Comment of the Day: VSPs and the Case of the Disappearing BPEA: "Brad Delong has nice things to say about my old Brookings Paper on Economic Activity on the liquidity trap...:
Comment of the Day: Paul Krugman: VSPs and the Case of the Disappearing BPEA: "Brad Delong has nice things to say about my old Brookings Paper on Economic Activity on the liquidity trap...
Comment of the Day: Phil Koop: Monday Smackdown: Hoisted from Archives: Economists Clueless About the Economy Weblogging: "No need to ask Kevin Hassett (is there ever?)...
Justin Wolfers asked if any of the signers to this took their much-deserved reputational hit for signing it, or whether any of them have provided any sort of apologia.
The answer is "No: reporters somehow quote them, but do not ask them why they got it so wrong in late 2010. Reporters do not ask them how they have revised their visions of the Cosmic All as a result of getting it wrong. Reporters remain eager to take their quotes down and publish them as if they were the informed views of experts."
And the other real shame--besides the journalistic one of pretending that this embarrassment never happened and continuing to burnish the reputation and media presence of the signers--is that, to my knowledge at least, not a single one of the signatories has gone back and explained (a) why they were so certain that QE was a disaster, (b) why they were wrong, (c ) how they have changed their working model of the economy according to Bayes's Rule, and (d) how their policy recommendations will be different in the future. Marking their beliefs about the world to market is just not something that any of these people ever do...
J. Bradford DeLong on November 23, 2015 at 04:09 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: (Monday) Smackdown Watch, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (17)
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Well, this is certainly surprising; this is certainly a black swan!:
And it collides on my desk with (a) Shakespeare's Macbeth, and (b) my own grappling with how I have been very surprised by what did and did not happen to our policies and our economies since 2005...
So let's raise the curtain:
J. Bradford DeLong on November 20, 2015 at 12:39 PM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (15)
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Live from Newark Airport: Paul Krugman: Fear and Friends: "The news from Paris was horrifying, and deserved... commentary...
Live from Newark Airport: I must say, first Ebola and now Syrian refugees.... It makes me wonder: The next time one of these Republican clowns is in executive office, Daesh comes to them and says: pay us $3 billion and we won't explode a bomb in the U.S. this year, or don't pay us $3 billion and we will.
How does any one of these Republican clowns say?
And have their been messages yet to Sam Brownback in Kansas,
Mitch Daniels Mike Pence in Indiana, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, etc., asking them for $30 million for "security" for 2015 for their states? And what have they answered?
Matthew Yglesias: Obama's Sick Burn on Republican Critics of His Refugee Policy: "After a meeting with President Benigno Aquino of the Philipines...
Hoisted from the Archives from Nigh on Five Years Ago: What Have We Unlearned from Our Great Recession?
The five-year anniversary of the right-wing anti-Bernanke QE letter coincides with the choice for President of the Minneapolis Fed of Neel Kashkari, with his apparent belief that expansionary monetary policy are destructive:
Sorry Japan, printing money is morphine. makes u feel better but doesn't cure. BOJ Unveils Bold Bid to End Deflation http://t.co/9G9mnAOdOq— Neel Kashkari (@neelkashkari) April 5, 2013
Market's response to the jobs report shows the tough spot the Fed is in. Patients get upset when the morphine ends. http://t.co/hokDzP1jbQ— Neel Kashkari (@neelkashkari) July 5, 2013
Fifth anniversary: Open Letter to Ben Bernanke:
J. Bradford DeLong on November 15, 2015 at 03:47 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: (Weekend) Reading, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (9)
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opening a much-needed debate over the central bank's proper role in economic policy decisions. We share the concerns that many economists and policymakers have expressed about the Fed's decision to act. The Fed's recent departures from rules-based monetary policy have increased economic instability and endangered the central bank's independence. It is time for common-sense reforms that refocus the Fed on sound monetary policy and remove it from contentious political debates over what policies are best to achieve other national goals.
Live from KU Med: Back in 2011--just after he was elected--the Brownbackistanis were all very confidently predicting but Right now Sam Brownback would be spending all his time in Iowa and New Hampshire, in a well-funded run for president as the man who had brought both upright morality in the form of a godly social order and wild booming prosperity driven by the magic of supply-side tax cuts to the prairie.
That did not turn out to be the case.
Live from the South Bank of the Ohio River: Charles Gaba: Kentucky: Am I actually supposed to sympathize with Dennis Blackburn???: "Matt Bevin didn't just include generic "Obamacare suxx!!" boilerplate...
