Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.

 

Stockman’s Screed

David Stockman, the aging boy wonder who was Ronald Reagan’s budget director at 34, wrote a 2700-word op-ed piece in Sunday’s New York Times. Its bottom line was “get out of the markets and hide out in cash.” Stockman takes us on quite a journey to get to this simple point. He tells a tawdry story, peopled with many scoundrels and few heroes, an eight-decade morality play of government excess, corporate greed, entitlement explosion, political cowardice and intellectual dishonesty, in which the losers are the 99% of Americans, and especially the poor, while the winners, at least for now, are the greedy manipulators of finance and their bi-partisan henchmen in Congress, the oval office and, above all, the Federal Reserve Bank. It’s a relentless, depressing march to Armageddon – one that is actually part of a long American tradition of populist anger that stretches from the Whiskey Rebellion to the Tea Party. Sometimes the issues change: in the 1890s the insurgents wanted cheap money; Stockman (and the Doctors Paul) want a return to the gold standard. Its twin villains are Washington and Wall Street. Its solutions are less clear: “These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis,” writes Stockman. “The way out would be so radical it can’t happen.”

From a curmudgeonly conservative, this is a disquietingly bi-partisan indictment. Stockman challenges the core policies of both parties, and his analysis of a country whose answer to everything is, as George Bush urged, to “go shopping” is too insightful to be dismissed.

Now and Then

April Digression