Gramm's Got It: We Are Whining

He's talking real economics–not 'campaign econ'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 12, 2008 12:31 PM CDT
Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm looks on at right as Sen. John McCain addresses a rally at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., Feb. 3.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – When John McCain aide Phil Gramm said America is in a “mental recession,” not a real one, he was speaking with much-needed honesty and accuracy, Amity Shlaes writes in the Washington Post. Gramm has faced an avalanche of bad press for speaking candidly rather than from the perspective of campaign econ, which “says the economy is a certain way because Americans think it is.”

According to the definition of “recession”–two consecutive quarters of decline–there isn’t one, Shlaes notes. As for Gramm’s comment that “America has become a nation of whiners,” the media pounced on it because it “shamed voters,” a move seen as elitist and contrary to campaign econ’s deep populism. Yes, Americans are struggling–but to compare today with the Great Depression or the early ’80s “is to whine.”