Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for October 22nd through October 27th:
- Alan Greenspan Falls on His Theory – There was something almost criminally pathetic about Alan Greenspan’s confession that he had “made a mistake” in believing that banks could adequately police themselves. Duh, deregulation doesn’t work. Even Greenspan, the apostle of Ayn Rand, admits that now, too late.
- Fineman: Obama’s Supporters Must Be Reckoned With | Newsweek Voices – Howard Fineman | Newsweek.com – It is eerily quiet at Barack Obama's headquarters, an open expanse that takes up the entire 11th floor of an office tower in Chicago's Loop. It's nearly as silent as a study hall, which is appropriate, since most of the 20- or 30-somethings in it wear jeans and T shirts. They could be working on their Ph.D.s or at a high-tech startup. Yet, as unassuming as it seems, this is the engine room of a novel grass-roots machine that may soon have another purpose: to help Obama govern the country.
- RIGHTS: A Home Shouldn’t Be a Luxury – "The belief that markets will provide adequate housing for all has failed," said Raquel Rolnik, the U.N. special rapporteur on adequate housing. "A home is not a commodity. It is a
- McClatchy Washington Bureau | 10/26/2008 | Is Barack Obama a real American or a Harvard elitist? – There's no question about it, John McCain's supporters said. We are the real Americans, and folks who support Barack Obama aren't.
- How Washington’s Bailout Will Boost Wall Street Bonuses – TIME – Uncle Sam has a new name on Wall Street — Sugar Daddy. Bonuses for investment bankers and traders are projected to fall by 40% this year. But analysts, compensation consultants and recruiters say the drop would be much more severe, perhaps as much as 70%, had it not been for the government's efforts to prop up the financial firms. "Year-end pay on Wall Street will be higher than it would have been had it not been for the government and mergers," says Alan Johnson, a leading compensation consultant. "You would expect it to be down much more."
- The price of optimism – International Herald Tribune – For the better part of the past two decades, Americans have been living in a state of willful optimism about our financial future. It is probably fair to date the start of this period to the late 1980s, when the stock market took off and the Soviet empire began to unravel. Since then, our default attitude toward the economy has been to believe that, one way or another, things will work out.
- David Bromwich: Parable of the Poor and Rich Plumber – The truth is that Obama in Ohio spoke the language of American democracy, which has always included a perception that wealth is a form of power, and that stupendous inequalities of wealth produce an undemocratic inequality of power. His questioner, angry in anticipation that he could not hold onto all of the $300,000 he might hypothetically earn in a year, spoke the language of righteous self-interest; and he cited as his irrefutable authority "the American dream." If I follow that dream, said the Joe of today, hoarding the wealth of the Joe of tomorrow, why should I ever pay a higher tax? Obama's answer was simple and Christian. Once you have been helped by a tax break to prosper and to grow relatively rich, it seems fair to give others lower down the ladder the same chance that once helped you.
- One Cool Customer | The American Prospect – The public seems to be getting the impression that for all McCain's vainglorious preening about his superior moral fiber and incomparably copious love for America, the Arizona senator simply has a character problem. And it matters, just as much as any position paper you can find on either candidate's web site.
- The Washington Monthly – If the available evidence is accurate, in about two weeks, Americans will help elect a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and possibly a Democratic president. A majority of the nation's governors are already Democrats. Polls show fairly strong support for the policy agenda presented in the Democratic Party's platform, including universal healthcare and ending the war in Iraq. Even on culture war issues, most Americans are pro-choice, support the separation of church and state, and are growing increasingly supportive of expanding gay rights. With all of this in mind, Newsweek's Jon Meacham has a 3,300-word cover story this week, insisting that the United States is a "center-right" nation, and if Obama is elected, he'd be foolish to forget it.