Why We Need a New and Very Different Opposition to the Democrats than We Actually Have
Winston Churchill Liveblogs World War II: May 18, 1940

links for 2010-05-17

  • RB: "More jobs might be created this year than during George W. Bush's entire presidency"
  • PK: "With a unified currency, adjustment to differential shocks requires adjustments in relative wage.... At this point, wages in Greece/Spain/Portugal/Latvia/Estonia etc. need to fall something like 20-30 percent relative to wages in Germany.... How hard will it be to achieve this? Look at Latvia, which has pursued incredibly draconian austerity. Unemployment has risen from 6 percent before the crisis to 22.3 percent now — and wages are, indeed, falling. But even in Latvia labor costs have fallen only 5.4 percent from their peak; so it will take years of suffering to restore competitiveness. The official answer is that this just shows the need for more flexible labor markets. But this was a subject we all batted back and forth in the initial debate about the euro, circa 1990: nobody has labor markets that flexible. If the euro isn’t workable without highly flexible nominal wages, well, it isn’t workable. Anyway, this is my morning euro rant."
  • MY: "[T]here’s a nearly universal consensus in the literature that immigration grows the economy and increases... the wages of the average American worker... a negative impact on the wages of people who don’t have a high school degree, although some researchers dispute even that.... [T]he negative impact... concentrated on... other immigrants.... [T]hese are all pretty intuitive.... If two percent of the population was irrevocably teleported at random to Mexico... Monday... that would lead to a decline in overall living standards.... [In] a peasant society with a fixed supply of arable land... 80 percent... working in agriculture... things might look different, but that’s not the case. Even “unskilled” people have some skills, and adding to the pot makes us better off, especially because some “unskilled” people actually possess skills that are quite rare... But cohorts of immigrants have very similar skills to each other so pulling up the gate might help recent Mexican immigrants."
  • DTA&NHM: "Using micro data on more than 130,000 individuals from 69 countries, we analyze the extent to which joblessness of the individuals and the prevailing unemployment rate in the country impact perceptions of the effectiveness of democracy. We find that personal joblessness experience translates into negative opinions about the effectiveness of democracy and it increases the desire for a rouge leader. Evidence from people who live in European countries suggests that being jobless for more than a year is the source of discontent. We also find that well-educated and wealthier individuals are less likely to indicate that democracies are ineffective, regardless of joblessness. People’s beliefs about the effectiveness of democracy as system of governance are also shaped by the unemployment rate in countries with low levels of democracy. The results suggest that periods of high unemployment and joblessness could hinder the development of democracy or threaten its existence."
  • JG: "I've only read through Beinart's essay quickly... and I think it is in many ways analytically valid, if unsympathetic to some of the existential challenges faced by Israelis. But the essay's placement, in the New York Review of Books, the one-stop shopping source for bien-pensant anti-Israelism, is semi-tragic. If Beinart's goal is to talk to the great mass of American Jews who support the institutions of American Jewry but who are troubled by certain trends in Israeli politics, this is not the way to do it. Who is he trying to convince? Timothy Garton Ash? Peter should have published this essay on Tablet, or some other sort of publication not associated with Tony Judt's disproportionate hatred of Jewish nationalism..."
  • JB-A: "Peter Beinart has written what I hope will be a powerful wake-up call to the leadership of the American Jewish establishment. J Street shares Beinart’s deep concern over the consequences of the course that leadership has chosen: blind support of Israel ‘right-or-wrong’ and demonization and black-listing of those who disagree with Israeli policy. Beinart - with his impeccable pro-Israel credentials - is hopefully an effective messenger to convince the American Jewish establishment that it is not simply enabling self-destructive Israeli behavior that is damaging American interests, it is sowing the seeds for the end of the American Jewish community as we know it."