Over at Equitable Growth: Kenneth Rogoff: Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy: "Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality...
And Kenneth Rogoff fakes right:
Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries? READ MOAR
J. Bradford DeLong on May 20, 2015 at 03:00 PM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (16)
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Hoisted from Others' Archives: Simon Wren-Lewis reminds us he got it absolutely right three years ago:
Simon Wren-Lewis (2012): Dangerous Voices and Macroeconomic Spin: "Dangerous voices are what the British Prime Minister called those who criticised austerity...
...One of those dangerous voices, Martin Wolf, became shrill in Friday’s FT ($). After noting the observation by Jonathan Portes that public investment could currently be financed very cheaply because UK long term real interest rates are so low, he writes:
it is impossible to believe that the government cannot find investments.... that do not earn more than the real cost of funds. Not only the economy, but the government itself is virtually certain to be better off if it undertook such investments and if it were to do its accounting in a rational way. No sane institution analyses its decisions on the basis of cash flows, annual borrowings and its debt stock. Yet government is the longest-lived agent in the economy. This does not even deserve the label primitive. It is simply ridiculous.
**Live from La Farine: 500 years, or 50 years, or 5 years, or 5 months, or 5 days from now the Roman Catholic Church will reverse Pope Paul VI's claim that he has special insight into natural theology which tells him that birth control is very wrong. Whenever that happens, what will the administrators of and lawyers for Notre Dame have to say for themselves?
**: Federal Appeals Court Tells Catholic University [Notre Dame] That It Can't Cut Off Birth Control For Its Students: "'The Seventh Circuit... express[es] ‘puzzlement about what exactly the university wanted us to enjoin’...
Comment of the Day: Walt Someguy: Unfogged: "The new Mad Max movie may be the most guy movie ever made. The plot is literally: Tom Hardy (Mad Max) and Charlize Theron (Furiosa) rescue scantily-clad supermodels...
Across the Wide Missouri: Yet more journamalism from The New York Times and David Brooks. Once again, I don't understand what game they are playing here:
Scott Lemieux: David Brooks's Pathetic Iraq Excuses - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money: "David Brooks starts off his apologia with some stoned-dorm-room stuff about how if Hitler had been strangled in the crib we wouldn’t have the GI Bill or as many women in the workforce...
...It does not improve from there. First, note this crafty bit of dissembling:
Over at Equitable Growth Paul Romer inquired why I did not endorse his following Krusell and Smith (2014) in characterizing Piketty and Piketty and Zucman as a canonical example of what Romer calls "mathiness". Indeed, I think that, instead, it is Krusell and Smith (2014) that suffers from "mathiness"--people not in control of their models deploying algebra untethered to the real world in a manner that approaches gibberish.
I wrote about this last summer, several times: READ MOAR
Across the Wide Missouri: Ceasefire Oregon: "Congratulations and thank you!!...
...SB 941, Expanded Background Checks, was just signed into law! The Oregon House of Representatives passed SB 941 on May 4. The Oregon Senate passed it last month. And Governor Kate Brown just signed the bill into law!
Via Ta-Nehisi Coates: John C. Calhoun: Slavery a Positive Good: "I do not belong... to the school which holds that aggression is to be met by concession...
...Mine is the opposite creed, which teaches that encroachments must be met at the beginning, and that those who act on the opposite principle are prepared to become slaves. In this case, in particular I hold concession or compromise to be fatal. If we concede an inch, concession would follow concession–compromise would follow compromise, until our ranks would be so broken that effectual resistance would be impossible. We must meet the enemy on the frontier, with a fixed determination of maintaining our position at every hazard. Consent to receive these insulting petitions [seeking from the senate a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery], and the next demand will be that they be referred to a committee in order that they may be deliberated and acted upon.
Over at Equitable Growth: I see that over on the Twitter machine Noah Smith is engaging Paul Romer, in an attempt to get Paul to elucidate his "Mathiness" paper. I think Noah Smith misunderstands Paul Romer.
As I see it, Paul Romer believes that George Stigler laid down the methodological principal that one should always assume perfect competition in one's microfoundations, and in so doing Stigler was acting as an ideologue rather than a technocrat, and that this is harmful.
It seems to me that Paul is more right than wrong.
Live from La Farine: How does opposition to contraception and abortion and advocacy of discrimination against homosexuals get tied up with the gold standard and the elimination of the pro-poor redistributionist social ethic of Jesus Christ? It is a mystery.
First, what is the American Principles Project. Well, the American Principles Project's founder is Robert P. George. Enough said.
