Trump Now Winning His Race with Bolsonaro for Worst Major-Country Coronavirus Response in the World

The United States is certainly doing the worst in the global north:

And no, it is not that our confirmed case numbers are rising because we are testing more: tests-per-confirmed-case are dropping fast:

It remains the case that, due to the Trump administration's incompetence, our only halfway-decent metric is deaths—and that lags a month behind the current progress of the disease:

And here are my guesses:

One thing is clear: we now do fewer tests than and yet have thirty times the proportional caseload of the rest of the global north. And their economies are now recovering. Ours is not.

Daily Readings:

Max Roser & al.: Coronavirus Explorer

UCSF: Grand Rounds (Covid)

Worldometer: Coronavirus Update (Live)

Financial Times: Coronavirus Tracked

CDPH: nCoV2019 Updates

CDPH: News Releases 2020

Josh Marshall: Epidemic Science & Health Twitter List

NEJM Group: Updates on the Covid-19 Pandemic 'From the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Journal Watch, NEJM Catalyst, and other trusted sources...

Continue reading "Trump Now Winning His Race with Bolsonaro for Worst Major-Country Coronavirus Response in the World" »

Duncan Black: Mick Mulvaney Contemplates the Clusterf--- That He Made—Noted

Words for those who worked very hard to hobble the response to the coronavirus crisis back in February, and who now contemplate the clusterf--- they worked so hard to make while they wriggle to evade responsibility: Duncan Black: You F---ed The Whole Thing Up ‘Let's check in with Mick Mulvaney: "Any stimulus should be directed at the root cause of our recession: dealing with Covid. I know it isn’t popular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country. My son was tested recently; we had to wait 5 to 7 days for results. My daughter wanted to get tested before visiting her grandparents, but was told she didn’t qualify. That is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic." [weird scratching backwards music noise as we rewind time back a few months] Ah, here we are, CPAC Feb. 28: "White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney suggested Friday that Americans ignore the media’s coverage of the coronavirus, arguing that journalists are ratcheting up fears to try to hurt President Donald Trump politically…" .#noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-07-15

Kreis: Actions Have Consequences—Noted

Shorter Anthony Michael Kreis: think very hard whether you want to make this point now, in this context, with these peoples' lives at stake, rather than wait and choose another test case in which there will be less collateral damage:

Anthony Michael Kreis: 'I find it profoundly troubling to see junior law profs use their time and scholarly work to undermine exceedingly reasonable public health measures designed to save lives. YOLO I guess.'

Orin Kerr: 'Anthony, can I ask a question about your subtweet? I gather that xxxx believes he is acting in the public interest by being an activist law professor—challenging government action that may be popular but that he sees as illegal and disturbing. If that's right, is your objection that another junior lawprof could disagree so much with your view of the public interest? To the specific legal arguments he is making? The idea of law professors taking their views to the courts? Some combo? Thanks.'

Anthony Michael Kreis: 'That’s perfectly fine. I’ve had lots of criticism for my law reform work. I invite it by taking positions that impact the public—we all do. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m merely criticizing the choice to pursue this of all things, especially with life or death consequences. My attempt to not call him out by name and start a huge thing, but still make clear to those who knew what I was talking about, may have given the misimpression this is about jr folks—it isn’t. This is just about value judgments as shown by our choices. I just vigorously disagree.'

Orin Kerr: 'There's another part to it, though. Ilan is taking an extreme minority view from within the academy. One way to read your tweet is that you want to make sure he pays a personal price for dissenting.'

Anthony Michael Kreis: 'I don’t want people to die. This isn’t about him.'

Orin Kerr: 'I don't want people to die, either. But your initial tweet framed this in very personal terms, making it seem like it was about him. (A subtweet, but I think everyone knew who you had in mind.)'

Anthony Michael Kreis: 'I was trying to identify what I was talking about without dragging his name into. As I indicated in a response to my initial tweet, I didn’t want to start a big thing. But someone snitch tweeted and it blew up. My attempt to dissent without calling out failed. I’m sorry for that.'

Orin Kerr: 'That's fair, and I appreciate the clarification. Although given how few people agree with Ilan's position, maybe you were concurring, not dissenting. ;)'

.#moralresponsibility #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-07-15

Coates (2010): It's Not That You're Racist... —Noted

I see that Cornell's William Jacobson is back, claiming that he is being cancelled. I see that he claims so in spite of his dean Eduardo M. Peñalver's writing that "to take disciplinary action against him for the views he has expressed would fatally pit our values against one another in ways that would corrode our ability to operate" and that he employs Jacobson because we "value academic freedom, which prevents us from censoring the extramural writings of faculty members, and we value job security for our clinical faculty..."

