Saturday, August 6, 2011

What Mattered This Week?

It's more economy and budget stuff, right? Early in the week, the resolution of the latest showdown; at the end of the week, a not-terrible employment report and then the S&P downgrade. I suppose all of those qualify. I don't think that the stock market's volatility does, much. I wrote a quick item over at the Plum Line about that, but here I'll link to what Nate Silver said. The economy matters a lot to elections, but day-to-day stories about the economy fade really quickly. Of course, this item isn't just about what matters to elections, but either way I'm not going to argue for Thursday's adventures on Wall Street mattering.

What else? The terrible news from Afghanistan this morning, for one thing (it's important regardless of any longer-term effects, but it also pushes the Administration a bit in the direction of withdrawing, I'd say). If you want some good news, it's starting to look as if the recent spike in US deaths in Iraq may have been confined to one awful six week period, with 20 fatalities through July 17, but none in the almost three weeks since.

I'm behind in my newspaper reading, however, so I'm sure I'm missing things: What else? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. If the European Union winds up disintegrating, and we end up with another thousand years or so of more or less constant warfare and revolution on the European continent, our descendants are going to look back on these weeks (if not this exact one) as a key moment in that unhappy development.

  2. I'd say the credit downgrade -- it should be a wakeup call to anyone who thinks we dodged a bullet earlier in the week.

  3. Even though the Republicans are again blaming the President for the failure of Republican policies (in this case a credit downgrade caused largely by a refusal of the GOP to budge on taxes, even though Obama was willing to sign off on Medicare cuts).. I think what may end up mattering out of all this is Wall Street noticing that they might not have a reliable partner in the "rock-ribbed conservative" Republican party.

    Wall Street certainly will keep their fingers in both camps, but it could help the Democrats on the margins. These people can't help but notice who is trying to help the economy grow, and who is trying to make Obama a one-term President. Combine that with the Tea Party tail appearing to wag the elephant, and you could have some financiers unwilling to chance four years of Republican restructuring.

    Low tax rates mean less when there are corresponding lower incomes. A poor economy is less pie for them to gorge themselves over.

  4. I agree with JS that one thing we saw this week were signs that the rentier class is unhappy with its erstwhile political arm, and is probably realizing it's lost some control. Although this could swing a few money people toward the Dems at the margins (Silicon Valley and a few other sectors already largely prefer Dems, if I have that right), the bigger response I would expect to see is some effort on the establishment's part to reassert control within the GOP. I have no idea what form that will take, although I'm reminded of the story that when the PLO wanted to shut down Black September, the radical wing that carried out the Munich Olympics murders and was no longr following orders from HQ, it held a mixer and got most of the black September guys hooked up with marriageable young ladies. This gave them other interests, and the problem was solved. I don't suppose that would work with the Tea Party, but maybe more Bingo nights or something.

  5. +1 for Neil. Birth control is ___HUGE___. It puts $50ish bucks every month back into the pockets of young women/couples, and it's directly related to politics and having Democrats in office. It matters, a lot.

    Would a $500/year tax credit for every woman have mattered? That's what this is going to be seen as.

  6. The Swedish press is reporting that the downgrade of U.S. credit is a huge deal for the global economy. I'm don't believe that the Swedish press understands the U.S. in the least but if all the other european countries feel the same way, who knows what might happen.


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