Amity Shlaes and Whining
Mark Thoma reads how Amity Shlaes tries to defend Phil Gramm and just explodes:
Precise, technical terms like knowing the definition of a recession? First-rate analysis of the economics of a gas tax holiday? Honest presentations about deficit reduction plans? Things like that would be nice, but as we saw from the whiner comment – a very technical and precise term – I’m afraid we won’t get that from McCain’s team. You see, it’s okay to whine about Social Security based upon deceptive presentations of its financial state or to whine about social programs generally, it’s okay to whine about anything the government does to try to help people having troubles due to the state of the economy, it’s also okay to whine about the liberal press misleading people, and it’s okay to whine incessantly if anyone so much as thinks about making taxes more progressive. But if you have lost your health insurance, had your wages stagnate, your retirement program at work eliminated or scaled back, if you are worried about job security or have been forced to look for a new job as the economy retools for the global age, if you are worried about how gas prices, food costs, and other price increases might impact your budget and have seen the value of your house plunge as those around you get into trouble, if you so much as dare to speak up about any of these or other problems, then you are nothing but a whiner. Buck up, common folks, the rich people in the Republican party are doing just fine, thank you very much, and they really don’t want to hear whining from the masses.
Where have we heard the name Amity Shlaes before – oh yea:
KLo interviews Amity Shlaes and asks her about the books she relied upon when writing her own book on the Great Depression. Not mentioned were Friedman and Schwartz’s A Monetary History of the United States of Charles Kindleberger’s The World in Depression, The General Theory by Lord Keynes, or even Schumpeter’s Business Cycles: A Theoretical, Historical, and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process. No mention of any of the academic publications on this period either. No – her main reference seems to have been FDR’s Folly by Jim Powell. While it may be the perfect book for the wingnuts, I’m not rushing out to purchase it myself.
Her bio includes:
Miss Shlaes was formerly a columnist for the Financial Times and, before that a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, specializing in economics. In the early 1990s she served as the Journal’s features, or “op ed” editor. Prior to that she followed the collapse of communism for the Wall Street Journal/Europe. Over the years she has published in the National Review, the New Republic, Foreign Affairs (on the German economy), the American Spectator, the Suddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit
The National Review and the oped pages of the Wall Street Journal. Mark should realize that she is not worth losing one’s temper over.