I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.
Part XXXI: You Are Still Here? It's Over! Go Home!:
I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.
Part XXXI: You Are Still Here? It's Over! Go Home!:
I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.
Part XXX: Post-Election "Free Gifts" Conference Call:
Romney "Gifts" Call
Even though the _New York Times _ was listening in on the 2012 Romney post-election car conference call, they do not appear to have made a transcript. Thus we have only about ten minutes--half the call. What we have may well not be a fair representation of what was actually said.
Nevertheless, it is not to Romney's credit:
Part XXVIII: On the Trail:
After Romney said that it was "high risk" for him to try to talk to modern American women on live TV, the audience suggested that he use Ann Romney as a surrogate. Romney seemed to be of two minds:
On the one hand he worried about keeping her off-screen "so that people don't tired of her, or start attacking".
On the other hand, when Hilary Rosen accused Ann Romney of knowing nothing about the problems women who have to earn money in the labor market face "not having worked a day in her life", the campaign immediately pivoted and attacked Hilary Rosen for denigrating what stay-at-home moms do as not valuable, and it was, Romney said: "very valuable... gave her a platform she wouldn't have had otherwise.... I think she will be extraordinarily helpful..."
I see this as Romney starting out as a Mormon Patriarch, echoing Perikles of Athens from 2400 years ago:
The greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or criticizing you...
And then Romney remembers that he is a modern American politician appealing to an electorate, more than 50% female, which is not as enthusiastic about Mormon Patriarchy as he is.
Part XXVII: "Poor as a Church Mouse":
Shades of George W. Bush at the Al Smith dinner in 2000: "This is an impressive crowd, the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base..."
Part XXVI: Dignity and Media:
"The View is high risk because of the five women on it, only one is conservative. Four are sharp-tongued and not conservative, Whoopi Goldberg in particular..."
Talking to modern American women is "high risk"?
Part XXV: Villification:
And after having said that Obama is both:
Romney immediately pivots too: THEY'RE GOING TO VILLIFY ME!
The big questions with respect to Mitt Romney's career are always: Just how did he get so rich? Did he take a reasonable share of value-creation activities that made us all richer? Or was he a rent-seeking parasite--someone who successfully held up productive activities and took an outsized share in return for not blocking them, a financial robber baron of the late twentieth century?
The natural way to answer this question would have been for Romney to trot out testimonials from the clients of Bain Capital. Who were the great entrepreneurs whom Bain Capital funded? What were the high-profit high-value high-wage paying companies that got their chance to scale up their success because Bain Capital was there, with financing and with key insights into markets and strategy?
But Romney never seemed to want to talk about those. "I ran the Salt Lake City Olympics" seemed to be the only thing he wanted to point to. He did not even want to say: "I was a very good Governor of Massachusetts." And so he was on the defensive with respect to his business career throughout the campaign: the job-killer union-buster pension-stealer partner-hold-upper.
It was and is a puzzlement. On the finance side, Warren Buffett has always talked constantly about the great businesses he has bought and helped expand, and the great operating managers he has backed. But Romney?...
I would say that the Sulzburgers owe every subscriber to the New York Times as of January 1997 $1000 for their printing this. What say you all? (Live from the Journamalists' Self-Made Hell):
Duncan Black: The Greatest Hits of the 90s: "Everybody is getting nostalgic. Just so you're ready...
The most interesting thing is how certain Mitt Romney was--and, if we can trust Mitt Romney, John Whitehead was. He was certain that the U.S. was on a path to rapidly become "Greece". Why? First, Romney says, because President Obama "would not talk about reforming Social Security or Medicare."
If you try to make sense of what Romney is saying, it is:
October 28, 2016 at 10:47 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Macro, Long Form, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (2)
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Part XXIV: People Are Disappointed with Obama's Policies:
After having his only reaction to incipient Trumpism from the Fox News-addled be to call for the elimination of the civil service, Romney pivots to how he is going to reach the key middle of the electorate. It's worth unpacking the steps of Romney's argument here in logical sequence:
The problem that Mitt Romney then faced was that the natural question for that "5 to 6 or 7 percent" to ask him was: What policies has Obama gotten wrong? And Romney's replies were:
And what else was Romney going to say? That Obama had not gotten us into enough wars in the Middle East? That he had successfully implemented RomneyCare in the Blue States, and it seemed to be working?
I think the disconnect between Romney-think and Romney campaign-think inside the Romney-bubble--Obama "a failure.... a bad guy... did bad things... corrupt"--and the message Romney was trying to sell to the middle of the electorate--"you did the right thing" in voting for him, "but he just wasn't up to the task... in over his head"--accounted for a lot of the campaign and message dysfunction of fall 2012 on the Republican side.
Part XXIII: Corruption in Washington:
Here we have a rant from an "audience member". I presume when he says "CFEC" he means "CFPB"--the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This makes me think that white men should not be allowed to retire and waste six hours a day watching Fox News: "Solyndra... Eric Holder... the most corrupt attorney general that we had ever... Nancy Pelosi was supposed to give us an honest Congress and has given us just the opposite as speaker... clean house, immediately..."
And Romney's only response? It was to call for getting rid of the civil service. There was nothing about: "You know Fox News's business model is to terrify you to keep your eyeballs glued to the screen? So it can charge its advertisers who sell you overpriced gold funds?"
And Romney's cowardly failure to push back against incipient Trumpism is, in my mind, something of which he should be greatly ashamed today:
Part XXII: We Are Professionals:
It is certainly true that I am not in Romney's core donor demographic.
But if I were, I think this would have led me to put away my checkbook. Here we see how Romney tried to convince his audience of potential donors that he had a professional operation. And what did he do?
Did he talk about the experienced party staff? Did he talk about senior campaign staff who had been mid-level in 2004 and 2008 and been very well-regarded, and mid-level staff who had been well-regarded juniors in 2004 and 2008? Did he talk about people who had successfully run House, Senate, and Governor campaigns in swing states here in the United States and how he had worked to get them on his team?
No. This is what he said:
I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants...
Not party staff. Not professionals. Consultants--who bounce from campaign to media gig to free appearances as "strategists" and then back to campaigns. People whose principal aim is to preserve and enhance their media-centered social network rather than believers in your cause focused on getting you into office and your policies implemented.
And then he said:
A couple of people in particular... Karl Rove equivalents... [who do] do races all over the world. In Armenia. In Africa. In Israel. I mean, they work for Bibi Netanyahu in his races...
"Work for Bibi Netanyahu." Right.
Part XXI: Educating the American People:
Here Romney expresses his low opinion of the American electorate. In this, he sells them short. I believe that in order to win the center of the American electorate in a presidential race, you need to demonstrate to them two things:
It's not that the voters are uninterested in policies, it's that they know they cannot learn enough to judge. So they--I think accurately--focus on values and competence.
Successful Republicans have traditionally focused on the first--or had a complaisant press do the first for them. But it is very difficult for Republicans to do, because the requirement that they cling to their base has made it hard since Reagan's retirement for them to claim that they share American values--unless they luck into or frame the contest as a khaki election.
Romney's message, however, was more of the second: that Obama was a jumped-up affirmative action candidate, who--like all affirmative action candidates--was unqualified for the job. He left the "Obama is a Kenyan Muslim socialist" for the fever swamps of his coalition. But he did little to stamp it out, either...
October 28, 2016 at 06:47 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Strategy, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Part XX: Romney: My Election Will Summon the Confidence Fairy!:
I have remarked before on the strong disconnect between the future "Greece" scenarios that Romney was confident were in our then future and the expectations of financial markets, which were expecting a lot more of the liquidity trap and secular stagnation. But the fact that financial markets disagree with Mitt Romney did not give him any pause, or undermine his belief that he understood them, and could predict them--never mind that he could not even now-cast them.
And here he went completely unhinged: all that had to be done was to elect Mitt Romney, and:
there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back, and we'll see—without actually doing anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy...
While if Obama is reelected:
The "Taxageddon," as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can't work together, it really is frightening, really frightening in my view...
We have seen real stock-market gains of 14%/year during Obama's second term.
You would think that somebody as good as Mitt Romney is supposed to be would have done some rethinking by now. You would think that somebody as good as Mitt Romney is supposed to be would have noted, say, that the only Democratic president under whom the stock market has not done extremely well was Carter, while the only Republican president under who the stock market has done extremely well is Reagan, and done some rethinking here.
And this raises the question: Where is the grift? Is Romney the mark, whose grifting briefers--who know better--allow him to believe that all he has to do is take office and the Confidence Fairy will return? Or is Romney the grifter here, and are his donors the marks?
How much backup did David Frum get back in 2009 when he wrote his "Waterloo" piece warning about the self-made hell into which the Republicans were descending?
Nancy LeTourneau: The Republican Waterloo: "The so-called “right-wing media” has ejected the GOP leadership from their epistemic bubble...
Mitt Romney and "Those People": Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates Weblogging: Ta-Nehisi Coates:
No One Left To Race-Bait To: Dave Weigel points out the difference between the covert racism of a young cagey Pat Buchanan in the days of the Southern strategy, and overt racism of the pariah Pat Buchanan banished to Fox News…. Calling the first black president a "drug dealer of welfare" is… Buchanan deploying symbolism. The problem is that the world has changed, and this is precisely the kind of rhetoric that would end a presidential candidacy today.
October 27, 2016 at 07:32 AM in Economics: History, Economics: Inequality, History, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Part XVIII: Winning the Middle:
And then the fit passes. The moocher- and loser-loathing werewolf turns back into the centrist manager-politician. Romney talks about how his task is to convince the "independents that are thoughtful". And he says that it is doable. And here we lose our video for a few minutes.
Nobody in Romney's camp has ever volunteered to fill in what he said between the end of the first and the start of the second video file. Which is too bad. We presume that it is not seen as a big winner for Romney...
Part XVII: 47%!:
And now we come to the famous--and revelatory--47% passage. The number "47%" seems to play a very strong role inside Romney's brain. It is, respectively:
What appears to have happened to Romney is that three briefings, each of which referenced 47%, each of which he only half-understood, have collided inside his brain and formed themselves into a Monstrous Regiment named "47%" that threatens America.
The first briefing, I presume, was about the partisan polarization of America's electorate these days. People told Romney that the Democratic base was solid. 1984 was the last time that a Democratic presidential candidate wound up with less than 46% of the two-party vote. Romney has absorbed this briefing. Thus he is focused on rallying the base and winning the middle. He has been told not to go after the Democratic base and he has internalized it:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him.... My job is not to worry about those people...
The phrase that is supposed to follow here is "in the context of this campaign: I won't win their votes". And then Romney is supposed to follow that with: "But, of course, I will be President of the United States of America. As President, I will care deeply about them and strive to help them learn to live better lives..."
The problem is that Romney feels that he has to explain why the Democratic base comprises of 47% of the electorate. And so he reaches into his brain for another briefing about the 47%:
These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years...
Now we all know that, of the 47% who "pay no income tax", 10%-points of them are elderly and retired: they are more likely to be in the Republican base than in the Democratic base. We all know that 28%-points of them are paying payroll taxes, but because they are not making much money their notional income tax burden is covered by their EITC: a message of cutting payroll taxes would connect, but that's not what Romney means by "our message of low taxes".
But Romney has been badly briefed. His brain jumps from what was supposed to be an argument that the 47% did not benefit directly from the principal Republican policy proposal of cutting the top-bracket tax break to a belief that the 47% pay no taxes to a belief that they are moochers and takers. And then he is off and running with his description of the Monstrous Regiment of the 47%, the people who are...
...with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what...
And so he washes his hands of them: social scum, unworthy of his time and attention, unreachable:
My job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives...
