###Barry Goldwater on Civil Rights: June 19, 1964###
It's because he cares about the liberties of Blacks that Goldwater has to vote against it, you see...
Note, also, that to Goldwater:
And do note that what Barry Goldwater called "sledgehammer political tactics" produced not a 50-50 tie broken by the vice president, or a 60-40 vote, but a 73-27 vote...
The absence these days of what I regard as high-quality critiques of my writings on the internet poses me a substantial intellectual problem, since I have this space and this feature on my weblog: the DeLong Smackdown Watch. What should I do with it? I have decided that, until and unless my critics step up their game, I'm going to devote the Monday DeLong Smackdown space to a close reading of chapter 11 of David Graeber's Debt: The First Five Thousand Years. And to telegraph the conclusion: yes, like chapter 12, chapter 11 of David Graeber's Debt: The First Five Thousand Years is itself in chapter 11, if not chapter 7:
And so we get to the beginning of the text of chapter 11 of David Graeber's Debt:
Thom Hartmann: The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery: "The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified...
...and why it says "State" instead of "Country"... was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote.... Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that... and we all should be too. In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states. In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.
Andrew O'Hehir: The Empire Strikes Back: How Brandeis foreshadowed Snowden and Greenwald: "In the famous wiretapping case Olmstead v. United States...
...argued before the Supreme Court in 1928, Justice Louis Brandeis wrote one of the most influential dissenting opinions in the history of American jurisprudence. Those who are currently engaged in what might be called the Establishment counterattack against Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden, including the eminent liberal journalists Michael Kinsley and George Packer, might benefit from giving it a close reading and a good, long think.
Michael Bersin: "Bad things happen when good people vote": Is that the motto of the Missouri republican party? Just asking.
Mike Konczal (2011): Examining the Limitations of a Neoliberal Safety Net: "What are the differences between our current [social democratic] approach and the Romney [neoliberal] approach?...
...The first difference is that the unemployment insurance savings accounts don’t actually involve what the liberal government does best: social insurance. There’s no risk pooling.... Whether or not you view the ideology of insurance as sound actuarial reasoning or as a form of solidarity doesn’t matter because the actual mechanisms of insurance don’t exist.... The second is that redistribution in the Romney suggestion is quietly upwards, towards the richest, instead of obviously towards those in need.... The third is that it weakens the power of the unemployed.... A fourth is that it is hard to scale outwards in cases of emergency.... And the fifth and last point is that it removes the idea of the government from the equation of people dealing with economic risks. Like much of the 'submerged' state, people will look at private savings accounts and think that the government isn’t doing anything.... There’s no social to this program and thus no politics and thus no real political constituency for it.... This is my quick read, and I’d really enjoy your thoughts. What do you think about the difference of the two approaches?
Nicholas Johnson: What Does Kansas’ Botched Tax-Cut Experiment Portend for Other States?: "The budgetary disaster emerging from Kansas’ radical tax-cutting experiment...
...is making pro-tax-cut elected officials in other states uneasy. The Wall Street Journal reports this week that leaders in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and other states are expressing concern about the Kansas results and distancing themselves — at least rhetorically — from the Kansas failures. Despite their rhetorical backtracking, however, the tax cuts that policymakers in Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and other states are pursuing aren’t all that different from the Kansas plan. As we’ve explained, these states should consider Kansas a cautionary tale.
John Henley (2008): Henley Everywhere 2008: "The following appeared this week in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate and The New Yorker in a parallel universe . . .
How I Got It Right: Looking Back at a Time of Justified Opposition to a Mad, Violent Enterprise:
So many publications have expressed such overwhelming interest in the perspectives of those of us who opposed the Iraq War when it had a chance of doing good that I have had to permit mutliple publication of this article in most of the nation’s elite media venues – collecting, I am almost embarrassed to admit, a separate fee from each. Everyone recognizes that the opinions of those of us who were right about Iraq then are crucial to formulating sane, just policy now. It’s a lot of pressure, so please forgive anything glib or short you read herein: between articles, interviews, think-tank panels and presentations before government agencies and policy organs I’m not permitted to mention, I’m a little frazzled.>On the bright side, and I can confirm that my experience has been similar to those of my fellow prophets, being the object of so much attention, being repeatedly quizzed by eager interlocutors on the same basic points, encourages one to distill one’s thinking to its essence. As Kenneth Pollack asked me the other day, “What the fuck was so special about you, anyway?”
Over at Equitable Growth: It is quite clear that history has not evolved over the past 25 years ago as Francis Fukuyama thought it would back when he proclaimed its end. The inadequate and disappointing North Atlantic response to the fall of the Berlin Wall plus the failures of "transition"; the coming of a new set of wars of religion, hot, lukewarm, and cold; the failure of "convergence" in emerging economies outside of the Big Two, China and India; Japan's two lost decades; America's and Europe's (so far) one lost decade; the upward-spiral in North Atlantic income and wealth inequality to Gilded Age heights. READ MOAR:
Arthur C. Clarke (1971): Reunion: "People of Earth, do not be afraid...
...We come in peace--and why not? For we are your cousins; we have been here before.
You will recognise us when we meet, a few hours from now. We are approaching the solar system almost as swiftly as this radio message. Already, your sun dominates the sky ahead of us. It is the sun our ancestors and yours shared ten million years ago. We are men, as you are; but you have forgotten your history, while we have remembered ours
Jim Sleeper: Brooks, Wieseltier: Cries of American Weakness by the People Who Weakened America: "Cries for American military preparedness are growing louder and louder by the day, rising, circling, and echoing one another...
...in a frenzy that even the awfulness of events in Ukraine and many other places doesn’t quite explain. The reason, according to Leon Wieseltier, David Brooks, and other prophets of American Destiny, is that (as I quoted Wieseltier here on March 10) President Obama “is not raising the country up, he is tutoring it in ruefulness and futility…”
NCPA Clarifies Dismissal of John C. Goodman=: "The Board of Directors of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)...
...terminated former NCPA President & CEO John Goodman after an extensive investigation that found sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty that warranted Goodman’s dismissal. A statement issued by the organization states:
We hoped to handle this in a professional manner, but Mr. Goodman’s actions require that we clarify the situation.
...it stemmed from a financial shock. Housing prices stopped going up, and then Lehman Brothers fell, triggering paralysis in the credit markets. This spilled onto Main Street, and the effects still linger in terms of elevated unemployment and sluggish economic growth. But this history of the recession can’t be right, say... Amir Sufi... and Atif Mian.... Consumer purchases dropped sharply well before the September 2008 Lehman bankruptcy, and most deeply in places where home prices fell the most.... Steeper declines in net worth... led to far sharper reductions in consumer spending, and bigger job losses. But even those with no debt suffer when fire-sale foreclosures drop home prices, and lower overall demand spreads out across the country.... The normal channels of fiscal and monetary policy have difficulty dealing with highly leveraged household balance sheets. House of Debt correlates these features of recessions, and really targets debt as the core problem, arguing that it needs to be restructured during crises and prevented during better times.... READ MOAR
Snipy: Here Is Your Fun New Oklahoma GOP Candidate Who Would Like To Murder The Gays With Rocks: "Have you guys heard about our new favorite...
and by “favorite” we mean WHAT THE HELL, DUDE--state legislature candidate? Meet Scott Esk, a Republican running for office in Oklahoma. Scott would be just your run-of-the-mill semi-ginger who is hella mad about his receding hairline except for this one little standout fact: he’s pretty cool with stoning the gays. As in literally stoning the gays. As in to death. How is Scott Esk even possible?
From Eric Cantor:
The claim from the Republican noise machine this morning is that Eric Cantor lost his primary because he was not anti-Hispanic-immigration enough...
From Dave Brat:
I've never understood how a Randite of any form can be opposed to immigration, legal or illegal: illegal immigrants are precisely the kind of entrepreneurial people impatient with being told by government where they can go and what they can do that Ayn Rand exalted...
Marisa Lingen has it 100% right on this.
I really do feel for the book's editor, David Hartwell, in trying to wrestle this thing. But he really should have changed his name to "Cordwainer Bird" for this project...
Marisa Lingen: Robert A. Heinlein In Dialogue With His Century: Vol. 2: The Man Who Learned Better, 1948-1988, by William H. Patterson, Jr.: "You would think that Robert Heinlein was a writer who could, if he chose...
...offend plenty of people all on his own without any help. But he has not been left to his own post mortem devices in this! Oh no! No, he has the assistance of William H. Patterson, Jr., to make sure that no stone is left unturned if it might have creeping, crawling things under it that represent stomach-turning levels of ignorance....
Oh, sorry, maybe I should start this review more straightforwardly: I did not like and do not recommend this book.
Let’s go with the paragraph that brought actual tears of rage to my eyes:
They [the Heinleins] had both fallen in love with the northern countries on their earlier trips, but Finland (which does not consider itself to be “Scandinavian”) was special even among them, with a national character of fierce resoluteness–sisu–that precisely suited their mood on this occasion. The Suomic “do what must be done” was the only attitude that a free people could possibly take, living next door to the Soviet Union. The Baltic states–Latvia, estonia, Lithuania–did not have it, and they had been eaten up by the USSR.
That last piece of toxically inaccurate drivel... is William Patterson slandering the people of the Baltic states–using Finland to do it, no less!–on his own hook. For fun. Because it suits his own political agenda.... William Patterson was an American of the Baby Boom generation who decided that what a biography of Robert Heinlein most needed–what people reading about Robert Heinlein most needed–was to have lies about these people just tossed into their reading material for giggles. Because, you know, most people who pick up biographies of mid-century science fiction writers read reams about the history of the Baltic region and can easily have this kind of blatant falsehood countered rather than lodged in the back of their brain as the truth about the people of this region. Most of my regular readers know that I am a serious Finnophile. I find it all the more offensive to have Finland used as a club on other countries that did not have the advantages of geography and political support. This is just wrong. I used up all my obscenities on this yesterday when I was reading, and believe me, I used many. Today I’m left drained. Today I can just say: this is so very wrong.
I wish that was only one thing. I wish that was the only time that the staggering arrogance of Patterson’s ignorance made itself known in this volume. But alas...
Blogging from the root cellar as he watches the depredations of the cossacks who are the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Gregory Djerejian closes his eyes and desperately repeats the myth that if only the cossacks weren't misleading the Czar, Batiushka, the Little Father, he would do the right thing and all would be well. George W. Bush needs "better advice on the Iraq war than he is currently getting from the civilian leadership of the Pentagon." Well, Gregory, the cossacks work for and always have worked for the Czar: George W. Bush has the advisors and gets the advice he wants:
Ron Chernow: The Mail: Letters from Our Readers : The New Yorker: "MISTAKEN IDENTITY
Lizzie Widdicombe, in her piece about the Manhattan Institute’s Hamilton Awards, quotes a number of Republican politicians intent on promoting an image of Alexander Hamilton as representing an urban, Wall Street-friendly brand of conservatism (The Talk of the Town, May 26th). In researching my biography of Hamilton, I discovered that, in many battles with Jeffersonian foes, Hamilton proved himself to be a liberal champion. He advocated federal power against the doctrine of states’ rights and favored an expansive reading of the Constitution. He promoted abolitionism and lent his prestige to a school for Native Americans.
He was the foremost agent of economic modernity against the slavocracy of the South. When he founded Paterson, New Jersey, he espoused open immigration against the forces of nativism. Even as his Jeffersonian opponents agitated for limited government, Hamilton emerged as the chief architect of a robust executive branch. The patron saint of the Coast Guard and the Customs Service, he made the first federal investments in American infrastructure, showing the creative uses of government and paving the way for the Progressive Era and the New Deal. In his own day Hamilton was vilified for higher taxes and increased government spending—scarcely the forerunner of modern-day Republicanism, in either its Tea Party or establishment incarnations.
Jeet Heer has an excellent review of just why William Patterson's Heinlein biography is inadequate--with pointers as to how to do better:
Jeet Heer: William Patterson's Robert Heinlein Biography Is a Hagiography: "Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better...
