Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future (Speaker: Hal Varian; Discussant Joshua Gans; Moderator, Mayor Sly James; Introduction, Brad DeLong)
Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future (Speaker: Hal Varian; Discussant Joshua Gans; Moderator, Mayor Sly James; Introduction, Brad DeLong)
Panel discussion – Economic and Financial Weblogging, and New Modes and Orders in Education (Speaker: Clay Shirky; Discussant Ben Wildavsky; Moderator: R. Crosby Kemper III)
Panel discussion – Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future and Sustainability of Financial Journalism (Panel: Cardiff Garcia, Joe Weisenthal, Allison Schrager; Moderator: George Kahn)
Panel discussion – Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future and Sustainability of Mainstream Journalism (Panel: Bruce Bartlett; Megan McArdle; Josh Barro; Moderator: Felix Salmon)
Panel discussion – Economic and Financial Weblogging, Thinktanks and Policy Advocacy, and the Public Sphere (Panel: Stan Collender; Brink Lindsey; Sarah Kliff; Moderator: Corey Dillon)
Panel discussion – Economic and Financial Weblogging and Standard Ivy-Covered Academia (Speaker: Mark Thoma; Discussant Stephanie Kelton; Moderator: Bob Strom)
Thoughts on the future of finance blogging | FT Alphaville: I joined FT Alphaville in 2010, very near the end of the days when the newsroom would look upon its bloggers with a combination of curiosity, suspicion, mild envy of our freedom to write what we wanted, and also-mild condescension that what we were doing was less prestigious than working on the print edition.
That has mostly changed now, as a lot of blogger-like tendencies and qualities have seeped into the rest of the newsroom itself — and especially into the parts of the newsroom that cover finance and economics.
Stan Collender: Obama 2014 Budget Shows Adminstration is Trying To Divide GOP -- And It's Working: "The Obama 2014 budget has far less to do with what was proposed than almost any other presidential budget in history. It's real purpose... and value... comes from understanding it as a document designed to drive a wedge between House and Senate Republicans…. With the perspective of the five-days that have passed since the Obama FY14 budget was released, here's what I see: As part of its so-called charm offensive, the White House clearly is using its budget proposal to appeal to Senate Republicans and get them at least to use more moderate language when talking about the administration. That would have been far more difficult had the president not included the chained CPI proposal in the budget, which seemed to be the price of admission and political litmus test for Republican senators. The chance of Republican Senators agreeing with the White House on much of anything are still small, but they are now definitely greater than the they were before the Obama budget was released. The divide and conquer strategy already seems to be working. I've heard from several House GOP staff the past few days that there is a great deal of anger in the House Republican caucus about the willingness of Senate Republicans to talk with the administration on tax and spending matters."
Adam Posen: Monetary Policy, Bubbles, and the Knowledge Problem: "This article challenges the validity of the the assumption that monetary policymakers can correctly identify asset price bubbles in time to respond preemptively (or at least usefully). This is something where many policymakers even previously skeptical now feel they can be like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart and recognize obscenity in asset prices when they see it. Some patterns do emerge if we look more carefully at the historical record of asset price booms and busts, but, in light of those patterns, the prospect of getting the call right becomes very daunting. The difficulty arises because of the complex nature of asset price booms and busts, a complexity that seems to be overlooked in the advocacy of leaning against the wind."
Mark Thoma: 'This is Bad Economics ... But it is Excellent Preaching' | Felix Salmon: The native matrix | George R.R. Martin: The Bear and the Maiden Fair |
Digitopoly | Future of Blogging: Last week I attended the annual Kauffman Foundation Economics and Financial Weblogging Forum in Kansas City. It was the first time I had met so many of those bloggers that I read daily. I learned that the non-academic bloggers are young, very young. One of them is just out of high school! They are also taller than I expected.
Anyhow, my brief talk was on ‘The Future of Weblogging’ and followed Hal Varian’s great and entertaining talk on Google’s data analysis tools. You can see the actual recorded live stream of all the talks here but I also just recorded my bit in case you want to focus. It is a fairly brief and highly speculative treatment.
Robert Shiller: Why Home Prices Change (or Don’t) | Tod Kelly: So, explain to me again how the South is just the same as everywhere else? | SelfControl
Paul Krugman: Missing Deflation: "Keynesians have, over all, had a very good track record in this economic crisis…. One area where things haven’t worked out as expected, however, is on the deflation front…. One possibility was that there wasn’t as much slack in the economy as we thought, that a lot of the problem was structural…. Another possibility… was that downward nominal wage rigidity could explain why the fairly rapid falls in inflation seen in previous slumps weren’t happening…. [N]ow we have two new analyses, by Hobijn and Daly at a Boston Fed conference, and in the IMF’s new World Economic Outlook, both of which strongly suggest that the issue isn’t structural unemployment, it’s low responsiveness of inflation to unemployment when inflation is low to begin with…. This does say that there is little risk of accelerating inflation. Indeed, Hobijn and Daly suggest that there’s a 'pent-up demand for wage cuts' that will probably push inflation lower even if the economy is recovering. Central banks and other policy makers will be making a terrible mistake if they look at low, stable inflation and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Low, stable inflation, it turns out, is entirely consistent with catastrophic economic mismanagement. Notice how Keynesians responded to the partial failure of a prediction: by asking what they got wrong, and how their model of the world needed to be adjusted. This, of course, shows what fools we are: everyone on the other side of these debates knows that you respond to mistakes by never acknowledging them, and doubling down on whatever you originally claimed."
Tim Taylor: The Stock of Federal Investment: "The total stock of physical capital from federal investment is worth $3.2 trillion in 2013, according to the budget estimates, which look both at investment and at depreciation over time. About 30% of that is defense-related. About 20% is direct federal spending on projects like water and power. The remaining half or so is capital financed by federal grants, and about two-thirds of that ($1.1 trillion) is related to transportation. The total stock of research and development capital from federal investment is $1.6 trillion in 2013. One way to divide that up is that about 40% is related to national defense, and 60% is not. Another way to divide it up is that about half is basic research, and the other half is applied research. The total stock of education and training from federal investment is estimated at $2.2 trillion in 2013, with about three-quarters of that being K-12 education, and the rest being higher education. I'm sure that the calculations behind these estimates can be critiqued on many grounds, but just taking them at face value, it's thought-provoking that the stock of physical capital investment is less than the sum of the education and R&D capital."
Bernanke: Low-Income Communities Struggle Despite Recovery | Alan Blinder: A Good Grade for a Responsible Budget | Robin Harding: Boston Fed: Labour force participation | Eric Rosengren: Fed Mandate Argues for Aggressive Stimulus | Ezra Klein: From ‘Mad Men’ to a Mad Congress | Austin Frakt: Penn LDI : The economics of community rating and the individual mandate | Enrico Moretti: Unemployment benefits should encourage geographic mobility | Brad Plumer: Here’s why 10.4 million American workers are still in poverty | Greg Anrig: Beyond the Education Wars: Evidence That Collaboration Builds Effective Schools | David Hilfiker: Flowers for Algernon | James Fallows: Ten Years Ago: The Mohammed al-Dura Case | Buiter’s manifesto on a new eurozone world order, post-Cyprus: Citi chief economist Willem Buiter sketches the new face of creditor rights in the eurozone, reveals the hole in the heart of the EU's crisis resolution plans, and forecasts more debt restructuring in Cyprus | Stephen Gandel: The 10 stages of Jamie Dimon's blubbering London Whale grief |
Mark Thoma makes me aware of shifts in TypePad, and sends me to Bob Lawless:
Comments, Spam, Loyal Readers, and False Positives - Credit Slips: The many interesting comments left by our informed readership help make Credit Slips one of the best places on the Internet for informed discussion about debt and bankruptcy issues. The many spam comments make Credit Slips a less useful resource.
