Matt O'Brien vs. the Chicken Littles Who Think the U.S. Faces an Imminent Debt Tipping Point That Will Turn It into Greece
Paul Krugman: No, Our Deficit Is Not "Unsustainable"

Noted for March 10, 2013

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  • Cosma Shalizi (November 16, 2010): The Neutral Model of Inquiry (or, What Is the Scientific Literature, Chopped Liver?): "There is, so far as I know, no Journal of Evidence-Based Haruspicy filled, issue after issue, with methodologically-faultless papers reporting the ability of sheeps' livers to predict the winners of sumo championships, the outcome of speed dates, or real estate trends in selected suburbs of Chicago. But the difficulty can only be that the evidence-based haruspices aren't trying hard enough, and some friendly rivalry with the plastromancers is called for. It's true that none of these findings will last forever, but this constant overturning of old ideas by new discoveries is just part of what makes this such a dynamic time in the field of haruspicy. Many scholars will even tell you that their favorite part of being a haruspex is the frequency with which a new sacrifice over-turns everything they thought they knew about reading the future from a sheep's liver! We are very excited about the renewed interest on the part of policy-makers in the recommendations of the mantic arts…"

  • Caroline Minter Hoxby and Chris Avery: The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students: "We show that the vast majority of very high-achieving students who are low-income do not apply to any selective college or university. This is despite the fact that selective institutions would often cost them less, owing to generous financial aid, than the resource-poor two-year and non-selective four-year institutions to which they actually apply. Moreover, high-achieving, low-income students who do apply to selective institutions are admitted and graduate at high rates. We demonstrate that these low-income students' application behavior differs greatly from that of their high-income counterparts who have similar achievement. The latter group generally follows the advice to apply to a few 'par' colleges, a few 'reach' colleges, and a couple of 'safety' schools. We separate the low-income, high-achieving students into those whose application behavior is similar to that of their high-income counterparts ('achievement-typical' behavior) and those whose apply to no selective institutions ('income-typical' behavior). We show that income-typical students do not come from families or neighborhoods that are more disadvantaged than those of achievement-typical students. However, in contrast to the achievement-typical students, the income-typical students come from districts too small to support selective public high schools, are not in a critical mass of fellow high achievers, and are unlikely to encounter a teacher or schoolmate from an older cohort who attended a selective college. We demonstrate that widely-used policies–college admissions staff recruiting, college campus visits, college access programs–are likely to be ineffective with income-typical students, and we suggest policies that will be effective must depend less on geographic concentration of high achievers."

  • Alexis C. Madrigal: A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor, 2013: "You hope hope hope that this amounts to something sustainable. Because I owe it to this institution to help ensure its survival. I'll be damned if The Atlantic dies with my generation, if all that is left of it when I leave is some moldering books and cold servers. Quite possibly, I would get to the gates of heaven and Ida Tarbell would be sitting there like, 'Wait, wait, you're one of those guys who let The Atlantic die?' And poof: trapdoor in the clouds, burning in hell for all eternity. Actually, strike that, I'd probably get stuck in purgatory rewriting press releases about corporate sustainability, forced to eat tuna sandwiches every day for lunch. Anyway, the biz ain't what it used to be, but then again, for most people, it never really was. And, to you Mr. Thayer, all I can say is I wish I had a better answer."

  • Dan Amira: Peggy Noonan Wishes Obama Had Done Some Kind of Stimulus-y Thing for Jobs: "When she's not predicting national elections based on a few yard signs she saw somewhere, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan is drawing broad conclusions about the state of America from a single visit to a crappy airport hotel…. The worst part is this lament: 'Meanwhile, the president is stuck in his games and his history. He should have seen unemployment entering a crisis stage four years ago, and he did not…' Great advice, Peggy Noonan! It happens to be exactly what President Obama did with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus), which included $98.3 billion in transportation and infrastructure spending, $41.4 billion in energy spending, and billions more on things that would be generally be considered public works. Now, perhaps Noonan is arguing that Obama should have spent more, maybe much more. Obama's own economists would agree. But Congress wouldn't let him. The bill needed 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster, and the three GOP moderates who supported it insisted that it couldn’t exceed $800 billion."

  • Austin Frakt: A privatized, exchange-based Medicaid will not be cheaper than public Medicaid: "I’ve heard that there are folks who think that Arkansas’s plans to move the Medicaid expansion population onto the state’s ACA exchange will save money. Now, it is not completely out of the question that it could, on net, save the state money…. But if some are claiming that it will save money overall, even to the federal government… they’re wrong…. [P]rivate plans have more expansive networks than Medicaid, offering policyholders easier access to (presumably) higher quality services. And how, pray tell, do they conjure up these more expansive networks. THEY PAY PROVIDERS MORE!!!… Medicaid is not in competition with anyone. It can reduce generosity and have a sparse network without concern for market share or profit. That’s a perverse incentive too, but it is the very reason it is so cheap, and why it will remain cheaper than private, exchange-based plans. Count on it."

  • Jonathan Chait on Bob Woodward: The Staggeringly Bad Judgment Of Bob Woodward: "His more recent books often compile interesting facts, but how Woodward chooses to package those facts has come to represent a barometric measure of a figure’s standing within the establishment. His 1994 account of Bill Clinton’s major budget bill, which in retrospect was a major success, told a story of chaos and indecision. He wrote a fulsome love letter to Alan Greenspan, “Maestro,” at the peak of the Fed chairman’s almost comic prestige. In 2003, when George W. Bush was still a decisive and indispensable war leader, Woodward wrote a heroic treatment of the Iraq War. After Bush’s reputation had collapsed, Woodward packaged essentially the same facts into a devastating indictment. Woodward’s book on the 2011 debt negotiations was notable for arguing that Obama scotched a potential deficit deal. The central argument has since been debunked by no less a figure than Eric Cantor, who admitted to Ryan Lizza that he killed the deal."

  • According to Brian Leiter, The Faculty Lounge's representations that commenters can be anonymous are false: Brian Leiter: "[Paul Campos] lost it because I did pursue the identity, successfully, of one of his cyber-friends ('Dybbuk') who… had the habit of bullying, insulting and defaming junior faculty and students…. '[D]ybbuk's' identity was volunteered by someone Campos pissed all over during his little scam jihad, so, ironically, he has only himself to blame for the mess his cyber-friend is currently in…"

Karl Hoppen: The Mid-Victorian Generation | Dani Rodrik: Ideas over Interests | ProfHacker | U.S. Chamber of Commerce vs. The Market for Corporate Control | Robert Stacy McCain: Shorter Juan Williams: I’m Sorry My Underpaid Assistant Plagiarized That Column With My Byline I Didn’t Write | Harold Meyerson: Two years into his second go-round as governor, Jerry Brown has—to the surprise of many—turned California around |

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On March 9, 2013: