Mark Thoma Sends Us to Jonathan Chait: Scarborough and Friends 'Bug-Eyed, Table-Pounding Terror'
Tuesday Ten Years Ago on the Internet: The Destuction of Space Shuttle Columbia

Noted for February 19, 2013

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  • Adam Gopnik: What Galileo Saw: "A number of books have come out in anticipation of the anniversary…. Modern scholars have a gravitational pull toward ancient bureaucrats—keep records even of your cruelties and history will love you—and the new research has produced a slightly, if significantly, revised picture of Galileo’s enemies. The newer (and, unsurprisingly, Church-endorsed) view is that Galileo made needless trouble for himself by being impolitic, and that, in the circumstances of the time, it would have been hard for the Church to act otherwise. The Church wanted, as today’s intelligent designers now say, to be allowed to “teach the controversy”…. The complaint is, in a way, the familiar torturer’s complaint: Why did you force us to do this to you? But the answer is the story of his life."

  • John Holbo: GOP Outreach Efforts Proceed Apace: "A post by Michael Walsh, at the Corner, advocating repeal of the 19th Amendment: 'And women’s suffrage … well, let’s just observe that without it Barack Obama could never have become president. Time for the ladies to take one for the team. Who’s with me?' Not enough women, would be my back-of-the-envelope guesstimate. Just so you know I can explain a joke as well as anyone: the form of this ‘repeal the 19th’ joke is that he knows it’s not acceptable to say so. So he says so, knowing people will realize he must be joking. But the thing is: he isn’t! On some level! Otherwise it wouldn’t be funny. But you could never get him to admit that. He’ll always have ‘it was a joke!’ deniability, due to the manifest unacceptability of his opinions. Even though it wouldn’t be a joke unless, on some level, it wasn’t a joke. That’s what makes it hilarious! Hide in plain sight! Anti-feminism ninja! I wonder why more women don’t vote GOP? They must not have a sense of humor. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Go team! Go team! Go team! (We are so clever. What? We lost again? Dumb broads, this is all their fault.)"

  • Jordi Gali: Monetary Policy and Rational Asset Price Bubbles: "I examine the impact of alternative monetary policy rules on a rational asset price bubble, through the lens of an overlapping generations model with nominal rigidities. A systematic increase in interest rates in response to a growing bubble is shown to enhance the fluctuations in the latter, through its positive effect on bubble growth. The optimal monetary policy seeks to strike a balance between stabilization of the bubble and stabilization of aggregate demand. The paper's main findings call into question the theoretical foundations of the case for 'leaning against the wind' monetary policies."

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  • Erin Horakova: Forgotten Classics: "A casual glance at a slightly-aged 100 Best Novels-style volume reveals a bizarre alternate world where Benjamin Disraeli is a deeply important Victorian novelist. Read Sybil or Tancred lately? I sure haven’t, and I have a real soft spot for the bigoted old coot."

  • Paul Krugman: Martin Wolf, Hippie: "Martin Wolf… making the case that (shock!) the deficit is not America’s biggest problem, or indeed a problem at all right now…. [U]nlike Larry Summers yesterday, his piece doesn’t blur its point by starting with an extended exercise in dutiful deficit-bashing. Wolf also puts this in the context of what has been happening to the private sector. As he says, the collapse of the housing bubble and a sharp rise in saving (due both to wealth destruction and to deleveraging) has led to a sharp movement from financial deficit to financial surplus in the private sector. Those who claim to be deeply upset about public sector deficits should be asked, what would have happened, given this attempt by the private sector to move into surplus, if the public sector had tried to stay in balance. Can you say Second Great Depression?…. [T]he narrative that says that spending has surged under Obama is just wrong – what we’ve actually seen is a slowdown at exactly the time when, for macroeconomic reasons, we should have been spending more."

  • Mike Beggs (2011): "DeLong was unfair and indeed arrogant" <-- Arrogant I will plead to--that's a fair cop. But unfair?

  • Mike Beggs: Zombie Marx | Jacobin: "Many will already be laughing and mocking along with Harvey. And perhaps DeLong deserves no better. Yet on the point at issue, he was right – it is a question of interest rates, not of the number of bonds that can be sold. When Harvey went on to clarify his argument, it was only with some casual empiricism of his own. He noted that he was hardly the only one to be making the argument that East Asian central banks could stop collecting US Treasuries, so that 'the track of long-term treasury interest rates may go the way of the housing market data in just a couple of years (if not months).' This was an argument you could read in mainstream business pages; there was nothing particularly Marxist about it. Now that we are more than a couple of years down the track, DeLong still looks right: the yields on long-term Treasury bonds are, as I write in July 2011, about the same as they were in February 2009, when the exchange took place. The limits to stimulus have been political, not financial."

  • Brad DeLong (2009): Department of "Huh?": In Praise of Neoclassical Economics

    • Scott Sumner: DeLong on the fiscal multiplier: "Empirical estimates of fiscal multipliers are nothing more than estimates of central bank incompetence…. Because it is objectively false that the 'costs and risks' of unconventional monetary policy are greater than the costs and risks of fiscal stimulus, most central banks have the wrong policy, and need to be instructed to target AD more aggressively. In particular, the GOP should block any fiscal stimulus until the Dems agree to instruct the Fed to do all it can to maintain on-target AD. And after that happens the GOP should block any fiscal stimulus since it would be useless. (Yes, I know that the GOP doesn’t even favor an appropriate track for AD, I’m just saying that if they ever did come to their senses, then they should continue to block fiscal stimulus and instruct the Fed to 'do the right thing'.)" <--But what if the Fed does not agree with Sumner that the 'costs and risks' of QE are low? Doesn't fiscal stimulus then become second-best?
  • Jerry Moran

  • Is this website down for everyone or just me?

  • Learning Catalytics

  • Paul Krugman: Affinity Fraud: "Barron’s isn’t that different from the WSJ editorial page, which has also been warning about inflation and soaring interest rates for four years or more, and never seems daunted by being wrong again and again. Nor do readers seem to be put off…. I think of it as a form of affinity fraud, in which these publications (and various web sites too) reach out to readers by appealing to their shared hatred of snooty intellectuals who probably want to take all their money and give it to the 47 percent; since such people also tend to favor monetary and fiscal flexibility, there you have it. The remarkable thing is that there seems to be no penalty at all for being wrong, consistently and repeatedly. Being their kind of guy is all that matters, even if it leads to terrible investment returns."

On February 18, 2013: