Obama has a political enviroment problem. He’s got an intensity problem. And he’s got an image problem. Put those together and they all add up to a challenging Tuesday next week. They are more important than the nearly-irrelevant fact that an extra 2.5% of Ohio's likely electorate favors him.
Benjamin Tippett: Possible Bubbles of Spacetime Curvature in the South Pacific
Avert your gaze, liberals: Nate Silver admits he's simply averaging public polls and there is no secret saucepolitico.com/blogs/media/20…— jmartpolitico (@jmartpolitico) October 29, 2012
The mind boggles when one tries to figure out just what Jonathan Martin, Dylan Byers, and company thought that Nate Silver and Sam Wang and company were doing…
Did they never read them?
I want suggestions, in comments, for what Byers, Martin, and company thought that Nate Silver was doing--preferably involving wizardry, time machines, and entrails...
Watch Fred Barnes snooker John Podhoretz in real time--and then watch Podhoretz get angry at those of us who point out to him that Barnes has snookered him https://twitter.com/jpodhoretz:
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: Battleground Poll has Romney 52-57. In response, Nate Silver raises probability of Obama win to 99 44/100% pure.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: Correcting earlier tweet: Battleground poll Romney 52-47. In response, Nate Silver raises Obama victory likelihood to 99 44/100 % pure
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: link to [Fred Barnes] Battleground Poll story: http://t.co/wcm3bInE…
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: OK, somebody's wrong. Fred Barnes says Battleground has Romney by 5, Politico says Obama by 1.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: @HotlineJosh Very strange. Barnes piece is very specific.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: @HotlineJosh hmmm
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: @bobdoty it's their poll!
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: Sorry for confusion. Battleground poll: 49-48O. Battleground PROJECTION of final vote: 52-47R.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: @LoganDobson the reporting in this poll this morning is a bit of a mess.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: @jpodhoretz @LoganDobson on this poll, I mean
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: @delong seems like the confusion over al, this is general across the Internets.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: The battleground poll will be reported as "Obama +1". Out of 1000 respondents, 484 chose Romney, 487 chose Obama. It's just rounding.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: "Movement" from the last week's poll? 4 fewer respondents (actual number, not %) went for Mitt, 12 more for Obama. Margin of error stuff.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: @delong don't insult my friend [i.e., Fred Barnes]
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: This is a very close race. #captainobvioustweets
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: @delong you are evidently even more of a jerk than your jerky blog would have led me to believe.
But there is something serious to be written here about Orwell, "1984", and the ability of the Inner Party to keep its understanding of the world separate from the propaganda they feed to the Outer Party and to the proles.
Anybody feel like writing it so that I can link to it?
Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys:
The Volokh Conspiracy: The Constitution May Not Endorse Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics, But We Do
I have sometimes been referred to as if my name were "Coauthor"--as in "Lawrence Summers and Coauthor argue". And I have even--once or twice--seen Larry referred to as "Coauthor".
But I have never before seen Larry edited out of existence completely. But here it is:
Tyler Cowen: When it comes to the lacklustre recovery from the financial crisis, the dominant left-wing narrative has been shaped by Paul Krugman and other Keynesians. The main villain in the piece is austerity. In this view, if only Western governments had the guts to borrow and spend more money, economic recovery would have been much quicker. Instead, the doctrines of the "Austerians" have ruled, and spending cuts have left much of the West in an economic torpor or even brought a downward spiral. It has become a common view - promoted by the University of California at Berkeley economist Brad DeLong - that more government borrowing and spending might have paid for itself through boosting economic growth, a kind of "Laffer Curve" for the Left…
The paper is:
J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (2012), "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy", Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2012:1 (Spring) http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/Programs/ES/BPEA/2012_spring_bpea_papers/2012_spring_BPEA_delongsummers.pdf
Those of us liberals who find amusement and profit in concern-trolling conservatives Have long focused on the three standards: lack of contact with reality, lack of intellectual substance, and lack of arithmetic competence.
