Adam Smith Thinks Donald Trump Sucks

(Cross posted from comment 101 at Crooked Timber diary, Comment 101, Towards An Economics of Unhappiness) of Unhappiness)

(Wealth of Nations quote courtesy of Brad DeLong)

What Is Human Nature? Two Views from Adam Smith:

But in Book III things change. Humans are no longer naturally sociable beings with a propensity to trade seeking material comfort. Instead, they are creatures of "rapine and violence," desperate for "power and protection," vain and seeking luxury, unwilling to take pains to pay attention to small savings and small gains, loving to domineer, mortified at even the thought of having to persuade his inferiors.  (hmmmm. Sound like anyone we know who has a bad hair day every day?)

This is a different "Adam Smith problem" than is usually posed. And, I think, it is in many ways more interesting than the standard Adam Smith problem from Book III of the Wealth of Nations:



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Debt Ceiling Frameshop

How Republicans are framing the debate about the debt ceiling and Democrats are playing along.

By David Weigel

Read and weep.



Obama Sucks

Are you kidding me?


Dean Baker sez,

On the negative side, it is unfortunate that President Obama accepted a formula that cuts three times as much from projected spending (including interest) as he proposes to increase taxes. It is also striking that he proposes to cut twice as much from domestic discretionary spending (the portion of the budget that includes most investment spending) as he does from defense spending, especially since defense spending is projected to be about 20 percent larger than domestic discretionary spending over the 10-year budget horizon.

More importantly, a deficit reduction agenda is a serious problem in the context of an economy that badly needs additional demand. While the economy is much healthier today than it was two years ago, the pace of job growth is not acceptable.

On the other hand:

The Plan

by digby

CBPP gives a good overview of the president's plan here. It's worth reading for both the good points and the bad points. This is the conclusion:

The President’s plan represents an important step forward in the debate. But it should be recognized that this plan is a rather conservative one, significantly to the right of the Rivlin-Domenici plan. While we worry about some particular elements of the President’s plan, we worry much more that the deficit-reduction process that’s now starting could produce an outcome that is well to the right of the already centrist-to-moderately-conservative Obama proposal, by reducing its modest revenue increases and cutting more deeply into effective programs that are vital to millions of Americans.

The "revenue increases" are very dicey in my opinion. They are based on a reformation of the tax code that includes the elimination of middle class deductions like the mortgage interest deduction which is hardly likely to pass, and the closing of corporate loopholes which will be deftly reinstated in new forms by lobbyists. But what strikes me as the strangest thing about it is that it seems to have baked into it the idea that it must also contain lower tax rates, which strikes me as bizarre if the intent is to close the deficit.

This kabuki dance is getting boring.



War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning

Google remembers all:

Third World Traveler

Seeing The Forest  (Damned shame that the link to Bilmon's comments are lost)

And Chris Hedges in his own words, a lecture at UC Santa Barbara:

Couldn't have said it any better myself.







Time For Obama To Grow A Pair

Let's stop beating around the bush. Obama is being pilloried by one and all as The Great Capitulator, The Great Neutral, Nowhere Man, etc., etc.

Here are some random comments I pulled from a diary at Kos:

When you give in to extortionists, they just increase their demands.

We beg you Mr. President, fight back for Americans.

 It will be different this time.  It will.  Really.  I know it.  It has to be.  That's what I have been saying for two years.  Lost hope.

America is toast.  Forget about frames and messaging.  Forget about organizing and action alerts. Our only hope is that Obama has an epiphany and grows a pair until he locates his spine.




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