April Fools' Festival, Day XVII: Note that the Insane Clown Posse picture at the top right is not a happy clown. This is an insane clown. And this is a somewhat dangerous clown...
Shorter Thomas Friedman: Because my cell phone company drops calls when I take the Acela, it is very important that Michael Bloomberg run for President in 2012. He should run on the platform of Obama's policies. Thus he should split the vote for those policies between two candidates, and so raise the chances for Mitt Romney--who is running against those policies--to squeak in.
Over at Equitable Growth: Picking up on In Lieu of a Focus Post: March 2, 2015 (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...): Janet Currie points out that the damage from a ruling adverse to the government in the King v. Burwell ObamaCare subsidies case is likely to carry a very heavy cost in terms of societal well-being along private health, public health, and economic growth dimensions. READ MOAR
James Kwak: Who’s a Freeloader?: "Daniel Rodgers’s review [of Williamson et l.]... is titled “‘Moocher Class’ Warfare”...
...Tea Party members like Medicare and Social Security, which they think they have earned through their work, but don’t like perceived freeloaders who live off of other peoples’ work. From the [Williamson et al.] paper (p. 33):
Nighttime Must-Read: Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR): "We have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran increasingly they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad and now Sana’a as well..."
I steal my title from my esteemed ex-roommate and coauthor Robert Waldmann, who writes:
I wonder why wealthy investors vote for Republicans against their self-interest.
Brad DeLong wonders why they favor tight money and austerity against their self-interest....
...dressed in my TV-from-the-Princeton-studio uniform: dress shirt, jacket, tie, shorts, and sandals (the camera doesn’t pan below the belly button). With me, Andy Serwer of Fortune and Stephen Moore of the WSJ.
Live from La Farine: class="author">Scott Lemieux**: Lawyers, Guns & Money: "It’s hard to be sure, given how badly bungled it was by the Clintons...
...but my guess is that as far as comprehensive health care reform in 1993 they were drawing dead anyway. On health care, the Republican conference was already where it would be on pretty much everything in 2009; he was not getting more than token Republican support.
Live from Crows' Coffee: I had always thought that Richard Epstein was just pulling the traditional not-very-ethical lawyer's trick of knowingly and falsely claiming that what he hoped would be law in the future had in fact been law in the past. There is great and weighty precedent for this way of lawyering, after all. Consider Lord Chief Justice William Draper, 1st Baron Wynford (13 December 1767 – 3 March 1845:
We [would] get rid of a great deal of what is considered law in Westminster Hall, if what Lord Coke says without authority is not law...
Now comes Scott Lemieux to say that Richard Epstein has drunk his own koolaid: He really does believe that the Constitution mandated classical-liberal doctrines a century before they were thought up. He really does believe that misquotations of Jon Gruber should govern interpretations of ObamaCare. He really does believe that Chevron was wrongly decided--that the Courts should flip a coin rather than let experts who understand the issue make (and possibly change) administrative decisions:
...TPP... will almost certainly have nothing on currency... It will not make it any easier, and could well make it more difficult, for the United States to address the trade deficit that results from having an over-valued dollar....
J. Bradford DeLong on March 12, 2015 at 09:23 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Information, Economics: Macro, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (27)
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Ah. Crossing my desk today, two intersecting streams. The first is unpacking a stray box and finding in it a copy of NBER Working Paper 12398...
Back in 2004, you see, George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, headed by Greg Mankiw, released its 2004 Economic Report of the President--and immediately found the reporters of Washington enthusiastically throwing a low-tech necktie party, with the Bush CEA as the center of attention. In 2006 Greg and Phil Swagel wrote a good retrospective:
over offshore outsourcing connected with the release of the Economic Report of the President (ERP) in February 2004, examines the differing ways in which economists and non-economists talk about offshore outsourcing, and assesses the empirical evidence on the importance of offshore outsourcing in accounting for the weak labor market from 2001 to 2004...
In their 2004 Economic Report of the President, Greg and company made three points with respect to outsourcing, of which I count two and a half as likely correct:
J. Bradford DeLong on March 10, 2015 at 08:27 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Information: Better Press Corps/Journamalism, Information: Internet, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (8)
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Live from The Roasterie: We see what Paul Gigot, Rupert Murdoch, and the rest of the Wall Street Journal are doing here:
They are saying to Anthony Kennedy and John Roberts: "You aren't going to let yourself be persuaded by some women, are you?"
