Whither American capitalism

Fabulous essay by Stephen Pearlstein.  Read it.  Here’s my favorite nuggets:

lthough the Republican spin machine reflexively took entrepreneurial umbrage at Obama’s notion that it takes a village to create a successful company, each of the books reviewed here essentially embraces the idea. A pure market economy is an ideological fantasy; even the freest markets operate in a framework of laws, infrastructure, institutions and informal norms of behavior in which government is heavily implicated. Our challenge is in getting that framework right…

This erosion is most visible in the weakening of the restraints that once moderated the most selfish impulses of economic actors and provided an ethical basis for modern capitalism. A capitalism in which Wall Street bankers and traders think it is just “part of the game” to peddle dangerous loans or worthless securities to unsuspecting customers, a capitalism in which top executives have convinced themselves that it is economically necessary that they earn 350 times what their front-line workers do, a capitalism that puts the right to pass on unlimited amounts of money to undeserving heirs above the right to basic, life-saving health care — that is a capitalism whose trust deficit is every bit as corrosive and dangerous as its budget and trade deficits.


Welfare reform vs. states’ rights

You know what’s especially galling about the repeated lies about Welfare?  The fact that what the president is being falsely attacked for is actually giving states more power in how to implement their welfare policies.  To wit:

The language from the memo in question, though, belies much of the Republican claim.

The Health and Human Services department “will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of [the 1996 reform legislation],” it says.

In effect, the Obama administration has stated it would be willing to give states the option to propose more efficient ways to get welfare recipients back to work.  [emphasis mine]  Any such plan would require the state to increase the number of people moving from welfare to work by 20 percent.

Of course, Republicans are always complaining about the federal government taking too much power away from the states and here they are spreading lies when the president is actually giving greater flexibility to the states.  Damn, that’s chutzpah.

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