Weekend Not-Music
Liveblogging World War II: July 20, 1943

Noted for July 20, 2013

  • David Glasner: Bhide and Phelps v. Reality: "Phelps attached his name to an op-ed in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, co-authored with Bhide, consisting of little more than a sustained, but disjointed, rant…. There are three really serious problems…. First, and most obvious to just about anyone who has not been asleep for the last four years, central-bank purchases have not put the price level on a higher path than it was on before 2008…. Second, Bhide and Phelps completely miss the point of the Metzler paper (“Wealth, Saving and the Rate of Interest”)…. The point of the Metzler paper was to demonstrate that monetary policy, conducted via open-market operations, could in fact alter the real interest rate. Money, on Metzler’s analysis, is not neutral even in the long run…. Finally, Bhide and Phelps mischaracterize Metzler… even after the increase in the price level, the real value of household assets, contrary to what Bhide and Phelps assert, remains greater than before the monetary expansion, because of a reduced real interest rate…. If it seems odd that Bhide and Phelps could so totally misread the classic paper whose authority they invoke, just remember this: in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, things aren’t always what they seem."
  • The Fifth Column: Rand Paul’s neo-Confederate staffer sought mass deletion of his own columns: "Jack Hunter… top aide to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)… tried to have dozens of his own columns removed from the Internet…. Editor Chris Haire said he would have considered removing a few questionable columns, but Hunter was seeking to have a 'cowardly' amount of his writing removed… 'solely for appearances only. It was not heartfelt. It was not true. It was simply to protect his boss, Rand Paul, as he plots a path to the White House in 2016.'… The columns that Hunter had written at the Charleston City Paper compared Abraham Lincoln to Adolf Hitler and said black people should apologize to white people for high crime rates, among other things…. Paul has defended having Hunter as his director of new media by claiming Hunter’s no longer believes in his former neo-Confederate views. Paul said Hunter’s racist columns were just a youthful indiscretion, akin to smoking marijuana."

  • Jonathan Bernstein: How Ted Cruz got Richard Cordray confirmed: "Why did Harry Reid finally, convincingly threaten to go nuclear? After all, Republicans have been obstructing Barack Obama’s nominations since approximately January 20, 2009. And if anything, there’s been somewhat less obstruction this year; the beginning of the session deal seems to actually have been working. The basic answer is Republican overreach--or, to simplify, Ted Cruz got Richard Cordray confirmed…. The attempt to kill the confirmation of Chuck Hagel--a Republican and, more importantly, a former Senator--was apparently a big part of it. But certainly the treatment of nominees for EPA and Labor, on top of the ongoing nullification filibusters and plenty of others, pushed Reid and other reluctant Democrats to decide that without a confrontation, they would be essentially giving away a significant portion of Obama’s presidency (and their own elections to the Senate). It’s not just the substance. It’s also style. As Jonathan Chait noted, something happened to 'flip the switch in McCain’s brain from "Obama Hater" back to "McConnell Hater"'. Or, perhaps, Ted Cruz hater. McCain opposed Hagel’s nomination, but criticized some of Cruz’s over-the-top rhetoric… has been upset with tea party opposition to going to conference on the budget…. What this episode demonstrates, not for the first time, is that extremism can be a tactical disaster. Or, to put it another way: If the only Republican goal is to please the relatively small portion of the electorate that responds to Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the conservative freak show, then they’re not going to be maximizing either their electoral or their legislative possibilities. That might be a trade-off that Ted Cruz is happy with. Whether it’s smart for mainstream conservatives, however, is another story altogether."

  • David Weigel: Ted Cruz, defunding Obamacare: Texas senator's new pledge to shut down the government: "The year started with Democrats commanding 55 votes in the Senate, and maybe 51 votes for filibuster reform. The party threatened to change the rules, but backed off, in part because some senior members and some moderates weren't comfortable…. They wanted, instead, to show Republicans how close they got, and expect them to behave better. They didn't. The reckoning came in less than a month, when Republicans built a beachead of resistance to Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel. Cruz's strategy consisted of demanding that Hagel prove he wasn't taking foreign money from America's enemies, and getting a critical mass of Republicans to back him up on the request. When Hagel fell one vote short for cloture, Cruz took the credit, and Democrats and a number of Republicans were incensed. John McCain, who'd helped craft that filibuster deal, told the New York Times that Cruz had been disrespectful. Hagel was confirmed anyway. Two months later the sluggish progress toward a gun control bill was upended…. Cruz, again, led the opposition, by asking Republicans to filibuster the motion to proceed to debate. It was an obvious misfire…. Cruz took credit anyway…. Then came this week's filibuster showdown. The death of New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg reduced the Democrats, temporarily, to 54 senators. But the caucus, with at most three exceptions, agreed to move ahead to end the 60-vote threshold on non-lifetime nominees…. Republicans, backed into a corner, agreed to another deal cut by John McCain…. The CPFB director, labor secretary, and EPA chief were confirmed by largely partisan votes, with no filibusters. That's the story of Ted Cruz's strategic acumen in the Senate. The paradox is that the theatrics that completely backfire in D.C. are embraced by activists in the bright world outside."

The Audience | David Beckworth: Macro and Other Market Musings: Is the Fed Squeezing the Shadow Banking System? No! | That Awkward Moment When The Tea Party Rally Gets Overtly Racist | Francis the Talking Mule/a> | Anderson: “When all was over, Tor­ture and Can­ni­bal­ism were the only two expe­di­ents that the civilized, sci­en­tific, Chris­t­ian States had been able to deny them­selves: and these were of doubt­ful util­ity.” – Churchill, The World Crisis | Nate Silver: The White House Is Not a Metronome |

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