...as part of his campaign rhetoric; he made repealing Medicaid expansion (and shutting down the kynect ACA exchange) a major part of his campaign for Governor. EVERYONE in Kentucky knew this (or damned well should have known it). Yet, Mr. Blackburn voted for the guy who had explicitly promised to take away his healthcare coverage... and now he's confused and scared that Bevin might, you know, actually do what he said he was going to do...Seriously, how the hell am I supposed to respond to this guy?
Live from La Farine: As Daniel Drezner tweets:
Even if [Ben Carson's campaign] is a giant marketing scam, it's a giant marketing scam that's overtaking Trump's giant marketing scam.
What can I say?
I remember back in 2000 being told: "Of course George W. Bush is not going to govern the country. He is not qualified. But people who are qualified to run the country are not good at being heads of state who reassure the American people. And they are very very not good at combining that with the partisan edge needed to get the activists to run the voter turnout operation.
"You Democrats have been lucky with Bill Clinton. But he is one in a million. George W. Bush is our new Ronald Reagan--our head of state candidate. And do not worry: the government will be in good hands--the permanent government of George Shultz, James Baker, Martin Feldstein, Howard Baker, Brent Scowcroft, and company are professional, and up to the task."
Now, I think, we see the ruins of that strategy. And even if Bill Clinton is one in a million, there are 320 of him or her in this country, of whom at least 80 are Republicans...
Jonathan Chait: Is Ben Carson Running for President?: "On February 7, 2013, Ben Carson appeared at a National Prayer Breakfast...
J. Bradford DeLong: The Tragedy of Ben Bernanke: Project Syndicate:
Ben Bernanke has published his memoir, The Courage to Act.
I am finding it hard to read. And I am finding it hard to read as anything other than a tragedy. It is the story of a man who may have been the best-prepared person in the world for the job he was given, but who soon found himself outmatched by its challenges, quickly falling behind the curve and never quite managing to catch up.
It is to Bernanke’s great credit that the shock of 2007-2008 did not trigger another Great Depression. But the aftermath was unexpectedly disappointing... READ MOAR AT PROJECT SYNDICATE
Live from Boulder, CO: You do worry--very seriously--that these Republican presidential candidates are so ill-suited to life that they are likely to kill themselves via some accidental mishap with a household appliance:
Steve Hamlin: Lindsey Graham:
"Do you think Putin would be in the Ukraine if Reagan was president?" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA--Steve Hamlin (@stevehamlin19) October 28, 2015
The bench is really, really weak here...
Live from the Roasterie: Brownback won reelection in 2014. Just saying. And in spite of his current unpopularity, he continues to rule Topeka and block attempts to undue what he and his fellow con artists set in motion in 2011: the transformation of Kansas, as far as the state government is concerned. He says: "less like California, more like Texas." But Texas has a hell of a lot of oil, real mountains and a real seacoast, a culture very welcoming to Hispanics, a still-boosterish upper class, and no winters. Kansas lacks all of these. It is actually: "less like Minnesota, more like Mississippi."
Steve Kraske: Gov. Sam Brownback in deep hole with Kansans: "Lots of numbers in a new statewide survey of Kansas from Fort Hays State University...
Comment on Jacob Jensen, Ethan Kaplan, Suresh Naidu, and Laurence Wilse-Samson, 'The Dynamics of Political Language': as prepared for delivery:
Let me pick up and expand on the line of discussion initiated by David Gergen's excellent comment.
I think this paper does an excellent job of documenting and helping us understand ideological polarization.
I think this paper does not do a good job of understanding partisan polarization.
Theodore Roosevelt in 1896 was a Republican attack dog, denouncing Democratic Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan as a mere puppet of the Alien Communist Anarchist John Peter Altgeld. Bryan, Roosevelt said:
: Matthew O'Brien: Yes, Niall Ferguson Knew He Was Playing Three-Card-Monte with the "Wall Street Journal's" Readers via His Misuse of Budget Baselines. Why Do You Ask?: Noted: Matthew O'Brien: Truth in the Age of Niallism: "Harvard historian Niall Ferguson still thinks bluster can substitute for facts...
