Truman’s economy grew more than 3 times faster than Trump’s — So What?

He didn’t waste our time patting himself on the back!

❝ Based solely on a few headline numbers, the American economy looks good. But it would be a mistake to read too much into the data — or to give too much credit to President Trump.

In fact, the most spectacular economic growth since World War II occurred nearly 70 years ago, when Harry Truman was president. But Truman didn’t cause it, and it wasn’t particularly good news.

❝ First, let’s look at where we find ourselves now. Avid supporters of Mr. Trump attribute good economic tidings to him. His policies — tax cuts, curtailment of immigration, reduction in regulations — and confidence-building talk are seen as driving faster economic growth.

But that is largely a misreading of the way modern economies work. They have a tendency to alternate between booms and recessions for reasons that are imperfectly understood but involve changing popular narratives, the contagion of ideas and emotions, and circumstances that are mostly outside a president’s control…

❝ Whatever caused it, it doesn’t seem to have been presidential magic…this president was a modest and courteous man, who did not ask to be treated as a genius, and virtually no one treated him as one. The Times, rather politely, called his speeches “down to earth.”…

❝ We have to be careful not to give too much credence to interpretations of the economy’s strength offered by the president, who focuses on his policies and ignores many other kinds of factors. Something — probably a variety of circumstances, narratives and emotions — has pushed consumption spending up a smidgen more than usual. That, from the long perspective of history, is really no big deal.

In fact, there could soon be a reversal of this strong-economy story, a sudden recession. But, if so, it won’t disprove Mr. Trump’s claims any more than the high growth of the second quarter proved him right.

Among leading economists, Bob Shiller was one of the first to point out the cracks in the investing schemes that led to the “Great Recession” we’re still climbing up and out of. We’ve inherited the inequities of class-based incomes and the power of the wealthy has increased. Politicians are as subservient to the almighty dollar as ever. Especially the thug in the White House.

Never forget


Click to enlarge

“Mrs. Fanny Parrott, wife of former slave near Siloam, Greene County, Georgia.” — By Jack Delano, Farm Security Administration Photography program (FSA). May 1941.

Click through to the large version of this photo. The quiet dignity, self-contained beauty of age and experience tolerating this camera-carrying record keeper.

Conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is deliberate sophistry

❝ “…anti-Semitism is so entrenched in our society, so depressingly persistent, that to trivialise it is to trivialise the blueprint of prejudice itself. It is a barometer of moral cowardice: when someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for their own faults or problems, they blame the Jews.”

❝ At the moment, two phenomena are taking place in UK politics. For the first time in nearly 40 years, a politician with seriously left-wing ideas, and pro-Palestinian sympathies, is approaching political power. Over the past two years, that same politician’s party has been going through a series of anti-Semitism allegations so comprehensive and systematic that we may employ the term “blanket coverage”.

❝ There is definitely a long-overdue debate that needs to be had over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – but the current barrage of media attention is not that debate. There are definitely some voices who claim to support the Labour Party, and who allow their anti-Zionism to spill over mindlessly into anti-Semitism. What we are witnessing in the UK media, however, is a near-complete evaporation of critical debate. So many aspects of this coverage are disturbing: the widespread assumption among TV hosts and commentators that anti-semitism is a problem exclusive to the Labour Party (polling suggests it is clearly not); the alarming paucity of any evidence or statistics, so that the sentence “anti-Semitism in the Labour Party”, repeated ad nauseam, becomes its own self-generating fact; the frankly ridiculous allegations of anti-Semitism levelled at the leader Jeremy Corbyn himself (Alan Sugar, one of the most famous faces in British business, tweeted a photo of the Labour leader sitting next to Hitler); the unconditional authority and respect given to voices who have been widely criticised elsewhere for bias – the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, for example, whose unreserved equation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism drew a letter of protest from 88 Jewish celebrities; the lack of journalistic professionalism in giving any sense of proportion to the actual problem (the membership of the British Labour Party is 570,000 – the number of cases pending for expulsion from the party for anti-Semitism, the Guardian reported this week, is 70). Media coverage has been so appalling that, earlier in the summer, a group of 40 senior British academics accused the media of relying for its sources on a handful of “well-known political opponents of Corbyn himself”.

Discussion overdue. No less a problem in the US Congress.