Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive: March 9, 2017 Yanis Varoufakis back on BtN for the first time in over two years! He discusses the interminable eurocrisis, austerity, Brexit, the nationalist international (Trump, Le Pen, etc.), and DiEM25, among other things. The full Varoufakis–Ali–et al. debate is here. The version of this show that ran on KPFA was truncated because the station is fundraising. Please donate and keep this worthy enterprise going. If you do, please mention Behind the News!

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive: November 12, 2015 Raquel Varela updates her report of two weeks ago, as the right-wing Portuguese government is replaced by a center-left one • Mark Oppenheimer, author of this article, on the culture of Yale and its impact on campus racial politics • Max Geller on why Renoir Sucks at Painting November 5, 2015 Sungur Savran, editor of Red Med, on the Turkish election • Christian Parenti, author of this article, on what the climate movement can learn from the developmental state October 29, 2015 William “Sandy” Darity on the racial wealth gap (links to papers here) • Raquel Varela on… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive: December 4, 2014 Anatol Lieven of Georgetown U–Qatar (and author of this) on Hillary the Hawk • Alex Vitale, author of City of Disorder, on Ferguson in the context of American policing November 27, 2014 Lucia Green-Weiskel on the U.S.–China climate quasi-deal • Steven Teles talks about Hillary, kludgeocracy, and neoliberalism. November 20, 2014 Yanis Varoufakis on the eurocrisis • Howie Hawkins, Green candidate for NYS governor, on the party’s future November 13, 2014 Detroit bankruptcy exit special: Shea Howell of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, offers an activist perspective, and Wallace Turbeville (see writings here) runs the numbers

Deficit emergency over

The Congressional Budget Office’s latest debt and deficit projections for the next ten years are out and there’s no way any honest analyst could read them as anything but the official end to any rational concern about red ink. Of course, given that the phantasmic plays such a large role in politics, it’s likely that important people will still worry about fiscal ruin. But to the degree that reality exerts even a weak gravitational pull on discourse, it should be harder to generate the sense of emergency that austerians thrive on. From the… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just posted to my radio archives: May 9, 2013 Corey Robin, political scientist at Brooklyn College and author of The Reactionary Mind, on how the right thinks (with additional discussion of this essay on Nietzsche, Hayek, etc.) May 2, 2013 Mark Blyth, author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, on just that April 25, 2013 Alex Vitale on the militarization of police forces • Josh Eidelson on spreading worker actions against Walmart and fast food

Ontario today

A few weeks ago, during the Chicago teachers’ strike, I had kind things to say about education reform in Ontario after the Liberals took power in 2002 (“How much do teacher strikes hurt kids?”). The piece drew on work by the OECD, part of an attempt to refute work by Washington Post boy blogger Dylan “Minipundit” Matthews. After posting it, several emailers and commenters noted that things have changed in Ontario, as the Liberals have embraced U.S.-style austerity. Have they ever. The government has passed a monstrosity with a name that Rahm Emanuel… Read More

Employment laggard: the public sector

Paul Krugman notes that public sector employment has declined under Obama—a sharp contrast with his two predecessors, under whom it grew (with Republican Bush ahead of Democrat Clinton). How does recent experience stack up on a longer view? Very unusually. Graphed below is the behavior of employment—total, private, and public—around business cycle troughs and recoveries. The darker lines are the averages of all the cycles since the end of World War II; the lighter lines, the most recent period, around the June 2009 trough. (Click on the graph for the full-sized version.) As… Read More

Austerity & bankers’ coups: the NYC precedent

With the displacement of Greece’s elected government by Eurocrats acting in the interest of the country’s creditors, I thought this would be a good time to reprise the section of my 1997 book Wall Street that covers the New York City fiscal crisis of 1975, which was something of a dress rehearsal for the neoliberal austerity agenda that would go global in the 1980s. Certain celebrity academics are constantly cited for making this argument, but I was there first. You can download Wall Street for free by clicking here: Wall Street. This chapter, and this book, has… Read More

New radio product

Freshly posted to my Radio archives: August 13, 2011 Dacher Keltner of UC–Berkeley on the psychology of class and social interactions • David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years, provides an anthropologist’s POV on money and debt July 30, 2011 Joel Schalit on Brevik, the European right, its attitude towards Israel, and Israel’s own right • Brad DeLong on the political economy of austerity The audio files are often posted far more promptly than I update the web page, so if you’re into timeliness, subscribe to the podcast!

Wild budget math

In 2000, we spent 3.7% of GDP on the military. The Pentagon didn’t have to hold bake sales. We’re now spending 5.4%. Merely going back to 2000 would save 1.7% of GDP, or $255 billion. If over the next decade we spent 3.7% of GDP instead of 5.4%, we’d save $3.6 trillion. That’s close to what many of the deficit hawks are aiming for. Let the Bush tax cuts expire and bump up the top rate a few points and everyone could have free child care and free college tuition! Of course to… Read More

Varieties of exhaustion

Having become the de facto leader of the Republican party, at least when it comes to fiscal policy, Obama is now turning—again (didn’t he do this before? I recall some nonsense about a “hard pivot”)—to job creation. And he’s going to do what needs to be done: take a bus tour of the Midwest and do a few photo ops at factories. You might think that with a stalling economy and a high unemployment rate that could start drifting higher any month now, that he might want to try something more aggressive… Read More

Austerity = moral renovation

Writing in today’s New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer explains the politics of the debt melodrama: the parties are “jousting over the moral high ground on imposing austerity, with seemingly none of the political or practical motivations that have historically driven legislation.” Leaving aside the fact that half of one party (the Dems) have happily embraced the premises of the other—and also leaving aside the fact that the “high ground,” moral or otherwise, hasn’t much in evidence during this idiotic fight—Steinhauer is inadvertently onto something. Over the centuries, the period after the bursting of… Read More

New radio product

Freshly posted to my radio archives: July 23, 2011 James Galbraith on deficit hysteria and the single-volume collection of four books by his father, John Kenneth Galbraith, published by the Library of Amerca July 16, 2011 Amber Hollibaugh, interim director of Queers for Economic Justice, on the limits of same-sex marriage (see here for more) • Jeff Madrick, author of The Age of Greed, on the emergence of today’s icky economic order July 2, 2011 Christian Parenti, author of Tropic of Chaos, talks about the effects of climate change amidst state collapse, plentiful weaponry, and neoliberalism

Latest on Social Security

Following on the NYT quote, I thought it’d be good to post LBO’s most recent take on Social Security: Is the real problem Social Security? Also, this is from my radio commentary for tomorrow: Speaking of austerity, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the AARP, nominally an interest group fighting on behalf of older Americans, has decided to stop resisting calls for cuts to Social Security benefits, reversing its long opposition to such a cruel move. The group’s policy chief, John Rother, said, “The ship was sailing. I wanted to… Read More

What fiscal emergency?

I break into the big time! My antidote to deficit hysteria is up on CNN.com: What fiscal emergency?