Hoisted from the Archives from 2003: A Historical Document: "In the Long Run It Is the Majority Who Will Determine What the Constitutional Rights of the Minority Are": The judicial philosophy of Chief Justice Rehnquist, taken from Rehnquist (1952), "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases". This memo expressing Rehnquist's position on a number of issues is usually cited for the flat declaration at the end that Plessy v. Ferguson (establishing the legality of the "separate and unequal" principle of segregation in governmental treatment of Blacks and whites) "was right and should be re-affirmed" even though Rehnquist is aware that it is an "unpopular and unhumanitarian position" for which he has been "excoriated by 'liberal' colleagues."
More interesting, from my perspective at least, are Rehnquist's beliefs that:
Let me start by saying that I think Unlearning Economics is almost entirely wrong in his proposed solutions.
Indeed, he does not seem especially knowledgeable about his cases. For example:
March 26, 2017 at 08:12 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Macro, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (12)
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Weekend Reading: Josh Barro: Healthcare: Republicans Lied. They Deserve Punishment: "It's hard to decide which would be the more politically damaging outcome for Republican politicians...
...passing the American Health Care Act, and therefore owning the premium increases and coverage losses it would cause; or not passing the bill, and therefore failing to... "repeal... Obamacare." Each option is a political nightmare... an admission that Republicans cannot deliver what they have promised....
Weekend Reading: Tom Levenson: Why I Hate The NY Times, Part n: "This paragraph [by Margot Sanger-Katz]...
...There is most likely a middle way. Republican lawmakers might be comfortable with a system that shifts more of the costs of care onto people who are sick, if it makes the average insurance plan less costly for the healthy. But making those choices would mean engaging in very real trade-offs, less simple than their talking point.
We all remember how seven years ago American Enterprise Institute head Arthur Brooks fired David Frum for saying that Republican root-and-branch opposition to ObamaCare was a mistake.
Therefore I take some things in Frum's very good piece today with huge blocks of salt. These include the last paragraph. And I must say that a thinktank does not exist to advocate. A thinktank exists to analyze. Someone who is paid to advocate is either a public-relations specialist, a lobbyist, or a prostitute.
Weekend Reading: David Frum: Obamacare: The Republican Waterloo: Conservatives once warned that Obamacare would produce the Democratic Waterloo. Their inability to accept the principle of universal coverage has, instead, led to their own defeat...
2014: On Nicholas Lemann's Partial Recantation of His "Neoliberalism": On the career of the Washington Monthly: Nicholas Lemann: A bygone age…:
(2007): Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed": Hoisted from the Archives: "I did not even loathe Nickel and Dimed because of the strong pains Barbara Ehrenreich took in her prose to demonstrate that she was not one of "them"...
Weekend Reading: Erik Loomis: The CIO, Race, and Liberalism: "Yeselson has an excellent long-form review...
...of two new books on the CIO, race, and New Deal liberalism that look flawed but necessary anyway. You will want to read the whole thing if you care about the issues of the working-class, race, and the government in these perilous times. Here’s [Yeselson's] conclusion:
But this isn’t true. Unions and black workers are closer than they have ever been.
Weekend Reading: Bill Moyers: [What a Real President Is Like]: "WHILE Lyndon Baines Johnson was a man of time and place, he felt the bitter paradox of both...
...I was a young man on his staff in 1960 when he gave me a vivid account of that southern schizophrenia he understood and feared. We were in Tennessee. During the motorcade, he spotted some ugly racial epithets scrawled on signs. Late that night in the hotel, when the local dignitaries had finished the last bottles of bourbon and branch water and departed, he started talking about those signs:
I'll tell you what's at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you...
[What a Real President Is Like: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1988/11/13/what-a-real-president-was-like/d483c1be-d0da-43b7-bde6-04e10106ff6c/
E.M. Halliday (2001): Quotes from Understanding Thomas Jefferson:
p. 1: In June 1782... Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roche-Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de la Fayette, was an honored guest at possibly the most lavish full-dress ball... Marie-Antoinette... had ever given at Versailles... Twenty-four, Lafayette... a general in both the American and French armies... lionized in both countries... amalgam of ultra upper-class French snobbery and passionate dedication to liberte and the rights of man, he had gone to help the American cause entirely on his own... purchasing outright... the vessel that took him there. Now... he dances a quadrille "flawlessly"... with the young queen in the Hall of Mirrors... scintillat[ing] with the light of five thousand candles. The king has gone to bed, but his twenty-seven-year-old blue-eyed consort and diamond-bedecked entourage of courtiers dance, sip, and sup the night away, finally wandering off to one bed or another...
