Echidne: The Day Of Retribution. On Elliot Rodger, the Butcher of Santa Barbara: "This post is about the slaughter carried out by Elliot Rodger in Santa Barbara. It is about violence, the hatred of women and the general hatred of humans. Consider carefully whether you wish to read it..."
Jonathan Hopkins: Piketty Debunked? Not So Fast: "Piketty's book was so universally lauded by such a chorus of great minds... that it was only a matter of time before someone pushed back.... Chris Giles in the FT takes issue with Piketty's data on rising wealth inequality... struck by the marked difference between the wealth figures used by Piketty for the UK, and those published recently by the UK Office for National Statistics, which suggest much lower levels of inequality.... By adding the raw data from the UK Inland Revenue figures... and the ONS data... Giles... [claims] that the books 'central findings... no longer seem to hold'. That's quite a big claim. Is it true? Well, here I'll just look at the data for the UK. There is a problem with [Giles's] chart.... By throwing in new data that gives a lower figure in the same chart, the visual impact is of a different trend that is not really supported by the data.... The fair test of whether Piketty's trend exists or not is to compare the IRS numbers with data for the earlier period. In fact those numbers track the trend of the Piketty series fairly closely, but with lower absolute values..."
Dan Alpert: Why Tim Geithner Is Wrong About the TARP Bailouts: "Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner muses over the bailout of the financial system during the 2008-09 financial crisis. He concludes not only that, however flawed, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was a 'best of all possible bailouts', given the constraints of contemporary politics and law, but also that it has ultimately been justified by the fact that it has made money for the American government and taxpayer. Both of these conclusions are inaccurate. While the first no doubt will continue to be the subject of debate for many years to come, the second is nothing short of a weak apologia, featuring an incomplete assessment of the collateral damage of the bailouts, including the enormous costs to Americans that don’t appear directly on the government’s balance sheets..."
Kevin O'Rourke: The Irish Economy: "The European election results are coming in, and in France they are catastrophic. There are two obvious points to be made which work in opposite directions. First, the vote for the FN and similar parties is an under-estimate of eurosceptic opinion, since these parties come with so much baggage that many voters who hate what Europe has become would never, ever dream of voting for them. And quite right too. Second, it may well be that these parties would have done less well if there had been national elections last weekend: voting for the EP is one thing, voting for national governments another. (But who really knows.) Expect many mainstream commentators to point out that the centre has held, that the EPP have won, that Juncker is the people’s choice for EC President, and all the rest of it. This strikes me as exactly the wrong response. My big worry this Monday morning is that Hollande and others (but I am mainly thinking of Hollande) will continue with their current economic strategy, which as far as I can see consists of crossing their fingers and hoping that something will turn up..."
Should Be Aware of:
- * Jane M. von Bergen:* Union workers see only part of big hourly markups at Convention Center
- Sarah Marshall: The Way We Live Now: The Adjunct
- Matthew Yglesias: How African-Americans in South Carolina invented Memorial Day
- Adrianna Macintyre: The NRA has been blocking a nominee for surgeon general since February because he thinks gun violence is a public health problem
- David Meyer: Bots were responsible for Bitcoin’s stratospheric ascent, anonymous report claims
- David Atkins: Eurojolt: Fascists win when the left embraces Bloomberg-style austerity
- Matthew Martin: Economic mobility is irrelevant
- Farangis Najibullah: Russian Television Fraudulently Reported Ukraine's Elections
- Reed Abelson: Insurers Once on the Fence Plan to Join Health Exchanges in ’15
- Annalee Newitz: The Rise of the Evolutionary Paychology Douchebag
- Andrew Solomon: How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are
- Paul Mason: Thomas Piketty's real challenge was to the FT's Rolex types
Matthijs Lof and Tuomas Malinen: The growth and sovereign debt correlation: "Public debt and economic growth are historically negatively correlated. This column discusses new evidence that rejects the debt-to-growth causality. After estimating the effects between debt and growth in both directions, there is no evidence that high indebtedness suppresses economic growth. The effect of growth on debt is the main driver of the negative correlation..."
Aaron Carroll: Further adventures in misunderstanding risk: "I started this post with a discussion of appendectomies, because I wanted to show you that we have a reference point. There are other diseases that are life threatening, scary, and can lead to unnecessary procedures. In those instances, we act. We accept a false positive rate, but work to keep it low. Our addition of new technologies tries to reduce that low number even further. With respect to breast cancer, though, we seem willing to tolerate an incredibly high rate of unnecessary surgery, even when we know that the surgery won’t do any good. Our addition of new technology seems to make things worse, not better. Everything is going in the wrong direction, even the numbers of women who choose to have the procedure. Women who have this surgery have complications. Almost half of women who have reconstruction with this procedure require an unanticipated re-operation in the future. In essence, many women are accepting a real risk of future problems while trying to prevent a phantom one..."
