Steve M.: Where Did They Make David Brooks?: "David Brooks reconsider[s] his position on [Stand Your Ground] laws: 'And I have to say, [Obama's] point on the Stand Your Ground law was actually clarifying for me. I had some sympathy for the laws because as, you know, as Americans, we should be independent, we should be able to defend ourselves, be strong. But the argument he made about, you know, do we really want all sorts of people, do we really want what happened here, people walking around with guns feeling free to shoot off without legal protections, without the normal legal process--now, that's a compelling argument, which he put very well.' Yes, Brooks actually said he'd never quite thought about the possibility of extending Stand Your Ground to 'all sorts of people'. Yes, even those sorts. When you put it that way, Stand Your Ground is kinda scary, hunh, David?"
Paul Krugman: Hitting China’s Wall: China is in big trouble…. America, admittedly on the high side, devotes 70 percent of its gross domestic product to consumption; for China, the number is only half that high, while almost half of G.D.P. is invested…. How is that even possible? What keeps consumption so low, and how have the Chinese been able to invest so much without (until now) running into sharply diminishing returns? The answers are the subject of intense controversy. The story that makes the most sense to me… a small modern sector alongside a large traditional sector containing huge amounts of “surplus labor”--underemployed peasants…. First, for a while such countries can invest heavily in new factories, construction, and so on without running into diminishing returns, because they can keep drawing in new labor from the countryside. Second, competition from this reserve army of surplus labor keeps wages low even as the economy grows richer…. Now, however… wages are rising; finally, ordinary Chinese are starting to share in the fruits of growth. But it also means that the Chinese economy is suddenly faced with the need for drastic “rebalancing”…. Investment is now running into sharply diminishing returns and is going to drop drastically no matter what the government does; consumer spending must rise dramatically to take its place. The question is whether this can happen fast enough to avoid a nasty slump. And the answer, increasingly, seems to be no…."
Paul Krugman: How Much Should We Worry About A China Shock?: "Suppose that those of us now worried that China’s Ponzi bicycle is hitting a brick wall (or, as some readers have suggested, a BRIC wall) are right. How much should the rest of the world worry, and why?… 1. “Mechanical” linkages via exports, which are surprisingly small. 2. Commodity prices, which could be a bigger deal. 3. Politics and international stability, which involves some serious risks…. And if you really want to get nervous, think about what cynical governments trying to distract their populace from domestic failures have often done in the past. Saber-rattling over some islands somewhere, anyone?"
Binyamin Applebaum: Labor Force Participation Is Not Coming Back: "Lots of people lost jobs during the Great Recession. In the aftermath, the great surprise has been how few are looking for new jobs. Labor force participation, the share of adults working or trying to find work, has stagnated at about 63.5 percent, almost three percentage points below the pre-recession level. The unemployment rate has dropped almost entirely because of this decline in labor force participation…. The question is whether that’s a permanent condition. Some economists say that people who have stopped looking for jobs will start looking again as economic conditions improve. If that’s true, it probably means that the Fed should be trying harder to stimulate the economy…. Macroeconomic Advisers says, however, that participation is unlikely to increase."
Noah Smith: Noahpinion: The hard-money people throw Gene Fama under the bus: "In the last year, the Macro Wars have been mostly going well for the Monetarist Alliance…. But the Hard-Money Coalition is far from beaten. Driven from the Inflation Hawk line of defense, the HMC is regrouping and falling back. The new line of defense is the Financial Instability argument. Basically, the idea is that even if QE doesn't create inflation, it distorts financial markets…. That prompted a fiery rebuttal from General Miles Kimball of the Monetarist Alliance…. Basically, what the Hard-Money Coalition is doing is throwing the Efficient Markets Hypothesis under the bus. Sorry, Gene Fama! (Note: Someone really needs to start the #sorryfamanists Twitter hashtag.) This is a savvy switch in tactics. Inflation is something we haven't seen since the 70s. Financial instability, however, is something we've seen a lot of recently."
