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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,691

Journal Archives

Krugman: European Crisis Realities (the Republican story, the German story, and the truth)

There are basically three stories about the euro crisis in wide circulation: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth.

The Republican story is that it’s all about excessive welfare states. How does that hold up?

Hmm, only Italy is in the top five — and Germany’s welfare state was bigger.

OK, the German story is that it’s about fiscal profligacy, running excessive deficits. Here’s the average budget deficit between 1999 (the beginning of the euro) and 2007:

Greece is there, and Italy (although its deficits were not very big, and the ratio of debt to GDP fell over the period). But Portugal doesn’t stand out, and Spain and Ireland were models of virtue.

What we’re basically looking at, then, is a balance of payments problem, in which capital flooded south after the creation of the euro, leading to overvaluation in southern Europe.

And the key point is that the two false diagnoses lead to policies that don’t address the real problem. You can slash the welfare state all you want (and the right wants to slash it down to bathtub-drowning size), but this has very little to do with export competitiveness. You can pursue crippling fiscal austerity, but this improves the external balance only by driving down the economy and hence import demand, with maybe, maybe, a gradual “internal devaluation” caused by high unemployment.

...what the Europe really needs is a general European reflation. So let’s hope that they get this ...


Center for American Progress: Study - "Self-Deportation" is a myth.

Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama recently took matters into their own hands by passing laws designed to criminalize virtually all activity engaged in by undocumented immigrants. This patchwork of state and local laws is driven by a strategy known by immigration restrictionists as “attrition through enforcement.” The goal is to create a climate of fear and make life so difficult for immigrants that they will self-deport.

So have state anti-immigration bills led to an exodus of unauthorized migrants from the United States as restrictionists have promised?

Immigrants’ reaction to anti-immigrant laws

Based on the experiences of immigrants in Oklahoma City, and in more recent cases such as Arizona after S.B. 1070, we find that:

1. Most unauthorized immigrants make the decision to stay in the country despite attempts to drive them out. The proliferation of state-level anti- immigrant laws has not changed the calculus for immigrants when it comes to choosing to stay here or return home.

2. At best, anti-immigrant laws simply drive immigrants from one area to another—say from one county to the next, or from one state to the next— rather than from the country. [i[At worst, they further isolate immigrants from the communities they live in and from local law enforcement, while driving families deeper into the shadows.

The reasons behind their decision to stay

So why aren’t immigrants leaving the country in response to these laws? There are several reasons.

Most undocumented immigrants have been in the country for 10 years or more, and the majority live in family units with children, meaning that they are well settled into American life, making it less likely that they would want to leave.

The costs of a return trip also are too steep for most people.

Finally, the stark lack of opportunities in the migrants’ home countries—which pushed them to enter the United States outside of legal status in the first place—have not gone away, leaving them with little reason to believe that life would be better there than in the United States.


Of course most republicans already know that 'self-deportation' is a myth. Believing in the myth, however, conveniently "further isolates immigrants" and drives them "deeper into the shadows". The myth of 'self-deportation' is a conservative dream-come-true: the illegal immigrants stay here and become even more exploitable ("isolated" and "driven into the shadow" than they were before.

Juan Cole: The Dilemma over Syria (like the crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968

great power sphere of influence politics made it impossible to do anything practical about it).


Syria’s military continued its brutal assault on neighborhoods of Homs, a center of civil disobedience against the regime, on Thursday, killing over 100 persons, including children. This deployment of military force against civilians who were protesting is a war crime, and part of a pattern that by now amounts to crimes against humanity. The first thing that comes to mind at these horrific images is that something should be done. But what?

Sen. John McCain has called for arming the rebels ... I would argue an even stronger case against. Once you flood a country with small and medium arms, it destabilizes it for decades. If people don’t think a flood of arms into the hands of Syrian fighters will spill over onto Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine, they are just fooling themselves.

Ultimately, the problem of legitimate action here lies in the UN Security Council. ... As for legitimate use of force, I am against wars that do not stem from either self-defense or from a UN Security Council resolution. I wouldn’t necessarily support any old war the UNSC authorized, but its authorization is a sine qua non.

The first thing the (European) diplomat underlined is that there is no United Nations Security Council authorization for the use of force, so no European country will use force. It was a refreshing reminder that in Europe the UN Charter and international law is still taken seriously. In the US, mention of international law is usually greeted with gales of derision.

I gradually realized that if any semblance of the international rule of law were to be maintained, the international community could do nothing kinetic as long as Russia and China were running interference for the Baath regime in Syria. The logjam here is the Security Council, and its archaic veto privileges for the 5 permanent members, essentially the victors of WW II who still make policy for the whole world.

If you want practical action or even military intervention in Syria beyond financial and economic sanctions, there are only two ways to get it legitimately. That would be to find a way to pressure Russia and China to stop protecting Bashar al-Assad. The other possibility would be to find a way to abolish the one-country veto on the UNSC.]/i]

I remember my anger and despair, as a teenager, at the crushing of the Prague Spring by Soviet tanks in 1968. I feel the same way about Syria today. But in both cases, great power sphere of influence politics made it impossible to do anything practical about it. The hope lies only in the longer term. ... Syrian dissidents will just have to keep up a non-violent struggle for the truth that might go on for a while. If they can prevail non-violently, their revolution would immediately be more well-grounded and likely to succeed.

Is it considered liberal or conservative to support hundreds of thousands of demonstrators

who protest for months on end against a dictatorial government? Liberal

Is it considered liberal or conservative to side with the authoritarian government that kills thousands of civilians who refuse to stop protesting against said government? Conservative

Is it considered liberal or conservative to believe that some countries need to be ruled by dictators because the people who live within their borders cannot learn to live with each other? Conservative

Is it considered liberal or conservative to believe that all people have a right to political and civil liberties and to self-government? Liberal

Is it considered liberal or conservative to tell people in certain countries that they have to live with authoritarian governments because there are more important geopolitical issues at stake, so their personal rights and liberties have to take a back seat? Conservative
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