Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for November 25, 2013
Stephanie McCrummen: In rural Kentucky, health-care debate takes back seat as the long-uninsured line up: "On the campaign trail, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was still blasting the new health-care law as unsalvageable. At the White House, President Obama was still apologizing for the botched federal Web site. But in a state where the rollout has gone smoothly, and in a county that is one of the poorest and unhealthiest in the country, Courtney Lively has been busy signing people up: cashiers from the IGA grocery, clerks from the dollar store, workers from the lock factory, call-center agents, laid-off coal miners, KFC cooks, Chinese green-card holders in town to teach Appalachian students.... Now it was the beginning of another day, and a man Lively would list as Client 375 sat across from her in her office at a health clinic next to a Hardee’s.... This is how things are going in Kentucky: As conservatives argued that the new health-care law will wreck the economy, as liberals argued it will save billions, as many Americans raged at losing old health plans and some analysts warned that a disproportionate influx of the sick and the poor could wreck the new health-care model, Lively was telling Noble something he did not expect to hear. 'All right', she said. 'We’ve got you eligible for Medicaid'. Places such as Breathitt County, in the Appalachian foothills of eastern Kentucky, are driving the state’s relatively high enrollment figures, which are helping to drive national enrollment figures..."
Ed Kilgore: Republicans and Health Insurance Exchanges: "Ezra Klein reminds us today in a more comprehensive way than we’ve seen so far that the Republican caterwauling about complex government-run private insurance exchanges and the disruption of existing insurance plans disguises the fact that their own health reform plans involve both.... Exchanges were central to a 2009 plan jointly sponsored by Reps. Paul Ryan and Devin Nunes, and Sens. Tom Coburn and Richard Burr. And they’re also integral to Ryan’s famous Medicare plan.... Every Republican health reform plan, dating back to those proposed by George W. Bush and by 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, focuses heavily on abolishing the current tax subsidy for employer-sponsored insurance, which would very deliberately disrupt existing insurance plans more than fifty Obamacares.... But hey, I guess the Ted Cruz health reform plan, due any day now, will solve all these problems and avoid all these massive acts of hypocrisy."
Iván Werning (2012): Managing a Liquidity Trap: Monetary and Fiscal Policy: "I study monetary and fiscal policy in liquidity trap scenarios, where the zero bound on the nominal interest rate binds. I work with a continuous-time version of the standard New Keynesian model. Without commitment the economy suffers from deflation and depressed output. Surprisingly, both are exacerbated with greater price flexibility. The optimum commits to keeping the interest rate at zero past the liquidity trap. Monetary policy promotes both inflation and an output boom. I show that the prolongation of zero interest rates is related to the latter, not the former. I then turn to fiscal policy and show that, regardless of the value of 'fiscal multipliers', optimal spending increases at the start of the trap. However, it later declines below its natural level. I propose a decomposition of spending according to 'opportunistic' and 'stimulus' motives, where the former is defined as the static, cost-benefit optimum. Opportunistic spending is countercyclical, while stimulus spending may be zero. Finally, I consider a situation where monetary policy is discretionary, but fiscal policy has commitment and show that this increases opportunistic spending and makes stimulus spending positive..."
Joe Blasi et al.: The Citizen's Share: Putting Ownership Back into Democracy: "As a result, surprisingly large numbers of American workers share in some way in their employers’ success. Based on a series of national surveys, the authors reckon that some 47% of full-time workers have one or more forms of capital stake in the firm for which they work, whether from profit-sharing schemes (40%), stock ownership (21%) or stock options (10%). About a tenth of Fortune 500 companies, from Procter & Gamble to Goldman Sachs, have employee shareholdings of 5% or more. Almost a fifth of America’s biggest private firms, including behemoths like Cargill and Mars, have profit-sharing or share-ownership schemes. Some 10m people work for companies with ESOPs."
Matthew O'Brien: The Singular Waste of America's Healthcare System in 1 Remarkable Chart: "The U.S. spends far, far more per person than any other rich country on healthcare. We don't get more for it....
Something has to change. We can't afford our healthcare exceptionalism.
Michelle Goldberg: Right-Wing Author Abandons Cultural Populism, Decries ‘White Trash’: "Charlotte Hays, the conservative writer and director of cultural programs at the anti-feminist Independent Women’s Forum, has a new book out, titled When Did White Trash Become the New Normal? A Southern Lady Asks the Impertinent Question. A broadside against the moral and aesthetic failures of the lower orders, it’s a fascinating work... for what it represents... the right are abandoning the NASCAR-fetishizing Palinesque faux-populism of recent decades for a more overt style of class warfare. A chapter on the foreclosure crisis and crushing student debt, for example, is called 'White Trash Money Management'. 'There are, I thus adduce, two keys to not being White Trash: having a job and paying your bills on time', Hays sniffs.... Hays’s work is saturated with that particular kind of right-wing smugness born of the conviction that one’s willingness to express common prejudices is a sign of free-thinking audacity. What’s interesting is where it’s directed—not at liberals or their sacred cows, but at fat, broke, ordinary Americans..."
