In the November 1 NY Times Paul Krugman critiques the moralistic anti-debt sentiment that has provided one of the dominant themes of this election season. The cartoonish "debt is evil" sentiment that has made its way into political rhetoric around the world, "is the reason we’re mired in a seemingly endless slump," Krugman writes.
Continuing to demonstrate the Republican version of family values and Christian virtue, Monday night Rand Paul supporters stomped on the head of a MoveOn.org activist at who was trying to present Paul with an "employee of the month" award from RepubliCorp — a fictional company created to highlight ties between corporate America and the Republican party.
In results substantially simlar to their poll from the end of September, a Newsweek poll conducted October 20-21 finds 48% of registered voters more likely to vote for Democrats, compared to 42% more likely to vote for Republicans.
Other key findings:
The Center for Public Integrity has issued a new report documenting dozens of members of Congress who "voted against the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," but "subsequently wrote letters requesting funds for projects in a massive, behind-the-scenes letter-writing and phone call campaign...."
Poster child for this massive hypocrisy is Texas Republican Pete Sessions, who publicly railed against the stimulus bill as a ""trillion dollar spending spree" that was "more about stimulating the government and rewarding political allies than growing the economy and creating jobs," but later requested $81 million from the Department of Transportation for a project that "will create jobs, stimulate the economy, improve regional mobility and reduce pollution."
Prominently in the GOP mid-term hall of shame is Virginia Foxx, of North Carolina.
Foxx gained notoriety in December 2009 when she proclaimed from the House floor that "we have more to fear" from the healthcare bill passing "than we do from any terrorist right now in any country."
As The Atlantic's Josh Green reported recently, the Republican slide into extremism has a notable exemplar in Ohio's 9th congressional district.
Rich Iott, Republican candidate in northwest Ohio, and tea party favorite running against Democrat Marcy Kaptur, "was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II. Iott's participation in the Wiking group is not mentioned on his campaign's website, and his name and photographs were removed from the Wiking website."
In his September 27 op-ed piece Bob Herbert asks:
Is the Republican candidate for governor of New York a racist, sexist, pornography-loving creep?
As the remainder of Herbert's column goes on to document, the answer appears to be "yes." The story of Paladino's forwarding of videos and images, Herbert writes, is "so vile, so offensive, it is virtually impossible to effectively recount or describe. Reporters keep their distance. Editors lunge for the delete button."
The upshot is that behavior that in a social setting would likely result in isolation or ostracism, or in a corporate setting could result in someone getting fired, receives only superficial coverage. As reported by Herbert, the images circulated by Paladino include:
- A photo showing a group of black men trying to get out of the way of an airplane that is apparently moving across a field. The caption reads: "Run niggers, run."
- A doctored photo of President and Mrs. Obama showing the president in a stereotypical pimp’s costume holding the hand of the first lady, who is dressed as a prostitute in a grotesquely revealing outfit.
- A video clip of a nude couple engaged in intercourse with the title: "Miss France [expletive]." Mr. Paladino characterized it as "a keeper."
- An image showing a woman performing a sexual act on a horse.
The New Yorker's James Surowiecki has an interesting analysis of how many of the qualities that made the Obama administration's economic stimulus package effective also made it less popular.
.. [B]y any reasonable measure, the $800-billion stimulus package that Congress passed in the winter of 2009 was a clear, if limited, success. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it reduced unemployment by somewhere between 0.8 and 1.7 per cent in recent months. Economists at various Wall Street houses suggest that it boosted G.D.P. by more than two per cent. And a recent study by Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder, economists from, respectively, Moody’s and Princeton, argues that, in the absence of the stimulus, unemployment would have risen above eleven per cent and that G.D.P. would have been almost half a trillion dollars lower. The weight of the evidence suggests that fiscal policy softened the impact of the recession, boosting demand, creating jobs, and helping the economy start growing again. What’s more, it did so without any of the negative effects that deficit spending can entail: interest rates remain at remarkably low levels, and government borrowing didn’t crowd out private investment.