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September 2013

Jottings for the First Half of September 2013

A comment on http://www.eschatonblog.com/2013/09/when-it-mattered.html:

Yellen was SF FRB President in 2008 and could not, institutionally, advocate cramdown. So it isn't fair to say that Summers was more favorable to cramdown than Yellen. But it is fair to say that Summers was more favorably inclined toward cramdown than Kohn, or Bernanke, or Ferguson, or Geithner. Or Obama.

This strikes me as some of the 50% of the s--- that Larry is getting that should really be directed at Obama (or Clinton), as opposed to the 40% of the s--- that Larry is getting that he doesn't deserve (or the 90% of the much lesser amount of s--- that Janet is getting that she doesn't deserve), or the 10% of the s--- that Larry is getting that he does deserve,..


A comment on Gavyn Davies and Dean Baker http://blogs.ft.com/gavyndavies/2013/09/12/lies-damned-lies-and-the-us-unemployment-statistics/:

As I see it, the points Dean should have made are:

  • Demographers say that labor force participation should be falling at 0.1%/year due to the aging of the population and 0.1%/year due to increasing wealth and the resulting demand for more schooling and earlier retirement.

  • "Structuralists" say that the recession has given us 15 years of this trend in labor force participation in five as people have changed their life plans in response to the lousy job market.

  • "Structuralists" say that we should not expect a better job market to reverse this acceleration of the demographic trend--because people who have retired early cannot unretire, and once people are expected to have masters degrees to get jobs that used to require bachelors successive cohorts will have no option but to match

  • Structuralists are wrong:

    • Increasing wealth is not a thing for anyone outside the top 5%.
    • Most of the unemployed young are not building skills but instead are being depressed
    • The over-65 crowd is frantically unretiring as the collapse of their 401k wealth and housing equity has impoverished them.

At least, that is what I would have said, if I believed what I think Dean believes. Me? I'm not sure what I believe...


Comment on Whose Central Bank?:

Negative real interest rates hurt lenders and help borrowers... exactly as much. They hurt those who are going to buy financial assets and help those who are about to sell financial assets... exactly as much. To say "low real interest rates hurt lenders and asset purchasers..." is not an argument without a reason: you then have to say "...and we care more about lenders and asset purchasers than about borrowers and asset sellers because X." And you do not provide that X. By contrast, high unemployment helps nobody and hurts a lot of people...


What To Read?: Finance, Entrepreneuship, and Social Value:


Books I Read and Liked in the First Half of September 2013


Liveblogging World War II: September 15, 1943

Battle of the Dnieper: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The order to construct the Dnieper defense complex, known as "Eastern Wall", was issued on 11 August 1943 and begun to be immediately executed. Fortifications were erected along the length of the Dnieper. However, there was no hope of completing such an extensive defence line in the short time available. Therefore, the completion of the "Eastern Wall" was not uniform in its density and depth of fortifications. Instead, the fortifications were concentrated in areas where Soviet assault-crossing were most likely to be attempted, such as near Kremenchuk, Zaporizhia and Nikopol.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 15, 1943" »


Paul Krugman: But Where's My Phoenix?: Noted

Paul Krugman: But Where's My Phoenix?:

Olivier Accominotti and Barry Eichengreen look at the crisis in Europe, and tell us something new. I knew that it was best viewed as a balance-of-payments crisis, not a debt crisis — a case in which large capital inflows to Europe’s periphery suddenly went into reverse. What I didn’t know was that something quite similar happened in Europe from 1919 to 1933, with huge inflows to Austria, Hungary and Germany suddenly shifting to huge outflows, and with similarly disastrous results. One thing worth following up on, however, is an issue suggested by their use of the term “sudden stop”… coined by Guillermo Calvo…. Calvo went on to point out… that sudden stops are often followed by “phoenix miracles,” in which the economy comes roaring back…. Seen any phoenixes lately? The thing is, there were indeed phoenix-like recoveries after 1929-33, everywhere except France…. It stayed on the gold standard. And it’s hard to avoid the notion that the absence of any phoenixes in Europe today comes from the role of the euro, which is acting as a similar constraint, only worse. But hey, Europe has just had one quarter of (modest) growth. The euro is a triumph!


Noted to Aid Your Procrastination for September 14, 2013

Continue reading "Noted to Aid Your Procrastination for September 14, 2013" »


Norm Ornstein Finally Calls for the Republican Party to Suffer the Shock of Major Defeat in Order to Effect Its Change: Years Late and Trillion Dollars Short Weblogging

May 18, 2012:

Brad DeLong: So why aren’t you advocating the rapid destruction of the Republican Party as fast as possible? Why aren’t you telling everyone go out and vote Democrat now, for this is your last chance?…

Norman Ornstein: I am not with that. I mean this--if we get identified as people whose goal is to elect Democrats then this book goes right into the trash. I guess I wasn’t sort of clear about—-what I am saying is one inference to draw from us in the last chapter is you look through this and look at the different dynamics of what could happen is if you agree with the republicans sort of running of the tracks, then they are going to have to suffer defeat before they change. That’s not the same as going out and saying everyone vote Democratic you know.

