Over at Equitable Growth: Kenneth Rogoff: Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy: "Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality...
And Kenneth Rogoff fakes right:
Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries? READ MOAR
J. Bradford DeLong on May 20, 2015 at 03:00 PM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (16)
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Hoisted from Others' Archives: Simon Wren-Lewis reminds us he got it absolutely right three years ago:
Simon Wren-Lewis (2012): Dangerous Voices and Macroeconomic Spin: "Dangerous voices are what the British Prime Minister called those who criticised austerity...
...One of those dangerous voices, Martin Wolf, became shrill in Friday’s FT ($). After noting the observation by Jonathan Portes that public investment could currently be financed very cheaply because UK long term real interest rates are so low, he writes:
it is impossible to believe that the government cannot find investments.... that do not earn more than the real cost of funds. Not only the economy, but the government itself is virtually certain to be better off if it undertook such investments and if it were to do its accounting in a rational way. No sane institution analyses its decisions on the basis of cash flows, annual borrowings and its debt stock. Yet government is the longest-lived agent in the economy. This does not even deserve the label primitive. It is simply ridiculous.
Comment of the Day: Walt Someguy: Unfogged: "The new Mad Max movie may be the most guy movie ever made. The plot is literally: Tom Hardy (Mad Max) and Charlize Theron (Furiosa) rescue scantily-clad supermodels...
Across the Wide Missouri: Yet more journamalism from The New York Times and David Brooks. Once again, I don't understand what game they are playing here:
Scott Lemieux: David Brooks's Pathetic Iraq Excuses - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money: "David Brooks starts off his apologia with some stoned-dorm-room stuff about how if Hitler had been strangled in the crib we wouldn’t have the GI Bill or as many women in the workforce...
...It does not improve from there. First, note this crafty bit of dissembling:
Across the Wide Missouri: Ceasefire Oregon: "Congratulations and thank you!!...
...SB 941, Expanded Background Checks, was just signed into law! The Oregon House of Representatives passed SB 941 on May 4. The Oregon Senate passed it last month. And Governor Kate Brown just signed the bill into law!
Via Ta-Nehisi Coates: John C. Calhoun: Slavery a Positive Good: "I do not belong... to the school which holds that aggression is to be met by concession...
...Mine is the opposite creed, which teaches that encroachments must be met at the beginning, and that those who act on the opposite principle are prepared to become slaves. In this case, in particular I hold concession or compromise to be fatal. If we concede an inch, concession would follow concession–compromise would follow compromise, until our ranks would be so broken that effectual resistance would be impossible. We must meet the enemy on the frontier, with a fixed determination of maintaining our position at every hazard. Consent to receive these insulting petitions [seeking from the senate a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery], and the next demand will be that they be referred to a committee in order that they may be deliberated and acted upon.
Over at Equitable Growth: I see that over on the Twitter machine Noah Smith is engaging Paul Romer, in an attempt to get Paul to elucidate his "Mathiness" paper. I think Noah Smith misunderstands Paul Romer.
As I see it, Paul Romer believes that George Stigler laid down the methodological principal that one should always assume perfect competition in one's microfoundations, and in so doing Stigler was acting as an ideologue rather than a technocrat, and that this is harmful.
It seems to me that Paul is more right than wrong.
...But the new skeptics of reform are not hacks, and they raise valuable critiques that deserve a hearing, even if they are sometimes vulnerable to romanticism, naïveté, and nostalgia of their own. Besides La Raja and Pildes... Bruce Cain... Jonathan Rauch... and Jason Grumet.... These books and articles vary greatly in tone and depth, ranging from Cain’s cool-eyed analysis of paradoxes in dozens of aspects of political reform at the state and federal level, to Grumet’s nostalgia for the era when handshake agreements were made in adjoining chairs in the Senate barbershop.
Live from La Farine: How does opposition to contraception and abortion and advocacy of discrimination against homosexuals get tied up with the gold standard and the elimination of the pro-poor redistributionist social ethic of Jesus Christ? It is a mystery.
First, what is the American Principles Project. Well, the American Principles Project's founder is Robert P. George. Enough said.
UPDATE: No, not enough said. Thanks to the Idler for finding this true gem in First Things:
Robert P. George: Killing Abortionists: A Symposium: "I am personally opposed to killing abortionists...
....However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in a sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go so far as to support mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even nonjudgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity-not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately pro-choice...
Live from the Roasterie: Quite an extraordinary piece of rhetoric from a Bush-scion Chickenhawk who thought back in 1971 that he might have a http://articles.philly.com/1992-10-11/news/26000431_1_son-jeb-war-policy-jeb-bush): Jeb considered filing for conscientious-objector status to avoid the war, according to Barbara Bush. She said in an interview with United Press International in 1984 that her husband told Jeb, 'Whatever you decide... I will back you 100 percent.' Jeb eventually decided to submit to the draft, she said.">conscientious objection to military service:
Brian Buetler: "After facing the most predictable question of the election cycle...
Live from the Palace of Westminster: David Cameron**: "For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society...
...saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance. This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach...
Matthew Yglesias: "Brookings did a symposium on the 40th anniversary of Arthur Okun's famous book...
