Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eurodämmerung, WaPo Social Insecurity, and Other Paul Krugman Economic and Financial Treats

The Oct. 28, 2011 APOD showing a eerie red and subtle green aurora appearing over Whitby, Ontario on the night of Oct. 24, 2011 when a blizzard of charged particles from a coronal mass ejection from the Sun struck Earth's magnetosphere, creating dazzling auroral displays far south over the United States.

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11-01-11, or in European notation, 01-11-11

This entry is mostly political-themed entry with links to various Paul Krugman blog and op-ed pieces on lies about Social Security and the euro disaster (but in reverse order from that alluded to in my blog entry title).

As you (may) know, Paul Krugman -- Nobel Prize-winning economist, Princeton University professor, New York Times columnist and blogger, and progressive thinker and champion, is my hero these days.

In this entry, I want to call attention to some of his recent New York Times blog entries (which are distinct from his biweekly Monday and Friday New York Times columns). These entries include the one in which he (again) calls out the lies that The WaHoPo peddles -- both on its editorial and op-ed pages AND across its bogus and chimerical "inseparable wall" on the news ("news analysis") side -- involving supposed imminent demise of Social Security. Krugman calls out the two fundamental inconsistencies with this argument.

I've posted this image before but it's worth reposting.

As Krugman writes, "What you can’t do is insist that the [Social Security] trust fund [with its $2.6 trillion in Government bonds] is meaningless, because SS is just part of the budget, then claim that some crisis arises when [annual payroll tax] receipts fall short of payments, because SS is a standalone program. Yet that’s exactly what the WaPo claims."

This is (one) why Ruth "Mother" Marcus of The Washington Post Editorial Board hates Krugman so much.

"Uncle" Fred Hiatt, Editorial Page Editor of The Washington Post.

The bigger point is that The WaHoPo -- house organ here in the Imperial Capital City of the oligarchical corporate elites that nearly destroyed the economy in 2008 and may do so again in the next few years -- is not at all concerned about Social Security's solvency. 

To that point, in a sane and rational world, it is an easily solvable problem with a 20+ year time frame (unlike, say, Medicare and America's medical sector hyper-inflation and severe market failures).

"A hehehehe, I'm Don Graham, and [burble burble' ahehehe, you get a free Post with every purchase of my Kaplan educational scam!"

Rather, The WaHoPo -- plaything of the Graham Family Evil Empire and home to such charaters as Fred Hiatt and his stable of corporatist / rightwing pundits -- seeks the final take down and theft of the last of the New Deal's essential legacies for the working class in order to give those trillions to its Wall Street crook cohorts.

"Hello, there! I'm Sebastian Mallaby, warmed-over Tory pseudo - intellectual, former WaHoPo editorial writer, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations Corporate Oligarchical Affairs. Let me set up your dystopian corporate fascist society for free!"

It's true that the Editorial Board has changed over somewhat since the halcyon anti-Clinton days of the mid to late 1990s, but the worst of that crew -- Ben Wittes and Sebastian Mallaby -- are still around, sinecured in their comfy, high-paying slots. 

The only good news is all of these editorial and "news" atrocities is that The WaHoPo is likely to go bankrupt within the next 10 years in the next bubble-deflating crash because the product it offers is ultimately a worthless one, ever-more-disconnected from reality, that fewer and fewer people want it.


In short, there simply aren't enough corporate oligarchs and their yes men and henchmen in D.C. think tanks and other corporate media and related propaganda organs to keep the paper, at least in its print addition, alive.

Lest this position seem unreasonable, or even extreem remember that The WaHoPo is the newspaper all the post-9/11 lies that facilitated the Iraq War and other catastrophic blunders in Empire.

An Occupy Wall Street protester in New York dressed in Halloween costume as Paul Krugman slaying the supply side monster. Brilliant.

On another note, Krugman calls out New York Mayor Bloomberg for buying the deeply entrenched rightwing GOP lie and talking point that Congress "caused" the mortgage meltdown by having Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac make some loans to poor people who could not afford the payments.

This is a lie of such astonishing moral proportions that it is best to let the Feb. 2011 Center for American Progress David Min report "Faulty Conclusions Based on Shoddy Foundations" blow it apart (the full report link is here), or just read a shorter review of the Min report from May 2011 on the Rortybomb site.

To reach this "conclusion," it is necessary to play a game of three-card monte switcheroo involving definitions of "sub-prime AND other high-risk mortgages."

A key figure from the Min report (linked above) showing the delinquency rates for different kinds of mortgages including Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) ones and others that the Right bundles together to make it look as though the GSEs were disproportionately responsible when they were not.

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Oh, yes, it appears that the most recent "breakthrough plan" save the euro is already dead -- and now Greece is going to hold a voter referendum on the bailout plan.

At this point, the peripheral "PIIGS" countries, as German bankers, corporate oligarchs, and "expansionary austerity" types call them, need to abandon that VERY WRONG experiment that is the continent-wide euro. Here is Paul Krugman's wonderfully-titled blog entry Eurodämmerung (a pun, of course, on Götterdämmerung).

Lastly, Paul Krugman explains why the ECB and European leaders need to set a target inflation rate of 3 to 4 percent per year rather than give into the "expansionary austerity" and other stupid deflationary notions propounded by (as he might agree) the tools of the rentier class.

Paul Krugman raising the sail on a schooner in Stockholm harbor, Aug. 2011. His blog entry was entitled "Arrrr!"

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OK, I think I'm going to end the political-themed entry.

On another topic, and one that I hope I don't have to return to, but my stepfather has been in the hospital for the past three days with intermittent severe chest pains that are either some sort of angina attack (it's almost certainly not a heart attack) or related to a hernia. He does not seem to be getting any better and it may be time for my mom to insist that he be taken to a better hospital in Baltimore such as Johns Hopkins. My mom is quite worried about all of this and my stepfather isn't exactly known for his optimism.

My mom and stepfather have been married since Dec. 1974 when I had just turned 5 years old. My parents divorced when I was quite young and my dad today lives down on the Atlantic coast of Florida in Flagler Beach (see October entries).

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OK, really think that is all for now. I plan to update this blog during the course of this week.

Yours truly in the waiting area of the Hair Cuttery over on Connecticut Avenue, NW, here in Washington, D.C., 6:32PM, Nov. 1, 2011. I was waiting for the young lady B. to cut my hair.

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Oh, yes, I got a haircut tonight (finally). I was really starting to look like a gray-flecked Chia pet with a big bunch of hair. I am planning on renewing my driver's license on Friday and I so need to update the picture, address, and, er, the weight by about 40 pounds in the wrong direction ...

--Regulus

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