Illegitimate and Unfair Larry Summers Bashing: The Smart and Thoughtful Matthew Klein Gets One Wrong
Thursday Idiocy: Republican Epistemic Closure: Even Before Fox News Edition

Noted for July 25, 2013

  • Matthew Yglesias: Harry Hopkins explains why stimulus doesn't work: "Harry Hopkins explaining the basic dilemma of overseeing a government job creation program…. 'You can't care very much what people are going to say because when you're handling other people's money whatever you do is always wrong. If you try to hold down wages, you'll be accused of union-busting and grinding down the poor; if you pay a decent wage, you'll be competing with private industry and pampering a lot of no-accounts; if you scrimp on production costs, they'll say your shows are lousy and if you spend enough to get a good show on, they'll say you're wasting the taxpayers' money. Don't forget that whatever happens you'll be wrong.' This… is something that those of us who believe stimulative policy is appropriate during recessions need to think more seriously about…. The Federal Reserve's customary tool of short-term interest rates can run out of firepower. One possible solution to this problem is for Congress to enact a massive fiscal stimulus… but there are some really serious barriers to actually stimulating at the necessary scale. That doesn't mean we're doomed. But it means we need to adopt public policies in advance to help rescue the economy before the next zero bound episode. That means giving the Federal Reserve a powerful new tool to hand out money to people and working out an automatic mechanism for state governments to get injections of money in severe downturns."
  • Jeffrey Frankel: How Many European Recessions?: The right question is not whether there have been double (or triple) dips; the question is whether there has been one big recession all along. As the British know all too well, their economy since the low point of mid-2009 has not yet climbed even halfway out of the post-crisis hole: GDP is still almost 4% below its previous peak. If European countries used similar criteria to those used in the United States for determining economic cycles, the Great Recession in Britain would quite possibly not have been declared over in the first place. Recent reports that Ireland entered a new recession in early 2013 would also read differently if American criteria were applied…. Following US methods, Ireland would not be judged to have escaped the initial recession."

  • Brian Buettler: Why House Conservatives Are About To Be Humiliated: "What’s happening in the Senate right now is a recipe for the ultimate humiliation and defeat of the House GOP. Namely, the Senate is currently debating bipartisan legislation to fund the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, before appropriations expire at the end of September…. Six of the Appropriations Committee’s 14 Republicans voted for the Senate’s Transportation/HUD bill. The committee has actually passed a half dozen appropriations bills on a broadly bipartisan basis. And even Republicans are making no secret of the fact that they don’t intend to let their House counterparts use the threat of a government shutdown to starve key investments…. Senate appropriators have drafted their legislation to reflect the discretionary spending caps Congress set in the 2011 debt limit deal. They’re not trying to bake sequestration into the budget baseline…. The upshot is that when the government shutdown deadline approaches in September, everyone in government except for House Republicans (and a few irrelevant Senate conservatives) will be lined up behind a blueprint to stave off another crisis…. The group of Senate Republicans working constructively on appropriations overlaps broadly with the Republicans who’ve backed immigration reform, helped confirm several presidential nominees, and have been working behind the scenes on a budget deal that, if enacted, would replace sequestration and end debt limit brinksmanship, perhaps permanently."

  • Steve Benen: What sabotage governing looks like - The Maddow Blog: "While Greg Sargent and I talk about 'sabotage governing' quite a bit, it's easy to lose sight sometimes of just how sweeping the GOP efforts to impair the federal health care law really are. We've never seen anything like this--it is literally without precedent--and for millions of Americans, very little matters more…. Republicans are actively trying to undermine the federal health care system by refusing to help their own constituents navigate the system…. Constituent services are the most basic of tasks for congressional offices, but we now have some--not all, but some--congressional Republicans who simply don't want to help constituents who need a hand with information about federal health care benefits. Second, there's systemic lying…. Third, there are the dozens upon dozens of repeal votes congressional Republicans keep holding…. These repeal votes tell the public that the future of the law is still in doubt -- a significant chunk of the country actually believes the Affordable Care Act has already been repealed--and discourages participation needed to make the law work…. Don't forget that this has simply never happened before. There is no precedent in American history for Congress approving a massive new public benefit, a president signing it into law, the Supreme Court endorsing the benefit's legality, and then having an entire political party actively and shamelessly working to sabotage the law."

  • Cardiff Garcia: Why Yellen should be the next Fed chair: "The transition period from now until the start of the eventual exit from unconventional policy also presents an incredibly tricky communications challenge, a lesson that should have been clear from the market’s reaction to Bernanke’s blundering attempt to telegraph the start of tapering. And it’s no slight to Summers to say that nobody has been paying more attention to the Fed’s communications policy than Yellen, who happens to chair the Fed’s subcommittee on… communications. Her April speech is a good place to start."

  • Call Me Maybe:

Brad DeLong and Larry Summers (1992): Macroeconomic Policy and Long-Run Growth | Paul Krugman: To The Brink, Again | Peter Moore: Congress may be deadlocked, but voters increasingly want their Congresspeople to compromise. Blame for the deadlock leans towards Republicans | Ezra Klein: Obama's speech was a lot of hype for very little policy | The Invention of Jaywalking Was a Massive Shaming Campaign |