Jacob Levy: Bleeding-Heart Kansas: "The Confederatistas think that means that people like me are picking fights with them as a signalling device to curry favor with left-liberals; but the fact that they think so is itself a symptom of the fact that they don’t think the history of southern white racial dominance and terror is an especially important part of the history of American unfreedom. For those of us who think otherwise–-or, well, at least for me, as someone who thinks otherwise–-this isn’t a difference that can be papered over."
David Kuehn: Facts & other stubborn things: David Henderson raises an important point about funding: "David Henderson raises an important point about funding: He relates the following story: 'A number of years ago, a fairly well-known economist I respect was consulting for a Fortune 500 company. Call the company "A". A wanted to merge with B and the federal government was putting roadblocks in the way. I favored, you probably won't be surprised to know, allowing A to merge with B. This economist, who knew I was on a roll at the time with the Wall Street Journal, writing 5 to 6 op/eds a year for them, asked me if I would write an op/ed for the Journal arguing that A should be allowed to merge with B. "Sure," I said. "And, in return," he said, "A is willing to pay you $2,500." For those of you who don't know, this is a multiple of the price that the Journal typically pays for op/eds, at least in my experience. "I'm guessing that you don't want me to tell the Journal that I'm being paid," I said. "That's right," he said, "there would be no point." "OK," I said, "then my answer is no."' Moral of the story (IMO at least), if a funder doesn't want you acknowledging them, it's a good sign that maybe you shouldn't take the money. Normally this is just a courtesy thing--to your readers so they know the context and to the people that are helping you to put food on your table! When it's something that funders want to be hush hush that should send up red flags, I think. It doesn't mean the perspective is wrong at all. Given David's outline of events I'm sure I'd agree with him on the policy question. But I'd feel uncomfortable about taking the money too."
Duncan Black: Eschaton: How To Get By While Working Only 70 Hours Per Week: "Not a new point, but it is quite amazing that so many people think that what people who are managing to get by working shit jobs for 70 hours per week really need is advice from people who have no experience trying to get by working shit jobs for 70 hours per week. Spend less on t-bones and cadillacs! Put on an extra sweater and turn off that heat! Yeah, thanks assholes. Don't need the heat advice, because they just shut it off."
Dean Baker: Never Take Anything In a Washington Post Editorial At Face Value: "Sorry folks, I committed the cardinal sin of accepting an assertion from a Washington Post editorial without carefully checking it myself. This morning the Post's lead editorial… told readers… 'state and local pension plans have $3.8 trillion in unfunded liabilities'… The $3.8 trillion figure should have struck me as way too large for an estimate for unfunded liabilities, and in fact it is…. The $3.8 trillion figure was an estimate of total liabilities, not unfunded liabilities. Since the pensions have $2.8 trillion in assets, their unfunded liabilities are just $1 trillion. Or, to put this in terms that may be understandable to Post readers, the unfunded liabilities are 0.22 percent of projected GDP over the next 30 years. And, as I noted in my earlier post, most state and local governments are already funding at levels that are consistent with making up this shortfall so there will no required tax increases or spending cuts to meet these future obligations. So I apologize for accepting the Post's $3.8 trillion figure for unfunded liabilities without looking more closely."
Scott Lemieux: Today In Republican Coalition-Building: "One can obviously look at pretty much any conservative reaction to Barack Obama’s radical observation that structural racism exists to see how it’s going, but I like this one too: 'The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition gathered in Cedar Rapids Monday night to hear from the three Republican candidates for the Senate nomination. The candidates had trouble differentiating themselves ideologically, as all hewed faithfully to the right-wing line, until David Young promised that “as a Senator, he would invite New York Senator Chuck Schumer to lunch so that he could share the good news of Jesus Christ.”' By the way, isn’t it about time for the first Politico or Weekly Standard 'no, really, this time Jews are totally going to vote Republican' story of this presidential election cycle?"
Farhad Manjoo: Android vs. iPhone: Why Apple still has the edge over Google’s operating system | Alcatraz | Blue Gingko | Virginia GOP Nominee Ken Cuccinelli: I Still Believe Gay People 'Soulless' and ‘Self Destructive’ | Eric Boehlert: "Shill Wind": All of Washington's political reporters read ABC and Mark Halperin's The Note. That's why they keep missing the story |