Our hosting service, Typepad, has tools to help us deal with the spam and recently rolled out a new service that has significantly reduced the amount of comment spam that I have been seeing on my blog admnistrator's dashboard. At the same time, this new service seems to be creating false positives, at least judging by a few comments I have seen from long-time readers and regular commenters asking what happened to their comment. If the spam filter screens out a comment, it never shows up in my dashboard to allow me to "un-spam" it.
If your legitimate comment disappears, I apologize for that. You might try authenticating with a Typepad account or rewording the comment slightly. The anti-spam service is supposed to be a learning algorithm and should get better over time.
David Glasner: The Gold Bubble Is Bursting: Who’s To Blame?: "The New York Times finally caught on today that the gold bubble is bursting, months after I had alerted the blogosphere. But even though I haven’t received much credit for scooping the Times, I am still happy to see that word that the bubble has burst is spreading…. Of course now that it is semi-official that the gold bubble has burst, isn’t it time to start looking for someone to blame it on? I mean we blamed Greenspan and Bernanke for the housing bubble…. Juliet Lapidos, on the editorial page editor’s blog of the Times, points an accusing finger at Ron Paul, dredging up quotes like this from the sagacious Congressman: 'As the fiat money pyramid crumbles, gold retains its luster. Rather than being the barbarous relic Keynesians have tried to lead us to believe it is, gold is, as the Bundesbank president put it, ‘a timeless classic.’ The defamation of gold wrought by central banks and governments is because gold exposes the devaluation of fiat currencies and the flawed policies of government. Governments hate gold because the people cannot be fooled by it.' Fooled by gold? No way. But the honorable Mr. Paul is surely not alone in beating the drums for gold. If he were still alive, it would have been nice to question Murray Rothbard about his role in feeding gold mania. But we still have Rothbard’s partner Lew Rockwell with us, maybe we should ask him for his take on the gold bubble. Indeed, inquiring minds want to know: what is the Austrian explanation for the gold bubble?"
Paul Krugman: Lust for Gold: "News flash: Recent declines in the price of gold, which is off about 17 percent from its peak, show that this price can go down as well as up. You may consider this an obvious point, but… it has come as a rude shock to many small gold investors…. One of the central facts about modern America is that everything is political; on the right, in particular, people choose their views about everything, from environmental science to gun safety, to suit their political prejudices. And the remarkable recent rise of 'goldbuggism'… shows that this politicization can influence investments as well as voting. What do I mean by goldbuggism? Not the notion that buying gold sometimes makes sense. Gold has been a very good investment since the early 2000s… gold is like a very long-term bond that’s protected from inflation; and actual long-term inflation-protected bonds have also seen big price increases…. No, being a goldbug means asserting that gold offers unique security in troubled times…. Fox… talking heads touting gold, not to mention many, many ads from the likes of Goldline. Many Americans were convinced: A third of those polled by Gallup in 2011 declared that gold was the best long-term investment…. Conservative-minded people tend to support a gold standard — and to buy gold — because they’re very easily persuaded that “fiat money,” money created on a discretionary basis in an attempt to stabilize the economy, is really just part of the larger plot to take away their hard-earned wealth and give it to you-know-who….. So will we be seeing prominent goldbugs change their views, or at least lose a lot of their followers? I wouldn’t bet on it. In modern America, as I suggested at the beginning, everything is political; and goldbuggism, which fits so perfectly with common political prejudices, will probably continue to flourish no matter how wrong it proves."
Stephen Gandel: The 10 stages of Jamie Dimon's blubbering London Whale grief | Paul Solman et al.: Does Obama Have it Right or Wrong on Social Security?
Here, below the fold, are 140 names that an automated trawl of "influential" webloggers/tweeters turned up…
Should the Kauffman Foundation be willing to fund a sixth annual Kauffman Foundation Economic Webloggers' Forum next spring, which of these belongs on the must-invite list?
Answers in comments, please...
Kauffman Foundation 2013 Economic Webloggers' Forum Pre-Watching
Noahpinion: Kauffman forum video: Blogging and your economics career: I was unfortunately unable to attend the Kauffman Economics Bloggers' Forum this year. In lieu of a personal appearance, Brad DeLong asked me to do a quick video on the topic of how blogging might affect one's career in economics. So here is that video. It's a topic I've covered before, so not a ton of new stuff here if you're a regular reader. But with the video version, you get to see my office bookshelf! Awesome!
In the inbox: "Back in 2004, Ross Douthat's shtick was: 'My friends and I worked very hard at Harvard to avoid classes where we would have to work hard or learn anything. How dare Harvard let us get away with it!' Now in 2013 he has removed all of his own agency from the situation--it is no longer in any sense his own fault that the led-to-water horse refused to drink, and that all he got out of his four years at Harvard College were useful right-wing nut noise machine social and career connections."
The seasonal update statisticians are updating their seasonal adjustment factors in a reasonable and prudent way. Before last Friday I wouldn't have said that there was a noticeably large chance that we would see weakening in the US economy this spring, but now…. Our models say that when an economy gets wedged like this with clearly subnormal spending and employment, it is either because a shortage of cash Relative to the wage level is making people want to cut back on their spending below income to build up cash balances, or because a shortage of risk tolerance makes people prefer to limit how much spending they commit to risky projects. So you either Giusti economies cash stock--which the Fed has done without noticeable effect--or wait for supply and demand to lower wages (not happening in the US on any useful timescale) or wait for deleveraging to raise risk tolerances back to more normal levels or find some way to boost the risk tolerance of the market. Short-term treasuries are yielding -2 and the S&P is yielding 6. That is one hell of a gap. And I have no clue how long processes of deleveraging take of their own accord…
Noah Smith: Noahpinion: Two versions of Goodhart's Law: "If the Fed targeted the prices of inflation-linked assets, those prices would mostly contain information about expectations of Fed policy decisions (which the Fed already knows better than the asset market), rather than about non-Fed economic forces that might affect inflation or people's utility of stable prices (i.e. the things the Fed wants to use the asset prices to ascertain). So Goodhart's Law, in its obviously true form, seems very important for policymaking."
Richard Eskow: No, Obama and His Staff Don't Know How to Play This Game. Why Do You Ask?: "GOP’s Not-So-Shocking 'Shocking Attack' On Obama’s Chained-CPI Cuts: That was fast. Yesterday we suggested that the chained-CPI cut in President Obama’s budget, which was presented as a gesture to Republicans, might instead be used to rebrand Democrats as 'the anti-Social Security party'. It took them fifteen minutes. A GOP official quickly called the chained CPI a 'shocking betrayal of seniors'. That’s a replay of the Republicans’ 2010 campaign, which used a “Seniors’ Bill of Rights” to paint Democrats as the anti-Medicare party. That strategy helped them retake the House, and could be at least as effective in 2014. This not-so-shocking 'shocking' comment is further proof that it’s political suicide for Democrats to support the chained CPI, a combined tax hike and Social Security cut in Obama’s new budget."
