Katha Pollitt: Go to Your Womb, Ross Douthat!: "I’m not so sure why we want more people on our crowded, overheated planet, where world population is projected to increase by 2 billion before finally beginning to fall. But if Douthat really thought through what it means to have and raise a child these days, I’m sure he could come up with a lot of great ways to help women and families. The trouble is, he couldn’t be a Republican anymore. He’d be a socialist."
Paul Krugman: "[Alex] Pareene has especially in mind, I think, David Gergen’s declaration that Obama went too far by demanding $1.6 trillion in revenue, that he should have stayed with Simpson-Bowles — which calls for $2.2 trillion in revenue."
Alexis C. Madrigal: "The Times' Roger Cohen ran a not-even delightfully cranky column about that "scourge of the modern world": people sharing on social media…. Now, I've been on Twitter for a long time… the first 20 tweets on my timeline… you may or may not consider this an interesting set of information, but I do. And that's the point!… Sadly, though, there is nothing in this stream about waffles or the dentist, anyone's therapist, pimples, roofs, grumps, homeopathy, or any kind of Icelandic specialty food item. My diagnosis is simple, Roger: your friends and associates are terrible and boring…. So, the manly, un-Generation Wuss thing to do, would be to simply stop communicating with all of your friends…"
Melinda Henneberger: Why I won’t be cheering for old Notre Dame
Mark Danner: How, and What, Obama Won: "I receive incredulous, faintly hostile stares when I ask supporters whether they think Romney will be elected…. Republicans embraced up until and indeed after the moment of voting a conviction that the entire public information and polling apparatus… was lying…. Obama was a fake, a fabrication of the liberal media and of those who drew sustenance from the programs of dependency he distributed…. 'On a midafternoon [election day] conference call with political insiders, Romney campaign brass ticked off a list of data points about turnout—in mega-swing states such as Colorado, Ohio and Florida—that they called signs that victory was at hand…'. 'At the end of the day', a Romney worker told Politico, “they told us that every single swing state was looking either pink or red and the worst one was Virginia, where they were a little concerned'…. 'The polling we had. The numbers we were looking at looked like we stood a pretty good chance of winning', Paul Ryan said later. 'So, when the numbers came in… it did come as a bit of a shock… [this] turnout…in urban areas…'"
Neil H. Buchanan & Michael C. Dorf: Columbia Law Review: How to Choose the Least Unconstitutional Option: Lessons for the President (and Others) From the Debt Ceiling Standoff: "The federal statute known as the “debt ceiling” limits total borrowing by the United States…. This Article analyzes the choice the president nearly faced in summer 2011, and which he or a successor may yet face, as a 'trilemma;' offering three unconstitutional options: ignore the debt ceiling and unilaterally issue new bonds, thus usurping Congress’s borrowing power; unilaterally raise taxes, thus usurping Congress’s taxing power; or unilaterally cut spending, thus usurping Congress’s spending power. We argue that the president should choose the 'least unconstitutional' course—here, ignoring the debt ceiling…. We emphasize three principles derived from a famous speech by President Lincoln: 1) minimize the unconstitutional assumption of power; 2) minimize sub-constitutional harm; and 3) preserve, to the extent possible, the ability of other actors to undo or remedy constitutional violations…"
Noah Smith: "I'm sure that by now, a bunch of people have piled on to this instantly notorious Casey Mulligan blog post…. Just because poverty rates didn't rise doesn't mean that the government imposed a 100% implicit tax rate… individual incentives don't (necessarily) depend on aggregate outcomes…. Programs to keep the poverty rate constant during a recession are like bank bailouts - they are only likely to be used in a time of systemic crisis…. Since incentives depend on the future as well as the present, this means that we can't just look at what happened during the Great Recession in order to make conclusions about incentives…. Casey Mulligan makes two mistakes here: 1) He confuses individual incentives with aggregate outcomes, and 2) He assumes that poor people are not forward-looking…"