At the time, I thought Norm Ornstein was simply being incoherent:

  • If he thought that America needs a very different Republican Party because the current party has run off the tracks--which he did…

*And if he thought that they will only change after they suffer defeat--which he did…

  • Then for America's sake Norm Ornstein ought to have been calling for everybody to vote Democratic.

  • Which he would not do.

Now it sounds like he has changed his mind:

Continue reading "Norm Ornstein Finally Calls for the Republican Party to Suffer the Shock of Major Defeat in Order to Effect Its Change: Years Late and Trillion Dollars Short Weblogging" »


John Quiggin Asks a Question About Thomas Nagel

John Quiggin: What is it like to be a bug?:

Does Nagel really believe that at some point in evolutionary history, a light flicked on in a brain somewhere, and the first experience was had?

As I understand it, yes: for Nagel, the analogy between consciousness-stuff and soul-stuff is complete. This raises the possibility that Nagel really really believes in the possible existence of philosophical zombies--a speeded-up Chinese room, for example.


Felix Salmon Reviews Tim Harford's "The Undercover Economist Strikes Back": Noted for September 14, 2013

Felix Salmon reviews Tim Harford's The Undercover Economist Strikes Back:

By far the worst thing about it is the title. There is none of the Undercover Economist about this book, unless you include the dialogue style of writing…. Instead, what Harford has achieved with his new book is… while retaining the accessible style of popular microeconomics, he has managed to explain, with clarity and good humour, the knottiest and most important problems facing the world’s biggest economies today…. He explains these things in an unprecedentedly accessible way, making liberal use of quotations from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Dr Strangelove.   By the end of it all, you will understand everything from liquidity traps to the Lucas critique--and your eyes won’t glaze over when reading about such things. Harford has written the “macroeconomics for beginners” book we have all been waiting for; I just wish that it had been published as such, and not as something targeting only Harford’s existing audience.


Kathy Ruffing: The Economist Gets It Wrong on Disability Insurance: Noted for September 14, 2013

Kathy Ruffing: The Economist Gets It Wrong on Disability Insurance:

A recent article in the Economist took an uninformed--and unjustified--swipe at Disability Insurance…. The Economist notes that the average disabled-worker benefit is about $1,130 a month, and its accompanying graph suggests that this figure has almost doubled since 1990.  That’s seriously misleading.  When adjusted for inflation, the average benefit has barely grown…. The Economist also remarks that the number of DI recipients has roughly doubled since the mid-1990s.  But that’s largely due to the aging of the population (the baby boomers have aged squarely into their high-disability years), the growth of women’s labor-force participation (which means that more of them qualify for DI if they become disabled), and the rise in Social Security’s full retirement age from 65 to 66 (which delays beneficiaries’ switch from disability to retirement benefits).  As we’ve explained, adjusting for these factors reveals that the disability rolls have grown only modestly.

Continue reading "Kathy Ruffing: The Economist Gets It Wrong on Disability Insurance: Noted for September 14, 2013" »


Liveblogging World War II: September 14, 1943

World War II Today:

Benjamin Jacobs was already a veteran of Nazi labour camps. He and his family had first been carted off from their small Polish village in May 1941. He had survived a succession of different work camps. Then in late August 1943 he was deported again. This time after a long train journey ‘traumatized, starved, and soaked with human waste’ he arrived at Auschwitz, where they already knew that Jews were being put to death. A dark smoke hung over everything, the atmosphere laden with doom.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 14, 1943" »


Noted for September 13, 2013

Short:

Kevin O'Rourke: Grant me microeconomic efficiency, but not yet | Dart-Throwing Chimp: Replicate! Replicate! Replicate! | David Niewert: Orcinus: Reviving Orcinus | Google Alerts Brings Back Support for Feeds | Jared Bernstein: Truth Fights Power in MO | Ken Doctor: The newsononics of Jeff Bezos’ (and Warren Buffett’s) “runway” | Doug Milhous J: "If anything bad happens, it will be the fault of both sides. Why can’t Obama charm John Boehner the way the Gipper did with Tip?" | Ted Cruz: "We Need 100 More Like Jesse Helms" | Economist: Changes to Norway’s gigantic sovereign-wealth fund will be felt around the world | Brad Plumer: How long before the Great Plains runs out of water? | Heidi Shierholz: 2012 Income Numbers: What to Expect Next Tuesday and Why It Matters |