It is worth underlining, since Peñalver finds Jacobson's writings "offensive and poorly reasoned" and "not reflect[ing] the values of Cornell Law School", that this is a long established pattern and practice from Jacobsons pen. William Jacobson has long taken it to be his mission to metaphorically wave the Confederate battle-flag in Ithaca, NY: Ta-Nehisi Coates (2010): It's Not That You're Racist... ‘...It's that you're either ignorant or dishonest. Cornell Law Professor William A. Jacobson inveighing against Matt Yglesias...

...1947 was the year in which the color barrier was broken in Major League Baseball. Prior to Jackie Robinson taking the field, MLB (or whatever it was called at the time) was segregated. Actually, it was more than segregated, it excluded blacks completely. 

Using the logic of Matthew Yglesias of Think Progress, who is having his 15 minutes of race card fame, anyone who expresses any measure of praise for the pre-1947 Yankees necessarily would be "expressing affection for a White Supremacist" organization. It would not matter that the praise was for the Yankees' baseball skills; any expression of anything less than complete condemnation of the Yankees necessarily evidences tolerance for racism because the Yankees were part of a racist system. 

That logic is what Yglesias uses against Haley Barbour because Barbour made a statement that when Barbour was growing up in the early 1960s in Yazoo City, Mississippi, the "Citizens Council" stood up to the Klan and was organized to keep the Klan out of Barbour's home town. That apparenly is a true statement, but because the Citizens Council also supported the system of segregation, Yglesias has accused Barbour of "expressing affection for the White Supremacist Citizens Council," and almost the entire nutroots blogsphere has picked up the meme that Barbour is a racist. 

Yet nothing Barbour said, or has done in his professional life, supports the charge that Barbour supported segregation himself, although if he were a Southern Democrat during the 1960s he almost certainly would have supported segregation...

Accusing Barbour of being racist is odious and evil because there is no evidence to support the charge. Yglesias merely does what I could do to anyone who praised the pre-1947 Yankees.

I think it helps to be very clear on the basic charges here:

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Coaston: Tuberville Wins the Alabama GOP Senate Primary—Noted

Tommy Tuberville 61.4%, Jeff Sessions 38.6%. So ends the political career of Jeff Sessions, perhaps the most racist senator of his generation, and the first to endorse Donald Trump for president. Jeff Sessions implemented Trump’s family separation policy. He stole five year olds to punish their parents at Trump’s urging. And now Trump doesn't like him:

Joan Coaston: Tommy Tuberville Wins the Alabama GOP Senate Primary ‘Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Alabama’s Republican primary runoff election on Tuesday.... Tuberville has never served in elected office (and moved to Alabama only two years ago), and his campaign against Sessions was largely based on his support for the president. Trump endorsed Tuberville in March, tweeting, “Tommy was a terrific head football coach at Auburn University. He is a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down!” On a Monday call with Alabama voters, Trump said of Tuberville, “He’s going to have a cold, direct line into my office. That I can tell you.” Whether Tuberville was a “terrific” football coach at Auburn is a matter of some debate... Tuberville’s football past could play a surprisingly big part in November’s general election. Though he gained national attention for leading the Auburn Tigers to an undefeated season in 2004, five years earlier he handed down a one-game suspension to a player who was charged with the second-degree rape of a 15-year-old girl. Despite the player pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Tuberville permitted the player to remain on the team. Tuberville also abandoned Texas Tech recruits and assistant coaches mid-dinner in 2012, the night before he announced he would take a new job at the University of Cincinnati. And then there was his infamous radio appearance in 1998 when, as then-head coach at the University of Mississippi, he promised he would only leave the job “in a pine box”—and then flew to Auburn two days later to become head coach of the Tigers. On the field, as Sessions’s campaign noted on Twitter, Tuberville’s stints at Auburn, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati did not end successfully. “He was the leader of a team that went bad,” Sessions said July 11. Whether he’ll serve his team well in November remains to be seen… .#noted #2020-07-14

LawProfBlog: I Was Brave, Once—Noted

LawProfBlog: _I Was Brave, Once ‘There was an outpouring of conservative support, the likes I haven’t seen since I and others tweeted that it was a terrible idea for a law student to clean his gun on screen during a zoom class.... The original outrage was about a subtweet...

...This post isn’t about the Arizona case or either of those two professors: It is the notion of academic bravery....

I’ll be defending Godzilla. Godzilla entered the United States, and immediately started wreaking havoc in San Francisco. The military sought to bomb Godzilla and kill him. I thought to myself: What a perfect time to bring an action via the Endangered Species Act! Who could be more oppressed that Godzilla? He suffers from being unique, way beyond the “discreet and insular” minority contemplated in Carolene Products. And he doesn’t have a voice (okay, literally, he roars and that’s it).  And like Anakin Skywalker, he brings balance to the Force (if you have seen the most recent movies)....