...The science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein once described himself as “a preacher with no church.” More accurately, he was a preacher with too many churches.... a beacon for hippies and hawks, libertarians and authoritarians, and many other contending faiths—but rarely at the same time. While America became increasingly liberal, he became increasingly right wing, and it hobbled his once-formidable imagination. His career, as a new biography inadvertently proves, is a case study in the literary perils of political extremism.... Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)... a counter-culture Bible... equally beloved in military circles, especially for... Starship Troopers (1959), a gung-ho shout-out for organized belligerence... an ode to flogging (a practice the American Navy banned in 1861) and the execution of mentally disturbed criminals, yet Heinlein became a hero to libertarians... The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress....
near the beginning 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... should make all of us a little less fearful....
I want my money back!
William Patterson: Robert A. Heinlein, Vol 2: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better: "Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act of 1964...
...had come to a vote just before the nominating conventions, and Goldwater had voted against it. Heinlein understood Goldwater was not voting against civil rights: He was voting against federal enforcement of civil rights... a matter for each state to do, individually, for itself... more importantly...a matter of the attitude of individuals, which could not be legislated....
Goldwater’s opinion was Constitutionally “correct.” The U.S. Constitution had not specifically delegated this kind of power to Congress or the Executive, and it did reserve to the states any powers not specifically delegated. Lyndon Johnson... used federal forces for the pragmatic reason that some states—George Wallace’s Alabama, for example—would not cede the rights of U.S. citizens unless coerced.... But it was an honorable disagreement over tactics, not over basic goals...
From Vox.com: Deng Xiaoping: "Comrade Xiannian is correct.:
The causes of this incident have to do with the global context. The Western world, especially the United States, has thrown its entire propaganda machine into agitation work and has given a lot of encouragement and assistance to the so-called democrats or opposition in China — people who are in fact are the scum of the Chinese nation. This is the root of the chaotic situation we face today.
Matt Miller: Which Hat Is He Wearing?: "I have always kept my editors and producers at my various outlets informed...
...about my business activities, and have routinely made disclosures on air or in print where a reader or audience member should know of such work to avoid any conflict.... I advised on strategy, policy and communications, and helped lead work on two reports issued by McKinsey’s education practice on the achievement gap and on elevating the teaching profession in the US. At Burson, I advised clients on external communications and reputation matters, and helped with client development...
I like Matt Miller a lot.
I would trust him in congress to do the right thing. I would agree with 80% of his votes--both when he supported the Democratic leadership and when he dissented from them. I would not agree with everything: I would furiously argue to him that we need to wait until interest rates are above the economy's growth rate before we start to worry about reducing the national debt relative to GDP, and he would listen (but probably not agree). I would furiously argue that the collapse of retirement savings as defined-benefit pensions have been replaced with 401(k)s means that we need not a smaller but a larger Social Security system, and he would listen (but probably not agree). If I lived in CA-33, I would be very happy voting for Matt Miller in the general election. I would be unlikely to vote for him in the primary however--but that is because I think that Ted Lieu's chances in the general election are sufficiently greater as to make him worth the primary vote even though I think Ted Lieu would make a marginally worse legislator.
But I have 218 saved emails from email@example.com. None of them mention "McKinsey" or "Burson" or "General Electric".
Indeed, until I read Lee Fang, I had (somehow) been under the impression that the bulk of Matt Miller's earnings these days came as a "journalist and author"--his columns for the Washington Post Syndicate, his Los Angeles KCRW radio show, and so forth, with speeches to corporate audiences and other stuff adding perhaps a quarter to the total--an annual sum in the five figures as part of an income in the six figures, near the top-1% boundary of $400K/year or so.
I did not know that he was pulling down seven figures, with $300K/year from McKinsey, $450K/year from Burson-Marsteller, and more
Matt: this is a problem. Call yourself a business consultant. Say that your principal occupation is not being a journalist, but rather what you do to add value to what your clients do. I think that being part of McKinsey's education-improvement practice is (or can be) an honorable calling--but if you describe yourself as a journalist, people will not believe that you think it is.
Over at Project Syndicate and Equitable Growth: The best review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century that I have read so far is the review in Michael Tomasky's Democracy Journal by my good friend and frequent co-author Lawrence Summers. Go read the whole thing. And subscribe to Democracy Journal. If you do that, you will make better use of your time than reading further here...
Still here? You are, you say, unwilling to read 5000 words? It would be time well spent, I assure you. But if you are still here, let me give not a highlight but a brief expansion of a very small and minor sidelight, an aside in Summers's review about moral-philosophy:
There is plenty to criticize in existing corporate-governance arrangements.... I think, however, that those like Piketty who dismiss the idea that productivity has anything to do with compensation should be given a little pause.... The executives who make the most money are not... running public companies... pack[ing] their boards with friends... [but] chosen by private equity firms to run the companies they control. This is not in any way to ethically justify inordinate compensation—only to raise a question about the economic forces that generate it... READ MOAR
John Stuart Mill (1858): A President in Council the Best Government for India: THERE ARE TWO political functions...
devolving on the British nation. It has to provide for its own government; and for the government of the much more extensive and populous countries which are dependent on it.
The majority however of its dependencies it has, wisely and necessarily, divested itself of the duty of governing; having found, after long trial, that it was unable to govern them satisfactorily. The only great outlying possession of the British Crown which is not now left substantially to its own government, is India.
Rebecca Schoenkopf: There Will Be Blood: Oklahoma Democrats Will Fight Where They Stand: "The Pottawatomie County Dems...
...My mother, current chair of the Pott County Democrats, had uncharacteristically permitted plastic cups for water, soda, and sweet tea. I threw them out before she could wander in and start worrying whether we shouldn’t wash and save those too. Environmentalism has its limits. For weeks my mother was absolutely convinced no one would come to the Dems’ big fundraiser for the year.... I was washing all the dishes because I didn’t want my mother’s friends to think she’d raised a daughter--in California, where I doubtless live with my common-law husband, Osama Bin Laden--who saw a pile of dishes and blithely ignored them....
I’ve been going to Oklahoma since I was a little girl, to see my grandma, who made rag dolls and loved Jesus and Mary with every bit of her heart. Thirty-five years ago, a big day out in Pott County was a trip to Van’s Pig Stand for lunch and then the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s heritage museum to look at the weavings, and the photos from their Trail--not of Tears, but of Death. Thirty-five years later, it still is.
