Monday, November 27, 2006

Barney Frank: "I'm out of my mind!"

That may not be what he's saying, but it ought to be. From today's FNS interview on his 'Grand Bargain':

WALLACE: Congressman Frank, what's this about a grand bargain with corporate America, where you would agree to cut regulations and pass free trade deals if corporations, if businesses, would agree to raise wages and increase job benefits?

FRANK: We're in a gridlock economic position right now. All the things that you listen to the financial community tell us are important for economic growth are kind of stalled. In some cases, I think the stalling is appropriate, because they weren't the things that were wise. In other cases, I agree with them.

The president tried to do something on immigration and it was stopped by the right wing of his own party, but also a lot of general unhappiness about the economy. We can't get a good bill through to reorganize how we deal with foreign investment, again because of these concerns.

What we've had is this: The economy has shown some growth in the last few years, but according to both Alan Greenspan and
Ben Bernanke and virtually everybody else, the growth has been more uneven and more unequally distributed than in any time in recent American memory.

And so what you've got is the average American saying, look, don't tell me that I should implement productivity and I should go into trade deals, because those may have a short-term negative effect on me. You say they'll be good for the economy as a whole, but I'm not the economy as a whole. I'm me.

What we've got is at the same time, they're blocking unionization, they've got a very anti-labor National Labor Relations Board, they won't accept a minimum wage increase, health care has become a great burden for working people. And what I say is let's put it all on the table, let's get together, and let's do some things that will help growth, but in a way that does not promote more inequality. And I'm hoping that the business community will be responsive to that.

Granted, I was getting ready to leave the house while he was speaking so I wasn't paying the closest of attention, but WTH!? This was something first discussed publicly a week ago.

One economic mind with a response here. As for mine, what economy has Barney been looking at I wonder?

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