Weekend Reading: Sam Acheson (1932): Joe Bailey: The Last Democrat: Preface: "SENATOR BAILEY of Texas...
...one of the most conspicuous and influential Democrats in official life at Washington during the Administrations of McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft, has often been called the last Democrat. As elected head of the minority in the House during the fateful years leading to the Spanish-American War, and later as the real leader of the opposition in the Senate during the first twelve years of the new century, he went far toward meriting the arrogant phrase. Master of the Democratic party of Texas, he became the most powerful voice of the Southern wing of the Democratic national party and as such played a determining role in its councils. Time alone tends to sustain the phrase, for he survived all of the three great antagonists with whom he disputed the course which Democracy should take: Cleveland, Bryan and Wilson.
Back in 1981, Lee Atwater said:
Now you don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying 'n_gger, n_gger, n_gger'. By 1968... that hurts you.... You... get... abstract... talk... about... cutting taxes and all these things... totally economic things, and the byproduct often is Blacks get hurt worse than whites.... If it is getting that abstract and that coded, that we're doing away with the racial problem one way or the other...
March 17, 2017 at 05:18 PM in Economics: History, History, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Twentieth Century Economic History | Permalink | Comments (3)
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Lyndon Johnson (October 9, 1964): [: Speech at the Jung Hotel, New Orleans]: "Mr. Chairman; Governor McKeithen; your great senior Senator Allen Ellender, my old friend; your fine mayor, Mayor Schiro...
...Mrs. Long; my longtime and my valued friend and colleague, one of the most promising young men in this Nation, Russell Long; Congressman Willis, Congressman Morrison, Congressman Thompson, Congressman Gillis Long--all of whom serve this Nation and this State with great distinction and with credit to Louisiana and the Congress; Mr. Marshall Brown; Mr. Donelon--all my friends in Louisiana:
Lee Atwater (1981): To answer that question, Saul, you have to analyze the nature of Southern politics since the 1940s. I think Southern politics begins with V.O. Key. What he did was analyze the Democratic party, because you didn't have a Republican party. He came up with the idea that the parties were very factionalized. He came up with three different types of factions, of state parties, all within the Democratic framework. It was all personality—that type of thing.
Race was not really an issue.
Race didn't become an issue in the South, again, until 1954.
: As Cosma Shalizi (2010) Says, "The Singularity Is in Our Past": Look at the bleeding edge of urban North Atlantic or East Asian civilization, and you see a world fundamentally unlike any human past. Hunting, gathering, farming, herding, spinning and weaving, cleaning, digging, smelting metal and shaping wood, assembling structures--all of the ‘in the sweate of thy face shalt thou eate bread’ things that typical humans have typically done since we became jumped-up monkeys on the East African veldt--are now the occupations of a small and dwindling proportion of humans.
Cosma Shalizi (2010): The Singularity in Our Past Light-Cone (November 28) http://bactra.org/weblog/699.html
March 15, 2017 at 02:54 PM in Economics: Growth, Economics: History, History, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Science: Cognitive, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (4)
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Michael Maggidson (2000_: 1896: John Peter Altgeld: "John Peter Altgeld was born in the German village of Nieder Selters on December 30, 1847...
When he was about three months old, his parents brought him to the United States, settling in Ohio. After a brief stint in the Union Army during the Civil War, Altgeld read the law and was admitted to the bar in 1872. He served as city attorney of Savannah, Missouri and in 1874, was elected county prosecutor. He resigned this post after a year and moved to Chicago, where he established himself as a lawyer. He was married three years later. He soon began investing in real estate and made a small fortune.
Joseph Ford Cotto: Prominent economists and politicians often say that free trade will benefit America in the long run. Many Americans disagree strongly. What is your take on this situation?
Dr. J. Bradford DeLong: Well, typically and roughly, the average import we buy from other countries we get for 30% off--we use foreign currency that costs us $1.40 to purchase goods and services made abroad that would cost us $2.00 worth of time, energy, resources and cash to make at home.
March 15, 2017 at 01:37 PM in Berkeley, Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Long Form, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
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Weekend Reading: Abraham Lincoln (1854): [Kansas-Nebraska]: "The repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and the propriety of its restoration, constitute the subject of what I am about to say.
