Doug Henwood summarizes the recent CBO report that should put to an end all the deficit reduction madness that dominants the mainstream airwaves and op-ed pages.
Alas, what passes for politics these days doesn’t value such data-driven argumentation. Henwood says:
Austerians are driven by a mix of irrational anxiety and a desire to take benefits away from all but the rich. Benefits create expectations, and dilute the power of labor market discipline, both of which are potentially explosive. People don’t like to have things taken away from them, so it helps to create a sense of emergency to lubricate the process.
So the Austerians will surely push on. They might, adds Henwood, instead get a bit more hysterical about all that CO2 in atmosphere.
By Robert S. Eshelman
Seven cactus plants, clone-like in their similarity, line a windowsill in Kevin Griffin’s laboratory, located in the Seismology-Marine Biology building at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. The cacti are a very, very odd sight. For a scientist who primarily investigates forest ecosystems and plant respiration, Griffin’s workspace has a shockingly synthetic feel to it and these small, pale-green forms are the only clue that this man’s work is the close study of organic life.
Scattered across countertops and lining shelves high and low are: tangled wires; plastic hoses; glass jars, cardboard boxes and black, plastic travel cases; several machines (their utility not at all clear); something that looks like a soldering iron but probably isn’t; a pair of wire cutters with light green plastic handles; several small pieces of gun-metal grey piping; a black, three-ring binder; and a crate full of soundproofing foam. Mind-numbing artificial light radiates from long, overhead bulbs and a persistent rattle emanates from an unidentifiable source, maybe an air-conditioner, maybe a freezer. Grey vertical blinds block much of the somber sunlight, the result of an early-Spring drizzle and the plentiful forest cover that lends the Lamont-Doherty campus its bucolic feel.