Jack Goldsmith: Why Kinsley is Wrong About the Connection Between Democracy and the Publication of National Security Secrets: "Michael Kinsley, in his review of Glenn Greenwald’s book...
...made the following claims about leaks of national security secrets:
The question is who decides. It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences. In a democracy (which, pace Greenwald, we still are), that decision must ultimately be made by the government. No doubt the government will usually be overprotective of its secrets, and so the process of decision-making--whatever it turns out to be--should openly tilt in favor of publication with minimal delay. But ultimately you can’t square this circle. Someone gets to decide, and that someone cannot be Glenn Greenwald...
I disagree with Kinsley, as both a descriptive matter and a normative matter.
As a descriptive matter, the press does effectively have the final say over the publication of U.S. national security secrets. The only constraints are the weak ones of marketplace... and even weaker... legal constraints in practice. We have been moving toward this system of journalistic hegemony for a while, and the trend has been exacerbated by digital technology and the globalization of media....
I think Kinsley is also wrong about the normative question.... The government should not have the final say about which of its secrets is published.
I really would not have believed that Mitch McConnell--that even Mitch McConnell--could be this cynical and this mendacious:
Joe Sonka: Mitch McConnell doubles down on lie that Kynect is unconnected to Obamacare: "When Mitch McConnell dropped jaws last Friday by saying that the fate of Kynect--and the health insurance coverage of over 400,000 Kentuckians--is “unconnected” to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, many wondered if he embarrassingly misspoke, or if it was an intentional deception designed to fool voters into thinking that the popular state Obamacare exchange could survive without Obamacare. Today’s story from WFPL shows that McConnell’s choice of words was, in fact, intentional, and his campaign is doubling down on deception:
Erik Tarloff (1998), Face-Time (New York: Random House: 0609604635).
The most famous and talked about novel about the American White House in the 1990s was not Erik Tarloff's Face-Time: it was Joe Klein's Primary Colors. Klein's novel is about a presidential campaign--read 1992. It is about a young, naive, but competent and high-ranking aide--read George Stephanopolous. It is about the candidate's wife--read Hillary Rodham Clinton. And it is about a charismatic and intelligent presidential candidate with a past full of sexual and moral lapses--read Bill Clinton.
Memorial Day: Inadequate thanks are the only kind we have to offer those who gave “the last full measure of devotion” in service to the country. We the living, and we civilians, should be mindful that every one of those deaths betokened an awesome act of trust – trust that, when they made themselves into weapons, they would be wielded wisely; trust that, when they lay down their lives, we would use that coin for worthy purchase. As a nation we have only ever fitfully met the standards implicit in those deaths. Let us be humble, and let us try harder.
Robert Skidelsky: Book review: Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty: "The early 19th-century founders of the classical school of economics..
...reasoned that the distribution of a society’s income depended crucially on who owned its productive resources. David Ricardo identified three classes of producer, landlords, capitalists and workers. Each of these classes owned a factor of production—land, capital and labour. With land and capital scarce relative to labour, landlords and capitalists could claim a disproportionate share of the produce that they and the workers jointly produced. Workers’ pay would be forced to subsistence. Classical socialism, as Karl Marx conceived it, was a branch of this tree. Abolish private ownership of land and capital (and the power which this gave) and one would abolish the “rents” to their owners, enabling workers to receive their proper share of production.
Ann Marie Marciarille: Missouri State of Mind: Defining Death: "Last week, I participated in a lunch time panel discussing the Marlise Munoz...
case with Terry Rosell of Kansas City's Center for Practical Bioethics.... So much ink and tears have been shed over Marlise Munoz that I doubted I could say anything original. I did think it might be interesting... [look at] the Texas death statute.... The way I see it, the hospital's hesitation between the medical record notation of brain death (two days post admission) and the official declaration of death (several weeks later, and under a court order noting Marlise Munoz had, in fact, been dead for several weeks) is even more interesting than the curious case of pregnancy exclusions from medical advance care directives....
Lawrence H. Summers: The Inequality Puzzle: "I have serious reservations about Piketty’s theorizing as a guide...
...to understanding the evolution of American inequality.... Piketty['s]... rather fatalistic and certainly dismal view... presumes, first, that the return to capital diminishes slowly, if at all, as wealth is accumulated and, second, that the returns to wealth are [nearly] all reinvested.... Neither of these premises is likely correct as a guide to thinking about the American economy today....
Most economists would attribute both it and rising inequality to the working out of various forces associated with globalization and technological change.... Piketty... recognizes that at this point the gains in income of the top 1 percent substantially represent labor rather than capital income... a separate issue from processes of wealth accumulation.... So why has the labor income of the top 1 percent risen so sharply relative to the income of everyone else? No one really knows. Certainly there have been changes in prevailing mores regarding executive compensation... plenty to criticize in existing corporate-governance arrangements.... I think... those like Piketty who dismiss the idea that productivity has anything to do with compensation should be given a little pause.... The executives who make the most money are not for most part the ones running public companies who can pack their boards with friends. Rather, they are the executives chosen by private equity firms.... This is not in any way to ethically justify inordinate compensation-—only to raise a question about the economic forces that generate it.... And there is the basic truth that technology and globalization give greater scope to those with extraordinary entrepreneurial ability, luck, or managerial skill. Think about the contrast between George Eastman, who pioneered fundamental innovations in photography, and Steve Jobs.... Eastman Kodak Co. provided a foundation for a prosperous middle class in Rochester for generations, no comparable impact has been created by Jobs’s innovations... READ MOAR
David: Ben Carson Defends Obamacare Remarks: 'In A Way, Anything Is Slavery That Robs You': Conservative darling Dr. Ben Carson on Sunday defended...
...comparing President Barack Obama's health care law to slavery by insisting that "anything is slavery that robs your of your ability to control your own life."
J. Bradford DeLong
The reference of course, is to Hicks (1937): “Mr Keynes and the ‘Classics’: A Suggested Interpretation”. An important, sprawling book of economic analysis. A complex and nonobvious relationship to a previous economics literature. Large political economy and policy stakes at hazard. Is this John Maynard Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money? Or is this Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century? READ MOAR
Elizabeth Stoker on Twitter sends us back to 2011:
J. Bradford DeLong: Libertarianism and Liberty | Boston Review: Scanlon says that there are three roads to libertarian conclusions:
The first employs the empirical assertion that libertarian policies lead to the greatest good of the greatest number. But, he says—correctly—this argument gives us no reason to accept libertarian philosophy because it is not based on the value of liberty. A utilitarian could accept libertarian policies for the same reason.
The second road uses the claim that human autonomy is the greatest good.
The third rests on the Lockean right of non-interference. But, Scanlon argues, neither of these latter paths gets you to libertarian policies.
What I want to argue here is that there is a sense in which much of Scanlon’s argument is not necessary, for the the second and third roads are largely, if not completely, superfluous.
Alan Pyke: After Huge Tax Cuts For The Rich, Kansas's Economy Is Foundering: "In a time of slack economic growth and high unemployment around the country...
...Kansas lawmakers thought they had the solution: massive tax cuts for the wealthy would lure economic activity and jump-start the state’s economy. But after Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed $1.1 billion worth of tax cuts into law over the past two years, the state is behind the national average for economic growth. A new forecast from Kansas’s budget officials projects that “personal income in Kansas will grow more slowly than U.S. personal income in 2014 and 2015”.... At the same time that Brownback’s promised economic growth is failing to materialize, his critics‘ predictions about the tax cuts are largely coming true. The tax package is starving the state of revenue. With less money coming in, Kansas is cutting public services....
The poverty rate in Kansas had risen each year since the governor was elected after vowing to reduce child poverty.... Brownback’s official response to the state’s poverty problem was a brief report that advocated fighting poverty by encouraging traditional family structures through eight-hour “pre-marital education” classes for couples wishing to wed, kicking tens of thousands of residents off of food stamps so that they will work harder, and finding mentors for the state’s kids.
...achieves about 20% higher GDP per capita over the subsequent three decades... between 1960 and 2010.... These are large but not implausible effects, and suggest that the global rise in democracy over the past 50 years (of over 30 percentage points) has yielded roughly 6% higher world GDP.... We predict the probability of democratizing based on 4 years of GDP, and then reweight country-years so that we are effectively comparing the path of GDP following a democratization with the path of GDP following an 'almost democratization'.... We develop an instrument for democracy based on regional waves of democratization.... The IV coefficients are much larger than the OLS coefficients compared to our measure, suggesting that we have reduced the measurement error in the democracy variable....
David Brooks defending the Egyptian military coup: 'It’s not that Egypt doesn’t have a recipe for a democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients.' Judge Posner also agrees with this conclusion and writes: 'Dictatorship will often be optimal for very poor countries. Such countries tend not only to have simple economies but also to lack the cultural and institutional preconditions to democracy.' Is there any evidence that democracy is only good for already developed economies? The answer is no.... So why does democracy increase growth?... We find that civil liberties are what seem to be the most important. We also find positive effects of democracy on economic reforms, private investment, the size and capacity of government, and a reduction in social conflict...
Adam Smith: [An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations]: "In every thing except their foreign trade...
the liberty of the English colonists to manage their own affairs their own way, is complete. It is in every respect equal to that of their fellow-citizens at home, and is secured in the same manner, by an assembly of the representatives of the people, who claim the sole right of imposing taxes for the support of the colony government. The authority of this assembly overawes the executive power; and neither the meanest nor the most obnoxious colonist, as long as he obeys the law, has any thing to fear from the resentment, either of the governor, or of any other civil or military officer in the province.
The colony assemblies, though, like the house of commons in England, they are not always a very equal representation of the people, yet they approach more nearly to that character; and as the executive power either has not the means to corrupt them, or, on account of the support which it receives from the mother country, is not under the necessity of doing so, they are, perhaps, in general more influenced by the inclinations of their constituents. The councils, which, in the colony legislatures, correspond to the house of lords in Great Britain, are not composed of a hereditary nobility. In some of the colonies, as in three of the governments of New England, those councils are not appointed by the king, but chosen by the representatives of the people. In none of the English colonies is there any hereditary nobility. In all of them, indeed, as in all other free countries, the descendant of an old colony family is more respected than an upstart of equal merit and fortune; but he is only more respected, and he has no privileges by which he can be troublesome to his neighbours.
Before the commencement of the present disturbances, the colony assemblies had not only the legislative, but a part of the executive power. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, they elected the governor. In the other colonies, they appointed the revenue officers, who collected the taxes imposed by those respective assemblies, to whom those officers were immediately responsible. There is more equality, therefore, among the English colonists than among the inhabitants of the mother country. Their manners are more republican; and their governments, those of three of the provinces of New England in particular, have hitherto been more republican too...
Vladimir Lenin: "I would urge strongly that at this Congress a number of changes be made in our political structure.
I want to tell you of the considerations to which I attach most importance.
At the head of the list I set an increase in the number of Central Committee members to a few dozen or even a hundred. It is my opinion that without this reform our Central Committee would be in great danger if the course of events were not quite favourable for us (and that is something we cannot count on).
Joanna Foster: Missouri's Solar Problem: Too Many People Like It | ThinkProgress: "Missouri... is on the cusp of a solar revolution.
The state had just 39 megawatts of solar installed at the end of 2013, putting it in 17th place nationally. But by mid-2014, as much as 110 megawatts of solar is expected to be online, potentially making Missouri a solar leader in the Midwest. Unfortunately that could be the end of the solar story in Missouri.... The solar rebates that have helped propel the growth are abruptly ending, six years before the gradual phase-out that had been planned....
Noah Smith; Unleashing the hellbeasts of stone cold truth since 2011: Market priesthood: "Has economics really become less about 'free market priesthood'?
Well, I think academic econ has. But as for pop econ, there still seems to be a lot of it around. For example, Steve Levitt, one of the most popular pop economists in the world, recently had this to say about health care:
In their latest book, Think Like a Freak, co-authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner tell a story about meeting David Cameron...They told him that the U.K.’s National Health Service--free, unlimited, lifetime heath care--was laudable but didn’t make practical sense. "We tried to make our point with a thought experiment," they write. "We suggested to Mr. Cameron that he consider a similar policy in a different arena. What if, for instance...everyone were allowed to go down to the car dealership whenever they wanted and pick out any new model, free of charge, and drive it home?" Rather than seeing the humor and realizing that health care is just like any other part of the economy, Cameron abruptly ended the meeting...
