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Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for August 6, 2014

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


Must- and Shall-Reads:

  1. Brian Buetler: Watch Rand Paul Run for His Life Before Steve King Insults an Immigrant in Iowa: "It’s a cruel coincidence for GOP presidential aspirants that the Republican Party’s most uncensored, most influential, anti-immigrant member (Representative Steve King) hails from a state (Iowa) where, for arbitrary reasons, presidential primary candidates face their first real electoral test... Republicans like Senator Rand Paul have to break bread in public... with someone they must be prepared to flee mid-meal, while still chewing. That's what happened Monday at a Paul fundraiser in Okoboji, Iowa.... Sticking up for the DREAMer in the video would plausibly doom Paul’s primary campaign. Standing with King would pose an equal but opposite threat in the general, as would playing dumb. So, he did what he had to do. And it was a wise move.... To many Republicans, feigning surprise at an immigrant’s command of English and calling her a lawbreaker is unremarkable. As is the suggestion that children should refuse to travel with their parents absent proper authorization, or that they should self-deport once they grow up.... But most people don’t find these kinds of things particularly commendable."

  2. Paul Krugman: Phosphate Memories "Does anyone remember this, from Erick Erickson of Red State? 'Washington State has turned its residents into a group of drug runners--crossing state lines to buy dish washer detergent with phosphate. At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot? At some point soon, it will happen.' Yes, because there’s no possible reason meddling politicians should interfere with Americans’ God-given right to use phosphates however they like. Oh, wait. 'It took a serendipitous slug of toxins and the loss of drinking water for a half-million residents to bring home what scientists and government officials in this part of the country have been saying for years: Lake Erie is in trouble, and getting worse by the year.'... As far as I can tell, there isn’t a well-organized phosphate denial campaign, insisting that runoff has nothing to do with algae blooms. But I’m sure one will arise as policy action grows nearer."

  3. James Pethokoukis: The ECB continues to ruin Europe: "The GOP might have a soft spot for the European Central Bank. Republicans, including Paul Ryan and Kevin Brady, have in the past advocated changing the Fed’s dual jobs-inflation mandate to a sole focus on inflation. Unlike the Fed, the ECB has just a mandate to maintain price stability. Also unlike the Fed, the ECB hasn’t engaged in massive bond-buys to boost demand. It hasn’t, however, worked out so well for the euro zone where the jobless rate is 11.6%.... The difference between the US and EZ recoveries is startling. While the former is weak, the latter is comatose. A key explanation, I and other market monetarists have argued, is the more active Fed..."

  4. Jonathan Chait: GOP Climate Policy Gets Less Intelligent: "12 states filed suit to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) has an op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal endorsing the lawsuit and laying out an unofficial political manifesto.... Kelly’s op-ed neither denies nor accepts the validity of climate science. Rather, it offers up a pastiche of political and economic reasons to oppose regulatory action, or any action at all, to mitigate climate change. As such, it represents something close to the cutting edge of Republican Party thinking on the issue.... Three substantive public-policy arguments, or approximations of public policy arguments, emerge: 1. Energy prices will go through the roof.... [But] nope. The study mentioned — authored by the conservative American Action Forum--doesn’t really say that Obama’s new regulations on coal plants will increase electricity prices by 10 percent. It arrives at this figure by adding the projected costs of all of Obama’s energy regulations, past and present.... 2. Businesses will suffer and have to lay off workers.... The following five words are the best tip-off that you’re about to encounter an invalid citation: 'According to the Heritage Foundation...' And sure enough, when you click over to the Heritage study, it concedes... [they] measured a different plan than the actual one and are pretending it’s basically the same thing.... 3. Unilateral reductions are pointless.... This is a common but bizarre allocation of blame. The United States has emitted far more carbon into the atmosphere than India or China--indeed, more than India and China combined. The United States continues to emit several times more carbon per person than either China or India.... Reading Kelly’s op-ed, one searches in vain for any minimal attempt to grapple with the costs of allowing the unlimited free dumping of carbon into the atmosphere. The degeneration of the GOP’s climate policy is almost total..."

  5. Ezra Klein: Revenge of the conservative nerds Cooke's essay... is an interesting window into the state of contemporary conservatism. The old conservative critique of nerds... technocrats and intellectuals... was that their approach to knowledge was fundamentally flawed. 'I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2,000 people on the faculty of Harvard University', William F. Buckley... said.... Cooke's essay... reflects an emergent trend.... Its argument is... that the left is full of faux-nerds who lack scientific training but nevertheless wear glasses--and... should be mistrusted... the problem is... liberal poseurs.... A version of this transition can be seen in the Republican Party's lurch from George W. Bush to Paul Ryan.... Ryan... became the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee on the strength of his unusually detailed budgets.... 'In an era that seemingly rewards shallow oratorical excellence over substance (see Obama, Barack Hussein), his political brilliance is the capacity to educate on a vision, run on a record of accomplishment, and--yes--stand on his feet and talk persuasively about both', enthused conservative economist Doug Holtz-Eakin..."

  6. Paul Krugman: Inflation, Unemployment, Ignorance "Jared Bernstein notes that we don’t seem to have a very good story about inflation and unemployment these days.... Ever since the 1970s we’ve been teaching a story in which an economy with excessive unemployment is one in which inflation should keep falling.... I’ve argued that the data are more consistent with a paleo-Keynesian Phillips curve in which unemployment determines the level, not the rate of change, of inflation--which could make sense given anchored expectations and downward wage rigidity. But that’s an educated guess at best, and somewhat post hoc. The thing is, however, that this is not a new problem.... The lesson for now, surely, is that we should not begin tightening based on hypothetical measures of slack.... We should wait until there’s really clear evidence of overheating.... The risks of moving too soon versus too late are not symmetric."

  7. Nick Bunker: How much is money worth at different income levels?: "Nathaniel Hendren... creat[es]... a new metric... the 'inequality deflator'.... Hendren argues that economic surplus is worth more to those at the bottom of the income distribution.... According to Hendren... giving $1 of surplus to a person at the 20th income percentile would increase average surplus per person for everyone by about $1.10. Compare that to the deflator of an income at the 90th percentile, which would result in everyone accruing only about $0.80..."


And Over Here:

Should Be Aware of:

  1. Greg Sargent: GOP moves from ‘self deport’ to ‘throw them all out’ "The border crisis has pushed the true GOP position on immigration out into the open, confirming Republicans have become the party of maximum deportations. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial board has now echoed this idea, castigating 'Deportation Republicans'. To understand the possible long term implications of this, note that two Republicans who have explicitly used this debate to raise their profiles--Ted Cruz and Rick Perry--also may well run for president next year.... Perry claimed the big story here is that Obama has failed to secure the border, repeating wildly inflated claims about illegal immigrants being responsible for thousands of homicides, and... 'have substantial terrorist ties'.... Ted Cruz’s role in pressuring House Republicans to vote to deport all the DREAMers has already been documented.... The House GOP’s lurch to the right on immigration [may be] only a prelude for worse to come in the coming GOP presidential primary.... Obama’s coming action on deportations will introduce another element of #Obummer Lawlessness into the mix, ratcheting up the explosiveness factor among GOP primary voters. It’s not hard to envision the GOP primary candidates... pledging to deport millions.... None of this will matter much in 2014, because Latinos are not a big factor in the key Senate and House contests..."

  2. David Weigel: Republicans back away from the call to impeach President Obama: The GOP understands that message only helps Democrats: "Who Said Impeachment? The conservatives who wanted to impeach Obama are acting like it was never their idea. It seems as if someone has gotten to Rep. Ted Yoho.... [John] Fleming was on board with the omerta, which developed over the weekend.... If impeachment is a scam, it was started on the right, early in the Obama presidency. Some of its early adherents believed in it; some thought they were merely responding to the passions of constituents; some, obviously, wanted to raise money. At the start of this summer, the conservative book-publishing industry churned out two new tomes about why Republicans needed to start an impeachment conversation... on July... came Sarah Palin..."

  3. Duncan Black: Eschaton: Beat Sweeteners Or Deep Pathology: "I guess we're due for our parade of fluff pieces [from organizations like the National Journal] on Republicans grifters 'hopefuls' [like Rick Perry] who are going to spend the next couple of years auditioning for a Fox News gig running for president. To the beltway press, there's just something about Republicans. They're so attractive, so charming, so thrilling."

  4. Tim F.: Batting Next: Darrell Issa: "Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and his House Intelligence Committee just wrapped up two years of Benghazi!!!. They turned up no red meat for the base. No ground beef. No flavored broth. Not even a bouillon cube. Among the Intelligence Committee’s findings.... Intelligence agencies were 'warned about an increased threat environment, but did not have specific tactical warning...'. 'A mixed group of individuals... participated in the attack.' 'There was no "stand-down order" given to American personnel... no illegal activity or illegal arms transfers... no American was left behind.' The administration’s... talking points reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments...'. For chrissake GOP. Your boy Romney committed an awful faux pas that night.... You just don’t step on dead American diplomats like that and you especially do not do it before anyone knows what exactly happened.... At the heart of BENGHAZI!!!1one! you will find a deep shame about what Romney did... an embarrassing farce.... Everyone saw the pie on Mitt’s face when Barack Obama cordially asked him to keep digging, even people who will never admit it out loud. Shame can be a powerful emotion.... Even Darrell Issa will one day work through.... I expect eventually they will wheel him out of the Rayburn building in a straitjacket ranting at statues about freemansons and lizard people."