Thursday February 28 5 PM EST: Taking Stock with Pimm Fox/Bloomberg
L'Esprit de l'Escalier for March 1, 2013

Noted for March 1, 2013

  • Top Conservative Cat: That awkward moment when Paul Ryan blames Obama for the sequester and there is video of Ryan asking for the sequester

  • Josh Marshall on Ted "Joe McCarthy" Cruz: Good Luck With That: "Ted Cruz’s supporters are busily trying to defend or massage or explain away his claim that when he was at Harvard Law School in the mid-90s there were a dozen members of the faculty 'who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government'…. [The] argument? Well, saying that there were people who supported 'overthrowing the United States government was a "rhetorical flourish"'. And what about Charles Fried, the Republican and former Solicitor General under Ronald Reagan, who criticized Cruz’s bogus claim? Well, he’s 'become a vocal spokesman for all things Obama'. Look…. I know all about professorial armchair radicalism. I was a big mocker of it…. But Cruz didn’t say there were a bunch of… professors professing a hyper-intellectualized and anemic critical studies variant of Marxism there. He said there were a dozen professors there 'who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government'. You can’t just run away from those words or massage them out of existence. If I say someone’s a child molester I can’t fall back and say, ‘Hey, I just meant they’re not a good parent. I didn’t mean they’re actually a child molester. That’s was just hyperbole to drive home the point.’ That’s a very specific and clearly false claim that Cruz made because it was red meat for his audience even though he knew it was not true. It was a lie. That makes Cruz a liar and a smear artist. But then we knew that from his role in the Hagel hearings."

  • William Z. Ripley (1927): Main Street and Wall Street

  • Ezra Klein: Ben Bernanke to Congress: You’re doing it wrong: "Matt Yglesias notes that there seem to be no serious monetary policy doves in Congress. When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke heads to the Hill, he gets either softballs from seemingly disinterested Democrats or tough questions from Republicans who favor tighter monetary policy."

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  • Buce: Underbelly: The Desanctification of Silent Cal: "I confess to a certain soft spot for Calvin Coolidge… from Vermont… appealing lack of pomposity and a self-deflating wit… thought Herbert Hoover a pious gasbag… better temperamental instincts on race than any president before Lyndon Johnson. I haven't read Amity Shlaes' new biography--or is it a hagiography?    But with blowback like this, the consequence so far is to remind me of all the reasons I never should have gone soft on him in the first place." | David Greenberg: How the 1927 Mississippi Flood created big government

  • Aaron Carroll: Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio – a clarification: "Let me be clear: I’m not arguing that the feds should have denied the Arkansas expansion. I’m fine with getting more people good insurance coverage…. I lived with the Senate version of the ACA bill… [and] lived with Wyden-Bennett. My bafflement comes from taking the other side at their word… that the ACA cost too much… was 'fiscally unsustainable' for states…. I took them at their word. I’m now surprised that they prefer a solution that costs more. This is not unlike my previous bafflement at arguments against Medicaid. Often, the same people would argue that (1) Medicaid costs too much and (2) Medicaid under-reimburses providers. (1) and (2) are incompatible. You can’t fix both. Choose. They did in Arkansas. They chose to spend more. A lot of pundits are now claiming they feel the same way. That’s fine. They’re allowed to change their minds. They’re claiming they haven’t, though. The problem is that the Internet is forever. Their writings are still around. And anyone with Google can see that their arguments are inconsistent. I’m just surprised more journalists can’t seem to note this."

  • Jacob Heilbrunn: ‘Coolidge,’ by Amity Shlaes "is flapdoodle. No, Coolidge was not single-handedly culpable for the economic calamity of the 1930s. But neither can he be safely extracted from the ruin that followed his presidency. Quite the contrary. Coolidge was the pre-­eminent cheerleader for the economic nostrums that led to the crash. His opposition to regulation allowed Wall Street and the banks to engage in rampant speculation and insider trading…. So deep was Coolidge’s antipathy to any form of government action that he even viewed his gifted secretary of commerce and successor Herbert Hoover with a measure of contempt, calling him the 'wonder boy' because he fell into the progressive Republican camp…. [H]e was an extraordinarily blinkered and foolish and complacent leader, no less than George W. Bush…. [T]he prosperity offered by Calvinism has always proved as elusive as the promise of the green light that Jay Gatsby watches at the end of Daisy’s dock. Conservatives may be intent on excavating a hero, but Coolidge is no model for the present. He is a bleak omen from the past."

  • Mainly Macro: mainly macro: The final verdict on George Osborne as Chancellor: "Ed Balls gets it right: 'It would be a big mistake to get carried away with what Moody's or any other credit rating agency says. Tonight's verdict does not change the fact that the credit rating agencies have made major misjudgments over recent years, not least in giving top ratings to US sub-prime mortgages before the global financial crash. But what matters is the economic reality that the credit rating agencies are responding to. Moody's themselves say the main driver of their decision is the weak growth in Britain's economy'."… For the Chancellor, from now on things may start to get better, if only because they have become so bad. The UK may just avoid a triple dip recession, and may even grow at more than the snails pace predicted by forecasters. Any growth will be talked up as if it is a new dawn, and people will want to forget the last few years as quickly as they can. This may even be enough to see a Conservative government elected in 2015. In that case, George Osborne as politician will be vindicated. But this blog is about economics (mainly). As far as macroeconomics is concerned, nothing that will come can repair the damage that has been done over the last two and a half years. Hence the finality of my title."

David Fiderer: The Big Lie Annotated: An AEI History Of The Financial Crisis | Broughman et al.: A License to Grow: Ending State, Local, and Some Federal Barriers to Innovation and Growth in Key Sectors of the U.S. Economy | Owen Zidar: Fiscal Policy and MPC Heterogeneity | Felix Salmon: The no-brainer immigrant-entrepreneur visa | John Taylor (2000): Reassessing Discretionary Fiscal Policy | W.V. Harris (2006): A Revisionist View of Roman Money | CBO: Automatic Reductions in Government Spending -- aka Sequestration: How Will Budgetary Developments in 2013 Affect Economic Growth This Year? | Mark Thoma: Economist's View: 'Maybe It's Time to Cut Back on the C-List Outrages' | Pawel Morski: Government Bond Markets: Unfeeling Psychopaths or Rational Keynesians? |

On February 28, 2013: