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Annual Growth Rate Under Different Presidents

• David Leonhardt and Yaryna Serkez do an excellent job of laying out how much better economic gains have been historically under Democratic administrations, writing “Why Are Republican Presidents So Bad for the Economy?” in the NY Times.  Some excepts:

“Since 1933, the economy has grown at an annual average rate of 4.6 percent under Democratic presidents and 2.4 percent under Republicans, according to a Times analysis. In more concrete terms: The average income of Americans would be more than double its current level if the economy had somehow grown at the Democratic rate for all of the past nine decades.”

and:

Annual Growth Rate Under Different Presidents

2021-02-03T21:24:29-05:00February 3rd, 2021|HomeRecommended|

The judgement of history will indeed be damning…

• Jennifer Senior delivers an excellent read in her NYT opinion essay Good Riddance Leader McConnell.  One delightful and fitting except re. McConnell:

“So if hitching his wagon to a sub-literate mob boss with a fondness for white supremacists and a penchant for conspiracy theories and a sociopath’s smirking disregard for the truth meant getting those tax cuts and those conservative judges … hey, that’s the cost of doing business, right?”

2021-01-19T09:22:50-05:00January 19th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Excess Deaths in the US

Katz, Lu, and Sanger-Katz, writing in the NY Times, provide some perspective on what the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has meant in the US; using mortality data from the CDC, there were some 400,000 more deaths than normal from March 15, 2020 through December 26, 2020.  Researchers from USC and Princeton estimate that average US life expectancy has declined by 1.13 years to 77.48 years, the lowest since 2003.  Reductions for Black and Latino populations are 3-4 times more than for Whites.

2021-01-20T12:44:02-05:00January 15th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

It’s fitting, Mr. Orwell

• From John Gruber’s excellent Daring Fireball, quoting George Orwell, who was writing in 1946:

“The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

2021-01-15T20:03:19-05:00January 15th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

On America’s Worsening Sectarianism

• The destructive behavior of the White House’s current occupant has provoked a number of thoughtful pieces on the corrosive effects of the widening gap that exists between political affiliations in the United States.  Some examples:

Bret Stephens, Donald Trump and the Damage Done“But the catastrophe of Trump’s presidency doesn’t mainly lie in the visible damage it has caused. It’s in the invisible damage. Trump was a corrosive. What he mainly corroded was social trust — the most important element in any successful society…it’s hard to think of any person in my lifetime who so perfectly epitomizes the politics of distrust, or one who so aggressively promotes it. Trump has taught his opponents not to believe a word he says, his followers not to believe a word anyone else says, and much of the rest of the country to believe nobody and nothing at all.

He has detonated a bomb under the epistemological foundations of a civilization that is increasingly unable to distinguish between facts and falsehoods, evidence and fantasy. He has instructed tens of millions of people to accept the commandment, That which you can get away with, is true.”

Thomas Edsall quotes Stephen Pinker in his America, We Have a Problem column: “Humans can believe things for two reasons: because they have grounds for thinking they’re true, or to affirm a myth that unites and emboldens the tribe,” Pinker wrote. “Any fair-weather friend can say that rocks fall down, but only a blood brother would be willing to say that rocks fall up. But usually, reality imposes limits on how far we can push our myths. What’s extraordinary about the present moment is how far most Republicans have gone in endorsing beliefs that are disconnected from reality and serve only to bind the sect and excommunicate the unfaithful.”

Jamelle Bouie, in his Six Weeks of Republican Shamelessness Have Done Real Damage:  “In short, Republicans are establishing a new normal for the conduct of elections, one in which a Democratic victory is suspect until proven otherwise, and where Republicans have a “constitutional right” to challenge the vote in hopes of having it thrown out.”

Finally, I highly recommend this essay, Political Sectarianism in America, written by a group of 15 scholars and referenced by Edsall: “Political sectarianism consists of three core ingredients: othering—the tendency to view opposing partisans as essentially different or alien to oneself; aversion—the tendency to dislike and distrust opposing partisans; and moralization—the tendency to view opposing partisans as iniquitous. It is the confluence of these ingredients that makes sectarianism so corrosive in the political sphere. Viewing opposing partisans as different, or even as dislikable or immoral, may not be problematic in isolation. But when all three converge, political losses can feel like existential threats that must be averted—whatever the cost.”

It’s a very troubling trend.

2020-12-16T09:59:22-05:00December 16th, 2020|HomeRecommended|

T***p is damaging America and its people. It’s time for it to stop.

• It’s self-evident that T***p has no concern for his country or the American people, as the damage from his misinformation campaign mounts and the toll of the pandemic worsens; he’s the one doing the “rigging” of the election and subverting the obvious will of the people.

Mitt Romney: “Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the president has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election,” Mr. Romney wrote. “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president.”

Ben Sasse: “Based on what I’ve read in their filings, when Trump campaign lawyers have stood before courts under oath, they have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud—because there are legal consequences for lying to judges,” Sasse said. “President Trump lost Michigan by more than 100,000 votes and the campaign and its allies have lost in or withdrawn all five lawsuits in Michigan for being unable to produce any evidence,” he added.

Michael Beschloss, in the NYT: “In this case, no serious person thinks enough votes are in dispute that Donald Trump could have been elected on Election Day…This is a manufactured crisis. It is a president abusing his huge powers in order to stay in office after the voters clearly rejected him for re-election.” He added: “This is what many of the founders dreaded.”

Brad Raffensperger, in the NYT, affirming that Georgians voted for Biden: “I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” the Georgia official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said at a Friday morning news conference at the state capitol. “I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct.”

Lamar Alexander: “If there is any chance whatsoever that Joe Biden will be the next president, and it looks like he has a very good chance, the Trump Administration should provide the Biden team with all transition materials, resources and meetings necessary to ensure a smooth transition so that both sides are ready on day one,” Mr. Alexander said. “That especially should be true, for example, on vaccine distribution…My hope is that the loser of this presidential election will follow Al Gore’s example, put the country first, congratulate the winner and help him to a good beginning of the new term,” Mr. Alexander said. “The prompt and orderly transfer or reaffirmation of immense power after a presidential election is the most enduring symbol of our democracy.”
Bob Corker: “While the president has the right to legitimate legal challenges, responsible citizens cannot let the reckless actions by him and his legal team stand,” Bob Corker a former senator from Tennessee, wrote on Twitter on Friday. “Republicans have an obligation when the subject is of such importance to challenge demagoguery and patently false statements.”
2020-11-20T11:58:18-05:00November 20th, 2020|HomeRecommended|
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