David Abrams et al.: Patent Value and Citations: Creative Destruction or Strategic Disruption?: "Prior work suggests that more valuable patents are cited more and this view has become standard in the empirical innovation literature. Using an NPE-derived dataset with patent-specific revenues we find that the relationship of citations to value in fact forms an inverted-U, with fewer citations at the high end of value than in the middle. Since the value of patents is concentrated in those at the high end, this is a challenge to both the empirical literature and the intuition behind it. We attempt to explain this relationship with a simple model of innovation, allowing for both productive and strategic patents. We find evidence of greater use of strategic patents where it would be most expected: among corporations, in fields of rapid development, in more recent patents and where divisional and continuation applications are employed. These findings have important implications for our basic understanding of growth, innovation, and intellectual property policy."
Josh Marshall: Boehner Fails to Fail on Obamacare: "Late last week Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made a big show of trying but failing to sign up for Obamacare because of the notoriously buggy website. (Actually he appears to have been using the DC exchange site.) He even did a special tweet noting his hopeless situation. Not terribly surprising given the frustrating experiences so many have had. Actually, it turns out he had successfully enrolled and got a call confirming that about an hour after his tweet. But it gets better. According to Scott MacFarlane, a reporter for the local NBC affiliate in Washington, reports that a DC Health Care exchange representative actually tried to contact Boehner by phone during the enrollment process but was put on hold for 35 minutes, after which time the representative finally hung up."
Free Exchange (October 22, 2008): Analysis!: "If you have been paying attention... basically to anyone paying attention to financial markets... you may have heard that there have been some recent problems with interbank lending. In the wake of the Lehman Brothers failure, a number of money market funds broke the buck, and the commercial paper market began to show serious signs of stress. We faced the risk, the experts said, of a breakdown in the markets.... Had we done nothing, to paraphrase Ben Bernanke, we might have woken up one day to find ourselves without an economy. Or so they would have you believe, says Alex Tabarrok! For some time now, he has been pushing the argument that we may face recession, but that the financial crisis never threatened the real economy.... And now he has proof. Three economists [Chari, Christiano, and Kehoe] from the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis have produced a working paper purporting to debunk four myths about the financial crisis.... There are a few problems with all of this. First of all, some of the conclusions drawn are simply false... the broader, unwarranted credulity of the authors.... Maybe at some point we'll see some careful research that suggests that the threat the financial crisis posed to the real economy was drastically oversold. This, I'm afraid, isn't it."
The Economist: Post-crisis economics: Keynes’s new heirs: "It is not just students who are dissatisfied with economics. Professional economists can spot easy wins too. Many think economic history should be more widely taught, citing the fact that Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve, influenced by his knowledge of the Great Depression and of Japan’s slump in the 1990s, outperformed rich-world peers. It is not merely American financial history that matters, either. Stanley Fischer, governor of Israel’s central bank between 2005 and 2013, says he found economic history (including Walter Bagehot’s famous rule—to provide generous amounts of cash to troubled banks, but to charge them for it) useful in combating the 2008 crisis. This material had long fallen off the syllabus in most universities before the crash. A new group of teachers is now listening. Led by Wendy Carlin, an economist at University College London, they are designing a new university-level curriculum. The project, which aims to launch for the 2014-15 academic year, will change things in a number of ways."
Daniel Davies: If this is “secular stagnation”, I want my old job back: "Here’s my version of the economic history of the pre-crisis years.... Welcome to the world you made guys. These are the consequences of globalization, entirely predictable and in fact predicted (by Dean Baker, among others). The final conclusion is probably the same as if it was a mysterious secular stagnation; fiscal policy. But the need for fiscal policy is such an obviously correct and obvious fact that more or less any economic argument is going to end up there unless it has major logical or accounting errors. But really--there is no need to tell ourselves ghost stories about animal spirits. There’s no puzzle here. We got this outcome because we wanted it..."
Robert Farley: Offshore Engagement: The Right U.S. Strategy for Asia | Ed Kilgore: It's The Fundamentals, Stupid: Elections Aren't Determined By Short-Term 'Game Changes' | James Plunkett and Joao Paulo Pessoa: A Polarising Crisis: The changing shape of the UK and US labour markets from 2008 to 2012 | Harriet Beecher Stowe (1854): Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin: "Poor White Trash" | Paul Krugman: When Thought Experiments Encounter the Unthinking | Iran agrees to curb nuclear activity at Geneva talks | Brian Buetler: Whoops! Obamacare turns out to be great deal personally for Boehner | Robert Waldmann: Secular Stagnation and Fiscal Policy | Fed chair nominee Janet Yellen wins Senate committee backing |