Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Interview w/ Barbara Ehrenreich, contributor to TomDispatch

Barbara Ehrenreich discusses her latest article, "Why Your Child May Not Get a Swine Flu Shot Soon."
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Fredric Dennis Williams said...

Disappointing interview -- she adds nothing to the discussion, other than her unexplained opinion that since the government can't estimate when vaccine will be produced, the government should produce the vaccine.

I can only conclude that she has no idea how astonishingly inept government operations really are -- or, perhaps she is not aware that political hacks and cronies are selected to run everything, and changed every few years for entirely new (and generally inexperienced) cronies.

Steve said...

Well let's see here ... the Manhatten Project, NASA moon shot, rural electrification, the interstate highways, the internet (DARPAnet) and the list goes on. I would say our government makes pretty close to the best nuclear subs and aircraft carriers in the world. No doubt in my mind we have the best teen basketball players and marching bands also.
Lighten up Frederic, the problem is not the government but US. When we decide to have the government, in other words US do something we do a pretty good job of it here. The problem is what we are asking it to do.

Fredric Dennis Williams said...

Let's see. For starters, it's "Fredric" and "Manhattan" -- so I would guess you were educated in a government school (cost about $9,000 per student per year of high school).

The concept for the Internet was developed by JCR Licklider at Bolt, Beranek & Newman. The first public demonstration was done in England, not the US. The world-wide web (www) with browsers,etc. was invented by Tim Berners-Lee, an independent contractor to CERN.

The need for an Interstate Highway System was recognized in 1919 and reported on by Dwight Eisenhower. The Germans began such a system in 1931. The US Government began in 1956.

The total cost of the Interstate Highway System plus the Apollo program and all the moon landings in today's government-depreciated currency was $600 billion. For comparison, the US Government will spend SIX TIMES this amount in just the current year.

I'll give you that government contractors build fine weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps they should stick to destroying things and let the rest of us get on with building a better world.

Ella said...

And FREDRIC - looks like you weren't educated at all or if you were, missed the logic course. It's hard to miss what a wonderful job the private sector has done with our economy.

fredric dennis williams said...

Hi, Ella --

You are quite right in saying that I took no course in logic. I have taught logic to quite a few students who went on to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, and other better-than-average private universities.

The economy of the US, and that of the world, is not controlled by the so-called "private sector." In the US about 40% of GDP is directly controlled by government, and the remainder is to a very large extent ordered about by government. This is nothing new -- a century and a half ago, Henry Thoreau wrote "Trade and commerce, if they were not made of Indian rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way."

So the recent collapse of the housing market can be traced directly to the Federal Reserve dropping interest rates dramatically after 9-11 and then raising them inexorably. This, not private business, caused the bubble in housing and the bursting of that bubble.

A better government is desirable. It isn't, however, practicable.