Liveblogging World War II: June 16, 1944: Ernie Pyle
Afternoon Must-Read: Mark Thoma: What's the Penalty for Pundits Who Get It Wrong?

Noted for Your Afternoon Procrastination for June 16, 2014

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog




  1. Robert Waldmann: Thoughts on Brad’s Thoughts on Economic Theology: So I have purely pragmatic reasons to consider aggregate demand management better than many other interventions. First it isn’t so very hard: I am convinced that many people could have done better than actual policy makers in the 30s and the past decade. Second there isn’t extreme conflict between different interest groups. Depressions and great recessions are bad for pretty much everyone. The improved policy would be better for equally many. The political problem is a problem with intellectual confusion and ideology, not those plus competing interests. It should be possible to achieve better macro policy..."

  2. Kevin Drum: Sentences I Did Not Expect to Read Anytime Soon: "Here's the latest on the ISIS insurgency in Iraq: 'The Obama administration said it is preparing to open direct talks with Iran on how the two longtime foes can counter the insurgents. The U.S.-Iran dialogue, which is expected to begin this week, will mark the latest in a rapid move toward rapprochement between Washington and Tehran over the past year....Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said on Saturday that his government was open to cooperating with the U.S. in Iraq and that he exchanged letters with President Obama.' Um, what?"

Should Be Aware of:


  1. David Cutler: Looking beyond the botched ACA rollout: "We don’t teach our public policy students enough about how to run complicated things.... You clearly need to know the substance.... It helps to know the politics.... But... the under-done part of the trinity is the management.... It’s often assumed that once you passed the law, you’ve done all the hard work. All along, I thought that healthcare reform was 30 percent legislation and 70 percent implementation. Newspapers and so on focus on the 30 percent that’s legislation, and they don’t really know how to deal with the 70 percent implementation, but that’s the job of a smart thinking administration, to really focus on that. I don’t know where along the way they fell off.... We almost certainly don’t do enough of that in our public policy or medical or even undergraduate training..."

  2. David Atkins: Speak no evil on the right: "Scott Walker stonewalling about his position on marriage: 'But where is Walker on the issue now? He is up for re-election in just five months and he is considering a presidential bid in 2016. “I don’t comment on everything out there,” he responded. Except he usually does, especially on a hot-button issue like this one. Walker bristled when it was suggested he was refusing to answer the question. “You can print whatever you want, but I did not decline comment,” he said. OK, let’s try it one more time. Is the governor — like some other conservatives — rethinking his position on same-sex marriage? “No,” Walker said. “I’m just not stating one at all.”' It’s not the first time. After Todd Akin... they held communications seminars.... When that failed, they simply started urging their candidates not to talk about those issues at all. This is a phenomenon unique to the right side of the aisle. I can’t think of any major issues of the day on which Democratic politicians consistently embarrass themselves, need to attend talking point retreats, and ultimately simply avoid comment.... For a political party defined by aggressiveness and moral certainty, the decision to hide and clam up when asked simple questions about major issues is both funny and disconcerting. It’s up to the press to keep up the pressure to get real answers."

  3. D.R. Tucker: Romney III: "Seriously, what is the question to which Romney is the answer—besides, of course, 'Who spent four years as governor of Massachusetts bashing gay married couples and his own state?' Who trusts Romney? Who likes him? Who thinks he could actually govern successfully? You’d figure that the right-wing billionaires who want a president they can control would prefer to have someone who can at least fake giving a damn about non-billionaires on the campaign trail. Romney could never really put that trick off, despite his win in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial race. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect... is former Secretary of State George Shultz’s apparent embrace.... Shultz is one of the few... on the right urging... a federal carbon tax, but it’s impossible to imagine a President Romney (!) embracing such a concept, despite its economic merits. Especially after Romney shamefully—and shamelessly—mocked efforts to address the climate crisis..."

Already-Noted Must-Reads:

  1. Matthew Yglesias: A Carbon Tax Would Have Been Better: “One frustrating aspect of America’s seemingly endemic congressional dysfunction is that we end up with policy results that are worse from all points of view than could be achieve with a more constructive legislature…. The Obama administration’s new emissions limits on power plants…. Imposing a $10 per ton tax on carbon-dioxide emissions and raising it gradually to $13 per ton by 2020 would generate a similar reduction in power plant emissions. The difference is the carbon tax would also raise $24 billion per year in tax revenue from those plants…. Pretty much every member of Congress–regardless of what they think about climate change–could think of something they’d like to see done with $24 billion rather than $0. You could cut taxes. Or bolster Social Security’s finances. Or invest in clean energy R&D. Or some mixture. But to impose a carbon tax, Congress would need to act. And obviously House Republicans aren’t going to vote for a carbon tax, even if the EPA regulations we got instead has all of the same downsides without quite as many upsides…"

  2. Barry Ritholtz: What's the Penalty for Pundits Who Get It Wrong?: "Five years ago, Arthur Laffer wrote an op-ed article... a grab bag of his pet peeves: opposition to Federal Reserve policies ... concern about the 'unfunded liabilities of federal programs'... he decried deficits, which in large part are the result of his thesis that tax cuts often increase revenue. As it turns out, for the most part, they don’t.... Pretty much every single warning, every data point, every item Laffer complained about was wrong. Why does this happen, and why are there no penalties for being so inaccurate? ... This isn't about economics, it's about politics. Unfortunately, the dismal science has become the vehicle of choice for those who seek to further their own political agenda..."