Republican leaders are stepping up their campaign to discredit tea party activists who are challenging them on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail, accusing conservatives of lining their own pockets at the expense of the GOP.
Dean Baker: Are Investors Less Confused About Real and Nominal Interest Rates Than They Were 40 Years Ago?: "Brad DeLong picks up on Paul Krugman's column...
...and questions whether the top one percent of the income distribution (or top 0.01 percent) really have much to fear from higher inflation. Brad concludes that they don't, but that they think they do. He says:
The top 0.01% were impoverished by the 1970s as a whole. But they have not been enriched by the post 2008 era. What they have gained via a higher capitalization via low safe interest rates has been offset by what they have lost as a result of depressed profits, depressed by a low level of economic activity, a depression which has not been completely offset by downward pressure on wages. The top 0.01% would not be poorer absolutely (although they would be poorer relatively) in a high-pressure higher-inflation economy. But they think they would be…"
I'm not sure about Brad's story here.
...it brings us Charles Koch.... Koch would appear to have it pretty good... a vast fortune inherited... commands enormous political influence.... But Koch’s view of himself is as a kind of ragtag freedom fighter hunted nearly to extinction....
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.
Over at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth: When I look at Thomas Piketty's big book, I see one thing that he failed to do that I think he really should have done. A large part of the book is about the contrast between "r", the rate of return on wealth, and "g" the growth rate of the economy. However, there are four different r's. And in his book he failed to distinguish between them.
The four different r's are:
The real interest rate at which metropolitan governments can borrow: call this r1.
The real interest rate that is the actual average return on wealthin the society and economy: call this r2.
The real interest rate that is the average risky net rate of accumulation--what capital receives, minus the risk of confiscation or destruction or taxation, plus appreciation in valuation multiples, minus what is spent in order to keep the world in the appropriate social position: call this r3.
A measure of the extent to which capital and wealth serve as an effective claim on income independent of how much capital there is--a standardized measure of what the society and economy's return on wealth would be at some standardized ratio of wealth to annual income: say, 4: call this ρ.
These four r's are very different animals. READ MOAR
Harold Pollack: Reports of ACA demise: greatly exaggerated: "For this edition...
...I Skyped with Dr. Jonathan Gruber, who is the Ford Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the health care program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is also the most famous health economist in the United States. He has won numerous awards, and written countless papers and academic articles. He has even written a graphic novel about health reform.
I am very sorry that I am missing this:
But I am very glad I am attending this:
Jack Greenberg: "Pursuing the Dreams of Brown and the Civil Rights Act": Pierson Auditorium, UMKC
Joshua Holland: Obamacare Is Widening The Gap Between “Red” And “Blue” America: "When the Supreme Court ruled that states could decline Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion without facing a penalty...
...the justices set in motion a process that’s now pushing our two countries even further apart as about half of the states passed on the opportunity to insure their poorer residents.... Obamacare appears to have extended insurance coverage to about ten million people who didn’t have it before.... The rate of uninsured is now almost 50 percent higher in states that refused the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion (18.1 percent) than in those that embraced the policy (12.4 percent)....
Over at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth: More and more these days, I find myself perturbed when I read Kenneth Rogoff. The models he uses are the models that he built and the models that seem to me to make the most sense. But I repeatedly find him making judgments about how the models apply to the real world that I cannot follow.
For today's example...
Kenneth Rogoff: More Facts and Less Populism: "When the US Treasury recently added its voice to the chorus of critics of Germany’s chronic current-account surplus...
...it underscored the deep disagreement over what, if anything, should be done about it. The critics want Germany to increase its contribution to global demand by importing more and exporting less. The Germans view the maintenance of strong balance sheets as essential to their country’s stabilizing role in Europe.... The debate has too often been informed more by ideology than facts.... READ MOAR
Brad DeLong (2008) This Is Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...: Do the Cossacks Work for the Czar?: There is an awful lot in this post by Timothy Burke: John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History. But let me, for now, focus on one issue and one issue only. Tim writes:
Easily Distracted » Blog Archive » One-A-Day: John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History: [I]n Zimbabwe... there is first a disconnect between what imperial leaders did and what actors on the colonial periphery did, and that the actions of the latter sometimes drove the former, and that decisions made at either (or both) levels often were internally contradictory, improvisational as well as pre-determined, based on fragmentary or patchwork kinds of knowledge, and frequently opaque to the actors themselves....
