In a second hard-hitting round, the ‘born again’ Jeffrey Sachs leaps out of his ring corner with a powerful left-right assault against two slow-footed opponents. His ring performance is reminiscent of Muhammed Ali at the peak of his form:
“Float like a butterfly
Sting like a bee.
Your hands can’t hit
what your eyes can’t see.” Ali
Sachs frames the fiscal crisis confronting America in words that are meaningful and understandable. You will never find such accuracy in the words of our Cellophane President:
“Our federal deficit is…therefore stuck at around 7 per cent of GDP. Yet the two parties just ran the most populist campaigns this side of a banana republic, and I do a grave disservice to banana republics these days to say so. The Republicans wanted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for 100 per cent of the population., especially for the rich, whom they call ‘job-creators’. The Democrats wanted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for 98 per cent of the population, whom they call the ‘worthy, hard-working middle class”. Yesterday, these two incisive political forces made a mighty compromise. The Bush-era tax cuts will be extended permanently for 99 per cent of the population. This was a difficult compromise. The Republicans had to swallow a marginal tax rise of 4.6 percentage points for incomes above $450,000. The Democrats had to swallow hard to endear themselves to households between $250,000 and $450,000 in income, who got more of a break than Mr. Obama had pledged during the campaign. To sweeten the deal further, many other tax breaks and temporary spending measures were extended for somewhere between one and five years. What does it add up to? Who knows? These packages are voted without budget forecasts attached.” Jeffrey sachs, ‘That was no cliff. It was a kids’ playground’, The Times, January 2, 2013
Jeffrey Sachs concludes the round with a left uppercut and a right hook that put both of his blundering opponents on the floor for knockout counts, while also, almost but not quite incidentally, flooring the referee:
“The American people want their meagre services and rickety infrastructure, the rich want their tax cuts, the military wants its $700 billion in annual spending; and the politicians want to win re-election. And with their remarkable performance for the local and vested interests, 91 per cent of them did. In the meantime, the debt–GDP ratio has doubled from 36 per cent to 74 per cent since 2007.” Jeffrey Sachs, ‘That was no cliff. It was a kids’ playground’ The Times, January 2, 2013
Welcome on board Jeffrey Sachs. Harvard’s loss is The Locke Institute’s gain!