Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: AP: No House vote on GOP health care bill today: "Canceling Thursday’s vote would amount to a significant political setback for Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan...
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: AP: No House vote on GOP health care bill today: "Canceling Thursday’s vote would amount to a significant political setback for Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan...
What Does President Donald Trump Mean for the US Economy?: As the moment Trump took office, it seemed as though Trump could have become any one of three figures.
We really did not know which.
We had very little real indication of what policies Trump will follow, or what kind of president he would be. The US press corps had done an extraordinarily poor job in making the issues at stake in this election clear and transparent—not just to the mass audiences, but even to the most sophisticated of audiences, those that are very interested in asset prices and how they're affected by government policies.
Those three were:
Q: 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?
A: 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.
But there's more.
Must-Read: Bob Christie: 380,000 Arizonans May Lose Medicaid: "The report looks at the patients who gained coverage under a Medicaid expansion pushed through in 2013 by former Gov. Jan Brewer...
2014: On Nicholas Lemann's Partial Recantation of His "Neoliberalism": On the career of the Washington Monthly: Nicholas Lemann: A bygone age…:
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Erik Loomis: Dumbasses of America: "The genre of 'let’s talk to idiotic white voters who support Trump even though he will decimate their lives' is already more stale than bread baked on November 8...
...However, it does lead to the occasional special anecdote that truly sums up the stupidity of many white people:
(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"...
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...
Must-Read: How, you ask, did Donald Trump's Mad Management Skillz take DJT from $15/share to $0? This is how:
Ezra Klein:Does Donald Trump Know What the GOP Health Bill Does?: "With the help of Vox’s Jacob Gardenswartz, I collected and read absolutely everything Donald Trump has said publicly about the AHCA...
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.
There seemed, back in November, two ways the Trump infrastructure fiscal expansion could have gone.
The first was driven by the facts that Trump seemed to have ambitions that were "Pharoahnic", and that Trump had been a real estate developer.
Should-Read: Gate (2005): The Law, in Its Majestic Equality...: "Anatole France (the pen-name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault, 1844-1924)... The Red Lily (Le Lys Rouge), 1894, chapter 7...
...The majestic quality of the law, which prohibits the wealthy as well as the poor from sleeping under the bridges, from begging in the streets, and from stealing bread...
Should-Read: Paul Demko: White House analysis of Obamacare repeal sees even deeper insurance losses than CBO: "A White House analysis of the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare shows even steeper coverage losses than the projections by the Congressional Budget Office...
Must-Read: Mark Thoma et al.: The Republican American Health Care Act
Mark Thoma: Why the Republican Health Care Plan Is Destined to Fail: "Healthcare often involves large, unexpected expenses...
Live from a university that seems to need some very different IT managers:
Make it so that I cannot even view my own course's website without logging in--even though I have no objection to anybody in the world reading my syllabus--and then crash the authentication module so that I cannot log in? Really...
Anybody from Berkeley IT want to leave a comment giving me a reason that I should use bCourses in the future?
Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: It would be interesting to hear what the real Republican health care experts say about the plan to repeal ObamaCare, if any of them dare say much of anything:
Kevin Drum: Emperor's Clothes Blogging: "I've been trying to figure out how to respond to the Republican health care plan...
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Is there a way to understand this other than as an implicit total admission of defeat and failure by Brownback on his part? Ambassador to FAO is not a job usually taken by U.S. senators and governors...
Kevin Drum: Kansas Governor Sam Brownback Appears Desperate to Get Out of Dodge: "'Brownback is in talks with President Donald Trump’s administration about... an ambassadorship...
When Yale made the long-overdue decision to dename the Residential College Formerly Named After the Odious John C. Calhoun, a bunch of alumni--who had never before remarked on how odious John C. Calhoun had been--came out of the woodwork to protest that we will be impoverished if we do not memorialize even the bad parts of our history.
It seemed to me it would have been much better—shame on you, Financial Times—to mark the event by reprinting Hofstadter's Calhoun chapter on "The Marx of the Master Class", or the "Young Calhoun" chapter from Sidney Blumenthal's A Self-Made Man—the first volume of his in-progress series: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln. So I wrote to Sidney asking permission to reprint the "Young Calhoun" chapter on my weblog. He passed it along to Simon & Schuster. Silence...
But the galleys of Blumenthal's second volume: Wrestling with His Angel showed up in my mailbox. It is excellent:
Sidney Blumenthal (2017): Wrestling with His Angel, 1849-1856 <http://amzn.to/2mgAPd9>
Five Orienting Questions:
Project Syndicate: Trade Deals and Alternative Facts: BERKELEY – In a long recent Vox essay outlining my thinking about US President Donald Trump’s emerging trade policy, I pointed out that a “bad” trade deal such as the North American Free Trade Agreement is responsible for only a vanishingly small fraction of lost US manufacturing jobs over the past 30 years. Just 0.1 percentage points of the 21.4 percentage-point decline in the employment share of manufacturing during this period is attributable to NAFTA, enacted in December 1993.
A half-century ago, the US economy supplied an abundance of manufacturing jobs to a workforce that was well equipped to fill them. Those opportunities have dried up. This is a significant problem: a BIGLY problem. But anyone who claims that the collapse of US manufacturing employment resulted from “bad” trade deals like NAFTA is playing the fool. A BIGLY fool. Read MOAR at Project Syndicate
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.
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:
The IMF's Finance and Development has paired me on "secular stagnation" with John Taylor.
When they told me that I would be paired with John Taylor, I protested: As I see it, sometime in the early 2000s John Taylor ceased being an economist and became a politician. Hence, I thought, he was likely to have very little of value to say to professional economists--to those of us who are trying to use the tools of economics to understand the world.
And I see that I was right: I do not think Taylor's piece has any value at all to professional economists.
Let me take especial note of five passages in Taylor's piece: passages that, in my view, a professional economist simply could not write:
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Kevin Drum: Here Are the Top Ten Republican Accomplishments of 2017 So Far:
- Trump signs executive order on immigration, but it's so badly drafted it causes chaos around the country and is immediately put on hold by court.
- Trump chooses crackpot as National Security Advisor, fires him three weeks after inauguration.
- Trump tries to bully China by playing games with One China policy, is forced into humiliating retreat after realizing he's playing out of his league.
- Paul Ryan proposes border adjustment tax to raise $1 trillion, but can't convince anyone to sign on.
- Trump casually green-lights raid on Yemen over dinner, it turns into an epic disaster that kills a SEAL and accomplishes nothing.
- Trump blathers about the wall and a 20 percent border tax on Mexico, causing the Mexican president to cancel a planned visit.
- Congress goes into recess, but Republicans are embarrassingly forced to cancel town hall events because they're afraid of facing big crowds opposed to their policies.
- Trump continues to claim that crime is skyrocketing; that he won a huge election victory; that his inauguration crowd was immense; that polls showing his unpopularity are fake; and that refugees have wreaked terror on America, despite the fact that these are all easily-checkable lies.
- After weeks of confusion on their signature priority, Republicans finally realize that repealing Obamacare isn't all that easy and basically give up.
- Trump proposes spending an extra $54 billion on defense without realizing he can't do that.
Should-Read: Jonathan Chait: Trump’s Health-Care Nightmare Is Only Just Beginning: "Republican members of Congress do not agree with each other on the parameters of a replacement...
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Duncan Black: Conservative Principles: "One of my least favorite liberal tics is to grant there was some time when American conservatism was some sort wrong but noble affair...
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...
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.
Should-Read: James Kwak: Health Care and John D. Rockefeller’s Dog: "Few people actually want to live in a world where health care is distributed by a free market...
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/>]
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Josh Marshall: About 'The Press Conference': "This is that rare time when I think the cliched phrase is appropriate: That press conference speaks for itself...
Must-Read: The right moment for Republicans interested in health policy to intervene in the politics was back in 2010, when the "repeal and replace" meme was first decided on. They should have said: "Hell, no!--You really do not want to say that."
My suspicion is that they thought the battle was not worth fighting because the dog would never catch the car. The least they could do is apologize to the rest of us now...
David Anderson: Governing Is Hard: "The Republican Party has an ACA problem. The ACA is deficit reducing...
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Duncan Black: Does No One Tell Him?: "Constant lying... about his massive electoral college victory...
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...
Live from Inside the Nazi War Machine: Among the most interesting documents from the Third Reich:
Franz Halder: _Diary: | 1939-08-14 to 1939-09-10 | 1939-09-11 to 1939-12-06 | 1939-12-07 to 1940-05-09 | 1940-05-10 to 1940-10-30 | 1940-10-31 to 1941-02-20 | 1941-02-21 to 1941-07-31 | 1941-08-01 to 1942-09-24
Should-Read: Joachim Voth and I both focused on how Tsarist industrialization was hindered by monopoly power in manufacturing, and on the absence of a special bonus for the Stalinist construction of a heavy industrial sector in Magnitogorsk and elsewhere very far in the interior. The destruction of monopoly power via planning--along with the destruction of the peasant-collective barriers to mobility--was a big plus that largely offset the inefficiencies of central planning. The creation of a heavy industrial complex in Magnitogorsk was a priceless asset for the world come World War II.
Anton Cheremukhin et al. (2013): Was Stalin Necessary for Russia’s Economic Development?: "We construct a large dataset that covers Soviet Russia during 1928-1940 and Tsarist Russia during 1885-1913...
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Moral fault attaches to anybody who pays money to the New York Times for any purpose as long as it publishes things like this:
Kate Kelly: Trump’s Economic Cabinet Is Mostly Bare. This Man Fills the Void: "Gary Cohn... briefed Mr. Trump... argued that the bold infrastructure projects that Mr. Trump envisioned...
...would need private-industry partners, those people said, in order to avoid weighing down the government with costs. That got Mr. Trump’s attention. The president-elect turned to the other people in the room—his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon; his chief of staff, Reince Priebus; and Steven T. Mnuchin, his campaign’s chief fund-raiser and Mr. Trump’s nominee to be Treasury secretary—surprised that his infrastructure ideas had such a potential downside. “Is this true?” Mr. Trump asked the group, according to those people. Heads nodded. “Why did I have to wait to have this guy tell me?” he demanded.
This is what my late coauthor Susan Rasky called a "beat sweetener".
Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: OK:
Did Flynn resign because Bannon decided that he did not want to wage his jihad against Muslims worldwide attached to the ball and chain of a Russian agent of influence?
Did Flynn resign because Pence threatened to invoke Amendment 25 if he did not?
Trump is not only not picking "the best people"; he has no clue what picking the best people would possibly mean...
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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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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