We have long warned conservatives--completely for their own good, of course, and out of no motive than altruistic benevolence--that they cannot and will not survive and flourish and that nobody will take them seriously as long as they promote and put forward as their speakers people as lacking in contact with reality as Ramesh "Romney did too tie Obama in the second debate!" Ponnuru, people as lacking in intellectual chops as Victor Davis "Ezra Klein is the real racist here!" Hanson, and people as lacking in arithmetic competence as Kevin "Dow 36000 by 2003!" Hassett.
Now the thoughtful and keen-eyed John Holbo has added yet a fourth standard that those of us who seek to concern-troll our conservative brethren and sistren: a meta-standard: John Holbo worries about the concern-troll gap:
Not Doing It Right: I am increasingly concerned that a critical concern troll gap is opening up between liberals and conservatives.
Liberals, due to our honorable tradition of not being able to take our own side in an argument, have a healthy aptitude for it. We love to talk up, in a ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ sort of way, the good sort of conservatism we’d like to have, if only we could. But conservatives don’t really have a go-to fantasy of the ‘good’ liberal who needs to be rescued from the ‘bad’ liberal. This may be because conservative rhetoric--the rhetoric of reaction--is so dominated by slippery slope arguments. The bad thing about liberalism is its bad spirit, causing it to be the case that apparently moderate policies are, in effect, creeping Jacobinism, due to soul-destroying nihilism or resentment, what have you, that lurks behind.
If the spirit of liberalism--as opposed to its letter--is the essential problem, per the slippery slope style, you can’t switch gears smoothly, suddenly coming over all concerned that the spirit of liberalism is in danger of slipping. After all, how much worse could it get than communism and fascism? Where is there for liberalism to slip to but up?
So I reiterate my concern that posts like this one suffer from a critical missing piece:
Liberalism isn’t doing so well lately. In fact I’d go so far as to say that liberalism is becoming downright pathological.
You can’t pull that off unless you can fake-praise the good, true spirit of liberalism for at least, like, a paragraph. A sentence, even. What’s so great about liberalism that it should be a bad thing that it’s gone crazy?
As Disraeli probably said somewhere: you can judge the health of a party by the health of its concern trolls, so--in a society whose political culture rests on the health of its two-party system--it is a matter of utmost concern to both parties should the health of the concern trolls of either of the two great parties fail to such a degree as this.
Seriously: aside from Conor Friedersdorf's high-quality concern-trolling on the issue of the unchecked executive power to unleash flying killer robots, are there any other examples of high-quality right-wing concern trolling these days?
I think this gap is now the most serious of the four. I recommend that--for their own good, of course--conservatives abandon their efforts to learn arithmetic, to contact reality, or to discover how to make coherent arguments, and instead focus their attention on upgrading the concern-troll elements of their keyboarding battalions.
It does not come from St. Joseph, Missouri.
It is not made in a brewery located where there used to be a stockyard.
It is not drunk by workers at a stockyard.
Instead, it is from San Jose, California.
Well, "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston", and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" were all written on the beach in Malibu. And both "Dixie" and "Swanee River" were written in Philadelphia…
Where did Walter Scott write, anyway?
Decoding Romney on Contraception: Barack Obama… framed access to contraception as an economic issue….
In my health care bill, I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured. Because this is not just a - a health issue, it's an economic issue for women. It makes a difference. This is money out of that family's pocket. Governor Romney not only opposed it, he suggested that in fact employers should be able to make the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage.
That's not the kind of advocacy that women need. When Governor Romney says that we should eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, there are millions of women all across the country, who rely on Planned Parenthood for, not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings. That's a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country. And it makes a difference in terms of how well and effectively women are able to work. When we talk about child care, and the credits that we're providing. That makes a difference in whether they can go out there and - and earn a living for their family.
These are not just women's issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues.
In response, Romney made a muddle of his own talking points on contraception:
I'd just note that I don't believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not. And I don't believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care of not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives. And - and the - and the president's statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong.
[Romney's] first sentence is somewhat--what's the right word? Hilarious?
Yet that is what he said:
QUESTION: …What has your administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?…
ROMNEY: What I believe is we have to do as the president mentioned… [is] to change the culture of violence that we have…. [L]et me mention another thing. And that is parents. We need moms and dads, helping to raise kids. Wherever possible the — the benefit of having two parents in the home…
I did find a video clip of Paul Ryan explaining the 20% income tax decrease that Mitt Romney and he are pushing:
Paul Ryan: You can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayers.
V.P. Biden: Not mathematically possible.
Paul Ryan: It is mathematically possible. It’s been done before. It’s precisely what we’re proposing.
V.P. Biden (laughing): It has never been done before.
Paul Ryan: It’s been done a couple of times, actually.
V.P. Biden: It has never been done before.
Paul Ryan: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increased growth.
V.P. Biden: Oh, now you are Jack Kennedy?
For the first time in my life, I have been served a cup of coffee that is not good.
it's United Airlines 838...
Always before, wherever I have drunk it, whoever made or, the coffee has been good. I would have said that goodness was a necessary property of coffee...
From a friend, who went to hear Nino Scalia speak:
Scalia says cases are easy: WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Antonin Scalia says his method of interpreting the Constitution makes some of the most hotly disputed issues that come before the Supreme Court among the easiest to resolve. Scalia calls himself a “textualist” and, as he related to a few hundred people who came to buy his new book and hear him speak in Washington the other day, that means he applies the words in the Constitution as they were understood by the people who wrote and adopted them.
"Automatic weapons? Give me a break. It's easy," he said.
"Back in the 1790s there were no automatic weapons. Back in the 1790s 'arms' in 'keep and bear arms' meant bows and arrows, knives, swords, and muzzle-loading pistols and muskets. No breechloaders, no submachine guns, no explosive shells, no tactical nuclear weapons, no gravitational collapse devices."
"If it isn't loaded by holding it upright, putting the cartridge in the muzzle, sliding it down the barrel, inserting the non-explosive bullet, and tamping it down with the ramrod, you have no right to bear it…"
All the romney signs just say "Believe in America" where "paul ryan" would usually be— moe tkacik (@moetkacik) October 3, 2012
Let me go out on a limb and say that the clinical legal education teaching provided by this guy is likely to be highly, highly subpar:
William A. Jacobson: MSNBC Hides Obama’s Dijon Mustard (aka Dijongate): Andrea Mitchell (does she have nothing else to do?) reported that Obama ordered a burger and mustard. Sounds like it had that “real guy kind of quality.” Mitchell even noted that Obama left a $5 tip in the tip jar. But she didn’t mention… [that] Obama said. “Do you have spicy mustard? I’ll take that.” Actually, the quote was “you got a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that”…. Obama ordered his burger with DIJON MUSTARD! Bet he had to seek John Kerry’s counsel on that…..
I think the course of collectivization in China and the Soviet Union can also be instructive. It's clear, I believe, that the emphasis on the use of terror and violence in China was considerably less than in the Soviet Union and that the success was considerably greater in achieving a just society.
But everybody except for Hitler, Pol Pot, and the Kims clears the "better than Stalin" bar…
I love the "leave without taking questions" part. That is crucial!
If Romney responds to the Mother Jones story by backing off from his basic argument that far too many Americans are dependent upon the government and that this dependency skews their votes, he will weaken his campaign enormously. This audio revelation does not destroy his chance of winning in November…. There are inaccuracies in it…. [T]he basic argument is reasonable…. Romney cannot make that and other arguments if he begins by withdrawing his remarks or, worse, by apologizing….
What Romney should do is call a press conference, play the tape, and then announce that he stands by what he said… [except] "I was referring to income tax, but of course working Americans pay payroll taxes and all Americans pay indirect taxes on the goods they buy.”… "[have] some Americans who have become so discouraged… that they have… resigned themselves to a life of dependency on government? Yes, there are some — not 47 percent, but some. Will they vote for me? Some will…."
Romney should then leave without taking questions.
In an interview with POLITICO today, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace questioned Peggy Noonan's "conservative bona fides," following her recent editorials criticizing of Mitt Romney's campaign.
Peggy Noonan has bashed George W. Bush, based Mitt Romney, wasn't crazy about McCain. So, [her] conservative bona fides I'm not sure I take too seriously…. [Columnists] like Peggy Noonan, sometimes they're New York City's idea of conservatives."
