Archive for August 4th, 2011

David Frum has cast off his chains and wanders where his mind takes him.

Aug 04, 2011 in Economy

It’s amazing what happens when you stop caring what LimbaughPalinBeckAiles thinks of you. Frum:

Two years ago, Commerce estimated the decline of the US economy at -0.5% in the third quarter of 2008 and -3.8% in the fourth quarter. It now puts the damage at -3.7% and -8.9%: Great Depression territory.

Those estimates make intuitive sense as we assess the real-world effect of the crisis: the jobs lost, the homes foreclosed, the retirements shattered. When people tell me that I’ve changed my mind too much about too many things over the past four years, I can only point to the devastation wrought by this crisis and wonder: How closed must your thinking be if it isn’t affected by a disaster of such magnitude? And in fact, almost all of our thinking has been somehow affected: hence the drift of so many conservatives away from what used to be the mainstream market-oriented Washington Consensus toward Austrian economics and Ron Paul style hard-money libertarianism. The ground they and I used to occupy stands increasingly empty.

If I can’t follow where most of my friends have gone, it is because I keep hearing (a) question:

Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?

I know Very Serious People are supposed to sniff at Krugman and his numbers for saying things that the corporate media don’t want to hear, but he’s been right about things for quite a long time now, so Frum doesn’t exactly get a birthday cake for arriving at this moment, but it’s a good sign. A little late, though, as our fantastic great awesome austerity bill sends the markets tumbling…

-hw