Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Robert Reich Reminder

I have fallen out of the habit of listening to Marketplace, so it was quite a nice surprise to visit and be reminded of one of the best parts of that show, Robert Reich's commentary. On, Reich does a 45-minute diavlog with Robert Wright, which, if nothing else, deserves notice for the phonetic similarity of the participants' names. It's a pretty good conversation, although given the state of the economy, not hugely uplifting. Reich also has some interesting things to say about Clinton versus Obama, and why he has yet to endorse either. Personally, I understand it as his unwillingness to come out explicitly against Clinton, given a long history of friendship (he was in Bill Clinton's Cabinet, don't forget), but it's obvious which way he's leaning, and he offers plenty of specifics as to why.

Turns out that Reich also has a blog, which I've just started looking at. His latest post touches on some of what he talks about in the diavlog: The Biggest Bailout in History: And Why American Taxpayers Should Get Some of the Upside. Quite good, although I have my doubts that there's any chance of his suggestions being adopted by the current administration. The fat cats will have only to say "socialism" and the mouthbreathers who listen to them will say, case closed.

I could not recommend more highly another of Reich's posts: Moral Hazard Redux. This is exactly how I want economists to be thinking, especially if they have the ear of those in power, and it's at the Krugman level in its clarity and incisiveness.

Added: As I noted above, his feelings on the candidates are quite clear. He expands upon them in Will HRC Spoil the Party? Money quote:

The sad news is that whether the Clinton scorched-earth strategy ultimately succeeds or fails, it will have caused great harm. In the unlikely event it succeeds, the result will be a shame and not a little ironic. Barack Obama has breathed life into the Democratic Party, and into American politics, for the first time in forty years. Not since Robert Kennedy ran for president has America been so starkly summoned to its ideals; not since then has America -- including, especially, the nation’s youth -- been so inspired. The Clintons would prefer to write off “Obamania” as a passing fad, but the reality is that idealism and inspiration are necessary preconditions for positive social change. Nothing happens in Washington unless Americans are energized and mobilized to make it happen. HRC's tactics are the old politics the nation is recoiling from -- internal division and national fear. This only serves to deepen Americans' cynicism about politics, and makes social change all the harder to achieve.

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