...As I desire to present my own connected view of this subject, my remarks will not be, specifically, an answer to Judge Douglas; yet, as I proceed, the main points he has presented will arise, and will receive such respectful attention as I may be able to give them. I wish further to say, that I do not propose to question the patriotism, or to assail the motives of any man, or class of men; but rather to strictly confine myself to the naked merits of the question.
Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1938): John Maynard Keynes’s Private Letter to Franklin Delano Roosevelt of February 1, 1938:
To Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1 February 1938
Private and personal
Dear Mr. President,
You received me kindly when I visited you some three years ago that I make bold to send you some bird’s eye impressions which I have formed as to the business position in the United States. You will appreciate that I write from a distance, that I have not revisited the United States since you saw me, and that I have access to few more sources of information than those publicly available. But sometimes in some respects there may be advantages in these limitations! At any rate, those things which I think I see, I see very clearly.
Weekend Reading: Rosa Luxemburg (1918): [: The Russian Revolution: The Problem of Dictatorship]:
Lenin says [in The State and Revolution: The Transition from Capitalism to Communism] the bourgeois state is an instrument of oppression of the working class; the socialist state, of the bourgeoisie. To a certain extent, he says, it is only the capitalist state stood on its head. This simplified view misses the most essential thing: bourgeois class rule has no need of the political training and education of the entire mass of the people, at least not beyond certain narrow limits. But for the proletarian dictatorship that is the life element, the very air without which it is not able to exist.
Daniel Davies (2012): New Ideas From Dead Political Systems:
Back in the days before I had realised that a guy who takes five years to deliver a simple book review probably ought to rein in the ambition a bit when it comes to larger-scale projects, I occasionally pitched an idea to publishers of management books. It was going to be called “Great Ideas From Failed Companies”, the idea being that when you have the perspective of the entire history of a corporate story, you’re probably going to get a more honest appraisal of its strengths and weaknesses, and that although companies like Enron, Northern Rock and Atari clearly had major problems, they quite likely also had some good points too, or how did they ever get so big in the first place?
Weekend Reading: Cosma Shalizi (2012): In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You: "Attention conservation notice: Over 7800 words about optimal planning for a socialist economy and its intersection with computational complexity theory. This is about as relevant to the world around us as debating whether a devotee of the Olympian gods should approve of transgenic organisms. (Or: centaurs, yes or no?) Contains mathematical symbols (uglified and rendered slightly inexact by HTML) but no actual math, and uses Red Plenty mostly as a launching point for a tangent.
I still can barely believe that Kevin Hassett used a law professor and a philosopher to urge that CERN's LHC (a) might destroy the earth and so (b) needed to be stopped and shut down (c) using the only means available to the U.S.--(d) an airstrike on the Swiss-French border:
Hoisted from the Archives from 2010: American Enterprise Institute "Economist" of Mass Destruction Kevin Hassett Strikes Again (Republican War on Science Department): Carrying the Republican War on Science to previously unplumbed depths of human stupidity:
Is Kevin Hassett really going to chair the Council of Economic Advisers?
That gives me an idea. April Fools Season is started--32 days to April Fools Day inclusive. Can we find 32 examples of Kevin Hassett writing things that are really stupid--so stupid that they should have gotten him bounced from his cushy chair at AEI immediately for intellectual incompetence? The answer is yes--we could find 32 things from Dow 36000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market alone. But the journey--one a day between now and April 1--will be rewarding...
Dan Froomkin reminds me of number 1, from the very sharp Barry Ritholtz:
Willie Stark learns that his backers are not good-government types who want the best for the state, but rather from the Harrison machine and want him in the race as a spoiler candidate:
Robert Penn Warren (1946): All the King's Men: "Then Willie [Stark] stood all alone by the table...
...saying, “My friends,” and turning his alabaster face precariously from one side to the other, and fumbling in the right side pocket of his coat to fish out the speech. While he was fumbling with the sheets, and looking down at them with a slightly bemused expression as though the stuff before him were in a foreign language, somebody tugged at my sleeve.
My Great^6 Grandfather James DeLong left his bones in Wichita. But he did so only after carrying out the first-ever extraordinary rendition on the past of the U.S. government, and then getting fired by Abraham Lincoln for being too aggressive in waging the Civil War on all possible fronts...
The Box That Changed the World (July 25, 2006): It is 40 feet long, 8.5 or 9.5 feet high, and eight feet wide.