It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.
Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about. Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear. They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:
Over at Equitable Growth: Excellent work from David Frum--reviewing even more excellent work from Adam Tooze.
Let's give David the floor:
It is time for me to reedit and revise this before I give it again. How should it change? What does it say that no longer needs to be said? What does it not say that now needs to be said?
Zimbabwe!: Here is a piece of currency, a dollar bill. It is from Zimbabwe. It is for $100,000,000,000,000 Zimbabwean dollars.
J. Bradford DeLong on March 02, 2015 at 09:57 AM in Economics: Health, Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Long Form, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Streams: The Honest Broker | Permalink | Comments (6)
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Live from the Roasterie: With respect to King v. Burwell, can anybody tell me the statistics on what the ultimate Supreme Court vote is when the Supreme Court did not have to take jurisdiction, but rather took it because four of the justices explicitly decided to?
Over at Equitable Growth: For the first time, we have a clue as to what Republican plans are for what to do with respect to health policy in the event of an anti-government Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell. And the Republican plan of Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse is the same as the Democratic plan--override the Supreme Court. The difference is that the Democratic override would be permanent, while Sass is only proposing a temporary override. For now. READ MOAR
Some Hoisted from the Archives from Six Years Ago, Most Newer...: Speaking of people who had not done their homework, were spreading lots of wrong information, and who lack the ovaries to have ever marked their beliefs to market or apologize for their purveying misinformation, we have Allan Meltzer starting in February 2009 as the Paul Revere of the coming upward breakout of inflation.
It is a real clown show.
I remember how back in 2007 and 2008 I would say that one reason Barack Obama might be a better candidate than Hillary Rodham Clinton was simply that America was now less racist than it was sexist--that the conservative quarter of the country would not be motivated to throw the filth at Barack Obama that they had and that they would throw at Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I was wrong.
Ezra Klein muses on the racist origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome:
Over at Equitable Growth: I see that the femina spectabilis Diane Lim is a very unhappy camper:
...‘Critical investments’ and ‘shared prosperity’ are ‘in.’ Deficits are down to an economically sustainable range.... Our policymakers are no doubt relieved to take a break from having to talk about the hard stuff (spending cuts and tax increases) and getting to focus on the nice-sounding stuff (spending increases and tax cuts).... Dismissing fiscal responsibility as a socially irresponsible idea is irresponsible.... READ MOAR
Have I mentioned that no matter what else Jonathan Chait writes, we love him for things like this?
...to more than 11 million, and the conservative response to the law’s demonstrable success at carrying out its goals has been fascinating to behold. Measured by volume, the right-wing backlash has diminished severely, as great roaring waves of furious anger have given way to irregular ripples of discontent. But measured by its content, very little has changed.... To take a typical example, here is Stephen Moore, "chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, making his case", such as it is, that Obamacare has failed to meet its cost targets. Perhaps the most revealing aspect of Moore’s column is the fact that, five years after its passage, the chief economist of the most influential conservative think tank in the United States lacks even a passing familiarity with it....
I read the Economist, and I shake my head in confusion:
...and Mr Putin is winning... the Kremlin’s undisputed master... a throttlehold on Ukraine.... His overarching aim is to divide and neuter [the western] alliance.... Only the wilfully blind would think his revanchism has been sated.... To him, Western institutions and values are more threatening than armies. He wants.... supplant them with his own model... [in which] nation-states trump alliances, states are dominated by elites, and those elites can be bought.... The biggest target is NATO’s commitment to mutual self-defence. Discredit that—by, for example, staging a pro-Russian uprising in Estonia or Latvia, which other NATO members decline to help quell--and the alliance crumbles....
...hosted by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, where he cited reporting by former NPR reporter Julie Rovner that, he claims, supports his understanding of the law. Cannon’s interpretation of Rovner’s reporting, however, did not sit well with the moderator of the debate, former NPR reporter Julie Rovner. After Cannon attempted to use Rovner’s reporting in support of his argument, Rovner, who now reports on health policy for Kaiser Health News, produced a copy of the article Cannon cited and read it aloud to him in order to prove that it does not actually support his claims...