My legal practice as an academic clearly does not demonstrate my core values. Sometimes you just got to take the hard cases for higher principles. Don’t judge me! There are bigger issues at stake!... It’s weak tea to complain about my moral core. If I had a dime for every time someone cried about their baby getting stomped by Godzilla! They just don’t understand that I’m the underdog fighting against a big bad oppressor who is trampling (pun intended) upon (my interpretation of) the Constitution. Many of my friends have been crushed by Godzilla! My mother, too! That’s just how much I love (selected parts) of the Constitution. I’m willing to have others sacrifice for me. I’m very brave, and my scholarly impact score soars!

And, I’m brave because I don’t see anyone else in the cowardly academy defending Godzilla....

Yes, the law DOES require lawyers and law professors to take controversial and adversarial positions. And no one is saying Our Hero shouldn’t be able to defend bar owners or that he should be punished for it.... However, what we are defending should transcend political football teams. It says something about the principles of a law professor who defends the right to peacefully assemble, both when the neo-Nazis seek to march and when antifa seeks to do the same. It says something about the lawyer’s principles, too, if their practice is based only on defending neo-Nazis. We might call the former principle consistency, and it often is missing when law professors choose political football teams.

Silence says something, too. For example, one might be silent when a law professor is being bullied for advocating gender equality, yet outraged when someone questions whether it is a good idea to open bars given all the evidence of bar patrons and COVID-19 being perfect companions. And it might say something if we are silent when students are forced to take a bar exam during a pandemic all the while applauding someone who seeks to open bars for alcohol. It might say something when we vigorously defend the gun-cleaning student and stay silent as students seek desperately not to have to risk their health to take the bar exam...

 .#moralresponsibility #orangehairedbaboons #2020-07-14

Adams (1776): 'Passion for Liberty Cannot be Eaquelly Strong in... Those... Accustomed to Deprive Their Fellow Creatures of Theirs'—Noted

John adams family

Abigail Smith Adams (1776): '[Virginians'] Passion for Liberty Cannot be Eaquelly Strong 'Tell me if you may... what sort of Defence Virginia can make.... Whether it is so situated as to make an able Defence? Are not the Gentery Lords and the common people vassals, are they not like the uncivilized Natives Brittain represents us to be? I hope their Riffel Men who have shewen themselves very savage and even Blood thirsty; are not a specimen of the Generality of the people. I [illegible] am willing to allow the Colony great merrit for having produced a Washington but they have been shamefully duped by a Dunmore. I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Eaquelly Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs. Of this I am certain that it is not founded upon that generous and christian principal of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us...


.#liberty #noted #racism #reading #2020-07-14

Edmund S. Morgan: Slavery & Freedom—For the Weekend

Lincoln douglas

Edmund S. Morgan: Slavery & Freedom 'It may be coincidence that so many Virginians who grew up after the advent of slavery turned out to be ardent republicans. And it may be coincidence that among their predecessors who lived before slavery became prevalent, so many were unrepublican, unattractive, and unscrupulous, not to say depraved...

...On the other hand, there may have been more than coincidence involved.

Although it seems unlikely that slavery had any tendency to improve the character of masters, it may have had affinities with republicanism that escaped Jefferson’s analysis. The presence of men and women who were, in law at least, almost totally subject to the will of other men gave to those in control of them an immediate experience of what it could mean to be at the mercy of a tyrant. Virginians may have had a special appreciation of the freedom dear to republicans, because they saw every day what life without it could be like....

Aristocrats could more safely preach equality in a slave society than in a free one. Slaves did not become leveling mobs, because their owners would see to it that they had no chance to. The apostrophes to equality were not addressed to them. And because Virginia’s labor force was composed mainly of slaves, who had been isolated by race and removed from the political equation, the remaining free laborers and tenant farmers were too few in number to constitute a serious threat to the superiority of the men who assured them of their equality....

The small planter’s small stake in human property placed him on the same side of the fence as the large man, whom he regularly elected to protect his interests. Virginia’s small farmers could perceive a common identity with the large.... Neither was a slave. And both were equal in not being slaves. This is not to say that a belief in republican equality had to rest on slavery, but only that in Virginia (and probably in other southern colonies) it did. The most ardent American republicans were Virginians, and their ardor was not unrelated to their power over the men and women they held in bondage....

Virginia’s republicans had the decency to be disturbed by the apparent inconsistency of what they were doing. But they were far more disturbed by the prospect of turning 200,000 slaves loose.... The only serious plan for... emancipation, proposed by St. George Tucker in 1796... seemed too dangerous to receive serious consideration.

Virginia’s slaves had [not] belonged to the same race as their masters. The fact that they did not made it easier for Virginians to use slavery as a flying buttress to freedom. The English had come to view their poor almost as an alien race... [with] continual denunciations from a battery of philosophers and reformers; it even required special badges to proclaim the differentness of the poor.... In Virginia neither badges nor philosophers were needed.... Anyone could tell black from white, even if black was actually brown or red. And as the number of poor white Virginians diminished, the vicious traits of character attributed by Englishmen to their poor could in Virginia increasingly appear to be the exclusive heritage of blacks... ungrateful, irresponsible, lazy, and dishonest.... Racism thus absorbed in Virginia the fear and contempt that men in England, whether Whig or Tory, monarchist or republican, felt for the inarticulate lower classes....

By lumping Indians, mulattoes, and Negroes in a single pariah class, Virginians had paved the way for a similar lumping of small and large planters in a single master class.... The forces which dictated that Virginians see Negroes, mulattoes, and Indians as one also dictated that they see large and small planters as one. Racism became an essential, if unacknowledged, ingredient of the republican ideology that enabled Virginians to lead the nation

How Virginian, then, was America? How heavily did American economic opportunity and political freedom rest on Virginia’s slaves?... [In] Philadelphia and New York and Boston... the poor were... growing in numbers.... Would Northerners have embraced republican ideas of equality so readily if they had been [more] surrounded by men in “a certain degree of misery”? And could the new United States have made a go of it in the world of nations without Virginia and without the products of slave labor?

Northern republicans apparently thought not.... They allowed Virginians to compose the documents that founded their republic, and they chose Virginians to chart its course for a generation.... Was the vision of a nation of equals flawed at the source by contempt for both the poor and the black? Is America still colonial Virginia writ large? More than a century after Appomattox the questions linger...


.#books #fortheweekend #liberty #racism #reading #2020-07-13

Morgan: American Slavery, American Freedom—Noted

Edmund S. Morgan: American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia 'Slaves could not be made to work for fear of losing liberty, so they had to be made to fear for their lives. Not that any master wanted to lose his slave by killing him, but in order to get an equal or greater amount of work, it was necessary to beat slaves harder than servants, so hard, in fact, that there was a much larger chance of killing them than had been the case with servants. Unless a master could correct his slaves in this way without running afoul of the law if he misjudged the weight of his blows, slaveowning would be legally hazardous. So in 1669 the assembly faced the facts and passed an act that dealt with them forthrightly: 'An act about the casuall killing of slaves: Whereas the only law in force for the punishment of refractory servants resisting their master, mistris or overseer cannot be inflicted upon negroes [because the punishment was extension of time], nor the obstinacy of many of them by other than violent meanes supprest, Be it enacted and declared by this grand assembly, if any slave resist his master (or other by his masters order correcting him) and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be accompted Felony, but the master (or that other person appointed by the master to punish him) be acquit from molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prepensed malice (which alone makes murther Felony) should induce any man to destroy his own estate..." With this act already on the books in 1669, Virginia was prepared to make the most of slavery when slaves began to arrive in quantity... #noted #2020-07-13

The Obelisk of Wokeness & the Dome of Cancellation

Homepage HERO final jpg 1 875×1 080 pixels

We have a Washington Monument in large part because there was a guy who forced his army to obey the law and the civil authorities, and not to grab what it had the power to take through force or the threat of force: "Let me conjure you, in the name of our common Country—as you value your own sacred honor—as you respect the rights of humanity, & as you regard the Military & national character of America... [do not] under any specious pretences overturn the liberties of our Country... open the flood Gates of Civil discord, and deluge our rising Empire in Blood..."

We have a Jefferson Memorial in large part because there was a guy who cancelled not an individual but a king, an empire, and an entire system of government: "To secure these rights, Governments are instituted... deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.... Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive... it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government... in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness..."

That we need these monuments to Wokeness and Cancellation, and that it is fitting and proper that they be associated with the names of Washington and Jefferson—oligarchs and slaveholders, but revolutionaries—is a hill I will die on.

We do not need to memorialize our slaveholders and our oligarchs. We do need to memorialize our revolutions. And it is fitting and proper that we memorialize our revolutionaries.

Come and get me Erik Loomis

.#highlighted #justice #memory #pubicsphere #racism #slavery #2020-07-13

Lopez: Enlightenment Coffee Shop—Noted

Andrew Lopez: 'Just left an Enlightenment coffee shop Packed with Lockean and Humean liberals too afraid to even whisper about reason, federalism, IQ, and the superiority of the White race—Things are DIRE!:

Steven Pinker: 'Not just professors This AM, from a worker: "I feel uncomfortable expressing my thoughts, moderate as they are, to coworkers for fear of being labeled a bigot. I'm a moderate centrist and lib. in the tradition of Locke and Hume. Why can’t they accept me for revealing liberal enlightenment feelings?":

John McWhorter: 'Bravo to this honesty. Since May I have gotten almost an email a day from a professor who fears speaking out against the modern distortion of progressivism would get them fired.