The Roast Beef of Old England | Ann Marie Marciarille: Prime Health Care Comes to Kansas City | Devin Smith: What Does Paul Ryan NOT Understand about Reserve Banking? | Agonistic Liberal: Surviving Econ 101 | Michael Tomasky: Obama and the Nihilists | Matthew Yglesias: Is the Chained CPI more accurate: It is, but that doesn't mean we should cut Social Security benefits | Austin Frakt: Chart of the day: Subsidies change everything | Henry Blodget: Profits At High, Wages At Low | Justin Green: Why is Obama Taxing a Pre-existing Condition? | Kevin Drum: Raw Data: The Deficit is Shri-i-i-i-nking |
Methinks the pre-conference BBQ dinner for the 2013 Kauffman Foundation Webloggers Forum was a success...
"What's that--the goggles, the red?"
"It's the official weblogging uniform, from RFC 13651919."
"Randall Munroe issued an RFC--RFC 13651919--and it became part of rough consensus and running code."
"Now it's an internet tradition."
"Do you expect conference participants to wear that?"
"No--not unless Cory Doctorow shows up."
"Is he coming?"
"No--at least, not that I know of. You never can tell."
"Do you really expect Elijah to show up for Passover Seder?"
"Oh." [Pause] "May I try it on?"
"Only if you let me take a picture."
What Austin Frakt is doing instead of coming to my weblogging conference this week...
Friday, April 12, 2013
8:00 AM: Networking Breakfast
8:30 AM: Welcome: Brad DeLong
8:35 AM: The Internet, Weblogging, and Our Future: Sly James, Hal Varian, Joshua Gans
9:50 AM: New Modes and Orders in Education: R. Crosby Kemper III, Clay Shirky, Ben Wildavsky
10:55 AM: The Future and Sustainability of Financial Journalism: George Kahn, Cardiff Garcia, Allison Schrager, Joe Weisenthal
12:45 PM: The Future and Sustainability of Mainstream Journalism: Felix Salmon, Josh Barro, Bruce Bartlett, Megan McArdle
1:50 PM: Thinktanks, Policy Advocacy, and the Public Sphere: Corey Dillon, Stan Collender, Sarah Kliff,
Robert Litan Dane Stangler
2:55 PM: Ivy-Covered Academia: Bob Strom, Mark Thoma, Stephanie Kelton
3:45 PM: Closing Remarks: Brad DeLong
Paul Krugman: Deficit Derangement Syndrome: "This Dylan Matthews piece on the evils people perceive from deficits, and why they’re almost all wrong, is a must-read…. I wish he’d made the no-crowding-out point in terms of the state of the economy, not just actual interest rates. But these are minor points, and the overall thrust of the piece is excellent. One thing I was really glad he took on was the Reinhart-Rogoff 90 percent = disaster stuff. He lays out the right critique — mainly, poorly performing economies tend to have high debt…. The main exceptions are wars and their aftermath — and those can be problematic too…. [T]his whole deficit fever has been based on bad logic and weak evidence. I could have told you that from the beginning, and actually I did. But it’s good to see the word getting out more widely."
Ezra Klein: Dave Camp just made Paul Ryan’s tax-reform plan impossible: "The joint Max Baucus/Dave Camp op-ed on tax reform…. [T]he detailed tax reform instructions in the budget do not require House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp to maintain progressivity. So that looked to be the trick: Republicans would pay for their tax cuts by shifting the burden down toward the middle class. The Camp/Baucus op-ed, however, explicitly disavows that escape hatch…. This seems like a big deal. It would appear to make the tax reform plan in the Ryan budget utterly impossible."
Tony Judt: The Wrecking Ball of Innovation | Joe Weisenthal: French Borrowing Costs Are Plummeting/a> | Mark Thoma: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime of the Recession | Aaron Carroll: An update on Vermont’s single payer system |
Paul Krugman: We Get Results, Japan Edition: "Let it not be said that the scribblings of academic economists have no effect. Some of us have been urging the Bank of Japan to get truly aggressive and adventurous on monetary policy — and it’s happening!And it only took 15 years. Seriously, this is very good news. Japan is finally, finally making a real effort to escape from its deflation trap. We should all hope it succeeds."
Matt Taibbi: Same-Sex Marriage Makes David Brooks Crazy: "Brooks sits down to write about same-sex marriage, and within a few paragraphs he's in the middle of this darkly sarcastic rant full of grim ruminations on black fathers abandoning their kids and the irresponsible poor splurging on credit-card shopping sprees…. 'So you see, in the end, I was right about your permissive society! I drink your milkshake!' This is some seriously crazy s&^$. None of what he's talking about is within a hundred miles of anything relevant to the gay marriage question. It's just weird, confused, old-person bitterness, mixed in with the usual obnoxious conservative delusions – like the way fiscal irresponsibility is always poor people buying wide-screen TVs on credit, and never teams of Ivy Leaguers at places like Lehman Brothers running up trillion-dollar balance sheets at 40-1 leverage. The whole world seems rapidly to be coming to an understanding that this discrimination against gays and lesbians has to end, and the fact that this change is coming is a beautiful thing. You have to be a very unhappy person indeed to feel anything but joy about it – much less this sarcastic depression."
Bruce Bartlett: The Eclectic Ideological Journey of David Stockman | Richard Thaler: An Automatic Solution for the Retirement Savings Problem | Ed Luce: Lunch with the FT: Michael Sandel |
Gerard Silverberg: Meltdown Economics & Other Complex Catastrophes: Announcing the 'Creditanstalt' Heinrich Brüning and Andrew Mellon Memorial Prizes: "Candidates for either or both of the prizes currently are: (1) Wolfgang Schäuble, German Finance Minister; (2) Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Finance Minister and Euro Group President; (3) Angela Merkel, German Chancellor; (4) Jens Weidmann, Bundesbank President; (5) Helmut Kohl, former German Chancellor, and with Francois Mitterand (deceased), founding father of the Maastricht Treaty; (6) Nicolas Sarkozy, former French President and co-initiator with Angela Merkel of the 'Deauville Agreement' for Private Sector Involvement in a Greek debt 'restructuring' (aka default); (7) Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the European Commission, for blaming the Keynesian messenger (see letter and Financial Times piece)"
Kevin Drum: Yes, Disability Payments Are Up, But It's Nothing to Act Surprised About: "In 2012, there were about 10 percent more people receiving disability than was forecast in 1995. Total outlays were about 18 percent higher than forecast. That's not nothing, but it's not a lot, either…. [S]ince 2000 the number of beneficiaries has been growing slightly faster than the original 1995 forecast. Second, there was a small extra spike starting in 2009, probably due to the Great Recession…. [P]eople who otherwise might have gutted it out and returned to work in better times decided to go on disability instead when jobs became scarce. However… [this is] only a small extra blip in the number of people approved for disability payments. The blip in outlays is a bit bigger, but that's mostly a mirage: the recession reduced taxable income below forecast, which artificially inflates the outlay figure because it's calculated as a percentage of income. By far the majority of the growth in the disability program has been due to simple demographics (as the boomer generation ages, more of them go on disability), and it was baked into the forecast two decades ago. We shouldn't act shocked now that the forecast is coming true."
