The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Economists gone wild

Krugman Watch

One of the very few journalists or editorial writers who hasn’t drunk the administration’s kool-aid is Paul Krugman, an economist who writes a twice-weekly column in the New York Times. His voice is amazingly fresh, almost startling when you realize that he isn’t just spouting the administration’s line, as so many of his peers have done and continue to do. There must be tremendous pressure on him. I remember there was a awards ceremony for journalists a couple of years ago which had someone in the Bush administration as a guest speaker. Krugman was there. I can’t remember who the speaker was, but after the ceremony another "journalist" wrote a scathing screed against Krugman because he "didn’t applaud" at the appropriate times; he wasn’t sucking up to this administration figure enough for the other journalist’s taste.

One of the things that Krugman has consistently pointed out is the level to which the Bush administration distorts what should be facts, especially economic and fiscal facts. Not only does this administration fool others, but they also seem to be in the business of fooling themselves, trying to make the facts fit their theories. In an ideologically driven echo-chamber like the one that our executive branch seems to operate in, it is not hard to believe.

Here is one of Krugman’s articles which is no longer available at the NYT website, but which is cached at Will Pitt’s site: Everything is Political. It describes and gives some examples of how information is politicized by this administration.

Here's the story: Treasury has an elaborate computer model designed to evaluate who benefits and who loses from any proposed change in tax laws. For example, the model can be used to estimate how much families in the middle of the income distribution will gain from a tax cut, or the share of that tax cut that goes to the top 1 percent of families. In the 1990's the results of such analyses were routinely made public.

But since George W. Bush came into power, the department has suppressed most of that information, releasing only partial, misleading tables. The purpose of this suppression, of course, is to conceal the extent to which Mr. Bush's tax cuts concentrate their bounty on families with very high incomes. In a stinging recent article in Tax Notes, the veteran tax analyst Martin Sullivan writes of the debate over the 2001 cut that "Treasury's analysis was so embarrassingly poor and so biased, we thought we had seen the last of its kind." But worse was to come.

‘Everything We Do Must Be Right, Because We Are the United States’ Watch

Here is an article entitled U.S. Adopts Aggressive Tactics on Iraqi Fighters. Now I don’t begrudge our forces in their attempts to find and stop people who are shooting at them. What I do begrudge is this administration putting Americans into situations where they have to hold wives and children of enemy combatants hostage, as described in this passage:

Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.

Isn’t that sweet? Isn’t it hard to see why we aren’t winning over the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqis?

Sparky the Penguin Watch

Tom Tomorrow’s latest This Modern World cartoon treats us to the Successes of the Bush Administration.


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