.#noted #2020-07-13

Delbanco: Offerring More than ‘Zoom from Your Room'—Noted

Andrew Delbanco: Universities Must Offer More than ‘Zoom from Your room’ ‘The most candid thing to say to prospective students would be: “Come to college and Zoom from your room!”... Richard Arum, dean of the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine, has suggested that elite institutions, forced to resort to online technologies, should now help develop “online learning options complementary in practice and commensurate in quality to face-to-face instruction”. This would benefit their own students and those whose “life circumstances make them unable to leave their family homes and forgo paid work to attend college” on a residential campus. What exactly this will mean no one can say.... Every college is now scrambling to make students’ online experience as personal as possible.... We need better online learning for everyone. The involuntary experiment at elite schools could help to achieve that. Harvard expects its innovations to have “cascading effects on higher education”. If so, the disruption will have yielded some lasting benefit. Otherwise, the pandemic will have been an inconvenience for the privileged and a disaster for everyone else… .#noted #2020-07-12

Holbo: 'This Maxim Is Patently, Grossly Inadequate for Governing a Blog Comment Box... Let Alone... Public Reason & a Public Sphere'—Noted

There is good-faith speech that is heated and provocative "discussion of the issues" that advances public reason and the public sphere. There is bad-faith speech that aims to undermine and destroy public reason and the public sphere—trolling, sealioning, discursive monkeywrenching, or simple grifting.

There is consensus that such a line exists. There is consensus that the public sphere and public reason require that that line be enforced—that those who violate it be "cancelled", that there be consequences. And in this real world there will be consequences, if only because people whose public face is that of a troll—or a sealion, a monkeywrencher, or a grifter—is unlikely to add to the quality of an employment or a social circle.

There is a problem that good-faith speakers will and do have good-faith disagreements as to where the line is between heated and provocative but productive contributions on the one hand and trolling, sealioning, monkey wrenching, and simple grifting on the other. There is also a problem that bad-faith speakers always and everywhere will and do attempt to fly under false flags to claim that some speech that advances public reason is in fact beyond the line. There is a tendency to wish the problem away by pretending not to see it

Thus the claim that it is always and everywhere the case that "the way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other" is itself bad speech: destructive of and aiming to undermine public reason and the public sphere. And so I reach the Harpers' letter (no, I am not going to give it a link).

But John Holbo gets there fastest with the mostest (yes, I do know who coined the phrase; I am confiscating it):

John Holbo: 'This Maxim Is Patently, Grossly Inadequate for Governing a Blog Comment Box... Let Alone... Public Reason & a Public Sphere' '[The Harpers letter says:] "The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other" Some thoughts on 2nd-best solutions: This maxim is patently, grossly inadequate for governing a blog comment box... let alone a social media platform, let alone Public Reason and a Public Sphere…

[Second Best]: Ideally, the world contains no trolls, bots, bad faith actors—or few enough they can be dealt with retail not wholesale in the Marketplace of Ideas. In a world in which everyone were exchanging more or less in open-faced good faith, this rule would be good. In our actual world, however, it is not good. No, not really, sadly. Hence a dilemma.... There isn't really an obvious, simple 2nd best rule for our 2nd best world....

Partisanship is... a thing that should be damped in debate. The whole point of arguing is to consider changing your mind, via trying to change others' minds. So... partisans should—not disarm, that isn't it—but observe exacting dueling protocols when entering the debate arena. But this is hard to articulate and enforce....

[Vaccination Against Nazis]: Nazis are bad. In a politically liberal world in which there are only a few Nazis, you can argue with them. It's like a vaccine. You are inoculating the discourse by injecting it with small amounts of moribund evil, to build antibodies. Unfortunately, it is a fallacy that, if vaccines are good, virulent diseases must be good, too.

Republicans whine that they get called 'evil', but they support a President who tweets out 'White Power' and they are, no kidding, working to dismantle or hobble democracy.... Unless and until conservatism crawls out of its deplorable basket there isn't much realistic prospect of normalizing its tenets as non-deplorable, in discourse terms. It is not reasonable to ask the left to pretend things stand otherwise than they do....

[Downstream Worries]: A lot of bad faith sewage seep[s] in... all... [of] the same form... 'downstream worries'.... If 'trans rights are human rights', we have pronoun trouble, or need new norms for bathrooms or women's sports or in womens' shelters. Or philosophical ideas about the metaphysics of gender will be problematized. All this is true and some of it may get bumpy. But there's really no point arguing about it without a high baseline of initial acceptance.... But the bad faith arguers are not willing to debate the antecedent honestly. They have a sense they'll lose, and they are right.... So they fuss about bathrooms to pollute discourse with issues that can only be reasonably discussed after we accept something they don't, but aren't willing to argue about honestly. There is no reason to put up with the debate being rendered nonsensical.

[Cancel Culture]: It's fine to 'cancel' those who monkey wrench liberal discourse, rather than engage in honest debate. Unfortunately, that means those who are adjacent to bad faith actors, but in good faith, get cancelled-by-association. That's unfortunate but hard to rule out, with a rule...

