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Member since: Thu Dec 30, 2004, 03:05 PM
Number of posts: 15,741

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New Republic: Austerity - The History of a Pernicious Idea

There is no greater obstacle to progressive change than the idea of austerity. It has dominated economic policy in Europe, resulting in continued slow growth (or outright contraction) and high unemployment. These conditions have produced demoralized electorates that lack faith in all politicians—a cynicism that has only deepened when leftist parties have attained power and failed to revive growth. In such an environment, progressive change is not possible, and the left is reduced to purely defensive actions.


How did we get into such a pickle? Does the current mania for austerity make any sense whatsoever? And could the recent discrediting of Carmen Reinhart’s and Kenneth Rogoff’s influential pro-austerity paper provide any hope for the defusing of this mania? Mark Blyth’s timely new book, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, provides answers to these questions, and they are not necessarily comforting ones.

Keynes’s anti-austerity ideas had their day of course—and a very successful day it was, lasting from the mid-’30s to the mid-’70s. But austerity ideas never went away because, as outlined above, they are rooted in an entire philosophy about the state and public debt that is not subject to disproof, especially among the conservative forces and big economic interests who embrace it. As a result, when Keynesian economics appeared to falter in the 1970s, austerity-based economics came roaring back and dominated economic thinking for decades.

Now, after a brief resurgence of Keynesian economics in 2008-2010, it is back again. (See this paper by Henry Farrell and John Quiggin for a blow-by-blow description of how this happened.) Austerity dominates today’s economic discussions, this time with the chimera of “expansionary fiscal austerity”—the idea that the way out of an economic slump is to cut spending which will lead to rising business confidence, more investment and strong growth.

Posted by grahamhgreen | Mon May 6, 2013, 07:38 PM (4 replies)

Make Me Retch: "Obama's 'try anything' bid to woo GOP moves from dinner to golf course"

In an effort to build support for his second-term agenda, President Obama hit the golf course Monday with two Republican senators – part of what White House spokesman Jay Carney said is a “try anything” approach.The White House acknowledged that the golf excursion was part of its outreach to Republicans in Congress, which also included a dinner with a bipartisan group of women senators and two dinners with Republican senators. The administration is trying to build support for Mr. Obama’s second-term agenda, which includes immigration reform and an agreement to deal with America's fiscal woes......

“He is willing to try anything,” Mr. Carney said at Monday’s press briefing. “And whether it’s a conversation on the phone or a meeting in the Oval Office or a dinner in a restaurant or dinner in the residence, he going to have the same kind of conversations."


The press pool accompanying the president was able to only briefly observe the golfing action. On the first green, Obama chipped his first shot past the hole and “later appeared to miss a putt,” said pool reporter Bartholomew Sullivan of Scripps Howard News Service.


Willing to try anything except progressive solutions that have a history of working and are the solutions to our current problems.

Disturbing: Private "Charter" Schools Using No Teachers! Kids Sit Alone in Cubicles.

Apparently the new educationist care so much about children, they want nothing to do with them except collect their parents money....

FROM REDDIT: "I am a person who from 9-15 years old attended a school that did not have any teachers, you were required to teach yourself every subject from books at your own pace, while sitting in cubicles all day with very little interaction with other students or extracurricular activities. AMA (Ask Me Anything)"

And from the comments:

"[–]philphish 51 points 1 hour ago

Sorry to break it to you but you weren't in school...your mom dumped you at the library for free babysitting.

[–]designtraveler[S] 49 points 1 hour ago

it certainly was FAR from free, this was a private school

[–]sarah-bellum 29 points 55 minutes ago

That's really interesting - you seem to be implying that it was quite expensive, but if there was really no teacher involvement in anything you did (even grading tests as you mentioned further down), what on earth were you paying for? I know there must have been expenses like books etc. but surely not enough to warrant really high tuition fees. (I'm not doubting your honesty or anything, it just seems like a huge money grab on the school's part.)

[–]designtraveler[S] 13 points 35 minutes ago

money grab i agree, cheaper than most private schools but still expensive considering, about $10,000 a year, I guess you payed for the 'good wholesome Christian environment'


[–]DallasITGuy 6 points 39 minutes ago*

I went to one of these schools the spring of my 7th grade year in 1972. It was called Accelerated Christian Education. It was a joke in terms of learning. We had "packets" for each course. I finished the last half of my 7th grade year and all of the 8th grade packets in one semester. I had a 98% average. I did not learn diddly.

At my school one had to earn privilege levels each week - one either had an A, and AC or an ACE (the initials standing for Accelerated Christian Education). Privileges were earned based on how many packets you finished, books you read and special projects.

The instructors were just glorified baby sitters. Not one had a teaching certificate.

We had (sometimes quite long) chapel worships every day. Basically like a full church service each day.

P.E. was held three times a week by driving out to a public park where we played. Rain or shine, get out of the bus and go do something kid. No supervision. I got into several fights with no punishment. We threw a kid over an embankment once, he fell into a creek and almost drowned.

I have never been able to forgive my parents for sending me to that hellhole.

(edit for additional info on "P.E. class".)"


Posted by grahamhgreen | Mon May 6, 2013, 12:56 PM (0 replies)
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