The Beacon A Kansas City Tavern | Bruce Bartlett: The Eclectic Ideological Journey of David Stockman | Twelve Years' Military Adventure in Three Quarters of the Globe | Owen Zidar: Tax Cuts for Whom? | Rebecca Schoenkopf: Did Al Gore Run Over Bob Woodward's Dog or Something? |
Paul Krugman: The Urge to Purge: "When the Great Depression struck, many influential people argued that the government shouldn’t even try to limit the damage…. Andrew Mellon…. Joseph Schumpeter… “artificial stimulus leaves part of the work of depressions undone.” Like many economists, I used to quote these past luminaries with a certain smugness…. How naïve we were. It turns out that the urge to purge — the urge to see depression as a necessary and somehow even desirable punishment for past sins, while inveighing against any attempt to mitigate suffering — is as strong as ever…. Now, the fact is that these ranters have been wrong about everything, at every stage of the crisis, while the Keynesians have been mostly right…. But the Mellonites just keep coming. The latest example is David Stockman…. So what should we be doing? By all means, let’s restore the kind of effective financial regulation that, in the years before the Reagan revolution, helped deter excessive leverage. But that’s about preventing the next crisis. To deal with the crisis that’s already here, we need monetary and fiscal stimulus, to induce those who aren’t too deeply indebted to spend more while the debtors are cutting back. But that prescription is, of course, anathema to Mellonites, who wrongly see it as more of the same policies that got us into this trap. And that, in turn, tells you why liquidationism is such a destructive doctrine: by turning our problems into a morality play of sin and retribution, it helps condemn us to a deeper and longer slump."
The Onion: Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence As 'A Triumph': "CHICAGO—Calling the overall human experience 'poignant', 'thought-provoking', and a 'complete tour de force', film critic Roger Ebert praised existence Thursday as 'an audacious and thrilling triumph'. 'While not without its flaws, life, from birth to death, is a masterwork, and an uplifting journey that both touches the heart and challenges the mind', said Ebert, adding that while the totality of all humankind is sometimes 'a mess in places', it strives to be a magnum opus and, according to Ebert, largely succeeds at this goal. 'At times brutally sad, yet surprisingly funny, and always completely honest, I wholeheartedly recommend existence. If you haven’t experienced it yet, then what are you waiting for? It is not to be missed'. Ebert later said that while human existence’s running time was 'a little on the long side', it could have gone on much, much longer and he would have been perfectly happy."
Tom Scocca: A Stupid Death in a Stupid War: Remembering Michael Kelly: "Ten years ago today, somewhere south of Baghdad, the editor and columnist Michael Kelly became the first journalist to die in the invasion of Iraq. His Humvee, reportedly under fire, went off the road and rolled into a canal… drowned. Writing the news in the New York Times, the reporter David Carr added, 'The driver was also killed'. War is stupid. War kills people. War kills people in stupid ways, and in unanticipated ways, and in multiples. These are not complicated facts, but they were too complicated for Michael Kelly…. Michael Kelly’s death was a painful loss for many good people…. But: The driver was also killed. And so were more than 4,400 other American troops. And so were more than 200 other journalists and their assistants. And so were an uncountable number of Iraqis—so many that we do not even know how many tens of thousands of them there were, each one as alive and individual and human as Michael Kelly was. Most of them did not leave as clear a record of their thoughts as Michael Kelly did…. That Kelly was brave in going to cover the combat does not change the fact that he chose to be bold with other people’s lives…. There were more like three Kellys: the loving and loyal personal Kelly; the impish, incisive, and sometimes courageous observer; and the nasty, often petty polemicist, who wrote things for effect that he knew were untrue. But they blended into each other, and not to his benefit. It was Kelly’s notion of collegial devotion that led him to brutally defend his New Republic protege Stephen Glass, past the bitter end, refusing to concede to Buzz Bissinger that a smear Glass had written about the healthy-eating activist Michael Jacobson, in a story admitted to have been fabricated, was inaccurate. 'When interviewed, Kelly said that he would gladly apologize to Jacobson for the opening anecdote—as long as he was given definitive proof of its embellishment.' So he shared with Sullivan, who had originally hired Glass, the distinction of an active role in two of the worst failures of journalism in a generation. Perhaps… he would have changed his position on Iraq…. What might he have written, if he’d had the chance to engage with the terrible truths of this past decade? What might a hundred thousand other people have done, if they’d lived too?"
ricardian ambivalence | Sarah Kliff: Cancer clinics are turning away thousands of Medicare patients. Blame the sequester | Gary Brecher (2005): It’s All Greek to Victor Davis Hanson | Economic Report of the President 1994 | Gauti Eggertsson and Paul Krugman: Debt, Deleveraging, and the Liquidity Trap: A Fisher-Minsky-Koo Approach | Herbert Hoover: the “leave it alone liquidationists” headed by [my] Secretary of the Treasury Mellon, who felt that government must keep its hands off and let the slump liquidate itself. Mr. Mellon had only one formula: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.” He insisted that, when the people get an inflation brainstorm, the only way to get it out of their blood is to let it collapse. He held that even a panic was not altogether a bad thing. He said: “It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people”... | Pawel Morski: How to Interpret an ECB Press Conference: April 4th, Annotated Highlights |
L'Esprit de l'Escalier: April 5, 2013
@sarahkliff @aaronecarroll Is paying 15% more than standard Medicaid rates for Arkansas Medicaid Advantage a bargain or not?
The original argument against expansionary fiscal policy was that it would generate lots of crowding out of private investment via high real interest rates, and so was not worth undertaking. The argument that accommodative monetary policy would fault any crowding out was dismissed with the claim that while the Federal Reserve controlled short-term interest rates long-term rates have a mind of their own. As it became clear that unprecedented that issues were not in fact putting upward pressure on long term interest rates, The argument that expansionary fiscal policy was counterproductive shifted. It became, instead, a declaration that the year of future uncertainty about what taxes might be levied on businesses or what other means might be used to finance government debt Was diminishing businesses desires to invest. Government debt issue was still thought to be notionally crowding out savings, but as uncertainty caused an equal decline in business desires to spend on investment there was no net impact on interest rates. The problem with this line of argument was that If uncertainty was reducing business demand for funds to spend on investment projects, it was doing so by lowering the value of future profits expected. Such a reduction in the value of future profits would apply not just to new capital produced by investment but too old capital traded on the stock market as well. Hence the uncertainty argument required that stock market values collapsed in order to account for the failure of interest rates to rise. That collapse did not happen.
The Republicans want to end Medicare as we know it. The Democrats went to mend it, not end it.
The meta-message of each campaign last fall was that the other campaign was basically an exercise in the candidate looting the country for the benefit of himself and the small group of people like him. The questions was which was the "them"--the lucky and corner-cutting rich, or the shiftless Negroes.
Conor Friedersdorf: The Right-Wing Hucksters Who Dare Not Be Named: "John Podhoretz…. 'The notion that Obama is a dangerous extremist helps him, because it makes him seem reasonable and his critics foolish. It also helps those who peddle it, because it makes them notorious and helps them sell their wares…. [There] are serious arguments…. They may not sell gold coins as quickly and as well as excessive alarmism, but they have the inestimable advantage of being true.'… [I]t was nice to see Jonah Goldberg acknowledge back in January that the right has an 'unhealthy share' of hucksters whose rhetoric is driven by lucre rather than conviction, and it's nice to see Podhoretz echo the criticism, because it's absolutely true…. There's just one thing…. Goldberg… never actually says who these hucksters are, Podhoretz… doesn't actually identify the individuals…. An honest question, guys: How do you expect to stop these people who you identify as scheming hucksters doing irreparable harm to your cause if no one with intramovement credibility ever directly critiques their bad work?… [Y]ou've both spent a lot more time feuding with people who call out the hucksters than with the hucksters themselves…. Lots of elites in the conservative movement totally agree with you, but haven't even had the courage to make the vague critique you've articulated."