Long:

Talking Points Memo New Platform BETA | David Kreps: Corporate Culture and Economic Theory | Georg T. Becker et al.: Stealthy Dopant-Level Hardware Trojans |

Paragraphed:


Adam Engst: International Verify Your Backups Day: Noted for September 13, 2013

Adam Engst: International Verify Your Backups Day:

I humbly submit that Friday the 13th, whenever it rolls around, should be considered International Verify Your Backups Day…. Take a few minutes to identify some critical files and see if you can restore them successfully from your backups. If a bootable backup is part of your backup strategy, make sure you can actually boot from it…. That’s it. No costumes are necessary, there’s no obligatory greeting, and you aren’t expected to make a special meal. If you feel the need to honor your successful verification, well, a little celebratory imbibing of your favorite beverage is never inappropriate.


The Ideal Place to Read Francis Spufford's "Red Plenty"...

…is in the Hotel Ukraina, on Kutuzovsky Prospekt on the bank of the Moscow River, across the river from Gazprom HQ and the Russian Federation's White House:

Гостиница Украина

Francis Spufford (2010): Red Plenty (London: Faber and Faber).

Continue reading "The Ideal Place to Read Francis Spufford's "Red Plenty"..." »


Paul Krugman: License To Stagnate: Noted for September 13, 2013

Paul Krugman: License To Stagnate - NYTimes.com:

I think it’s useful to ask why, as a practical matter, conventional policy-oriented macroeconomists (myself included) used to think we could normally count on a fairly quick return to full employment after a shock--and why we shouldn’t think so anymore…. So what’s wrong with this pretty picture? Two ugly zeroes. First is the zero lower bound on the interest rate… you should keep cutting rates, but you can’t. Second is downward nominal rigidity… [which] lead[s] the [long-run] Phillips curve to be non-vertical in the face of very low inflation… even years of a deeply depressed economy tend to produce at most slow, grinding deflation, and more usually slight positive inflation, not the ever-accelerating deflation the standard model would have predicted. In the Bond movies, two zeroes meant a license to kill. In monetary policy, two zeroes — the hard zero on interest rates and the soft zero on wage changes — can, all too easily, give central bankers a de facto license to let the economy stagnate.

Continue reading "Paul Krugman: License To Stagnate: Noted for September 13, 2013" »


Robin Harding: America’s economic growth is built on sand: Noted for September 13, 2013

Robin Harding: America’s economic growth is built on sand:

In 2009, Mr Obama was speaking for a consensus about how the US should rebalance. The share of exports and investment should rise while consumption, imports and housing should fall… household and government savings needed to rise and corporate savings to fall… labour should earn more relative to capital, and that should be more evenly distributed…. For a year or two it looked promising – but rebalancing stopped…. Policy makers cannot prescribe the balance of the economy but there is still much they could do to build the US recovery on firmer foundations.

Continue reading "Robin Harding: America’s economic growth is built on sand: Noted for September 13, 2013" »


Liveblogging World War II: September 13, 1943

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World War II Today:

Private Richard Kelliher in New Guinea:

I wanted to bring [wounded] Cpl Richards back, because he was my cobber, so I jumped out from the stump where I was sheltering and threw a few grenades over into the position where the Japanese were dug in. I did not kill them all, so went back, got a Bren gun and emptied the magazine in the post. That settled the Japanese. Another position opened up when I went on to get Cpl Richards, but we got a bit of covering fire and I brought him back to our lines.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 13, 1943" »


James Kwak: Non-Lessons of the Financial Crisis: Noted for September 13, 2013

James Kwak: Non-Lessons of the Financial Crisis:

As the fifth anniversary of the Lehman bankruptcy approaches, the Internet is filling up with reflections on the financial crisis and the ensuing years. My main feeling, as expressed in my latest Atlantic column, is amazement at how little we seem to have learned. Looking back, the period in late 2008 and early 2009, when it was obvious that the financial sector would have to change in important, structural ways, now seems like a naïve, youthful delusion. Sure, there are some new rules around the margins, but for the most part little has changed—not just in the financial sector itself, but more importantly in the political and ideological landscape that shapes regulatory policy. Of course, this isn’t simply the product of collective amnesia. It’s the result of the fact that ideas are shaped by money and political power. And that’s where little has changed.


