IMHO, the major thing wrong with Her as a set of changes on 'Pygmalion" was the absence of the Alfred P. Doolittle character...
John Maynard Keynes: Letter to Roy Harrod, July 4, 1938:
Tilton, Firle, Lewes.
4 July 1938
My dear Roy,
There is no doubt that your Presidential Address [to the British Economic Associaton] which I have sent to the printer [for the next issue of the Economic Journal], is very interesting; and it will provoke plenty of thought. Indeed it is much the best Presidential Address for many years. I am very glad to print it in full; but I would remind you that it will take considerably over an hour to read at a reasonable pace.
Introduction to Economic History: Economics 210A
Brad DeLong (firstname.lastname@example.org OH M 1-2 W 11-12) and Barry Eichengreen (email@example.com OH Tu 1-3)
Spring 2014; University of California, Berkeley; Wednesday 1:00-3:00 p.m.; 597 Evans Hall
Readings are available either on the web or, where there exists no web-based copy, at Graduate Services (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/doemoff/grad/index.html) at 208 Doe Library. Access to readings available through JSTOR and other proprietary sources may require you to log on through a university-recognized computer and enter your Calnet ID. There can be high demand for the readings on reserve at peak times, and the library can make available only limited numbers of copies. In past years some students have found it useful to purchase some of the books from which material is assigned through their favorite online book seller and to assemble the materials for reproduction at a local copy shop.
- Morning Must-Read: Neera Tanden: If at First You Don’t Succeed: A short history of the Republicans’ 48 attempts to repeal Obamacare
- Did Lenin Actually Ever Say: “The Worse, the Better”?
- Morning Must-Read: ObamaCare and Burr-Coburn-Hatch PCare: Which Is Beelzebub and Which Is Satan Again?
- The United States Economy Today in the Transpacific Mirror: Thursday Focus: January 30, 2014
- Afternoon Must-Read: Larry Summers on the Paranoid Fantasies of Venture Capital Zillioniare Tom Perkins
- Afternoon Must-Read: Cardiff Garcia: The Fed’s Converging Misses on Inflation and Unemployment
- Afternoon Must-Read: Jay Rosen: “Keep Me Informed”
The Cato Institute Tries to Make Kansas Poorer and Close Its Safety-Net Hospitals: The View from The Roasterie LXXXVII: January 31, 2014
So I was reading:
Jagadeesh Gokhale, Ph.D., and Angela C. Erickson: The Effect of Federal Health Care ‘Reform’ on Kansas General Fund Medicaid Expenditures
and I ran across this graph:
and the paper's accompanying conclusion:
By 2023, 21 percent of the Kansas population is projected to be on Medicaid under the PPACA—up from 13 percent currently. Kansas Medicaid expenditures are projected to grow by an additional $4.7 billion (29 percent) beyond the increase projected without PPACA.... With ongoing court and congressional challenges, the final chapter of the PPACA law and state Medicaid spending has yet to be written. However, since a federal court judgment has declared PPACA unconstitutional, Kansas lawmakers should vigorously oppose the implementation of PPACA’s health exchanges and other administrative and operational infrastructure...
And then there is, by Gokhale alone, a 2013 update on the Cato Institute's website:
and the paper's updated conclusion:
Kansas’ lawmakers face a crucial decision about whether to expand Medicaid according to the dictates of the ACA. That decision would expand the program and possibly improve health outcomes for low income households. However, that benefit must be weighted against the lost opportunities to spend on other budget programs that are also valuable.... The incremental 10-year cost to the Kansas general fund from expanding Medicaid of $625 million would arise “at the margin”.... It may be better to spend the $625 million on other Kansas budget items...
But there is one number that I cannot find on either graph or in either version of the policy brief:
That $8 billion is the amount of federal dollars the U.S. government will commit to match 100% of extra costs for the first three years and 90% for the next seven if Kansas expands the Medicaid program as ObamaCare envisions. And that is money that will not flow to Kansas if Medicaid is not expanded by Kansas.
The argument that Kansas has better things to spend its $625 million on over the next decade than on expanding Medicaid rings a little hollow when you reflect that cutting $625 million over the next decade from ACA-projected levels reduces what Kansas can buy by not $625 million but rather $8.625 billion. Kansas would have to get 14 times as much state welfare out of a dollar spent elsewhere than out of a dollar spent on its Medicaid program for that argument to apply.
But, I suppose the honchos of the Cato Institute and of the Kansas Policy Institute think, if you don't mention and certainly don't stress the $8 billion number, maybe Kansas's Republican state legislators won't understand what they are doing in rejecting Medicaid expansion.
