CUP Authors Weigh in on the Economy and Sarah Palin

Like much of the country, Columbia University Press authors are thinking about and writing about the downturn in the U.S. economy and the presidential election.

In his article Reversal of Fortune, appearing in the November issue of Vanity Fair, Joseph Stiglitz, co-editor of The Economists’ Voice: Top Economists Take on Today’s Problems, describes how ideology, special-interest pressure, populist politics, and sheer incompetence have left the U.S. economy on life support. In addition to his very lucid and pointed analysis of the failures of the current administration and his critique of free-market fundamentalism run amok, Stiglitz also puts forth a clear, commonsense plan to improve the economy.

Stiglitz argues that the McCain-Palin prescriptions for rescuing the economy share too much with the Bush administration policies to provide any real solutions. Not only will lowering taxes be detrimental to the economy but expanding drilling (Drill, baby, Drill) in the United States will, Stiglitz argues, have a negligible effect on the price we pay for oil and will make us more dependent on foreigners in the future.

Sarah Palin, of course, has been saying quite a lot lately and in a recent piece in the Huffington Post, Andrew Bacevich, editor of The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II, corrects Palin’s attribution of the concept of America as the “city upon a hill” to Ronald Reagan (it was John Winthorp who said it first). Bacevich writes, “The question for Governor Palin and for other believers committed to the concept of American exceptionalism is this: have we kept the Lord’s covenant? If not, perhaps the time has come to mend our ways before it’s too late.”

In a forum held by Politico, experts in a variety of fields were asked “Did Palin’s ‘terrorists’ comments cross the line? Is Obama’s Keating response the right response?” Charles Calomiris, a professor at the Columbia Business School and the School of International Public Affairs, and co-editor of Sustaining India’s Growth Miracle, wrote:

“I think Governor Palin’s comments were appropriate and pertinent. Senator Obama has tried to portray himself as a moderate who exemplifies mainstream American values, but his history and his voting record belie that characterization.

Palin’s statement drew attention to the fact that Obama was willing to serve on a board with a terrorist. I would not be willing to serve on a board with such a person. Would you? If you answer yes to that question, at least be honest enough to admit that a yes answer makes you someone that many Americans might reasonably regard as a leftist and a person of dubious character, not a moderate who exemplifies mainstream American values. It is certainly legitimate to judge someone running for president by his choice of business associates (or his choice of pastor, for that matter) since these reflect on a candidate’s ideology and character.”

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