Buce: Underbelly: Appreciation: Adair Turner: "Adair Turner's Economics after the Crisis… starts off strong, as much a delight to read as I've picked up his year…. [A]s to the market--ah, here, Turner gets bit less steady. He declares himself a committed free-market sort of guy (certainly when it comes to restaurants, as he mentions more than once). But as to banking. Hm. I suspect maybe the trouble is that virtually all of us except the banksters believe that cancerous, metastasized modern banking sucks wealth out of society. The trouble is I don't know of anybody (not Adair) who can make a comprehensive case that this proposition is true…. Finally on regulation--I'd say that turner is noncontroversial but rather thin. He wants s regulation that is stable, steady, and that itself does not make the problem worse. Well yes, but it's pretty thin soup."
Owen Zidar: Tax Cuts for Whom? Heterogeneous Effects of Income Tax Changes on Growth & Employment | Robert Burns: To a Haggis | Mark Thoma: Economist's View: Have Blog, Will Travel: INET Hong Kong | Janet Yellen: FRB: Speech--Yellen, Communication in Monetary Policy |
Beverly Mann: What Mindless Cliché-Driven Centrism From a High-Profile Pundit Looks Like, in Detail:
The State of the Union ritual is by now familiar to most Americans. President Obama leads the Democratic side of the chamber to a series of standing ovations for proposals that everybody knows won’t become law. Republicans show their seriousness of purpose by smirking or making stony faces — and by inviting as guests to the speech people such as rocker Ted Nugent, who has called the president a “piece of [excrement]” who should “suck on my machine gun.” But this… is not all harmless fun. Obama made clear that he is not entertaining serious spending cuts or major entitlement reforms. Republicans, in their responses, repeated that they are not budging on taxes…. The nation’s finances are a mess, but — what the heck? — let’s have another round. No wonder a new Washington Post poll found that 56 percent of Americans have a dim view of the country’s political system. --Let the bleak times roll, Dana Milbank, Washington Post, today
Yup. Fifty-six percent of Americans want another deep recession. Now! Our nation’s finances are a mess. And they want to see them become messier! And they want a few million hungry or homeless elderly. Not necessarily now. But soon. The luxury of being a Centrist, at least one of this particular and common variety, is that you can spout generic truisms without ever actually tying them to specifics…. I wondered as I read this thing whether he’d brought his MacBook Air to a Uline plant to watch the speech last night…. And then, of course:
And House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says, “It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem.” Pelosi’s formulation is just as reckless as the Republicans’ mantra: “We don’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem.”
Of course. Which is why, pre-Bush-tax-cuts, and pre-Bush-unfunded-wars, we didn’t have a spending problem. Now we do, so let’s cut Social Security!…
Robert Waldmann: contra Ed Kilgore | Ashok Rao: Why Local Factors Matter for Global Inequality | KitchenAid Pasta Roller Attachment for Stand Mixers | Matthew Yglesias: NRSC on Mary Landrieu: Perpetuating a vicious cycle of ObamaCare obstruction | Corey Robin (2004): Endgame: Conservatives after the Cold War | Noah Smith (2011): Noahpinion: In which Steven Landsburg utterly flips out |
Mark Thoma: Economist's View: 'Reactions to Mankiw on the Long Run Budget Path': "Confused Americans want to know: Does Greg Mankiw believe in countercyclical fiscal policy in deep, prolonged recessions or not?"
Jordan Weissmann: The Simple Reason Why Goodreads Is So Valuable to Amazon: "Barnes and Noble's in-store displays don't rule the book business like they used to, but they haven't been usurped by Amazon's algorithms either. Instead, the business model is moving further towards word of mouth. And, much as a very small portion of Americans do most of the book reading in this country, so too are they responsible for a vast majority of book recommending. Codex estimates that 11 percent of book buyers make about 46 percent of recommendations. The sorts of lit lovers who like to evangelize their favorite new novel are the same sorts of folks who tend to show up on Goodreads. And so, perhaps unsurprisingly, the site is a great platform for convincing people to buy books… in the world of books, Goodreads is just about as influential as Facebook. So Amazon has just bought the ecosystem where many of America's most influential readers choose their books. How exactly they'll use it isn't entirely clear yet. Some have suggested they'll integrate Goodreads into the Kindle experience… use the site as an a big cache of trustworthy opinions…. In any event, there's plenty of value for Amazon to unlock. Assuming, of course, they don't do anything to muck up their new purchase."
Mark Blyth: The Political Theory of Austerity: History of a Dangerous Idea | Robin Harding: US has lost 2m clerical jobs since 2007 | Neil Irwin: Three days that saved the world financial system | Mark Thoma: New Forms of Communication and the Public Mission of Economics: Overcoming the Great Disconnect | Letter from John-Baptiste Say to Jeremy Bentham, 2 February 1824 | Tedra Osell: The Ghost Writer: English Essay Periodicals and the Materialization of the Public in the Eighteenth Century | Scott Gloden: Review • The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office by Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan | Neil Irwin: The nihilism of David Stockman | Mark Thoma: Economist's View: 'Unconventional Monetary Policy and the Dollar' |
The annual Economics Bloggers Forum brings together leading economists and bloggers to share perspectives on the business of blogging and the most pressing topic of the day: the economy. The Kauffman Foundation is holding the forum to stimulate new ideas, new thinking, and new policies that support the entrepreneurship and innovation that is critical to our economic recovery.
Miles Kimball: Which is More Radical? Electronic Money or a Higher Inflation Target? | Cumbrian chef recreates Hadrian's Wall dishes | Rich Siegel: The Gathering Storm: Our Travails with iCloud Sync | Roger Farmer: Confessions of a Keynesian heretic | Carola Binder: Potential Costs of Asset Purchases | Jakob Nielsen: Mobile Usability for Cats: Essential Design Principles for Felines | Todd Akin, Allen West Lavished Government Money On Staff After Losing Reelection | Adam Kotsko and John Holbo are international treasures | Texas prosecutor and wife killed in 'targeted act' two months after assistant's death |
Brad DeLong: Introductory Remarks:
I would very much like to thank the Kauffman Foundation--President McDonnell and Research Director Stangler for giving me the keys and letting me drive this; Shelley Wertz, Bob Strom, Mette Kramer, and the entire Kauffman communications and support teams that have made this possible.
This year, I want to go meta. I want to focus not quite so much on what economic and financial webloggers should say but rather a bit more on how they should say it.
All forum attendees here at the conference has gotten into the weblogging business in large part out of idealism; to some, but varying, degrees out of frustration; out of entrepreneurship; and out of overoptimism: idealism that a great deal could be done to raise the level of debate and discussion in the public sphere on issues of economics; frustration that the channels and filters of communication and discussion as we have inherited them are not ideal; entrepreneurship in a demonstrated willingness to try new ways to place themselves between those who have information and those who need information; and overoptimism that doing good work outside of normal channels will somehow be rewarded by a benevolent universe.
Thirty-five years ago my father bought my family’s first personal computer. Eighteen years ago my former roommate Paul Mende told me: “Hey, this World-Wide-Web thing is revolutionizing scholarly communication in Physics via the http://arxiv.org/ web server. You should check it out.” Fourteen years ago I noticed that both of my mentions in the then-most recent Foreign Affairs had come not from things I had published but from things I had thrown up on my website.
Twelve years ago I decided that somebody should go all-in and attempt to win the intellectual influence game via the strategy of always-putting-something-new-and-interesting-up-on-the-web. And as a guy with tenure at an institution that seemed to me to be the global optimum, I was one of the few people in the world who could do so with no significant possible personal downside risk.
And today here we all are.
8:00 AM: Networking Breakfast
8:30 AM: Welcome
8:35 AM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future
9:35 AM: Break
9:50 AM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging, and New Modes and Orders in Education
10:40 AM: Break
10:55 AM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future and Sustainability of Financial Journalism
11:45 AM: Networking Lunch
12:45 PM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future and Sustainability of Mainstream Journalism
1:35 PM: Break
1:50 PM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging, Thinktanks and Policy Advocacy, and the Public Sphere
2:40 PM: Break
2:55 PM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging and Standard Ivy-Covered Academia
3:45 PM: Closing Remarks
The Political Scientist as Blogger: My article at Political Science and Politics is now available, gated here, ungated here. Key graph:
If you are reading this article in PS, the article has gone through a vetting and editing process that has probably lasted at least 18 months. This process undoubtedly improved the quality of the article, but it also substantially delayed its entry into the debate. Had I simply posted this discussion as a blog response to Sides, it probably would have taken me three or four days to write and edit it. I would have included multiple hyperlinks, effectively “citing” not only Sides article but a plethora of different pieces on blogging and the academy. The article could have been viewed by some 4,000 regular visitors to Lawyers, Guns and Money, plus another 8,000 or so subscribers. Any one of these subscribers could have responded (helpfully or unhelpfully) in our comments section, likely generating a long debate both on the merits of the article and on the merits of the author. Sides could have responded within a day, and a multitude of other political science bloggers might have chimed in during the ensuing weeks.
Instead, I published the article here in PS, giving up all of that in return for a line on my CV with the “peer review” annotation.The delay of this article, the loss of all of the interactivity that the Internet provides, and the substantial reduction in the number of people likely to read the piece buy me a slightly improved chance at tenure and promotion.
To say that this makes little sense is an understatement.
This article is a response to John Sides’April 2011 article “The Political Scientist as Blogger.” Core argument is this: Sides treats blogging (and what I tend to think of as associated “public intellectual” activities) as adjunct to a successful political science career. I, on the other hand, think that we should take seriously the possibility that these activities should become the main course of a successful career in political science (and other fields). As the above passage suggests, there are severe drawbacks associated with the centrality of the peer review system to academic hiring and promotion. To add another; I wrote the first draft of the attached article in June 2011, and my calendar tells me it’s now April 2013, which is perhaps why the article now feels dated. As we try to make the case that political science is sufficiently relevant to public policy to deserve NSF funding, we have to take seriously the problem that career incentives in our field do not support the efforts of scholars to make significant, timely policy contributions early in their careers.
David Graeber wrote, about his book Debt:
[S]cholars of Greece, Mesopotamia, and Islam, Medievalists, Africanists, historians of Buddhism, and a wide variety of economists... none have noticed any glaring errors... it’s remarkable that someone who is not an area specialist actually more or less gets it right (remember, these are scholars often loathe to admit even their own colleagues in the field get it more or less right.)... meticulously researched and has stood up to scholarly review...
I protested that David Graeber's chapter 12, at least, got quite a large number of things wrong.
For one thing, Graeber thinks that the participants in the meetings of the Federal Reserve's decision-making body--the Federal Open Market Committee--are eighteen private bankers and one person, the Chair, appointed by the President. In actual fact the participants in FOMC meetings consist of (a) the seven Governors of the Federal Reserve (of whom one is Chair) all of whom are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and (b) the twelve heads of the regional Federal Reserve Banks, all of whom must be approved by a majority vote of the Governors and who are not private bankers seeking profits but rather heads of government-sponsored enterprises that do not view maximizing their bottom lines as their goals. Rather than one out of nineteen, all nineteen FOMC participants are either chosen by the President (with the advice and consent of the Senate) or by the President's appointees. Graeber does not get it right. If you want to understand today's economy, it is important to know whether one of nineteen or all of its top decision makers serve because the President and his appointees want them to. It is important to know whether eighteen of them or zero of them are private bankers. It is important to know whether the Federal Reserve is very akin to the American Petroleum Institute or the Federal Trade Commission.
This is a big deal. This stuff matters. It is a glaring error, along the lines of claiming that adolescent females in Samoa speak to no males save their fathers, uncles, and brothers. It is a glaring error, along the lines of claiming that high-status adult males among the Yanomamo behave like the seventeenth-century Quaker followers of William Penn rather than like Akhilleus son of Peleus. (And, yes, I have a very large bone to pick with Napoleon Chagnon for translating the Yanomamo self-description as "fierce" rather than "noble" or "manly"--as in Sigifrith the Atheling, or Arjuna of the Arya, or Horatius Cocles virtus holding the bridge against Lars Porsenna. But that is for another time and place.)
My protest was received with hoots:
Seriously?... petty stuff…. We can all pick over tiny details in books and engage in hermeneutic readings…. It’s not hard.…. [W]hat’s going to be remembered, David’s book with its intellectually revolutionary message, one that has inspired so many young economists that I meet or DeLong’s pedantic complaints about ambiguous meanings and contentious issues.… Who wins in the contest for etiquette? I don’t know. But who wins the intellectual argument? Again, let history decide. But I’m thinking Graeber.
And David Graeber:
[F]or all [DeLong's] blustering about how my chapter 12 was full of factual errors, he had never managed to identify more than one--a minor point about the number of reserve board governors who are Presidential appointees (the main point, about the Fed not being part of the government and not operating under Presidential oversight DeLong does not contest)…
But it wasn't one error, David.
It seemed that I had a discourse-situation problem. (I) Graeber's default seemed to be to claim that his book Debt was error-free. (II) If challenged on any point, his mode of operation appeared to be to retreat--admit error--and then counterattack claiming that this error is minor--no matter how glaring it was--and that the fact that people are attacking that error shows how totally right the rest of the book was.
So how to stake out a marker that there are dozens of errors, without wasting a lot of time doing so?
And there are dozens of errors: the Federal Reserve is not a council of eighteen private bankers plus a presidential appointee as their chair; Korean-American shopkeepers do not long to treat everybody else in Brooklyn the way Saul and Samuel treated the people of Amalek; Apple Computer--this was a hilarious one--Apple was not founded by ex-IBM engineers who formed little democratic circles of twenty to forty people with their laptops in each other's garages--there were neither laptops nor garages big enough to hold 20 in Silicon Valley in 1978, nor was Apple either Democratic or made up of any ex-IBM employees--the fact that people are as happy to hold the debt of the Swiss government than the debt of the U.S. government shows that it is not fear of being bombed by the US Air Force that makes countries seek to buy U.S. Treasury bonds; the Federal Reserve is perfectly constitutional, as is the FDA, the FCC, the EPA, the FTC, etc.; Nixon did not close the gold window because of the mounting costs of the Vietnam War; there is nothing that makes Iraq more likely than any other corner of the world to be the source of the next forward leap in human society; the Federal Reserve does not lend private banks money at the prime rate--you really don't know whether to laugh or cry at passages like: "For those who don't know how the Fed works: technically, there are a series of stages. Generally the Treasury puts out bonds to the public, and the Fed buys them back. The Fed then loans the money thus created to other banks at a special low rate of interest ('the prime rate')". Et cetera.
It was a puzzle that I could not solve.
