Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clive Crook, Financial Times and David Brooks, New York Times on the Dismal State of American Politics and Political Parties

Had The Creator Really Wanted the U. S. to be a Democracy, Better Candidates Would Be Provided

[Disclosure Alert:  Above Not Original with The Dismal Political Economist]

Writing in the Financial Times, its Washington Correspondent Clive Crook takes both major U. S. political parties to task

The Title of his piece says it all.  Here are some excepts.

In this space I have often criticised the Obama administration for failing to lead on US fiscal policy. Its recent budget, and the revised outline that instantly replaced it, were entirely unserious. Even now, the White House lacks a detailed proposal either for dealing with the immediate political challenge of raising the statutory debt ceiling and thus avoiding default – time for this runs out in a few more weeks – or for addressing the longer-term fiscal problem.
Are the Republicans any more serious? Not really. If ever there was a race to the bottom in economic dialogue, this is it.. . .
So Democrats have no fiscal plan, and Republicans have a fiscal plan that not even they like and whose details they would rather not discuss. . .
Tim Pawlenty, seen as one of the more serious candidates for the Republican nomination – meaning somebody capable of discussing policy – set out an economic plan, as he called it, that was stunning in its vapidity. The plan is difficult to describe without seeming to parody it . . .
One hopes that Mr Pawlenty, in proposing this idiotic farrago, is making a cynical tactical calculation: win over the Tea Party activists by outflanking everyone on the right – difficult as that may be – then come back to the centre once the nomination is won.
[Disclosure alert:  The Dismal Political Economist had to look up the word “farrago”. He hates it when that happens.  It means “mixed fodder for cattle, hence, a confused mixture or hotchpotch of things or persons”.]

I’ll be writing a lot about the presidential election over the next 16 months, but at the outset I would just like to remark that I’m opining on this whole campaign under protest. I’m registering a protest because for someone of my Hamiltonian/National Greatness perspective, the two parties contesting this election are unusually pathetic. Their programs are unusually unimaginative. Their policies are unusually incommensurate to the problem at hand. . . .
The Republican growth agenda — tax cuts and nothing else — is stupefyingly boring, fiscally irresponsible and politically impossible. Gigantic tax cuts — if they were affordable — might boost overall growth, but they would do nothing to address the structural problems that are causing a working-class crisis. . . .
As for the Democrats, they offer practically nothing. They acknowledge huge problems like wage stagnation and then offer... light rail! Solar panels! It was telling that the Democrats offered no budget this year, even though they are supposedly running the country. That’s because they too are trapped in a bygone era.
Mentally, they are living in the era of affluence, but, actually, they are living in the era of austerity. They still have these grand spending ideas, but there is no longer any money to pay for them and there won’t be for decades. Democrats dream New Deal dreams, propose nothing and try to win elections by making sure nobody ever touches Medicare.
Covering this upcoming election is like covering a competition between two Soviet refrigerator companies, cold-war relics offering products that never change.
[Dissension Alert:  Numerous Progressive writers have attacked Mr. Brooks, primarily because they believe he should more strongly endorse the Democratic position.  They apparently do not understand that he is a Conservative Republican.]
So what we have is the Republicans, a group that is younger, energized, committed, dedicated and most of all united, in pursuit of a policy that is absolutely the wrong policy for America vs. Democrats who are older, lax, and united in nothing except for their only policy, which is to oppose the Republican policy.
As Will Rogers, the Jon Stewart of the 20’s and 30’s said, “I do not belong to an organized political party, I am a Democrat”.  Still true today.

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