Sunday, February 1, 2009

ho do we finger for the Crisis?

The New York Times is more than a newspaper: it is a Tardis. It expands in all dimensions, particularly at the weekends.

One 0f its delights, much missed by Malcolm in London, is the Magazine section. It is what the Sunday Times in Britain would dearly aspire to; but still, even after the latest revamp, distinctly lacks. The Sunday Morning Moan, of course, is too obsessed with its own self-importance, being unremittingly snide and exploitative of suggestive images (today's gratuitous nude is in the Culture section, linked to a review of a book by -- wait for it! -- Cocks).

The original, all the way from Eighth and 40th, owes quite a bit of its DNA (though, fortunately, not its ideology) to the likes of Henry Luce's Life. It regularly contains pieces that are too long, too extensive, too cerebral, too dependent on illustration to fit neatly into the broadsheet.

To the point, Malcolm!

This week it contains an extensive essay, The Big Fix, by David Leonhardt, on the US government and financial crisis.

Malcolm has no intention here of doing a précis of its 7,800 words: everyone worth a grain of salt will read the original for themselves. They will be amply rewarded by some perceptive insights. For one example (and this, surely, is the answer to the Cameroonies and their infantile billboards):
When the war ended, the federal government’s debt equaled 120 percent of the gross domestic product (more than twice as high as its likely level by the end of next year). The rapid economic growth of the 1950s and ’60s — more than 4 percent a year, compared with 2.5 percent in this decade — quickly whittled that debt away. Over the coming 25 years, if growth could be lifted by just one-tenth of a percentage point a year, the extra tax revenue would completely pay for an $800 billion stimulus package.
And that's only from the first page.

But the finger, Malcolm! Where to point the finger!

Well, it's hidden toward the end of the second section of Leonhardt's essay:
A crisis changes the dynamic. It’s an opportunity to do things you could not do before.

England’s crisis was the Winter of Discontent, in 1978-79, when strikes paralyzed the country and many public services shut down. The resulting furor helped elect Margaret Thatcher as prime minister and allowed her to sweep away some of the old economic order. Her laissez-faire reforms were flawed in some important ways — taken to an extreme, they helped create the current financial crisis — and they weren’t the only reason for England’s turnaround. But they made a difference. In the 30 years since her election, England has grown faster than Germany or Japan.
Yeah, well: Leonhadt is stronger on economics than politically-correct geography.

You got that, didn't you, Iain Dale, Montgomerie and gutter-mouthed Staines?

It was she what done it.

Hilda Margaret Peacock, in the Treasury china-shop, with a sledge-hammer. Sphere: Related Content


Anonymous said...

Thought you would like that one :-)

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