What was supposed to be a riff about how the electorate is polarized, the race will be close, and he is focused on putting his effort where it will do the most good to win the votes he can realistically win--that riff has turned into something else, something ugly, something very revealing about Mitt Romney and his view of the world.
October 27, 2016 at 07:20 AM in Economics: Growth, Economics: Inequality, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
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Part XVI: Be Proud of Yourself!:
Romney on social insurance and the distribution of wealth: "Sen. Rubio says that when he grew up here, poor, that they looked at people that had a lot of wealth, and his parents never once said, "We need some of what they have, they should give us some." Instead they said that you work hard and go to school, someday we might be able to have enough..."
Note how luck--good fortune--plays no role here in Romney's mind: The only way to make sense of this is to believe that Romney thinks that he is rich because God made him rich, and God has mad him rich because he is worthy, and that is true for all rich people, and so it is impious to ask for more in the way of public support, redistribution, or social insurance than a bare minimum.
And, of course, there are people who don't think that Romney's wealth came about through fair play. There are the questions of whether tax fraud--undervaluing assets--played a role in Romney's outsized IRA. People who worked at Bain Capital have claimed to me that Romney held up the organization for nine figures, during this extremely strange period from 1999-2002 during which Romney was "President and CEO" but had "no responsibilities whatsoever" that ended when in 2002 he was finally satisfied with the financial arrangements and so resigned from Bain effective February 1999.
J. Bradford DeLong @delong: Duncan Black: The Evolution of Republican Suburban Tribalism http://bit.ly/RZEAQV
Tea Cardman @TeaCardman: @delong Growing up in a small town in a poor state and now owning my own home in a suburb makes me proud. You'll probably never understand.
J. Bradford DeLong @delong: @TeaCardman and the point is? That the changes the top 0.1% have made and Romney wants to reinforce have made this much harder?
Tea Cardman @TeaCardman: @delong I didn't answer your question. I am a hard working suburbanite who never took a bail out & I wan't pay for inner-city health care.
"Inner city" health care. I get it. Sheesh…
The curse of Barry Goldwater-Richard Nixon-Ronald Reagan still haunts the Republican Party--and through them the rest of us--this Halloween…
Part XV: The Ask for Money:
And now, having denied that the Republicans have a gender gap problem and admitted Republicans have a Hispanic gap problem, Romney pivots. Rather than outline policies for dealing with the Hispanic gap problem, he decides it is time for the ask: he needs their money.
He needs their money to fight off Obama's campaign of character assassination--plus the fact that unemployment is down, that Osama bin Laden was brought to justice, and there have been none of the visible policy disasters that characterized the presidency of he-who-Romney-must-not-name--even though Fox News had by then listed perhaps 25 of "Obama's Katrinas". (Of course, there are the nasty Iranians and Palestinians out there who would have been brought to heel if Obama had not been "VEAK!!"; and there is the forthcoming "national bankruptcy... failed Treasury auction... interest rates... going... up... borrowed-money fantasy world [of]... made up money... hurtling toward a cliff... severity of the fiscal situation... Greece".)
Part XIV: The Hispanic Vote:
Here Romney gets real: "If the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting bloc has in the past, why we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation..."
The "in trouble as a nation" is, I presume, simply a reflection of the Republican believe that a dominant Democratic Party is a very bad thing.
Now it used to be the case that politicians thought otherwise.
For example, in the 1920s Dean Acheson was a stalwart of a Democratic Party that was far from dominant in any sense. Yes, it won occasional congressional majorities. But Woodrow Wilson had only attain the presidency because of the spite of Teddy Roosevelt for W.H. Taft. And the only other Democratic president since Andrew Johnson had been that triangulating bastard Grover Cleveland.
But Dean Acheson did not see the United States as "in trouble as a nation". He saw a healthy political system with useful partisan alternation, even though his faction's share of the alternation was much less than 50-50. In his view, the Republicans were the party of enterprise--of people who had something for themselves, expected that they were likely to get a good deal more, and so wanted to arrange America so that their enterprises would prosper and they could get rich. The Democrats, by contrast, were those who were losing out and not getting their reasonable share from the growing market economy, and so needed it to be adjusted. The Republicans in power could do useful things the Democrats could not. The Democrats in power could do useful things that the Republicans could not. Acheson preferred the New Deal order in which Democrats held office most of the time. But he did not think that America in the 1920s when that was not the case had been "in trouble as a nation".
Now Democrats today do not agree with Dean Acheson. But that is because the Republican Party today--the party of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Tom DeLay, George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Rudi Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan--is the party not of those who expect to benefit from economic growth and creative destruction, but instead the part of those who have something to lose. And they have no clue how to make the American economy grow.
Maybe if Mitt Romney, John Kasich, and company were dominant figures in the Republican Party we would think differently. But they are marginalized. So we don't.
Still, it is good that Romney is willing to let his hair down and tell this audience that the Republicans have a Hispanic voter problem. But the solution--"Rubio!" "Great Hispanic leaders..."--is not, I think, what any of us would see as adequate.
Part XIII: The Election Is Winnable:
Now the audience turns away from foreign policy to the election--to what the audience can do to help Romney win. And Romney's first response is to cherry-pick a single number from an outlier poll.
There are two views of this:
This might be a very, very bad sign about how Romney handles information: cherry-picking isolated numbers that support you may be a way to win internal bureaucratic struggles among management consultants, but it is really bad executive analytic practice and leads to bad decisions.
Romney might well discount this outlier poll number in his inner counsels. But then the fact he thinks he needs to lead his conversation about the election with this group with misleading happy talk suggests an unwillingness to take his donors seriously: cattle to be herded into opening up their checkbooks, rather than partners to be leveled with and learned from.
But at the end of this passage Romney lets his hair down: he dismisses the possibility of an adverse gender gap, but he highlights a possible Hispanic gap:
Part XII: Palestine:
The biggest long-run problem with respect to Israel and Palestine is that Palestinian political leaders do not dare abandon the ultimate goal of erasing Israel, somehow, from the page of time. But the second biggest long-run problem with respect to Israel and Palestine is that Israeli political leaders want to keep large chunks of the West Bank. They are trapped by the curse of Arik Sharon--that he wanted to get religious fanatics building settlements on every Judaean and Samarian hilltop where he wished he had had a firebase in 1948.
And so, if you had to ask which human cities are most likely to become seas of radioactive glass over the next half century, the list has to start with: Damascus, Tel-Aviv, Cairo, Tehran.
And that is a big problem.
What does Romney have to say? That trying over and over again to be an honest broker does not work, and that the only thing that works is for us to somehow "show our strength.... American strength, American resolve..." and someday, somehow...
This is not confidence-inspiring in the least. Especially when viewed against the background of Romney's knee-jerk assumption that talking to people makes us "VEAK!!"
Part XI: Iraq: Status of Forces:
This president's failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable!
The Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq was a status of forces agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the United States, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. combat forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011...
"This president's failure"? For domestic political reasons, the Iraqi government wanted a promise of the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces, and President George W. Bush agreed. So Romney wanted Obama to... what? Threaten to pull all support from the Iraqi government if it did not pronto allow us to unilaterally alter the deal? Invade Iraq?
The drunk, abusive daddy party at work: Mitt Romney's Green Lanternism--which we see here shining quite brightly--made him, IMHO, no prize as a potential president...
Part X: Obama Is Weak and Naive: :
One way to look at American foreign policy since 1945 is to draw a contrast between the Kennanites and the Kissingerites. The Kennanites believe, by and large--except for when George Kennan and his followers would get into depressed Spenglerian moods--that the tide of history is running our way. They believe that our system and our values are immensely attractive They believe that all we need to do is to contain sources of trouble and then in the end--not too distant an end either--our soft power will win through for us.
The Kissingerites believe, by contrast, that we are, as Romney quotes Kissinger, "VEAK!" We are "VEAK!" because our people are unwilling to send our soldiers to die in substantial numbers in distant places over lengthy periods of time for dubious geopolitical advantages. We are "VEAK!" because the media, members of congress, and occasionally presidents do not have the stomach to bomb and burn things down in ways that kill substantial numbers of civilians.
Since we are "VEAK!", the Kissingerites think, we need to be scary-weak. We need people to fear that we will respond irrationally and destructively to whatever is going on if it crosses our interests. We cannot be predictable. We need to be drunk and abusive, so that people know that they must tiptoe quietly around this.
The fact that pursuing such a Nixonian-Kissingerite foreign policy strategy of rationally acting irrational is unfit for any self-respecting American to adopt, and furthermore greatly undermines our most powerful foreign-policy instrument--our soft power--is something that the Kissingerites do not grasp. Why? Because they do not understand that we have the soft power and that it is very strong indeed.
Kissinger did not start the Kissingerite strain in Republican foreign policy. John Foster Dulles did. Neither "massive retaliation" nor Nixon's four-year extension of the Vietnam War to get in 1972 the agreement of 1968 nor supporting Pakistan in its attempt to kill everyone in Bangladesh with a college education nor letting the Argentine generals think they had a blank check nor George W. Bush's many misadventures have served us well. But at least George H.W. Bush was a Kennanite.
Part IX: Iran:
If you ever thought the Republican Party was in any sense "the responsible Daddy Party" on foreign affairs. This should disabuse you. Mitt Romney is as good as it gets for Republicans as far as foreign policy is concerned since the retirement of George H. W. Bush. And this is "the drunk, abusive Daddy Party" in action:
Romney: Please. Yeah—I heard a voice, please.
Part VIII: Asking for Advice/National Bankruptcy:
Here it is very clear: Mitt Romney has been listening to the wrong economists. It is not clear whether John Whitehead actually said any of the things Mitt Romney attributes to him. It is clear that--no matter who is theoretically signed up as Romney's economic advisors--nobody who actually understands what a liquidity trap is at all had been let in to brief him on the Federal Reserve, on why it was doing what it was doing, on the sources of demand for Treasury debt, or on the difference between the short-run fiscal situation (in which austerity was unhelpful) and the long-run (in which intertemporal budget balance is essential) in a time of secularly low interest rates.
The wall of the fact-free bubble was very thick indeed in the Republican Party in 2012. And it has only grown thicker since:
Romney: With that introduction, I'm going to turn to you for counsel, advice, or questions. Policy questions. Wanna talk about tax policy? Or political questions? How I win? Please.
October 25, 2016 at 04:56 AM in Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Obama Administration, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Bill Galston Wanted the Obama Administration to Nuke the Recovery: Looking Back at the Internet Past: Three years ago, in late 2009, Bill Galson was telling Obama to anticipatorily adopt the austerity policies of Cameron-Osborne-Clegg that have been so disastrous for Britain. It is remarkable:
The appearance of "Niall Ferguson" in my inbox stream as the posts from October 2012 flow across reminds me that I have a very serious point here that has not gotten sufficient attention.
To some degree this is my fault:
So let me try again. It is, I think, an important story.
It involves more than just a (flawed and failed) attempt by Niall Ferguson to feed tainted red bigotry meat to a California audience he did not understand.
It also involves bad-faith intellectual debate and intellectual history from von Hayek and Schumpeter, who thought it a good use of their time to misrepresent and slander a recently-dead man who was a greater economist than either of them could ever hope to be.
And it involves Gertrude Himmelfarb. I am not sure whether Gertrude Himmelfarb was simply misled here by trusting Schumpeter and his History of Economic Analysis as an authority on technical economic areas that she could not follow, or whether she is also a bad intellectual historian actor here. She certainly cuts off Keynes's "Puritan fallacy" quote at a very suspicious place if it is the first...
October 24, 2016 at 02:46 PM in Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Long Form, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (5)
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: John Podhoretz Badly Needs Some Better Friends than Fred Barnes...: Watch Fred Barnes snooker John Podhoretz in real time...
