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If you fall asleep at 6pm and wake up at midnight, does that count as a nap and can you still check off things on Monday’s to-do list or do you have to make them a part of Tuesdays? Assuming, of course, that you plan on going back to sleep by 4am.

 

There is something so mystical about the power of a to-do list. That reverential moment when you pause, pen in hand, over the paper and inhale the smell of accomplishment, self-esteem and success before plunging down and crossing an item off the list like you were eradicating the common cold from the world. Just about everyone I know admits to this habit. I think today I am going to cheat, although it may be just Tuesday where I am, I am going to rationalize and say it is still Monday somewhere so I get to keep crossing things off my Monday list until 3am my time, in which case it is Tuesday everywhere (unless I really want to stretch it and can look to Asia).

 

Paul Krugman, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, published a piece January 1st on the economy called, “Nobody Understands Debt.” You may have seen it or seen quotes from it as it is making its’ rounds on the Internet. The problem with the piece, like the problem I am trying to resolve with my over-napping instead of working, is that the basis for his stance comes from statistics that he has misconstrued or misrepresented. However, the tone of the article (implying that most Americans are economic idiots and only he possess understanding) and its source, the long revered New York Times make people less inclined to read with a critical eye and just accept what is written as truth.

 

Firstly, taking the tone that your readers are idiots is never advisable. Especially if you manage to have the wrong facts and numbers yourself. Secondly, while the NYTs enjoys a historical reputation of reliability, over the past ten years it has become notorious for fraudulent reporting, fact manipulation and out right lying.

 

I am not going to recap the article however I am going to reprint a discussion between myself and another person on google+ about it which says it all. (BTW, the original post was public)

 

 

Peter Bromberg  –  8:49 AM (edited)  –  Public

Yep! Here’s Paul Krugman again – telling everybody they don’t understand “debt”
“the allegedly urgent issue of reducing the budget deficit.” “Governments don’t [have to pay back their debt]– all they need to do is ensure that debt grows more slowly than their tax base.”

Who doesn’t understand debt, Paul? Our debt is NOT growing more slowly than the tax base. It hasn’t in years. That’s why we have a ballooning deficit!

 

Nobody Understands Debt

 

The obsession with deficit reduction is wrongheaded and ill-informed.

  –  Comment

+1

1 share  –

7 comments

 

Mike Trani   Robbing from Peter to pay Paul. A very old proverb.How much kool-aide did this guy imbibe?

8:54 AM   

 

cassandra tribe  –  is it just me, but the logic in that article just did not make sense at all? I read it twice and usually I can get something out of any article no matter what the opinion but this one was just…weird…not to mention his stats about Britain’s debt to GDP are way off (he omitted that his stats are for Net debt only if you include the Royal Bank of Scotland, lloyds and other private financial institutions). In 2011 their debt percent barely broke 62%. I am really getting sick and tired of pompous people with the wrong facts who try to tell the rest of us we have no idea what is going on. Mr. Krugman, you might want to try the novel idea of rough draft – review – edit – fact check and rewrite — it’s what the rest of us poor. confused and ignorant people rely on to try and not muddy the waters more

9:02 AM  –  Edit    

+2

   

 

Dave Rozzana  –  Hate to say it, but whenever Krugman makes a statement it’s just plain weird. As +cassandra tribe implies, he’s just on a different planet….or just lazy.

9:48 AM    

 

cassandra tribe  –  +Dave Rozzana I have to admit, I stopped reading the NYTs about 10 years ago because the quality and reliability of their journalism and commentators has just become….so poor (to use a kind word).

9:54 AM  –  Edit   

 

Mike Trani  –  The problem with statements and articles like this is that the public believes all this tripe.

9:55 AM    

+1

   

 

Peter Bromberg  –  +cassandra tribe I gave up the Times years ago. I just read Krugman and a couple of others online in order to assure myself I made the right decision. Actually he’s right that debt doesn’t have to be repaid. But you still have to service it. And when the payments get too high, guess what?

10:10 AM (edited)    

   

cassandra tribe  –  Well, he is right and wrong about that…a) look what happened in Iceland and b) the perceived ability to be able to repay that debt determines the willingness of loaners, no matter that the realistic expectation is that it won’t be repaid – and you are dead on about the servicing. Not to mention the whole complicated interplay of debt ratios to inflation to funding etc and ad nauseum. I think the general public believes this pap and nonsense because a) it is spoken from a place they expect authority and b) we don’t teach people how to think critically anymore. When they go looking to educate themselves on the web, this is what comes up as an authoritative answer. His argument that for every dollar borrowed we have 82 cents loaned out is beyond ignorant. The only way you could use that kind of stat as a justification of stability would be if for every dollar we have borrowed we were loaning out $1.15. Ugh…

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c.2012. Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.

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About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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