Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:54 pm

I’ve looked at clods from both sides, now …


Pretty much every single professional journalist in Washington, and a lot of regular Americans, think there are virtues to be had in balance, moderation and centrism. Perhaps as an extension of that belief — for it certainly is not on the basis of even moderately complicated economics, or, for that matter, mathematics — they believe that both the rich and the poor must give something up to address the nation’s budget issues.

(I refuse to call them budget problems, let alone crises; they are issues in the way that we say that sociopaths have issues in that they are the perfectly predictable, and pretty well predicted, results of predictably sociopathic decisions made by known sociopaths.)

So a lot of people who either ought to know better, or who do know better but stand to profit from pretending otherwise, are out there arguing that we need to screw the rich a tiny bit and the middle class and poor a lot to “fix” the deficit (which is fixing itself pretty nicely at the moment, plunging dramatically as a percentage of GDP, but never mind that) and that if both sides are angry, as they are about the nonexistent Simpson-Bowles “report,”  then we must be doing the right thing. The problem, of course, is that not all anger is justified, valid, moral or even sane, as Charlie Pierce reminds us:

Can we please have an honest assessment of credibility here? If billionaires are angry because they might have to chip in some boutonniere money on April 15, and a middle-class family is angry because their 82-year old grandmother with Alzheimer’s is lying in her own filth in a substandard nursing home because of Medicare “reforms,” are we honestly saying that the anger of both sides is equally justified? Has anyone even asked that question?

To the best of my knowledge, no one in the DC media has asked this question, and my friend Doug Clark at the N&R, who’s usually much more sensible, doesn’t seem to be concerned with it, and, hey, I’ve got a blog, so I thought I’d raise it here.

2 Comments »

  1. It seems to me that we are repeating over and over a mistake by presenting and ‘debating’ the extreme positions – point counterpoint – or as you said, “if both sides are angry … then we must be doing the right thing.” Doesn’t this tactically encourage even greater, not lesser, extremism? A tactical polarization that the 82 year old grandmother will necessarily lose? Thnx for presenting the Q.

    Comment by fargo — Sunday, December 9, 2012 12:32 am @ 12:32 am | Reply

  2. I’m not sure I understand your question, in part because I’m not sure you understood my point. My point is that the MEDIA say that if both sides are angry, they must be doing the right thing, and that the politicians say that. But the fact that the media and the politicians say it doesn’t make it right. Sometimes one side is completely, or mostly, right, and the other side is completely, or mostly, wrong. U.S. tax and fiscal policy in particular and economic policy in general are such cases (keeping in mind that the spectrum of ideas allowed to be discussed in the U.S. is much narrower than in most other Western, industrialized democracies).

    Comment by Lex — Monday, December 17, 2012 2:11 pm @ 2:11 pm | Reply


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