So what do Dubner and Levitt make of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which has been described as a radical rethinking of America's health care system? "I do not think it's a good approach at all," says Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. "Fundamentally with health care, until people have to pay for what they're buying it's not going to work. Purchasing health care is almost exactly like purchasing any other good in the economy. If we're going to pretend there's a market for it, let's just make a real market for it."
This is exactly what I call "free market priesthood". Does Levitt have a model that shows that things like adverse selection, moral hazard, principal-agent problems, etc. are unimportant in health care? Does he have empirical evidence that people behave as rationally when their health and life are on the line as when buying a car? Does he even have evidence that the British health system, specifically, underperforms? No. He doesn't. All he has is an instinctive belief in free markets. Of course David Cameron didn't "realize that health care is just like any other part of the economy" after a five minute conversation with Levitt. Levitt didn't bring any new ideas or evidence to the table. And it's not like Levitt's idea was new or creative or counterintuitive. Does anyone seriously believe that the question of "why is health care different from other markets" had never crossed David Cameron's mind before? Obviously it has, and obviously Levitt knew that when he asked his question. He wasn't offering policy advice--he was grandstanding. Levitt wants to present himself as "thinking like a freak"--offering insightful, counterintuitive, original thinking. But if this is "thinking like a freak", I'd hate to see what the normal people think like!
Surely it has not escaped Levitt's notice that the countries with national health systems spend far less than the United States and achieve better outcomes. How does he explain this fact? Does he think that there is an "uncanny valley" halfway between fully nationalized health systems and "real markets", and that the U.S. is stuck in that uncanny valley? If so, I'd like to see a model. But I don't think Levitt has a model. What he has is a simple message ("all markets are the same"), and a strong prior belief in that message. And he keeps repeating that prior in the face of the evidence.
This was supposed to be part of The Honest Broker about conservative objections that ObamaCare was an unwarranted and unnecessary infringement on negative liberty--on individual "freedom". But it was unsuccessful. It ran into two things along the way. First, it ran into my complete failure while teaching Economics 2 to successfully draw a line between "negative" and "positive" liberty that would allow one to say that the competitive market equilibrium was in some sense a perfection of negative liberty and that further restrictions on it were not: I wound up convincing myself that it was the jungle equilibrium that was the perfection of negative liberty, and from that point forward it was utilitarian promotion of positive at the expense of negative liberty all the way down...
J. Bradford DeLong on May 14, 2014 at 10:36 AM in Across the Wide Missouri, Cycle, Economics, Economics: Health, Highlight, History, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Biology, The Honest Broker, Thursday Idiocy | Permalink | Comments (21)
After the Civil War (during which he had been perhaps more aggressive in using his powers as U.S. Consul in Tangier to conduct "extraordinary renditions" in arresting Confederate commerce-raiders as pirates than Abraham Lincoln had perhaps wished) my Great-Great-Great Grandfather James DeLong moved himself and his second family--his second wife Lucinda Anderson and their I believe four living children--to Independence, Kansas, halfway between Kansas and what would become Oklahoma City, to farm the prairie.
Ever since then, there have been a bunch of DeLongs in Kansas--now my fourth cousins (my ancestors lighted out for DeKalb County in Illinois, where there is reliable water). That's approaching 150 years now...
Modern Kansas is, I have decided, a very interesting place.
I don't think I have ever seen a state with less state pride: Angelenos and San Franciscans, and Silicon Valleyites and the farmers of the Central Valley and the hippies and ex-hippies of the fogbound North Coast do rub each other raw, sometimes, but everybody I have ever found (except for Victor Davis Hanson) thinks the state as a whole is a wonderful, magical place.
But in Kansas...
Why was the "Rubin Question" not asked? Why didn't every meeting end with: "What do we need to do today in order to create room to maneuver in case our assessment of the economy is wrong?"? Why was there no contingency plan for what to do if the administration's view of the economy turned out to be wrong, and if the recession was either not relatively shallow nor followed by a strong, rapid recovery? Good question, totally agree.
Why did the Treasury's loans to banks via the TARP come with neither bankruptcy-control rights (i.e., the ability to throw the organization into the courts if the government was displeased) nor shareholder-control rights (i.e., the ability to replace the boards of directors and the top management if the government was displeased)? He who pays the piper should call the tune, right? It was early in the game and everyone (except you and Paul Krugman) was scared of THE DREADED STATE OWNERSHIP. But Geithner ought to be made to say this out loud.
Why was the Treasury's first priority in January 2009 not filling the post of Director of the FHFA with somebody smart who understood the depths of the housing finance crisis, the housing finance crisis's role in causing and maintaining the catastrophe, and the potential macroeconomic benefits to be gained from resolving the housing finance crisis? Nearly all such people wouldn't have gone near the job because of the reputational risk.
Why was the Treasury's second priority in January 2009 not filling the Federal Reserve with Keynesian macroeconomists to balance the austerity-minded regional reserve bank governors, and not thus giving Ben Bernanke and his successor room to maneuver to pursue technocratic dual-mandate policies? An excess of Very Seriousness. I realise this is basically a rhetorical question though, along the lines of "why did this more or less economically illiterate, non-Keynesian administration, consistently fail to appoint Keynesians who knew what they were doing?"
Why was the Treasury's third priority in January 2009 not setting-up the game table to make enacting a second round of fiscal stimulus easy, should the Recovery Act turn out (as it did, and is Christina Romer warned at the time) to be less than half as large as it should have been? See above...
Why did the spring 2009 PPiP program never go much of anywhere? It seemed to me at the time to be a very wise way--albeit a very risky way--to utilize TARP money. Too tricksy and think-tank-wonky. Too many bells and whistles. In a crisis, everyone's mental bandwidth is maxed out and so clever-clever solutions never work.
The Treasury senior-executive team that was assembled seemed to me to be relatively light on all of (a) Wall Street trading and management experience to actually interface with the financial firms to which the TARP money had been committed, (b) Fed-watching experience, (c) macroeconomic policy expertise, and (d) health-care finance expertise. Given that running the TARP, attempting to bring the Federal Reserve's FOMC to a state of understanding of the economy, spurring a strong and rapid recovery, and implementing health-care reform were the administration's top priorities, why were the Treasury's senior executives--excellent people, all--who they were? Don't know. Suspect that the depth of bench in Treasury is not what it was when you worked there.
