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September 2012

Sam Popkin: Can the Romney Campaign Be Saved?

Why "can"? Why not "should"?

"Should" is to my mind a much more interesting question than "can"…

James Fallows:

Ask Dr. Popkin: Can the Romney Campaign Be Saved?: Sam Popkin: [T]the GOP Tea Party base is pushing for policies that cannot be defended nationally by a presidential candidate. The Romney campaign wanted the election to be a referendum on Obama's record on jobs. Once the Tea Party tail started wagging the elephant, Romney pandered himself into a corner. Each time the Romney campaign has seemed ready to acknowledge a more centrist idea, the far right yelled and Romney blinked.

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Liveblogging World War II: September 30, 1942

Adolf Hitler:

My German countrymen and countrywomen!

It is now a year since I was last able to speak to you and to the German people from this place. In retrospect, it is in many ways to be regretted, first because I myself very much regret not being able to stand oftener before the nation, and second because I am naturally afraid that my speeches thereby are becoming worse rather than better, for in this regard practice is necessary. My time is unfortunately much more limited than the time of my worthy adversaries. Naturally he who can travel around the world for weeks at a time, with a broad sombrero on his head, wearing a white silk shirt here, and some other outfit there, can naturally occupy himself much more with speeches.

All this time I have really had to be busy managing and doing rather than speaking. Besides, I cannot of course speak every week or every month. For what am I to say? What has to be said will be said by our soldiers….

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 30, 1942" »

You Think That the Cato Institute Would Be Really Embarrassed by the Libertarian Dive for Romney...

For the past generation, the Cato Institute has whined: "We are not corporate looters like the establishment Republicans, we are principled fighters for individual freedom".

Having libertarians take a dive for Romney does not increase the believability of that argument at all.

Yet somehow David Kirby is proud of it:

Poll Shows Romney Winning High Water Mark for Libertarian Vote: Reason’s Matt Welch, FreedomWork’s Matt Kibbe, and David Boaz, speculated whether Romney can win over libertarians…. The Reason-Rupe September 2012 poll… fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters… the presidential horserace currently stands: Romney 77%, Obama 20%, Other 3%. Romney’s share of the libertarian vote represents a high water mark for Republican presidential candidates in recent elections.

Chris Hayes Decries Plutocracy

Chris Hayes:

Hayes: This is what plutocracy looks like: Keep in mind we're talking about a fundraiser that cost $50,000 a plate. Fifty thousand dollars also happens to be the median household income in the U.S. So the kind of wealth you need to have to be in the room with Romney is the kind of wealth that means you can just pony up as much money as many Americans make in a year to listen to Mitt Romney trash talk the very people who make in a year the same amount you just ponied up for dinner. 

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William Jacobson of Cornell University Law School Is a Real Trip...

Let me go out on a limb and say that the clinical legal education teaching provided by this guy is likely to be highly, highly subpar:

William A. Jacobson: MSNBC Hides Obama’s Dijon Mustard (aka Dijongate): Andrea Mitchell (does she have nothing else to do?) reported that Obama ordered a burger and mustard. Sounds like it had that “real guy kind of quality.” Mitchell even noted that Obama left a $5 tip in the tip jar. But she didn’t mention… [that] Obama said. “Do you have spicy mustard? I’ll take that.” Actually, the quote was “you got a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that”…. Obama ordered his burger with DIJON MUSTARD! Bet he had to seek John Kerry’s counsel on that…..

Continue reading "William Jacobson of Cornell University Law School Is a Real Trip..." »

Could Gerald Seib Please Do His Job?

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?

He can be good. But not here. The question that most of Gerald Seib's readers need information on is: "Should I vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama?" The question that followers of the horserace for amusement want information on is: "What are the odds that Romney will recover and win this thing?"

Yet those are questions he avoids providing us with any information about:

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Will Mitt Romney Drive Everybody Insane? Weblogging: Senator James Webb Joins the Military Studies Department at Miskatonic University

Virginia Senator James Webb:

Governor Romney and I are about the same age.  Like millions of others in our generation we came to adulthood facing the harsh realities of the Vietnam War.  2.7 million in our age group went to Vietnam, a war which eventually took the lives of 58,000 young Americans and cost another 300,000 wounded.  The Marine Corps lost 100,000 killed or wounded in that war.  During the year I was in Vietnam, 1969, our country lost twice as many dead as we have lost in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the past ten years of war.  1968 was worse.  1967 was about the same.  Not a day goes by when I do not think about the young Marines I was privileged to lead. 

Continue reading "Will Mitt Romney Drive Everybody Insane? Weblogging: Senator James Webb Joins the Military Studies Department at Miskatonic University" »

**UPDATED:** DeLong Smackdown Watch: Henry Farrell Does Not Repeat Not Urge Democratic Voters To Not Support Obama

UPDATE: Chris Bertram writes:

It isn't stopping [@delong] doing his selective quotation thing, even in his "correction" 30 Sep

For the record, I quote the first three paragraphs of Scott Lemieux's post and then stopped not because I want to misrepresent Lemieux or Farrell but rather because it seems to me that that was all--two paragraphs from Lemieux, one requoted paragraph from Farrell--that it was appropriate to.

For the record, the remaining paragraphs in Scott Lemieux's post are:

Erik made this point and I have discussed it recently at great length, so I won’t reiterate the whole argument. But I will make a couple of additional points.

First, I would note that the heighten-the-contradictions argument being made here [by Henry Farrell] is very weak tea indeed. Henry [Farrell] concedes that Romney is no better on the issues under discussion and is probably worse. But, the argument seems to run, at least Romney would generate more opposition from Democrats when he committed similar and worse abuses.

I believe this is true. But to carry any weight that would justify the repeal of the ACA, the overruling of Roe v. Wade, the gutting of environmental and civil rights enforcement, massive upper-class tax cuts, etc. etc. etc. it’s not enough that there be more opposition; it must be the case that this opposition be effectual. And it’s overwhelmingly clear that, in fact, this increased opposition would be extremely ineffectual. The liberal opposition to Bush over his stupid wars and egregious civil liberties abuses didn’t create the first powerful pro-civil liberties faction in American history, and it should be pretty obvious that this wouldn’t happen as a result of a Romney administration either.

Second, as a follow-up to djw’s point about the fallacy focusing on “deal-breakers” rather than engaging in a holistic evaluation of the consequences of electoral outcomes, I could understand the argument more if Obama was some kind of outlier on these issues among moderately progressive American presidents. But, to state the obvious, this is very much not true.

Even the few presidents with greater records of progressive accomplishment than Obama have much more egregious deal-breakers to their discredit. LBJ, of course, was responsible for far, far more needless deaths than Obama (although it must be conceded that these deaths generally didn’t involve unmanned planes, which is apparently relevant for reasons I’ve never understood.) FDR had not only the horrors of the Japanese internment but the fact that the already insufficient social welfare programs that represent the enduring legacy of the New Deal were structured so that African Americans received grotesquely lesser benefits. Lincoln was a white supremacist, wasn’t an abolitionist, and even if we give him a pass on most Civil War deaths because it was a just cause it’s hard to argue that, say, all of the property destruction in Georgia was strictly necessary.

And these are the good presidents.

There’s no president that doesn’t have any number of potential “deal-breakers,” and as djw says this is inevitable given that American political culture and constitutionalism have always been saturated with any number of evils and injustices.

So, to be clear, to believe in this kind of logic is to permanently abstain from American electoral politics. All meaningful votes for president are at best a choice for a lesser evil. What abstinence or voting for nothing but vanity candidates is supposed to accomplish I have no idea, but nothing good and much bad would come from it. (Like Henry [Farrell], I’m assuming that we’re not discussing “how any individual should cast her meaningless vote” but are making an argument about how progressives should vote. If any individual wants not to vote for Obama as a moral statement on the grounds that it won’t actually have any consequences, knock yourself out. I’ll only note that the ineffectuality argument cuts both ways — if your vote doesn’t matter, abstaining doesn’t somehow morally insulate yourself from the consequences of bad American policy either. Refusing to vote for Obama because you’d prefer to wait for Godot isn’t actually any kind of meaningful moral statement, and you can’t escape moral consequences by refusing to vote for anyone who might actually become president.)

I also quote one short passage from Henry Farrell's post "Is It Moral for Lefties to Vote for Obama". The short passage is:

weighs the balance in favor of voting against Democrats who you know are going to sell out. Personally, I am on the fence…

Henry Farrell's full paragraph surrounding that quote is:

The last of these [three reasons Friedersdorf advances for there being a moral duty to abstain from the Obama-Romney choice] seems weaker to me than the first two (I was, and still am, against the Libya intervention, but don’t think that the War Powers Resolution question is a moral one). But the first two are pretty damn awful. On key foreign policy and human rights issues, Obama hasn’t been a disappointment. He’s been a disaster. You can make a good case, obviously, that his main opponent, Mitt Romney, would be even worse. But it isn’t at all clear that the consequences of voting for Romney over the longer term, would be any worse than the consequences of voting for the guy who was supposed to be better on these issues, and was not. Indeed, the unwillingness of American left-liberals to criticize the opprobrious foreign policy of a Democratic president (and the consequent lack of real public debate over this policy, since most of the right tacitly agrees with the bad stuff) weighs the balance in favor of voting against Democrats who you know are going to sell out. Personally, I’m on the fence, if only because the current Republican party is so extraordinarily horrible. But I think that there is a very strong case to be made for not voting for Obama, and I wish that there were more publicly prominent lefties making it.

I believe that the context does not change the natural meaning: Farrell says (a) that he wishes there were more publicly-prominent lefties arguing that American left-liberals should not vote for Obama, (b) that the case for voting against Democrats who you know are going to sell out" is the stronger case, and (c ) that he personally is on the fence.

I thought, initially, that it would be unfair and untrue to summarize this as "Farrell opposes Obama", but that "Farrell calls for people to abstain from voting for Obama" would be a fair and true summary.

Now Farrell says that that is not what he meant.

But I do not believe I took the quotation out of context.

Original post now moved to after the break.

Continue reading "**UPDATED:** DeLong Smackdown Watch: Henry Farrell Does Not Repeat Not Urge Democratic Voters To Not Support Obama" »

Paul Ryan: Socialism Must Be Destroyed, and by "Socialism" I Mean Things Like Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, and Unemployment Insurance

The Paul Ryan audiotape did not get the same attention as the Romney videotape. Yet I find it as damning:

Paul Ryan:

Social Security right now is a collectivist system. It is a welfare transfer system…. And so what we have coming now at the beginning of this century is a fight…. [A]ll they have to do is to stop us from succeeding. Autopilot will get them to where they want to go. It will bring more government, more collectivism, more centralized government if we do not succeed in switching these programs and reforming these programs from what some people call a defined-benefit system to a defined-contribution system--and I am talking about health-care programs as well--from a third-party socialist-based system to an individually-prefunded individually-directed system. We can do this. We are on offense on a lot of these issues…

In Paul Ryan's eyes, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, SNAP, etc. are all socialist, collectivist systems that must cease to exist in anything like their present form.

And let me stress that shifting health care to an "individually-prefunded individually-directed system" means that poor people die in the gutter outside the hospital when they get sick: if you are unlucky and get seriously ill, then unless you are rich there is no way that you can have individually-prefunded enough to pay for your treatment.

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Tom Levenson Watches Conor Friedersdorf Meet the Real World


Reality, Meet Conor. Conor, Meet the Real World. « The Inverse Square Blog: [A]cknowledging that Friedersdorf has both reason and the right to feel moral revulsion at some of the acts of the Obama administration, in this fallen world you don’t get the choice of the perfect man or government. Friedersdorf acknowledges the “lesser of two evils” argument with a faint sneer… moral relativism is not for the stalwart Friedersdorf…. Ahh, the eternal righteousness of the resolutely disengaged….

[Friedersdorf's] argument rests on the claim that on the crucial matter Romney and Obama are the same.  Which is why this report in today’s New York Times is such a firecracker up his rhetorical butt:

Continue reading "Tom Levenson Watches Conor Friedersdorf Meet the Real World" »

Why Is Nate Silver's Forecast So Much More Pessismistic for Obama than His Now-Cast?

