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Noted for Your Evening Procrastination for November 16, 2014

Screenshot 10 3 14 6 17 PMOver at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


Must- and Shall-Reads:)

And Over Here:

  1. Scott Erik Kaufman: There is privilege, then there is privilege...: "...and then there is whatever this is: George W. Bush: ‘You have to earn your way into politics,’ nothing ‘is ever given to you’](

  2. Mike Konczal: The UNC Coup and the Second Limit of Economic Liberalism: "There was a quiet revolution in the University of North Carolina higher education system in August, one that shows an important limit of current liberal thought.... The UNC System Board of Governors voted unanimously to cap the amount of tuition that may be used for financial aid for need-based students at no more than 15 percent.... As a board member told the local press, the burden of providing need-based aid ‘has become unfairly apportioned to working North Carolinians,’ and this new policy helps prevent that.... The problem for liberals isn’t just that there’s no way for them to win this argument with middle-class wages stagnating.... The far bigger issue for liberals is that this is a false choice, a real class antagonism that has been created entirely by the process of state disinvestment, privatization, cost-shifting of tuitions away from general revenues to individual, and the subsequent explosion in student debt. As long as liberals continue to play this game, they’ll be undermining their chances..."

  3. Wolfgang Munchau: The wacky economics of Germany’s parallel universe: "German economists roughly fall into two groups: those that have not read Keynes, and those that have not understood Keynes. To describe the economic mainstream in Germany as conservative misses the point.... As compelling as a comparison between the German mainstream and the Tea Party may appear, it does not survive scrutiny.... A good example of orthodox dogma was last week’s annual report of the Council of Economic Experts.... They did not criticise a lack of investment, excessive current account surpluses or overzealous fiscal rectitude. Instead they criticised the minimum wage and some minor relaxation to the retirement age. In other words: they want the government of Angela Merkel, chancellor, to be even tougher.... Macroeconomics in Germany and elsewhere are tantamount to parallel universes. In practice, German macroeconomic exceptionalism did not really matter all that much--until recently, when it started to matter a lot. When you have your own currency and engage with the rest of the world mainly through trade, a wacky ideology is your problem. That changes when you enter a monetary union, which is when policy makers have to work together..."

  4. Kevin Drum: People Who Use Obamacare Sure Do Like It | Mother Jones: "Jonathan Cohn points us today to a Gallup poll with yet more good news for Obamacare.... The people who are actually using Obamacare... 74 percent said the quality of health care they received was good or excellent, and 71 percent said the overall coverage was good or excellent. What's remarkable is that these numbers are nearly the same as those for everyone else with health insurance, which includes those with either employer coverage or Medicare. Here's the bottom line from Cohn: 'You hear a lot about what’s wrong with the coverage available through the marketplaces and some of these criticisms are legitimate. The narrow networks of providers are confusing, for example, and lack of sufficient regulations leaves some patients unfairly on the hook for ridiculously high bills. But overall the plans turn out to be as popular as other forms of private and public insurance. It’s one more sign that, if you can just block out the negative headlines and political attacks, you’ll discover a program that is working.' Republicans can huff and puff all they want, but the evidence is clear: despite its rollout problems, Obamacare is a success..."

  5. Nick Bunker: What the Beveridge Curve may tell us about the U.S. labor market: "Tthe Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland used historical data on printed job advertisements to create a jobs opening rate for years prior to 2000. And if you look at their Beveridge Curve for economic recoveries going back over 60 years, you see the current shift is actually quite typical. The curve appears to shift quite a bit (up and over to the right) after large recessions and shifts back (down and over to the left) after the labor market recovers from the large shock..."

  6. Dani Rodrik: Mexico’s Growth Problem: "When Mexico’s then-[Usurper] President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and his American counterpart, Bill Clinton, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than 20 years ago, the hope was that the Mexican economy would be swept forward by a rising wave of globalization. By many measures, that hope has been amply fulfilled. Mexico’s foreign-trade volume... climbed... roughly doubling, to more than 60% of GDP. Net foreign investment inflows relative to GDP tripled... manufactured exports have led the way, as the economy has become ever more tightly integrated into North American supply chains.... Like so many other countries, Mexico was initially hit hard by Chinese competition in global markets.... Nonetheless, Mexico’s proximity to the US market and its conservative monetary, fiscal, and labor-market policies have provided significant protection.... Remarkably, Mexico’s exceedingly high levels of inequality have begun to fall since 1994, thanks in large part to reforms in social policy and educational improvements. Mexico’s success shows up everywhere, except where it counts the most over the long term: overall productivity and economic growth. In both areas, there has been disappointment galore... growth in total factor productivity... has been negative since the early 1990s... living standards in Mexico have fallen further behind the US and most emerging-market economies. Probably no other country in the world presents a starker contrast between external success and domestic failure..."

  7. Bridget Ansel: The evolution of class-based gaps in young children’s home environments: "The racial gaps in test scores are narrowing.... Yet there is an even larger skills gap between children in low and high income households... sizeable before they even enter kindergarten. In fact, the achievement gap between the rich and the poor is widening dramatically, so much so that income is now a better predictor of test scores than race.... Ariel Kalil... will document and examine whether and how these class-based gaps in parenting have changed over the past 25 years, and if so, whether these changes contribute to the growing income-based achievement gap. It is clear that the fate of low- and high-income Americans has diverged in terms of educational attainment and cognitive skills, such as memory, reasoning, perception and intuition. Can the same be said for non-cognitive skills, such as resilience, motivation and attentiveness, necessary precursors for cognitive skill acquisition?..."

