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Always look on the bright side of life


This WAPO op-ed from chief McCain economic adviser Donald Luskin may set some kind of record for unfortunate timing. Shorter Luskin: unless you happen to be among the few million wretched refuse of our teeming shores who purchased a subprime mortgage things are still pretty good so quit your bitching (I guess that’s not that short. It’s my first try at doing the blogger shorter thing, so spare me your elitist latte-sipping elitism about how it’s not very good. I am trying to become aware of all internet traditions).

In regard to the substance of Luskin’s argument, I know almost as little about economics as John McCain, but I do know this: Over the past 30 years median household income in the United States has barely risen, from about $40K to around $46K. At the same time, the gross domestic product has increased by about 120% (all of this in constant dollars. If GDP had remained the same per capita it would have increased by about 40%). In other words, the wealth of the nation has nearly doubled in real terms per person, yet the typical household is pretty much where it was 30 years ago. Which means, of course, that the typical household is vastly worse off relative to the top 5%, and 1% and especially top .1% of its neighbors.

Furthermore, in recent centuries American culture has been constructed around conspicuous consumption, constant televangelizing for the gods of consumerism, and media celebrations of fantasies of unlimited wealth.

So why is Donald Luskin surprised when the peasantry rattle their pitchforks?

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  • djw

    chief McCain economic adviser Donald Luskin
    In a sane world, the fact that this particular arrangement of words corresponds to reality would put an end to the election.

  • Malaclypse

    spare me your elitist latte-sipping elitism
    Oh great, another thread war with S,N!

  • togolosh

    If Dubya’s Social Security plan had passed the unraveling of Big Shitpile would have been substantially delayed by the injection of millions of naive investors into the market who could have been fleeced to prop up the likes of Lehman Bros. The subsequent implosion would have been spectacular, something on the order of 1929 or even worse.

  • Anonymous

    How about this: Shorter Luskin: “If you still have a roof over your head, then STFU!”

  • Evan

    It’s also not surprising that he fails to mention that he’s a McCain advisor until about the 10th paragraph.

  • Fauxmaxbaer

    As I watch my stock portfolio continue its meltdown, I await an explanation from Luskin or Kudlow of how it is the fault of Barack Obama.
    Haven’t the polls been quite kind to McBush since he chose Mooselini as his trainee?

  • stickler

    The subsequent implosion would have been spectacular, something on the order of 1929 or even worse.
    This presupposes that we’re not living through a slow-motion replay of 1929 even as we speak.
    Brother can you spare a dime?

  • McCain has plans for your retirement money. He wants to invest it with Merrill Lynch or with Lehman Brothers, but he can’t seem to find them right now. If you run into those guys, will you have them get in touch with him?

  • Meanwhile, McCain’s ads are portraying him as a reformer who will clean up this mess. This kind of lying is far worse than the merely low class mudslinging. It may work, too, since the public has the attention span of a lubber grasshopper.

  • Shorter:
    If the foreclosed farmers, millers, and bakers would quit kvetching, the unemployed would be able to hear me enjoying this tasty cake with my friends.

  • Uncle Jeffy

    Calling Mr. Luskin! Calling Mr. Luskin! Mr. Margin on Line 2!

  • Fauxmaxbaer

    Here’s a surprise:
    Sitting behind McCain was former Gov. Jeb Bush, who was hired a year ago by Lehman Brothers as a financial consultant. As governor, Bush served on the three-member State Board of Administration that agreed to let the state’s retirement fund buy a series of mortgage-backed securities from Lehman Brothers that turned out to be troubled. The subsequent steep drop in value prompted a $9 billion run on the fund last December by local governments who had invested their money in the SBA managed fund. Lehman also manages two funds for the SBA, which is also heavily invested in some Lehman securities.
    Wonder how those Floridians whose pensions just melted down will vote.

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