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From Simon Johnson and James Kwak, on whether the financial meltdown of 2008 was basically a gigantic accident caused by mistaken models and excess optimism:

It was as if the government first repealed the laws against littering, eliminated all public sanitation services, and subsidized the consumption of bananas . . . and then the global economy slipped on a banana peel.

I remember trying once to come up with a similar analogy that started off with repealing all the speed limit laws and getting rid of the highway patrol, but I never quite finished thinking it through. In the meantime, this one works.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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