  8. D.J. Diff: The Halbig Challengers’ Biggest Textual Obstacle: "The challengers have a big textual obstacle standing in their way: the statute’s provision for federal exchanges in section 1321.... Unlike the ACA’s Medicaid provisions, the exchange provisions have a federal fallback.... This isn’t Medicaid; it’s the Clean Air Act (CAA).... If the state turns down the ACA’s inducement to create an exchange, then under the challengers’ view the state’s 'punishment' is not merely the withholding of funds—it’s the withholding of funds and the creation of a federal exchange to operate in the state. This is an odd kind of inducement. Without the availability of subsidies, the federal exchange is an empty shell.... For devotees of the Cato Institute, perhaps this would be a convincing pitch: 'If you don’t create a state exchange then we’ll set up a costly, ineffective, useless federal program in your state'.... 'Attention states! You need to set up a program to provide health care to low-income individuals. If you set up such a program, then the federal government will give you lots of money to help run it. However, if you decline, then you don’t get the money. Moreover, if you decline we’ll spend millions of dollars on a totally useless web portal for low-income individuals to purchase health care in your state. But the health care on the portal will be too expensive for those folks to afford. And the website won’t even work well.' Under the challengers’ view, that is the system of incentives and cooperative federalism that Congress intended to create in the ACA. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.... Alternatively, we could avoid all of this assumed ineffectiveness and just adopt a reading of section 1321 that allows federal exchanges to stand in the shoes of state exchanges. Then the ACA’s 'fallback' structure actually makes sense..."

Should Be Aware of:


  1. Paul Krugman: Rage of the Traders: "I really, truly expected that even Wall Street would consider PeterPaul Singer’s hyperinflation in the Hamptons rant embarrassing, and try to pretend that it never happened. But no; apparently it’s being passed around eagerly by traders and big shots who think it’s the greatest thing since sliced foie gras.... Jesse Eisinger at ProPublica tries to make a case for the rage of the hedgies... argu[ing that]... the government and the Fed have created a fake sense of financial health.... Eisinger is imputing a reasonable analysis to the likes of Singer based on no evidence.... I’d suggest that when Singer talks about a debased currency and fake economic growth, that’s because he really believes that we have a debased currency and fake growth, not as a metaphor for some other kind of economic deception. And where is that perception coming from? I still think that Brad DeLong’s analysis has it right.... Traders... concluded that low interest rates would surely rise back to historical norms. When those rates did no such thing, they looked at the Fed’s intervention... [as] a big trader distorting markets, London Whale-style, by making huge bets that would surely go bad. So they sat back and waited for the collapse. And the collapse keeps not happening, because the Fed is not a rogue trader and historical norms for interest rates aren’t relevant in a persistently depressed, deleveraging economy. But rather than acknowledge that they were wrong, let alone that, er, Keynesian macroeconomics has something to teach them, these guys lash out.... [And they] have no idea when they look ridiculous. After all, who in their entourage is going to tell them?"

  2. Robert Solow: The Ramsey model: "Friends have reminded me that much of the effort of ‘modern macro’ goes into the incorporation of important deviations from the Panglossian assumptions that underlie the simplistic application of the Ramsey model... wage and price stickiness, gaps and asymmetries of information, long-term contracts, imperfect competition, search, bargaining and other forms of strategic behavior.... But... why do so many of those research papers begin with a bow to the Ramsey model and cling to the basic outline?... Attaching a realistic or behavioral deviation to the Ramsey model does not confer microfoundational legitimacy on the combination. Quite the contrary: a story loses legitimacy and credibility when it is spliced to a simple, extreme, and on the face of it, irrelevant special case.... Adding some realistic frictions does not make it any more plausible that an observed economy is acting out the desires of a single, consistent, forward-looking intelligence.... The theory is neat, learnable, not terribly difficult, but just technical enough to feel like ‘science’..."

  3. Rex Sorgatz: Surfing, Drowning, Diving: A Brief History of Inventing New Media: "15 years ago, the surface cracked open. The glossy patina of digital television ruptured, revealing its polar opposite: bewildering depth.... Blogger (1999) forecasts a future where every person creates their own content empire. This triggers a decade of schizoid seizures in old media companies.... Napster (1999) transforms your computer into a music database server, as the history of human recording becomes instantly available. Wikipedia (2001) turns human knowledge into a massive data repository.... Google News (2002) is invented to capture all the content that media companies were moving to digital platforms.... The Long Tail (2004).... YouTube (2005) begins to archive every moving image ever created.... In 2010, NYT licenses FiveThirtyEight, one of the first attempts to control the data deluge. Netflix Streaming (2007) shifts Netflix from a superficial ‘surfing’ technology (three DVDs, no more) to a ‘drowning’ experience.... By 2010, we were drowning.... We are now in the era of the deep dive. Consider the media buzzwords of this moment: think piece, longform, recap, and binge watch. All of these terms suggest a break from the era of big data into the epoch of deep exploration. The most successful recent innovations illustrate the shift.... Phase One: Surfing.... Phase Two: Drowning.... Phase Three: Diving.... The water is warm, come on in."