It is unclear whether Paul Ryan understands what he is doing or not. But if he does, he is laying it all out there--that the Republican health-care endgame is as follows:
If you are already sick, have the wrong genetic markers, or are poor, the plan is for you to beg at your church for money to pay your health care bills.
Health insurance is to be reserved only for those from the middle class who lack adverse genetic markers and who have no preexisting conditions.
Why? Because freedom!
I swing back and forth between thinking that Paul Ryan understands, thinking that he does not understand, and thinking that he just isn't thinking about it but, instead, simply taking whatever step looks most solid without raising his eyes... READ MOAR
...When they took my insurance card, they asked "Is this marketplace or employer insurance?" I answered that it was from my employer. The receptionist said, "Great. We don't take Obamacare." I had a perplexed look on my face, I guess, because she said, "The marketplace has so many kinks that we're just not participating." Is there any reason that this isn't totally kooky? I mean, why should the doctor's office have any idea if an individual plan was purchased on the marketplace, or if the individual just went to Blue Cross Blue Shield directly? Are they saying "no individual policies at all"? Sure enough, there was a sign hanging in the office, which I'll put below the jump. I assume this is just civilian Republican asshattery...
In Alfred Hitchcock's (1938) The Lady Vanishes], the moment when the train is stopped in the countryside by armed fascists is the moment of revelation and clarity: all becomes clear, the adversaries reveal themselves, and the proper action heroics can begin.
In Wes Anderson's (2014) The Grand Budapest Hotel, the first moment when the train is stopped in the countryside by armed authoritarians is one of suspense broken by comic-opera comedy. Just as the militia have determined that the young Zero Moustafa's papers are not in order are going to pull him off of the train and take him away to an unknown fate, it turns out that their leader--Captain Albert Henckels-Bergersdorfer--is the same Little Albert to whom Zero's patron M. Gustave was "very kind" when as a lonely little boy he stayed with his parents at the Grand Budapest Hotel in Nebelsbad, Zubrowka: READ MOAR
Calum Marsh: Errol Morris, on Donald Rumsfeld and His New Documentary, The Unknown Known: "About midway through Errol Morris’s new film The Unknown Known...
...his feature-length conversation with former U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, Morris asks Rumsfeld point-blank how 9/11 was allowed to happen. “Isn’t it amazing?” Morris wonders, given the safeguards in place, the countermeasures and intelligence and defense mechanisms designed to protect us. Rumsfeld cracks his trademark smile—more of a smirk, really. You can tell he’s got this one covered. “Everything seems amazing in retrospect,” he says.
It's all fun-and-games until somebody loses an eye...
Although I do more and more think that it is the "don't hunt while drunk" part of the puzzle that is the real problem here:
Catherine Thompson: Pro-Gun Okla. Lawmaker Takes Blame For Accidentally Shooting Fellow Hunter: "An Oklahoma lawmaker who authored pro-gun legislation...
...assumed responsibility for an accidental shooting that left a fellow hunter with a minor injury, The Oklahoman reported Thursday. State Rep. Steve Vaughan (R) was shooting pheasant with a 12-gauge shotgun when another hunter, Drew Ihrig, was struck in the side of the head with a shotgun pellet. The incident took place last month, according to the Oklahoman. “A bird got up and flew between us, oh, probably 50 yards away,” Vaughan told the newspaper. “I shot at the bird and, I guess, one of my BBs hit this guy. I just felt horrible about it," he added. "I just was sick."
