Everytime Someone More-than-Half Persuades Me That Paul Krugman Really Is Typically too Shrill to Be Effective...
Liveblogging World War II: June 2, 1943

Noted for June 2, 2013

Ezra Klein smacks down Avik Roy: The shocking truth about Obamacare’s rate shock | Obituary: Bob Fletcher saved farms of interned Japanese-Americans during WWII | EconoSpeak: The Return of MaxSpeak | Rick Ungar vs. Avik Roy: The Dull Knives Come Out As Anti-Obamacare Forces Falsely Attack California Healthcare Exchange Prices | Jeff Weintraub: Let's face it, the Republicans are the problem (Mann & Ornstein, by way of Jonathan Chait) |

  • Aimai: Why No Cheap Solution To Tornado Deaths?: "Just by the by, since we've just had another deadly tornado in Oklahoma.  Can anyone explain why a cheap and effective solution to the problem of OK's not being willing to build storm shelters and basements (this has been extensively covered in the news recently as being partially thrift, partially market failure, partially a rejection of 'government intervention') has not been found?  You'd think that a mandated (government intervention!) slit ditch behind each house and public school, possibly with a piece of clean sewer pipe lowered into it, only half above ground, would be a good solution? The rounded upper half would, theoretically, be resistant to the force of the tornado, the buried lower half would make it stable.  It would be hard to clean from year to year but it only has to be useable for a few minutes at a time.   At the rate Tornados are sweeping through there is going to have to be some general, inexpensive, solution.  Sounds like a good time for the hated national government to put up a prize for architects and disaster relief specialists to come up with an inexpensive, easily installed, quick fix for storm shelters."

  • V. C. Pasupathi: Mark Bauerlein IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET: "Is addressing somebody directly with an angry tone an ad hominem attack? Or does one need to, you know, call a person names? I guess I hardly care right now. I do not like to be impolite, but man, Mark Bauerlein, you are WRONG ON THE INTERNET–with a bad argument that will, XKCD-style, ensure I stay up writing long after I should in order to respond. Something bad happened to English, you say…. You do, I’m afraid, spend quite a bit of time disparaging other departments. Here’s one instance: 'I have seen the same thing in departments all across the country, freshman courses that teach Derrida’s “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences,” departments that don’t require a sophomore Chaucer-to-Joyce survey for the major, professors unpersuaded that Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge are more important than Angels in America.'… I will concede that it’s entirely possible that you have done some research into first-year and other courses at 'departments all across the country'. But I will not believe that there are multiple first-year courses that require Derrida at universities in the Unites States until you produce a list of them. I’m calling bullshit on that. You say it’s not? Fine. Prove me wrong."

  • Nick Rowe: Monopolistic Competition vs the Plucking Model: "To use Milton Friedman's metaphor, it's like a string stretched tight along a board. You can pluck the string away from the board but it returns to the board when you let go and can't go past the board…. What look like mountains are really just places where there is no valley. What look like booms are really just times when there is no recession…. So how do I reconcile monopolistic competition and the plucking model? Perhaps this is the answer: if monopolistically competitive firms are hit with a small positive demand shock, and their prices are sticky, they will increase output to satisfy demand. But if monopolistically competitive firms are hit with a large positive demand shock, and their prices are sticky, they will not increase output to satisfy demand, because doing so means they would go past the point at which price equals marginal cost. Small booms are possible, but large booms are impossible. But both small and large recessions are possible. The model is a hybrid of 1m and 2m. The SRAS curve continues a small way to the right of the LRAS curve, but then stops dead. And the outcome would also look like a hybrid of pictures 1 and 2."

  • John Quiggin: Crooked Timber: "Ramesh Ponnuru responded with the plaintive observation that, to accept the positions being urged on him from the left, he would have to concede that the majority of US conservatives were crazy. But, if craziness is assessed on the basis of stated views, this is evidently true, as Ponnuru surely knows. Pluralities of US conservatives believe, or at least claim to believe, that: (i) The President of the US is a socialist Muslim, born in Kenya. (ii) The earth is less than 10 000 years old. (iii) Mainstream science is a communist plot. (iv) Armed revolution will likely be necessary in the near future. Ponnuru hopes that he can engage in serious policy discussion with conservatives while treating such delusional statements as mere shibboleths – harmless assertions of tribal identity."

  • Paul Krugman: Nightmare in Portugal: "The FT has a long, deeply depressing portrait of conditions in Portugal, focusing on the plight of family-owned businesses — once the core of the nation’s economy and society, now going under in droves…. And anyone playing any role in our current economic debate, whether as an actual policy maker or as an analyst giving advice from the sidelines, should be focused, above all, on how and why we’re allowing this nightmare to happen all over again three generations after the Great Depression. Don’t tell me that Portugal has had bad policies in the past and has deep structural problems. Of course it has; so does everyone, and while arguably Portugal’s are worse than those of some other countries, how can it possibly make sense to 'deal' with these problems by condemning vast numbers of willing workers to unemployment? The answer to the kind of problems Portugal now faces, as we’ve known for many decades, is expansionary monetary and fiscal policy. But Portugal can’t do those things on its own, because it no longer has its own currency. OK, then: either the euro must go or something must be done to make it work, because what we’re seeing (and the Portuguese are experiencing) is unacceptable…. What has happened… is three years in which European policy has been focused almost entirely on the supposed dangers of public debt. I don’t think it’s a waste of time to discuss how that misplaced focus happened, including the unfortunate role played by some economists who have done fine work in the past and will presumably do fine work in the future. But the important thing now is to change the policies that are creating this nightmare."

  • John Quiggin: Crooked Timber: "Most interesting is this piece by Ross Douthat, setting out what he sees as the reform conservative policy program. As he observes, it’s not designed to appeal to (US) liberals, and its full of arguments that have been demolished repeatedly by the left. OTOH, as Douthat admits, there’s no sign that the Republican party has any interest in a program of this kind. More importantly there’s nothing there that would seriously upset a moderate conservative like Obama, or either of the Clintons. It’s well to the left of the revealed preferences of someone like Rahm Emanuel. Conservative reform of the Republican party is a project that has already failed. The only question is whether the remaining participants will choose hackery or heresy."

  • Ramesh Ponnuru: Missing the Point of Conservative Reform: "Michael Tomasky’s screed…. To be a good reformer a conservative has to agree that the vast bulk of conservatives are insane. I think the essay tells us a good deal more about Tomasky than about anything relevant to the future of conservatism."