Nadler says country in trouble


BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer

There was little good news and no optimism in Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s talk to the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association on December 6. Nadler, a Democrat representing New York’s 8th Congressional District, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1992 and was just elected to his 10th term.

“I think the country’s in a lot of trouble,” he said, “and I think things are going to get worse.” He called the recent election “a catastrophe, not only to the Democratic Party, which is obvious, but I think for any hope of economic recovery or any cooperation in government.”

He said he could only think of two eras in American history when the two parties were as ideologically far apart as they are today — the decade of the 1790s, when the party system was first taking shape. “It’s difficult to see too much cooperation,” Nadler said, “because they really have views that are diametrically opposite.”

Nadler said there was a possibility that the lame duck session of Congress might still pass the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” bill, which would free gays from the current subterfuges necessary if they serve in the military. He also said there is a possibility that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would pass the Senate.

The Zadroga bill recently passed the House of Representatives with almost no Republican support. “In the Senate, they need one more Republican,” Nadler said. “They’re working very hard to get it, and I think they’ll get it.”

The gravest issue facing this country, according to Nadler, is the economy. “It is, in my view, not a recession,” he said. “It’s a depression. A recession is when you have a cyclical downturn in the business cycle. A depression is caused by major failures of institutions.

Nadler continued, “We had a major crisis on Wall Street that burst the housing bubble… It wiped out about eight-and-a-half trillion dollars in wealth in the country, plus it threw a few million people out of work. So that leads to a consumption crisis. A consumption crisis is when there isn’t enough aggregate demand — when there isn’t enough ability and want to buy things — to consume the products that we produce.”