Because the polls for Obama are much stronger than they should be given the state of the economy, and he expects that to tell over the next month:

Nate Silver: Could 2012 Be Like 2008? - The “now-cast” estimates that Mr. Obama would have a 97.8 percent chance of winning an election held today… five and a half percentage points in the national popular vote. By contrast, the Nov. 6 forecast expects Mr. Obama to win by… 3.6 percentage points…. Two things account for this disparity:

First, there are still some effects from the convention bounce… adjustment [which] is phasing out of the model, but it hasn’t done so completely.

Second, the Nov. 6 forecast is still using economic data along with the polls…. [T]he economic index still accounts for about 30 percent of the forecast.

The forecast is thus 0.3(Economic Fundamentals) + 0.7(Polls). Polls is 5.6%. Forecast is 3.6%. That tells us that--if the convention bounce is over--Silver's economic fundamentals give Romney a 1% lead...

Brian Buetler on How Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post Needs to Move to the Amazon and Take Up a Life of Anonymous Service Weblogging

Brian Buetler narrates how Tommy Thompson reveals Glenn Kessler to be a corrupt fool:

Tommy Thompson Makes The Case For ‘Doing Away’ With Fact Checkers: If you haven’t heard much about Tommy Thompson’s super subtle primer on “doing away” with Medicare and Medicaid, it’s probably because Thompson had already been in free fall for weeks when his remarks first surfaced. But I wanted to very briefly propose that, whatever the incident’s impact on that race, it should once and for all put to rest the Fact-Checker stoked “dispute” about what the GOP’s plans for Medicare and Medicaid really are.>If before 2011 you understood how these programs functioned and knew the history of conservative disdain for them, nothing Paul Ryan and House Republicans did or said that year came as a huge surprise. Phasing out Medicare and replacing it with vouchers to buy private insurance has been a conservative goal since before Newt Gingrich wanted it to “wither on the vine.” It was in that context that Democrats began attacking Republicans for voting to “end Medicare” or “end Medicare as we know it.” Democrats support single-payer health care for seniors, Republicans don’t, and want to replace the existing system with something else entirely.

Nobody expected Republicans to take that lying down. But the big surprise came when The Fact Checkers™ clutched their pearls and, in the most enabling display of feigned naiveté I’ve ever seen, basically scrubbed more than 40 years of conservative antipathy for the Great Society off the books.

Continue reading "Brian Buetler on How Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post Needs to Move to the Amazon and Take Up a Life of Anonymous Service Weblogging" »

Liveblogging World War II: September 29, 1942

Josef Furman, writing to his family in Irkutsk:

Today is my second day on the frontline, where the greatest battle in human history is taking place. Not a second passes without the sound of artillery salvoes, the shriek of falling shells, the rattle of machine gun fire. Everywhere there are corpses. I do not know what will happen in the next hour...

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Conor Friedersdorf and Henry Farrell Picked the Wrong Day to Call for People to Abstain from Voting for Obama

The day when Mitt Romney's national security staff leaks that they want the U.S. to torture prisoners, that is.

And Hilzoy joins the rest of us ululating at the moon beneath the dead uncaring stars:

On Not Being Obliged to Vote Democrat: Sweet Jesus.

I am beyond disappointed by Obama on civil liberties. But I have also been voting for the lesser of two evils for my entire adult life. This is not because I think I have to vote for the Democrat; it’s because it has always seemed to me to be the right choice. There are things that could make me not want to do so, but they involve either some plausible path to political change or two alternatives so awful that they would make me either emigrate or join the resistance.

The plausible path to political change is key here. I see the obvious problem about how a third party gets to displace one of the other two if everyone votes the way I do. But the reason there is no viable third party now isn’t primarily that; it’s that given the present electorate (including its news-gathering habits), no third party (that I’d be tempted to vote for) would be viable now.

The question is: how do you move the objectives you favor forward? Do you say to yourself that having Supreme Court justices who, in addition to eviscerating women’s rights, what remain of labor rights, etc., etc., would set Citizens United in stone, define money as speech for the foreseeable future, etc.? Do you say: ha ha, I don’t want to settle for the Affordable Care Act, even though Democrats have been trying to get something like this for half a century; I’ll just let a lot of people sicken and die while I wait for single-payer? Do you react to the recent study that says that climate change might kill a hundred million people by 2030 by saying: well, let’s just heighten the contradictions?

If I saw some plausible path to actual political change that would in some way compensate for these things, not to mention the many extra dead people that a Republican administration and its wars would probably produce, I might consider it. But I will not now. This is not because I think it’s not a choice, that I am “obligated” to vote Democratic, etc. It’s because I think it is a choice with immense moral ramifications, all of which lead me to vote for Obama.

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?: Dan Balz and John Cohen Edition

Robert Waldmann tells us that Billmon is back:

Billmon (September 10): The Washington Post Lies About Its Own Poll: A few hours ago the Post put up a front page story reporting the results of the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. And said story appears to be baldly misrepresenting -- and by misrepresenting I mean lying about -- the size of Obama's post-convention bounce.

Either that, or the story's authors are too freaking incompetent to read their own polls.

Continue reading "Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?: Dan Balz and John Cohen Edition" »

Unleash the Hounds, Smithers!

Pema Levy:

McCaskill Hits Akin Over Rape Comments In New Ad: The Missouri Senate race kicked off in earnest Tuesday when Republican candidate Todd Akin affirmed for the last time that he will not drop his Senate bid at a press conference in St. Louis. Establishment Republicans have urged Akin to leave the race after an interview in which he said that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant. But on Tuesday… he reaffirmed that he is in it to win it:

A lot of people in politics specialize in asking this question: ‘Can we win?’ But there’s another question that’s more fundamental and that is: ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ There’s an amazing correlation. When you do the right thing, you end up winning anyway.

Akin’s determination to stay in the race was not a surprise….

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill posted a hard-hitting TV ad featuring Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments to her campaign website Tuesday. The McCaskill campaign confirmed to TPM that the ad began airing statewide Monday night. Immediately following Akin’s press conference, liberal super PAC American Bridge released a video and memo documenting the “top ten crazy Akin moments.”

“On August 19, Todd Akin said, only some rapes are ‘legitimate,’” a narrator says in McCaskill’s new ad. “What will he say next?”

Should It Be Legal to Charge Black People $1000 for a Hamburger When You Charge White People $5? It Seems Todd Akin Thinks So...

Todd Akin Suggests Employers Should Be Able To Pay Women Less: Here's a transcript:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?

AKIN: Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I'm making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don't think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don't pay. I think it's about freedom.  If someone what’s to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that's fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble. 

The McCaskill campaign condemned Akin's remarks…

And Glenn Kessler Carries Yet More Water for Republican Senate Leader McConnell

Negative Interest: “Perhaps” Glenn Kessler should attempt some journalism:

Glenn Kessler:

There is no doubt that McConnell said he wanted to make Obama a one-term president. But he did not say it at the start of Obama’s term; instead, he made his comments at the midpoint, after Obama had enacted many of his preferred policies. Perhaps, in Obama’s memory, McConnell was always uncooperative. But that does not give him and other Democrats the license to rearrange the chronology to suit the party’s talking points.

Michael Grunwald, The New New Deal:

At the [January 2009] retreat, McConnell reminded the Republican senators that there were still enough of them to block the Democratic agenda--as long as they all marched in lockstep…. Politically, they had nothing to gain from me-too-ism…. McConnell recognized that Obama’s promises of bipartisanship gave his dwindling minority real leverage. Whenever Republicans decided not to cooperate, Obama would be the one breaking his promises.… ”We thought--correctly, I think--that the only way the American people would know a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan,” McConnell explain later in one of his periodic outbreaks of candor. “When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that the differences had been worked out”…


p. 207: Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said, Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was:For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says…. Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed they had conversations with Biden along these lines.

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?

Partisan Asymmetry and American Governance: Somehow I Don't Think We Are in Wales Anymore, Daniel... Weblogging

The key thing that Daniel appears to miss is that low discipline on the part of the Democratic Party is not something that a thinking entity called "Democrats" chose, it is, rather, simply a fact about the world as it is.

Daniel Davies:

Learned helplessness, strategic victimhood and … the Democrats: Recall, Obama’s whole strategy was based around abandoning all other priorities such as carbon tax, an effective stimulus bill, half his nominations, most of the financial sector reforms and so forth, all to concentrate on passing health care. And he only got about half of that - the version passed was something he’d specifically campaigned against as not being anything like radical enough. So given that, how are we to suppose that President Romney would be able to push through an agenda five times as radical, including the ultimate third-rail issue of abortion? You would have to believe that under a Democratic administration Congress is a sclerotic, obstructionist institution which prevents all possibility of effective government, but as soon as the Republicans get in it becomes a streamlined ideological machine.

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Liveblogging World War II: September 28, 1942

From Glantz and House, Armageddon in Stalingrad:

The two weeks of bloody [September] fighting in the streets and rubble of Stalingrad... established the parameters for... the fate of Army Group B and Operation Blau as a whole. Weichs and Paulus had planned for a triumphant march... tanks, assault guns, and accompanying panzer-grenadiers and landsers enveloping it form the north and south. Instead... a painfully slow, grinding, and immensely costly block-to-block and building-to-building slugging match....

Stalin's decision to defend the city deprived the Germans of their traditional advantages of mobility, maneuver, and precise, overwhelming, and deadly artillery and air support. This forced thei attackers to gnaw their way through Chuikov's defense in a battle that resembled... Verdun... more than it did the familiar blitzkrieg.... Although imposed on them by Hitler, Weichs's and Paulus's decision to take Stalingrad by storm negated all the Germans' traditional advantages and committed Sixth Army to a struggle it could not win....

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 28, 1942" »

Kudos to Modeled Behavior for Weighing in at Forbes on the Desirability of Carbon Taxes…

Kudos to Adam Ozimek for writing:

I will take Brad’s new advice and try to convince the readers of Forbes that a carbon tax is a good idea…. I am a proponent of carbon taxes…. [S]urely higher gas taxes are a good idea. In his Pigou Tax paper Mankiw cites on study that shows of the $2.10 optimal tax on gasoline, only 6 cents was due to global warming. The rest came from other externalities like congestion and accidents. Gas taxes also show us that international “coordination” is possible…. Noah [Smith] is correct that efficiently taxing a globally traded externality producing commodity does require global cooperation. But… many developed nations… [set] high gas taxes, and it’s time we got on board. This will be many times more efficient than CAFE standards…. I am also on board with Noah’s larger suggestion though that we should be heavily subsidizing basic research for clean energy….

[W]hile Noah is correct that carbon taxes and gas taxes are unpopular, so are the taxes that would be needed to raise the money for the research he wants. As Matt Yglesias points out, this money needs to come from somewhere. Better to be tax an activity that generates an externality to raise this money than to tax income or capital gains.

A final important reason conservatives should support taxes and research is because it will help the government get out of the energy regulation business in the long-run. If innovation drives solar and battery prices low enough, the energy sector may become no different than any other industry in producing limited externalities. Thus the special regulatory consideration it merits will no longer exist. That and of course it will help reduce the risk that we destroy the planet. Conservatives should care about that too.

Continue reading "Kudos to Modeled Behavior for Weighing in at Forbes on the Desirability of Carbon Taxes…" »

No. Paul Ryan Could Not Be a Budget Analyst for a Day. Why Do You Ask?

Paul Krugman:

Delusions of Wonkhood: Dave Weigel has some fun with credulous journalists who are sure that Paul Ryan must be a Very Serious Wonk because — wait for it — he uses PowerPoint. With pie charts!

This is really amazing.

Look, I know wonks. Ryan is not a wonk. Yes, he likes charts and slides. But he very clearly doesn’t know what his numbers actually mean. When the famous plan was unveiled, it was quite clear that he never even realized that the Heritage projection of his plan’s impact made a completely ridiculous assertion about what would happen to unemployment. Nor did he realize that his assumptions about discretionary spending would require cutting such spending — including defense! — to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge.

One question one might ask is whether Ryan is aware that he isn’t actually a wonk, that he just plays one on TV. Maybe not; some of what he says suggests the Dunning-Kruger effect at work,: he may be so innumerate that he doesn’t realize that he has no idea what the numbers he throws around mean. And after all, why would he, given all the praise he’s received for putting up a line graph or pie chart here and there?

If the fate of the republic weren’t at stake, it would be funny — and painfully embarrassing.