Josh Barro: You Can't Resist The Medicaid Expansion: Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Wants In: Noted for September 13, 2013

Josh Barro: You Can't Resist The Medicaid Expansion: Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Wants In:

Nine of 30 Republican governors have pushed for their states to participate in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. It looks like that number is about to rise to 10…. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) will announce on Monday a plan for his state to expand Medicaid…. Conservatives are obsessed with blocking Obamacare and they don't want states to participate in any way, even if the federal government will pay substantially all the costs. But when Republican state officials decline to participate, they will have to explain to both medical providers and potential Medicaid beneficiaries that they turned down free federal money just to spite the president. The hospital situation will become especially untenable in 2014. The federal government will cut so-called "disproportionate share" payments to hospitals that are meant to compensate them for treating the uninsured because the Medicaid expansion should reduce the number of uninsured…. Some hospitals will close…. Medicaid-blocking Republicans will take the blame.

Some Republican officials, like Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.), have been smart enough to understand this dynamic and decided to take some political hits now to have an easier 2014. Others, like Gov. Scott Walker (Wisc.) and Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.) have blocked the expansion.


The Medicaid Expansion Map

Dylan Matthews:

Report: Pennsylvania Will Expand Medicaid Under Obamacare

Beyond the pledges Where the states stand on Medicaid The Advisory Board Daily Briefing

It looks like one more red state sees reality…

And, of course, if the federal government had offered any of the red state governors and legislators 20% as much money in the form, say, of a military base, they would have fallen all over themselves to get it and in fact would have eagerly spent as much state money to match if that had been necessary to secure it. The governors and legislatures aren't stupid: they are just terrified of a base that thinks that poor people deserve to be sick…

Why they are too scared of their base to try to educate it, and why they are not scared of their doctors and their insurance companies is something I have not yet figured out…


Noted for September 12, 2013

Short:

Mark Thoma: 10 Real and Bogus Reasons for the Slow Recovery | Austin Frakt: Reed Abelson of New York Times blows it on “death panels” | Joe Romm: NY Times: Did Denier 'Intimidation Tactics' Move IPCC To 'Lowball' Sea Level Rise And Climate Sensitivity? | Henny Sender: China’s model stimulus has more to show for it than US | Aaron Carroll: Will the Cost of Health Insurance Under the ACA Be Lower Than Expected? | Adrianna McIntyre: There’s consensus about how much the ACA is expected to reduce employer-sponsored insurance (Spoiler: not much) | Neil Buchanan: How to Succeed in Sounding Impressive When Talking about Budgets and Deficits Without Really Trying | Michael Grunwald: How The Stimulus Remade America Without Anyone Noticing | Monique Morrissey and Natalie Sabadish: Retirement Inequality Chartbook: How the 401(k) revolution created a few big winners and many losers | Shobhana Chandra, Rich Miller, and Peter Burrows: Big Data From Talking Turbines Signal Productivity Boom | Philip Roth: In Prague |

Long:

David Glasner: Uneasy Money Marks the Centenary of Hawtrey’s Good and Bad Trade |


Yes, Larry Summers Had a Much Better Understanding of the Seriousness of the Situation in March 2008 than Either the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, the Bush Treasury, or the Princes of Wall Street. Why Do You Ask?: Noted for September 12, 2013

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Lawrence Summers: SIEPR: March 7, 2008:

My message this morning is not going to be a cheery one. I believe that we are facing the most serious combination of macroeconomic and financial stresses that the United States has faced in at least a generation--and, possibly, much longer than that.

I want to do several things this morning:

  • to try to describe in dimension the challenge,
  • to draw some lessons from past financial crises, and
  • to suggest some policy approaches going forward.

Continue reading "Yes, Larry Summers Had a Much Better Understanding of the Seriousness of the Situation in March 2008 than Either the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, the Bush Treasury, or the Princes of Wall Street. Why Do You Ask?: Noted for September 12, 2013" »


Mark Carney: spending cuts have been "a drag on growth": Noted for September 12, 2013

George Eaton: Mark Carney: spending cuts have been "a drag on growth":

The most politically significant moment during Mark Carney's appearance before the Treasury select committee came when the Bank of England governor stated that "fiscal adjustment" (spending cuts and tax rises) "has been a drag on growth"…. George Osborne… earlier this week derided… "fiscalists" who claimed that the cuts had been more damaging than expected…. The Treasury did, however, refuse to concede that the cuts had, at least to some extent, depressed growth. As David Cameron was reminded by Robert Chote earlier this year (when he suggested that austerity had not hit output), the OBR's multipliers assume that "every £100 of fiscal consolidation measures reduce GDP in that year by around £100 for capital spending cuts, £60 for welfare and public services, £35 for increases in the VAT rate and £30 for income tax and National Insurance increases". Fiscal consolidation is estimated to have reduced GDP by 1.4 per cent in 2011-12 alone.