...Here are three facts about how the 10-year budget outlook has changed in the past year: 1) the fiscal cliff deal raised $600 billion in new revenue; 2) the sequester, if left in place, cut $1.2 trillion; 3) the CBO revised its projection for federal healthcare spending down by $600 billion. Harvard historian Niall Ferguson has a counterfactual take. Here's how he described how our debt trajectory changed the past year:
Live from Parkville, MO: Two things crossing my screen. The first is a correspondent informing me that ex-Old New Republic writer Mickey Kaus, who I will remember as the crusader against Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein who got wingnut welfare from Slate to the tune of $350 per weblog post (that averaged 1.5 paragraphs each), is opposing Paul Ryan from the right for being too-big of a pro-amnesty squish on immigration to be a proper Speaker of the House.
The second is this:
Jeb Bush: Team Bush in a Fog: "If this is an election about how we’re going to fight...
...to get nothing done, I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people are literally in decline in their lives. That is not my motivation. I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around being miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.
Mitt Romney: [The late Staples founder Thomas Stemberg was] an extraordinarily creative and dynamic visionary.... Mr. Stemberg was one of the great business leaders...
...of our state and our nation,’ Romney said. ‘He was not only the founder, but someone who grew the company to a multi-billion dollar enterprise. He built an industry that employs thousands and thousands of people.... Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare. Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance...
Mind you, Romney could claim he was criticizing the late Tom Stemberg--"without Tom, a lot of people wouldn't have health insurance through RomneyCare and ObamaCare, and that would be a better world than this." But somehow I don't think Romney is going to go there.
I mean... Romney had so many opportunities over the past six years to play a constructive role... He took advantage of none of them... I... I can't even...
Live from Capitol Hill: John Scalzi: ATTENTION INTERNET: Please update your memes now:
Live from the Kansas Union: Let me say that we should all pause, and express our sympathy for the sorrow of the family and friends of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone S. Woods, and Glen Doherty, murdered in a cowardly fashion in Libya on September 11, 2012.
And let me also say that it is appropriate for us to express, for Boehner, McCarthy, Ryan, Gowdy, and the clown show that is the rest of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives, our scorn, contempt, and slight regard:
Jeet Heer: Why Republicans Turned Benghazi Hearing into Blumenthal Hearing: "This was supposed to be the eighth congressional hearing...
Live from the Kansas Union: Scott Eric Kauffman: Why Yes, the #BenghaziCommittee Hearings Are a Political Rorschach Test: "The commentators just have the wrong Rorschach:
Idea by SEK — actual mash-up by David Moles. You’re welcome.
Live from Crow's Coffee: Nate Silver's http://fivethirtyeight.com is killing it on the 2016 election story.
A squib from Paul Krugman crosses my desk, praising the highly-estimable Nate Silver, and his http://fivethirtyeight.com. Indeed, let us all praise the the highly-estimable Nate Silver, and his http://fivethirtyeight.com. Most recently:
The remarkable thing is that the Republicans would not have had to get any concessions out of Obama in order to justly and accurately sell ObamaCare as a profoundly conservative policy initiative--as an attempt to sustain a market-oriented health-care financing system. Obama pre-conceded everything except for Medicaid-expansion block grants to the states, and there is certainly enough wiggle room in the waiver process as it has developed to claim that we effectively have that as well:
David Frum (2010): Waterloo: "Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
...It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:
In my inbox right now, from... one of the people who saw the U.S. government's reaction to the financial crisis from the inside and would have been a much better reviewer for Bernanke's book than the underpowered Michael Kinsley:
I'm steaming about that wretched review in the Times of Ben's book by, of all people, Michael Kinsley--he's reading it as some sort of coded DC getting back at folks scribble. Just completely incredible. Couldn't they get, for instance, Alan Blinder? Maybe Alan is doing it for the NY Review of Books. Just to go to the edge, Greg Mankiw would have had at least shown some competence in discussing the economic and financial issues...
Live from Crow's Coffee: A correspondent emails:
You apparently didn't arrive at the Kansas City Medicaid expansion event last night in time to hear:
(1) Cato's Michael F. Cannon denounce ObamaCare for not eliminating employer-sponsored insurance, and thus getting people the kind of insurance that vanishes when they get sick and lose their job.
(2) Cato's Michael F. Cannon denouncing Medicaid expansion for giving insurance to people even when they are not employed, and so eliminating the necessity to find and keep a job if you want health insurance.
You see what he did there? You are right about Think Tanks staffed by those more desperate to please ideologically-rigid billionaires than to actually think about the issues.
Live from the Roasterie: as I already wrote this morning, at the state level Medicaid expansion is a total no-brainer: your citizens are already paying the taxes to pay for other states Medicaid expansion, and so the choice is either (i) pay the taxes and get none of the benefits, or (ii) pay the taxes and get your share of the benefits. Option (i) makes sense only if you can somehow convince people that Medicaid spending is evil. Since the claim that Medicaid is useless was never and is not credible, that leaves doubling-down on race and class hatred--of ghetto-dwellers, of the working poor, and of doctors and hospitals that treat Medicaid patients as part of their practice and would like to be paid something for it.
And, of course, in reality it is not big-city hospitals that treat Black people that are going to be the first to close without Medicaid expansion, it's rural hospitals that treat white people:
Jon Cohn: This GOP Governor [Sam Brownback]'s Comments About the Poor Are Incredibly Revealing: "The hospital industry has been begging lawmakers to take the federal dollars...
Must-Read: Harold Pollack: If you want mental health services to prevent violence, Medicaid expansion is critical: "Oregon’s mass homicide sparked the usual debate about whether guns or mental health is the best focus in preventing atrocities...
Must-See: Alas! I seem to be missing the Kathleen Sibelius panel on Medicaid expansion this evening at UMKC:
American Public Square: Dinner at the Square A Dose of Reality: A Medicaid Status Report
But I do have a question that I would like to ask panelist Michael F. Cannon of the Cato Institute. I would greatly appreciate it if somebody else would ask the question--and get an answer:
Mr. Cannon: You said that:
I have counted more than a dozen predictions you have made ever since, back in 2005, Mitt Romney set us on our current health-policy path. All of yours have gone wrong. None of yours have gone right.
How has the fact that you have been so wrong about so much over the past decade changed your thinking about how health insurance markets work, and about health policy?
What has this episode taught you about your milieu--about think-tanks controlled by billionaires with strong ideological commitments, and surrounded by flatterers who assure them they are right about everything? And what has this episode taught you about yourself and your peers who draw their paychecks from such think-tanks?
Live from La Farine: The Republican candidates, the Republican activists, and the Republican base are just one gigantic circular con game, aren't they?
In my email inbox from Red State:
Live from the Roasterie: Thoreau : [Trump Card(http://highclearing.com/index.php/archives/2015/09/22/18905): "A friend gave me what I think is the most elegant possible summary...
...of Trump’s current significance (such as it is) in the Republican primary:
Those the Republicans pandered to became the Republicans.
That’s basically Rick Perlstein’s 3 volumes condensed to one sentence.
The transcript does not include the most telling moment: the moment when Niall Ferguson says, in response to Paul Krugman's pleading for a very moderate Keynesian use of government demand to reduce unemployment:
Well, if you want to try the Soviet model...
Must-Read: Paul Krugman: Fantasies and Fictions at GOP Debate: "Modern G.O.P. economic discourse is completely dominated by an economic doctrine...
October 1, 2015
The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch Chairman
Committee on Finance
United States Senate
The Honorable Paul D. Ryan Chairman
Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Ron Wyden Ranking Member
Committee on Finance
United States Senate
The Honorable Sander M. Levin Ranking Member
Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
Dear Chairman Hatch, Senator Wyden, Chairman Ryan, and Congressman Levin:
For decades economists and health policy experts of all political persuasions have agreed that the unlimited exclusion of employer-financed health insurance from income and payroll taxes is economically inefficient and regressive. The Affordable Care Act established an excise tax on high- cost health plans (the so-called ‘Cadillac tax’) to address these issues. READ MOAR
Live from La Farine: Alex Parente: Don't Cry For John Boehner: "The miserable speakership of John Boehner is over...
Must-Read: I have long thought that both Forbes and the Wall Street Journal have in mind as their target audiences that small segment of the human race that actually enjoys being free-riders, rather than that much larger segment of the human race that wants to engage in win-win reciprocal gift-exchange as a mode of social interaction...
Mark Kleiman: The Moral Universe of the Corporate Killers: "Daniel Fisher... writes for Forbes... hates plaintiffs’ lawyers...
Live from Over the Rockies: Paul Krugman: The Face of the Base: "Joe Weisenthal asked me why Donald Trump is riding so high in the polls...
Live from the Kansas City Library Cafe: A smart piece from McMegan. I do, however wish that she would follow the chain back closer to the egg: striking an appealing fundamental rhetorical pose at the price of substantive policy losses has always been attractive to a certain kind of political actor--think Ralph Nader 2000. But it was the too-successful Republican redistricting effort of 2010 that transferred effective control of much of the Republican Party to such people. For the Huelskamps of the world, a government shutdown that winds up sacrificing some Republican budgetary priorities enhances his career, after all. And the difference is that, after the 2010 redistricting, there are many Huelskamps...
