Saturday, April 22, 2006


Historical Revulsionism

Everyone has been enjoying Paul Krugman's column, The Great Revulsion, in which he quotes from his book, The Great Unraveling: "I have a vision — maybe just a hope — of a great revulsion: a moment in which the American people look at what is happening, realize how their good will and patriotism have been abused, and put a stop to this drive to destroy much of what is best in our country." , then adds: Now the great revulsion has arrived. ... If we define red states as states where the public supports Mr. Bush, Red America now has a smaller population than New York City....In fact, Mr. Bush's temporarily sky-high approval ratings were the aberration; the public never supported his real policy agenda. Remember, in 2000 Mr. Bush got within hanging-chad and felon-purge distance of the White House only by pretending to be a moderate. In 2004 he ran on fear and smear, plus the pretense that victory in Iraq was just around the corner. And now the time of judgment is on the horizon and it's waaaay worse than it looks. Among its many other sins, the White House and its media parrots have falsified the basic facts by which we understand what is going on. Some examples: Dean Baker Readers of the Washington Post might have been surprised to read that since the passage of NAFTA, “Mexico’s gross domestic product has ballooned, multiplying nearly seven-fold, from $108 billion in 1993 … to $748 billion in 2005” (“Mexican Deportee’s U.S. Sojourn Illuminates Roots of Current Crisis,” 4-17-06:A1). This amounts to a world record 17.5 percent average annual rate of growth in the 12 years since NAFTA was implemented. Readers should be surprised to read this in a front page story in the Washington Post because it is not true. As Baker shows, after correcting for inflation, the growth rate is 2.9%, below the rate of population growth. Mexico has gotten steadily poorer. And this: According to most news reports, China’s GDP is approaching $2 trillion, rivaling Germany for the #3 ranking in the world, behind the United States and Japan. In fact, this figure grossly understates the size of China’s economy. It is already far larger than Japan’s economy and is likely to surpass the size of the U.S. economy in less than a decade. ....According to the CIA’s World Factbook, China’s purchasing power parity GDP in 2005 was $8.2 trillion. This compares to a U.S. GDP of $12.5 trillion. and, if one reads Brad Setser's blog, it turns out that the Saudis and the Chinese have been laundering their dollar surpluses through London, so that the official record shows massive investments in the US from a friendly nation, which China is definitely not, and which Saudi Arabia probably is not. I think we'll discover they've been lying to us about deficits and other critical economic variables, not to mention about which countries we have permanently alienated by meddling in their politics to the point of overthrowing their governments. What's not to be revulsed about?
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