but referenced throughout–which makes the joke yet richer and more multi-layered by the book’s dense 349 page end. It goes like this: There are two people who actually understand the American health system, and both Victor Fuchs and Alain Enthoven are 90 and 83 years of age, respectively. I don’t care if Zeke Emanuel wrote the joke himself because what he did write is the book that should make all of us a little less fearful…. READ MOAR
who for the past few years has been working on a book about the origins of modern Russian corruption, focussing particularly on the links between the ex-KGB, business and organised crime in St Petersburg in the early 1990s. I’ve read the manuscript (provisionally sub-titled: "How, why and when did Putin decide to build a Kleptocratic and Authoritarian Regime in Russia and what is its Future?" Without giving away the specific sizzling scoops it contains, I can say I found it admirable: lucid, incisive and devastating. In the light of the news from Ukraine, and the resulting sanctions recently imposed on some of what America now officially calls Vladimir Putin's "cronies" (details here), it could hardly be more timely and important.
But Mrs Dawisha’s publisher has got cold feet. She has just received this letter (posted in full below) from Cambridge University Press, saying that the legal risk of publishing the book is too great:
My decade-old thoughts on Piketty issues...
Bequests: An Historical Perspective: Hoisted from the Archives from Eleven Years Ago: So I've finally put to bed a sketch of how the relative economic importance of bequests has changed over the past five centuries. The more I think about it, the more I think that the central points--the stunning decline in the relative importance of inherited wealth with the coming of modern economic growth, and the way in which America initially defined itself as hostile to inheritance for equality of opportunity's sake--are very important. Thus I find myself frustrated: I think I have important things to say, but I don't think I've said them as well as they deserve.
Practically every major aspect of our system of inheritance today is less than two hundred and fifty years old. Two hundred and fifty years ago, inheritance proceeded through primogeniture--as if those leaving bequests cared not for the well-being of their descendants but only for the wealth and power of the lineage head. Before the industrial revolution, inheritance played an overwhelming and crucial role in wealth accumulation and wealth distribution that it does not play today.
Migration to the New World was accompanied by a rapid shift in the perception of the purpose of inheritance as the old patterns failed to flourish in a land-rich, rapidly-growing frontier-settler economy. By the start of the twentieth century inherited wealth was regarded with suspicion in America, with even some of the richest calling for estate taxes to keep the rich from diverting the public trust of their fortunes into the pockets of their descendants. Thus the coming of social democracy to America brought with it high statutory rates of tax on large estates, which nevertheless did not raise a great deal of revenue.
Now we may be seeing another turn of the wheel, for if history teaches anything it is that even those elements of inheritance that we think of as most deeply embedded in fundamental human desires and economic laws are remarkably mutable over the centuries.
Someone who sends me ill sends me a piece from John Cochrane for April Fools day. It convinces me that he does not know what a credit crunch is:
[P]eople want to hold more of both money and government debt--and don’t particularly care which. Trying to get it, we are trying to buy less of both consumption and investment goods…. What do to? In this analysis, monetary policy is impotent, but not for the usual reason that interest rates are nearly zero. The Fed can arbitrarily exchange Treasury debt for money, and increase the money supply as much as we like. But nobody cares if it does so, since the “flight to liquidity” is equally towards all forms of Government debt. If we want more fruit and less cheese, putting more apples and less oranges in the fruit basket won’t help.
The first paragraph is remarkable.
The first two sentences of the second paragraph are correct.
But the rest of the second paragraph is wrong.
The conventional explanation of how expansionary monetary policy works is that buying government debt for cash makes money--held for transactions motives--abundant, and so people raise their spending to try to get rid of abundant money. The conventional explanation is that monetary policy is impotent when interest rates are near zero because then people are holding money for both transactions- and savings-vehicle motives. Because buying bonds for cash does not shrink the supply of safe savings vehicles it does not make money abundant--and so people have no reason to raise their spending. To say:
the 'flight to liquidity' is equally towards all forms of Government debt. If we want more fruit and less cheese, putting more apples and less oranges in the fruit basket won’t help...
is not to provide an alternative to but rather to repeat the usual explanation for why conventional monetary police is impotent at the zero nominal lower bound.
