Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Key Problem with Ben Friedman's Thesis...

Yglesias holds up the rightwing push to repeal the 14th amendment as support for Benjamin Friedman's book "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth". However, the key problem I had with the book has been very much revealed. You might recall that in the wake of the financial crisis, Americans elected Barack Hussein Obama, the first black man ever. They didn't go all right-wingy. Since Obama's election, however, the Tea Party has really gained momentum, so much so that my father-in-law sent me an email forward the other day alleging that Barack Hussein Obama and his sinister cronies in government are in the midst of a devious plot, involving the global-warming "hoax", in order to make them all multi-billionaires.

The key problem with Friedman's thesis is that when the economy is doing poorly, anger toward the government in power rises. If the government in power is George W. Bush, then liberals gain support and Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama get to make policy. If you've got a liberal government in power, then they will be discredited. And if the opposition is full of conservatives, then of course they will tend to push zenephobic policies...

Same thing happened during the Great Depression. In the US, the Great Depression destroyed the conservative movement for a generation -- until war hero Ike Eisenhower led the ticket. In Germany, the Great Depression destroyed the left. Key factor was who was in power and that they did not respond effectively to the recession.

This administration has not responded effectively to the recession, and so now we're seeing their enemies emboldened.

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