Steve M.: No More Mister Nice Blog: "I suspect that people who craft trigger warnings focusing on large injustices ('Trigger warning: racism; rape culture') do so because it serves as a substitute for being able to vanquish the large injustices themselves. Fighting injustice is hard, and you can never succeed outright -- but you can place large neon warning signs around depictions of large injustices and feel you've accomplished something. But does that serve the needs of trauma survivors, or does it serve your own? I'm not sure..."
Jérémie Cohen-Setton: The Financial Times Attack on Thomas Piketty: "Matt O’Brien writes that [Chris] Giles identifies simple transcription errors... 1908 instead of 1920.... They're embarrassing, but they don't change the big picture.... [Chris] Giles thinks Piketty should average European data by population, not by country.... And Giles isn't sure why Piketty has put together some of his wealth data—which is sparse, and needs to be adjusted, if not constructed—the way that he has. But these aren't errors. They're questions....Ryan Avent writes that while some of the data and adjustments in the spreadsheets lack adequate documentation, Giles does not have the evidence to justify the implication that figures are drawn 'from thin air'. Data fabrication is a serious charge to make, and I am surprised Mr Giles would allege it without clearer proof. Simon Wren-Lewis writes that the only issue of substance involves trends in the UK wealth income ratio, but of course an article headlined ‘Data sources on UK wealth income ratio differ’ would not have had the same punch. Justin Wolfers writes that while it’s quite natural for a journalist to emphasize the differences between his findings and those of a famous author, the most striking fact is how closely The F.T.'s analysis agrees with Mr. Piketty’s. Their preferred time series for the evolution of wealth inequality are remarkably similar..."
Charlie Stross: Amazon: malignant monopoly, or just plain evil?: "Last week, Amazon.com began removing the pre-order links from titles by the publishing group Hachette. This is a cruel and unpleasant action, from an author's point of view; if you're a new author with a title about to come out, it utterly fucks your first-week sales and probably dooms your career from the outset. And if you're someone like me, with a title about to come out, it frustrates and irritates your readers and also damages your sales profile and screws your print run.... Forbes mostly calls it right, at least at the corporate level, and until the end of this paragraph, where their 'free-market' knee-jerk kicks in and they bottle it: 'What we're really seeing is a battle between the people who make the product and the people who distribute it as to who should be getting the economic surplus that the consumer is willing to hand over. Like all such fights it's both brutal and petty. Amazon is apparently delaying shipment of Hachette produced books, insisting that some upcoming ones won't be available and so on. Hachette is complaining very loudly about what Amazon is doing, entirely naturally. The bigger question is what should we do, if anything, about it? To which the answer is almost certainly let them fight it out and see who wins. 'Planet earth calling: Hachette is the publishing arm of... Lagardère... annual turnover of €7.37Bn.... Hachette turned over €2.1Bn in 2012.... Amazon's sales... €45-50Bn).... It's a big-ish corporation being picked on by a Goliath more than ten times its size, in an attempt to extort better terms.... Forbes seem to think that Hachette is a producer and Amazon is a distributor. This isn't quite true. I am a producer.... Amazon's strategy (as I noted in 2012) is to squat on the distribution channel... eventually... leaving just Amazon as a monopoly distribution channel retailing the output of an atomized cloud of highly vulnerable self-employed piece-workers like myself..."
Dylan Scott: The Toughest Questions The GOP Should Have To Answer On Obamacare: "Three Questions For Republicans Who Want To Repeal The Affordable Care Act: 1. How would any alternative policy account for the millions of previously uninsured people who have gotten health coverage under Obamacare?... 2. Do you think covering the uninsured should be the goal of federal policy? If so, how would your alternative policy achieve that and keep insurance costs stable without an individual mandate?... 3. You have criticized President Obama for canceled policies under Obamacare. If your alternative policy is intended to expand health coverage, how would it achieve that without causing the same kind of disruption in the market?... Three Questions For Republicans Who Don't Want To Repeal The Affordable Care Act: 1. Would you oppose continued efforts by Republican leadership to repeal Obamacare or intentionally undercut its effectiveness?... 2. What serious improvements to the law are you ready to propose that could win support from congressional Democrats and the White House?... 3. If your state has not expanded Medicaid under the law, what are you willing to do to persuade GOP state leaders to accept expansion?"