And then watch Podhoretz get angry at those of us who point out to him that Barnes has snookered him https://twitter.com/jpodhoretz:
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: Correcting earlier tweet: Battleground poll Romney 52-47. In response, Nate Silver raises Obama victory likelihood to 99 44/100 % pure
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: link to [Fred Barnes] Battleground Poll story: http://www.weeklystandard.com/new-poll-projects-romney-52-obama-47/article/658066
But Fred Barnes was lying to his audience--including John.
Dylan Byers @DylanByers: Honest Q: People are aware that RCP poll aggregate also predicted 49 of 50 states in 2008 & also missed Indiana, right?
Nate Silver @fivethirtyeight: .@DylanByers: We have a lot of readers because we use data to cut through the drivel that you obsess over. Not because we make predictions.
BGrueskin @BGrueskin: It's hardly a fair fight when @fivethirtyeight takes on @DylanByers
J. Bradford DeLong @delong: @DylanByers Honest Q: Are you really unaware that RCP's Obama up by 2.4% in Ohio right now is the same reality as Silver's 75% Obama chance?
Dylan Byers @DylanByers: @delong that was exactly my point, brad
J. Bradford DeLong @delong: @DylanByers that not your point. Your point was coffee-drinking NPR types would be shocked to learn that many think Silver highly overrated
Dan Drezner: Does the international affairs community need some Razzies?: "I made the mistake of clicking....
An alternative surprise... I have long expected the president to pull if he finds himself slipping behind in the polls. With a single phone call to Jerusalem, he can end all talk of his being Jimmy Carter to Mitt Romney’s Reagan: by supporting an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities...
A few things: (1) Here’s a pro tip: if your foreign affairs observations represent a reprise of wacky Donald Trump musings, maybe it’s best to take your ball and go home.
Late October, 2012: The Half-Month of MittMentum: Fox News and all its friends claiming Romney was way ahead if the polls were properly unskewed, the New York Times, Washington Post, major networks, and all the rest of the MSM claiming it was a toss-up because of "MittMentum". Plus the War on Nate Silver for, you know, actually counting up what people who had been asked how they would vote had said:
I must say the Michael Barone is the biggest Obama-hating hack in the world:
Ed Kilgore: The Ultimate “Blame Obama” Column by Ed Kilgore):
Michael Barone is a colossal hack... but not a big conservative ideologue...
Live from DuPont Circle: Last Thursday two of the smartest participants at last Friday's Brookings Panel on Economic Activity conference--Martin Feldstein and Glenn Hubbard--claimed marvelous things from the enactment of JEB!'s proposed tax cuts and his regulatory reform program. They claimed:
that it would boost economic growth over the next ten years by 0.5%/year (for the tax cuts) plus an additional 0.3%/year (for the regulatory reforms).
that it would leave the U.S. economy in ten years producing $840 billion more in annual GDP than in their baseline.
that over the next ten years faster growth would produce an average of $210 billion a year of additional revenue to offset more than half of the $340 billion a year 'static' revenue lost from the tax cuts
that the net cost to the Treasury would be not $340 billion/year but $130 billion/year.
that in the tenth year--fiscal 2027--the $400 billion 'static' cost of the tax cuts in that year would be outweighed by a $420 billion faster-growth revenue gain.
The problem is that if I were doing the numbers I would reverse the sign...
September 20, 2016 at 07:28 AM in Economics: Finance, Economics: Macro, Moral Responsibility, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Across the Wide Missouri, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (1)
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*Duncan Black: Bullshit Mountain:
Good Daily Show segment. I like the inclusion of Craig T. Nelson saying, "I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No." Because I think that quote really gets to the true core of bullshit mountain...
The subject for the day is the domestication of the horse--where and when and how and why, as recounted by David W. Anthony in his fascinating and absorbing new book, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language (2008)--and also a salute to the luckiest horse in the Fifth Millennium BCE. Per Anthony, the date is about 4800 BCE; the place is in what he chooses to call ‘the Pontic-Caspian steppes,’ just above the Caspian Sea. The ‘why’ is interesting: apparently not for riding, but for food—horses were big and meaty and could live over the winter in cold climates (riding came later).
As to ‘how,’ the flip answer is ‘it wasn’t easy,’ which is not surprising when you stop to think of it: horses—or, more precisely, stallions—are a notoriously tricky lot and they wouldn’t take kindly to being stabled or hobbled or slapped into harness. But as to precisely how, the DNA evidence provides a remarkable clue. Per Anthony:
September 14, 2016 at 08:06 AM in Books, Economics: Growth, Economics: History, History, Philosophy: Moral, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: (Wednesday) Economic History, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth | Permalink | Comments (7)
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Every once in a while I think I really ought to think some more about Knightian uncertainty. And I invariably bounce off into something like this...
Because 'integrating over the posterior distribution is the whole point of Bayesian decision theory', a Bayesian cannot be uncertain about the probability of an observable. Bayesians are uncertain about the values of parameters. Bayesians are uncertain about the truth of hypotheses. But they cannot be uncertain about the probabilities of observables--and thus they cannot be uncertain about whether to take bets or not.
Can a Bayesian come close to being uncertain about the probability of an observable?
Hey! New York Times! Why don't you take some of those journamalistic resources desperately writing misleading articles about Donald Trump's pivot and do a deep dive explaining to us how this happened?
RealClimate Gives the "New York Times's" Tobin Harshaw the Coveted "Worst Journalist" Award: Gavin at RealClimate writes:
1934 and all that: However, there is clearly a latent and deeply felt wish in some sectors for the whole problem of global warming to be reduced to a statistical quirk or a mistake...
Noah Smith periodically asks me why I feel that I do not have time to read David Andolfatto--why what he writes goes never to the top but always to somewhere lower, in the middle of the too-read pile...
Here is one sufficient reason:
David Andolfatto, February 2009:
Here we go again.... Many governments appear to be taking seriously the notion that a massive government 'electric shock therapy' is needed…. Is there any merit in the view that a massive government fiscal action can rescue the day? Apparently, there must be. Why would all these learned people be advocating a policy prescription that is not solidly backed by economic theory and the historical evidence?… I am especially eager to learn how this evidence might be construed as supporting the notion that fiscal policy 'works'…
Hoisted from the Archives: Daniel Kuehn: Yes, Acemoglu and Robinson's Piketty Review Is Strange:
I just happened to get to one of the parts in Piketty that Acemoglu and Robinson quote to show that Piketty doesn't think institutions matter (from page 365):
I had barely finished reading Niall Ferguson’s takedown of President Obama when a flood of takedowns of Mr. Ferguson started hitting the web. This post, then, will not be about his Newsweek piece, but instead about his recent Bloomberg TV interview with Erik Schatzker and Sara Eisen. And, in particular, one very specific part of that interview where Ferguson makes what is well beyond what I could even charitably refer to as a rookie mistake.
Once again, not somebody who I see as underrated in the world at large. But the community in which he is well-known seems, once again, to have less overlap with it should with the community that reads here...
Across the Wide Missouri: Claire McCaskill dishes the dirt on how she energized the Trumpists-before-Trump, and how they obliged her by turning the stomachs of independents and non-wingnut Republicans, and reelected her over the truly infamous Todd Akin:
Claire McCaskill: August 7, 2012....
Running for reelection... from Missouri....
Question: If President Obama invited you into the Oval Office, told you that he recognized that the economic policies he has pursued to date haven't had the desired outcome, and gave you five minutes to tell him what in your opinion he should do now (setting aside whether Congress would go along)?
August 15, 2016 at 07:58 AM in Economics: History, Economics: Macro, History, Long Form, Obama Administration, Political Economy, Politics, Streams: (BiWeekly) Honest Broker, Streams: (Tuesday) Hoisted from Archives, Streams: Cycle, Streams: Economics, Streams: Equitable Growth, Streams: Highlighted | Permalink | Comments (2)
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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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