What’s your beef?

This story about massive South Korean protests about a change in beef import policy makes you wonder if South Koreans are just unusually pugilistic, or if Americans really are that lazy. Why don’t Americans protest economic policy like this? Maybe the problem is not that we’re lazy, but that we’re too nice; or that the average American is too unsure of their own ability to dominate new conversations.

Do we even have conversations in New York any more? The governor, complaining about people calling his tax cap proposal “dead on arrival,” thinks not:

“I don’t want to hear – particularly from people who aren’t legislators and aren’t legislative leaders – saying my plan is dead on arrival,” Paterson said. “That’s not going to be tolerated by this administration.” He added, “Leaders engage in ideas and conversations with people. Those who are not leaders want to control everybody, denying thought, denying reason.”

This being said by a man who is still continuing the hallowed old tradition of the closed-door conversation between three men, etc etc. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if those conversations could be recorded. You can still keep the door closed, just run a tape recorder or something.

However, Paterson has received some praise from the Daily News’ Bill Hammond for at least moving some of the conversation about school taxes outside of Albany’s chambers. If he can keep up the pressure beyond the summer and into the fall, and make the issue his own even if it appears to be a losing issue right now, that would be worth half a dozen showy street protests.

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