Megan McArdle: Let's See What Republicans Learn From Losing Boehner: "Boehner has announced that he’ll be stepping down... come October...
Why am I not surprised to find the execrable Michael O'Hanlon calling for false balance on vaccination?
Michael O'Hanlon: Vaccines, autism and nervous patients: "Last week the issue of autism and vaccinations has come back into the public limelight...
Must-Read: As I say over and over again, conservatives could be taking a huge victory lap right now with the empirical policy success of the nationwide implementation of the health-care reform pioneered in Massachusetts by the 2012 right-wing standard-bearer Mitt Romney. It is an index of their extraordinary policy, rhetorical, and ideological dysfunction that they are not doing so.
Would somebody please point them a way back to fact-based reality?
Jared Bernstein**: The Affordable Care Act Is Providing Affordable Care. That’s a Big Problem for Its Opponents: "A gov’t program that, after a troubled start...
Live from La Strada: There was a time when it seemed like Nick Gillespie was--unusually for those on the right--a relatively smart person, with respect for reality.
It looks as though those days are gone.
Jon Chait reports--and, as best as I can determine he reports the arguments of John Merline and Nick Gillespie fairly, and greatly to their discredit:
Jon Chait: Obamacare Haters Freaking Out Over New Report: "John Merline of Investor’s Business Daily and Nick Gillespie of Reason insist Obama’s promise to save money for people with employer insurance has failed...
...Why? Because the nominal cost of health insurance has gone up.... Merline and Gillespie... assume that Obama was using a baseline of existing nominal prices.... [In their view] the only way Obama’s reforms could succeed is not only if the decades of medical inflation slowed their rate, but if prices actually dropped in nominal terms. Of course, Obama never actually said anything like this. Merline does not even claim he did. Instead, he insists that it kinda ‘seems’ like Obama meant this.... Oh, it 'seems' that way, huh? That's your argument? The reason it makes sense to judge Obamacare against an alternative world in which decades of medical inflation drop to zero percent a year is that it 'seems' as if he made this insanely grandiose promise? So, yes, if you assume that Obama meant an implausibly unrealistic promise that he did not actually say, then his reforms have fallen short....
The determination of Obamacare haters to claim vindication is a testament to the power of the human spirit in the face of all factual evidence. Right-wingers have every right to ideologically oppose the concept of a government program that uses regulation, taxes, and spending to provide insurance to people who can't afford it. Their unwillingness to concede that this program is working on its own terms is delusional.
While everyone interested in reality-based health-care policy is marveling in astonishment at how much cheaper than expected ObamaCare has been to implement, Merline and Gillespie are off raving in the corner.
Live from La Strada:
Oh man, Ben Carson's campaign reports surge in support following anti-Muslim comments: pic.twitter.com/GovCJESEi7— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) September 21, 2015
As I have said before, if you vote for today's Republicans, there is something very wrong with you. If you work for or publicly support today's Republicans as anything other than a double agent hoping to demolish today's Republican Party, sow the ground with salt, and rebuild something else somewhere else, there is something very wrong with you.
Must-Read: Catherine Rampell: The economy was a no-show at GOP debate: "There’s actually a good reason why Republican candidates might want to avoid...
Live from the Roasterie: Barry Goldwater was the crusader: roll back the New Deal as an un-American mistake that keeps people from learning how to stand on their own two feet and thus be strong. Richard Nixon was the divider: break America into two opposing nations, forcing people to choose sides in the belief that he would pick up the larger half. Ronald Reagan was the optimist: that it is morning and America is great now that we are here to help you by keeping the government from trying to help you.
But now we have a very different Republican Party on display:
Michael Grunwald: The 'Everything Is Bad' Party: "America’s potential, said Carly Fiorina, is being ‘crushed’...
Live from the Roasterie: which of the Republican presidential candidates will take the "Ahmed Mohamed is no angel" line tonight, and defend the powers that be of Irving. Texas?
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
Live from DuPont Circle: The Curse of Teddy White: Once again we suffer from the fact that our press corps focuses on the rituals of republican government as if they were sports events, with politicians and their media aides as celebrity-athletes. The press could focus on voters, after all--voters are the real actors in elections, for it is voters who make the choice. Obama does not "win" a race. America's voters choose Obama...
Paul Krugman: Tea and Trumpism: "Memo to pollsters: while I’m having as much fun as everyone else watching the unsinkable Donald...