Brad DeLong: Interview: The Politics Guys: "Economic inequality, economic growth, why this is the best time ever to be poor (in the United States, at least)...
Brad DeLong: Interview: The Politics Guys: "Economic inequality, economic growth, why this is the best time ever to be poor (in the United States, at least)...
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Let the record show that Paul Ryan has as little contact with reality as Donald Trump:
Jordan Weissman: Let us now appreciate Paul Ryan’s utter failure as a political leader: "The AHCA... somehow achieved the distinction of being panned by policy experts from the left, right, and center...
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Steve M.: If You're Using Trump's Campaign Promises to Figure Out What He Might Do, You're Doing It Wrong: "Trump's agenda was never anything more than sucker's bait...
Must-Watch: Stephen Shortell, Jesse Choper, Brad DeLong, Ann O'Leary, Ann Marie Marciarille, and John Ellwood (2012): Reactions to the Supreme Court's Ruling on the Affordable Care Act:
Hoisted from the Archives from 2003: A Historical Document: "In the Long Run It Is the Majority Who Will Determine What the Constitutional Rights of the Minority Are": The judicial philosophy of Chief Justice Rehnquist, taken from Rehnquist (1952), "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases". This memo expressing Rehnquist's position on a number of issues is usually cited for the flat declaration at the end that Plessy v. Ferguson (establishing the legality of the "separate and unequal" principle of segregation in governmental treatment of Blacks and whites) "was right and should be re-affirmed" even though Rehnquist is aware that it is an "unpopular and unhumanitarian position" for which he has been "excoriated by 'liberal' colleagues."
More interesting, from my perspective at least, are Rehnquist's beliefs that:
Live from Brownbackistan: How much money have Brownback and his Brownbackistanis thrown away over the past six years by refusing to accept federal money to fund the Medicaid expansion?
Jonathan Shorman: Medicaid Expansion Moves Forward in Kansas: "Kansas state lawmakers advanced a Medicaid expansion proposal on Thursday...
Let me start by saying that I think Unlearning Economics is almost entirely wrong in his proposed solutions.
Indeed, he does not seem especially knowledgeable about his cases. For example:
March 26, 2017 at 08:12 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Macro, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (16)
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Weekend Reading: Josh Barro: Healthcare: Republicans Lied. They Deserve Punishment: "It's hard to decide which would be the more politically damaging outcome for Republican politicians...
...passing the American Health Care Act, and therefore owning the premium increases and coverage losses it would cause; or not passing the bill, and therefore failing to... "repeal... Obamacare." Each option is a political nightmare... an admission that Republicans cannot deliver what they have promised....
Weekend Reading: Tom Levenson: Why I Hate The NY Times, Part n: "This paragraph [by Margot Sanger-Katz]...
...There is most likely a middle way. Republican lawmakers might be comfortable with a system that shifts more of the costs of care onto people who are sick, if it makes the average insurance plan less costly for the healthy. But making those choices would mean engaging in very real trade-offs, less simple than their talking point.
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: AP: No House vote on GOP health care bill today: "Canceling Thursday’s vote would amount to a significant political setback for Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan...
What Does President Donald Trump Mean for the US Economy?: As the moment Trump took office, it seemed as though Trump could have become any one of three figures.
We really did not know which.
We had very little real indication of what policies Trump will follow, or what kind of president he would be. The US press corps had done an extraordinarily poor job in making the issues at stake in this election clear and transparent—not just to the mass audiences, but even to the most sophisticated of audiences, those that are very interested in asset prices and how they're affected by government policies.
Those three were:
Q: Prominent economists and politicians often say that free trade will benefit America in the long run. Many Americans disagree strongly. What is your take on this situation?
A: Well, typically and roughly, the average import we buy from other countries we get for 30% off--we use foreign currency that costs us $1.40 to purchase goods and services made abroad that would cost us $2.00 worth of time, energy, resources and cash to make at home.
But there's more.
Must-Read: Bob Christie: 380,000 Arizonans May Lose Medicaid: "The report looks at the patients who gained coverage under a Medicaid expansion pushed through in 2013 by former Gov. Jan Brewer...
2014: On Nicholas Lemann's Partial Recantation of His "Neoliberalism": On the career of the Washington Monthly: Nicholas Lemann: A bygone age…:
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Erik Loomis: Dumbasses of America: "The genre of 'let’s talk to idiotic white voters who support Trump even though he will decimate their lives' is already more stale than bread baked on November 8...
...However, it does lead to the occasional special anecdote that truly sums up the stupidity of many white people:
(2007): Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed": Hoisted from the Archives: "I did not even loathe Nickel and Dimed because of the strong pains Barbara Ehrenreich took in her prose to demonstrate that she was not one of "them"...
E.M. Halliday (2001): Quotes from Understanding Thomas Jefferson:
p. 1: In June 1782... Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roche-Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de la Fayette, was an honored guest at possibly the most lavish full-dress ball... Marie-Antoinette... had ever given at Versailles... Twenty-four, Lafayette... a general in both the American and French armies... lionized in both countries... amalgam of ultra upper-class French snobbery and passionate dedication to liberte and the rights of man, he had gone to help the American cause entirely on his own... purchasing outright... the vessel that took him there. Now... he dances a quadrille "flawlessly"... with the young queen in the Hall of Mirrors... scintillat[ing] with the light of five thousand candles. The king has gone to bed, but his twenty-seven-year-old blue-eyed consort and diamond-bedecked entourage of courtiers dance, sip, and sup the night away, finally wandering off to one bed or another...
Weekend Reading: Sam Acheson (1932): Joe Bailey: The Last Democrat: Preface: "SENATOR BAILEY of Texas...
...one of the most conspicuous and influential Democrats in official life at Washington during the Administrations of McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft, has often been called the last Democrat. As elected head of the minority in the House during the fateful years leading to the Spanish-American War, and later as the real leader of the opposition in the Senate during the first twelve years of the new century, he went far toward meriting the arrogant phrase. Master of the Democratic party of Texas, he became the most powerful voice of the Southern wing of the Democratic national party and as such played a determining role in its councils. Time alone tends to sustain the phrase, for he survived all of the three great antagonists with whom he disputed the course which Democracy should take: Cleveland, Bryan and Wilson.
Must-Read: How, you ask, did Donald Trump's Mad Management Skillz take DJT from $15/share to $0? This is how:
Ezra Klein:Does Donald Trump Know What the GOP Health Bill Does?: "With the help of Vox’s Jacob Gardenswartz, I collected and read absolutely everything Donald Trump has said publicly about the AHCA...
Back in 1981, Lee Atwater said:
Now you don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying 'n_gger, n_gger, n_gger'. By 1968... that hurts you.... You... get... abstract... talk... about... cutting taxes and all these things... totally economic things, and the byproduct often is Blacks get hurt worse than whites.... If it is getting that abstract and that coded, that we're doing away with the racial problem one way or the other...
March 17, 2017 at 05:18 PM in Economics: History, History, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (3)
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Lyndon Johnson (October 9, 1964): [: Speech at the Jung Hotel, New Orleans]: "Mr. Chairman; Governor McKeithen; your great senior Senator Allen Ellender, my old friend; your fine mayor, Mayor Schiro...
...Mrs. Long; my longtime and my valued friend and colleague, one of the most promising young men in this Nation, Russell Long; Congressman Willis, Congressman Morrison, Congressman Thompson, Congressman Gillis Long--all of whom serve this Nation and this State with great distinction and with credit to Louisiana and the Congress; Mr. Marshall Brown; Mr. Donelon--all my friends in Louisiana:
Lee Atwater (1981): To answer that question, Saul, you have to analyze the nature of Southern politics since the 1940s. I think Southern politics begins with V.O. Key. What he did was analyze the Democratic party, because you didn't have a Republican party. He came up with the idea that the parties were very factionalized. He came up with three different types of factions, of state parties, all within the Democratic framework. It was all personality—that type of thing.
Race was not really an issue.
Race didn't become an issue in the South, again, until 1954.
: As Cosma Shalizi (2010) Says, "The Singularity Is in Our Past": Look at the bleeding edge of urban North Atlantic or East Asian civilization, and you see a world fundamentally unlike any human past. Hunting, gathering, farming, herding, spinning and weaving, cleaning, digging, smelting metal and shaping wood, assembling structures--all of the ‘in the sweate of thy face shalt thou eate bread’ things that typical humans have typically done since we became jumped-up monkeys on the East African veldt--are now the occupations of a small and dwindling proportion of humans.
Cosma Shalizi (2010): The Singularity in Our Past Light-Cone (November 28) http://bactra.org/weblog/699.html
March 15, 2017 at 02:54 PM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, History, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (5)
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Michael Maggidson (2000_: 1896: John Peter Altgeld: "John Peter Altgeld was born in the German village of Nieder Selters on December 30, 1847...
When he was about three months old, his parents brought him to the United States, settling in Ohio. After a brief stint in the Union Army during the Civil War, Altgeld read the law and was admitted to the bar in 1872. He served as city attorney of Savannah, Missouri and in 1874, was elected county prosecutor. He resigned this post after a year and moved to Chicago, where he established himself as a lawyer. He was married three years later. He soon began investing in real estate and made a small fortune.
There seemed, back in November, two ways the Trump infrastructure fiscal expansion could have gone.
The first was driven by the facts that Trump seemed to have ambitions that were "Pharoahnic", and that Trump had been a real estate developer.
