- Paul Krugman: The Market Speaks: "Stocks are high, in part, because bond yields are so low, and investors have to put their money somewhere. It’s also true… that… corporate profits have staged a strong recovery… workers [are] failing to share in the fruits of their own rising productivity [and] hundreds of billions of dollars are piling up in the treasuries of corporations that, facing weak consumer demand, see no reason to put those dollars to work…. What the markets are clearly saying, however, is that the fears and prejudices that have dominated Washington discussion for years are entirely misguided. And they’re also telling us that the people who have been feeding those fears and peddling those prejudices don’t have a clue about how the economy actually works."
James C. W. Ahiakpor: Project MUSE - Hawtrey on the Keynesian Multiplier: A Question of Cognitive Dissonance? | CBO May Have Undershot Medicare's Future Deficit Reduction By Over $300 Billion | How An Austrian Blogger's (fake) Report That Paul Krugman Filed For Bankruptcy Ended Up On Boston.com | George R.R. Martin: Maurice Druon's The Iron King is the original Game of Thrones |
Jonathan Bernstein: What do you do when one party is this dishonest?: "Others have noted the hypocrisy at work here. But everyone is under-appreciating just how outrageous this is. For the second time in a row, Paul Ryan and the Republicans have run a national election campaign (the 2012 presidential election) in which the main theme was bashing the Democrats… for a policy which Republicans support — and indeed are making a key part of the most important policy blueprint that they will roll out this year. This is no garden-variety flip-flop. It’s a fundamental decision to govern one way and campaign the exact opposite way. This is one of those cases where it’s so audacious that reporters just don’t want to believe it."
Simon Wren-Lewis: mainly macro: The Unlikely Friends of Austerity: "I suspect an equally important reason why economists are sometimes unenthusiastic about fiscal stimulus is that they have been trained to misread the problem…. [A]lmost every textbook [says] that economic downturns are ultimately self correcting. We have a business cycle because prices are sticky, but eventually prices are flexible, so we are bound to get back to full employment once prices adjust (which cannot be that long). The best thing to say about this message is that it is incomplete…. Having an appropriate monetary policy is a necessary condition for returning to full employment…. The moment you understand this, the seriousness of the zero lower bound coupled with inflation targets (which put a lid on inflation expectations) becomes apparent. We are not dealing with a normal recession that will end pretty soon, we are dealing with something that could last much longer…. We have demand deficiency, and the normal means of correcting it is broken. We luckily have a backup system, but the levers of that system are being pushed in the wrong direction. What is worse, this backup system is not some mysterious or controversial mechanism - it is what we teach to students day in and day out. So to push the levers in the wrong direction just makes a mockery of macroeconomics."
Alyssa Rosenberg: Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' And The Challenge Of Modern Shakespeare Adaptations: "[I]t’s easy to turn the Capulet and Montagues’ relatively amorphous family fued into a gang rivalry or a spat between business empires, but rather harder to come up with a modern equivalent of the Salic Law that will get audiences juiced…. Beatrice and Benedick, two wits who have each other as their favorite targets, are brought together in a horribly traumatic moment that’s difficult to imagine today: Beatrice’s cousin has her chastity impugned at the altar on her wedding day, is left at the altar, and her family pretends that she’s died of shame in order to build time to restore her reputation…. Claudio isn’t just disgusted by the idea that Hero has cheated on him: the fact that she has sexual experience at all is at the root of Claudio’s complaint…. [T]his is a scenario that’s exceedingly hard to move into the modern era, and I thought the success of Much Ado About Nothing would depend on the ability of the movie to find a contemporary scenario into which this conflict fit without seeming jarringly anachronistic… we’re—fortunately—not a society where it would be a reasonable test of your lover’s affections to ask him to kill his best friend for besmirching your cousin’s sexual reputation…. Whedon… does add one significant bit of modern context to Much Ado. But it’s meant to flesh out the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick…. But watching Beatrice demand that Claudio be killed for the sin of falsely accusing Hero, or watching Denisof flash a pistol at Claudio in the tastefully-appointed library in Joss Whedon’s real-life house just feels silly and histrionic…. That’s not to say there are no pleasures to be had here, particularly the channeling of Nathan Fillion’s spectacular gift for pomposity into Dogberry, a performance that would do Michael Keaton proud, and the lovely use of Clark Gregg’s decency as Don Leonato in perhaps the most deft and subtle casting in the movie. But Whedon’s interpretation ultimately makes the much ado about nothing in the title seem like a negative reflection on his characters rather than a charming reflection of the inherent nonsense and complication of true love."
