Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, October 17, 2003
Why Deficits Matter: At least one reader of this site would argue that President Clinton deserves no credit for the nation's strong economic performance on his watch. This study would suggest otherwise. It finds that the improvements in productivity from new technology are real and dramatic, and that the reduction and evenutal elimination of Federal budget deficits on Bill's watch made it easier for the private sector to make those investments, because they didn't have to compete with the Federal government in the debt markets (link via Brad DeLong).

More importantly, the study contends that the opportunities are still out there, and that our current budget outlook -- yawning deficits as far as the eye can see -- is getting in the way of productive investment ... which would actually create jobs!

DeLong also links to an interesting study that raises questions about whether Social Security privatization would be such a bad thing, basically because people can be trusted to handle their savings responsibly. He's not a privatization advocate, but finds the study somewhat compelling, saying (somewhat floridly):

This is a set of calculations that erodes a bit of the soil around the foundations of my visualization of the Cosmic All...

(For the record, I'm still a bit more skeptical -- the problem of providing for people who earn too little for the savings accounts to be meaningful, or who otherwise slip through the safety net still seems pretty serious. It's one thing to trust people to take risks with the savings necessary to maintain their standard of living. It's another to put at risk the savings necessary to maintain even the most basic level of human existence...)

Monday, October 13, 2003
Survivor: 43rd Street? I might just be too tied into popular culture, but I have to think this headline from Sunday's NY Times owes some inspiration to the CBS hit:
2 Dean Rivals Unite Against Mutual Threat
Informal Alliance Links Kerry and Gephardt

[Note: The online edition doesn't carry the "alliance" subhead. But it does have this fetchin' photo of Dean getting bounced from a high-stakes game of "one-potato, two-potato:"