And, rather than apologizing or retracting, Michael Cannon writes:
Note: neither @jrovner, nor @nicholas_bagley, nor @imillhiser, nor @MyConstitution has accepted my challenge...
Maybe @imillhiser or @MyConstitution will lend space to @jrovner, @nicholas_bagley, me to discuss @RepLloydDoggett letter & JR's reporting?
Notice what he did there? He cited Julie Rovner's story as an authority. When she pointed out to him that the story did not say what he had cited it to say, he shifted ground to not citing but challenging her reporting.
I must say, the lies here are just too thick for me...
Over at Equitable Growth: Can someone point me to something Stuart Butler has written in the past three years that has turned out to be correct?
I mean, it seems to be blinkered, partisan, wrong--and obviously wrong at the time, both in its analysis of the political forces and of the policy substance.
Am I wrong?
Take a look:
At least when the Cravath partners went hunting for named plaintiffs for anti-New Deal cases back in the 1930s, they found plaintiffs like the Schechters who had in fact been injured by New Deal policies.
Jones, Day is going to be spending a long time trying to live this down, I must say...
...defending the Crusades and the Inquisition. This example, on the Crusades, by First Things, is their most liked/shared article on their Facebook page by far. I mean, look, I get it. That’s the environment I grew up in. I read young adult novels about the noble Leper King Baldwin and entertained the nostalgia about the Crusader Dream. And yes, fair enough, the Crusades were envisioned as wars of self-defense to reopen Christianity’s holy sites to pilgrims. That’s true. But also, all historical accounts agree that when the Crusaders took Jerusalem, they massacred almost everyone in the city, Christian, Jew and Muslim. Is that something you want to defend, really?
I am left with a lot of questions: If Senator Richard Burr does not see a path to passing an ObamaCare replacement this year, why make a splash with a proposal that is not a bill rather than simply scheduling hearings?... And why does Peter Sullivan of The Hill not tell his readers that BHU is a reboot of BCH–if, that is, he has the slightest desire at all to be in the trusted-information-intermediary business?... Why does it please Burr to have The Hill’s readers thinking that this is something that Burr has come up with in the last two months, rather than a line of approach that he has been thinking bout, tweaking, and trying to get right for years?....
I actually think that the motives of Burr et al. are eminently comprehensible... Randy Barnett explained it for us:
With or without bipartisanship, however, Republicans need to have a well-vetted replacement in the pipeline. To make a favorable ruling in King more likely, the legislative wheels must be visibly in motion by the time of oral arguments in March.
If it’s entirely clear that siding with the ACA troofers will throw most of the country’s health care insurance markets into chaos will Congress does nothing, it might give Roberts and Kennedy pause. It might not--I can very much see Roberts writing a hilariously disingenuous conclusion asserting that his troofer holding will modestly allow Congress to clarify its intent--but as Barnett’s concerns indicate, it might.... Congressional Republicans putting on a kabuki make[s] it easier for... Kennedy and Roberts to lie to themselves a la Michael Strain.... Republican legislators showing up at press conferences... after having visited Kinko’s with copies of earlier terrible proposals may be good enough for the swing votes on the court....
As Ed Kilgore pointed out at the time Barnett’s proposals can only be called black comedy gold.... Even for an ACA troofer, declaring that ‘such a bill is very likely to be bipartisan’ is shameless. It’s the lying to yourself/lying to others question again--in Barnett’s case, I’m pretty confident that it’s the latter.