Again and again, whenever I read John Cochrane, I find myself forced to choose between two alternatives:
Cochrane simply has not done his homework, and does not understand what he is writing. We have yet another example right here: Cochrane's twin claims that a credit crunch is a supply shock which raises prices, or that he has an alternative to the usual reason for the ineffectiveness of monetary policy at the ZLB.
Conchrane knows damned well that what he calls his "alternative"--that CMP at the ZLB does not affect spending decisions because it involves swapping two assets with an infinite elasticity of substitution--is the same as the "usual reason"--that CMB at the ZLB does not affect spending decisions because it cannot lower interest rates further. But, for political reasons, Cochrane wants to make his readers believe that his adversaries think something different than they do and do not know what they are talking about.
Is there a tertium quid here? If there is, please tell me what it could be...
Please help me out here.
Michael Leachman and Chris Mai: Lessons for Other States from Kansas' Massive Tax Cuts: "Kansas is a cautionary tale, not a model.
As other states recover from the recent recession and turn toward the future, Kansas’ huge tax cuts have left that state’s schools and other public services stuck in the recession, and declining further — a serious threat to the state’s long-term economic vitality. Meanwhile, promises of immediate economic improvement have utterly failed to materialize.... Kansas’ tax cuts this year are costing the state about 8 percent of the revenue it uses to fund schools, health care, and other public services, a hit comparable to a mid-sized recession. State data show that the revenue loss will rise to 16 percent in five years if the tax cuts are not reversed.... Most states are restoring funding for schools after years of significant cuts, but in Kansas the cuts continue. Governor Sam Brownback recently proposed another reduction in per-pupil general school aid for next year, which would leave funding 17 percent below pre-recession levels. Funding for other services — colleges and universities, libraries, and local health departments, among others — also is way down, and declining.
I wonder what has happened to this?
Eric Lach: Bill To Do Away With All Local Gun Regulations Has New Life In Kansas: "The bills backers told the Associated Press that the bill's first priority was making gun laws the same across the state.
Local officials who still oppose the updated proposal counter that they are the best judges of local gun measures. “Is it better now than it was? Yeah,” Eric Smith, a lobbyist for the League of Kansas Municipalities, told the Associated Press. “It’s still sausage.”
I tell you: when people drop their purses in the local Safeway and the gun goes off and blows out the store's front plate-glass window, too many people who shouldn't be carrying anything are...
Apropos of Little Libertarians on the Prairie, Colander and Landreth:
With the depression in the 1930s that view about the role of the market was changing, both in the academic and the political spheres. With the success of the Western governments in World War II, there was also a change in the view of the role of government. It was within this changing ideological structure that Lorie Tarshis wrote his book. Tarshis’s book conveyed a quite different policy perspective. Tarshis saw the government as an agency through which people acted collectively for the common good. That view of government was combined with a belief that the market needed government assistance to assure full employment. Thus, it was inevitable that a book presenting the new view that questioned the self-regulating nature of the economic system would provoke a reaction.
Over at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth: Dialogue: Eleven (so Far) Worthwhile Reviews of and Reflections on Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”: Wednesday Focus: March 26, 2014
Sokrates: Production is currently mired some 8% below the growth trend that back in 2008 we confidently thought of as normal and highly unlikely to be disturbed.
Glaukon: It is indeed.
Thrasymakhos: And employment is currently mired some 7% below the proportion of the population that back in 2008 we confidently thought of as normal and highly likely to be quickly reattained after macroeconomic shocks.
Khremistokles: What will you say next, Thrasymakhos? That the sky is blue?
Aristokles: Nobody now expects a return to the "old normal"...
Thrasymakhos: Actually, the sky is grey here in Berkeley, California where we exist, and the morning fog has not yet burned off...
Khremistokles: But why doesn't anyone expect a return to the "old normal"?