Eugen Weber: The ups and downs of honor: Noted for September 12, 2013

Eugen Weber: The ups and downs of honor:

The oldest poem in our Western tradition opens with a quarrel about honor…. If we look at it afresh, without the respect due to a classic, we will discover that the Iliad, chapter 1, presents two gang-leading thugs, Achilles and Agamemnon, facing each other down, trading threats and insults over loot and women, and that the whole poem turns on plunder and pride and the sport of killing. Similar sentiments move another heroic figure, Roland--a reckless young fool who accepts combat at odds of ten to one; who refuses to call for help when only reinforcements can prevent annihilation; who sacrifices his men, his friends, and himself; and who endangers the interests of his lord and country in order to satisfy an ideal that even his best friend does not accept. Yet Roland's values were widely admired for centuries…. The Song of Roland is no more a handbook of what we would call chivalry than the Iliad is. It shows no sense of sportsmanship, no fair play, no chivalrous treatment of opponents. Roland gloats about previous victims, he brags about what he has done, he boasts of what he's going to do, and he taunts his victims when he's through with them, just as Achilles drags Hector's corpse through the dust. Roland's vainglory brings to mind the bumptious dances that football players execute after sacking a quarterback. They are exhilarated, and they show it in their uncouth prancing.


Liveblogging World War II: September 12, 1943

Gran Sasso raid: Wikipedia:

Operation Eiche (German for 'Oak'), the rescue of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini by German paratroopers led by Major Otto-Harald Mors and Waffen-SS commandos in September 1943, during World War II. The airborne operation was personally ordered by Adolf Hitler, planned by Major Harald Mors and approved by General Kurt Student….

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 12, 1943" »


Usher Richardson Wyman Clifford: Across the Wide Missouri Weblogging

St louis 1849 Google Search

In 1630 Ezekiel Richardson arrived in Massachusetts Bay from the West Country, one of John Winthrop's Puritans--this who crossed the Atlantic to worship God as they chose and to make others do the same. And Ezekiel begat, et cetera, and seven generations later in Pittsburg James C. Richardson espoused Laura Clifford, and in 1849 they came down the Phio and up the Mississippi to the banks of the wide Missouri River, and settled in St. Louis.

Continue reading "Usher Richardson Wyman Clifford: Across the Wide Missouri Weblogging" »


Thursday Idiocy: Peter Boettke, Laurence Moss, David Tuerck, James Wible, and Two Anonymous Referees Have a Huge Amount to Apologize for...

Just saying…

From Walter Block[1], "Hayek's Road to Serfdom":

The work of Hayek, in contrast with the Marxist-Socialist- Interventionist-Galbraithian paradigm that held sway in the mid-20th century, appears as a beacon for free enterprise amidst a sea of totalitarianism. When considered in comparison to the writings against which he contended, Hayek’s was a lonely voice, crying in the wilderness for freedom; he stood, like the Dutch boy, with his finger in the dike of onrushing statism.

But if one weighs his output against that of free enterprise advocates who came later, or, better yet, against an ideal of laissez-faire capitalism, then one must categorize Hayek as lukewarm, at best, in his support of this system…

[1] Walter Block is associate professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross. The author would like to thank the following people for helpful comments on an earlier draft: Peter Boettke, Laurence Moss, David Tuerck, James Wible, and 2 anonymous referees. The usual caveat applies.

The usual caveat applies with more than the usual force, I hope.

If they did not tell him he was a clown undermining his own and their credibility, they did him and themselves no good service at all...


Cosma Shalizi: Cognition in the Wild: Noted for September 12, 2013

Cosma Shalizi: Cognition in the Wild:

All this is in the realm of technique; when it comes to theory, we are quite at a loss. We can see, in a rough, common-sensical way, what makes us better at running things than the Romans were, but we don't understand how either they or us pull off the trick at all. That is to say, we don't really have a good theory about how collective action and cognition work, when and why they do, how they can be made to work better, why they fail, what they can and cannot accomplish, and so forth. Intellectually, these are large, tempting problems; technologically, they have obvious relevance to the design of parallel and distributed computers; economically, they could mean real money, not just billions; and, in general, it'd be nice to know what it is we've gotten ourselves into.


Alan Blinder: Five Years Later, Financial Lessons Not Learned: Noted for September 12, 2013

Alan Blinder: Five Years Later, Financial Lessons Not Learned:

It's a good time to ponder how the U.S. economy was nearly brought to ruin. But will we? Or are we already forgetting?… Years of disgraceful financial shenanigans in the 2000s, some illegal but many just immoral, brought on the Great Recession with virtually no help from any co-conspirators. Congress and President Obama reacted comparatively weakly with the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which certainly did not seek to remake the U.S. financial system. I am a big supporter of Dodd-Frank, despite its timidity, because laws must be graded on a curve. Sadly, even this good-though-weak law now seems to be withering on the regulatory vine. Far from being tamed, the financial beast has gotten its mojo back—and is winning. The people have forgotten—and are losing.