Yes, they are very odd ducks over at National Review:
@mattyglesias Love the ellipses. James Burnham was also NR's most avid fan of Nelson Rockefeller and a defender of the welfare state.— Reihan Salam (@reihan) September 20, 2012
Back in 1975, James Burnham's praise of Franco included the marvelous claim that:
The whole concept of "fascism" for that matter has been a fraud from the beginning. Like "peaceful coexistence" and "detente," it is a tactical invention of the Soviet Agitprop, and boils down in practice to the simple definition: fascism is any regime that outlaws Communism…
Good Daily Show segment. I like the inclusion of Craig T. Nelson saying:
I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No.
Because I think that quote really gets to the true core of Bull%$^t Mountain. One can never be quite sure how much conservatives believe their own bullshit, but my longstanding theory is that they believe there's some secret super generous welfare system that only black people have access to. When they had hard times, got their government handouts, their government handouts sucked. But the blahs are out there buying their t-bones and driving their cadillacs, so they must be getting the really good welfare.
Nobody helped poor Craig out, because the food stamps and and welfare sucked. They don't understand that this is because food stamps and welfare do suck.
The twitter machine says:
@delong I just heard Don Luskin make a prediction that the new QE program is going to be a disaster. Pls file for Stupidest Person Alive.— Blake Goud (@pdxblake) September 13, 2012
And let me turn the microphone over to Barry Ritholtz, with the observation that its publishing this piece alone makes it a sin to pay money to the Washington Post corporation for any reason:
REVIEW: Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line | The Big Picture: It's been exactly [4 years] since the single dumbest newspaper column ever published appeared in The Washington Post. Breathtaking in its ignorance, shocking in its fallibility, astonishing in its author’s perversely misperceived world view, it stands as a monument to sheer cluelessness as an economic discipline.
It wasn’t merely off — its simply hard to find anything market or economic related in it that wasn’t 180 degrees wrong. It is a monument to why economists should never allow their politics to influence their day jobs.
I was otherwise occupied when this fetid pile of foolishness was published. [Four years] later, it reads even more ridiculously than it did on 9/14/08.
Let’s take a closer look at this, sentence by sentence, and see if we can find anything of value in it. (My comments are ALL CAPS AND BOLD):
From Cellar Tracker:
2004 Domaine Robert Jayer-Gilles Echezeaux du Dessus, France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru: Pinot Noir.... Drinking window: Drink between 2010 and 2014....
Echezeaux Grand Cru:
Echezeaux includes 93 acres in Flagey-Echezeaux making it the second largest of all the Burgundian Grand Cru vineyards. More than 80 producers own parcel, including DRC. These wines are known to be light and incredibly refined.
Is this authentic? If it is, now I have heard everything:
Q: What role should government have in promoting certain industries or economic activities such as homeownership, or manufacturing, renewable energy or fossil fuel energy, exports, or just advanced technology? What sort of subsidies and incentives do you favor? You had some of these in Massachusetts, I know.
ROMNEY: Very limited -- my answer to your first question. I’m not an advocate of industrial policy being formed by a government. I do believe in the power of free markets, and when the government removes the extraordinary burdens that it puts on markets, why I think markets are more effective at guiding a prosperous economy than is the government.
So for instance, I would not be investing massive dollars in electric car companies in California. I think Tesla and Fisker are delightful-looking vehicles, but I somehow imagine that Toyota, Nissan, and even General Motors will produce a more cost-effective electric car than either Tesla or Fisker. I think it is bad policy for us to be investing hundreds of millions of dollars in specific companies and specific technologies, and developing those technologies.
I do believe in basic science. I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with -- with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it...
As Matthew Yglesias notes, the country could be vastly, vastly improved by importing technologies from Westeros--but not just because of how applying the ice-zombie treatment would reduce Medicare costs.
