Thursday, July 28, 2011


Fox Nation and some righty bloggers are deeply amused by this report, from the Media Research Center's, about Jerrold Nadler -- my congressman -- who has the audacity to talk Keynes out loud:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) argued at a news conference with the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus that the United States does not currently have a budget crisis.

"That's the real crisis -- the unemployment, not the deficit. We don't have a deficit problem right now. In the long term, we have a deficit problem -- we've got to get it under control but not right now," said Nadler at the Capitol on Wednesday.

"Right now we've got to get unemployment under control. If we got unemployment down to 7 percent, down to 5 percent, which is what it was in 2005, and 2007 rather before the recession hit, if we got it down to 5 percent, half the deficit would be eliminated just by that -- half the deficit without cutting a nickel from the budget. So, we have to address the real problem. The real problem is we are not taxing properly."

Nadler goes on to call for (gasp!) stimulus and higher corporate taxes. Bravo.

But one of the many things that's disheartening to me, apart from the obvious fact that what used to be regarded as mainstream economic thinking about severe recessions is now deemed to be fossilized detritus from a bygone age, is the fact that the members of Congress assembled behind Nadler -- unlike so many congressional teabaggers -- are old. Of the members of the Out of Poverty Caucus listed in this press release, Barbara Lee, Joe Baca, and G.K. Butterfield are in their mid-sixties, Mike Honda is 70, and John Conyers is 82. Nadler himself is 64, and never the healthiest guy -- he had gastric surgery for obesity in 2002.

Where are the young politicians who talk like this? I keep wondering about that. I read the left blogosphere and I realize that quite a few Americans understand the precise nature of the right-wing insanity we've slipped into, and I keep thinking eventually there ought to be young wannabe officeholders talking this talk, but I'm not seeing it. We comfort ourselves by noting that the Democratic Party is the party of younger voters, and browner voters in an increasingly non-white country, but in electoral politics the true progressives are old, while the right-wing zealots are young. If that doesn't change, in a generation there won't be anyone in Congress to the left of where Barack Obama is now.


Yeah, I know -- we had Grayson and Weiner. But they shouted too much, almost as if they were trying to make up for the fact that there was no one backing them up.

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