- Morning Must-Read: David Wessel: First Half 2014 Real GDP Growth at an 0.8%/Year Pace
- Morning Must-Read: Noah Smith: Japan's Abe Is the World's Best Leader | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Morning Must-Read: Matt Bruenig: Fertility Rates and Government Intervention | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Morning Must-Read: Markus Bruckner et al.: Growth, National Income, and Distribution | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Patrick Iber: Review of Republican Congressional Candidate David Brat's (VA-7) Dissertation | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- A Few Scattered and Preliminary Notes on Comparative Economic Theology: Wednesday Focus: June 11, 2014 | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Afternoon Must-Read: Sean Trende: What Cantor's Loss and Graham's Win Mean | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Nick Bunker: Lessons from Brazil | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Marshall Steinbaum: The College Wage Premium Affects Inequality Very Little | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Alexandra Mitukiewicz: Taking a page from Germany’s paid family leave program | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Nick Bunker: The need to extend emergency unemployment insurance | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Marshall Steinbaum: How important is the college wage premium to reducing inequality? | Washington Center for Equitable Growth
- Liveblogging World War II: June 12, 1944: Marcks, Rommel, Montgomery (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...)
- Here Is Your Fun New Oklahoma GOP Candidate Who Would Like To Murder The Gays With Rocks: Live from La Farine CXCV: June 12, 2014 (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...)
- Over at Equitable Growth: A Few Scattered and Preliminary Notes on Comparative Economic Theology: Wednesday Focus: June 11, 2014 (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...)
Dara Lind: Poll: Most voters in Cantor's district actually like immigration reform: "Public Policy Polling went into Eric Cantor's district.... They found that Cantor himself was unpopular among registered voters: 63 percent of all registered voters disapproved of his job performance, and his net approval among registered Republicans was -6 percentage points. But the poll also described an immigration reform proposal... and asked voters whether they supported it.... 'About 72 percent of registered voters in Cantor's district polled on Tuesday said they either "strongly" or "somewhat" support immigration reform that would secure the borders, block employers from hiring those here illegally, and allow undocumented residents without criminal backgrounds to gain legal status--three key tenets of an overhaul.... Looking just at Republicans in Cantor's district, the poll found that 70 percent of GOP registered voters would support such a plan, while 27 percent would oppose.'... Public Policy Polling was talking to all registered voters. The voters who booted Cantor out yesterday were the ones motivated enough to show up for a Republican primary--that's definitely a self-selecting group, and one likely to have stronger (and more conservative) feelings than other voters..."
Sarah Kliff: How Obama completed Mitt Romney's work in Massachusetts: "The Bay State appears to have pulled off an impressive feat: it appears to have lowered the uninsured rate to nearly zero. Martha Bebinger of local radio station WBUR reports: 'Between December 2013 and March of this year, the number of Massachusetts residents signed up for health coverage increased by more than 215,000. If that number holds true over time, it will mean the percentage of Massachusetts residents who lack coverage has dropped to less than 1 percent.' Massachusetts has long had the lowest uninsured rate in the nation since it passed its universal coverage law in 2006. But its always hovered a few percentage-points above zero. In 2011, 3.9 percent of Massachusetts residents lacked insurance coverage..."
Carlos A. Vegh and Guillermo Vuletin: Fiscal policy responses to crises: The social impacts | vox: "The question of whether fiscal policy should be pro- or countercyclical has become increasingly relevant during the recession. This column provides causal evidence from South American countries showing the success of countercyclical policy in improving social indicators of economic success, combined with correlative evidence from Europe. This represents a strike against the case for austerity-led growth..."
Should Be Aware of:
- The Onion: "More Office Workers Switching To Fetal Position Desks: Wellness experts say curling up in a ball on the floor is the healthiest way to deal with the non-stop agony of the workday..."
- Ryan Grim: "More than any other Republican leader, Cantor was aggressively committed to the strategy of all-out opposition to President Barack Obama.... Yet... the architect of the Party of No strategy had it turned against him... suspicions among grassroots activists that Cantor was an impure conservative. On Tuesday night, the tea party said no..."
- Claude Fischer: "Those concerned with closing the wag gap ask two questions: What is happening at the workplace that seems to be pressing people to overwork? What is not happening at home that discourages women from working long hours?"
- David Weigel: David Brat defeats Eric Cantor: How did the House majority leader lose to the Tea Party?