Sokrates: If you can say that we "exist" at all, being simply of figments of Brad DeLong's imagination, as he sits at Espresso Roma, drinking coffee, trying to wake up, writing this dialogue, intermittently watching lectures from the "Reason and Persuasion" MOOC of John Holbo, and waiting for Nicholas Lemann... READ MOAR
in so many respects, as... Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.... Lower court opinions... as well as a majority of the more than eighty briefs filed in the Supreme Court, have been devoted to a question... whether corporations... can exercise religion in a way protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act... that is, at best, a distraction.... Those opinions and briefs also repeatedly mischaracterize the relevant statute and regulations... failed to critically examine the facts.... And, contrary to what the plaintiffs and many lower courts have argued, it is untrue that the government’s compelling interests are undermined by an alleged vast network of exemptions that will leave “millions” of women unprotected....
Nelson Polsby (1934-2007) was one of the more powerful reasons that Berkeley punched and still punches well above its financial weight among universities...
Dan Tompkins's notes on Polsby and McCarthy:
Dan Tompkins: Nelson Polsby's breakout essay: Getting McCarthy Wrong:
This may interest only a few of you. I threw it together for my own purposes and found enough to make it worth exposing to others.
Two Berkeley political scientists, Nelson Polsby and Michael Rogin, did very good analytic work on the question, "who supported McCarthy." Rogin and Polsby are now both, sadly, deceased. Both, each in his own way, took on the established political scientists who blamed McCarthyism on particular social groups. Rogin focused on elite notions that McCarthy had a "mass" or "populist movement." He's very worth reading, but what follows mainly concerns Polsby, who at age 26 published "Towards an Explanation of McCarthyism" in the journal Political Studies 8 (1960).
Ezekiel Emanuel is Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. A breast oncologist with a doctorate in political philosophy, he served for many years as chair of the Department of Bioethics at The Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health. From 2009 to 2011, he helped to craft the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a special advisor for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. While serving in that role, Emanuel was the target of one of the most unfounded political attacks I have witnessed in health policy.
If you could only read one book about the American health system and ACA’s valuable (albeit imperfect) contribution to improving that system, his new book Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System might be the best one.
The Jackson County court clerk issued a wage garnishment order against Cleaver’s employer — the U.S. House — on behalf of Bank of America. The order instructs the House to withhold part of Cleaver’s salary to help repay more than $1.3 million he and his wife now owe the bank. It’s the second time the bank has asked the court to garnish Cleaver’s wages for the debt, first incurred more than a decade ago....
RunTedRun is, IMHO, focused not on electing President Ted Cruz but on getting Raz Shafer a big mailing list of people whom he can then milk for various purposes. That's a grift...
David Weigel: Raz Shafer and the birth of the "Draft Ted Cruz for President" campaign.: "When the existence of http://RunTedRun.com was first pointed out to me, I wondered if a grift was in the offing....
Sometimes it pays to be less cynical. RunTedRun is real, founded by former American Majority grassroots trainer and Cruz regional director Raz Shafer, who's still in his 20s.... Shafer laid out his plans and rationale:
Noam Levey: In northern Maine, collaboration brings better health - latimes.com: "Many of the nation's healthiest communities are wealthy and have large numbers of college-educated residents.
But northern Maine is among a handful of telling exceptions, making it an important guidepost as the country searches for ways to improve health.... The region now is among America's poorest.... Yet northern Maine ranks high on national measures of health.... Residents of the region receive recommended screenings and medical care more often than other Americans. They suffer fewer complications in nursing homes and are less frequently prescribed risky medications. And they are nearly half as likely to die from preventable diseases as residents of other low-income areas.... Maine's success owes much to the type of care that Patterson typifies — intensely personal, data-driven and highly coordinated. The approach grew out of a decades-long effort by local leaders that many experts consider a model for how to improve community health.
For some reason David Weigel feels like he has to defend PauL Ryan and Bill Bennett:
David Weigel: Paul Ryan accused of racism for suggesting that there's endemic poverty in inner cities.: "ThinkProgress provides the clip, which is—shock—less definitive than the headline.
Ryan says there's a problem "in our inner cities in particular," of "generations of men not even thinking about working." "In particular" is a useful qualifier, isn't it?... Ryan's problem, it seems, is that he's talking about inner cities while being 1) a Republican who is 2) about to unleash poverty legislation heavy on work requirements. If you're a Democrat, you can talk about the inner city in the same way Ryan does.
And so he drives Steve M. into shrill ululating madness:
There is evidence of deep-seated cultural and ethical failures at many large financial institutions....
In 2008... people probably thought that our largest banks were just guilty of shoddy risk management, dubious sales practices, and excessive risk-taking... we’ve had to add price fixing, money laundering, bribery, and systematic fraud on the judicial system....
Framing the problem as a 'trust issue'—customers no longer see banks as trustworthy institutions—is beside the point. Wall Street’s main defense is that its clients already realize that investment banks do not have their buy-side clients’ best interests at heart, and clients who don’t realize that are chumps. And in the wake of the financial crisis, I suspect there are few individuals out there who believe that their banks are there to help them. The banking industry has discovered that it can thrive without trust, which is not surprising; retail depositors trust the FDIC, and bond investors know that trust isn’t part of the equation...
And based on a report in the Washington Post, it will look a lot like their old health care proposals—the ones that would have done very little to improve access, reduce financial distress, and contain health care spending. But this new plan would be different in one key respect. Implementing this sort of Republican plan now would probably mean taking away coverage from quite a lot of people who just got it. That’s a pretty big deal.... The interesting question is how Republicans intend to present this plan.... If Republicans intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the framework that Costa's story describes—or even something with a bit more money behind it—a lot of those people are going to lose... insurance altogether. Until this year, taking away Obamacare meant taking away a hypothetical benefit. Now that benefit is real.... But really, the policy details are sort of irrelevant here. Notwithstanding the efforts of a few dedicated intellectuals and a tiny cadre of federal lawmakers, the vast majority of Republican officials have zero interest in health care reforms that significantly increase access to care. The new House Republican plan was supposed to show otherwise. If they actually manage to produce something—this isn’t the first time they’ve promised a proposal wasn’t imminent—and if it looks like the media reports suggest, the plan will merely confirm everybody’s suspicions: Significantly increasing access to health care just isn’t a priority for today’s Republican Party.
Kevin Drum reads Phillip Longman:
and relitigates the question of whether Rick Perry's so-called Texas Miracle is fact or fiction. He concludes that it's mostly fiction, and he makes a good case. Not a bulletproof case, but a good one. What's more, to the extent that Texas really does have a strong economy, he says, it's largely due to fracking, immigration from across the border, and a high birth rate. It's not due to low taxes—at least, not for most Texans:
Over at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth: Lessons from the National Restaurant Association Astroturf Letter: Tuesday Focus: March 18, 2014: Jared Bernstein learns
three four lessons from the National Restaurant Association’s right-wing sock puppets economists letter.
Lesson 1: the NRA would rather not have its role in the debate public:
Jared Bernstein: The Paradoxical Position of the National Restaurant Association in the Minimum Wage Debate: “We learn in today’s paper that unknown to its signers, the opponents’ letter was organized and even partially drafted by the National Restaurant Association (NRA)…. OK, clearly smarmy but biz as usual in DC. Clearly, the (other) NRA thought they’d lose signatories if they revealed their role, a fear the Economic Policy Institute, a research organization (where I used to work), did not share. READ MOAR
Mike Konczal: Adolph Reed's Harpers Essay About Obama is Naive: "A Democratic president’s economic agenda is a failure, lost to business class acquiescence, the embrace of austerity, and an overall lack of vision.
This was the conclusion of The New Republic, summarizing Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal in May 1940.... Though the magazine believed the New Deal did more for the general welfare than any other administration, and even helped shift the ideological space against laissez-faire conservatism, they weren’t sure whether they could say they supported it. “If the New Deal is to deserve our support in the future, it must not rest on what it has already done, great as that is, but tell us how it is going to finish the task.” In other words, being disappointed in Democratic presidents is what opinion editors refer to as “evergreen” content....
a Nobel Prize-winning professor of economics and law at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., concluding that the minimum wage “is a poorly targeted antipoverty measure.”... But the statement itself and the news release heralding the effort made no mention of the fact that the statement had been initiated by staff at the restaurant association, who through an intermediary asked Mr. Smith if it could be distributed under his name, the association and Mr. Smith acknowledged in interviews Friday.
“If that was not made clear, I will apologize for that,” said Sue Hensley, the senior vice president for public affairs at the National Restaurant Association. She said the restaurant association had distributed the statement the way it had because it was technologically the easiest method, not because of any intentional effort to hide the organization’s role.
Dianne Feinstein: "Over the past week, there have been numerous press articles written about the Intelligence Committee’s oversight review of the Detention and Interrogation Program of the CIA,
specifically press attention has focused on the CIA’s intrusion and search of the Senate Select Committee’s computers as well as the committee’s acquisition of a certain internal CIA document known as the Panetta Review.
I rise today to set the record straight and to provide a full accounting of the facts and history.
Ed Kilgore: The Central Flaw in Hobby Lobby’s Suit: "To hear many conservatives and even some liberals, the suit brought by the for-profit company Hobby Lobby seeking relief from the contraception coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act represents a last line of defense by religious believers (of a certain type, to be sure) against the aggressive secularist agenda of the Obama administration.
Buying into that idea has always required some mental gymnastics. The coverage mandate does not require that employers supply employees with contraceptives. It simply requires that if they provide health insurance it must include coverage for certain preventive procedures, devices and medications, including contraceptives. The employee chooses whether or not to avail herself of this coverage, and no reasonable person would hold the employer morally responsible for that choice, any more than if the employee used her wages to purchase the very same contraceptives, which—lest we forget—are not only legal but are constitutionally protected as legal.
Friday, March 14, 2014
4:00 - 5:30 PM
UC Berkeley Labor Center
2521 Channing Way #5555
Berkeley, CA 94720
- Lisa Aliferis - KQED, State of Health blog
- Larry Jacobs - University of Minnesota, Political Science and Public Policy
- Anthony Wright - Health Access California
- Ken Jacobs - UC Berkeley Labor Center
- Margaret Weir - UC Berkeley, Sociology and Political Science
- Charlie Eaton - UC Berkeley, Sociology
Chris Hayes and Ezra Klein watch the toddlers on the bus--the American campaign press corps. The only solution I see is simply to shut them all down: the modern style of campaign coverage started by Teddy White in 1960 with his The Making of the President is pernicious and harmful. Its practitioners should all be sent to do something more useful. Proofreading Google Books comes to mind.
Noted Virginia awful person and loser of political races Ken Cuccinelli doesn’t want you to end up like George Zimmerman: Don’t let shooting a person to death out of overzealous racially tinged vigilantism wipe out your savings!
Over at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth: The Social Insurance State, Economic Problems of the North Atlantic, Redistribution, and the Lesser Depression: Monday Focus: March 10, 2014: Back in the 1970s and 1980s I was told over and over again–by pundits, right-of-center politicians, political scientists, and not a few economists–that the source of the North Atlantic’s economic problems play in its overly-democratic politics.
The argument went more-or-less like this:
Some voters want goodies; other voters want low taxes; politician satisfy them by expanding programs and cutting taxes, producing debt. The debt must either be amortized through high taxes that discourage investment and entrepreneurship or through printing money which produces inflation and also deranges the price system and slows growth.
Thus, I was told over and over again, the economic problems of the north Atlantic in the 1970s and 1980s–the productivity growth slowdown in the inflation of the 1970s–were the result of an overly-large welfare state produced by an overly-democratic government. Both of these, the argument went, needed to be fixed.
This never seemed to me to make quantitative sense… READ MORE
It is enough to make us, once again, ask, why oh why can't we have a better--a vaguely competent--press corps?
Buce: Underbelly: Nostalgia Isn't What it Used to Be (Senate Division): "Reading Robert Kaiser's nostalgia spasm about the good old days when there were nice people in Congress, I think it is time for the political equivalent of a bitch slap.
