Friday, March 11, 2011

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About America (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Here is a nice interview with Paul Krugman over a number of topics about contemporary America. I you dare watch a fire-breathing, baby-eating, soul-snatching, LIBERAL, if you really dare, then watch this:



You will notice that this video, The Krugman Blues, by Loudon Wainwright III is cited as a "must see"...

4 comments:

thomas said...

RY;

I am glad that I sat through the interview.. He made so many good points. It should be apparent that we can't afford to cut enough spending to balance the budget. It should also be a no brainer to fund the schools on a more equitable federal level.. What we feed our kids at school shouldn't be what ever we have the most of; as if they were stock or stray dogs. Our kids are more important than that just as the kids in every country are more important than that.

In Idaho they plan to lay off teachers and buy laptops. They don't tell the people how much the network to run thousands of computers will cost or where the software comes from.

I did like when they talked about the hard line attitude of getting rid of the dead wood... and Krugman said some thing to the effect of "that means people". The republicans don't care about people; just power and making it easier for their overlords.

I also liked the point about not focussing so much on todays legislation, but on the future and trying to educate people for that and looking ahead to that. Something that the right wing has been very successful doing for the last 30 plus years. They have stacked the deck on the Democrats with them sitting at the table watching.

RYviewpoint said...

Thomas:

The federal funding is critical if the difference between inner city and affluent suburb is to be bridged.

Computers in school are OK but it shouldn't be the keystone. You need real humans teaching. Machines are great for rote learning and dumb practice. But if you want to excite, to inspire, or to reach into the soul of a kid, you need a human, a real teacher, not a box pre-programmed with canned spam.

You are right that Krugman downplayed the issue of "getting rid of deadwood". As he said, there are more pressing issues. But I suspect he is willing to fix the system by finding a way to gracefully get bad teachers out of the system. I had tenure and the high school I was teaching in needed to downsize back in the mid 1980s, so I walked the plank. I knew I wasn't doing as good a job as I wanted and rather than force a new teacher out because they didn't have tenure, I quit. But I was young and figured I would land on my feet. I can understand why a lot of bad teachers cling to their job because I ended up having a rough time getting my next job. Hanging on to a job, even if you are bad, is security. But it is a tragedy if tenure lets teachers stay even when they are part of the problem.

The great thing about Krugman is that he is very sound in his ideas, he is willing to climb down from academia and communicate, and he has a terrific ability to put ideas in very fine, witty prose. He is a gem. Too bad more people don't read him. His popular books are great and his articles and posts are wonderful.

I sure wish Obama had taken Krugman in as a key advisor. But as he pointed out, Obama was too conservative and too cautious. The result is the US is mired in a very long recession. The mistakes of January 2009 caused the electoral losses of November 2010. Obama has never acknowledged this.

One of Obama's faults is too much pride. He won't admit a mistake and correct it. He pretended and continues to pretend that his "stimulus" was a Goldilocks formula: not too much and not too little. But it was roughly half the size it needed to be and, as Krugman points out, it should have had infrastructure projects that would have employed more and kept people employed through 2011. Sadly, Obama made a huge mistake. That's why the Republicans have the free hand to go crazy in all the state legislatures.

thomas said...

RY;

I think everyone needs to realize that the jobs losses that are a result of cutbacks that don't even make a dent in the budget, are people. As you say tenure means someone who has stuck it out. We know a teacher that refuses to change even his tests from year to year and he has taught for many years, but he should not be thrown to the curb with his personal items in a box.. He should be given opportunity to move into a challenge or perhaps a promotion into admin, but he deserves dignity as a man who has been there every year teaching in the same school. The money concerns should not take the heart out of people. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and pride and humility and we deserve to be given respect even if it is just acknowledging that this person has always come back for more the next day or next season.. He is still there involved.

They covered so many areas and I was impressed with Krugman's attitude and the way he conveyed a sense of care or attention to the many people who stood up to ask questions.. He was the opposite of dismissive.. Again, thanks for posting and I am glad I viewed this (wish I could take time to sit through it again).

RYviewpoint said...

Thomas:

You are 100% correct. What you say is excellent:

We know a teacher that refuses to change even his tests from year to year and he has taught for many years, but he should not be thrown to the curb with his personal items in a box.. He should be given opportunity to move into a challenge or perhaps a promotion into admin, but he deserves dignity as a man who has been there every year teaching in the same school. The money concerns should not take the heart out of people. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and pride and humility and we deserve to be given respect even if it is just acknowledging that this person has always come back for more the next day or next season.

I tend to get too harsh and judgmental. You remind me of my best buddy. You have a gentleness and grace that I admire. I'm less empathetic. It is a great failing of mine. I understand it intellectually, but my heart is not as warm as it should be. Thanks for reminding me.

My best buddy can't pass a beggar on the street without digging deep and giving him something. I always comment "but you are hiring people to stand on the street and beg". I can walk by and not help. He can't. I admire that about him. But I also like my analysis of the situation. It just goes to prove that life is complex and there are no easy answers!