- Patrick Iber
- Amy R. Krosch1 and David M. Amodio: Economic scarcity alters the perception of race
- Alexis Madrigal: Brian the Mentally Ill Bonobo, and How He Healed: By 2001, after four hard years of therapy and improvement, Brian had begun to integrate.... He went off Paxil at some point, after he took to sharing it (!) with the other apes..."
- Francis Spufford: "while [Iain M. Banks] was a good novelist, he was a great SF writer: an iconoclast, a changer of the landscape of imagination, a once in a generation talent. Let me try and explain why, for those of you who happen not to have read him, who maybe haven’t seen reason to dip much into SF at all. In particular, let me try and explain why this part of his work ought to be cherished..."
- Barry Ritholtz: "Any opportunity to correct myself when I make an error is an opportunity that is always appreciated. It happens to everyone all the time. But as Bridgewater Associate’s Ray Dalio has so eloquently argued, it is much better to own up to a mistake, rather than pretend it never happened, or simply hope no one notices or mentions it again in public..."
- "Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers--roughly 30,000 men--simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters..."
- David Weigel: "Frank Rich materializes and is asked to weigh in on the defeat of Eric Cantor. His reaction: How did you chuckleheads in the media miss this one?... Did he ever predict that Eric Cantor would be in trouble? No. He never wrote about Cantor’s race. The first mention in New York magazine of David Brat occurred on primary night, when Jonathan Chait covered the Cantor loss and suggested that the 'shock contained by Cantor’s defeat is almost impossible to fully convey'..."
Fabio Rojas: "In 2000, Elizabeth Armstrong and Ernest Abel published an article... arguing that fetal alcohol syndrome had become a moral panic.... In 2013, the economist Emily Oster published a book called Expecting Better.... Like Armstrong, Oster finds that the norm against moderate alcohol consumption is not supported by the data.... Oster frames her work... as a morally neutral project.... 'Statistics is hard, people may not have all the facts, and you might have a mistaken belief, but as an economist, I am trained in statistics. I can help you make a better choice.' Thus, the reader is morally blameless. In contrast, Armstrong’s approach... goes something like this: 'The facts we believe reflect our underlying biases. These biases reflect our evaluations of certain types of people, who may not deserve that stigma.' Thus, if the reader buys FAS, they are implicated in an immoral action--unfairly exercising gender prejudice.... Economists may advocate unpopular policies (e.g., they are often critical of minimum wage laws) but their moral framework is fairly neutral and technocratic. If you don’t buy my policy, it’s probably because you aren’t aware of all the factors involved. You haven’t calculate the social welfare function properly! In contrast, sociologists often make arguments that implicate the moral character of the audience. And that doesn’t buy you a lot of friends..."
Kathleen Geier et al.: Does Feminism Have a Class Problem?: "Welcome to The Curve, where feminists talk economics... with Kathleen Geier as your host.... We have long been frustrated by two phenomena. One is the way in which women’s voices are so frequently sidelined in economic debates.... The flipside of this problem is that, even amongst ourselves, feminists don’t talk enough about economics. Too often, discussions about so-called culture problems like abortion access and domestic violence lack the economic context necessary to appreciate their true causes and repercussions. When topics such as the pay gap or workplace discrimination come up, coverage is often superficial and focused on the experiences of a tiny elite. Meanwhile, the economic pressures on women are mounting: as inequality soars, women make up a growing proportion of the long-term unemployed, low-income women lead a growing majority of single-mother households, middle-income women struggle with few social supports, and even the progress being made by high-income women into the executive suites remains glacially slow. Hence The Curve—where feminists will hash out economic issues and intervene in feminist debates from an economic perspective..."
**Elizabeth StokerAn advisor to Pope Francis says Catholicism is incompatible with libertarianism. He's right: "[Kevin] Williamson... pre-supposes that the production of wealth gives its producers some special entitlement to it.... The kernel of Maradiaga's argument: when states are assembled in order to protect and enforce ownership to the exclusion of the poor, then a twofold error has been committed.... First, there is no divine right to private property in the eyes of the Church.... Augustine's point is that property is a de-facto creation of the state... [and] property has a spiritual dimension: all things in common belong to the people of God. But in temporal matters that heavenly distribution isn't honored, and so we rely on states to create institutions of property that are hopefully fair and just.... Second... Williamson says government simply has no moral dimension... But to deny the moral dimension of government is to suggest that there are realms of human life exempt, somehow, from moral judgment, and this is emphatically contrary to the Christian vision. A hammer may be a piece of technology, but there's a decided moral distinction between using it to nail down a beam and using it to bash in a skull. Likewise, the state may be a tool, but the way it shapes property distribution--to either care for the poor, ill, and those in need or to ignore them--is absolutely subject to moral inquiry. This is the point Cardinal Maradiaga made, and it has been a powerful theme in Pope Francis' ministry as well..."
