Author Archives: Lambert Strether

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

2:00PM Water Cooler 4/11/2019

Today’s Water Cooler: China trade, trade agreements and labor, Buttigieg, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, RussiaGate, race relations, Democrats and the donor class, Trump staffers, jobless claims, inflation, AI, Apple, the Green New Deal, plastic, ocean noise, tourists, Delta uniforms, trigger warnings


2:00PM Water Cooler 4/4/2019

Today’s Water Cooler: Biden, Buttigieg, Gravel, Ryan (new),O’Rourke and gentrification, Sanders, AOC, DCCC, Crosscheck, DSA in Chicago, employment situation, Tesla, robot cars, Boeing 737 MAX, global CO2 emissions, Green New Deal, pollinator-friendly solar projects, science and the slave trade, machine tools


2:00PM Water Cooler 4/3/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Readers, politics is a little light because I spent too much time on Boeing. I’ll add a bit more shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done! Trade “Exclusive: China’s huge Airbus order padded by old or incomplete deals – sources” [Reuters]. “A landmark order from China for 300 Airbus jets signed during […]