Saturday, April 1, 2023
The Women Hokies lost last night. In the fourth quarter they scored three points and couldn’t find the rim. It was weird. LSU has some big players and they bullied under the rim, and the refs let them. But there were the unusually calls. Like a player being taken out from behind by what we use to call in football “a cross body block” cutting down the player who was in the air and trying to land on the floor. Somehow that was the player in the air’s fault and foul. Even with that they were two buckets away from tying it up. They were smiling and gracious in their loss. It was good to see.
The next game South Carolina and Iowa did not disappoint. Everything people had said about the game was realized and more. Caitland Clark, the player of the year, put on another stellar performance, and I would say she was off her game a bit. South Carolina’s star player Aliyah Boston got in foul trouble early and sat out much of the first half, but it wouldn’t have mattered. South Carolina still did what it does – stand under the basket and because of their size get second, third and fourth shots. The problem for them was Clark was too good. I don’t think South Carolina had ever found themselves in the situation they were in towards the end of the game – losing. Having been on a team that didn’t lose a game until the last one (okay it was eight grade football, but still) I know what it’s like mentally. You keep thinking something will happen and you’ll win. It doesn’t occur to you that you could lose. Why should it? You haven’t lost before.
And this is no doubt where Mr. Trump finds himself. In forty or fifty years of lying and cheating he’s never been indicted. The scary thing is how far Republican politicians will go to protect him. DeSantis in Florida said he would not honor an extradition request. He and Youngkin in Virginia claimed that George Soros was behind the indictment, or at least the DA, Alvin Bragg. Facts be damned. And the facts are damning. The case against Trump is simple. It’s on paper, not testimony. Since Bragg has been in office, about two years, his office has charged people with the exact same statute 137 times. This is “their bread and butter.” This isn’t some out there weird thing. This is right down the middle of the road.
As far as George Soros goes. He’s never met Bragg, never contributed to Bragg’s campaign. He did give money to a group that supported Bragg and tons of other candidates, but that’s as close as you can get. So why keep bringing up Soros’ name? Because that’s all the Republicans have. The odd thing is their party is loaded with big time donors. And Soros is Jewish, so his name is also a stand in for jews. The concerning thing here is that this is a fringe racist troupe and now politicians in places of real power are resorting to using it.
Hey, enough, let’s talk economics for a sec. There’s a lot of literature (email) that I’ve been getting recently that mentions: the coming recession, Biden is a clown, and Milton Friedman. Why I’m getting so much of this stuff is my fault, I signed up for one of their newsletters. There’s an interconnecting web of these pundits. The main thing they point to is interest rates and money supply. Oh, and national debt. but they, like the Republican politicians, only point out national debt when Democrats are in power. when they are in power it’s okay to run it up. Maybe, that’s not entirely true. The coming recession guys will say, “it doesn’t matter who is in power” when a Republican is in office, but when a Dem is there then they revert to “the clown in the White House” ad hominem attack. What is always striking to me is they are short on the details as to why he’s a clown. They then tell you how your dollar is worth less, how the Federal Reserve or its chairman are doing too much or too little and they predict the sky will fall.
Then they bring up Milton Friedman. Friedman came out of The Chicago University’s School of Economics. The folks that ascribe to his teachings do so much like South Carolina plays basketball. They hang under the net and keep rebounding and shooting until the ball goes in, bullying others out of the way. I had an econ professor who best explained the Chicago School of Economics as a bunch of folks who would argue with a person trying to deliver a talk and when said person’s back was turned away from the board would erase that person’s work to put up their own ideas.
Let’s do a quick economics historical lesson. First it used to be called Political Economics, because a government (ie politicians) can make laws that effect the economy. They can also direct their government to spend money which can boost an economy. And the government can print money or withdraw money via bonds which will effect the ability of folks and institutions to borrow money thus affecting interest rates. Friedman was of the belief that economies are rational, which they are to some extent. Every econ lecture I ever heard had two statements made, neither of which are true: “All things being equal,” and “Given ( a supply curve of this and and a demand curve of that).”
My point is two fold: all things are not equal and you don’t really know the givens. This is the point that Paul Krugman won his Nobel Econ prize for and why he is often called upon to explain what’s really going on.
While these right wing econ pundits call Biden a clown the facts don’t support the contention. The SVB bank collapse is a case in point. The problem was too little regulation and Republican politicians repealing laws that would stopped the SVB problem before it happened as Elizabeth Warren has pointed out and advocated for before and after the Republicans called her names and laughed at her while they destroyed the regulations that had kept us safe since the Great Depression.
Not only that but the actual economic machinery was stripped bare by the Trump administration as Janet Yellin has pointed out.
The scary thing to me is the yelling on the right and center (now) of the Republican party is against everything we stand for as a free democratically elected country. Well, of course, the Republicans don’t want free and fair elections because if that had been the case they would have lost every presidential election but one in the last thirty years.