Here are four examples….

Continue reading "Alan Blinder: Five Years Later, Financial Lessons Not Learned: Noted for September 12, 2013" »


Noted for September 11, 2013

Short:

The Economist: The origins of the financial crisis: Crash course | Igor Volsky: The Obama Administration's Sneaky Plan To Hook Republican States On Obamacare | Dana Goldstein: TFA Teachers Perform Well in a New Study--But Teacher Experience Still Matters |

Long:

Christina Romer and David Romer: Transfer Payments and the Macroeconomy: The Effects of Social Security Benefit Changes | Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman: Capital is Back: Wealth Ratios over Several Centuries | Gapminder World Offline | Barry Eichengreen: Does the Federal Reserve Care About the Rest of the World? |

Paragraphed:


Brad DeLong: Fiscal Policy Issues in the United States

Fiscal Policy Issues in the United States

  • At the end of the 2008, the seriousness of the financial crisis and the resulting collapse in production and employment coupled with the Federal Reserve's exhaustion of its traditional monetary policy-management took, the open-market operation, raised the possibility that the U.S. government should consider using activist expansionary fiscal policy as a stabilization-policy tool. Doubters offered many reasons--some clearly invalid ex ante, others potentially valid--why such resort to activist expansionary fiscal policy as a stabilization-policy tool might be ineffective or harmful. How has our view of the validity of these doubts changed over the past six years? How has our view of the power of expansionary fiscal policy--especially when monetary policy is at and committed to remain at the zero lower bound--changed over the past six years? What are the current objections to more aggressive activist expansionary fiscal policy as a stabilization-policy than is contained in the current baseline? And what do we not know that we need to know in order to properly evaluate such policies?

Readings:

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Continue reading "Brad DeLong: Fiscal Policy Issues in the United States" »


Barry Ritholz on Donald Luskin: Washington Post #completefail Edition: Wednesday Hoisted from Other People's Archives Weblogging

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REVIEW: Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line | The Big Picture:

It's been exactly [5 years] since the single dumbest newspaper column ever published appeared in The Washington Post. Breathtaking in its ignorance, shocking in its fallibility, astonishing in its author’s perversely misperceived world view, it stands as a monument to sheer cluelessness as an economic discipline…

This alone is more than sufficient reason for you, if you are ever tempted to pay a cent for any purpose to the Washington Post, to lie down and wait until the feeling goes away.

Why oh why can't we have a better Press Corps?


Liveblogging World War II: September 11, 1943

Frank Romano:

We had been cruising off Salerno for days, back and forth, firing our guns in support of the ground troops. Remember that scene from the movie ‘Big Red One’ when Lee Marvin and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hammill)  are hiding in the cave, and as the German tanks pass by all hell breaks loose? Well, in that movie, Lee Marvin says, Guess where that artillery came from?? The NAVY!! The USS Savannah 5 miles offshore!!” I’ve watched that movie a hundred times just to hear my ship’s name.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 11, 1943" »


James Kwak: Who Cares About the National Debt?: Noted for September 11, 2013

James Kwak: Who Cares About the National Debt?:

Not Greg Mankiw [who] wrote a colum… laying out the arguments for a carbon tax… well known and… obviously correct…. Many people think that the national debt is a serious long-term problem…. According to Mankiw….

If the Democratic sponsors conceded to using the new revenue to reduce personal and corporate income tax rates, a bipartisan compromise is possible to imagine.”

Republicans like to say that they are opposed to deficits…. But when confronted with a proposal that makes perfect economic sense and reduces deficits, they reject it…. Mankiw’s argument… is that a carbon tax is good, but additional tax revenue that would reduce the deficit is bad. This is absurd…. Unfortunately, not just the Republican congressional delegation but also one of the party’s most prominent economists has accepted this absurdity as a fact.


Noted for September 10, 2013

Short:

Ivan Volsky: Don't Worry, Young People Won't Avoid Signing Up For Obamacare | Mark Thoma sends us to Dave Giles: Ten Things for Applied Econometricians to Keep in Mind | Jared Bernstein: What’s Driving Down the Labor Share? How About Too Little Worker Bargaining Power? | Barry Ritholtz: What’s behind Microsoft’s fall from dominance? |

Long:

Henry Farrell: The Tech Intellectuals |


Nick Rowe: Old and New Keynesians and self-equilibration: Noted for September 10, 2013

Nick Rowe: Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: Old and New Keynesians and self-equilibration:

Old Keynesian Income-Expenditure model…. This model has zero tendency to self-equilibrate at full employment…. Old Keynesian ISLM model…. This model may or may not have a tendency towards full employment "in the long run"…. It depends on the shapes of the IS and LM curves, because it may be that no fall in the price level or increase in the money supply can get the rate of interest low enough to get the economy to full employment. It also depends on the interaction between expected inflation/deflation and actual inflation/deflation…. The model tells you what it depends on.

