Friday, April 29, 2011

Krugman Skewers the Washington Elite

In a very biting and very trenchant observation, Paul Krugman asks about Washington's priorities. He points out the skewed "concerns" that see mayham in moderation while ignoring very real deep pain and suffering. From his NY Times blog:
Visualizing Priorities

A few charts to illustrate what you are and are not supposed to be worried about. I start these charts in 1985, that is, after Morning in America, so that our view isn’t distorted by the high inflation and interest rates of the 70s and early 80s.

So, here’s what we’re supposed to be deeply worried about. First, bond market confidence:

Second, inflation:

Meanwhile, we’re not supposed to worry about unemployment:

A naive observer might note that interest rates are low by historical standards, making you wonder why we’re obsessing about the bond market; that inflation is also low by historical standards, making you wonder why it’s an issue at all; and that unemployment is immensely high. But Washington has its priorities.
If you read history you find this pig-headedness persists. The rich are adamant about protecting their interests and see dangers everywhere. Meanwhile, the poor fall off the edge of the world and the rich keep partying on completely unconcerned. The world is a very unfair, very ugly place for the bottom 90%. For the top 10% it is a pleasant place, for the top 1% it is a delight, and for the top 0.1% it is a paradise, and for the top 0.01% it is the land of aristocrats who can rape and pillage at will knowing that the law does not apply to them.

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