Friday, October 8, 2010

A Tunnel To Tragedy

The Hudson River tunnel stoppage is a national tragedy. Rather than rant as I’ve done repeatedly about the Krugman-Keynes versus Republican denial debate, it’s more important to ponder how Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough can have formed a blind alliance with Chris Christie and immediately came down in favor of his work stoppage order. They then went on to cite the travel musings of Chrystia Freeland in Turkey and the second Zbigeniew Brzezinski compare and contrast observation in the last few months, and went further citing Germany’s austerity program, and could not make cohesive sense if their life depended on it.

Germany can afford austerity because its public works is at a rate of completion that it isn’t perpetually 20 years behind in terms of infrastructure maintenance needs like the US is. The two recent foreign travelers are basically saying every day we do things like stop the second Hudson River tunnel the closer we come to having the infrastructure of the third world and having global business look elsewhere.

Freeland and Erin Burnett have made this as clear as they can, but choosing talking points over logic, Morning Joe has pre-aligned itself with the Republican party and cheers any new loss of momentum in governing as some great victory. Freeland and Burnett pointing out the money we would use to make public works happen is beneficial as a whole economy revival and is cheaper now on both a nominal interest basis and a real cost basis than when we had a budget surplus in 1999.

But Morning Joe’s mind is made up and that’s all there is to it. Stop building infrastructure and reverse anything else in the name of austerity. Tragic.

Conveniently the unemployment numbers boost critics either way. The unemployment figures released today were the opposite of the numbers released last month. Last month the nominal jobs lost was better than expected but because more people entered the workforce and looked for work the rate ticked up to 9.6%. The good news caused the uptick but the critics went crazy looking for ways to blame the administration for the rate.

This time the rate was expected to go up to 9.7% for the same positive reasons, but it didn’t, because again we didn’t lose as many jobs as we thought. But now the critics are camped on the fact that because there was a net job loss at all, Obama must be held accountable. It all looks like the analysis of convenience.

In a weird convergence with, Morning Joe just seems to scroll itself to whomever is complaining and cover that. Again you have that future commerce secretary Maria Bartiromo on the show chomping at the bit to show business is ready to revolt because Obama can’t give them the rest of the wealth they haven’t already pilfered.

Objective types continue to fail to break through with rational mathematical reasoning with the Morning Joe cast. In fairness the White House is having the same problems reasoning with people, as we talked about yesterday. But the inability of the show to connect the dots seems intentional.

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