July 01, 2011

Tidbits from Readlets

From a article on Newt Gingrich in the NY Times, written by a writer for the conservative Weekly Standard (the Times is, of course, ever willing to give ink to conservatives if they are criticizing other conservatives):
Gingrich wrote about university leftism with all the bitterness of an ex-academic: “Most successful [alumni] get an annual letter saying, in effect, ‘Please give us money so we can hire someone who despises your occupation and will teach your children to have contempt for you.’ What is amazing is the overwhelming meekness of the alumni in accepting this hijacking of their alma mater.”

This is sharp and funny and nearly true, but it’s not a formulation designed to coax the undecided into agreement.
Makes me feel a bit smug that I don't donate to my college (little as those donations would be given the money I make).

Also a fascinating link about the Greece situation and the assignation of blame:
From the worm’s-eye perspective which most of us inhabit, the general feeling about this new turn in the economic crisis is one of bewilderment... People feel they have very little economic or political agency, very little control over their own lives; during the boom times, nobody told them this was an unsustainable bubble until it was already too late. The Greek people are furious to be told by their deputy prime minister that ‘we ate the money together’; they just don’t agree with that analysis. In the world of money, people are privately outraged by the general unwillingness of electorates to accept the blame for the state they are in. But the general public, it turns out, had very little understanding of the economic mechanisms which were, without their knowing it, ruling their lives. They didn’t vote for the system, and no one explained the system to them, and in any case the rule is that while things are on their way up, no one votes for Cassandra, so no one in public life plays the Cassandra role. Greece has 800,000 civil servants, of whom 150,000 are on course to lose their jobs. The very existence of those jobs may well be a symptom of the three c’s, ‘corruption, cronyism, clientelism’, but that’s not how it feels to the person in the job, who was supposed to do what? Turn down the job offer, in the absence of alternative employment, because it was somehow bad for Greece to have so many public sector workers earning an OK living?


he downmarket German press has been asking why Germans should work until 69 to fund the retirement of Greek public sector workers who knock off at 55. That’s a loaded way of putting the question, but it is a good question even so, and one to which Angela Merkel is manifestly sympathetic. She has spoken more than once about the need for the private bond-holders who own Greek and other debt to take losses from their holdings and for the entire burden not to fall on ever more reluctant taxpayers. (The markets hate it when she does that, and immediately begin to panic about Eurozone defaults.)

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