Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Rare Thing

It's rare that a little, teeny, petite blogpost about a blogpost (Klein, "Krugman on Krugman") can be so accurate a summation of (what Doug Henwood calls) what the people at The New Left Review call "the current conjuncture."
We began with an economic crisis that looked a lot like the Great Depression. But due in large part to the massive efforts of the Federal Reserve and the government, we pulled out of it, or seem to have pulled out of it.
Of course, I think people do understate the political work done by this administration simply to keep a Depression-ish financial collapse from sucking our entire society into a squalid crater. But the question for the people who govern us is: now that we have (maybe) "hit bottom," how, then, will we re-emerge? How long will it take to begin gaining ground again? And will we be a fairer society when we emerge, better-hedged against the asset bubbles and demand-side shortfalls that occasion these recurrent crises?

If the answer to that last question is "yes," I want to know how demand can be stimulated without rising wages, increased government investment in human welfare (i.e., government entitlements and government jobs) and, by extension, increased taxation of the wealthy? Will Democrats come to see that it is in their political self-interest to open themselves up further to charges of socialism, big-government, blah-blah-blah, if said charges arise while they are delivering actual benefits to voters?

Chris Matthews and Foucualt are both always right when they say that the burden of governing is heaviest on the 20th/21st century Left. If Ds win on the discourses of "health care" and "jobs," they can afford to lose on "socialism," because at that point, socialism'll be* just another (bleeping) tree falling in the (bleeping) woods.

*Actually, socialism already is a (bleeping) tree falling in the (bleeping) woods: at least in the northwest hemisphere. Go ahead and blame it on the whole previous century, or Stalin, or Mitterand, if that makes you feel better.

No comments: