The Science of Journalism

If I Had My Way
One Man's Opinion -- for what it's worth.


To: Margaret Sullivan - public@nytimes.com

Cc: Doug Skoglund - skoglund@turbousa.com

From: Doug Skoglund - skoglund@pdmsb.com

Date: 04 Jul 2014 11:00 am CDT

Subject: 2014021 - A Prediction...

...or Wishful Thinking -- Take Your Pick.

The Republicans will take the Senate in November. The resulting battle will cause the Democrats to rethink strategy that will progress along one of two ways, as follows:

1. Obama will fight the GOP and Joe Biden will resign as VP and run for the 2016 nomination.

2. Obama will shift gears and support the Joe Biden effort.

In either case, Hillary will not run -- too much baggage.

Paul Krugman will be Biden's running mate and economic advisor. Following is from Paul's July 03 post, "Build We Won't."

You often find people talking about our economic difficulties as if they were complicated and mysterious, with no obvious solution. As the economist Dean Baker recently pointed out, nothing could be further from the truth. The basic story of what went wrong is, in fact, almost absurdly simple: We had an immense housing bubble, and, when the bubble burst, it left a huge hole in spending. Everything else is footnotes.

And the appropriate policy response was simple, too: Fill that hole in demand. In particular, the aftermath of the bursting bubble was (and still is) a very good time to invest in infrastructure. In prosperous times, public spending on roads, bridges and so on competes with the private sector for resources. Since 2008, however, our economy has been awash in unemployed workers (especially construction workers) and capital with no place to go (which is why government borrowing costs are at historic lows). Putting those idle resources to work building useful stuff should have been a no-brainer.

But what actually happened was exactly the opposite: an unprecedented plunge in infrastructure spending. Adjusted for inflation and population growth, public expenditures on construction have fallen more than 20 percent since early 2008. In policy terms, this represents an almost surreally awful wrong turn; we've managed to weaken the economy in the short run even as we undermine its prospects for the long run. Well played!

And it's about to get even worse. The federal highway trust fund, which pays for a large part of American road construction and maintenance, is almost exhausted. Unless Congress agrees to top up the fund somehow, road work all across the country will have to be scaled back just a few weeks from now. If this were to happen, it would quickly cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs, which might derail the employment recovery that finally seems to be gaining steam. And it would also reduce long-run economic potential.

How did things go so wrong? As with so many of our problems, the answer is the combined effect of rigid ideology and scorched-earth political tactics. The highway fund crisis is just one example of a much broader problem.

Paul's major shortcoming -- all talk and no action -- the New York Times problem -- will have to change -- or we'll never save our Democracy.

Remember, Paul is an expert in the Science of Economics -- I can only hope that he will learn how to expand that knowledge to the Science of Journalism. Science is a process -- the search for the best opinion where opinions can change as a result of expanding knowledge.

There is no conflict between Science and Religion since Religion is an opinion -- obviously, that is my opinion -- so it is entirely possible to have a Science of Religion -- as opposed to these never ending wars.

Of course, people will always have differing opinions, the basis for the development of the Democratic Process. And that is the only way to solve the problems Paul discusses -- get the people involved in the educational process so they can participate in the Democratic Process, intelligently.

To be continued (I really hope) 

Doug Skoglund skoglund@pdmsb.com

I don't provide for comments since that is a system designed to control the communication process -- I do provide an e-mail address!! (Please put a [MYWAY] in your title to get my attention)

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