GOP Intellectual Decline, Monetary Edition: There was a time, not long ago, when Republicans — whatever you might think of their other ideas — were part of the mainstream consensus on monetary policy. Here’s the Economic Report of the President from 2004 (pdf), presumably written by Greg Mankiw: "Aggressive monetary policy can reduce the depth of a recession." But now we have Mitt Romney declaring his intention to replace Ben Bernanke for, um, pursuing aggressive monetary policy to fight a recession (not aggressive enough, but that’s another issue). Romney:
I want to make sure the Federal Reserve focuses on maintaining the monetary stability that leads to a strong dollar and confidence that America is not going to go down the road that other nations have gone down, to their peril. And the GOP platform will reportedly include a call for steps toward a return to the gold standard.
The really strange thing about all this is that this turn toward hard-money mysticism is taking place even as events have demonstrated that the advantages of not being on a gold standard…. Mark Thoma links to an old piece of mine that I think does a pretty good job of laying out that standard case; but we now know that there’s a major additional concern, the ability of the central bank to act as lender of last resort to the government as well as private banks… the contrast between Spain and the UK. Their medium-term fiscal outlooks are comparable…. But borrowing costs have soared in Spain, while falling in Britain:
So the GOP has decided that we must reject the evils of fiat money and go for the gold standard at precisely the moment when events have demonstrated that fiat money is a really useful thing and the loss of flexibility that comes from ending fiat currencies can be utterly disastrous. What’s going on?… [F]iat money is like, oh, Social Security. The problem it creates for conservatives is not that it doesn’t work, but that it does — which is a challenge to their philosophy. And so it must die.
I would note that the rejection of the mainstream consensus on monetary policy goes much further than Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney and those desperately hoping that they will be chosen for high federal office.
For example, sigh, John Cochrane's claim that the Federal Reserve lacks the power to either raise or lower the rate of inflation:
Inflation Should Be Feared: The fact is, the Fed is basically powerless to create more inflation right now--or to do anything about growth…. Which is just as well…. Inflation remains a danger, but not so much because of what the Fed is doing…. [I]f [inflation] happens, it will happen with little warning, the Fed will be powerless to stop it.
Which led to a Smackdown by Robert Waldmann:
Robert Waldmann on John Cochrane: Note also that foreigners dropping US debt would cause high interest rates which would lower demand. Given the ratio of imports to GDP, this effect could dominate.
And with the Federal Funds rate of around zero, the idea that the Fed could do nothing to fight inflation is really utterly totally crazy.
Not to mention that inflation would be an excellent thing (better 5% than 2% and, I think, better 10% than 5% except for the fact that the Fed could and would respond).
What a bozo.
To which I replied:
Ah. So you think I am being too nice to Cochrane? Perhaps I am...
As I understand Cochrane's current model of the economy, he thinks that the price level is equal to the stock of domestically-held government debt times a constant that is itself a function of (a) exogenous future primary surpluses and (b) an exogenous required return on Treasury debt. Inflation is thus created by (i) loss of confidence that the Government will in fact run those future primary surpluses, (ii) a rise in the exogenous required real rate of return on government debt, (iii) a reduction in purchases of debt by foreigners, and (iv) issuing government debt.
Since Cochrane assumes that the Federal Reserve affects none of these four things, the Federal Reserve cannot affect the price level.
No, Cochrane provides us with no reasons to think that this model of extreme fiscal dominance is a good model of the world. Why do you ask?
Yes, anybody who understands the IS-LM model would know that monetary policy affects the required rate of return on government debt. Why do you ask?
Yes, Milton Friedman is rolling over in his grave. Yes, Milton Friedman would say that changes in monetary policy affect (i) expected future primary surpluses, (ii) the required real rate of return on government debt, and (iii) desired debt holdings by foreigners--and hence the Federal Reserve can affect the price level. Why do you ask?
“The canon against superfluity is not a canon against verbosity.When a thought could have been expressed more concisely, one does not always have to cast about for someadditional meaning to the word or phrase that could havebeen dispensed with. This has always been understood. A [British] House of Lords opinion holds, for example, that in the phrase “ ‘in addition to and not in derogation of ’ ” the last part adds nothing but emphasis. Davies v. Powell Duffryn Associated Collieries, Ltd.,  A. C. 601, 607.”