The… "canonical" New Keynesian model… has three equations. The new "IS curve"… the ratio of current demand to expected future demand is a negative function of the real rate of interest. There is an equation for the expectations-augmented Phillips Curve, which both defines "full-employment" and tells you the relationship between deviations of output from full employment and deviations of actual from expected inflation. And there is an equation for the monetary policy reaction function…. (You can call the assumption of rational expectations a fourth equation, if you wish.)… This model has zero tendency towards full employment, even if you assume a sensible monetary policy.

Continue reading "Nick Rowe: Old and New Keynesians and self-equilibration: Noted for September 10, 2013" »


Liveblogging World War II: September 10, 1943

Don Whitehead reports froM Salerno, Italy:

German soldiers rode through the streets of Salerno machine gunning civilians and Italian soldiers as well before they were finally driven out of the city this afternoon in the second day of bitter fighting on this northernmost sector of the Allied invasion front.

Against desperate opposition, the Allied troops slowly deepened their invasion bridgehead.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 10, 1943" »


Bruce Springsteen Concert Setlist at Fenway Park: Ten Years Ago on the Internet

Bruce Springsteen Concert Setlist at Fenway Park, Boston on September 7, 2003:

The Rising Tour

  1. Diddy Wah Diddy (Bo Diddley cover)
  2. The Rising
  3. Lonesome Day
  4. Adam Raised a Cain
  5. Something in the Night
  6. Empty Sky
  7. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
  8. Spirit in the Night
  9. For You
  10. Because the Night
  11. She's the One
  12. Badlands
  13. Mary's Place
  14. Frankie
  15. Jungleland
  16. Into the Fire
  17. Thunder Road

Encore:

  1. Further On (Up the Road)
  2. Glory Days
  3. Born to Run
  4. Seven Nights to Rock (Moon Mullican cover)

Encore 2:

  1. My City of Ruins
  2. Born in the U.S.A.
  3. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  4. Dancing in the Dark
  5. Dirty Water (The Standells cover) (with Peter Wolf)

Noted for September 9, 2013

Short:

Lake Powell Water Database | Juan Williams Shuts Down Fox News Network’s Hysteria Over Benghazi: ‘It’s Gone, Baby. It’s In Your Head’ | Leika Kihara: Japan Q2 GDP Revised Up Sharply | Dylan Scott: Obamacare Outreach And Advertisements Start Ramping Up | Nate Anderson: Crypto prof asked to remove NSA-related blog post | Matthew Green: A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering: On the NSA |


Tim Harford: Low pay and the rise of the machines: Noted for September 9, 2013

Tim Harford: Low pay and the rise of the machines:

The Living Wage (with capital letters) is a target set by campaigners for a good solid hourly wage – currently £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 an hour elsewhere. That’s 20 per cent above the legal minimum wage rate. A lot of people don’t make that much money. Some of them will be doing just fine – £7 an hour isn’t bad if you’re 17 years old, living with mater and pater and saving up for a gap year somewhere sunny – but others will not.

I feel like I’ve heard about all this before. Why are we talking about it now?

It’s the new narrative for the Labour party. Here’s the awkward thing for Labour: the economy is slowly picking up steam. So how to attack George Osborne, the chancellor? Ed Balls, shadow chancellor, could argue that Mr Osborne deserves no credit for the upturn – that government austerity made the depression longer and deeper than necessary. To an economist that’s pretty plausible. To the voting public it doesn’t seem to have much bite. And so the new story – pushed by Mr Balls and his deputy Rachel Reeves this week – is that while it’s welcome that the economy is recovering, the problem is that hard-working families aren’t benefiting.

Continue reading "Tim Harford: Low pay and the rise of the machines: Noted for September 9, 2013" »


Jonathan Vankin: Michael E. Mann, Top Climate Scientist, Can Proceed WIth Libel Suit Against Right Wing Blogs, Judge Rules: Noted for September 9, 2013

Jonathan Vankin: Michael E. Mann, Top Climate Scientist, Can Proceed WIth Libel Suit Against Right Wing Blogs, Judge Rules:

In the post quoted on National Review, writer Rand Simberg calls Mann, “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science.” Mann’s lawyers asked National Review to remove the post and apologize to Mann. The other blog post, by Peter Wood writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, also drew a comparison between the Sandusky case and Mann’s alleged involvement in “Climategate,” albeit less directly.