Here's the context of all mentions of this $8 billion over the next decade--all mentions of the word "match" in the 2013 version of the policy brief:
- "This assumes that the federal government maintains its match of state Medicaid expenditures, hardly a guarantee given the federal government’s extremely unsound financial condition."
- "Despite promises of generous federal matching in the short and medium term, a decision to expand Medicaid as prescribed by the ACA would risk an escalation of Kansas’ general fund health expenditure commitments beyond affordable levels."
- "It is unclear whether this matching rate schedule will be maintained beyond 2020 and even whether the schedule prescribed under the ACA through 2020 can be sustained."
- "The high currently-promised match rate is intended to suggest that state general-fund commitments for Medicaid expansion would be a relatively small portion of the total increase. and that federal matching funds for Medicaid expansion would help spur economic growth in states' health-care sectors and to state economies generally. The latter claim, however, is rather weak because the supply of health-care goods and services is unlikely to keep pace with the growth in demand."
- "The 'Mandate Effect' line and the 'with ACA' line begin to diverge in 2017 when the federal match rate for newly-eligible individuals is reduced to below 100 percent."
- "The Federal offer of free coverage to state residents (under a 100 percent match rate) together with the promise of almost feee coverage (at least a 90 percent match rate) through 2020 and possibly beyond.... Federal lawmakers are fully aware that such generous matching of new state Medicaid spending on account of Medicaid expansion is, in reality, infeasible."
- "The federal government's fiscal condition is so poor--with rising debt and deficits projected "as far as the eye can see" and debt projected to climb close to 100 percent of annual GDP--that sustaining a 90 percent match rate for state Medicaid expansion (or even the 100 percent match rates specified for the first three years of the ACA's implementation) is simply not feasible."
- "Even with the federal matching promised under the ACA, post-2016 growth in Kansas' outlay for Medicaid expansion will be quite rapid."
- "Once the federal matching rate stabilizes after the year 2019, the annual cost growth is estimated to be about 8 percent per year."
- "This calculus may remain valid, despite the federal government's promise of sizable matching funds, especially if Kansas' policymakers properly discount future federal dollars, recognizing the large uncertainties attaching to those promises."
- "The additional federal dollars from the generous matching rate promised for Medicaid expansion is unlikely to result in any significant expansion in economic activity in the state."
- "The generous federal offer of matching funds for Medicaid expansion may tempt some lawmakers into opting for Medicaid expansion. However, the federal government's financial condition his extremely unsound and recent Medicaid funding policy proposals by the Obama administration... reveal the unsustainable and time-inconsistent nature of the generous federal promise."
That's it. No $8 billion number anywhere I can find.
I could go on. I could point out that Gokhale's claims that sustaining the high match rate that produces the $8 billion number is "infeasible" are grossly overstated--and that we will see whether they are true or not in two years, when we will see whether Gokhale's claim that the "100 percent match rates specified for the first three years of the ACA's implementation" are "simply not feasible". That applies to his (12), (10), (7), (6), (3), (2), and (1). I could point out that his claim that federal Medicaid spending would not boost the Kansas economy rests on a bizarre and empty assertion that in the health care sector and the health care sector alone supply curves do not slope upward. That applies to his (11), (10), and (4). I could point out that his claim that federal lawmakers recognize that "such generous matching of new state Medicaid spending on account of Medicaid expansion is, in reality, infeasible" is simply a lie--a misrepresentation of the meaning of proposals and counterproposals in failed 2011 Supercommittee negotiations. That takes care of his (12), (10), and (6).
Now the federal government does have the power to break its deals with states: no congress can fully bind any future congress. But only in Cato Institute-land does the fact that circumstances may change and the optimal level of Medicaid funding for a state may fall in the future carry the implication that the optimal level of state Medicaid funding for a state is low now.
But the thing that strikes me the most is how anxious both Cato and the KPI appear to be to direct attention away from the numbers: that by failing to commit $625 million, Kansas is losing $8.625 billion.
It's as if they fear that their verbal case would simply dry up and blow away if they were to even whisper the terms of the deal being offered...
Econ 2: Daily Reading: Emiko Terazono in the FInancial Times: Courted for Cashews, West African Farmers Gain Market Strength
Jeff Sachs once told us younglings that the Financial Times was "the real newspaper... the newspaper you all need to be reading if you want to become economists..." IMHO, he was correct.
Here we have Emiko Terazono writing about supply, demand, market equilibrium--and the consequences of a shift in preferences that strengthens demand: the dance between nut-snackers in the North Atlantic's, China's, and India's middle classes, cashew traders and brokers, and the cashew farmers of Africa:
Emiko Terazono: Courted for cashews, west African farmers gain strength: "Under the darkness of midnight in Seketia, a farming village in western Ghana, cashew traders and middlemen go knocking from door to door looking for supplies of harvested nuts.