Okay, maybe Everett Dirksen was a warm-hearted boodler; he was still a boodler. And if he is the best you can offer... But does Kaiser remember-- no, actually, I guess he doesn't remember--the 80th Congress, the Do-Nothing Congress, the Congress that made it their business that Harry S Truman accomplished nothing, nothing, in what they confidently assumed would be the sunset of his incumbency?
Noted without further comment:
Rebecca Shoenkopf: Intellectual Property and School Lunches Are Theft!: "Paul Ryan used the story of a sad boy who didn’t want government cheese sandwich lunch, but instead wanted a paper bag lunch....
Ryan was careful to cite the source of his story as some... woman who works for Scott Walker. (Scott Walker’s office just can’t stop racisming!) And it had a homily about please don’t eat the government cheese. But would you believe that story was STOLEN? It is true. And the moral of the story was about how free lunches are awesome? Let’s explore!...
The caricature of Ryan and people like him is that… they talk big about dignity while ignoring the difficulty of getting essentials like food and health care. Well, it’s not a caricature: Ryan says never mind having enough to eat, it’s about spirituality:
The left is making a big mistake…. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. People don’t just want a life of comfort. They want a life of dignity, they want a life of self determination…
Um, yes, but how dignified can you be on an empty stomach? How much self-determination do you have? And who is supposed to value dignity over having enough to eat? Children…. Affluent politicians have no business lecturing people having trouble buying food or having trouble paying for health care about dignity, is just stunning. READ THE WHOLE THING
And that is, I think, putting it very charitably:
Rashid Khalidi and Judith Butler:: "Whether one is for or against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a means to change the current situation in Palestine-Israel, it is important to recognize that boycotts are internationally affirmed and constitutionally protected forms of political expression....
We are now witnessing accelerating efforts to curtail speech, to exercise censorship, and to carry out retaliatory action against individuals on the basis of their... support for BDS... impos[ing] a political litmus test on speakers and artists when they are invited to speak or show their work.... [Only by] rejecting blacklisting, intimidation, and discrimination... can these institutions live up to their purpose as centers of learning and culture...
Shorter Judith Butler: our blacklisting of Israeli academics without private means (i.e., who rely on institutional funding to attend and travel to conferences) is good; your blacklisting of us for blacklisting Israeli academics is bad.
Perhaps she wants to take the line that letting Israeli academics attend if they have private means purges her of sin?
Just as in the Jim Crow South African-Americans could vote if they paid the poll tax and could read and interpret the state constitution to the registrar's satisfaction or if they had grandparents who had voted before 1865?
It smells. It smells badly. A rhetoric professor really should know better, or think more clearly, or something.
January 2, 2008: Did Bob Reich Assassinate Tony Judt's Cat?: I was surprised to read:
'Supercapitalism': An Exchange: Tony Judt: I am surprised that Robert Reich resents my "use" of his book for the expression of some general thoughts on its topic. Taken for itself, after all, Supercapitalism would have merited at best a short notice. However, Reich's letter is welcome all the same. It helpfully reasserts the book's argument; and by its resort to invective—"jeremiad," "screeds," "emotionally gratifying," "capitalist hobgoblins," etc.—-his letter offers an instructive insight into Reich's own thought processes... his critics (me, on this occasion) are dismissed as "denigrators" of economic growth, enemies of capitalist globalization who pave the way for nativism: in short, prole-worshipping nostalgics.... If the Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley really thinks that we can improve upon the "cacophony" that passes for public debate with talk of "citizen values" and "leaders who inspire us" and that anything else is "brainless neo-Ludditism," then he is himself a depressing illustration of the problem he purports to address.
This visual evidence of derangement surprised me, because I remembered Tony Judt's Postwar as being rather good--and his books on the post-WWII French intellectuals, Sartre and his circle, as being excellent. And I, at least, quite liked Supercapitalism. Clearly I am going to have to go back and read Judt's review of Reich...