Clay Shirky: Napster, Udacity, and the Academy:: "How did the recording industry win the battle but lose the war?… Once you see this pattern—a new story rearranging people’s sense of the possible, with the incumbents the last to know—you see it everywhere…. It’s been interesting watching this unfold in music, books, newspapers, TV, but nothing has ever been as interesting to me as watching it happen in my own backyard. Higher education is now being disrupted; our MP3 is the massive open online course (or MOOC), and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup…"
Apple CEO Tim Cook: "Eighty percent of our revenues are from products that didn't exist 60 days ago" buswk.co/Vmnytv— Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky) December 6, 2012
In the long run, we’re all Medicaid recipients: Medicaid by age & income group - twitter.com/pkedrosky/stat…— Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky) December 6, 2012
The main problem with the "DeMint will destroy Heritage's credibility" argument is that Heritage has very little credibility to begin with. The place is a 501(c)4 with a policy research arm, not the other way around.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 6, 2012
Worth Looking at:
Jared Bernstein: Raise the Economy's Speed Limit
Paul Krugman: The Fiscal Ignoramus Factor: "As Jonathan Chait points out, Bobby Jindal… has… an op-ed on the cliff that sure looks as if he has no idea whatsoever what the cliff is about…. You really have to wonder how someone who’s a major political figure could be this uninformed — but you have to wonder even more about the state of mind that induces you to write an op-ed about a subject you don’t comprehend at all. But this isn’t the first time…. Tim Pawlenty — a supposed thoughtful conservative — published an op-ed based on the premise that public-sector employment was booming; in fact, it was plunging…. Mitt Romney made statements — about the 47 percent, about Benghazi — that he clearly thought were smart and well-informed, but were in fact flatly false. I think it comes back to the epistemic closure issue. Even supposedly well-informed people on the right get their 'facts' from the likes of the Heritage Foundation. Probably Jindal never talks to anyone who will quietly explain that the fiscal cliff is a problem because, well, Keynesian economics is basically right, and you really don’t want austerity in a depressed economy. So he has some vague notion that it’s about the wages of fiscal irresponsibility, which it isn’t, and apparently believes that he knows enough to pontificate…"
Alan Taylor: Comment on Reinhart and Sbrancia, "The Liquidation of Government Debt": "[W]hat is being used as a financial repression tax measure… could be… something else…. [W]e must be wary of confusing financial repression (which sounds like a terrible thing) with financial regulation (which sounds a good deal more wholesome)…. [T]he rationale for tighter capital and liquidity standards appears uncontroversial… requirements that financial entities hold more safe and liquid government debt will increase…. Is this some evil plot to force debt into private hands, or just eminently sensible prudential regulation?…"
Zoe Schneeweis: Euro Area Pushed Into Recession as Trade Slows, Spending Drops
Geithner: White House ‘absolutely’ willing to scuttle deal over tax rates: "'If Republicans do not agree to that, is the administration prepared to go over the fiscal cliff?' asked CNBC reporter Steve Liesman. 'Absolutely', said Geithner. 'We see no prospect for an agreement that doesn't involve those rates going up on the top 2 percent of the wealthiest'."
Tom Braithwaite, Michael Mackenzie and Kara Scannell: Deutsche Bank: Show of strength or a fiction?
Anja Baum, Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro, and Anke Weber: Fiscal Multipliers and the State of the Economy1 Prepared: "Only a few empirical studies have analyzed the relationship between fiscal multipliers and the underlying state of the economy. This paper investigates this link on a country-by- country basis for the G7 economies (excluding Italy). Our results show that fiscal multipliers differ across countries, calling for a tailored use of fiscal policy. Moreover, the position in the business cycle affects the impact of fiscal policy on output: on average, government spending, and revenue multipliers tend to be larger in downturns than in expansions. This asymmetry has implications for the choice between an upfront fiscal adjustment versus a more gradual approach."