When Bill Clinton ran for president, James Carville, Clinton’s lead strategist said, “it’s the economy, stupid” and that phrase caught on. I’m not an economist, but it’s clear to me that the use of “stupid” in this phrase could have many meanings, intended or otherwise. More importantly, I used “It’s the economy, stupid” as a title for a post already, so I had to mix it up a bit for this one. But more and more, I think there’s a lot of stupid when it comes to the economy, or at least how people talk about the economy.Continue reading “The stupid economy”
I saw this on a friend’s FB thread this morning and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Not because I hadn’t considered the premise before; I’m familiar with Dunning-Kruger. I was struck by the inability to decide which is better. Not that we can help or determine which defines us better. We are either full of doubt or confident, and I’m quite sure that it’s not always aligned with intelligence (I know plenty of people who I consider very intelligent who at least appear to have no doubt whatsoever, and I know a few people who I don’t think of as very intelligent who are plagued by doubt). But, given these two options, in a false dichotomous kind of world, which is better?
The House of Representatives has voted, once again, to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is not the first time they have done so, and it likely won’t be the last. They passed several bills and amendments since 2011 that repeal or limit Obamacare, and few of these became law. My guess is that this bill will die like the others have, but this time it will be killed by a more pensive (and smart?) Senate. Senate republicans are already saying that they can’t pass the current bill, and it’s not clear that they even have enough support for a vote. It’s hard to see how the House and President see this as a win, but they do, and they had a party at the White House about it. Vice President Pence rallied the crowd (of middle-aged to old white men) with a line, “Welcome to the beginning of the end of Obamacare.” Silly line. Doesn’t that assume that Obamacare will end? Doesn’t it assume that the previous votes weren’t the beginning of anything? Silliness all around.
Today is International Women’s Day 2017, and it’s probably not a coincidence that I had a thought about being a feminist this morning while driving to work. It’s surely a thought that many have had, and, like everything else I write about here, it’s coming from a complete amature position, so take it with a grain of salt. I consider myself a feminist, and have written before about being a male feminist. There are many people out there who are turned off by that word, and people who I consider feminists who might refuse to call themselves that. It made me wonder if there was something about the word itself that people rejected. And that thought got the figurative wheels in motion while the literal wheels were moving under me.
“The economy, stupid!” The phrase made famous by James Carville, campaign strategist for Bill Clinton. Amazingly effective, and at a time when the US was in a recession. The past election cycle used the sentiment in some ways. The Trump campaign and his inauguration speech painted a very dystopian view of America. There was talk about our crumbling factories and our crime-infested cities. Couple that with prevailing views that our economy is doing poorly (something I touched on before, when I wrote about the disconnect between the way the public perceived us to be in a recession, when were actually weren’t in a recession), and it was almost a “the economy, stupid” election.
This all depended on how we saw the world, and likely which media outlets we viewed (something else I wrote about before).
But let’s look at some numbers, and think about what could come next. To do this, I’m going to steal some text from something I posted on Facebook this morning.
Charles Taylor had a great piece in the Boston Globe yesterday. The opening sentence hits hard. “There’s no shame in not knowing; there’s shame in not wanting to know.” Another piece on Quartz argues that thinking like a scientist is a cure-all for democracy. “If there’s overwhelming evidence for something—like man-made climate change—and you don’t believe it, you aren’t being a skeptic, you are in denial. Being skeptical means demanding evidence, not ignoring it.”
I agree with both of these statements, and I do believe that society would be better if more people followed them, but the Taylor piece, and a comment in response to the Quartz piece paint the problem.
I figured “and now we mourn” was a fitting title to follow my last entry, “and now we wait.” I am truly emotionally devastated by the election results. I am still struggling to decide what I am thinking of as the “ratio of my devastation,” meaning, how much of my devastation is because I am saddened by the outcome, and how much is because it was not at all what I expected. I think it’s about half and half, but both are quite upsetting to me. If you know me, you know that the unpredictable makes me uncomfortable and I strive to understand the world and wish it were fair, and I am shaken when the fundamental understanding of things comes into question. The latter seems to come with unpredictable responses from me (which is unsettling). I am often really excited when what we thought was true isn’t, but apparently in some cases, this terrifies me. I am clearly a mixed bag.
I’m a generally happy person in some ways, a bit melancholy and down in others. Some of it depends on the day, or maybe the way the planets are aligned for all I can figure out. I certainly let people bring me down, probably more than I should. I am deeply saddened by people being bigoted and drawing conclusions based on misinformation. People tell me that I have to let that go, and that I shouldn’t let it bother me, but that requires some control over what does and doesn’t make me sad. Control that I simply don’t possess. It makes me wonder if anybody has that kind of control. Can anybody really decide that something isn’t going to make the sad, and then, poof, it doesn’t make them sad anymore? That seems so foreign to me, but a superpower I would really like to have.