Over at Equitable Growth: I am left with a lot of questions: If Senator Richard Burr does not see a path to passing an ObamaCare replacement this year, why make a splash with a proposal that is not a bill rather than simply scheduling hearings? If Richard Burr thinks that the Burr-Coburn-Hatch proposal from last year was unfairly rejected by his Republican colleagues and that they should take another look at it, why put Burr-Hatch-Upton forward as if it were brand-new--as if it were not a reboot of last year's Burr-Coburn-Hatch? And why does Peter Sullivan of The Hill not tell his readers that BHU is a reboot of BCH--if, that is, he has the slightest desire at all to be in the trusted-information-intermediary business? And even if he doesn't want to be in the trusted-information-intermediary business, why does it please Burr to have The Hill's readers thinking that this is something that Burr has come up with in the last two months, rather than a line of approach that he has been thinking bout, tweaking, and trying to get right for years? READ MOAR
Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: The Economist Magazine Is Wrong About Welfare's Impact on Family http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120929/economist-magazine-wrong-about-welfares-impact-family
Rebecca Traister: Maternity Leave Policies in America Hurt Working Moms http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120939/maternity-leave-policies-america-hurt-working-moms
Jeet Heer: The New Republic's Legacy on Race: From Du Bois to the Bell Curve http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120884/new-republics-legacy-race
I am impressed!
Time to subscribe to the New New Republic, people...
Apropos of people regarding the models they teach as ritualistic incantations to be thrown away the moment they contradict their political masters' ideological prejudices...
The way to analyze whether, at the margin, it is raising or lowering government spending that is better for the economy right now is to do a benefit-cost analysis.
Following DeLong and Summers (2012), let the parameters for an economy at the zero lower bound of nominal interest rates and with anchored inflation expectations be:
Let me (surprise, surprise!) back up Paul here: There is no doubt that, technocratically, reflation is the low-hanging fruit to boosting equitable growth. Successfully returning to full employment would boost real GDP in the North Atlantic by 10% today, would boost future economic growth substantially as well, and would lift all economic classes more-or-less equally. No plausible policy shifts to produce "structural reform"--save possibly the "structural reform" of raising the price level in Germany and Holland relative to Italy and Spain by 20%--promises North Atlantic-wide benefits even a fifth as much.
But for many, suppose you were to endorse Keynesian fiscal of Friedmanite monetary régime-change policies right now...
Mireille Miller-Young... angered by the [anti-abortion] sign... snatched the sign, took it back to her office to destroy it, and shoved one of the Short sisters...
The next Clinton presidential campaign... [Hillary Rodham] Clinton enters... in a much stronger position... her supporters may find it irresistible to amplify p.c. culture’s habit of interrogating the hidden gender biases in every word and gesture against their side...
When Jonathan Chait says "The P.C. Movement", both of these are in what he fears and opposes--everyone from vandals and bullies to the "supporters" of our likely next president, and everyone in between. In Chait's envisioning, they are all, along with everyone in between them part of a single Monstrous Regiment of Women (and others) that needs to be opposed in the interest of something equally if not more amorphous called "liberalism"...
I have not yet heard anybody say on Fox News that the current Nor'easter is "Obama's Katrina", but surely somebody will. And in the meantime:
Weigel: "Swine Flu: The swine flu outbreak of April 2009!... Hugh Hewitt asked whether a botched response would destroy the Obama presidency. 'A death toll is a death toll, and if one begins to pile up in the U.S. the at least four-day delay in moving decisively to control legal entry into the country from Mexico will be entered in President Obama's account.'"
Weigel: "The Underwear Bomber: Then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano responded to the lucky apprehension of a dim terrorist by saying 'the system worked,' inspiring a NYT news analysis.... 'Hurricane Katrina was a crisis on a different order of magnitude than this event,' wrote Peter Baker, 'certainly, but the politics of attack and parry do not dwell on context or proportionality.'"
Weigel: "*The Haiti earthquake: Dan Kennedy argued that Haiti was not 'Obama's Katrina,' as Haiti is not part of the United States.... But... the *Wall Street Journal... a guest op-ed titled 'Haiti: Obama's Katrina,' and pointing out that 'the death toll from Katrina was under 2,000 people' while 'deaths in Haiti as of yesterday are at least 150,000.'"
Weigel: "The BP oil spill: 'This was, of course, New Orleans' Katrina and Mississippi's Katrina,' said Brian Williams during an interview with the president. 'And you're familiar now that it's getting baked in a little bit in the media that BP was President Obama's Katrina. And it's also getting baked in that the administration was slow off the mark. Is that unfair?' Spoiler: He did think it was unfair."