.#noted #publicsphere #2020-07-11

Werning, Rodrik, Dube, DeLong: Market & Government Failure—Dawn Procrastination Department

Classical economists Ivan Werning**: 'Many economists repeat (without thinking?) that the burden of the proof is on showing a market failure. Perhaps makes sense in some politico-economy perspective, to avoid lobbies. But scientifically, I cannot make sense of it from a Bayesian perspective.'

Dani Rodrik: 'It doesn't make sense even from a political-economy perspective (typically there are "barbarians" on the laissez-faire side of an issue as well). Here's something I wrote on this a while back, distinguishing first-best and second-best economists: Why do economists disagree? Non-economists are often baffled by the disagreements among professional economists on the issues of the day--from international trade to the minimum wage, from economic development to health policy...'

Arindrajit Dube: 'Exactly. I think since the 1970s, there has been a remarkably cavalier assumption that intellectual deviations from competitive, efficient, neoclassicism are somehow more amenable to capture by interest groups than fairy tales about how markets work.'

Brad DeLong: Say, perhaps, that we have very good theories of individual narow market failures, but no institutional ability to include them in our background model of how the economy outside of our narrow era of focus is working. Keynes's General Theory:

If effective demand is deficient, not only is the public scandal of wasted resources intolerable, but the individual enterpriser who seeks to bring these resources into action is operating with the odds loaded against him. The game of hazard which he plays is furnished with many zeros, so that the players as a whole will lose if they have the energy and hope to deal all the cards...

being only one of a very few attempts to even think about the implications for market Y of market failure in market Z.

And say that, while we have good models of market failure, we do not have good models of government failure. As Larry the S said a decade ago, on the one hand we have naive social democratic pollyannaish overconfidence about regulation, and on the other hand "the public choice school... driven... relentlessly towards nihilism in a way that isn’t actually helpful for those charged with designing regulatory institutions...

Cf.: Bill C.

.#economicsgoneright #economicsgonewrong #twitter #2020-07-12

Frieden: Weekly Roundup— Noted

2020 07 09 covid exit

Tom Frieden: Weekly Roundup ‘US lagging in control, surging in cases. Only the Northeast is at all reassuring, and those gains are at risk. Reopening schools is getting much harder. Drawing from @CDCgov Covid-View and Tracking Our COVID-19 Response— Test positivity reported up: 9.2%; South-Central at 17%! Look carefully at trends from commercial labs. The first decrease in positivity among young adults in 2 months... and now increasing in older adults. What started in young adults, didn’t stay in young adults.... Tests that take more than 48 hours to come back are of little [epidemic-assessing] value. We should see by state and race/ethnicity, the rates of tests that return results within 48 hours. Influenza-like and covid-like illness visits to emergency departments are rising in 7 of 10 US regions. Native Americans, African Americans, Latinx and others continue to be disproportionately affected: more exposed, more underlying, undertreated illness, and less access to care. Community engagement, empowerment, and leadership are crucial for progress. Deaths are below the epidemic threshold, but how long will that last?... Deaths are beginning to rise in the South/Southwest/West now offsetting the decline in New England, Mid-Atlantic midwest. And this is before young adults spread to lots of older and vulnerable people. Next 1-2 months will be worse. 8/10 States with the highest burden are least able to test and trace right now.... Covid19 will get worse before it gets better. Where Covid is spreading, close restaurants & bars, stop gatherings of more than a few people, follow the #3Ws: wear a mask correctly, wash your hands, watch your distance. And box the virus in: test, isolate, trace, quarantine... Unless this happens, there’s little hope of safely opening schools and keeping them open, no matter what anyone says… .#noted #2020-07-11

Comment of the Day: Koop: [Watson] 'I Was Canceled & Deplatformed... by Richard Dawkins & His Fans Instead of, Like, Trans People...

Phil Koop: This Maxim Is Patently, Grossly Inadequate for Governing a Blog Comment Box... Let Alone... Public Reason & a Public Sphere 'Also, [Rebecca Watson:] "Sometimes I feel sympathy for the people who worry about “cancel culture” and then I remember that I was canceled and deplatformed but they don’t think it counts because I was targeted by Richard Dawkins and his fans instead of, like, trans people or antifa or whoever [woman shrugging]"… .#commentoftheday #2020-07-11

Greene: The Torturable Class—Noted

Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana '"Did you torture him?" Captain Segura laughed. "No. He doesn"t belong to the torturable class." "I didn"t know there were class-distinctions in torture." "Dear Mr Wormold, surely you realize there are people who expect to be tortured and others who would be outraged by the idea. One never tortures except by a kind of mutual agreement." "There"s torture and torture. When they broke up Dr Hasselbacher"s laboratory they were torturing…?" "One can never tell what amateurs may do. The police had no concern in that. Dr Hasselbacher does not belong to the torturable class." "Who does?" "The poor in my own country, in any Latin American country. The poor of Central Europe and the Orient. Of course in your welfare states you have no poor, so you are untorturable. In Cuba the police can deal as harshly as they like with émigrés from Latin America and the Baltic States, but not with visitors from your country or Scandinavia. It is an instinctive matter on both sides… .#noted #2020-07-11

