edward.luce@ft.com faint praise for Steven Mnuchin. Political Observer comments

Headline: The crushing burden on Mnuchin’s shoulders

Sub-headline: Treasury secretary enters war against Covid-19 with handicaps, but he’s all America has got

First the melodramatic headline and sub-headline, and then this bit of political kitsch:

No one has ever thought of Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, as Hercules. But circumstances have thrust Atlas on his shoulders.

Note that Atlas was a titan, condemned to hold up the celestial heavens for eternity.

Followed by these two paragraphs, featured players in Mr. Luce’s stilted economic melodrama: Larry Summers,Tim Geithner, Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke and Jason Furman, these players inspire zero confidence! 

The only comparable moment is the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash. “Then we had to encourage people to go out and shop and buy and boost economic activity,” said Lawrence Summers, who was Mr Obama’s senior adviser. “Today the job is to put the economy in a coma without doing harm to people so as to keep people apart. It is arguably an even bigger challenge.”

Three of the key figures in 2008 — Tim Geithner, chair of the New York Fed, Hank Paulson, the US Treasury secretary, and Ben Bernanke, chair of the US Fed — wrote a book about how to handle financial crises called First Responders. It says nothing about a pandemic. “I looked through it the other day and realised no one imagined this situation,” said Mr Furman. “Mnuchin has no road map.”

This, an example of hurried notes on the back of an envelope journalism. Mr. Luce ends his dramatic vignette, that aspires to be much more, with this bit of political fatalism.

Like it or not, America is heading into war on a disease with the Treasury secretary it has. 

Political Observer


My reply to Mr. Luce:

Sir, it is my distinct pleasure to unmask the apologists for the Neo-Liberal Swindle, in it various iterations, permutations. That my polemics, such as they are, bring a kind of culinary distaste to one of such eminence is my reward. Look upon the fact, that I have provided you with an outlet for your high dudgeon, as an opportunity to scold one the lesser beings, who dares to address you as an equal.
In melodramatic terms , I am an insolent chimney sweep ,and you ,the Edwardian gentleman who pass on a public street, and exchange pleasantries. 



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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