Here’s an e-mail exchange from today, unadorned. Perhaps y’all will take an interest in the discussion:
From: Kathryn Fenner
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:26 AM
To: Warthen, Brad – External Email
Subject: a suggestion
Upon reading Peter Brown’s comment (the old ‘it’s my money’ whine) in Adam Beam’s excellent front page piece in today’s paper on the possibility of federal "bailout" money coming to Columbia as "investments," I wondered if it might not be helpful for some of your readers if you did a simple primer on Keynesian macroeconomic theory (since Friedman is generally considered discredited outside the Governor’s circle). Maybe if people understood that, instead of directly taxing us, the federal government can print money, which, if it pays for certain things like wages, can actually create wealth (increase the pie) rather than taking money from your pocket, everyone might calm down a bit. Or at least some people might….
A lot of us educated in South Carolina public schools–even the fairly good ones (Aiken) missed out on economics–I only happened to take macroeconomics as an English major at Carolina b/c a friend recommended the professor teaching the honors section (Martin). I would have taken another social science for my requirement for sure otherwise. I also only happened to take an excellent course on the history of the New Deal because it was taught by an excellent professor (John Scott Wilson), whom I had studied under for another course.
Kathryn Braun Fenner
Attorney at Law
On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 11:36 AM, Warthen, Brad wrote:
We touched on economics in my senior year, at Radford HS in Honolulu. You know how we did that? We played a game over the course of several days, in which we were supposed to be marooned on a desert island, and we had to make decisions about how to spend our time. Most time was spent obtaining food, but we could also budget time away from food-gathering to make tools to save time, etc. Scads of fun, much like such computer games of latter days such as Sim City — only we did it on paper.
That was about it.
We also read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which Barack Obama ALSO read in high school in Hawaii, and found inspirational. Our teacher for that class was Mrs. Nakamura, so we were way multicultural.
That’s about it. I know what Keynesian economics is in this context, very roughly — it’s like, spending to stimulate the economy, right? — but I would not presume to set myself up as an expert. Oh, I know one other thing — his middle name was Maynard, like Maynard G. Krebs, whom you are probably too young to remember.
From: Kathryn Fenner
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:43 PM
To: Warthen, Brad – Internal Email
Subject: Re: a suggestion
Dobie Gillis was in syndication and played in the afternoons when I got home from school, man. Maynard went on to be Gilligan, a vastly inferior show. I’m only six years younger than you, not that your face gives that away (what is it, a portrait in the attic? Some secret Hawaiian face cream? I mean from reading your columns, you got plenty of sun playing outdoors in the tropics and subtropics)
The game you played was more about microeconomics, which most people probably grasp more intuitively–it’s our household economy, our business. The mess we are in now calls for macroeconomic solutions, which no one in the MSM seems to spell out in a nice graphic for the newbies–how when the government prints money, you get inflation, but you also can get jobs and spending money and ripples through the economy (bottom up works a lot faster–not stimulus in your pocket that you save or pay off credit cards, but jobs for the unemployed who buy groceries and other necessities and thus get the ball rolling again in terms of generating transactions that not only support a civilized lifestyle (as opposed to homelessness or Harvest Hope) but taxable income to repay the "printed money."
Whatever happened to the notion of "from those to whom much is given…."? Rotary is such a great example of the fulfillment of the expectations by the fortunate, but some of the bloggers and Peter Brown and Sanford and his cronies (Joel Sawyer’s letter was way off base) need to step to the plate. Dennis Hiltner said something to me the other day that drew Socialist me up short, "The employers who depend on workers who depend on bus transit should pay them enough to afford the true cost." I sputtered, but then I thought, "Surely Palmetto Health could take $10 per shift from the MDs and give it to the custodial staff?" I guess that’s redistributionist, huh?