Continue reading "No. Paul Ryan Could Not Be a Budget Analyst for a Day. Why Do You Ask?" »

Against Whacka-Whacka Claims That Al Gore Would Have Been "Likely" to Attack Iraq in 2003 as George W. Bush Did

Seems to me not "likely" but rather unlikely. That's what I thought when I heard this. That's what I believe now:

Former Vice President Al Gore: Sept. 23, 2002: Iraq and the War on Terrorism: Commonwealth Club of California: San Francisco, California: Like all Americans I have been wrestling with the question of what our country needs to do to defend itself from the kind of intense, focused and enabled hatred that brought about September 11th, and which at this moment must be presumed to be gathering force for yet another attack. I’m speaking today in an effort to recommend a specific course of action for our country which I believe would be preferable to the course recommended by President Bush.  Specifically, I am deeply concerned that the policy we are presently following with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.

Continue reading "Against Whacka-Whacka Claims That Al Gore Would Have Been "Likely" to Attack Iraq in 2003 as George W. Bush Did" »

Conor Friedersdorf, Please Don Your Asbestos Suit and Report to the Judgement Throne Stat!

Conor Friedersdorf: Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama: The case against casting a ballot for the president -- even if you think he's better than Mitt Romney.

DeLong Smackdown Watch: Daniel Shaviro Romney Tax Fraud Edition

Daniel Shaviro says that I am wrong in thinking that Romney did is not tax fraud, for what Romney did is tax fraud--if the IRS brought a fraud case it would win. But, he says, the IRS does not bring these fraud cases.

Now I want to know: "Why not?"

I wrote: I Do Not Understand Why This Is Not Tax Fraud...: Jesse Drucker on Mitt Romney….

In January 1999, a trust set up by Mitt Romney for his children and grandchildren reaped a 1,000 percent return on the sale of shares in Internet advertising firm DoubleClick Inc…. Romney or his trust received shares in DoubleClick eight months before the company went public in 1998. The trust sold them less than a year after the IPO….

Daniel Shaviro:

The extreme undervaluation certainly looks like tax fraud. Key evidence would be the close proximity of the valuation date and the sale date, and the absence of major new information in the interim to explain the supposed change in value. But when such overvaluations are so widespread and tolerated for years, the IRS would never actually bring a fraud charge. (Which is not to say it shouldn't, as a shot against the bow that everyone in the field, when they were done screeching about it, would keep in mind for years to come.)

Project Syndicate: That the Euro Crisis Is No Longer So Acute Does Not Mean It Is Being Resolved

Stage Three for the Euro Crisis? by J. Bradford DeLong - Project Syndicate: BERKELEY – The first two components of the euro crisis – a banking crisis that resulted from excessive leverage in both the public and private sectors, followed by a sharp fall in confidence in eurozone governments – have been addressed successfully, or at least partly so. But that leaves the third, longest-term, and most dangerous factor underlying the crisis: the structural imbalance between the eurozone’s north and south.

First, the good news: The fear that Europe’s banks could collapse, with panicked investors’ flight to safety producing a European Great Depression, now seems to have passed. Likewise, the fear, fueled entirely by the European Union’s dysfunctional politics, that eurozone governments might default – thereby causing the same dire consequences – has begun to dissipate.

Whether Europe would avoid a deep depression hinged on whether it dealt properly with these two aspects of the crisis. But whether Europe as a whole avoids lost decades of economic growth still hangs in the balance, and depends on whether southern European governments can rapidly restore competitiveness.

The process by which southern Europe became uncompetitive in the first place was driven by market price signals – by the incentives those signals created for entrepreneurs, and by how entrepreneurs’ individually rational responses played out in macroeconomic terms. Northern Europeans with money to invest were willing to lend on extraordinarily easy terms to those in the south who wanted to spend, and ample pre-2007 spending made employers there willing to raise wages rapidly.

As a result, southern Europe adopted an economic configuration in which its wage, price, and productivity levels made sense only so long as it spent €13 for every €12 that it earned, with northern Europe financing the missing euro. Northern Europe, meanwhile, adopted wage and productivity levels that made sense only as long as it spent less than one euro for every euro that it earned.

Now, if, as appears to be the case, Europe does not want its south to spend more than it earns and its north to spend less, wages, prices, and productivity must shift. If we are not to look back in a generation and bemoan “lost” decades, southern European productivity levels need to rise relative to the north, and wage and price levels need to fall by roughly 30%, so that the south can pay its way with exports and northern Europe can spend its earnings on those products.

If the euro is to be preserved, and if stagnation is to be avoided, five policy measures could be attempted:

  1. Northern Europe could tolerate higher inflation – an extra two percentage points for five years would take care of one-third of the total north-south adjustment;
  2. Northern Europe could expand social democracy by making its welfare states more lavish;
  3. Southern Europe could shrink its taxes and social services substantially;
  4. Southern Europe could reconfigure its enterprises to become engines of productivity;
  5. Southern Europe could enforce deflation.

The fifth option is perhaps the least wise, for it implies the lost decades and EU collapse that Europe is trying to avoid. The fourth option would be wonderful; but, if anyone knew how to bring southern Europe's enterprises up to the productivity levels of the north, it would have happened already.

So we are left with a combination of the first three options, also known as “policies to restore European growth” – a phrase that appears in every international communiqué. But the communiqués never get more specific. Europe’s technocrats understand what adoption of “policies to restore European growth” means. So do some of Europe’s politicians. But European voters do not, because politicians fear that spelling it out would be a career-limiting move.

But if Europe does not adopt some combination of the first three options as policy goals over the next five years, it will face a stark choice: either lost decades for southern Europe (and perhaps northern Europe as well), or continued north-south payment imbalances that will have to be financed through fiscal transfers – that is, by taxing the north.

Northern Europe’s politicians should become more explicit about what “policies to restore European growth” actually mean. Otherwise, ten years from now, they will be forced to confess that today’s dithering imposed enormous additional tax liabilities on northern Europe. That might turn out to be the ultimate career bummer.

I Do Not Understand Why This Is Not Tax Fraud...