UPDATE: No, not enough said. Thanks to the Idler for finding this true gem in First Things:
Robert P. George: Killing Abortionists: A Symposium: "I am personally opposed to killing abortionists...
....However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in a sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go so far as to support mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even nonjudgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity-not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately pro-choice...
...and his obsession with 'values' and 'meaning' and whatnot, let's all pause to recall that he's a shameless liar and fantasist who doesn't even have the grace to acknowledge it when he's caught. (I mean, in addition to the fact that he has the intelligence of a sea slug and the moral sophistication of a stoat.)
Sasha Issenberg: [Boo-Boos in Paradise(http://www.phillymag.com/articles/booboos-in-paradise/): "I called Brooks to see if I was misreading his work...
Live from the Roasterie: Quite an extraordinary piece of rhetoric from a Bush-scion Chickenhawk who thought back in 1971 that he might have a http://articles.philly.com/1992-10-11/news/26000431_1_son-jeb-war-policy-jeb-bush): Jeb considered filing for conscientious-objector status to avoid the war, according to Barbara Bush. She said in an interview with United Press International in 1984 that her husband told Jeb, 'Whatever you decide... I will back you 100 percent.' Jeb eventually decided to submit to the draft, she said.">conscientious objection to military service:
Brian Buetler: "After facing the most predictable question of the election cycle...
Matthew Yglesias: "Brookings did a symposium on the 40th anniversary of Arthur Okun's famous book...
Lord, Enlighten Thou Our Enemies: Let us start with John Stuart Mill's prayer:
'Lord, enlighten thou our enemies,' prayed nineteenth-century British economist and moral philosopher John Stuarrt MIll: http://olldownload.libertyfund.org/Texts/MillJS0172/Works/Vol10/PDFs/Mill_1277.pdf:
Sharpen their wits, give acuteness to their perceptions, and consecutiveness and clearness to their reasoning powers: we are in danger from their folly, not from their wisdom; their weakness is what fills us with apprehension, not their strength...
Re: John Scalzi: The Myth of SF/F Publishing House Exceptionalism
I don't doubt that Baen Books under Jim Baen was primarily a print-good-stories-that-Jim-Baen-thinks-will-sell-and-get-people-to-buy-more-Baen-books enterprise. And I don't doubt that Jim Baen was very good to John Ringo.
Consider three things:
First, Walter Jon Williams's take. Walter Jon Williams tells stories of unhappy dealings with Jim Baen. WJW is a very, very good writer indeed who writes cracking good stories that have a beginning, a middle, and a (more than satisfactory end--in fact, who writes stories that are so good that everyone would benefit from some more serious publisher marketing muscle behind him. He casts a rather different light on Baen. See http://www.walterjonwilliams.net/2011/04/1983-the-writers-life/, on life in the days when Jim Baen was both an editor at Tom Doherty's Tor Boks and running his own Baen Software computer-game company: "Those were the days when there were only three people in the Tor offices. Jim Baen the editor, Tom Doherty the publisher, and Mrs. Doherty the bookkeeper....
Over at Equitable Growth: The trouble that is the King v. Burwell case arises because of one sub-sub-section of the law which says "established by the state" rather than "established in the state" or "established for the state". The purpose of "established by the state" in its context:
...the monthly premiums for such month for 1 or more qualified health plans offered in the individual market within a State which cover the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or any dependent (as defined in section 152) of the taxpayer and which were enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under 1311... READ MOAR
Across the Wide Missouri: Lo: a year and a half ago my Net.Friend Katha Pollitt tweeted the very true:
Twitter is a poisonous well of bad faith and viciousness.— Katha Pollitt (@KathaPollitt) December 22, 2013
And that was when I first heard of Sarah Kendzior.
And in my tickler file is a note to remember this, from four years ago. Never mind that Niall Ferguson was totally wrong wrong wrong WRONG imbecilic in his claim that "true" consumer price inflation in 2011 was 10%/year. How has his prediction that "the great inflation of the 2010s" was underway (or about to get underway) fared?
May 1, 2011:
...as the line that launched the great inflation of the 2010s.... William Dudley... former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, put it this way: ‘Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful. You have to look at the prices of all things.’ Quick as a flash came a voice from the audience: ‘I can’t eat an iPad.’ Dudley’s boss, Ben Bernanke, was more tactful.... But... if we’ve avoided rerunning the 1930s only to end up with a repeat of the 1970s, the public will judge him to have failed.
...about the ways in which war has become worse for soldiers--continuous through the night, continuous through the year, louder, the danger is more random... and the punchline was that some have compared war to hunting, but for soldiers in a modern war, it's more like being prey.
With these thirteen simple words GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush struck terror into the entire world yesterday. He said,
If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him.
To whom was he referring? As hard as it is to believe, he was talking about his brother, George W. Bush.
Now it’s true that the question referred to Israel and the Middle East specifically, but it doesn’t really matter.
There isn’t any area of policy or interest in which it would be smart to make such an admission.
Live from Peets Coffee: https://twitter.com/delong/status/596707833267159041
"States' rights"--or "federalism"--was the line that Republicans took to trying to win votes in those states where strong majorities wanted to discriminate against African-Americans without losing votes in state for such discrimination was anathema.
Now we have a Republican Party that is committing itself nationally to the Expanded and Rewritten (by John Roberts) Religious Freedom Restoration Act providing a license to discriminate to businesses not in individual states that have passed RFRAs but nationally. The calculus of thus look much more hazardous:
Across the Wide Missouri:
In the Shadow of the Grand Tetons:
...[Alan] Greenspan will address a counter-conference organized by a group called the American Principles Project. The group combines social conservatism — it’s anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion rights, and pro-‘religious liberty’ — with goldbug economic doctrine. The second half of this agenda may be appealing to Greenspan, a former Ayn Rand intimate — as Paul Samuelson remarked, ‘You can take the boy out of the cult but you can’t take the cult out of the boy.’ But the anti-gay stuff? And helping these people attack his former colleagues? Awesome.
In the immediate aftermath of David Brooks's failure to know that Jean-Paul Sartre's name was not John-Paul, it is time to hoist from Commonweal's archives the most extraordinary David Brooks error ever:
Across the Wide Missouri: No, the Laffer curve does not apply to state-level public finances in the United States. Jobs aren’t fleeing Missouri for Kansas. Cutting taxes on the state level does not induce a large enough surge of economic activity via sucking up jobs and businesses from neighboring states to actually raise tax revenues:
There is no point in including entire John Holbo posts in Weekend Reading--Crooked Timber (unlike most of the rest of the online world) is highly unlikely to suffer from linkrot, and those who want to read his posts at their Holbonian length can do so over there. But there is a need for a Shorter John Holbo.
Me? I see five political dimensions as one tries to maneuver through the weeds:
(with none of any of the poles being entirely bad--or entirely good, for that matter). The Nazis thus tended to be: militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian communicatarian, except for the Strasser-Roehm bunch who tended to be militarist nationalist egalitarian authoritarian communitarian. (And someone like Jonah Goldberg would tend to be militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian individualistic.)
Shorter John Holbo:
J. Bradford DeLong on May 03, 2015 at 11:34 AM in History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Sorting: DeLong: Academic CV, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Highlighted, Streams: Today's Economic History, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (3)
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Live From the Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm: Rocky Ridge: Discussion with Senator Blunt. Subject: King v. Burwell.
Me: "A great many people here in Missouri might be unable to afford their health insurance in three months."
Ann Marie: "You need to be on the right side". Sen. Blunt: "That's really up to the judges."
Me: "But you in Congress could fix it in a sentence".
Sen. Blunt: "You are right."
Of course, "You are right" means not "we will do the one sentence fix if necessary" but "I came to Rocky Ridge on a Saturday afternoon to be avuncular, not to justify my rhetorical pose of root-and-branch opposition to something that is at bottom 'RomneyCare'".
Francis Fukuyama (2006): After Neoconservatism: "How did the neoconservatives end up overreaching to such an extent that they risk undermining their own goals?...
...Four common... threads ran through... [Neoconservative] thought... a concern with democracy, human rights and, more generally, the internal politics of states; a belief that American power can be used for moral purposes; a skepticism about the ability of international law and institutions to solve serious security problems; and finally, a view that ambitious social engineering often leads to unexpected consequences and thereby undermines its own ends.... The skeptical stance toward ambitious social engineering... [was] applied... to domestic policies like affirmative action, busing and welfare.... The belief in the potential moral uses of American power... [called for] American activism... [to] reshape the structure of global politics....
UrsulaV: Puddleglum in Heaven: "@ 119 - 'It's all very well for us,' said Puddleglum gloomily...
...'but what about everyone else, eh? Not exactly sunny skies and eel-pie for them, now, is it?' He gestured vaguely, presumably in the direction of Earth, or the now-defunct Narnia. 'Great crashing train wrecks--whatever a 'train' is, though I'm given to understand it involves a lot of metal and steam and boilers and fantastic speeds and you can't tell me THAT was a good idea, whoever came up with it--and some poor sod's got to go picking through the wreckage, don't they?'
Jonathan Zasloff: When David Brooks decides to blame the poor for their predicament...
...and then cites an untrue and grotesquely dishonest 'statistic' to support his thesis without bothering to check it out, one might say that such behavior represents a failure of... character:
...Look it up. Altruistic punishment is a ‘puzzle’ to the sort of economist who thinks of homo economicus maximizing her utility, and a no-brainer to the [evolutionary] game theorist who understands humans could never have survived if we actually were the kind of creature who succumbed to every prisoners’ dilemma. Altruistic punishment is behavior that imposes costs on third parties with no benefit to the punisher, often even at great cost to the punisher. To the idiot economist, it is a lose/lose situation, such a puzzle. For the record, I’m a fan of the phenomenon. Does that mean I’m a fan of these riots, that I condone the burning of my own hometown? Fuck you and your tendentious entrapment games and Manichean choices, your my-team ‘ridiculing’ of people you can claim support destruction. Altruistic punishment is essential to human affairs but it is hard. It is mixed, it is complicated, it is shades of gray...
Duncan Black: 100% Diet Of Rendered Bacon Fat: "One of the worst trait of political reporters...
...is to think their contempt for flyover country means they understand it, instead of just meaning that they hate the great unwashed they perpetually pretend they're giving voice to.
...[They say that because] the FOMC's projections of economic growth have been too high... monetary policy is not working and efforts to use it to support the recovery should be discontinued. It's generous of the WSJ writers to note... that 'economic forecasting isn't easy.' They should know, since the Journal has been forecasting a breakout in inflation and a collapse in the dollar at least since 2006, when the FOMC decided not to raise the federal funds rate above 5-1/4 percent.... READ MOAR
Francis Fukuyama (2006): After Neoconservatism: "How did the neoconservatives end up overreaching to such an extent that they risk undermining their own goals?...
He gets himself tangled up in knots because he bends over not just backward but completely upside down to provide a sympathetic view of the Neoconservatist impulse.
I have always had a much more jaundiced view:
It's going to be eighteenth months of an unprofessional media clown show again, isn't it?
What’s the allegation against Hillary Clinton? The reason this is a story is the potential that there was some quid pro quo involved: that in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation and/or the speech Bill Clinton gave in Russia, Hillary Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to make approval of this sale happen. It need not be explicit, but at the very least there has to be a connection between donations and official action that Clinton took.
What’s the evidence for that allegation? There isn’t any....
...to compile a list of Kristol’s public references to the Munich agreement and its main players. This research ordeal, presented in reverse chronological order, represents the sort of character-building exercise, I am sure Kristol would agree, that today’s youth badly need...
A Munich once every three months. Admittedly, some of them are the same Munich, as the same thing reminds him and then re-reminds him, but still...
I think Ezra Klein nails this completely. The Washington DC press corps is not becoming better with time. It is becoming worse.
So I am going to make you read Ezra:
...ostensibly... lighthearted laughs. But it's evolved into a recital of brutal truths — albeit one neither side ever really admits happened. The joke of President Obama's performance on Saturday was that he wasn't joking. Everyone just had to pretend he was. Take this:
Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death....
I think Corey Robin nails it here. My only objection is that he does not draw the links back to earlier, early twentieth-century attacks on "boring" politics--the "cretinism of parliaments" and similar doctrines:
Greg: What are you doing?
Me: Working on my Salon column.
Greg: What’s it on?
Me: George Packer.
Greg: Low-hanging fruit.
According to the news media, 2014 was the year that the GOP “Establishment” finally pulled Republicans back from the right-wing brink. Pragmatism, it seemed, had finally triumphed over extremism in primary and general election contests that The New York Times called “proxy wars for the overall direction of the Republican Party.” There’s just one problem with this dominant narrative. It’s wrong. The GOP isn’t moving back to the center. The “proxy wars” of 2014 were mainly about tactics and packaging, not moderation.
Live from La Farine: As I have said before, one important reason I was for Barack Hussein Obama rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton was my belief that America was now more sexist than racist and that Obama would be treated by the Republicans and the political class with the respect appropriate for a serious presidential candidate and for a president.
The second part of that belief was clearly wrong.
The first part, however, may well be right: get ready for the sewage avalanche:
Live from La Farine: For every time somebody emails me, privately, and tells me that Dean Baquet--in spite of his failure to commission a deep dive on New York Times dysfunction and Jeff Gerth and company on Whitewater, in spite of his failure to commission a deep dive on New York Times dysfunction and Judy Miller on Iraq, in spite of such things as yesterday's misrepresentations of the Department of State's role in CFIUS--sincerely wants to turn the Grey Lady into a trusted information intermediary, two or three examples of things like the following cross my desk: