David Brooks appears to finally realize that he has spent his knife shilling for grifters and spivs: A Second G.O.P.: "On the surface, Republicans are already doing a good job of beginning to change…. But… Jindal spanked his party for its stale clichés but then repeated the same Republican themes that have earned his party its 33 percent approval ratings…. Republicans seem to have spent no time talking to people who didn’t already vote for them…. [T]he central Republican narrative has been what you might call the Encroachment Story: the core problem of American life is that voracious government has been steadily encroaching upon individuals and local communities…. While losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the flaws of this mentality have become apparent…. Republicans like Mitt Romney can talk about improving the overall business climate with lower taxes and lighter regulation, but regular voters sense that that won’t necessarily help them because wages no longer keep pace with productivity gains…. It’s probably futile to try to change current Republicans. It’s smarter to build a new wing of the Republican Party, one that can compete in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic states, in the upper Midwest and along the West Coast…"
Matthew Yglesias: Amazon Q4 profits fall 45 percent.: "Amazon kept up its streak of being awesome this afternoon by announcing a 45 percent year-on-year decline in profits measuring Q4 2012 against Q4 2011. Not because sales went down, mind you. They're up…. The company's razor-thin profit margins just got even thinner, and in total the company lost $39 million in 2012…. Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers."
Jonathan Chait: Delaware: Rogue State
Bill C.: From 'The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill': J.M. Keynes, "The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill" (1925): "The truth is that we stand mid-way between two theories of economic society. The one theory maintains that wages should be fixed by reference to what is "fair" and "reasonable" as between classes. The other theory - the theory of the economic Juggernaut - is that wages should be settled by economic pressure, otherwise called "hard facts," and that our vast machine should crash along, with regard only to its equilibrium as a whole, and without attention to the chance consequences of the journey to individual groups. The gold standard, with its dependence on pure chance, its faith in "automatic adjustments," and its general regardlessness of social detail, is an essential emblem and idol of those who sit in the top tier of the machine."
Methinks LizardBreath did a little too well in her property course: UI Finally Gave Up And Watched The First Episode of Downton Abbey: "Does it get less terrible? I don't think I can take much more of one housemaid explaining to another that no, the Earl's eldest daughter isn't eligible to inherit the title, given that female earls aren't so much a thing, or by people being surprised that when an estate is entailed, it is, actually, entailed…. [P]eople should recommend different TV shows for me to watch, so long as they're available on Netflix or Hulu. Because another episode of this thing and I'm going to hurling the iPad across the room, and Buck would hate that, given that it's his iPad."
Stephanie Flanders: The Bank of England, the chancellor, and the target: "Does the chancellor want to set a new target for the Bank of England? The answer is no. But does he want have a debate about it? The answer is an emphatic yes - for political reasons as well as economic ones. With the UK economy starting the the new year no larger than it was 12 months ago, it makes perfect sense, from an economic standpoint, to consider whether there is more the central bank can do to help."
Dylan Matthews: Five things economists know about immigration
Daniel Kuehn: Facts & other stubborn things: A study in contrasts: snicker…