At the end January I noticed David Graeber was on Twitter tweeting things like:
David Graeber @davidgraeber: considering the misery & devastation DeLong's NAFTA inflicted on Mexico, it's hardly surprising
David Graeber @davidgraeber: @delong author of economic catastrophes arrogantly inflicted only on others (NAFTA), lashes out at such as tried to warn him at the time
David Graeber @davidgraeber: they feel history passing them by. Even the IMF seems to take me more seriously than DeLong these days
And a light bulb went on in my head.
Noah Smith: Noahpinion: The swamps of DSGE despair: "A DSGE model starts with the assumption of optimization by various economic agents such as households and firms, which spits out a system of nonlinear equations representing people's optimal choices. These nonlinear equations are then 'log-linearized' around a 'steady state', and the linearized forms of the equations, which are very easy to work with mathematically and computationally, are used to compute the 'impulse responses' that tell you what the model says the effect of government policy will be. The linearization is equivalent to the assumption that the economy undergoes only small disturbances. That's probably not a good assumption… but it does make the models a LOT easier to work with. It also generally makes the equilibriim unique…. Braun et al. decide to venture into no-man's-land, and work with a non-linearized version of a New Keynesian model with a Zero Lower Bound. So what do we learn from these sorts of exercises? In my opinion, we learn relatively little about the real economy, but that's OK, since we do learn some important things about DSGE models. Namely: (1) Almost every DSGE result you see is the result of linearization, If you drop linearization, very funky stuff happens. In particular, equilibria become non-unique, and DSGE models don't give you a good idea of what will happen to the economy, even in the fictional world where the DSGE model's assumptions are largely correct!… So even putting aside the question of whether DSGE models accurately represent reality, we see that most of the DSGE models you see don't even accurately represent themselves."
Ryan Avent: Innovation: Uncle Sam, venture capitalist: "Economics points to the need for a strong government role in setting clear property rights and supporting the functioning of markets. And an englightened government should also price externalities (like those generated by greenhouse gas emissions). And it should subsidise basic research—a public good that markets simply won't do enough of without state encouragement. What the government should not do, economists seem to agree, is play venture capitalist…. I think it would be a grand thing if America's government, and governments in general, began listening to what economists have to say on these issues, taxed carbon, and focused on providing substantial funding for basic research. But we—meaning economists, elected officials, and those of us trying to translate economics into advice for elected officials—should keep in mind two very important things. The first is that the stuff that economists can agree on might not, actually almost certainly does not, capture the full range of Sensible Things to Do. There is no question that sensible support for education and basic research and a healthy market economy have been important for America's rise to global technological leadership. But America also happens to have benefitted from innovations that directly resulted from a government wildly overstepping its bounds. To give just one example: during the formative years of the computing era, government was an enormous source of demand for all the intermediates to production of computing power and computing power itself. America's military machine brought brilliant people together, demanded they do work requiring extraordinary computational power, and plied them with the funds to develop and build early computers. That work created expertise, component supply, and even private demand that fueled subsequent private investments. And government remained a significant source of final demand for the output of those later private investments. It is quite probable that computers would have been developed somewhere without all of that effort, and it's almost impossible to know whether the money spent on these efforts might have been used better elsewhere. But I don't think it's absurd to look back and feel that the government's role in supporting the development of computing (or the web, for that matter) was a Very Good Thing. Government support for innovation obviously turns up its share of duds, representing waste of real resources that could have gone toward some other end. But even America's higgledy-piggledly defence-biased innovation support network seems to generate a lot of hits… communication advances, industrial chemistry, nuclear technology, computing, and much of the technology that goes into the iPhone in your pocket and the Google driverless car soon to be ferrying you to work…. The second important thing to keep in mind is that government isn't going to adopt first-best solutions even when we're confident we know what they are. And as far as second-best solutions go, I'm not sure that throwing a lot of government money and effort at innovation programmes that generate lots of misses but the occasional big hit (and plenty of ancillary knowledge along the way) is a bad thing."
Ezra Klein: Scalia’s gay adoption claim: Even wronger than I thought | Enochian | Richard Owen (1860): Review of the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection | Mark Thoma sends us to Paul Krugman: Economist's View: 'The Price Is Wrong' | Fungi Discovered In The Amazon Will Eat Your Plastic | | The good, the bad and... the austeritist! | Is That Sarah Palin’s Hand In Your Pocket Or Is She Just Happy To See You?: SarahPAC spent more than twice as much on consultants in the 2012 election cycle as it did on candidates. (Candidates received less than $300k of the $5 mill SarahPAC grifted from the doubtless aged and infirm.) You guys, that buys SO MUCH NORDSTROM. |
L'Esprit de l'Escalier: March 29, 2013
Re: "'Islamic' is too broad an adjective here. The Ottoman timar system of land tenure in return for military service, while not the same as European feudalism, was certainly not 'mamlukism'." OK, how about "classical Islamic". Both Ottomans and Mughals (and, I would argue, Safavids) are different beasts that to a considerable degree escape the destructive Ibn Khaldun dynamic that hits the classical Islamic heartland after about 1000... http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/03/noted-for-march-24-2013.html#tpe-action-resize-238
You do know that this isn't an efficient market event study? That the direct and indirect effects of things like "47%" or debate #1 diffuse gradually through the voter population, and are not shown immediately in the next days polls? Proprietary materials I have seen do show that as many people think they voted for Obama over Romney because of 47% as think they voted for Romney over Obama because of debate #1. But you seem to know better... http://ipeatunc.blogspot.com/2013/03/brad-delong-versus-political-science.html
Look: people are good at analysis, good at listening, good at coordinating. Most people are good at one. Most of my friends are really good at analysis but lousy at listening and coordinating. Someone like Sheryl Sandberg is superb at coordinating, excellent at listening, and very good at analyzing. But Mitt Romney is not Sheryl: he is superb at coordinating, so-so at listening, and not so smart at analyzing--a "Chet", in Belle Waring's parlance. That means that someone like Mitt will be vulnerable to this "47% moochers--nation of takers" stuff... http://www.democracyjournal.org/28/shrugging-off-atlas.php
Corey Robin watches paste-eating pseudos at work at the Mercatus Center: "The libertarian Mercatus Center, which is located at George Mason University, has issued its third edition of… how much freedom there is, state by state, in the US…. North Dakota is the freest state in the union! (It’s also a state that has effectively banned all abortions.)… California is the 49th and New York is the 50th freest state in the union! In other words, the least free states. Which is why we’re color-coded black on the map. Like North Korea at night…. Update (9:30 pm):** Someone in the comments thread pointed out to me that one of the measures on the freedom index—that is, how free a state is—is 'Bachelor Party'. What the hell is that, you ask? According to our friends at Mercatus: 'This user-created category combines a variety of laws including those on alcohol, marijuana, prostitution, and fireworks'. Right. So no measure for abortion because, as the print edition of the report makes clear (see pp. 5-6), it is a controversial issue about which reasonable people disagree. But prostitution? Part, apparently, of what Rawls would call our 'overlapping consensus'."
Mark Kleiman: We need to solve our alcohol problem to solve our crime problem: "Drugs are an important part of the question if you include alcohol as a drug…. All illegal drugs combined are to alcohol as the Mediterranean is to the Pacific…. Any sentence about drug policy that doesn’t end with “raise alcohol taxes” is an incoherent sentence…. Half the people in prison were drinking when they did whatever they did…. [A]lcohol shortens time horizons, and people with shorter time horizons are more criminally active because they’re less scared of the punishment. Most people who drive drunk are sensible enough to know when they’re sober that they shouldn’t be driving drunk. It’s only when they’re drunk that they forget they’re not supposed to drive drunk. We need to keep them from drinking, which is what the 24/7 program does. We could also require everyone to be carded. Maybe you still get carded, but I don’t. But imagine everyone got carded, and if I had a DUI, I had a driving license showing I wasn’t allowed to buy a drink. You’d make the alcohol industry regulate its own customers. And I think you’d cut down on crimes substantially. But if I say that, I’m a nanny state fanatic, and if I say adults should be allowed to smoke a little bit of pot, I’m a crazy drug reformer."