Black: Cracking—Noted

Duncan Black: Cracking ‘27% will support him no matter what, and another 13% will support him almost no matter what, but once you start losing at that latter group they don't come back. They're the ones who won't admit to voting for him in a few years (months). "Evaluation of Trump's oversight of the COVID-19 crisis reached a new low since ABC News/Ipsos began surveying on the coronavirus in March, with 67% disapproving of his efforts. One-third of the country approves of the president's oversight of the pandemic." They aren't reporting the overall approval rating, which I assume they asked, but… .#noted #2020-07-10

Campos: The Trump Delusion—Noted

Trump after rally

Paul Campos: The Trump Delusion ‘How is it that, despite everything, 40% of America continues to support Donald Trump? I’ve suggested that Trump’s supporters can be sorted into a few broad categories, with many of those supporters belonging to more than one of these groups: White nationalists.... Alienated burn it all down anti-establishment types.... Upper class Republicans who want big tax cut.... Religious conservatives, overwhelmingly white evangelicals.... Low information voters who always vote Republican out of tribal habit. These people have the most fantastical ideas about Trump, such as for example that he’s a “successful businessman,” rather than a “politician,” which is why he manages to “get things done.” This last group in particular includes a lot of overlap with the more cultish strain of religious conservatives.... Relatively few people are capable of maintaining a genuine lesser of two evils attitude toward the leader of an essentially charismatic—to use Weber’s typology—political movement. Almost everyone in the movement must eventually embrace the delusion that the leader is actually a good person, despite all evidence to the contrary. For example, the following message has gone viral on social media over the last few days. The text is headed by the photo at the top of this post:

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Higgins & Klitgaard: Japan’s Experience with Yield Curve Control—Noted

For reasons that have never been clear to me, central banks have hitherto always focused on influencing interest rates at the short end of the yield curve. I understand why you would do so in a financial crisis: in a financial crisis it is the stringency of short term money that is the key problem. But when central banking moves out from dealing with dire and immediate crises into the business of making Say’s Law generally true in practice even though it is false in theory—the business of matching the propensity to save with the animal spirits of enterprisers—the short run opportunity cost of immediate cash money is no longer a key or even an especially interesting financial economic quantity to manage. Yet central banks have consistently, historically, and traditionally focused on managing it. Now, finally, the Bank of Japan has been experimenting with alternatives. And they look very promising indeed:

Matthew Higgins & Thomas Klitgaard: Japan’s Experience with Yield Curve Control ‘Any central bank considering a move to implement its own version of YCC... has many questions to ponder.... For Japan... YCC has had one clear benefit. Under the new policy, the BoJ has been able to exert fairly close control over the term structure of interest rates without resorting to large-scale interventions in the JGB market. Investors accept that the Bank can buy whatever quantity of JGBs is needed to keep yields from rising and, as a result, it has not had to buy many at all... .#macro #monetarypolicy #2020-07-10

Time for Another Ethics Panel: Keyvan—Noted

Time for Another Ethics Panel!: Keyvan: 'LOL Turns out one of the signatories of the Harper’s letter, Cary Nelson, actually defended his university’s decision in 2014 to rescind Steven Salaita’s tenured appointment because of his comments about Israel. this letter is the biggest joke I’ve encountered in sometime!… .#noted #2020-07-10

Boushey: The Link Between Structural Racism, the Coronavirus Recession, & Economic Inequality—Noted

Very much worth reading: Heather Boushey: The Link Between Structural Racism, the Coronavirus Recession, & Economic Inequality ‘The evidence that inequality harms is all around us. The vulnerability of communities of low-income, as well as Black, Latinx, and Native American families to the effects of the coronavirus and the recession is stark. The same living and working conditions that obstruct people’s economic opportunities—the lack of access to affordable housing, inadequate healthcare, unsafe working conditions, the lack of paid sick leave—expose them in greater numbers to sickness and death from COVID-19. The failure to have effective institutions that protect all workers means our entire economy is less resilient—and more economically unstable as a result.... This brings us back to trust. Government must work on behalf of low-income, Black, Latinx, and Native American people and make sure their needs are truly reflected in the policy agenda. People must see that they can both develop and deploy their talents and skills in the economy and that those at the top are not encouraged to subvert outcomes to benefit themselves rather than our economy and society writ large. People must have both confidence and proof that they are protected from oppression and state-sanctioned violence. As we look to strengthening our democracy and recovering from this coronavirus recession in the years to come, core to any economic agenda must be to confront the role that effective institutions play in fostering growth that is strong, stable, and broadly shared. If large portions of our population can’t trust the government to act on their behalves, then we need to acknowledge our government isn’t working the way it needs to… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-07-10

Bergquist, Mildenberger, & Stokes: Americans Want Green Spending In Federal Coronavirus Recession Relief Packages—Noted

There is potential political support for, and there is certainly both technocratic justification and fiscal space for, hitting both the economic recovery and the global warming fighting birds with the stone that is coronavirus plague depression relief:

Parrish Bergquist, Matto Mildenberger, & Leah Stokes: Americans Want Green Spending In Federal Coronavirus Recession Relief Packages ‘We launched a nationally representative survey of slightly more than 1,000 people between May 15, 2020 and May 20, 2020.... The public supports green stimulus but not at the expense of broad economic relief. Our experimental results show that including green infrastructure spending increases support for a coronavirus relief package. Support for wind and solar investments and for clean transportation investments is particularly strong. Including these measures increases support by 8.5 percentage points and 6.1 percentage points, respectively. Notably, including electricity transmission investments does not cause a change in support for the package… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-07-10

Hipple & Fischer: Enhanced U.S. Social Insurance Will Be Necessary Until the Coronavirus Recession Recedes—Noted

Put me down as saying that we require, right now, not just additional social insurance payments but additional government purchases, additional government employment of test-&-tracers and barefoot nurses, plus powerful steps to boost all forms of investment spending while in-person consumption is depressed: Liz Hipple & Amanda Fischer: Enhanced U.S. Social Insurance Will Be Necessary Until the Coronavirus Recession Recedes ‘Raj Chetty and his Opportunity Insights colleagues... U.S. consumer spending fell dramatically over the past few months, driven by public health and safety concerns... [that] are keeping people, especially those in high-income households, away from purchasing in-person services, indicating that until people feel safe engaging again in in-person services such as dining out or getting haircuts, consumer spending on services—which accounts for 66 percent of all consumer spending—will not meaningfully rebound.... To fix the U.S. economy... [requires] first fix[ing] the U.S. public health crisis. Merely announcing that the economy is “reopened” will not make it so.... Investing in social insurance programs—such as the expanded unemployment benefits enacted by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act—is the best way to mitigate economic suffering during the recession, rather than stimulus measures targeted toward businesses or the rich.... The fall-off in consumer spending is being driven by high-income households, particularly in areas with high rates of COVID-19.... As of May 31, two-thirds of the total reduction in credit card spending since January was from households in the top 25 percent of the income distribution, whereas spending by households in the bottom quartile had returned to normal levels… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-07-10

Equitable Growth: Unemployment Benefits—Noted

High-frequency business cycle data is rarely reliable, both because the data is unreliable and the official statistics measures that high frequency indicators are used to estimate is unreliable as well. But if I had to guess right now, I would say that the bounceback is over: that it is more likely than not that the US economy will worsen along the business cycle dimension than strengthen—at least over the next three months:

Equitable Growth: 'The week ending July 4, 1.4 million workers filed for regular unemployment benefits. The number of initial UI claims have declined every week since reaching a record high the first week of April, but claims have now plateaued. Another 1,038,905 workers filed for initial PUA, the program that extended eligibility to workers who do not have enough earnings history to be eligible for regular jobless benefits, such as caretakers and the self-employed. Regular continued claims, which represent the number of workers who are now insured, fell to 16.8 million the week of June 27. The share of the workforce that is receiving benefits decreased to 11.5 percent, a 0.5 percentage point increase from the week before. As @lizhipple and @amandalfischer write, policymakers should focus on "supporting the incomes of the tens of millions of workers who have lost their jobs...Most importantly, this includes extending the additional $600 in Unemployment Insurance benefits"... .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-07-10

Lopez: Just 4 States Meet Criteria to Reopen & Stay Safe—Noted

No. The U.S. is not yet ready to “reopen the economy’—unless you want an ultimate 2019 coronavirus plague death total above one million. Why do you ask? And then there is hte danger that New York, New Jersey, and New England that would be able to handle the outbreak and reopen if they were a country that could control its borders will be taken down by infections coming from people fleeing Arizona, Texas, and Florida:

German Lopez: Just 4 States Meet Criteria to Reopen & Stay Safe ‘Experts told me states need three things to be ready to reopen. State leaders, from the governor to the legislature to health departments, need to ensure the SARS-CoV-2 virus is no longer spreading unabated. They need the testing capacity to track and isolate the sick and their contacts. And they need the hospital capacity to handle a potential surge in Covid-19 cases. More specifically, states should meet at least five basic criteria. They should see a two-week drop in coronavirus cases, indicating that the virus is actually abating. They should have fewer than four daily new cases per 100,000 people per day — to show that cases aren’t just dropping, but also below dangerous levels. They need at least 150 new tests per 100,000 people per day, letting them quickly track and contain outbreaks. They need an overall positive rate for tests below 5 percent — another critical indicator for testing capacity. And states should have at least 40 percent of their ICU beds free to actually treat an influx of people stricken with Covid-19 should it be necessary. So far, most states are not there. As of July 8, just... Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York… .#noted #2020-07-10