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Entries by Robert Kuttner from 08/2012

Don't Blame Bernanke

| Posted 08.05.2012 | Politics

If you watched any of the PBS encore broadcast of the Ken Burns documentary, The War, this past week, you have some sense of what kind of a production machine can be energized by government contracts in the face of a depressed economy. There is so much that we could spend that money on -- energy self sufficiency, infrastructure, a smart electrical grid, public transportation, better education at all levels -- all of which would not only create economic activity and jobs, but would make for a more productive economy. But nothing like this is part of the mainstream conversation. If you propose this sort of thing, you are packed off to the Museum of Un-reconstructed Keynesians. White House economists quietly admit that you are right, but you are politically radioactive (even with a Nobel Prize.)

Food and the Fed

| Posted 08.13.2012 | Politics

Readers of my stuff will note that, like columnist Gail Collins on the subject of Mitt Romney's dog-on-the-roof, I never pass up an opportunity to point out that World War II cured the Great Depression; and that today we need massive social investment to cure slumping demand. Today, that needed investment, rather than going to war, should go to renewable energy, mitigation of the climate damage already done, and other strategies to allow decent living standards at a much lower toll on the planet. The current low interest rates allow government to borrow serious sums to finance these social investments. What's depressing is that the mainstream debates are over here, and the solutions are over there. While we drag the policies that we need regarding climate change onto center stage, let's at least not make matters worse by raising interest rates.

Paul Ryan: Good for the Democrats?

| Posted 08.19.2012 | Politics

The selection of Paul Ryan has changed the dynamics of the 2012 election in ways that, for the moment, seem to advantage President Obama and the Democrats. It has focused attention on a few key issues that should be Democrats' strength while diverting the spotlight from the slow economic recovery that is Obama's Achilles heel. Do most Americans really want to voucherize Medicare and privatize Social Security? Do we want drastic cuts in what's left of other social supports in order to give even larger tax cuts to millionaires? Most polls suggest not, and bumper stickers have already been appearing: Save Medicare, vote Democratic.