‘Headless chickens’ still steering the economy in Britain

Being a schmuck means never having the balls to say you’re sorry. More importantly, it means knowing you’re wrong about the course of action you took, in this case economy austerity, but continuing to pursue the same course because changing it would be an admission that you didn’t know what the hell you were doing. From Guardian UK:

Europe’s collective response to the 2008 credit crunch ranks with the treaty of Versailles and German reparations among the great follies of history. While the peoples of Greece, Spain, Italy and France wrestle with counter-productive austerity policies, Britain’s rulers have no more idea of what to do next. On Tuesday David Cameron and Nick Clegg renewed the coalition marriage vow of two years ago, but there were no smiles of rapture in a Downing Street garden, just gritted teeth in an Essex factory. Cocks of the walk had become headless chickens.

Those who warned at the time that the coalition risked double-dip recession by over-suppressing demand have been proved right. The chancellor, George Osborne, raised [the value added tax] to 20%, tightened benefits and allowed banks to restrict credit (while saying the opposite). He declared that private sector growth would more than compensate for public sector contraction. He meant well, but he was wrong.

He was also wrong to dismiss the desire of Gus O’Donnell, then cabinet secretary, for a plan B. It was clear 18 months ago that demand was collapsing. A government obsession with rescuing banks took the cabinet’s eye off the ball and had nothing to do with the case. The longer course correction was delayed, the more demand drained from the economy, until the gangrene of double-dip set in. Britain is now having one of the worst recessions in the OECD…

May I have some more, please, sir?

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
– Winston Churchill

I’m glad everyone’s so happy about Obama backing marriage equality. Seems like the least he could do, of course, what with being a Democrat and this being a civil rights issue. But there’s so little we can take for granted these days when it comes to our own party. Democrats used to support public education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and were against imperial wars — so you can see why I’m confused.

Really, supporting gay marriage – but then saying of course it should be up to the states to decide – well, as I said earlier, imagine if Lyndon Johnson said something similar about the Civil Rights Act. Some things, you just do because they’re so obviously right, and you don’t hedge or split the difference.

When Obama won the nomination, I confessed how depressing it was to a black friend. “The job of a progressive isn’t to win elections,” he advised me. “Our job is to keep pushing the discussion to the left.” I took that to heart. My job is not to be Obama’s cheering section. It’s to keep pushing for the rights of us all, the dignity of decent education, jobs and health care. For once, Obama kinda-sorta did the right thing.

But tomorrow’s another day, and the man is still pushing to get his Grand Bargain and to cut Social Security and Medicare. Enjoy this moment, but get ready to fight on. Because the Very Serious People are piling on:


I agree. There are so many environmental factors, it’s extremely difficult to do on your own:

(Reuters) – America’s obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systemic measures – from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to, possibly, introducing a soda tax – to fix it, the influential Institute of Medicine said on Tuesday.

In an ambitious 478-page report, the IOM refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower on the part of individuals. Instead, it embraces policy proposals that have met with stiff resistance from the food industry and lawmakers, arguing that multiple strategies will be needed to make the U.S. environment less “obesogenic.”

The IOM, part of the Washington-based National Academies, offers advice to the government and others on health issues. Its report was released at the Weight of the Nation conference, a three-day meeting hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cable channel HBO will air a documentary of the same name next week.

“People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese,” IOM committee member Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told Reuters. “That advice will never be out of date. But when you see the increase in obesity you ask, what changed? And the answer is, the environment. The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment.”

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