Mann sued both The Chronicle and National Review, saying that the publications had defamed him and damaged his reputation. The publications filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit, which were heard by Washington D.C. Superior Court Judge Natalia Combs Greene last week. Greene ruled that Mann’s claims can go forward. She added that Mann’s case was likely to succeed “on the merits.” “Plaintiff is a member of the scholarly academy and it is obvious that allegations of fraud could lead to the demise of his profession and tarnish his character and standing in the community,” the judge wrote.


Paul Krugman: The Wonk Gap: Noted for September 9, 2013

Paul Krugman: The Wonk Gap:

On Saturday, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming delivered the weekly Republican address… demanded repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “The health care law,” he declared, “has proven to be unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable,” and he predicted “sticker shock” in the months ahead…. Barrasso’s remarks were actually interesting…. You see… Barrasso is predicting sticker shock precisely when serious fears of such a shock are fading fast. Why would he do that? Well, one likely answer is that he hasn’t heard any of the good news. Think about it: Who would tell him?

My guess, in other words, was that Mr. Barrasso was inadvertently illustrating the widening “wonk gap”--the G.O.P.’s near-complete lack of expertise on anything substantive. Health care is the most prominent example, but the dumbing down extends across the spectrum, from budget issues to national security to poll analysis. Remember, Mitt Romney and much of his party went into Election Day expecting victory….

Continue reading "Paul Krugman: The Wonk Gap: Noted for September 9, 2013" »


Liveblogging World War II: September 9, 1943

NewImage

Officer Commanding Royal Marines, His Majesty's Landing Craft Gun (Large) :: R C Lane, Lt. R.M.:

In the absence of the Commanding Officer who was injured, I am rendering a provisional report on the above action.

At 03.24 hours on the 9th September 1943, fire was opened on the beaches and ceased at 03.25, five rounds being fired. It was impossible to open fire at the pre-arranged time of 03.20 owing to destroyers masking fire.

We then proceeded to patrol the coast to the South of Beach 29. At 06.45 fire was opened at the C/D Battery 788130, eight rounds being fired, six for effect. There was however, no counter-fire.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: September 9, 1943" »


Nob Akimoto: Movie Blogging Plus DeLong Smackdown Watch: Orson Scott Card "Ender's Game" Edition

I wrote:

Brad DeLong: Ender's Game: The Movie: Me? Art is art. Entertainment is entertainment. To say that one's dislike of Orson Scott Card's poisonous politics should keep you from having an experience you would otherwise enjoy is to give him a power over you he doesn't deserve: your seeing Ender's Game does not put yourself in any sort of reciprocal gift-exchange relationship with him. And he isn't going to spend more than $0.01 of your ticket price on poisonous propaganda. So go to the movie, enjoy it--and then match what you paid for the ticket, spend it supporting some worthy political cause, and tell everybody you are doing so.

After being smacked around (not personally) by Nob Akimoto, I recant: see the Ender's Game movie for free on post-midnight cable a few years from now--don't boost its opening-week grosses. There is value for the country in a public shunning of Orson Scott Card. It will make America a better place. He is not who we are.

Sorry about your money, LionsGate. But them's the breaks…

Nob Akimoto:

Continue reading "Nob Akimoto: Movie Blogging Plus DeLong Smackdown Watch: Orson Scott Card "Ender's Game" Edition" »


May I Sign on to the Hartmann-Jacobsen Fed Letter with Six Words Added and One Word Changed?

http://www.iwpr.org/publications/public-policy-economists-yellen-letter

In the first paragraph, change "appoint" to "consider appointing".

In the last paragraph change "best" to "by a narrow margin, third best".

The last paragraph:

In conclusion, we believe that Janet Yellen is an extremely effective leader who has demonstrated her capacity to work with the other FRB governors and to bring important perspectives of the American people to her leadership and decisions. In our opinion, she is the best possible leader for the Federal Reserve Board at this critical time in our nation’s history.

Weblogging while drinking to try to put myself to sleep for tonight's trans-Atlantic flight is probably not the best idea in the world…


Noted for September 8, 2013

Short:

Carola Binder: Not Quite Noahpinion: Low Interest Rates, Savers, and the Recovery | Voltaire | Prairie Weather: The crap started with Newt | The Hype Cycle | Jonathan Cohn: Obamacare Premiums and Rate Shock: New studies and a Consensus |

Long:

Robert Feenstra et al.: Recasting international income differences: The next-generation Penn World Table |