Brad Plumer: How the recession turned middle-class jobs into low-wage jobs: "[O]ne of the most disturbing trends of the recession is still very far from being reversed. America’s middle-class jobs have been decimated since 2007, replaced largely by low-wage jobs. A recent presentation from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco lays out the situation clearly. The vast majority of job losses during the recession were in middle-income occupations, and they’ve largely been replaced by low-wage jobs since 2010.... So what types of low-wage jobs are we talking about? Nearly 40 percent of the jobs gained since the recovery began — about 1.7 million — have come from three low-wage sectors: food services, retail, and employment services (that last is a sweeping category encompassing jobs like office clerks and sales representatives). As the San Francisco Fed presentation notes, just four low-wage sectors now make up nearly 12 percent of the workforce in 2011.... By contrast, many mid-wage industries, such as construction, manufacturing, insurance, real estate and information technology, have either stagnated or grown too slowly to make up for their pre-recession losses."
Tanner Colby: on Bob Woodward’s John Belushi book: "[Woodward] put down the mechanics of the story more or less as they’d happened. But he’d so mangled the meaning and the context that his version had nothing to do with what I concluded had actually transpired. Take the filming of the famous cafeteria scene from Animal House…. James Widdoes: 'One of the things that was so spectacular to watch during the filming was the incredible connection that [Belushi] and Landis had. During the scene on the cafeteria line, Landis was talking to Belushi all the way through it, and Belushi was just taking it one step further. What started out as Landis saying, “Okay, now grab the sandwich,” became, in John’s hands, taking the sandwich, squeezing and bending it until it popped out of the cellophane, sucking it into his mouth, and then putting half the sandwich back. He would just go a little further each time.'… Every person who recounted that incident to me used it as an example of Belushi’s virtuoso talent and his great relationship with his director…. Now here it is as Woodward presents it: 'Landis quickly discovered that John could be lazy and undisciplined. They were rehearsing a cafeteria scene, a perfect vehicle to set up Bluto’s insatiable cravings. Landis wanted John to walk down the cafeteria line and load his tray until it was a physical burden. As the camera started, Landis stood to one side shouting: “Take that! Put that in your pocket! Pile that on the tray! Eat that now, right there!” John followed each order, loading his pockets and tray, stuffing his mouth with a plate of Jello in one motion.'… [T]here’s actually nothing in the anecdote to indicate laziness or lack of discipline on Belushi’s part, yet Woodward chooses to establish the scene using those words. The implication is that Belushi was so unfocused and unprepared that he couldn’t make it through the scene without the director beside him telling him what to do, which is not what took place…. Landis disputed that he ever referred to Belushi as lazy or undisciplined. 'The greatest crime of that book', Landis says of Wired, 'is that if you read it and you’d just assume that John was a pig and an asshole, and he was anything but. He could be abrupt and unpleasant, but most of the time he was totally charming and people adored him'."
On March 12, 2013:
- Macro as I Saw It Back in 2003: Tuesday Ten Years Ago on the Internet Weblogging http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/03/tuesday-ten-years-ago-on-the-internet-weblogging.html
- Liveblogging World War II: March 12, 1943 http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/03/liveblogging-world-war-ii-march-12-1943.html
- Noted for March 12, 2013 http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/03/noted-for-march-12-2013.html
- Department of "HUH!?!?!?!?!?!?": Ryan Cooper Asks: How Does Jeff Sachs Explain the Great Recession? http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/03/department-of-huh-ryan-cooper-asks-how-does-jeff-sachs-explain-the-great-recession.html
- In Which I Hate on John Holbo... http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/03/in-which-i-hate-john-holbo.html