Matt Bruenig: Fertility Rates and Government Intervention: " I have been writing on the weird conservative tax plan to give money to every parent who isn't poor (I, II, III). This is not how it was initially sold of course. My favorite in the genre of extreme deception about the plan came from Reihan Salam who wrote an entire piece... as if he wants to assist all parents: it's costly to raise kids, kids are important for the future, etc. He never lets on that his actual plan is not a natalist policy... but a policy to give more money to all parents who aren't poor. The exclusion of the poor from this massive welfare state expansion is curious on a number of grounds. The US has the highest child poverty rates in the developed world precisely because we have pathetic levels of family benefits. Excluding the poor from an expansion in family welfare benefits seems particularly cruel in that context.... The argument is that the government distorts incentives to have children by intervening in the economy via creating Social Security and Medicare. And so this plan to give money to every parent except the poor ones will correct that... hold all else equal in society, but then tick SS and Medicare off and guess as to how many more kids that ticking off would result in. But that does not tell us how many children there would be without government intervention. We should hold all else equal in society and then tick off property law, contract law, securities law, corporate law, commercial law, patent law, copyright law, and every single government economic institution. I'd guess that ticking off all of those institutions, and thereby bringing us to the world 'without government intervention'... would cause national income to plummet and birth rates to massively spike, maybe to seven children per woman.... It's such an out-of-left-field argument here that it is extremely difficult to imagine anyone started with 'let's end child-having distortions' and then worked their way to this proposal. What's more likely is they started with this proposal and then worked backwards towards some argument for it..."
Sean Trende: What Cantor's Loss and Graham's Win Mean: "Watch Dave Brat’s interview on Fox News here. He is not Tom Tancredo; immigration reform is not his main focus. He’s hitting a lot of the themes that... in many ways echo the Democratic Netroots’ discontent with “Wall Street Democrats” in the mid-2000s (a discontent that led, in part, to Obama’s victory in the 2008 primaries, to the discomfort of some in the Democratic Leadership Council).... The GOP base is frustrated over the direction of the country... a large portion of that frustration is directed at the Democratic Party, and Barack Obama in particular. But it is also directed at the party establishment.... When pundits say that the Tea Party seems like it is more interested in defeating Republicans than Democrats, they aren’t entirely off base. They just miss the reasoning behind that animus toward the GOP establishment..."
Noah Smith: Japan's Abe Is the World's Best Leader: "I was a Shinzo Abe skeptic. When Abe swept back into power in 2012, I thought he was just going to try to talk down the yen and give a little boost to stocks, increasing his public support just long enough to ram through a revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution. I thought he was going to ignore Japan’s moribund economy and long-festering social problems in order to throw red meat to his right-wing backers. Boy, was I wrong. I was wrong, wrong, wrong.... Shinzo Abe is the most effective national leader in the world right now... the biggest monetarist push in world history. He went the opposite direction of Europe, and--unlike the U.S.--he gave every indication that the shift toward [expansionary] monetarism was permanent. The result: Japan has escaped deflation. The stock market is up, growth is way up and even wages are finally starting to rise.... Unlike everyone else... Abe listened to Milton Friedman, and the results are looking good. As the Fed contemplates not whether to taper its quantitative easing but how fast, it might want to look at what’s happening in Japan. But monetary policy was just the beginning... the role of women... moving to cut Japan’s corporate tax rate... deregulation efforts... suggested bringing in 200,000 immigrants a year.... He has turned his nationalism into something that looks like liberal internationalism, standing up for the various small Asian countries... championing the rule of law and the freedom of the seas.... But where Abe really shines is in comparison with previous Japanese leaders... The rest of the world should be paying attention..."
David Wessel: "From @macroadvisers Q1-2014 GDP Tracking -2.1%; Q2-2014 GDP Tracking 3.7%..."