Friday, August 21, 2009

Umm...but it worked?

Paul Krugman is still angry about Obama not nationalizing the banks. Obama's decisions, though, appear to have been correct so far. Nationalizing the banks would have been a political nightmare, one which would have expended enormous political capital in ways that Krugman can't imagine. Franklin Roosevelt was in a similar situation at the beginning of his term as president, and he was pressured by the left to nationalize large chunks of the banking system. He made roughly the same choice as Obama did, for practical and political reasons: nationalizing the banks would have meant that everyone who got turned down for a loan or whose house went into forclosure would angrily blame the government for it. It's hard to imagine something similar not happening had Tim Geithner decided to nationalize the banking system. Now, obviously, if that were the only way to stop America from entering a depression, expending that much political capital is better than going bankrupt altogether, both literally and (political capital-wise) metaphorically. Regardless of what you think of his policies, Roosevelt was one of the smartest politicians we've ever had, and Krugman would do well to recall the lessons of his stated hero more often. Then again, as has been stated many times before, Krugman isn't exactly politically savvy, even though he seems to write about politics an awful lot.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.