Jesse Drucker on Mitt Romney:

Mitt Romney ‘I Dig It’ Trust Gives Heirs Triple Benefit: In January 1999, a trust set up by Mitt Romney for his children and grandchildren reaped a 1,000 percent return on the sale of shares in Internet advertising firm DoubleClick Inc. If Romney had given the cash directly, he could have owed a gift tax at a rate as high as 55 percent. He avoided gift and estate taxes by using a type of generation-skipping trust known to tax planners by the nickname: “I Dig It.”…

The Obama administration proposed cracking down on the tax benefits in February…. Romney or his trust received shares in DoubleClick eight months before the company went public in 1998. The trust sold them less than a year after the IPO…. Multimillionaires use such trusts to avoid… taxes… [by] assign[ing] a low value to assets they donate to the trust….

The formal name for Romney’s shelter is the Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Family Trust. Capital gains, interest and dividends from its holdings accounted for about a quarter of Romney’s 2011 income of $13.7 million. Romney set up his trust in 1995…. Here’s how they work: the person setting up the trust, like Romney, contributes assets such as an interest in a fund or shares in a company. If he makes that contribution before those assets appreciate -- particularly when they are privately held and difficult to value -- he can claim the gift tax obligation is low or non-existent since the declared value is low or zero.

If the trust generates any income -- such as by selling stock -- the eventual tax bill is the responsibility of Romney, not the trust. By paying the capital gains tax, which was 20 percent in the late 1990s and is now 15 percent, he can avoid depleting the funds in the trust -- in essence making an additional donation that’s free of gift taxes. That benefit in particular makes this type of trust “a more powerful driver of wealth transfer in estate planning than almost anything else,” said Breitstone, the wealth preservation attorney….

Bloostein, who didn’t respond to a request for comment, said it was common during the 1990s for lawyers to advise clients to value their stake in a fund’s future profits -- called carried interest in the private equity world -- at zero for gift tax purposes, according to his presentation reviewed by Bloomberg News…

Mitt Romney Throws Kevin Hassett Under the Bus

Sahil Kapur:

Romney Shuts Down Speculation That He’s Backing Off Tax Plan: Mitt Romney is shutting down rumblings that his campaign is hedging on the notion that he can slash tax rates by 20 percent without lowering revenues.

The governor’s plan calls for a 20% rate cut for all brackets, revenue neutrality, while ensuring that high-income earners continue to pay at least the same share of taxes…. All of these goals are achievable, and the governor will work with Congress to enact tax reform that meets each of the goals he has proposed.

The statement came in response to remarks this week from campaign adviser Kevin Hassett, who said that if Romney cannot make his math work, he’d set higher tax rates for high income earners instead of raising the burden on the middle class….

In response to a nonpartisan Tax Policy Center study that found Romney’s tax plan “not mathematically possible,” the conservative economist Martin Feldstein wrote a paper that employed friendly assumptions for the candidate and yet found that taxes would need to be raised on incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 in order to pay for his rate cuts.

He's already thrown Martin Feldstein and Harvey Rosen under the bus on this--by saying that he is not going to raise taxes on people making $100-250K/year to pay for tax cuts on still higher incomes. Who is left?

Charles Plosser Says Our Big Problem Today Is That Our Lesser Depression Is Not Great Enough

Tim Duy:

Plosser Opposes the 1933-37 Expansion: Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser spoke yesterday, reiterating his opposition to QE and his expectation that it will have no impact on growth.... What caught my attention was this:

Once the recovery takes off, long rates will begin to rise and banks will begin lending the large volume of excess reserves sitting in their accounts at the Fed. This loan growth can be quite rapid, as was true after the banking crisis in the 1930s, and there is some risk that the Fed will need to withdraw accommodation very aggressively in order to contain inflation.

I am somewhat concerned that a Federal Reserve official would use loan growth in the 1930s as an example of what could go wrong with quantitative easing.  It should be seen as an example of what could go right.

Presumably... [t]his is a problem because...why?  The inflation.... Yes, there was inflation after 1933.  And no, this wasn't a bad thing.  The inflation, as well as the loan growth were part of the recovery.  They were features, not bugs, of easier policy. And even by 1937, both the price level and loans were below pre-recession peaks. Yet policy turned prematurely tighter, tipping the US economy back into recession and deflation.  

Bottom Line:  Fed hawks obsess with the issue of having to unwind quantitative easing when the economy improves.  We should be so lucky.  Shouldn't we wait until we see some hope that rates can sustain themselves above at least 3% before we worry about this?  Somehow the hawks fail to understand that policy is always reversed in the next pahse of the business cycle.   Simply put,  if we need to unwind quantitative easing, the policy was indeed effective.  Plosser takes the wrong lesson away from rapid loan growth in the 1930s.  The lesson is not that we should fear recovery.  The real lesson was to avoid premature tightening of policy.

Liveblogging World War II: September 27, 1942

Actions along the Matanikau - Wikipedia:

On the morning of 26 September, Puller and McDougal's troops reached the Matanikau River and attempted to cross over a bridge previously built by the Japanese that was called the "one-log bridge". Because of resistance by about 100 Japanese defenders around the bridge, the Marines instead proceeded north along the east bank of the Matanikau to the sand spit on the coast at the mouth of the river. Oka's troops repulsed a Marine attempt to cross the Matanikau at the sand spit as well as another attempt to cross the one-log bridge later in the afternoon. In the meantime, Griffith's Raider battalion—along with Merritt A. Edson, commander of the 5th Marine Regiment—joined Puller and McDougal's troops at the mouth of the Matanikau.

Edson brought with him a "hastily devised" plan of attack—primarily written by Lieutenant Colonel Merrill B. Twining, a member of Vandegrift's division staff—that called for Griffith's Raiders—along with Puller's Company C—to cross the one-log bridge and then outflank the Japanese at the river mouth/sand spit from the south. At the same time, McDougal's battalion was to attack across the sand spit. If the attacks were successful, the rest of Puller's battalion would land by boat west of Point Cruz to take the Japanese by surprise from the rear. Aircraft from Henderson Field—as well as Marine 75 mm (2.95 in) and 105 mm (4.1 in) artillery—would provide support for the operation. The Marine offensive would begin the next day, on September 27.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 27, 1942" »

Tim Duy's Fed Watch: Reinhart-Rogoff Are Not Excuses Not To Do More

Excuses Not To Do More:

Josh Lehner… concludes:

when the Great Recession is compared… to the Big 5 financial crises and the U.S. Great Depression (thanks to U.S. Treasury for adding that to the graph), the current cycle actually compares pretty favorably. This is likely due to the coordinated global response to the immediate crises in late 2008 and early 2009….

