So the CBO report on “Trumpcare” is in and the bottom line is that, over the next decade, 24 million people will drop off the insured rolls (some presumably dying for lack of affordable care), but $337 billion will be saved. That latter number sounds like it would go a fair piece toward making up for the revenues lost as a consequence of tax cuts for the big hitters, which I suspect has been the game plan all along – forget the fake populism. It’s easy to blame ignorance for the tendency of Trump’s “deplorables” to vote against their own well-being. The issue is, it seems to me, where are the people willing to protect these voters from the consequences of letting anger, resentment, and other retributive feelings cancel out common sense and a grasp of when they’re being played? Here’s one thought, from James Fenimore Cooper’s The American Democrat (1836), a book I return to again and again: “Whenever the enlightened, wealthy, and spirited of an affluent and great country, seriously conspire to to subvert democratical institutions, their leisure, money, intelligence and means of combining, will be found too powerful for the ill-directed and conflicting efforts of the mass. It is therefore, all important, to enlist a portion of this class, at least, in the cause of freedom, since its power at all times renders it a dangerous enemy.”
So the Whitney Biennial “nails it.” https://news.artnet.com/art-world/whitney-biennial-2017-890876?utm_campaign=artnetnews&utm_source=031517daily&utm_medium=email&utm_term=artnet%20News%20Daily%20Newsletter%20USE I don’t know. Of course, we do live in an odd time when the illustrations to an article seldom have anything to do with the point the critic is trying to make (same as museums NEVER making postcards of the really interesting stuff in an exhibition), but still, what’s shown here strikes me as weird when it’s not ugly and not really either inspired or inspiring.
Today’s NYT Business section carries a piece by Wall Street dogsbody Andrew Ross Sorkin that exculpates Preet Bharara from accusations that he in effect went soft on banks in the 2008 crisis. As it happens, I agree with Sorkin. There are points where greed and stupidity verge on outright criminality but not under the letter of the law. But there are other forms of punishment. Appointment of a 21st-century Pecora to conduct high-visibility, highly-focused hearings (not so-called “investigative” hearings staged by bought-off members of Congress). Conservatorship of afflicted institutions. Dismissal of their top officers and boards. Pricing bailouts in terms of shares (1% of the stock, say, for every $100 million of bailout money). Apropos of which: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-03-14/shortfall-in-bank-ethics-stretches-to-the-very-top We speak of “moral hazard” in banking, but how can there be such when there’s no morality?
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-14/valeant-slumps-after-long-time-backer-ackman-exits-with-a-loss
I continue to ask: why should NYC “affordable housing” be located within “market rate” (ie luxury) deveopments with a fat tax deal for developers? For one thing, the “affordable” units located within luxury developments are the same size as the “market rate” units and once the “affordability-qualified” tenants are driven out by a variety of the means that high-priced real-estate lawyers are paid to develop, can be readily converted to taxpayer-subsidized market-rate units. Why not tax luxury developments and use the funds to create affordable housing in parts of the city outside the radius of immediate gentrification?
Starting back with Eric Ambler, I’ve loved spy novels, Le Carre etc. I’ve recently read two. Charles Cumming’s A Divided Spy and Mick Harron’s Spook House (Slough Street). The first is unreadable. I started, quit, went back to it three times, finally quit for good. The second is marvelous: original, ingenious, gripping. Five-star.