Weigel: "Hurricane Sandy: To be fair, it was mostly just Sean Hannity saying this. 'With the horrifying images of Sandy’s devastation now contrasted with the president’s constant campaigning,' he said on Nov. 1, 2012, 'this is starting to look like, in my opinion, Obama’s Katrina'... before the administration's response to Sandy, and Chris Christie's praise for it, helped make New York and New Jersey two of the only states where the Obama vote increased from 2008 to 2012. (The others? Mississippi and Louisiana.)"
Weigel: "Benghazi/IRS/NSA: 'If the president does not soon regain control of the narrative,' wrote Todd Eberly, 'he is likely to suffer the same fate as his predecessor--a collapse in public confidence and a vastly diminished second term.'"
Weigel: "Obamacare: Ron Fournier even argued that the website crisis might be Obama's Katrina and Iraq. 'The crises came after a series of unrelated events that had already caused doubt among voters about the presidents,' explained Fournier. 'To borrow a cliché, Katrina was the last straw.'" And @LOLGOP: "Hope this blizzard isn't another Obama's Katrina.... One before... 10 million gained insurance...”
@LOLGOP: Ebola: "Hope this blizzard isn't another Obama's Katrina. In the last one, no Americans died of Ebola..."
The Unaccompanied Children: "CHUCK TODD: 'Speaking of immigration, are you surprised that the president is going to be in Texas and not go to the border?...' SUSAN PAGE: 'It's a Katrina moment, right?... And you're going to the fundraiser and you're not going to the border where there's this crisis?' --MSNBC 7/7/14"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "The IRS: 'It has been a rough week or so for the Obama administration. From Benghazi to the tapping of reporters' phones to the IRS admitting that it targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, the press is in a frenzy, and many are questioning President Barack Obama's future.' --Todd Eberly, Baltimore Sun, 5/17/13"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "Sexual Assault in the Military: 'Scandals Represent Obama's "Katrina Moment"' --Darryl Watson, PolicyMic, 5/16/13"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "Hurricane Isaac: 'On August 30, 2012, Obama held a campaign rally at the University of Virginia. At that same time 'people in Louisiana were dealing with what the National Hurricane Center called "life-threatening hazards" caused by Hurricane Isaac.' --Conservative Daily News blog, 8/31/12"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "MF Global: 'MF Global collapse is Obama's Hurricane Katrina' --The Market Oracle blog, 3/25/12"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "**The S&P Downgrade: 'Obama's Katrina Moment?' --Patrick Ruffini, 8/24/11"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "Missouri River Floods: 'My friend Andy in Nebraska City says that city is expecting the flood waters to rise to a point where it will cover 1st and 2nd street. My friend Brian in Council Bluffs already has his truck packed up in case he and his wife have to leave quickly.... The only national news coverage, at all, is concerning Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Plant.... Why is the media silent? Why is the national media refusing to cover this story fully, and point out what is going on? Because, this is Obama's Katrina moment, and he has blown it.' --For God and Liberty blog, 6/27/11"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "Unemployment: 'Expect unemployment to remain over 9% through the midterm elections--compared to a rate of just 6.9% in November 2008, when Obama was elected. It's that number, rather than anything going on right now in the Gulf of Mexico, which is really "Obama’s Katrina".' --Felix Salmon, 6/4/10"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "Fort Hood: 'Could Be Obama's Katrina' --Lynne Wooley at Human Events, 11/11/2009"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "The ARRA: 'Is the Stimulus Obama’s Katrina?' --Bill Dupray, American Conservative, True/Slant, 11/17/09. 'Make no mistake, the economic crisis and Obama's failure to create real jobs with his stimulus package means we're looking at this president's Katrina.' --James Pinkerton, Fox News, 7/6/09
No More Mister Nice Blog: "Swine Flu: 'Coming epidemic of swine flu could be Obama's Katrina' --Martin Schram, Scripps Howard News Service, 8/28/09
No More Mister Nice Blog: "General Motors: Republicans hope General Motors is President Obama's Hurricane Katrina' --Politico, 6/28/09"
No More Mister Nice Blog: "Kentucky Ice Storm: 'Obama's Katrina on Ice: More than 700,000 homes are still without power in Kentucky due to a massive ice storm that struck the state six days ago, forcing Gov. Steve Beshear to mobilize his entire state's Army and Air National Guard, a total of 4,600 men and the largest call-out in Kentucky's history.... Our Hawaiian-borne President, basking in the glow of an overheated Oval Office and dining on $100/lb steak, has been utterly disinterested...' --Confederate Yankee blog, 2/1/09"
Sabrina Siddiqui: "Hurricane Katrina: "A new Public Policy Polling survey... found that 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans said Obama was responsible for the Katrina response. Twenty-eight percent put the blame on President George W. Bush, whose administration did in fact oversee the federal response to Katrina. Nearly half (44 percent) of the Louisiana Republicans polled didn't know who to blame..." --August 21, 2013
No More Mister Nice Blog: "Affordable Housing: 'A friend emails: "Obama's KATRINA. A little dramatic?" Maybe. Obama's record on "affordable housing," as described in the Globe story, isn't a case of gross ineptitude in a catastrophic regional emergency. It's not even a symbol of endemic governmental dysfunction. (Although: Is there a bigger Petri dish for corrupt incompetence than the "public-private partnership"? Think cable TV franchises.) But the Globe account does seem to capture what's most likely to be wrong with an Obama administration.' --Mickey Kaus at Slate, 6/30/08"
There needs, I think, to be some sort of special prize for the last two...
Comment on: Janice Eberly and Arvind Krishnamurthy: [Efficient Credit Policies in a Housing Debt Crisis](http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/projects/bpea/fall 2014/fall2014bpea_eberly_krishnamurthy.pdf):
Very nicely done by the very sharp Janice Eberly and Arvind Krishnamurthy, yet after reading it I am more mystified than I was before. I am more mystified that conforming-refinancing loans with equity kickers were not offered to all underwater and above-water homeowners alike. I am mystified that, instead, the debt overhang was removed via foreclosures and some case-by-case renegotiations. It was brutal, as discussant Paul Willen had acknowledged, and it is not clear that it is over yet. Even though during the housing bubble a million single-family homes above trend were being built each year, since 2007 the annual total has dropped to half a million, far below the long-run trend of 1.2 million.
Now the country is 4 million single-family homes short based on pre-housing-bubble trends. That translates into 4 million families living in makeshift situations--primarly their relatives’ basements and attics. Yet, strangely, this enormous overhang is not exerting any pressure for a single-family housing construction recovery.
It is clear that both these potential homeowners and the lenders are unwilling to take on the types of risk they routinely took before 2008. The single-family housing credit channel has not been restored to its old status. Is this a good finance pattern? Was the previous pattern a poor idea in the first place? Or is the country now incurring enormous societal welfare losses due to the Obama administration's failure to use its administrative powers to fix the housing-finance credit channel?
Comment on: Amanda Kowalski: The Early Impact of the Affordable Care Act:
This very interesting paper by Amanda Kowalski tells me that costs have risen by a lot in many places. I am surprised
That suggests to me that many of the previously uninsured were not low-value consumers, the kind who would not demand much health care, as we saw in the case in Massachusetts.
That foregone consumer surplus caused by not insuring the uninsured earlier has thus turned out to be very much bigger in the pre-ACA regime than I had thought. And so the potential positive social welfare effects of the ACA are significantly greater than I had believed likely.
Moreover, the paper seems to me to imply that the division of the surplus from subsidies between insurance companies on the one hand and consumers on the other is very different between the states that have aggressively pursued ACA enforcement and those that have not. In the passive and nonimplementing states--the nullification states--insurance companies appear to have grabbed a greater amount of the surplus. I wonder if that might explain some of the absence of a strong insurance lobby in nullification states for more aggressive implementation? Non-implementation means that insurance companies forego some of the potential subsidy pool. But it also means that the pressures in the ACA that would increase market competition are also largely absent.
In which I once again fail to understand where Niall Ferguson is coming from...
...Having annexed Crimea to Russia, President Putin still has forces camped out in eastern Ukraine. And all over the Muslim world, myriad Islamist organizations, from Islamic State to the Taliban, are using violence to pursue their atavistic goals. In practice, the Obama administration has had little choice but to keep using hard power, from the airstrikes on Islamic State to the economic sanctions on Russia...
And I think: Of course hard power can be decisive--but one needs to have a lot of it, and be willing not just to threaten to use it but to actually use it, and not care that one's use of it may lead the abyss to look into you, and turn you into something you did not want to be, and so cause you to lose even as you "win".
Over at Equitable Growth: I ought to write a response to the very sharp Bill Gale's response to my questions in response to hist paper for Brink Lindsey's Cato Economic Growth Forum: William Gale: Response to DeLong on the Fiscal Sitch....
And it would probably be good if I kept it relatively brief.
Given the extraordinary global demand for the debt of the US federal government as a safe and secure store of value in today's economy, right now the financing of the expenditures of the federal government should be pushed off, as far into the future as intergenerational equity, to allow us to take advantage of this extraordinary sale price on repayment duration that the world economy's individual rich, public sovereign wealth funds, and central banks seeking dollar reserves are offering us. READ MOAR:
William Gale wrote: http://www.cato.org/publications/cato-online-forum/get-fiscal-house-order
And now he responds:
Recently, I wrote an article on the role of fiscal policy on economic growth. I argued that, if we want to raise living standards of future generations, a major priority should be reducing the long-term ratio of public debt to GDP. (I also suggested that, since the benefits of higher economic growth disproportionately accrue to high-income households, those households should bear the brunt of the costs of fiscal consolidation.)
In response, Berkeley Economics Professor Brad Delong asked, “Why would anyone seek today to relatively downweight virtually any other economic policy priority in order to focus on the deficit?” At the risk of oversimplifying, Delong offers two classes of reasons for asking his question:
We here are all old enough and wise enough to know that, whenever somebody's opening bid is blaming-the-victim rather than blaming-the-perpetrator, the primary goal is not to help keep future potential victims from becoming victims.
The primary goal is, rather, to keep victims in their place--and perpetrators in theirs.
Seriously: If the American Enterprise Institute wanted to stop shredding its reputation, it should replace Charles Murray. With David Frum, perhaps?
Over on The Twitter Machine: https://twitter.com/delong/status/543038648653193217:
@charlesmurray: If you are drunk or high, to what degree can you say you are a victim when something bad happens to you? A question to take seriously.
Everything that happened in this damning report is because of Americans. But the report itself is a function of other Americans determined to push back against evil done in this country’s name. Those Americans have been heroes in exposing this horror from the get-go, and they include many CIA agents who knew full well what this foul program was doing to their and America’s reputation. But they also include the dogged staff of the Select Committee....
So I finally made a chunk of time to read and think about Michael Kinsley's response to Paul Krugman's rebuttal of Kinsley's claim that Krugman was engaged in a "misguided moral crusade against" rather than a technocratic critique of "austerity".
First and most essential, I need to set some rules here: If I'm going to be called a canine of any form, standards must be maintained.
I insist that it be not "attack dog" but either:
Those are the approved options. Pick one. Use it. Stick to it. It's really not hard at all to do.
J. Bradford DeLong on December 09, 2014 at 05:30 AM in Economics: Macro, Information: Better Press Corps/Journamalism, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Politics, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Streams: The Honest Broker | Permalink | Comments (14)
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By my count, they ought to be embarrassed by all five of these now.
And the probability is 99% that whoever is running the Cato Institute in a decade will then be embarrassed by all of them (save possibly the weird constitutional law poster, where dead-enders will still be dead-ending).
Wingnuts gotta nut, I know. But some recognition that their past policy judgments were simply wrong--is that too much to expect?
The other contributions to Brink Lindsey's Cato Institute Online Economic Growth Forum have all been things I can engage--things that make me think, that are individual economists' honest and good-faith attempts to say where the fruit is to be picked in terms of boosting America's economic growth.
Then comes Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
And, I must say, it seems to me that it really is time for some sort of disciplinary boundary-patrol police action/intervention here...
Holtz-Eakin's piece seems to me to be, in the context of the other--remarkably good--pieces that Brink Lindsey has commissioned, a very strange intrusion from some alternative non-technocratic discursive universe--a veritable Colour out of Space:
That same nameless intrusion which Ammi had come to recognise and dread... the shaft of phosphorescence from the well was getting brighter and brighter, bringing to the minds of the huddled men a sense of doom and abnormality which far outraced any image their conscious minds could form...
