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Underrated Economics Weblogger: Evan Soltas: Thursday Link Promiscuity Weblogging

Noted for June 13, 2013

Dani Rodrik: Europe’s Way Out | Erik Loomis: Lead and Schizophrenia | Bruce Bartlett: 'Financialization' as a Cause of Economic Malaise | Mark Thoma sends us to David Ricardo 'On Machinery' | J.P. Koning: Moneyness: Adam Smith's very own Lehman Crisis | Teresa Nielsen Hayden (2004): New times call for new t-shirts | Austin Frakt: The longest ever study of consumer-directed health plans | The Battle of Maldon | Josh Barro: Was Edward Snowden A Good Leaker? |

  • Whack-a-Molonomics Blogging: Hey! Paul! "Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað" (Apropos of Paul Krugman: Hamster-Wheel Economics: "Sad reading from British economic analysts these days — sad, that is, for anyone who likes to believe that evidence actually matters for policy. First, the normally even-tempered Simon Wren-Lewis is angry, with cause: he sees the Dutch central bank calling for more austerity despite the depressed state of the Dutch economy, no prospect of recovery any time soon, no hint of debt trouble — and no explanation except boilerplate…. It was one thing to buy into the austerity thing three years ago… but to roll out the same old line given everything that has happened since is pretty disgraceful…. Martin Wolf is out today with a column explaining that there is no current risk of inflation. He’s right, of course, and presumably what he hears from policymakers and others tells him that such a column is necessary. But my God: we had this debate in full four years ago. The usual suspects issued dire inflation warnings; the Keynesian/liquidity trap types like me insisted that this was all wrong given current circumstances. The events unfolded…. And yet the people warning about inflation four years ago, and three years ago, and two years ago, are still at it, still making the same arguments. And they still have influence! I guess there’s nothing for it but to keep on pounding. But it’s discouraging.").
  • The Desolation of Smaug:

  • Scott Lemieux: Fortress Unionism: "Rich Yeselson has a really superb piece on the ongoing implications of Taft-Hartley and what labor can and can’t do in response. The whole thing should be read, but I’ll tease the bottom line: 'Ancient history? Maybe—but it’s also crucial history whose direct consequences labor and the country live with today. Taft-Hartley didn’t destroy labor. But it stopped labor dead in its tracks at a point when unions were large, growing, and confident of their economic and political power…. The law codified a series of legal land mines—some of which didn’t detonate for decades—that forced unions to weigh the political and economic costs of doing anything too aggressive in their efforts to grow…. Taft-Hartley isn’t going anywhere. Its land mines still detonate. And it still defines the legal and political context in which labor must operate as it tries to map out a strategy for the future. An aggressive organizing strategy, of the sort labor attempted when John Sweeney took the helm of the AFL-CIO, just doesn’t work because the smart union strategists can’t compensate for a mostly (though not entirely) uninterested working class. But labor can, without undertaking lengthy and expensive campaigns to organize new sectors, work to buttress the areas in which it is already strong, extend its alliances with other progressive groups, and even train the worker leaders of tomorrow. I call this “Fortress Unionism,” and I believe it’s labor’s best play until the day arrives, if it ever does, when the workers themselves militantly signal that they want unions.'"

  • Jamie Dimon: "There was no hiding, there was no lying, there was no bulls----ing, period. But we were wrong about stuff. Nothing was done that was deliberate in any way, shape or form."

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates: Notes From the First Year: Some Thoughts on Teaching at MIT: "The old adage is true -- writing is rewriting. But it takes a kind of courage to confront your own awfulness (and you will be awful) and realize that, if you sleep on it, you can come back and bang at the thing some more, and it will be less awful. And then you sleep again, and bang even more, and you have something middling. Then you sleep some more, and bang, and you get something that is actually coherent. Hopefully when you are done you have a piece that reasonably approximates the music in your head. And some day, having done that for years, perhaps you will get something that is even better than the music in your head. Becoming a better writer means becoming a re-writer. But that first phase is so awful that most people don't want any part. I think because MIT is a pretty bruising place, my kids came prepared for most of this…. I didn't have to work hard to motivate people. What I found was that if I showed up, and I was excited, they fed off of that, and they got excited. I came to feel that teaching was performance. My job was to communicate my own energy and belief in the importance of the work. I had it pretty easy. I wrote my syllabus, and thus chose work that I loved. If the syllabus wasn't working, I could make a change as we went…. I love writing. I go to bed thinking about it, and wake up thinking about it. Some communicating energy was never a problem…. I don't know how well I'd do at a school where the kids cared less."

  • The White House: What is The Great Gatsby Curve?Screenshot 6 12 13 12 56 PM

  • Jared Bernstein: Boy, Is There Ever No Wage Inflation in This Economy: "The figure shows a compensation series that doesn’t get a lot of press but is quite useful and comprehensive: what employers pay for employee compensation, including wages and benefits.  The lines plot out the yearly changes in nominal hourly benefits, wages, and their sum: total compensation.  Benefits tend to grow more quickly (think health costs) but they’re 30% of comp, so wages are a larger driver of the total…. One question this raises is how the heck are we getting anything like the decent consumer spending numbers in recent GDP reports?  My answers are: –these are hourly wages, so as we add jobs, we add aggregate hours worked, and that helps drive income and consumer spending; –lately savings rates have come down so that’s another source of some spending; –non-labor income such as capital gains and dividends are up, along with corporate profitability, and that stuff decidedly doesn’t show up in paychecks; –increased housing wealth is probably contributing as well. Jeez, that all sounds depressingly familiar—weak wage growth in the midst of growing inequality with consumer spending supported by housing wealth and drawing on savings.  What could go wrong?" Screenshot 6 12 13 1 39 PM