It carries up to 29 tons in its 2,000 cubic feet of recommended available space – goods worth roughly $500,000 (or more) when sold at retail.
It, and what it carries, can be transported in a month anywhere in the world where there are suitable harbors, railways, locomotives, flatcars, truck tractors, diesel fuel, and roads.
It is the modern cargo container, and it is able to move non-fragile, non-perishable goods from any modern factory with a loading dock to any modern warehouse anywhere in the world for about 1% of retail value.
Weekend Reading: Lyndsey Gilpin: [Cancer Rates Are Dropping—But Not In Rural Appalachia | FiveThirtyEight]: "Just over a year ago, Natasha Lucas, an agent for the University of Kentucky’s Owsley County Extension Office...
...needed a local lung cancer survivor to speak at a popular annual cancer awareness event in Booneville, Kentucky. But she had a devil of a time finding one. It took weeks to track someone down, but as sad as that was, it wasn’t surprising. When it comes to lung cancer, Lucas said matter-of-factly, “there are just very few survivors.”
Outsourced to: Elizabeth Kolbert: Hosed: "One commentator predicted that by 1930 horse manure would reach the level of Manhattan’s third-story windows...
We need to remember who the deniers and the skeptics have been over the past 30 years: bad judgments and corrupt arguments need to be remembered.
First of all: I'm looking at you, Steve Dubner and Steve Levitt...
**Weekend Reading: Why couldn't any of the awful people whining and sniveling about Yale's renaming of Calhoun College read--or reprint--this?
Sidney Blumenthal John C. Calhoun: "On his deathbed, Andrew Jackson, reflecting on the dramatic episodes of his presidency, expressed his greatest regret...
...It was that he had not had John C. Calhoun hung for treason. “My country,” he said, “would have sustained me in the act, and his fate would have been a warning to traitors in all time to come.” Jackson had once considered him a friend, just as Henry Clay regarded him as a political comrade-in-arms and John Quincy Adams thought of him as an intellectual companion, but they each independently came to the same conclusion that he was a brooding Mephistophelian figure of rancor, vengeance, and dark designs driven by a thwarted and raging mania to be president.
Outsourced to: Robert Waldmann: Podhoretz: "John Podhoretz who wrote...
What if the tactical mistake we made in Iraq was that we didn't kill enough Sunnis in the early going to intimidate them and make them so afraid of us they would go along with anything? Wasn't the survival of Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35 the reason there was an insurgency and the basic cause of the sectarian violence now? [John Podhoretz (July 25, 2006). "Too Nice to Win? Israel's Dilemma". New York Post. Retrieved April 7, 2007 <http://nypost.com/2006/07/25/too-nice-to-win-israels-dilemma/>]
Why can't "fiscal conservatives" ever man up and take responsibility for their actions and their lives?
When you try to starve the government, sometimes you succeed--and then things that need to be done don't get done. Shame on the LA Time for publishing this.
Outsourced to Kevin Drum:
Kevin Drum: Blame Oroville on "Fiscal Conservatives": "Victor Davis Hanson is a native Californian who hates California because it's become too brown and too liberal...
Monday Smackdown: This may be the stupidest thing I have read this year! Shame on the FT for publishing it!
I get 4480 results on google for "Garland Tucker". I get no results before this morning for "'Garland Tucker' +Calhoun". The fact that Yale's Calhoun College has been named for John C. Calhoun all of Garland Tucker's life has never led him to say anything about how bad a person John C. Calhoun was. Garland Tucker has had his chance all his life before now to use the honor Yale has done Calhoun to, as he quotes Cicero, "not be a child". He whiffed it.
For, you see, Tucker doesn't think Calhoun is bad: his position as the most powerful pro-slavery politician and leading intellectual advocate for the expansion of slavery in the first half of the nineteenth century is, in Garland Tucker's eyes, vastly less important than Calhoun's being a "free trader and" and opponent of "expanding federal government... bloated bureaucracy, patronage abuses... and ever-higher tariffs..."
But John C. Calhoun's role in history is not "complex"--it is evil, starting at the top of the evil tree and hitting every branch all the way down:
Garland Tucker: Expunging slave-owners’ names erases our complex history: "Calhoun will no longer be Calhoun.... Yale... after eight decades it will rename one of its residential colleges...
Robert C. Allen (2003): Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press: 0691144311) <http://amzn.to/2kpLZd2>
The Big Question:
Was the Soviet Union an Asian economy, (like) a Latin American economy, a (central or western) European economy, or a settler-frontier economy?
If it was an Asian economy, than it did well on economic growth--even though horribly (save in comparison to Maoist China, the Khmer Rouge, and the Korean Hereditary Dictatorship of the God-Kings Kim) in terms of societal well being.
If it was a Latin American economy, it did OK in terms of economic growth--Allen says "good", but I think he overstates his case: "OK".
If it was a (central or western) European economy, it did very badly--badly enough to prompt its bloodless overthrow.
If it was a settler-frontier economy, its badness attains world-historical levels.
I reject Allen's conclusions, largely because of the regression-discontinuity study I did in the middle of the 1990s:
The discontinuity between the countries on the left and the countries on the right is simply where Stalin's (or Mao's, or Giap's) armies stopped. The communist countries were, as of the moment that the Iron Curtain collapsed, missing 88% of their prosperity as measured by what seems and seemed to be the most natural yardstick.
February 13, 2017 at 02:46 PM in Berkeley, Books, Economics: Growth, Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (5)
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Back in 2009, Greg Mankiw was opposed to any [carbon-tax/cap-and-trade] proposal that did not use "most" of the [revenue raised by the tax/money earned by auctioning the permits] to cut marginal tax rates.
Today Greg Mankiw is in favor of a carbon tax proposal that does not use any of the revenue raised to cut marginal tax rates.
Scott Lemieux: Requiem for An Epic Grift: "On conventional terms, Ben Carson’s cosplaying as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination was a failure...
Should-Read: Wikipedia says: "Cumulative global sales of highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles achieved the 2 million unit milestone in December 2016.... The United States ranks second with more than 570,000... through December 2016..."
Attitude without expertise--or any desire to acquire expertise--has long seemed to me to be the dominant current within Fred Hiatt's part of the Washington Post:
Charles Lane (2013): Obama’s Electric Car Mistake: "The Obama administration’s electric-car fantasy finally may have died on the road between Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn...
William W. Freehling (1990): The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854 (New York: Oxford University Press: 0195058143) <http://amzn.to/2jTYTon>: "Kentucky, while not as southern as Virginia, was more western...
...Kentuckians suffered from the usual western problem: too much land, not enough laborers. Slavery, prime solution to labor shortages deeper in the Southwest, could never be as widespread in Kentucky’s cooler climes. A low percentage of slaves arguably intensified the labor shortage, for potential white settlers preferred free Ohio, immediately to Kentucky’s north.
Fintan O’Toole: Welcome to Trumperica: "Donald Trump’s chaotic signing of grandiose orders has the air of a deluded despot’s last days, not his first...
...Probably the smartest thing anyone said about Donald Trump before his election was the explanation by Salena Zito in The Atlantic of why he could get away with making wildly exaggerated or flatly false statements: “When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”
From Ernest Gellner (1990): The Civil and the Sacred: "This... characterization of the south- easterly Muslim neighbor of Atlantic civilization... makes a neat contrast to the Marxist eastern one...
...there, we witness a virtually total erosion of faith, combined with a strong, in many cases passionate, yearning for Civil Society. In fact, the present vogue of the term originates precisely in the politico-intellectual life and turbulence of that region.
Benjamin Franklin (February 3, 1790): Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery: "To the Senate & House of Representatives of the United States...
...The Memorial of the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage, & the Improvement of the Condition of the African Races.
This is how we do:
We tried really hard to rescue you from the orange-haired baboon. We'll neutralize most of what he does. We have our--big--problems, but we are a better future for a better nation. Watch us...
Ernest Gellner: Conditions of Liberty: Civil Society and its Rivals: Chapter 1: "A new ideal was born, or reborn, in recent decades: Civil Society...
...Previously, a person interested in the notion of Civil Society could be assumed to be a historian of ideas, concerned perhaps with Locke or Hegel. But the phrase itself had no living resonance or evocativeness. Rather, it seemed distinctly covered with dust. And now, all of a sudden, it has been taken out and thoroughly dusted, and has become a shining emblem.
James Madison: Madison's Bill of Rights: "I am sorry to be accessory to the loss of a single moment of time by the House...
Looking Forward to Four Years During Which Most if Not All of America's Potential for Human Progress Is Likely to Be Wasted
With each passing day Donald Trump looks more and more like Silvio Berlusconi: bunga-bunga governance, with a number of unlikely and unforeseen disasters and a major drag on the country--except in states where his policies are neutralized.
Nevertheless, remember: WE ARE WITH HER!
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