Former Obama OMB Director Peter Orszag has said if he had properly understood and internalized the lessons of work like Rinehart-Rogoff on the likelihood of slow recovery after financial crises he would have taken a significantly different position in the Obama administration NEC's policy debates in
2009-10--a position closer to Romer-Summers than to Geithner. early 2009 and would have argued that the Recovery Act should have contained significantly more long-run insurance against an "L"-shaped recover. How many of what clearly were, in retrospect, unforced macroeconomic policy errors by the Obama administration due to this failure to understand the likelihood of a prolonged, slow "jobless recovery"? Lots of them, although Orzag's sincerity can't be taken for granted.
What were the three biggest unforced macroeconomic policy errors of the Obama administration, and why were they made? Inadequate stimulus, three times. Made first time round because Summers thought he was dealing with 1998-replay, and then second and third times round out of timidity with respect to Congress.
The Obama administration began with two among the most-senior policymakers--Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer--having deep understanding of the macroeconomics of full employment and inflation and of the two episodes, the Great Depression and Japan's "lost decades", thought to be relevant to the U.S. situation at the end of the 00 decades. When they left in 2010 that expertise was not replaced at the most senior level. Why not? Why no Blinders or Tysons? Might have given advice that the Obama/Geithner/VSP community didn't want to be given.
What was the thinking behind the decision that Ben Bernanke should--after 2007-9--be offered a second term as Federal Reserve chair? In retrospect, is that thinking still defensible? If not, why was that thinking convincing at the time? TBH, Bernanke didn't do a bad job in the face of total lack of help from the fiscal side. I don't think there's a question to be answered here.
I understand that Neil Barofsky at SIGTARP was regarded by the Treasury as somewhat of a loose cannon, but why was that relationship handled so badly? Because twenty years' worth of regulatory capture isn't undone in a fortnight, even in conditions like 2008-9.
I understand why the Treasury might think that Michael Barr was a better choice to run the CFPB than Elizabeth Warren, but why was that relationship handled so badly? Same answer as 12, with possible additional hints of sexism. OTOH, having run her out of the CFPB, the banking industry then ended up getting Prof. Warren to deal with on the Senate Banking Committee, so heckuva job lobbyists.
Why did the Obama administration in 2011 think that the way to strengthen the economy was to pursue a long run "grand bargain" rather than to pursue short-run expansionary exchange rate, bank regulation, housing finance, and monetary policies? Because he's the management consultancy boss from hell who will always avoid taking a difficult decision if he isn't personally committed to it.
Why was the Obama administration so certain in 2011 that Boehner wanted to come up with a reasonable long-run entitlement reform and tax increase deal, and that its key negotiating strategy should be to make anticipatory concessions in order to make sure the deal was sweet enough for Boehner to be able to convince his troops to take it? Literally no idea, but this is also surely a rhetorical question; if Geithner was capable of giving a sensible answer to it, he would surely not have made the mistake in the first place.
Why was there never any explanation of what would happen in the event of a potential breach of the debt ceiling other than "default is unthinkable"? That line put Obama in a very poor bargaining position. The Republican leaders in the House could then pass what they wanted and adjourn--leaving the Senate with no option but to endorse it or to breach the debt ceiling. Obama would then have no option but to sign the House bill or breach the debt ceiling. Can anybody explain to me this throwing-away of the administration's power to threaten not to sign whatever was on the president's desk when the click ticked down to zero? Good question, agree.
I understand that there was no macroeconomic policy between July 2009 and April 2010 because health-care reform soaked up all the oxygen. But why was there no macroeconomic policy in the Obama administration between April 2010 and November 2010? The facts from 2010 ought to make you consider whether the excuse was valid in 2009 either.
I remember a phone conversation with Tim Geithner about Obama's decisive turn to and endorsement of "austerity"--the passage in Obama's 2010 State of the Union address that went: "Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year.Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years..." Geithner told me: "I know that [senior administration official X] and [senior administration official Y] really think that I was an [expletive] for not strongly opposing that, but I did not support it." If the Treasury Secretary did not support it, how did it get approved by the NEC? If it did not get approved by the NEC, how did it get into the State of the Union text? Who did support it? Why did they support it? Very good question, although the possible explanation "Geithner wasn't being wholly candid with you on the phone" comes to mind.
I remember a phone conversation with Tim Geithner in which Geithner said that entrenched and incumbent FHFA head Ed DeMarco would "push the limits of the reasonable envelope" with actions to accelerate and encourage the refinancing of underwater mortgages. Why did Ed DeMarco not do so? Why did Tim Geithner think he would? Institutional impossibility of getting anyone to get anything done in the god damn mortgage industry, IMO.
Why was it not the first priority in deciding on the Federal Reserve chair to pick somebody who had had a substantially-correct understanding in 2007-9 of what was happening to the economy? All such people might have given advice that they didn't want to receive.
 Peter Orszag writes in to correct the record...
Cliff Weathers: Missouri May Be the Next State to Ban Tesla Motors: "The state's auto dealers proposed new language in an existing bill...
...that would force consumers to buy new cars and trucks only through franchised dealerships. The bill, HB 1124... was passed by the state's House in mid April... reemerged with the new language aimed to stop Tesla from selling cars. This Senate version passed with no public consultation whatsoever, and will likely move to the House floor for a final vote, essentially without debate....
The amendment also attempts to redefine the word "franchisor" to mean "manufacturer".... This goes beyond automotive dealers trying to protect their existing monopolies - this legislation seeks to create a new car-sales monopoly...
Why was the "Rubin Question" not asked? Why didn't every meeting end with: "What do we need to do today in order to create room to maneuver in case our assessment of the economy is wrong?"? Why was there no contingency plan for what to do if the administration's view of the economy turned out to be wrong, and if the recession was either not relatively shallow nor followed by a strong, rapid recovery?
Why did the Treasury's loans to banks via the TARP come with neither bankruptcy-control rights (i.e., the ability to throw the organization into the courts if the government was displeased) nor shareholder-control rights (i.e., the ability to replace the boards of directors and the top management if the government was displeased)? He who pays the piper should call the tune, right?