Some questions for the authors of the contributions that struck me as the most interesting...
Two Questions for Scott Sumner: First Question: Why has nominal GDP targeting not already swept the economics community? It really ought to have. Second Question: I believe in nominal GDP targeting--especially if coupled with some version of "social credit" at or near the zero lower bound. But a look back at the history of ideas about a proper "neutral" monetary policy--Newton’s fixed price of gold, Hayek’s fixed nominal GDP level, Fisher’s fixed price-level commodity basket, Friedman’s stable M2 growth rate, the NAIRU targeting of the 1970s, Bernanke’s inflation-targeting—leads immediately to the conclusion that anybody who claims to have uncovered the Philosopher’s Stone here is a madman. How can you reassure me that I (and you) are not mad?
...of the long-run growth rate in the economy.... But it does offer one of the cheapest ways of boosting growth. Unlike fiscal programs such as infrastructure, there is virtually no cost to improving monetary policy.... Elsewhere (2014) I’ve argued that a policy of nominal GDP targeting would smooth out the business cycle and undercut many of the arguments for counterproductive policies.... We need to convince other economists that nominal GDP targeting is the way to go. Once we do so, the Fed will follow the consensus. READ MOAR
Paul Krugman appears to be suffering a crisis of confidence with respect to the value of the economics Academic "meritocracy" he surveys from his position at its peak:
Paul Krugman: Notes on the Floating Crap Game (Economics Inside Baseball): "Reading Fourcade et al....
...may explain one of the things that has puzzled me in the disputes over macro policy--namely, the seemingly unquenchable certainty among some of the freshwater guys that Keynesians are stupid. Again and again...freshwater macroeconomists declare that New [and old] Keynesians... don’t get some basic point... accounting identities [among others: Fama, Cochrane]... Ricardian equivalence [among others: Lucas, Cochrane, Lin, Prescott, Zingales, Boldrin]... the Euler condition [this seems to be Cochrane alone] (plus)... the Fisher equation [among others: Kocherlakota (but years ago), Williamson, Cochrane, Schmidt-Grohe, Uribe, Cowen, Andolfatto].
I take it not:
...Why on Earth would the EPA plan to ban something as inoffensive as Argon? IceAgeNow has a theory--they think Argon is part of a list supplied by a scientifically illiterate NGO, which the EPA plans to rubber stamp. If anyone with any real scientific training whatsoever had seen this silly list before it was published, or had taken the trouble to do 5 minutes of research on each entry in the list, to discover how ridiculous and ignorant the inclusion of Argon on a list of dangerous chemicals to be banned really is, then the EPA would not be facing their current very public embarrassment.... When I first saw this story, I though surely this must be some sort of spoof or misunderstanding that led to this. Sadly, no...
Q: What happens, if you know your history, when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race? When one race or culture overwhelms another culture, they run them out or they kill them.'
Over at Equitable Growth: I read Reihan Salam over at Slate.
My first, minor, thought is that the Slate editors seriously fell down on their job in failing to demand even a modicum of intellectual consistency here. Let me endorse Brian Buetler:
...to obscure and delay transfers so that budget analysts wouldn’t treat the law as they might a single-payer program where... everything coming in is a tax, and everything going out is an expenditure.... The right’s memory has grown conveniently spotty.... In 2011, in a different context, Salam mocked the kind of scolding he’s now directing at Obama. ‘Ah, he made the program marginally less politically poisonous, which will make it harder for us to demonize him. Now let’s attack him for hypocrisy!’ he wrote, paraphrasing critics. The policy architect in that instance was Paul Ryan, who proposed phasing out the existing Medicare program, but only after 10 years, and only for future retirees. At the time, Salam didn’t believe his opponents’ rhetorical strategy had much merit. ‘I mean, I get it,’ he added. ‘But also: let’s move on'...
My second, big, thought is that there are no live policy ideas--that the Republicans are now the captives of the nihilists they have turned their activist base into, and that their only strategy now is to hope that somehow, some way, ObamaCare can be made to collapse. READ MOAR