By any normal standard, economic policy since the onset of the financial crisis has been a dismal failure. It’s true that we avoided a full replay of the Great Depression. But employment has taken more than six years to claw its way back to pre-crisis levels—years when we should have been adding millions of jobs just to keep up with a rising population. Long-term unemployment is still almost three times as high as it was in 2007; young people, often burdened by college debt, face a highly uncertain future.
Now Timothy Geithner, who was Treasury secretary for four of those six years, has published a book, “Stress Test,” about his experiences. And basically, he thinks he did a heckuva job.
Charles Blow at The New York Times writes Poverty Is Not a State of Mind:
Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, the didactic-meets-dynastic duo, spoke last week at a Manhattan Institute gathering, providing a Mayberry-like prescription for combating poverty in this country: all it takes is more friendship and traditional marriage.
Ryan said: “The best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned helplessness to a virtuous cycle of hope and flourishing is by embracing the attributes of friendship, accountability and love.”
Lovely, Mr. Ryan. Really, I’m touched. But as every poor person in America will tell you, you can’t use friendship tokens to pay the electricity bill, and you can’t simply hug the cashier and walk away with groceries.
Furthermore, the statement makes a basic and demeaning assumption about the poor: that they suffer a deficiency of friendship, accountability and loving relationships. That, sir, has not been my experience. Poverty is demonstrative not of a lack of character, but a lack of cash.
E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post writes No more liberal apologies as Elizabeth Warren takes the offensive:
Warren’s book tells her personal story in a folksy way and documents her major public battles, including her successful effort to establish a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But the book is most striking for the way in which her confident tone parallels Ronald Reagan’s upbeat proclamations on behalf of his own creed.
Conservatives loved the Gipper for using straightforward and understandable arguments to make the case for less government. Warren turns the master’s method against the ideology he rhapsodized. Even former treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, who tangled with Warren, acknowledges in his new book “Stress Test” that she has “a gift for explanation.”
At the end of a long liberal era, Reagan electrified conservatives by telling them they didn’t have to apologize anymore for what they believed. Now, Warren insists, it’s the era of liberal apologies that’s over.
You can read more pundit excerpts after the orange swirly-ma-gig.