Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A Year out It Looks Like Big Government Saved the Day, Or Why Stephen Hawking Lives in the UK

What a difference a year makes! At this point in 2008, the writing was there for those who knew to read it, but few did. We were tooling along toward an economic meltdown in the middle of a US presidential campaign, with the dog days of summer filled with John McCain’s rants, and Sarah Palin was still in Alaska.

A year later Palin is back in Alaska, and McCain is still ranting, but such a cautious observer as Nobel laureat Paul Krugman is saying that we have averted “the worst,” that is Great Depression II. The reason is Big Government which acted as the federal government did not in 1929. This time it stimulated the economy and provided a counterweight to private sector job slashing through Social Security and other transfer payments, continued federal programs which employ many people, and bail outs for a staggering financial system.

“Just to be clear: the economic situation remains terrible,” Krugman writes. “But in the 1930s the trend lines just kept heading down. This time, the plunge appears to be ending after just one terrible year....And aren’t you glad that right now the government is being run by people who don’t hate government?

I wish that were the same in Canada. It seems we actually are doing a bit better than the US, but we still have Stephen Harper in power, and a bunch of Conservatives who only acted last winter when pushed to the brink by the ill-fated coalition threat raised by the Liberals, NDP and Bloc. Something is going to have to be done about that.

BTW, Krugman's blog today quotes part of the campaign of disinformation going on against the Obama health reform package: "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless." Er, sorry but I think Hawking spent most of his life in the UK, and it wasn't the US he was talking about moving to a while back, but Canada. Can you imagine what he health care costs would be South of the Border.

1 comment:

mls gta said...

Nice, I really enjoyed the part about Palin and McCain. As for the government, though, I think Obama administration might be a little better than Harper and co. Not that any of them has proven anything (yet), but Obama seems to be a better leading type.

Regards, Julie.