Why was the Treasury's first priority in January 2009 not filling the post of Director of the FHFA with somebody smart who understood the depths of the housing finance crisis, the housing finance crisis's role in causing and maintaining the catastrophe, and the potential macroeconomic benefits to be gained from resolving the housing finance crisis?
Why was the Treasury's second priority in January 2009 not filling the Federal Reserve with Keynesian macroeconomists to balance the austerity-minded regional reserve bank governors, and not thus giving Ben Bernanke and his successor room to maneuver to pursue technocratic dual-mandate policies?
Why was the Treasury's third priority in January 2009 not setting-up the game table to make enacting a second round of fiscal stimulus easy, should the Recovery Act turn out (as it did, and is Christina Romer warned at the time) to be less than half as large as it should have been?
Why did the spring 2009 PPiP program never go much of anywhere? It seemed to me at the time to be a very wise way--albeit a very risky way--to utilize TARP money.
The Treasury senior-executive team that was assembled seemed to me to be relatively light on all of (a) Wall Street trading and management experience to actually interface with the financial firms to which the TARP money had been committed, (b) Fed-watching experience, (c) macroeconomic policy expertise, and (d) health-care finance expertise. Given that running the TARP, attempting to bring the Federal Reserve's FOMC to a state of understanding of the economy, spurring a strong and rapid recovery, and implementing health-care reform were the administration's top priorities, why were the Treasury's senior executives--excellent people, all--who they were?
Former Obama OMB Director Peter Orszag has said if he had properly understood and internalized the lessons of work like Rinehart-Rogoff on the likelihood of slow recovery after financial crises he would have taken a significantly different position in the Obama administration NEC's policy debates in
2009-10--a position closer to Romer-Summers than to Geithner. early 2009 and would have argued that the Recovery Act should have contained significantly more long-run insurance against an "L"-shaped recover. How many of what clearly were, in retrospect, unforced macroeconomic policy errors by the Obama administration due to this failure to understand the likelihood of a prolonged, slow "jobless recovery"?
What were the three biggest unforced macroeconomic policy errors of the Obama administration, and why were they made?
The Obama administration began with two among the most-senior policymakers--Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer--having deep understanding of the macroeconomics of full employment and inflation and of the two episodes, the Great Depression and Japan's "lost decades", thought to be relevant to the U.S. situation at the end of the 00 decades. When they left in 2010 that expertise was not replaced at the most senior level. Why not? Why no Blinders or Tysons?
What was the thinking behind the decision that Ben Bernanke should--after 2007-9--be offered a second term as Federal Reserve chair? In retrospect, is that thinking still defensible? If not, why was that thinking convincing at the time?
I understand that Neil Barofsky at SIGTARP was regarded by the Treasury as somewhat of a loose cannon, but why was that relationship handled so badly?
I understand why the Treasury might think that Michael Barr was a better choice to run the CFPB than Elizabeth Warren, but why was that relationship handled so badly?
Why did the Obama administration in 2011 think that the way to strengthen the economy was to pursue a long run "grand bargain" rather than to pursue short-run expansionary exchange rate, bank regulation, housing finance, and monetary policies?
Why was the Obama administration so certain in 2011 that Boehner wanted to come up with a reasonable long-run entitlement reform and tax increase deal, and that its key negotiating strategy should be to make anticipatory concessions in order to make sure the deal was sweet enough for Boehner to be able to convince his troops to take it?
Why was there never any explanation of what would happen in the event of a potential breach of the debt ceiling other than "default is unthinkable"? That line put Obama in a very poor bargaining position. The Republican leaders in the House could then pass what they wanted and adjourn--leaving the Senate with no option but to endorse it or to breach the debt ceiling. Obama would then have no option but to sign the House bill or breach the debt ceiling. Can anybody explain to me this throwing-away of the administration's power to threaten not to sign whatever was on the president's desk when the click ticked down to zero?
I understand that there was no macroeconomic policy between July 2009 and April 2010 because health-care reform soaked up all the oxygen. But why was there no macroeconomic policy in the Obama administration between April 2010 and November 2010?
I remember a phone conversation with Tim Geithner about Obama's decisive turn to and endorsement of "austerity"--the passage in Obama's 2010 State of the Union address that went: "Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year.Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years..." Geithner told me: "I know that [senior administration official X] and [senior administration official Y] really think that I was an [expletive] for not strongly opposing that, but I did not support it." If the Treasury Secretary did not support it, how did it get approved by the NEC? If it did not get approved by the NEC, how did it get into the State of the Union text? Who did support it? Why did they support it?
I remember a phone conversation with Tim Geithner in which Geithner said that entrenched and incumbent FHFA head Ed DeMarco would "push the limits of the reasonable envelope" with actions to accelerate and encourage the refinancing of underwater mortgages. Why did Ed DeMarco not do so? Why did Tim Geithner think he would?
Why was it not the first priority in deciding on the Federal Reserve chair to pick somebody who had had a substantially-correct understanding in 2007-9 of what was happening to the economy?
 Peter Orszag writes in to correct the record...
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen. The next contest is between... Frank Goliath, the Macedonian baby-crusher, and Boris Mineburg.
BRIAN: Want some...
VOICE: Thank you, fellows.
BRIAN: Larks' tongues. Wrens' livers. Chaffinch brains. Jaguars' earlobes. Wolf nipple chips. Get 'em while they're hot. They're lovely. Dromedary pretzels, only half a denar. Tuscany fried bats.
JUDITH: I do feel, Reg, that any Anti-Imperialist group like ours must reflect such a divergence of interests within its power-base.
Over at the WCEG: I still do not have a copy of Tim Geithner's Stress Test. That means I cannot take on the task of explaining, justifying, and putting in context (1) Bernanke-Geithner Federal Reserve and then (2) Obama administration macroeconomic policies from 2007-2012. All I can do right now is lay out my own errors of judgment from 2007-2012.
As I look back, I see that my serious errors of judgment were only secondarily about the state of the economy. They were primarily and overwhelmingly about senior Bernanke-Geithner Federal Reserve and Obama-Geithner policymakers and (a) how they viewed the economy and (b) what policies they would pursue.
My errors were: READ MOAR