The Unlearned Lessons of the 2008 Meltdown

Chris Lehmann at The Baffler:

IT’S BEEN TEN YEARS NOW since the American economy nearly pitched itself carelessly into the abyss, taking a great deal of the rent-collecting structure of neoliberal capitalism along with it. As our thought-leading elite begins taking stock of the Great Recession’s tangled legacy, we do well to pause amid the great tax-slashing, trade-battering, wage-stagnant Guignol of our Trumpified political economy, and marvel at just how epically oafish our leadership class is when it comes to the simple processing of elementary information and market trends.

There is, to begin with, the whole sad mobbed-up social mythology of austerity as the panacea of first resort in all imaginable circumstances. In the latter half of 2008, as Wall Street became a wind tunnel of toxic, overleveraged debt, all our most sober founts of economic wisdom concurred that we couldn’t embark on the Keynesian program of pump-priming that the shell-shocked American economic order desperately needed; no, this crisis was a moment for inflation hawks and assorted other ghouls to close ranks and issue stern rebukes of the economic mayhem wreaked by financial stimulus.

more here.