Something that was available but not well known
Posted by aogTuesday, 09 March 2010 at 21:51
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here were promises of transparency and of a new kind of collaborative politics where establishment figures listened to ordinary Americans. We were going to see net spending cuts, tax cuts for nearly all Americans, an end to earmarks, legislation posted online for the public to review before it is signed into law, and a line-by-line review of the federal budget to remove wasteful programs.
The dirty little secret of the 2008 election is that Obama won by running on what is now essentially the TEA party platform.
These weren’t the tea-party platforms I heard discussed in Nashville last weekend. They were the campaign promises of Barack Obama in 2008.
Mr. Obama made those promises because the ideas they represented were popular with average Americans. So popular, it turns out, that average Americans are organizing themselves in pursuit of the kind of good government Mr. Obama promised, but has not delivered. And that, in a nutshell, was the feel of the National Tea Party Convention. The political elites have failed, and citizens are stepping in to pick up the slack.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 at 12:30|
March 12, 2010 | Getting Obama Right | By DAVID BROOKS
Who is Barack Obama?
If you ask a conservative Republican, you are likely to hear that Obama is a skilled politician who campaigned as a centrist but is governing as a big-government liberal. He plays by ruthless, Chicago politics rules. He is arrogant toward foes, condescending toward allies and runs a partisan political machine.
If you ask a liberal Democrat, you are likely to hear that Obama is an inspiring but overly intellectual leader who has trouble making up his mind and fighting for his positions. He has not defined a clear mission. He has allowed the Republicans to dominate debate. He is too quick to compromise and too cerebral to push things through.
You’ll notice first that these two viewpoints are diametrically opposed. You’ll, observe, second, that they are entirely predictable. Political partisans always imagine the other side is ruthlessly effective and that the public would be with them if only their side had better messaging. And finally, you’ll notice that both views distort reality. They tell you more about the information cocoons that partisans live in these days than about Obama himself. […]
We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office.
Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company
Maybe both the far-right and -left are correct about Obama, at least as Brooks depicts their positions. “Skilled politician who campaigned as a centrist but is governing as a big-government liberal; is arrogant, condescending and partisan” doesn’t preclude “a leader who has trouble making up his mind and who has not defined a clear mission.”
People are foolish: Money can’t buy you happiness, economists find By Andy Bloxham
Inhabitants of wealthy countries tend to grow more miserable as their economy grows richer, according to research.
Economists Curtis Eaton and Mukesh Eswaran found that […] the bulk of the population, who were unable to afford the latest status symbols, were left unhappier by their inability to keep up.
As countries become wealthier, more value is attached to objects which are not strictly necessary for comfortable living, the researchers claim. People are then drawn into keeping up with the Joneses which results in less happiness for those who cannot afford the newest “must-have” items even if their wealth has increased. […] In their research, published in the Economic Journal, they said: “These goods represent a ‘zero-sum game’ for society: they satisfy the owners, making them appear wealthy, but everyone else is left feeling worse off.” …
Isn’t this supposed to be one of the things learned in kindergarten, or at least during high school?
Life ain’t fair, but if you’ve got three hots & a cot, plus your health, then it’s all good?
More prosaically, of course “the bulk of the population [are] unable to afford the latest status symbols.” If anyone could get them, then what kind of status would that symbolize? It’s why poseurs in the U.S. like to sneer at Wal~Mart shoppers.