Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Lemme Break It Down For You,

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Jim Ledbetter: Your article on the economic woes of this country and the economists you quote completely miss the point.

Economists LOVE to make the argument that Americans must retool for a different marketplace because it means that all the blame for the anemic economy can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the working man: He costs too much. He knows too little. He’s not flexible enough. We need him to be fully qualified and experienced in our high-tech position but cheap enough to be competitive against his counterparts in India and flexible enough to work unpaid overtime after moving to a different city. Pardon me while I gag.

For the love of god, employers are not hiring because people aren’t buying their products and services.¬†People aren’t buying their products and services because they, by being un- and under-employed, don’t have the money to. ¬†It’s really as simple as that.

Obama’s problem is not that there is no government solution, as you suggest, but that governance and politics in general is the art of the compromise and as it stands the only thing compromised here was the obvious answer: A large, direct injection of cash into the economy through government works programs. FDR did it. China shrugged off this last economic bust by spending a trillion on infrastructure. But our current circumstance forces half-measures, and even those come at the cost of political expediency: Greasing the right palms, kickbacks to the right subcommittees and special interests, tax cuts for the rich and ever more corporate welfare.

The problem isn’t our stupid workers, it’s our stupid Congress, stupid.

Just a Teensy Hint

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If you want to retain the Best and the Brightest in public service, probably the worst thing you could do is cover up their flagrant corruption or pardon their egregious lapses of judgment and humanity as a “perk” to the office. It’s really quite simple to get who you want:

Pay them more.

It worked under FDR. Hell, it worked until the Reaganite Revolution slashed budgets at the same time it detoothed industry regulators, thus making lobbying more rewarding than actually serving the country.

But y”know what; why do I even have to say this? Why is this even on the table? What mad world do we live in?

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