“During the peak harvest, they visit us late at night, trying to get us to sell,” says David Enkamah, a cashew farmer.
Worldwide demand for cashew has grown about 7 per cent a year over the past decade on the back of healthy snacking habits. The treenut, along with sesame seeds (favoured by the Japanese, South Koreans and Chinese) and pigeon peas, a common ingredient in Indian kitchens, are among a number of crops where the balance of power has tilted a little towards African farmers. Growers of cashew, buoyed by demand from India and China as well as resurgent consumption in Europe and North America, are among those defying the stereotype of smallholder farmers in developing countries rendered powerless against the might of multinational companies and market forces.
The 7th Infantry Division began by capturing the small islands labeled Carlos, Carter, Cecil, and Carlson on 31 January, which were used as artillery bases for the next day's assault. Kwajalein Island is 2.5 mi (4.0 km) long but only 880 yd (800 m) wide. There was therefore no possibility of defence in depth, so the Japanese planned to counter-attack the landing beaches. They had not realized until the battle of Tarawa that American amphibious vehicles could cross coral reefs and so land on the lagoon side of an atoll; accordingly the strongest defences on Kwajalein faced the ocean. The bombardment by battleships, B-24 bombers from Apamama and artillery on Carlson was devastating. The U.S. Army history of the battle quotes a participant as saying that "the entire island looked as if it had been picked up 20,000 feet and then dropped." By the time the 7th Division landed on Kwajalein Island on 1 February, there was little resistance; by night the Americans estimated that only 1,500 of the original 5,000 defenders were still alive.
On the north side of the atoll, the 4th Marine Division followed the same plan, first capturing islets Ivan, Jacob, Albert, Allen, and Abraham on 31 January, and landing on Roi-Namur on 1 February. The airfield on Roi (the eastern half), was captured quickly, and Namur (the western half), fell the next day. The worst setback came when a Marine demolition team threw a satchel charge of high explosives into a Japanese bunker which turned out to be a torpedo warhead magazine. The resulting explosion killed twenty Marines and wounded dozens more. Only 51 of the original 3,500 Japanese defenders of Roi-Namur survived to be captured.
Over at Equitable Growth: The United States Economy Today in the Transpacific Mirror: Thursday Focus: January 30, 2014
BERKELEY – Back in the late 1980’s, Japan seemingly could do no wrong in economists’ eyes. They saw a clear edge in Japan’s competitiveness relative to the North Atlantic across a broad range of high-tech precision and mass-production industries manufacturing tradable goods. They also saw an economy that, since reconstruction began after World War II, had significantly outperformed the expected growth of European economies. And they saw an economy growing considerably faster than North Atlantic economies had when they possessed the same absolute and relative economy-wide productivity level.
Yet More Thursday Idiocy: Outsourced to bspencer: Rod D: "I’m not quite sure how to talk about this Rod Dreher post because it’s so bizarre.
It reads as a whiny appeal for liberals to quit being so mean to creationists and fundies. But if you scratch the surface, you’ll find it’s really a threat. And the threat is basically: “Be careful shoving your beloved SCIENCE down our throats, libs, because SCIENCE also says Black people are stupid.” To make his case, he links approvingly to racist XXXXXXXX Steve Sailer.
One of the things that keeps drawing me to Steve Sailer’s writing is that his beliefs on human biodiversity sometimes lead him to point out inconvenient truths about ideologies informing our common life.
If I’ve given you the impression that Dreher is bullying, racist sxxxhead, I apologize. He’s not. He’s heavy-hearted about what he’s telling us. He’s SAD that black people are stupid and inferior. But don’t you see that he’s left no choice but to be a racist sxxxbag when we insist on forcing our reality down his throat?
“Darwin wouldn’t be surprised to learn which race had invented rap music”–Steve Sailer
I’ve got a few issues.... One... there is no consensus in the scientific community that there are significant differences among the races. Two... there’s a long way to go from acknowledging differences to enacting eugenicist-influenced policies in response to said differences. Three: People are different, period... living full and happy lives.
So, yes, I’m going to call it: Rod Dreher’s post is at threat, and a disgusting one at that.
Once again, Jonathan Chait: Washington Redskins Hire All-Star Villains: "Ari Fleischer, center, presides over meeting of superstar political advisers tasked with saving the Redksins name.