This is worth highlighting because of the eagerness of policymakers to embrace Reinhart and Rogoff as an excuse to avoid fiscal and monetary policy…. Bullard sees Reinhart and Rogoff as an excuse to do nothing…. Bullard completely misses the… argument that if financial crises are long-lasting, then the policy response needs to be more aggressive. As Lehner points out, aggressive policy response can mitigate the impact of the crisis.  Bullard should read Reinhart and Rogoff as a demand to do more, not an excuse to do less.

Indeed, Reinhart and Rogoff have said as much.  Via Ezra Klein:

if you look at the leaked memo that the Obama administration was using when they constructed their stimulus, you’ll find, on page 10 and 11, a list of prominent economists the administration consulted as to the proper size for the stimulus package. And there, on page 11, is Rogoff, with a recommendation of “$1 trillion over two years” — which is actually larger than the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. So if they’d been following Rogoff’s advice, the initial stimulus would have been even bigger — not nonexistent.

As for Reinhart, I asked her about this for a retrospective I did on the Obama administration’s economic policy:

The initial policy of monetary and fiscal stimulus really made a huge difference…. I would tattoo that on my forehead. The output decline we had was peanuts compared to the output decline we would otherwise have had in a crisis like this. That isn’t fully appreciated.

And Mitt Romney Reverses Field Once Again on Health Care Reform...

Evan McMorris-Santoro:

Romney Touts Romneycare: Romney pointed to the Massachusetts health care law — the foundation for the national healthcare reform law Romney promises to dismantle if elected — as a key highlight of his record in an interview with NBC News.

[D]on’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured…. One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.

Romney has attacked President Obama’s similar law, which extends insurance coverage to millions of uninsured people across the country. Romney has pledged to repeal Obama’s law lock, stock and barrel, replacing it with vaguer reforms that would potentially leave more people uninsured by removing the ban on preexisting condition discrimination…

I've said it before and I will say it again: there is something very wrong with anyone--anyone--supporting this rapidly-spinning top…

And Romney Goes Off-Message on Taxes

Greg Sargent:

Mitt Romney blunders again on taxes: Igor Volsky flags an important quote from Mitt Romney at an Ohio rally this morning:

I’m going to champion small business. Small business, where jobs come from. And let me tell you how to do that…. I want to bring the rates down. By the way, don’t be expecting a huge cut in taxes, because I’m also going to lower deductions and exemptions. But by bringing rates down, we’ll be able to let small businesses keep more of their money…

Either that is an error by Romney, or he is freely admitting that is tax plan would target exemptions and deductions enjoyed by the middle class. Romney has claimed that his tax plan — which contains across the board tax cuts that disproportionately and hugely benefit the rich — will be revenue neutral, and that he will accomplish this by targeting loopholes that benefit the rich. But he hasn’t explained which ones he’d target, and the Tax Policy Center found that his plan could not pay for itself unless he did target loopholes enjoyed by the middle class.

What you’re seeing here, again, are the perils that accompany the embrace of a plan that is mathematically impossible. Recently, Romney supporters touted a study that supposedly debunked the Tax Policy Center’s findings. But it didn’t do that at all. In fact, it found that the only way to make Romney’s plan work is to raise taxes on those with incomes between $100,000 and $250,000…. The problem here is that Romney wants tax cuts for the rich and he wants credit for being a deficit hawk. But… Romney simply can’t keep all his promises… [and] cutting taxes deeply on the rich is very unpopular. Romney claims he would cut everyone’s taxes. But he can’t do that and also reduce the deficit…. [H]is tax cuts for the rich would be even more unpopular if Romney leveled with voters on how that would have to be paid for…

Matthew Yglesias: Romney Campaign Now Says They Probably Won't Do Their Tax Cuts After All

Matthew Yglesias:

A fatal ambiguity has been hanging over Mitt Romney's pledge to reduce income tax rates and pay for it by eliminating deductions, without doing anything to increase the tax burden on the middle class. The problem is that this is mathematically impossible. To get the rate reductions Romney has promised, you either have to increase the deficit or have to increase the tax burden on the middle class [unless people making $100K/year are defined as "rich"]. It just can't be done otherwise.

So which did Romney have in mind? Well now campaign advisor Kevin Hassett says… if Romney's math doesn't add up (and it doesn't) he just won't cut rates that much….

[W]e now have three different versions of the Romney tax proposal existing in quantum superposition.

  • In version one we do the full rate cuts and have no decrease in government revenues because we make up the difference with higher taxes on the middle class. This is the least politically palatable but the best long-term growth policy.

  • In version two, we do what Ronald Reagan or George W Bush would do and slash tax rates mostly without offsets. The result is a big increase in the budget deficit, which I think is the best short-term growth policy.

  • In Hassett's version you stick to the promise of revenue neutrality and stick to the no tax hikes on the middle class pledge and in that case you… just don't do much of anything. Obviously not changing things is a pretty politically workable proposal. And since the Obama administration is proposing higher taxes than the status quo there's still disagreement between the candidates.

But these three Romney policies are all totally different! I don't expect presidential candidates to tell us exactly what will happen if they win. Congress gets a say and the future is always cloudy. But they should be able to give us some indication of the direction they intend to go.

Don't Do It Jay!

Poor, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son! You don't want to have to explain to your children that you gambled away their college tuition money betting on Ryan-Romney on InTrade in September 2012!

Liveblogging World War II: September 26, 1942

From Glantz and House, Armageddon in Stalingrad:

Ever candid, Chuikov was still pleased by his army's performance:

In this fighting, which frequently turned into hand-to-hand skirmishes, the enemy's forward advance from the vicinity of the central landing-stage was halted. But we failed to wipe out the enemy forces which had broken through to the VOlga and did not link up with the infantry brigades at the other side of the Tsaritsa River.

At the cost of enormous losses, the enemy won only a partial success. Paulus's plan--to reach the Volga and then strike at the flank and rear of the Army by an attack along the Volga--was frustrated. this plan collapsed when his forces came up against the tenacious actions of Rodimtsev's, Batiuk's, and Gorishnyi's divisions, Batrakov's brigade, and other units.

For the 62nd Army, the crisis was over; it had shown no fear and had not faltered when the enemy made his first breakthrough to the Volga. We still held Mamaev Kurgan. Not one of our units had been completely wiped out. Counterattacks by Batiuk's Siberian division had halted the enemy's advance in the city. The Germans were wallowing in their own blood; the streets were littered with dozens of burnt-out German tanks and thousands of German dead.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 26, 1942" »

Romney Reduces His Number of Policy Specifics to Zero

Mitt Romney has put forward one and only one specific aspect of policy: a 1/5 cut in tax rates.

Yesterday his mouthpiece Kevin "the Dow Will Be at 36000 by 2004" Hassett took it back.

Romney is now down to zero policy specifics.

Howard Gleckman:

Will Romney Scale Back Rate Cuts If Congress Won’t Curb Tax Breaks?: Yesterday Kevin Hassett… at a National Assn. for Business Economics debate… [said:] “The notion that Romney is going to raise taxes on low-income people is just a lie,” he insisted, “There is no way in hell he’s going to raise taxes on people making $20,000 by $2,000 bucks.”

For the record, I do not know anyone who said he would. 

When asked to describe Romney’s definition of middle-class, Kevin demurred, though Romney himself has said it is “$200,000 to $250,000 and less.”… Kevin added:

If you think the base-broadeners don’t add up, if you think he can’t get to 28 percent, then the right thing that would happen, as you know, if you’re going to have a revenue-neutral reform, is that they would have a different change in rates.

Romney's Tax Return Throws Rafalca Under the Bus!

Henry Blodget:

Romney Rafalca Horse Tax Deduction: Back in 2010, Mitt Romney deducted the cost of maintaining (feeding, brushing, training) his wife's show horse, Rafalca, as a business expense. A lot of people ridiculed the idea that Rafalca was a business, arguing that, because Rafalca didn't generate any revenue, the horse was merely a hobby. But, assuming Rafalca was actually a business, that's kosher. Maybe the Romneys regarded Rafalca as a startup enterprise that would eventually produce revenue, or an asset that might eventually be sold at a gain.

In any event, the Romney's apparently no longer regard Rafalca as a business.

How do we know this? Because the Romneys didn't deduct the cost of Rafalca's care and feeding from their 2011 tax return. So, what changed? Why was Rafalca a business in 2010 and a personal hobby in 2011?

Wonkette: What's the Matter with [Fill in the Blank]?

Rebecca Schoenkopf:

Kidney-Failure Lady Humiliated For Being On Food Stamps Probably Won’t Vote Because Obamacare Kills: So there is a lady who can’t work because she has kidney failure and is on dialysis 12 hours a day, and also she takes care of her aged mom, and her husband works only part time so he can take care of her! What a hard life that is, you guys; society, in the form of government, should really do something to help her out.

OH IT DID! We mean, it was probably literally the least we could do, but at least this lady and her family get some food stamps so they will not starve. SAFETY NET!

But then some total dick manager at her local Kroger purposely humiliated her (she alleges) by, after they’d had a long back and forth about whether things in her cart were eligible for EBT (they were), saying “‘Excuse me for working for a living and not relying on food stamps!”

This was written about by the Huffington Post, because apparently they don’t know anybody on food stamps, and thus are unaware that cashiers roll their eyes and huff their breath every single time a Poor with food stamps has the brass to try to use them to buy some food.

But what is interesting here is the kidney-failure lady’s reaction, which is that she doesn’t think she will even vote, because sure, Romney “just wants to let poor people die,” but Obama has “spending and healthcare reform.” See, this lady was almost a high-information voter (being aware that Romney “just wants to let poor people die”) but then she was not (being totally fucking ignorant that health care reform might help a person who’s poor because she’s on dialysis 12 hours a day). “So,” she says, “either way we’re doomed.”

Amazing how that messaging can trickle down, innit?

Yes, Jim Medoff Moved the Needle

Andy Harless writes:

Employment, Interest, and Money: James Medoff, Stagflation, the Phillips Curve, and the Greenspan Boom: James Medoff, my thesis advisor in graduate school and later my collaborator and business associate, died on Saturday, September 15 after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis.  In the field, he was probably best known for his work on labor market institutions, and particularly for his work with Richard Freeman on the impact of unionization. But… I was a student of macroeconomics… I was intrigued by a paper he had written with Katharine Abraham entitled “Unemployment, Unsatisfied Demand for Labor, and Compensation Growth, 1956-1980.”… [T]he Medoff-Abraham paper… said was that there was not nearly as much “stag” in the stagflation as we thought.  The labor market, it suggested, had been booming during much of the 1970’s despite the appearance of high unemployment.  The implication was that the unemployment of the 1970’s was largely “structural”… once you realized that, the accompanying inflation shouldn’t surprise you.

Continue reading "Yes, Jim Medoff Moved the Needle" »

Robert Waldmann: The Gallup Anomaly

Robert's Stochastic Thoughts:

This year it has been widely noticed that the Gallup tracking poll looks much better for Romney than any other national poll except Rasmussen…. It's the talk of the web.  This makes 2012 just like 2008, 2004 and 2000. I posted on the return of the Gallup anomaly on May 11 2004….

[T]he Gallup likely voter filter… is irrelevant to the current Gallup anomaly, since Gallup is still reporting results for registered voters (and yet has a Romney house effect !).

The odd thing is that Gallup remains the most respected name in polling even after all these anomalies, while Rasmussen is considered a joke.

I think  that, this year, the explanation is pretty clear -- Gallup assumes low African American turnout based on 2010 when others base on 2008 or allow the sample to be the sample without weighting.  But I don't remember where I read that.  I just quote Marshall

Less clear is Gallup. They don’t have any obviously ideological bias. And they do use cell phones in their surveys. The issue seems to be giving more credence to a 2010 model of the electorate than a 2008 one.

Noam Chomsky on How the Great Helmsman's "Success Was Considerably Greater in Achieving a Just Society" than Was Josef Stalin's

The Legitimacy of Violence as a Political Act?, Noam Chomsky debates with Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, et al.:

I think the course of collectivization in China and the Soviet Union can also be instructive. It's clear, I believe, that the emphasis on the use of terror and violence in China was considerably less than in the Soviet Union and that the success was considerably greater in achieving a just society.

But everybody except for Hitler, Pol Pot, and the Kims clears the "better than Stalin" bar…