonder within the now narrowed field of inquiry how to account for the fact that the Obama Presidency is seriously failing by both policy and political measures. If they’re so good at this, how did the President’s Party come to face the possible loss of one or even both houses of Congress?

How exactly have they managed to alienate intelligent and responsible leaders and experts on the environment, energy, climate change, health reform, financial reform, labor, immigration reform, civil liberties/rule of law advocates, and other core elements of their own base? It’s not like they did that by holding on to independents, who now oppose them only slightly less than the Republicans do, even though they still haven’t done much of what they were sent to do (or accused of doing).

We’ve already seen the Administration’s energy/climate change initiative so watered down in the House that it caused deep splits in the alternative energy/environmental community. Those who pleaded for pragmatic patience on the House Bill are now tearing their hair out watching the Senate become a bastion of delay and denialism, with little effective push back from the Administration.

That mirrors the debate on health care reform, where more hopeful reforms were either forbidden topics or promises to be broken and bargained away — and yet what did we get in return beyond a deal for PhRMA-paid ads? Many hopes have been dashed and once-united reformers are left to argue with each other over whether what’s left is worth risking political blood and treasure.

We’re now watching the same thing happen to financial reform. A watered down but still worthwhile House bill languishes in the dysfunctional Senate, along with 290 other House-passed bills.

Meanwhile, Senator Dodd careens from absurd compromise to absurd compromise searching for some way to mollify the rapacious, unrepentant bankers and even one Republican Senator, to no avail. It seems we can’t even have an independent Consumer Financial Protection agency or even a viable consumer-protective division within any existing agency that didn’t already fail dismally, as the Fed and Treasury did, to protect consumers.

And just like the real reform champions on climate change and health care, Paul Krugman is about to give up on Obama and Congress on their financial reform efforts. What passes may be worse than nothing, he fears. Welcome to our dilemma, Professor. We suggest you wear the flak jacket.

So I remain puzzled by the Beltway wisdom that in the Obama White House, whatever you may think about its political vs policy debates, we shouldn’t worry too much.

The country’s political discourse is coming apart at the seams, and as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been documenting night after night, the level of blatant lying, distortion and hypocrisy has no limits. In the extreme, the lies are coupled with increasing approval of anti-government violence.

Yet the nation’s problems aren’t going away; they’re getting worse. Something needs to change, and if that doesn’t include the advisers/leadership in the White House, then how else do the serious ones think we break out of this?

One common failure on both policy and political fronts seems to be the inability to acknowledge and respond to the fact that the corporate and ideological opponents of genuine reform are both looting the public and waging war. They’re waging class war on everyone and any proposal that remotely suggests reining in unbridled corporate power and the redistribution of wealth upwards, whether it’s by Wall Street investors/banks, the energy industry or the health industry or bigAg or . . .

And Republicans and their media organs at Fox support this by waging the rhetorical equivalent of pre-civil war.

When you’re at war, it’s not enough to have decent policies and experienced political advisers — and the White House has been too limiting in both to deserve accolades in either department. You need to fight back.

Dick Cheney is right about one key point. You have to fight back as though the enemy is trying to destroy you and everything you claim to believe in, because they are.

Beyond that, it might also help if the Administration understood it’s its job to hold people accountable when they break the law or loot the country, because those are the same people who are waging war against us. And they’re still winning.

Update: Yves Smith dissects the Beltway message: it’s all about discrediting the left.

What Digby said
What Marcy said
What bmaz said
What Michael said
What Jane said
What Yves said
What Simon says here and here (and Joe Stiglitz, Dean Baker, Liz Warren, et al)

Krugman: CO2 Cap and Trade Is Good Economics

5:32 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

In today’s column, An Affordable Salvation, Nobel economist Paul Krugman addresses the scare tactics of climate change denialists by arguing we can afford a CO2 cap and trade program. Moreover, it will provide an economic investment incentive just when we need it.

And with denialists and most Republicans attacking any significant effort to deal with global greenhouse gases, Krugman’s framing is just what has been needed in this debate:

But the opponents of action claim that limiting emissions would have devastating effects on the U.S. economy. So it’s important to understand that just as denials that climate change is happening are junk science, predictions of economic disaster if we try to do anything about climate change are junk economics.

Yes, limiting emissions would have its costs. . . .

But the best available estimates suggest that the costs of an emissions-limitation program would be modest, as long as it’s implemented gradually. And committing ourselves now might actually help the economy recover from its current slump.

(emphasis mine)

In recent weeks, as denialists continue their efforts to keep America’s head in the sand, Republicans like Newt Gingrich have misued an M.I.T. study on CO2 action costs, claiming there would be major increases in electricity prices. But Krugman dismisses these claims Read the rest of this entry →

Krugman on Auto Bridge Failure: You’re putting millions of jobs at risk!

7:10 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Paul Krugman appearing on Rachel Maddow told the straight unvarnished truth, urging Congress to overcome lame ducks’ "not our problem" mentality and confront the immediate need for a bridge loan to keep Detroit’s Big Three solvent until a more responsible Obama Administration takes office.

Krugman noted that even if it were okay to allow the companies to fail during good economic times, it made no sense to allow them to go belly up and put at risk 1 to 3 million jobs right in the midst of a severe recession. The effect, he added, would be like a huge reverse stimulus, dragging the economy down.

Commenting on Congress’ willingness to leave the decision to a stupid game of "chicken" with the White House, Krugman added, "We’re on the verge of an irreversible decision taken almost in a fit of absence of mind."

Of course, the auto execs’ flight to DC in their private jets added up to "stupid theatrics," but "that’s not the point." Would be lose 1 to 3 million jobs and their health benefits just to punish twelve senior exectives?

Krugman’s right. Read the rest of this entry →

Krugman to Obama: Ignore the Trolls, Build the New New Deal

12:50 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Over 520,000 lost their jobs in the last two months and retail sales collapsed, but before he even meets with his economic team, President-Elect Obama has received lots of advice lately, too much of it warning him not to attempt the agenda he ran on and frantically warning him not to believe he has the progressive mandate John McCain so conveniently defined for him.

How predictably expedient that those Very Serious Villagers who just lost and who’ve been wrong for the last eight years would now urge Obama not to do what he’s promised. But Economics Nobelist Paul Krugman, who has the tiny advantage of having been right when most others were wrong, has the perfect reply: "Ignore the trolls and go for it." Read the rest of this entry →