The Washington Redskins, fighting off campaigns to force them to change their team name, have hired not only comically sleazy Washington lawyer Lanny Davis but an entire roster of Beltway super-villains. Dan Snyder... has compiled an all-star team of mendacious sleaze.... Lanny Davis, hapless Clinton hanger-on wannabe and adviser to dictators and crooks.... Ari Fleischer, the face of credibility.... Frank Luntz, crafter of useless focus groups and a spinmeister so sickeningly dishonest he even nauseates Frank Luntz.... And, perhaps most amazing, George Allen. Yes, an organization that’s fighting off allegations of racial insensitivity has decided to consult a man who was remembered as a racist by his high school classmates, remembered as an even more blatant racist by his college classmates, voted against the Martin Luther King Holiday, had a confederate flag and a noose, and then finally lost his Senate seat for being caught on camera using a racial slur.... Who’s really good at fighting off accusations of racial insensitivity? George Allen! Yeah! That guy never loses! Davis, Fleischer, Luntz and Allen — together they will join forces and rule the galaxy take a lot of Daniel Snyder's money, and then eventually lose.
The Wall Street Journal: More Unhinged Than You Can Credit Even After Factoring-in the Fact That It Is More Unhinged Than You Can Credit
Jonathan Chait: WSJ: Obama Isn’t Hitler But He’s Pretty Hitler-y: "The Journal’s editorial underscores that the widespread mockery of Perkins, far from piling on a bewildered plutocrat, actually understates the broader problem.
Perkins’s letter provided a peek into the fantasy world of the right-wing one percent, in which fantasies of an incipient Hitler-esque terror are just slightly beyond the norm. The Journal editorial defines persecution of the one percent as the existence of public disagreement. Liberals are mocking Perkins, therefore Perkins is basically right. For Perkins to be wrong — for the rich to enjoy the level of deference the Journal deems appropriate — a billionaire could compare his plight to the victims of the Holocaust and nobody would make fun of him at all."
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
Londoners, normally as good-tempered a crowd of people as you could hope to find anywhere, are beginning to show the strain of these first keyed-up days of a year which by now every statesman must have hailed as one of fateful decision.
- Economics Research and the State of the Union
- Thinking About Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s Second Machine Age: Wednesday Focus: January 29, 2014
- Enhanced State of the Union Address
- Minimum Wage Increase Appetizer: New Federal Contracts
- Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee: The Second Machine Age: Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
- Afternoon Must-Read: Mark Thoma: Sharing the Gains from Economic Growth
- Nick Bunker: Researcher in Focus: Arin Dube
- Simon-Wren Lewis Is Puzzled by Economists and Monetary Policymakers Calling for More Contractionary Monetary and More Contractionary Fiscal Policy: Tuesday Focus: January 28, 2014
- Heather Boushey: Economics research supports higher minimum wage for contractors
Tbogg: We were dead before the ship ever sank: "I have written previously about the very distressing, by which I mean ‘high-larious’, legal woes of National Review which is being sued for letting contributor Mark Steyn defame climate scientist Michael Mann for comparing him to child molester Jerry Sandusky on the internet pages of NRO....
Rand Simberg... attacking Mann’s research and, trying to be topical, referenced the fact that he teaches at Penn State as the basis for an oh-so-clever PSU Michael Mann = Penn State football coach/kid rapist Jerry Sandusky analogy.... Mark Steyn... LOL’d and repeated.... When Mann protested, CEI backed down and deleted the offending lines but not the rest of the post.... National Review Editor Rich Lowry... under the impression that he was William F. Badass Jr.... told Mann and his attorneys to pound sand.
The Republican Establishment Plumps for Medicaid Expansion in Missouri: The View from The Roasterie LXXXVI: January 30, 2014
David Lieb: Ex-Missouri GOP Senator Kit Bond Now Lobbying For Medicaid Expansion: "As a Republican senator, Kit Bond voted against... [Obamacare.] Now... Bond is pushing Republican legislators in his home state of Missouri to embrace a key provision of the law by expanding Medicaid eligibility.
Bond said Friday that... "I'm getting involved in Medicaid reform now because if our State sits on the sidelines, I'm concerned hospitals in rural and inner city Missouri won't survive."... The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry declined to say how much it is paying Bond's consulting firm.... Bond already has met with Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon about the potential to expand Medicaid eligibility. "He understands the issues very well, and we're trying to capitalize on his stature, his relationships that he has and his reputation as a one of the best statesmen that this state will ever have," Mehan said.
