Monday, June 25, 2012

‘Something has gone very wrong with America’: Krugman and Wells

Posted on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 9:12 AM

For President Obama's supporters, this is a tense time as they wait for the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act. If the court strikes down the act, or even the individual-mandate portion, it'll make it that much harder for Obama to win a second term.

I still think Obama did the right thing by pushing health care as a major initiative, but I agree with some commentators that he has done a poor job defending it and reminding Americans of the problems it's designed to address. But if the court overturns the act, it'll give Republicans still more ammunition to aim at Obama, and in health care and many other areas, we'll take a huge step backward.

The biggest ammunition, of course, is the US economy. And there, too, Obama bears some blame. The July 12 issue of The New York Review of Books includes a solid assessment of that problem: Paul Krugman and Robin Wells' "Getting Away With It," a review of three books on the economy and the federal government's attempt to deal with it.

It's a fascinating look at recent history: the mistakes the Obama administration made (most important, putting the wrong people in charge of the fix), the public's growing ignorance about key issues, the "capture" of the Democratic Party by Wall Street, and the growing extremism of the Republican Party.

And Krugman and Wells end their piece with this depressing comment:

"But ultimately the deep problem isn't about personalities or individual leadership, it's about the nation as a whole. Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it's hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed."

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