Joseph Ford Cotto: Prominent economists and politicians often say that free trade will benefit America in the long run. Many Americans disagree strongly. What is your take on this situation?
Dr. J. Bradford DeLong: Well, typically and roughly, the average import we buy from other countries we get for 30% off--we use foreign currency that costs us $1.40 to purchase goods and services made abroad that would cost us $2.00 worth of time, energy, resources and cash to make at home.
March 15, 2017 at 01:37 PM in Berkeley, Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
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Should-Read: Paul Demko: White House analysis of Obamacare repeal sees even deeper insurance losses than CBO: "A White House analysis of the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare shows even steeper coverage losses than the projections by the Congressional Budget Office...
Must-Read: Mark Thoma et al.: The Republican American Health Care Act
Mark Thoma: Why the Republican Health Care Plan Is Destined to Fail: "Healthcare often involves large, unexpected expenses...
Should-Read: Two possibilities:
Paul Ryan and company are simply not competent--somebody put a real, highly punitive continuous coverage requirement into the ObamaCare Repeal bill; somebody else said "that's too punitive" and changed it; and nobody did the addition.
Paul Ryan and company want this bill--if passed--to lead to an adverse selection meltdown of their (or, rather, Trump's) health care exchanges.
Is there a third alternative?
Aaron Carroll: The AHCA Doesn’t Make Sense: "I’m having a really hard time with this...
Weekend Reading: Abraham Lincoln (1854): [Kansas-Nebraska]: "The repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and the propriety of its restoration, constitute the subject of what I am about to say.
...As I desire to present my own connected view of this subject, my remarks will not be, specifically, an answer to Judge Douglas; yet, as I proceed, the main points he has presented will arise, and will receive such respectful attention as I may be able to give them. I wish further to say, that I do not propose to question the patriotism, or to assail the motives of any man, or class of men; but rather to strictly confine myself to the naked merits of the question.
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: It would be interesting to hear what the real Republican health care experts say about the plan to repeal ObamaCare, if any of them dare say much of anything:
Kevin Drum: Emperor's Clothes Blogging: "I've been trying to figure out how to respond to the Republican health care plan...
Reading: This paper seems to me to bury the lead--which is that it is the interaction of past slave-raiding and present decolonization that seems to be associated with very low present-day economic productivity. What are the mechanisms that could generate such an association?
Margherita Bottero and Björn Wallace: Is There a Long-Term Effect of Africa's Slave Trades?: "Nunn (2008) found a negative relationship between past slave exports and economic performance within Africa...
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Is there a way to understand this other than as an implicit total admission of defeat and failure by Brownback on his part? Ambassador to FAO is not a job usually taken by U.S. senators and governors...
Kevin Drum: Kansas Governor Sam Brownback Appears Desperate to Get Out of Dodge: "'Brownback is in talks with President Donald Trump’s administration about... an ambassadorship...
Project Syndicate: Trade Deals and Alternative Facts: BERKELEY – In a long recent Vox essay outlining my thinking about US President Donald Trump’s emerging trade policy, I pointed out that a “bad” trade deal such as the North American Free Trade Agreement is responsible for only a vanishingly small fraction of lost US manufacturing jobs over the past 30 years. Just 0.1 percentage points of the 21.4 percentage-point decline in the employment share of manufacturing during this period is attributable to NAFTA, enacted in December 1993.
A half-century ago, the US economy supplied an abundance of manufacturing jobs to a workforce that was well equipped to fill them. Those opportunities have dried up. This is a significant problem: a BIGLY problem. But anyone who claims that the collapse of US manufacturing employment resulted from “bad” trade deals like NAFTA is playing the fool. A BIGLY fool. Read MOAR at Project Syndicate
Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1938): John Maynard Keynes’s Private Letter to Franklin Delano Roosevelt of February 1, 1938:
To Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1 February 1938
Private and personal
Dear Mr. President,
You received me kindly when I visited you some three years ago that I make bold to send you some bird’s eye impressions which I have formed as to the business position in the United States. You will appreciate that I write from a distance, that I have not revisited the United States since you saw me, and that I have access to few more sources of information than those publicly available. But sometimes in some respects there may be advantages in these limitations! At any rate, those things which I think I see, I see very clearly.
Weekend Reading: Rosa Luxemburg (1918): [: The Russian Revolution: The Problem of Dictatorship]:
Lenin says [in The State and Revolution: The Transition from Capitalism to Communism] the bourgeois state is an instrument of oppression of the working class; the socialist state, of the bourgeoisie. To a certain extent, he says, it is only the capitalist state stood on its head. This simplified view misses the most essential thing: bourgeois class rule has no need of the political training and education of the entire mass of the people, at least not beyond certain narrow limits. But for the proletarian dictatorship that is the life element, the very air without which it is not able to exist.
Daniel Davies (2012): New Ideas From Dead Political Systems:
Back in the days before I had realised that a guy who takes five years to deliver a simple book review probably ought to rein in the ambition a bit when it comes to larger-scale projects, I occasionally pitched an idea to publishers of management books. It was going to be called “Great Ideas From Failed Companies”, the idea being that when you have the perspective of the entire history of a corporate story, you’re probably going to get a more honest appraisal of its strengths and weaknesses, and that although companies like Enron, Northern Rock and Atari clearly had major problems, they quite likely also had some good points too, or how did they ever get so big in the first place?
Weekend Reading: Cosma Shalizi (2012): In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You: "Attention conservation notice: Over 7800 words about optimal planning for a socialist economy and its intersection with computational complexity theory. This is about as relevant to the world around us as debating whether a devotee of the Olympian gods should approve of transgenic organisms. (Or: centaurs, yes or no?) Contains mathematical symbols (uglified and rendered slightly inexact by HTML) but no actual math, and uses Red Plenty mostly as a launching point for a tangent.
Is Kevin Hassett really going to chair the Council of Economic Advisers?
That gives me an idea. April Fools Season is started--32 days to April Fools Day inclusive. Can we find 32 examples of Kevin Hassett writing things that are really stupid--so stupid that they should have gotten him bounced from his cushy chair at AEI immediately for intellectual incompetence? The answer is yes--we could find 32 things from Dow 36000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market alone. But the journey--one a day between now and April 1--will be rewarding...
Dan Froomkin reminds me of number 1, from the very sharp Barry Ritholtz:
The IMF's Finance and Development has paired me on "secular stagnation" with John Taylor.
When they told me that I would be paired with John Taylor, I protested: As I see it, sometime in the early 2000s John Taylor ceased being an economist and became a politician. Hence, I thought, he was likely to have very little of value to say to professional economists--to those of us who are trying to use the tools of economics to understand the world.
And I see that I was right: I do not think Taylor's piece has any value at all to professional economists.
Let me take especial note of five passages in Taylor's piece: passages that, in my view, a professional economist simply could not write:
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Kevin Drum: Here Are the Top Ten Republican Accomplishments of 2017 So Far:
- Trump signs executive order on immigration, but it's so badly drafted it causes chaos around the country and is immediately put on hold by court.
- Trump chooses crackpot as National Security Advisor, fires him three weeks after inauguration.
- Trump tries to bully China by playing games with One China policy, is forced into humiliating retreat after realizing he's playing out of his league.
- Paul Ryan proposes border adjustment tax to raise $1 trillion, but can't convince anyone to sign on.
- Trump casually green-lights raid on Yemen over dinner, it turns into an epic disaster that kills a SEAL and accomplishes nothing.
- Trump blathers about the wall and a 20 percent border tax on Mexico, causing the Mexican president to cancel a planned visit.
- Congress goes into recess, but Republicans are embarrassingly forced to cancel town hall events because they're afraid of facing big crowds opposed to their policies.
- Trump continues to claim that crime is skyrocketing; that he won a huge election victory; that his inauguration crowd was immense; that polls showing his unpopularity are fake; and that refugees have wreaked terror on America, despite the fact that these are all easily-checkable lies.
- After weeks of confusion on their signature priority, Republicans finally realize that repealing Obamacare isn't all that easy and basically give up.
- Trump proposes spending an extra $54 billion on defense without realizing he can't do that.
Ian Morris (2015): Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve <http://amzn.to/2lZUel9>
Five Orienting Questions:
Should-Read: Jonathan Chait: Trump’s Health-Care Nightmare Is Only Just Beginning: "Republican members of Congress do not agree with each other on the parameters of a replacement...
Looking Forward to Four Years During Which Most if Not All of America's Potential for Human Progress Is Likely to Be Wasted
With each passing day Donald Trump looks more and more like Silvio Berlusconi: bunga-bunga governance, with a number of unlikely and unforeseen disasters and a major drag on the country--except in states where his policies are neutralized.
Nevertheless, remember: WE ARE WITH HER!
The purpose of this weblog is to be the best possible portal into what I am thinking, what I am reading, what I think about what I am reading, and what other smart people think about what I am reading...
"Bring expertise, bring a willingness to learn, bring good humor, bring a desire to improve the world—and also bring a low tolerance for lies and bullshit..." — Brad DeLong
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"Blogs are an outlet for unexpurgated, unreviewed, and occasionally unprofessional musings.... At Chicago, I found that some of my colleagues overestimated the time and effort I put into my blog—which led them to overestimate lost opportunities for scholarship. Other colleagues maintained that they never read blogs—and yet, without fail, they come into my office once every two weeks to talk about a post of mine..." — Daniel Drezner
"I now know it is a rising, not a setting, sun" --Benjamin Franklin, 1787
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