Outsourced to Scott Lemieux: We Are All White House Advisers: "Ron Fournier has discovered that everyone now agrees with him:
For months, the White House and its allies mocked critics of Barack Obama’s leadership, arguing that no president has “Green Lantern” superhero powers. Now these same people are predicting that Obama can salvage his agenda by waving a magical “pen and phone.” The contradiction illustrates how far partisans will go to defend a flailing presidency, grasping at slogans and insult…
A contradiction! Who are those people who used to understand how American government works but now think that Obama could get his legislative agenda through a Republican House if he only had the leadership to lead, with leadership? Here’s an exhaustive list of the “same people” who have allegedly changed their minds:
White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer
I don’t recall Pfeiffer ever making fun of Green Laternists, but I’m certainly sure he alone cannot constitute all of “the same people.” But at least he said something really dumb, right?
“He is going to look in every way he can with his pen and his phone to try to move the ball forward,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re putting an extra emphasis on it in 2014.”
So a White House adviser says that Obama will try to do stuff, with no claim at all about whether it will work. But to Fournier, that’s more than enough evidence that everyone agrees with him that Obama could have changed the game by doubling down on the Overton Window, but he didn’t. even. TRY!
What We Do This Week:
Read Essentials of Economics, chapters 2 "Economic Models: Trade-Offs and Trade", 3 "Supply and Demand", and 5 "Elasticity and Taxation". Finish Partha Dasgupta, Economics: A Very Short Introduction. Hand in your Letter of Introduction to your GSI. Start Problem Set 1
- M Jan 27: Market and Non-Market Allocations
- W Jan 29: Supply and Demand
- Section 2: Doing Problems: Supply and Demand Curves
- Section 2: Discussion: Partha Dasgupta, Economics: A Very Short Introduction
- Moral Philosophy: Essential Principles
- Moral Philosophy: Adam Smith Commercial
- Economics: Some Intellectual History
- Economics: Advantages of Markets
- Economics: Scarcity and Choice
- Economics: Supply and Demand
- Further Reading:
Brad DeLong: Chicago Macro: Yet Another Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations Post: Hoisted from Archives Early-Thursday-Idiocy Weblogging
Brad DeLong : Chicago Macro: Yet Another Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations Post: I really, really wish Karl Smith would not do this…
Karl Smith writes:
Cochrane, Krugman, Lucas, Wren-Lewis and Sumner: A Very Short Interpretation « Modeled Behavior: I think the response to Cochrane and Lucas should go like this: "When the government raises taxes to fund additional spending then in theory the effect on aggregate demand depends crucially on what the money is spent on…." When Cochrane explicitly and Lucas implicitly thinks in terms of transferring purchasing power from one randomly chosen citizen to another there is no reason to expect that this will have any effect on either the marginal utility of consumption or the marginal product of capital.
Martin Bormann: Safeguarding the Future of the German People:
29 January 1944
Note: Re: Safeguarding the Future of the German People
(1) During the night of 27-28 January the Führer discussed with us the problems of our national future. The following points can be established from this and earlier conversations and reflections:
After the war our national position will be catastrophic, for our nation is experiencing the second enormous loss of blood within a thirty-year period. We shall undoubtedly win the war militarily but lose it in national terms if we do not decisively transform all our previous views and the attitudes which have resulted from them. For the loss of blood is not a one-off event but rather its effects will go on year after year into the distant future.
Lindsay Beyerstein: "Miscarriage Management" in the Rio Grande Valley: The View from La Farine LXXXV: January 29, 2014
Lindsay Beyerstein: The latest work-around for abortion docs: "For 32 years, Dr. Lester Minto performed abortions at Reproductive Services of Harlingen, a modest, one-story building in Harlingen, Texas right next door to the regional branch of the state Department of Health.
Ever since October 31, however, he has been barred from performing abortions. Minto lacks local hospital admitting privileges, which Texas’s new abortion law—H.B. 2—requires all abortion providers to have.... The Rio Grande Valley... with 1.3 million inhabitants... is without an abortion provider. Women in the Valley must now make a 300-mile round trip to Corpus Christi or a 500-mile round trip to San Antonio for a clinic abortion....
- Morning Must-Read: Steve Randy Waldmann: Pro-Family, Pro-Children, Anti-”Marriage Promotion”
- Morning Must-Read: Noah Smith: The Econ Nobel Prize Is Not a Serious Institution
- Evening Must-Read: Paul Krugman: Soup Kitchens Caused the Great Depression, Austrian Founding Fathers Edition
- Washington Center for Equitable Growth | No, It Does Not Look Like the Republican Senators’ Health-Care Proposal Adds Up Arithmetically. Why Do You Ask?