Harold Pollack: What ‘This American Life’ missed on disability insurance: "Look at the employment rates for people who applied for disability but were then denied. And those are actually quite low, below 50 percent. That suggests we’re not pulling people out of the workforce who would otherwise be there. It’s also worth remembering that the adult benefits for disability are not that high. If people are leaving the labor market so that they can get $13,000 per year and health care because that’s better than anything that employers can provide, what does that tell you about the state of the economy?… [S]ince 1996, the welfare caseloads have also plummeted. It’s always been the case for parents of disabled children who are poor, there has either been welfare or disability, and parents often used one program or the other. So as welfare became more restricted, there were reasons for people to shift into the SSI disability program. But the shift hasn’t been nearly as dramatic as “This American Life” made it seem. The overall proportion of poor kids on SSI has been pretty constant in recent years. And even as the poverty rate has gone up, the rise in children on SSI disability has been dwarfed by the much bigger decline of children in the old welfare system…. There are occasionally anecdotal accounts of parents coaching their kids to misbehave in school so that they can qualify for disability. But that just doesn’t show up in the numbers…. [Nick Kristof's] statistic[s are] very misleading. The program is actually quite stringent at the front end. And that means the kids who do qualify are much more likely to have chronic issues that last into adulthood. Many of the kids on childhood SSI have unambiguous conditions that are lifelong. So the fact that most of them qualify for adult disability doesn’t tell you much about the program."
Walter Hickey: This one goes out to all the Monty Hall "Truthers" out there. You know who your are. | Ezra Klein: The Battle Over Obamacare Moves to the States | Jeff Toobin: Why the Gay-Marriage Fight Is Over | Jacqui Cheng: Frustrated with iCloud, Apple’s developer community speaks up en masse | Simon Wren-Lewis: Why we should stop teaching Mundell Fleming | Paul Krugman: On Mundell-Fleming | Wonkette: Francis Breaks Rule, Washes Lady-Feet | George Perry: The Fed's Trying To Get the Party Started, So Why All the Criticism? |
Andrew Kohut: The numbers prove it: The Republican Party is estranged from America: "While there are no catchy phrases for the Republicans of 2013, their image problems are readily apparent… the more extreme party, the side unwilling to compromise or negotiate seriously to tackle the economic turmoil that challenges the nation…. [E]ven elements of the Republican leadership that had been so confident of a Mitt Romney victory… are now looking at ways to find more electable candidates and cope with the disproportionate influence of hard-liners…. [A] staunch conservative bloc… has undermined the GOP’s national image. The Republican Party’s ratings now stand at a 20-year low, with just 33 percent of the public holding a favorable view of the party and 58 percent judging it unfavorably…. The values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than the one between men and women, young and old, or any racial or class divides…. [A} bloc of doctrinaire, across-the-board conservatives has become a dominant force on the right…. There was less diversity of values within the GOP than at any time in the past quarter-century."
David Frum sends us to Tim Montgomerie: The shrinking Cameron project: "I have never been a huge fan of Cameron. The über-modernisation. The disregard for the views of Tory MPs and grassroot members. The incompetent 2010 general election campaign. The rush to coalition, including a badly-negotiated deal on AV. The decision to backload spending cuts and frontload tax rises. The lack of a proper growth strategy. This last week has taken me to a new place, however. The shambolic handling of press regulation. The decision to offer a childcare subsidy that wasn't in the Coalition Agreement… a failure to deliver a marriage tax allowance that was…. [T]he Budget that gave up on deficit reduction and, in its place, announced a housing policy that may create another dangerous boom. Cameron's leadership is indeed looking like a lost decade. In Cameronism's first phase there was huge ambition… transform Britain and conservatism… fight climate change, protect the NHS… rebuild the family, cut big business down to size and work towards a ministerial team that was one-third women. The second more modest phase of Cameronism began when the economic crisis struck… form a government of national unity to balance the books. But we now know that the books won't be close to balanced. There has been no reimagining of the state and no grand plan for economic renewal. Our government added £120 billion to the national debt last year. It'll add another £120 billion this year and another £120 billion next. In what parallel universe does that add up to deficit reduction or fiscal responsibility? We're now into phase three of Cameronism. Plan A for deficit reduction is on the back burner and plan B(eer) for re-election is underway. And, you know what - despite the collapse in party membership, the defection of the centre right press and the splintering of the Tory vote - it might even work."
Larry Summers vs. The Mammon of Unrighteousness: "I do not believe that the long run can be ceded to the avatars of austerity. I am the father or stepfather of six children. Yes, on their behalf, I am concerned about the possibility that an overly inflationary psychology will develop in my country. Yes, on their behalf, I am concerned that an excessive debt not be placed upon them. But I am vastly more concerned, because I care about their long-run future, that a slack economy will not provide them with adequate jobs when they leave school. I am vastly more concerned, on behalf of their long-run future, that they will live in a country with decaying infrastructure that will not permit investment to maintain leadership. I am more concerned on their behalf that inadequate resources forced by countercyclical austerity will stunt the ability of their generation to be educated. I am more concerned, on their behalf, that excessive austerity-oriented policies will lead to slower economic growth, and as a consequence to ultimately higher debt-to-annual-GDP ratios--and more pressure, in terms of higher tax burdens, on the future. Those concerns, which come out of the improper management of current conditions, seem to me to be a larger issue especially for the long run than the concern that somehow unstable and overly expansionary policy starting from where we are now will stunt the opportunities that are open to them…. [S]tarting from where the United States or much of Europe or much of the rest of the industrialized part of the world is starting today, the risks of profound stagnation are a more pressing concern than the risks of a resurrection of stagflation."
Josh Barro: For 'Faster Growth,' Soak the Poor?: "This weekend, the Wall Street Journal assembled a redoubtable list of conservative heavies in economics (George Schulz! Gary Becker! John Taylor!) to produce a completely insane account of what is wrong with America's economy and how to fix it. The upshot of the piece is that the U.S. economy is in the tank because the government gives too much money to poor people, and so it should stop. What's most amazing about this piece is what's not in it: any acknowledgement of the specific circumstances that led to the downturn of 2008 and the slow recovery from it. There's no discussion of the housing bubble and the financial crisis, of weak consumer demand as households struggle to deleverage, or of the vast number of job seekers for each available job. Instead, the authors identify the country's pressing problems as 'excessive spending and taxes, growing debt, interventionist monetary policy, and burdensome regulations that have slowed economic growth and job creation'. Some of these conditions have indeed arisen from the 2008 crash: Recessions cause government spending and debt to rise relative to the economy. But the authors have the causation wrong: Slow growth has led to rising spending and debt, not the other way around…. The choice to ignore current economic conditions allows them to advance the same set of soak-the-poor policy solutions at any time and in any economic condition."
Noah Smith: Noahpinion: Markets in almost nothing | Corey Robin (2005): Why Did Liberals Support the Iraq War? | Patrick Wolff: What It Is Like to Be a Bat | Menzie Chinn: Econbrowser: Reflation and Expenditure Switching in a Two-Speed World |