Money, the Economy, and the Presidential Election

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Yorker staff writer John Cassidy discusses economics and the presidential campaign. He’s been covering Mitt Romney and President Obama on The New Yorker’s blog “Rational Irrationality.” Cassidy’s latest book is How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities.


John Cassidy

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Comments [17]

Amy from Manhattan

jawbone, that was what I thought when I 1st heard the out-of-context quote. But when I heard the longer excerpt, I realized that when Pres. Obama said, "you didn't build that," he wasn't referring to the business someone started but to the infrastructure & other systems that allowed that business to grow.

Jul. 25 2012 03:02 AM

jawbone: Wall Street and the Banksters ALWAYS pick the winner. U.S. presidents are elected, they are selected by the big money interests.

Jul. 24 2012 02:19 PM

masoesa from Brooklyn, NY, you wrote: Remember when he was talking about the car industry which he saved? He was confident and he was right. Come on now.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the car company bailouts were initiated by Bush back in November 2008.

"On May 27, 2009, the U.S. Treasury, advanced a secured loan of US$ 360.6 million to GM, and GM issued a note to the Treasury for US$ 360.6 million, plus US$ 24.1 million as additional compensation for the warranty advance, pursuant to the terms of the Warranty Agreement dated December 31, 2008 between GM and the U.S. Treasury."

And it isn't the government's role to "save" favored industries—including the banking and car manufacturing industries. The whole purpose of a marketplace is for those who know how to use resources efficiently stay in business and make a profit. Those who don't are supposed to go out of business in order for those resources to be taken over by people who know how to use them efficiently. Otherwise, let's save Eastern, TWA, and PanAm airlines, and Wang Word Processors and Remington Typewriters.

Jul. 24 2012 02:17 PM

Kevin from Mamaroneck, the public roads were built with the tax money from private citizens (including entrepreneurs who, being in a higher tax bracket, probably paid the bulk of the costs of public infrastructure) and were built by private companies. Government can only "do" or "build" things by forcibly taking money from private, individual citizens.

Jul. 24 2012 02:11 PM
Steve from New Jersey

Look at what you're saying though; What the hell do we have this deadlocking party system in this country that prevents anything from getting done? We, the people, are like children sitting in our rooms listening to our parents argue over the gay couple next door and the woman who had an abortion down the street rather than feed us dinner.

Jul. 24 2012 12:41 PM
Mike from Tribeca

Of course Romney isn't talking about what he will do about the economy. What little he has said is just Bush II Redux, implemented by the same former Bush people.

Jul. 24 2012 12:35 PM

Hugh -- Yes, indeed. The arrogance of the Point Zero One Percent.

Jul. 24 2012 12:32 PM

Re: Obama's "they didn't build" their businesses --

An important point was ruined by Obama's clumsy and easily attacked wording. He goofed. He mispoke. Or he just wasn't thinking. All he needed was to add "by themselves" and he would have been golden.

Maybe he's trying to use the Bush the Younger way of endearing himself to the electorate?

He's not the greatest extemporaneous speaker. I noticed that when he was so very bad during the initial Democratic Party primaries. I had read but not heard his set piece speeches, and was expecting a really good speaker. He got somewhat better, but, still, even now, with so much practice, he hems and haws and has long pauses. Searching for the very best word?

Well, he made a terrible hash of what was an important point.


Jul. 24 2012 12:28 PM

There is another component that Cassidy has hinted at (and others like Paul Krugman and Simon Johnson have discussed at greater length). The Romneys, Bloombergs, people attending fundraisers and bleating about VIPs, _expect_ to be treated like little tin gods. They expect obedience and gratitude. In their workplaces they are accustomed to being surrounded by obsequious yes-men. Despite its Democratic leaning, Massachusetts, with its Harvard cult and Boston Brahmin, is a state poisoned by this attitude of obedience to authority, power, and wealth.

The air of distaste or contempt displayed by Romney or Bloomberg when challenged is evidence of their assumption of 'superiority.'

Jul. 24 2012 12:23 PM
ruby r

Thank you Kevin from Mamaroneck and masoesa from Brooklyn, NY. I wonder why interviewers don't jump in to correct that stuff.

Jul. 24 2012 12:23 PM

Perhaps the nonstop attempts by the right to label Obama a "socialist" have backfired on them. Because he's painted as this wild-eyed leftist, which doesn't comport with most people's impression of Obama, they're more willing to cut him some slack and also view him as somewhat left of where he actually is. Especially as it concerns civil liberties and the economy.

I see Obama as a center right corporatist, and most of his actions about the economy have been mostly to protect and ensure the profitability of the Big Banksters and other large corporations.

His party identification makes it very difficult for most independents and Dem voters to see him for what he is -- a Republican in Democratic clothing.

He is the perfect Manchurian candidate for Wall Street. They picked a winner -- for them.

Not for the rest of us.

Jul. 24 2012 12:22 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Can the guest explain exactly what it is about Romney's business experience that makes him better for the country's economy than Obama? And also, what he would have done better than Obama since 2008?

Jul. 24 2012 12:20 PM
masoesa from Brooklyn, NY

That is really bullocks. It was not a gaffe. I can't believe he is saying that. The quote is taken out of context and he uses that. Obama never said that. I was hoping to hear valid reasons why he is not comfortable talking about economy. Remember when he was talking about the car industry which he saved? He was confident and he was right. Come on now.

Jul. 24 2012 12:18 PM
Kevin from Mamaroneck

Obama did NOT say that entrepreneurs did not build their businesses! I can't believe your guest is repeating this nonsense! He said entrepreneurs rely on public infrastructure like roads and bridges, and obviously they did not build those. Wow.

Jul. 24 2012 12:17 PM
fuva from harlemworld

To act so wrecklessly for excessive immediate profit in ways that destabilize the country in which you live and profess to love is NOT rational.

Jul. 24 2012 12:14 PM
ruby r from Inwood, Manhattan

this guy is talking WAY too fast!

Jul. 24 2012 12:13 PM
antonio from bay

Aren't the national polls useless? The state by state polls show Obama at a baseline of 221 electoral votes...
Doesn't that predict at least a victory or at best a landslide?

Jul. 24 2012 12:12 PM

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