Tuesday Around the Internet: Robert Waldmann on John Quiggin on Old Old, Old New, New Old, and New New Keynesianism (January 28, 2014)
Robert Waldmann: Angry Bear » John Quiggin is, as usual, Brilliant: "John Quiggin provides an excellent discussion of macroeconomics. It is much too good to summarize. Just click the link and read.... [But] I can think of a few things to add:
The claim that medium and long run outcomes are determined by tastes and technology does not imply that there is a unique long run equilibrium growth path.... It is standard in business cycle theory to assume that technological progress is exogenous, but really believing that it is exogenous is much crazier than believing in rational expectations and such....
There was a rather large literature on coordination failures which cause fluctuations (you know Benhabib and Farmer and such like). There was nothing wrong with this literature as math or fun theory. It seems to have vanished....
Actual general equilibrium theory did not stagnate from 1950 on. Actual general equilibrium theorists studied models with incomplete markets in which equilibria can be indeterminate, sunspots can affect outcomes and equilibria are generically not constrained Pareto efficient.
Persistent fluctuations do to aggregate demand were renamed “hysteresis” by Blanchard and Summers in 1986. European data already massively rejected the not-yet developed old-new-Keynesian models. This paper was considered to be relevant to a relatively minor field (the study of strange countries which aren’t the USA) and ignored in mainstream macroeconomics (eg by Blanchard and Quah in 1987). The study of the strange unusual case of developed countries other than the USA didn’t even remain central to the modeling of European macroeconomies by European central banks.
All four points imply that the very widespread conviction among macroeconomists that long run outcomes are unique and determined by exogenous variables had no basis in theory.... The assumption of a unique exogenous long run growth path absolutely does not follow from the D, S, G or E parts of DSGE. It is a separate assumption...
Weather and Climate, or, California's Scary Drought This Year: The View from La Farine LXXXIV: January 28, 2014
Tim F.: Weather and Climate: "Let’s talk for a minute about Nome, Alaska. This burg of 3,700 sits near the western edge of the Seward Peninsula where it borders the Bering Sea....
Though far north as towns go Nome weather is moderated by the ocean, keeping it as warm as minus two to twelve Fahrenheit on average even in late January against an average of zero to minus eighteen for the Alaskan interior.... For those of you wondering what happened to your jet stream, folks in Nome are enjoying a record high of forty-six degrees (forty with wind chill) and looking at an overnight low around thirty-three. It is raining in Anchorage.
Mark Clark: 28 January 1944:
The next morning, January 28, I went down to the mouth of the Volturno before dawn to embark by P.T. boat for Anzio.… The situation at Anzio was becoming critical. The enemy air-raids and shelling had caused heavy damage, and there were rumours that German torpedo-boats were roaming along the coast to attack our shipping.…
Due at the start of lecture on February 5, 2014:
- Afternoon Must-Read: Philip Klein: GOP Senators Unveil First Health Care Plan in an Obamacare World
- Afternoon-Must Read: Chris Miles: America’s New Lost Generation
- Afternoon Must-Read: Matt O’Brien: Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South?
- How to Read What We Learned About Government Policy and the Business Cycle from 2013: Monday Focus (January 27, 2014)
- Carter Price: A Better Headline Would be “Mobility Stagnant as U.S. Economy Doubles”
- Evening Must-Read: Justin Fox: Income and Wealth Inequality and Immobility Are a Matter for the Moral Philosophers
Over at the Equitablog: How to Read What We Learned About Government Policy and the Business Cycle from 2013: Monday Focus (January 27, 2014)
Over at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth Equitablog, I read Mike Koncal and wonder why the market monetarists are declaring that 2013 was a victory for their ideas. Were they happy with the pace of recovery in 2013? Do they think the Fed was happy with the pace of recovery and the trend of inflation in 2013?
As I have said, I used to think that under a “neutral” policy–neither unusually stimulative or contractionary–the U.S. economy would close 40% of the gap between its current position and full employment each year. I have had to give that up: now I’m down to thinking that, at least at the zero lower bound and under conditions of ultra-low inflation, it looks to be 20%. But we haven’t had that 10% gap-closing in the past year. And monetary policy has certainly not been neutral, or perhaps it would be better to say that the Federal Reserve thinks that monetary policy has been dangerously expansionary. That leaves me concluding that fiscal policy is indeed powerful: that contractionary austerity is contractionary, and austere.
So I really don’t understand why the likes of Beckworth and Sumner are declaring that the absence of a return to formal recession in 2013 increases their confidence that fiscal policy does not matter. It does not increase my confidence.
Let me try it this way...
Here's Brad DeLong:
So, by continuity, somewhere between policies of austerity that that produce deflationary depression due to an excess demand for safe assets and policies of fiscal license that produce inflationary boom caused by an excess supply of government debt, there must be a sweet spot: enough new issues of government debt to eliminate the excess demand for safe assets and so cure the depression, but not so much in the way of new issues of government debt to produce destructive inflation, right?
