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In the July/August issue of Politico Magazine, economist and Nobel Laureate Josef Stiglitz wrote a 2,600-word article entitled “The Myth of America’s Golden Age.” What a pretentious title for the rehashing of old data. First Stiglitz recalls how things were in the good old days of his teenage years, the late 1950’s, and then summons the usual suspects to explain when and why it all went wrong. He brings us up to the present moment and fearlessly places blame where it belongs.

Anyone who had been paying attention for the past few years could have written the very same article with no trouble. But ordinary folks, unlike Stiglitz, have not been trained in economics with a PhD from mighty M.I.T. which he reminds us of twice. We ordinary folks long ago identified the problem. We know who did what to whom and when they did it. We know what went wrong. We are familiar with the problem. We have been hurt by it while Stiglitz’s speaking fees and book sales have gone up. He, like Geithner, has profited from all of the pain we have suffered. But all of that would be okay if only he had offered us a way forward. Instead, all he did was tell us that capitalism, political paralysis, market imperfections, and a rigged system of government all share blame for our troubles. But he offers not a single idea for solving these obvious problems. He, in effect, has nothing to offer and therefore he has nothing worth saying. All he actually did say was that he was afraid of the future.

People who bitch, bitch, bitch, and offer no ideas on how to solve our many problems would serve a useful purpose if they would just keep quiet. People like Stiglitz should put up or shut up. If they are so smart then let’s see their solutions. Let them spend about 150,000 words (like Piketty) and spell out a plan for making the changes we need. Stiglitz and those of his ilk should lead, follow, or get out of the way.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, paz3, Chi, lordcopper, mikeVA
    Hidden by:

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 02:34:21 PM PDT

  •  Does joe owe you money? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Timaeus, Just Bob

    or do you just not like ivory towers?

  •  I thought (15+ / 0-)

    it was a good article, but you are entitled to your own views.   I often learn from Stiglitz's writings and he is a progressive voice.  

    It is possible to like Joe Stiglitz and Barack Obama.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:05:47 PM PDT

    •  I don't dislike either of them, and I did not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      mention Obama at all. I think you are trying to change the subject of this diary. But I may have done a bad job of writing it, so I will try to put is as clearly as I can. Joseph Stiglitz published an article that simply rehashes what he has said many times before. Furthermore leaders in various academic fields, I think, have an obligation to formulate plans for correcting the many obvious problems that plague us today and have plagued us for the past thirty years. Now you can put me in my place by simply pointing me to the solutions that Stiglitz has published for solving these problems.

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:11:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This (6+ / 0-)

        might be a good place to start.

        There are pdfs linked here, though I haven't read them.


        I don't really know Stiglitz's work, but he doesn't seem shy.

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:35:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Um... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cville townie

        Why do you believe it is the job of academic economists to "formulate plans" for correcting what is wrong, rather than pointing out as best they can what IS wrong? Politicians make policy and law, not academics. Any serious change in policy and law based on what's wrong with current policy and law must come through the administration and legislature, and the only thing that could ever cause them to actually do that is pressure from the people. And that always weighs less than pressure from those who actually dictate policy and law (financial criminals).

        Academics who inform the people about what is wrong - in their considered opinions - with current policy and law can only hope to motivate the people to insist upon change. If by chance the politicians were ever to hear and heed the people, they would then (maybe, maybe not) ask the academics to help them formulate plans. Which usually get compromised into pointlessness (and NO change) long before any votes are taken or policies issued.

        I have seen no indication anywhere, from any politician, that any of them really care about what bad policies and laws are doing to the people, or that any of them are seeking meaningful change. Have you?

        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

        by Joieau on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:05:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What did say progressive. He nothing. (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      cville townie

      First thousands of word said nothing! Nada. Nothing monetary policy. Nothing with fiscal policy. It was a huge waste of time, unless your asshole that wants to attack Geithner.

      President Obama and Geithner made sound choices for our monetary system. End story. The Great Depression was created because of monetary problems, but bobwhatever diarist could care less about actually learning macro-economics.

      In fact, you got a problem with private equity and the financial economy than write better laws!

  •  So don't read it, or future articles from him. (13+ / 0-)

    This outburst is as pointless as you think Stiglitz's article was.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:12:20 PM PDT

  •  Hmmm (10+ / 0-)

    and then I ponder how this diary is helpful.

    "You cannot win improv." Stephen Colbert ( at 16:24).

    by Publius2008 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:14:42 PM PDT

    •  This diary shows so far, that no one has a plan (0+ / 0-)

      for making the changes we need to set our nation on a course that works for the common good. The commenters here who have disagreed with me and who therefore defended Stiglitz have no ideas for moving forward either or they would have mentioned them. They know of nothing that Stiglitz has offered and they have mentioned no ideas of their own.

      The defenders of Stiglitz and his article are reinforcing an attitude of sheer hopelessness.

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:23:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what are you talking about? (8+ / 0-)

        is it the responsibility of random dailykos users to formulate a comprehensive national economic policy every time you say that you don't like an article you read?

        stiglitz has been a prolific writer on the faltering state of the current economy. if you want to read some of his explicitly, clearly-proposed solutions, just put his name into the google machine and it will give you a happy. or take the simple inferences from what he said in the article you're railing against. the article is about what its about. sorry it didnt meet you're personal needs.

        •  No, it is not the responsible of random DailyKos (0+ / 0-)

          users to have plans, but if those who have commented here knew of such plans from Stiglitz then they would have said so. But all they do is link to articles, which they have not read. Nobody can point to a plan.

          Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

          by hestal on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:44:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Rec'd especially for this nice sentence: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lost and Found, blueoasis
          is it the responsibility of random dailykos users to formulate a comprehensive national economic policy every time you say that you don't like an article you read?
  •  I think many don't understand WHAT has happened (10+ / 0-)

    let alone WHY and HOW it happened.

    The average Joe needs to understand first the underpinnings of how the 99% have been screwed in order to begin to figure out how to address the situation, hopefully in a non French or Russian Revolution manner.

    The very first step would be getting some kind of return to a Rule of Law where miscreants are punished regardless of their class and position and where a white collar financial swindler is held to the same standards of accountability as the guy who robs the 7/11 without those in charge telling us that it's all too complicated to prosecute. Bullsh*t. That would be a beginning in restoring some confidence in our system.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:17:45 PM PDT

  •  this is one of the worst points possible: (8+ / 0-)

    "People who bitch, bitch, bitch, and offer no ideas on how to solve our many problems would serve a useful purpose if they would just keep quiet."

    But the irony in your use of this weird and easily rebutted entreaty is fairly amusing. Why are we only allowed to offer solutions, and not to discuss and dissect problems? Why on earth should that be the rule for public discourse going forward?

    Anyhow, Stiglitz is using his article to make a diagnosis, and it seems to me that his proposed solutions are fairly obvious based on the points he's made. It makes me wonder if you actually read the article, or if you're just some sort of disgruntled neighbor with an axe to grind. Has the professor been letting his dog poop on your lawn or something?

    •  The diagnosis was made by Stiglitz and many (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Musial, Pluto

      others years ago. Now is the time to operate and save the patient's life. If you don't want to participate, that is your right. I am merely saying that Stiglitz have an obligation to offer ideas that will enable to change our situation for the better. I don't think you have the same obligation because you have not put yourself forward as an expert in the field, but he has and he has a duty to say more.

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:34:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stiglitz is only an economist with very limited (6+ / 0-)

        political influence. But he at least does not preach economism, that the solutions are economic. You are onto something if you ask for a political solution.

        Economic inequality was restored politically in 1976 by the Nixon Court in Buckley. This was a long awaited breakthrough against the system of their enemies the Roosevelts. The nation was created by lawyers Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and maintained by lawyers JQA, Sumner, Lincoln and FDR. If you read FDR's fireside chat of 3-9-37, you discover that economic equality and general prosperity, his New Deal, is a function of legislation. The opponent of democracy is, and almost always has been the Court. Not that history explains everything, but this is an old fight that goes back to Dred Scott. Historically the defense of broadly equal economic opportunity requires legislative revolution in the teeth of a reactionary Court. See, Prof. Bruce Ackerman "We the People." You've likely been trained, if you are from the US to think that Con law is an arcane speciality of judges, it isn't, it's the outcome of civil wars that don't get so named, but are there nonetheless. As Huey Long taught, economic reform is a function of electoral politics. There is a political strategy for addressing inequality, but it comes from outside the corrupt partisan system to impact it, as has happened in every constitutional revolution. Stiglitz is helpful as an expert witness, but it will take an attack on the Court, and empowerment of an accountable Congress.

    •  Or an employee of the parasites. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:19:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am so over economists. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hestal, Timaeus, Joieau

    ESPECIALLY American-educated economists.

    They produce even less for society than market speculators and hedge-fund managers.

  •  Passive aggressive much? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, samddobermann

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by ricklewsive on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 04:42:32 PM PDT

  •  let me see, if I can recall the definition of (0+ / 0-)

    It is an attempt to explain today why what we predicted yesterday will not happen tomorrow (sorry if I screwed it up)  

  •  Sorry for your conditions, you have my sympathies. (8+ / 0-)

    Apparently you've been living under a rock, or something, and have missed the last 10 years' of Dr. Stiglitz' suggestions, plans, predictions, and even volunteering to serve the newly minted President.

    I can understand how, being so completely cut off for so long, you missed all of this. Don't worry though, it's all out there for you to catch up on, now that you're free.

    Being right is the best qualification.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:17:47 PM PDT

  •  I'm guessing that the problems people have... (0+ / 0-)

    ...with the article, which I haven't read, is because it's in Politico, which is probably a good reason not to read it.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:58:35 PM PDT

  •  There are no sacred cows. Why should there be? (3+ / 0-)

    Whether it's Bill Black writing nonsense about a threat to America's ability to protect the world's economies, or Stiglitz writing a timid article, remembering things the way he wants to, maybe to make a point, or President Obama, with his appointments of the wrong people who somehow look right to him, there are no sacred cows.

    I could name others, but none of them are sacred, either.

     Nevertheless, lots of people do believe in having a sacred cow or two around, and they'll even put up with the huge steaming cow pies sacred cows produce, because, after all, a cow is just a cow, not sacred at all.

    Politico always seems too rightwing to me but I had to go there to read what Stiglitz wrote. The government response to the economic meltdown was unsatisfactory and there were other solutions, though he doesn’t say what they were or if they could be implemented now.

    Stiglitz blames the President who should have been more decisive and determined. He probably wrote the piece before Boehner announced he was suing the President for being more decisive and determined than the executive branch was meant to be, by his estimation.

    I didn’t  expect Stiglitz to cite "lower taxes on capital" when the rate for the upper bracket was raised from 15% to 23.8%.

    I don't expect him to cite "lower inheritance taxes" when they were ZERO in 2010 and raised since then.

    REDISTRIBUTION. Stiglitz timidly beats around the bush when he should just say outright that the economy needs REDISTRIBUTION.

    SOCIAL SECURITY FOR THE YOUNG. Stiglitz should quit being coy and call for a confiscatory estate tax to create a trust fund that pays a lump sum to young people when they reach adulthood. Give them an equal chance to clear a path toward the life they want.

    Abolish TAX HAVENS for the rich. Oh yeah, this one's already in the Senate but Rand Paul blocked it.

    Which leads to the real problem.

    The government is no longer exactly functional.

  •  hestal speaks and says nothing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 05:48:09 AM PDT

  •  Well, this debate did get me to buy Piketty's book (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    So, some good came out of it.

  •  Here's one - current (0+ / 0-)
    Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz includes capital gains reforms in his new white paper, "Reforming Taxation to Promote Growth and Equity."

    I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

    by samddobermann on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 02:25:02 PM PDT

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