Comment of the Day: Patrianakos: said in reply to Redwood Rhiadra: "No, RR. We DFH's don't loathe Hillary...
...The Village loathes Hillary, the way it loathed Bill. If she beats Uncle Bernie, we'll be there in November. It's not like we could live with any of the R's.
Over at Equitable Growth: The trouble that is the King v. Burwell case arises because of one sub-sub-section of the law which says "established by the state" rather than "established in the state" or "established for the state". The purpose of "established by the state" in its context:
...the monthly premiums for such month for 1 or more qualified health plans offered in the individual market within a State which cover the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or any dependent (as defined in section 152) of the taxpayer and which were enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under 1311... READ MOAR
Over at Equitable Growth: Suppose, for a moment, you were teaching your college students social theory—but that you were back in 1750.
Who would you want your students to have at hand to read?
We will not do the boring think of confining you to assigning solely authors who had written before 1750. Assume that the appropriate time machine is available. But, equally, we will not do the boring thing of allowing you to assign historical accounts of what in 1750 was then the future. This is an intellectual exercise: we are interested in analytical perspectives on societies and how they work. READ MOAR
Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords seems increasingly appealing as a basis for a system of government.— Marc Morris (@Longshanks1307) May 10, 2015
The Conservative-LDP coalition right goes from 59% to 45%. The Labour-SNP left goes from 31% to 35%. And the split within each grouping is such as to raise the number of Conservative seats from 306 to 331, while reducing Labour seats from 258 to 232. So Britain now shifts from a 59%-supported government to a 37%-supported government? And this is supposed to be a good system?
Across the Wide Missouri: Lo: a year and a half ago my Net.Friend Katha Pollitt tweeted the very true:
Twitter is a poisonous well of bad faith and viciousness.— Katha Pollitt (@KathaPollitt) December 22, 2013
And that was when I first heard of Sarah Kendzior.
John Maynard Keynes: Concluding Notes on the Social Philosophy Towards which the General Theory Might Lead: "THE outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live...
...are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes. The bearing of the foregoing theory on the first of these is obvious. But there are also two important respects in which it is relevant to the second.
Since the end of the nineteenth century significant progress towards the removal of very great disparities of wealth and income has been achieved through the instrument of direct taxation — income tax and surtax and death duties — especially in Great Britain. Many people would wish to see this process carried much further, but they are deterred by two considerations; partly by the fear of making skilful evasions too much worth while and also of diminishing unduly the motive towards risk-taking, but mainly, I think, by the belief that the growth of capital depends upon the strength of the motive towards individual saving and that for a large proportion of this growth we are dependent on the savings of the rich out of their superfluity.
United Kingdom Election:
I see: LAB-SNP up from 31% to 35%.
I see: CON-LDP down from 59% to 45%.
I see: CON up from 36% to 37%.
So I read things like:
Live from the Tar Sands: Alberta Provincial Election Blogging: The voters of Alberta are less enamored of their traditional conservative political masters, but the voters are not behind the new left-wing NDP provincial government to be led by Rachel Motley.
The seats and votes:
With these thirteen simple words GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush struck terror into the entire world yesterday. He said,
If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him.
To whom was he referring? As hard as it is to believe, he was talking about his brother, George W. Bush.
Now it’s true that the question referred to Israel and the Middle East specifically, but it doesn’t really matter.
There isn’t any area of policy or interest in which it would be smart to make such an admission.
Over at Equitable Growth: I find myself perseverating over the awful macroeconomic policy record of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government of the past five years in Britain, and the unconvincing excuses of those who claim that the austerity policies it implemented were not a disaster--and that the austerity policies it ran on would not have come close to or actually broken the back of the economy.
Leaving to one side the fact that it is ludicrous that a depression that originates in overbuilding in the desert between Los Angeles and Albuquerque and overleverage in New York has a larger impact shock on the UK than on the US: READ MOAR
"States' rights"--or "federalism"--was the line that Republicans took to trying to win votes in those states where strong majorities wanted to discriminate against African-Americans without losing votes in state for such discrimination was anathema.
Now we have a Republican Party that is committing itself nationally to the Expanded and Rewritten (by John Roberts) Religious Freedom Restoration Act providing a license to discriminate to businesses not in individual states that have passed RFRAs but nationally. The calculus of thus look much more hazardous:
Across the Wide Missouri:
Phillip Aldrick (2013): "Was Montagu Norman a Nazi sympathiser?" Torygraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/bank-of-england/10214541/Was-Montagu-Norman-a-Nazi-sympathiser.html: "Norman was Britain’s first modern central banker and Governor...
...for a remarkable 24 years until 1944, amassing powers at Threadneedle Street that turned what was a cosy City institution into an arm of the state. But he was also an economic dinosaur, whose determination to put Britain back on the gold standard in 1925 destroyed industry and condemned Britain to a more severe recession than necessary. Adam Posen, a former Bank’s rate-setter, has said that when he could not decide which way to vote he would look at the giant portrait of Norman hanging in the Monetary Policy Committee’s meeting room and ask himself ‘What would Montagu do?’. Then do the opposite.
In the Shadow of the Grand Tetons:
...[Alan] Greenspan will address a counter-conference organized by a group called the American Principles Project. The group combines social conservatism — it’s anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion rights, and pro-‘religious liberty’ — with goldbug economic doctrine. The second half of this agenda may be appealing to Greenspan, a former Ayn Rand intimate — as Paul Samuelson remarked, ‘You can take the boy out of the cult but you can’t take the cult out of the boy.’ But the anti-gay stuff? And helping these people attack his former colleagues? Awesome.
Over at Equitable Growth: From last week:
The "free trade because Adam Smith comparative advantage BAM" stuff has got to stop! http://t.co/c5q1Oxkvf7— Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) April 25, 2015
Morgan partner Russell C. Leffingwell (1934): "Monty [Norman] says that Hitler and Schacht are the bulwarks of civilization in Germany and the only friends we have. They are fighting the war of our system of society against communism. If they fail, communism will follow in Germany, and anything may follow in Europe."
Ron Chernow (1990): The House of Morgan: "When [Morgan partner Thomas W.] Lamont learned that [Reichsbank President Hjalmar Horace Greeley] Schacht was contemplating selective repudiation in 1934...
Live from the Inland Empire: What I really need to do is get out and reread David Brin’s book: The Transparent Society...
...It turns out that, today, the ubiquitous cameras are not or are not exclusively in the hands of the security services. They are also the cellphone video cameras in the hands of ordinary people--and the videos are then our instantly posted and cached on the web.
An excellent piece by the very sharp and thoughtful Jonathan Chait.
The remarkable thing is that Republican ideologues could, right now, be taking a huge victory lap with the apparent success of ObamaCare. All they had to say was: "this is really RomneyCare." But they didn't.
How much of what he says these days does Michael Tanner believe? My feeling is: relatively little.
...The trouble is that anti-Obamacare dogma sits so deeply at the GOP’s core that any discussion of health care must pay fealty to their belief that the law has failed utterly. The Republican Party in the Obamacare era is a doomsday cult after the world failed to end. Its entire analysis of the issue is built upon a foundation of falsehoods.
Over at Equitable Growth: I have never gotten it straight whether Vladimir Lenin actually did say: "The worse, the better." But Eduardo Porter does!:
The bloated incarceration rates and rock-bottom life expectancy, the unraveling families and the stagnant college graduation rates amount to an existential threat to the nation’s future. That is, perhaps, the best reason for hope. The silver lining in these dismal, if abstract, statistics, is that they portend such a dysfunctional future that our broken political system might finally be forced to come together to prevent it.
Talk about grasping at straws... READ MOAR
Across the Wide Missouri: No, the Laffer curve does not apply to state-level public finances in the United States. Jobs aren’t fleeing Missouri for Kansas. Cutting taxes on the state level does not induce a large enough surge of economic activity via sucking up jobs and businesses from neighboring states to actually raise tax revenues:
There is no point in including entire John Holbo posts in Weekend Reading--Crooked Timber (unlike most of the rest of the online world) is highly unlikely to suffer from linkrot, and those who want to read his posts at their Holbonian length can do so over there. But there is a need for a Shorter John Holbo.
Me? I see five political dimensions as one tries to maneuver through the weeds:
(with none of any of the poles being entirely bad--or entirely good, for that matter). The Nazis thus tended to be: militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian communicatarian, except for the Strasser-Roehm bunch who tended to be militarist nationalist egalitarian authoritarian communitarian. (And someone like Jonah Goldberg would tend to be militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian individualistic.)
Shorter John Holbo:
J. Bradford DeLong on May 03, 2015 at 11:34 AM in History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Sorting: DeLong: Academic CV, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Highlighted, Streams: Today's Economic History, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (3)
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Live From the Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm: Rocky Ridge: Discussion with Senator Blunt. Subject: King v. Burwell.
Me: "A great many people here in Missouri might be unable to afford their health insurance in three months."
Ann Marie: "You need to be on the right side". Sen. Blunt: "That's really up to the judges."
Me: "But you in Congress could fix it in a sentence".
Sen. Blunt: "You are right."
Of course, "You are right" means not "we will do the one sentence fix if necessary" but "I came to Rocky Ridge on a Saturday afternoon to be avuncular, not to justify my rhetorical pose of root-and-branch opposition to something that is at bottom 'RomneyCare'".
Across the Wide Missouri: Sounds to me as though Ed Miliband is planning on resigning--or others are planning on him being resigned--if the British election produces a Labour-SNP majority:
...flatly ruling out any kind of deal with the Scottish National party in order to govern after the election. Henry McLeish, a former first minister of Scotland, on Saturday joined a growing number of party figures saying the Labour leader could not deny himself the chance of being prime minster by refusing to talk to the SNP. Andy Burnham, Labour’s health spokesman, said on Friday the party would ‘of course’ have a dialogue with the nationalists, while Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, suggested the parties could make informal arrangements. Their comments contrast with the hardline stance taken by Miliband, who in a Question Time interview on Thursday ruled out any Labour-SNP pact, even if it cost him the chance to form a government.