Is continuity assured?
(I'm sorry to pick on Brad, but he made the mistake of writing too clearly, and laying out the implicit assumption too explicitly.)
On this day, Soviet forces permanently break the Leningrad siege line, ending the almost 900-day German-enforced containment of the city, which cost hundreds of thousands of Russian lives.
The siege began officially on September 8, 1941. The people of Leningrad began building antitank fortifications and succeeded in creating a stable defense of the city, but as a result were cut off from all access to vital resources in the Soviet interior, Moscow specifically. In 1942, an estimated 650,000 Leningrad citizens perished from starvation, disease, exposure, and injuries suffered from continual German artillery bombardment.
Barges offered occasional relief in the summer and ice-borne sleds did the same in the winter. Slowly but surely a million of Leningrad's young, sick, and elderly residents were evacuated, leaving about 2 million to ration available food and use all open ground to plant vegetables.
On January 12, Soviet defenses punctured the siege, ruptured the German encirclement, and allowed more supplies to come in along Lake Ladoga. The siege officially ended after 872 days (though it is often called the 900-day siege), after a Soviet counteroffensive pushed the Germans westward.
Judge Permanently Strikes Down Oklahoma's Age Restrictions On Plan B: The View from the Roasterie LXXXIII: January 27, 2014
Tara Cup-Ressler: Judge Permanently Strikes Down Oklahoma's Age Restrictions On Plan B:
On Thursday night, an Oklahoma district court judge permanently struck down a state law that prevented some teenagers from buying Plan B over the counter.... Gov. Mary Fallin (R) approved the measure last year, just a month before the Obama administration approved over-the-counter Plan B for girls of all ages.... [But] lawmakers aren’t allowed to address multiple unrelated issues in a single piece of legislation, and the emergency contraception restriction was tacked onto a law about health insurance regulations.... Despite the fact that Plan B hit pharmacy shelves over the summer, some women are still struggling to access it, thanks to ongoing confusion about the federal and state regulations regarding emergency contraception. And Oklahoma isn’t the only state to attempt to impose state-level restrictions on the morning after pill. Conservatives have been laying the groundwork to push for more state laws to undermine over-the-counter Plan B access, and this type of legislation was recently introduced in Mississippi.
I really do not understand the calculus here: (1) You don't want your teenage daughter to show up pregnant. (2) You don't want your teenage daughter to be sexually active. The first is--presumably--worse than the second. The links between access to contraception and sexual activity are not that strong.
So what is the upside? It really seems to me to be that abortions are better than teenagers planning how to avoid pregnancy...
George Grossjohann: Five Years/Four Fronts:
At 4:40 AM, on 26 January, a tremendous barrage came down on Votylevka, not only in our area, but on a sector more than thirty kilometers in width. The Russians must have employed hundreds of batteries in the artillery preparation for their attack. Artillery shells of all calibers crashed into our positions. Waves of 122mm rockets added their howling cacophony, too, before slamming into the earth around us.
Barbara Ehrenreich: "The Great Recession should have put the victim-blaming theory of poverty to rest. In the space of only a few months, millions of people entered the ranks of the officially poor—not only laid-off blue-collar workers, but also downsized tech workers, managers, lawyers, and other once-comfortable professionals. No one could accuse these “nouveau poor” Americans of having made bad choices or bad lifestyle decisions. They were educated, hardworking, and ambitious, and now they were also poor—applying for food stamps, showing up in shelters, lining up for entry-level jobs in retail. This would have been the moment for the pundits to finally admit the truth: Poverty is not a character failing or a lack of motivation. Poverty is a shortage of money."
Dylan Scott: 60% Of KY GOPers Buck McConnell, Support Medicaid Expansion: "The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky... found that 60 percent of self-identified Republicans said they support expansion. In total, 79 percent of Kentuckians agree.... McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer dismissed the findings. 'Most new Obamacare enrollees are not on private plans, but are added to the state’s struggling Medicaid program', he said, 'where one hundred percent of these costs will be picked up by taxpayers and where there is already a shortage of physicians accepting Medicaid patients'. More than 120,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in Medicaid through the state's Obamacare website since it launched in October..."
Larry Elliott: Davos 2014: Larry Summers attacks George Osborne's austerity programme: "Summers... said the chancellor was wrong to blame the eurozone crisis for the weakness of business investment and governments should be spending more on infrastructure.... 'I see less need to impose cuts on people who are vulnerable in the US context than the chancellor sees in the European context', Summers said.... 'It's several years since the US exceeded its peak GDP before the crisis – that still hasn't happened in the UK.'... The chancellor responded to Summers's charge that Britain, unlike the US, had failed to raise national output above its pre-recession levels by saying that the UK had suffered a deeper slump and was more dependent on the financial sector...."
Tax Policy Center: 50 Years in LBJ's War on Poverty: "Introduction by Sarah Rosen Wartell... The Tax Code as a Safety Net... Reducing Poverty through Work Incentives and Community Development... Lunch"
Lunchtime Must-Read: When Someone Says Paul Krugman Called for Greenspan to Create a Housing Bubble Back in 2002, They are Trying to Say That They are Either a Fool or a Liar
Mark Thoma sends us to: Dean Baker: When Someone Says Paul Krugman Called for Greenspan to Create a Housing Bubble Back in 2002, They are Trying to Say That They are Either a Fool or a Liar: "Paul Krugman is a very smart person who does a fine job of defending himself. But he has enough detractors who repeat the same nonsense enough times that some reasonable people may actually be deceived.
For this reason, I will briefly intervene to point out that the people claiming Krugman called on Greenspan to create a housing bubble in 2002, like Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal today, are just making stuff up.
Review of The Second Machine Age: Technology and work: Learn ‘n’ go:
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. By Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. W.W. Norton; 320 pages; $26.95. IN 2012 Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee took a ride in one of Google’s driverless cars.... Only a few years earlier, 'We were sure that computers would not be able to drive cars'.... Machines have mastered driving. And not just driving. In ways that are only now becoming apparent, the authors argue, machines can forecast home prices, design beer bottles, teach at universities, grade exams and do countless other things better and more cheaply than humans.... Information technology... is... exponential... explosive... recombinant.... This will have one principal good consequence, and one bad. The good is bounty. Households will spend less on groceries, utilities and clothing; the deaf will be able to hear, the blind to see. The bad is spread. The gap is growing between the lucky few whose abilities and skills are enhanced by technology, and the far more numerous middle-skilled people competing for the remaining jobs that machines cannot do, such as folding towels and waiting at tables.
Mark Thoma sends us to: Dean Baker: When Someone Says Paul Krugman Called for Greenspan to Create a Housing Bubble Back in 2002, They are Trying to Say That They are Either a Fool or a Liar: "Paul Krugman is a very smart person who does a fine job of defending himself. But he has enough detractors who repeat the same nonsense enough times that some reasonable people may actually be deceived. For this reason, I will briefly intervene to point out that the people claiming Krugman called on Greenspan to create a housing bubble in 2002, like Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal today, are just making stuff up..."
Bill C.: Twenty-Cent Paradigms: Rodrik on Our Science-ish-ness: "Dani Rodrik offers offers a number of characteristically interesting thoughts on the topic, including.... 'Economics is really a toolkit with multiple models--each a different, stylized representation of some aspect of reality. The contextual nature of its reasoning means that there are as many conclusions as potential real-world circumstances. All economic propositions are “if-then” statements. One’s skill as an economic analyst depends on the ability to pick and choose the right model for the situation... a craft rather than a science'.... As Keynes said: 'Economics is the science of thinking in terms of models joined to the art of choosing models which are relevant to the contemporary world'."
Review of The Second Machine Age: Technology and work: Learn ‘n’ go: "The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. By Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. W.W. Norton; 320 pages; $26.95. IN 2012 Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee took a ride in one of Google’s driverless cars.... Only a few years earlier, 'We were sure that computers would not be able to drive cars'.... Machines have mastered driving. And not just driving. In ways that are only now becoming apparent, the authors argue, machines can forecast home prices, design beer bottles, teach at universities, grade exams and do countless other things better and more cheaply than humans.... Information technology... is... exponential... explosive... recombinant.... This will have one principal good consequence, and one bad. The good is bounty. Households will spend less on groceries, utilities and clothing; the deaf will be able to hear, the blind to see. The bad is spread. The gap is growing between the lucky few whose abilities and skills are enhanced by technology, and the far more numerous middle-skilled people competing for the remaining jobs that machines cannot do, such as folding towels and waiting at tables."
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky... found that 60 percent of self-identified Republicans said they support expansion. In total, 79 percent of Kentuckians agree.... McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer dismissed the findings. 'Most new Obamacare enrollees are not on private plans, but are added to the state’s struggling Medicaid program', he said, 'where one hundred percent of these costs will be picked up by taxpayers and where there is already a shortage of physicians accepting Medicaid patients'. More than 120,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in Medicaid through the state's Obamacare website since it launched in October...