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October 12, 2008

Heh. Indeed.


With the Bush administration's Treasury Department resorting to government bailout after government bailout to keep the U.S. economy afloat, leftist governments and their political allies in Latin America are having a field day, gloating one day and taunting Bush the next for adopting the types of interventionist government policies that he's long condemned.

"We were just talking about that this morning on the floor," said Congressman Edwin Castro, who heads the leftist Sandinista congressional bloc in Nicaragua. "We think the Bush administration should follow the same policies that they and the International Monetary Fund have always told us to follow when we have economic problems — a structural adjustment that requires cutting government spending and reducing the role of government."

If the U.S. weren't a powerful country, and had to do what we've made other countries do (via the I.M.F.) when they were in similar situations, we would right now be jacking up interest rates, slashing government spending and allowing the entire banking system to fail—which would guarantee a genuine, deep depression. It was these hideously cruel policies which in part led to the giant demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999.

Of course, we are a powerful country, and don't have to take the medicine we shove down everyone else's throats. Still, U.S. elites will try to impose as much of a structural adjustment as they can get away with, in order to make the bottom 80% of America pay the price for the elites' spectacular screw-ups. The Washington Post has already started writing about how the current crisis demonstrates that we must cut Social Security. Look for much more of this to come.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at October 12, 2008 07:13 PM

I read that NYT article. Was it supposed to be terrible? Is the joke on me here?

Posted by: Salty at October 12, 2008 08:35 PM

I still say that when all this is over we'll make Argentina look like the dude who can't pay you back the fifteen bucks you loaned him last week.

Posted by: Wareq at October 12, 2008 09:12 PM

Salty--I wouldn't say it was terrible, but I would say it was snide. It does at least admit that the protestors seem to have been right, but it does it in a way that hints they are/were a bunch of clowns or ideologues who don't deserve any credit for it. Back in 1999 the NYT never (AFAIK) treated the antiglobalization protestors as people with a legitimate viewpoint--instead they were all a bunch of no-nothing crackpots in turtle costumes, or worse, anarchists breaking windows or people who wanted us to live like North Koreans (that was Friedman's view). Thomas Friedman and even Paul Krugman ridiculed them on a regular basis. (Krugman, IIRC, later admitted he was partly wrong.)

It's like the Iraq War--there's no honor in being right about it from the beginning. You're only a serious person if you were wrong and then changed your mind.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at October 12, 2008 09:42 PM

I guess Charlie Savage isn't going for his next Pulitzer; this is the kind of smarmy crap you'd find in the Washington Post's Style section.

Posted by: Nell at October 12, 2008 10:48 PM

Just cause the chickens come home to roost don't mean there's fried chicken for supper. That one in every pot went out with the last depression.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 13, 2008 12:59 AM

I guess Charlie Savage isn't going for his next Pulitzer

I see no reason why he can't get a Pulitzer for this.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at October 13, 2008 08:26 AM

On a related note, I have been wondering why is the NYSE still in New York City. Wouldn't it be cheaper to do it in another country or at least a less expensive part of the United States?

Posted by: micah holmquist at October 13, 2008 02:04 PM

"...a Noah's ark of flat-earth advocates..."

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.

Posted by: Rojo at October 13, 2008 02:21 PM

Commentators Quarrel on Global Geometry

Although Alan Greenspan's praise for this book is at the top of the page, George Soros and Georgie Anne Geyer also like it.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at October 14, 2008 08:12 AM