There must be no use of foreign law by US courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws, nor should foreign sources of law be used in State courts; adjudication of criminal or civil matters.
Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.
The exclusive event, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht "Cracker Bay," was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney's bid.
I want pictures!
All credentialed media checking into the Republican National Convention are being given a swag bag [with]… Mitt Romney’s book, No Apology, in which he suggested his approach to health care in Massachusetts could be accomplished in the rest of the country…. [P]age 177… Romney describes his Massachusetts health care law and writes:
We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care.
This language… Romney thought his Massachusetts health care law could be a model for the nation. Such phrasing complicated his argument for why his law was different from President Obama’s national one…
Ron Paul -- wrong on monetary policy, right on unpasteurized dairy products.— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 26, 2012
[Romney] must use humor, for three reasons. One is that wit breaks through and sharpens all points. Another is that it is natural to him. Before the voting in Iowa, he wryly told a friend that the caucuses were like the LaBrea Tar Pits: “No one comes out the way they went in.” On a conference call recently, he asked a question of his staff. No one answered. Mr. Romney waited. “Bueller? Bueller?” he said, in a perfect imitation of Ben Stein.
Third, President Obama can’t stand to be made fun of. His pride won’t allow it, his amour propre cannot countenance a joke at his own expense. If Mr. Romney lands a few very funny lines about the president’s leadership, Mr. Obama will freak out. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?
Good catch from Robert Waldmann. Perhaps--but probably not--there are still people on the PEN-list who believe that appeal to the authority of Karl Marx is an argument because he is inerrant. But, otherwise, Niall Ferguson is AALLLOOOONNNNNEEEEEE!
Fact checked and--oh no! I really did get that wrong. It was the government that created the middle class, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge! Remind me to tell Karl Marx about this. It will come as news to him that, contrary to his life's work, the superstructure in fact created the base. "
Uh, Professor Ferguson, it may be true as you assume that Karl Marx was absolutely right about everything, but, uh, those of us who care about data would like some evidence.
The fact that Marx said something doesn't mean it is correct.
I don't know how to break this to you, but he was human.
I tell you, the NewsDailyWeekBeast has lots of explaining to do…
May you find yourself insisting to a roomful of skeptics that your great-grandmother was "legitimately" raped by Cossacks
As John Stewart says, sometimes life makes his job just too easy:
Emily Friedman: HOPKINS, Minn. - Mitt Romney….
I'm going to champion small business. We've got to make it easier for small businesses. Big business is doing fine in many places - they get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation
said Romney, speaking to a group of supporters at a private fundraiser in Minnesota. Romney then added that the reason that big businesses are "doing fine in many places" is because they are able to invest their money in "tax havens":
They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses…. But small business is getting crushed…
Fortunately I don't have to write on the merits of returning to the gold standard, because I already have: tinyurl.com/3npuw5d .— Barry Eichengreen (@B_Eichengreen) August 24, 2012
One thing that Barry does not note is that real Randites--like Paul Ryan was, or at least claimed to be, back in 2005--are opposed to the whole financial apparatus that keeps us from having to carry bars of gold around: fractional-reserve banking, paper money, credit cards, checks, bills-of-exchange--they don't like it…
Golden Ferrets, I Mean Fetters: Well, Romney did compare the Tea Party to a ferret in a dishwasher.
But seriously, it appears that a push for a return to the gold standard — the Golden Fetters that played such a large role in propagating the Great Depression — is going to be part of the Republican platform. Bear in mind that the incessant warnings of runaway inflation from the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet have been wrong, wrong, wrong; and that exchange rate flexibility has been crucial to most of the success stories of this crisis, from Poland to Sweden to Iceland. Nonetheless, the GOP is convinced that what we need to do is base future monetary policy on a doctrine that has totally failed in recent years. After all, Francisco d’Anconia says that it’s the only way.
I would point out that, as Paul Krugman knows well, Francisco d'Anconia--and Ayn Rand, and Paul Ryan--say not that a gold standard but a gold coinage is the only way: none of these paper bills or checks or credit cards or bills of exchange or fractional-reserve banking…