Morning Must-Read: Alfred Kazin (1989): The New Republic: A Personal View
Morning Must-Read: Dylan Scott: Sorry, Haters: Here's Another Big Way Obamacare Is Working As Planned

Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for December 10, 2014

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


Must- and Shall-Reads:

And Over Here:

  1. (Via Corey Robin:) Alfred Kazin (1989): THE NEW REPUBLIC: A PERSONAL VIEW: "I am just a vear older than THE NEW REPUBLIC and have been writing for it, on and off, since I was a 19-year-old City College senior in 1934.... What I read in the front of the book is informative, saucy, in tone terribly sure of itself. It gives me no general enlightenment... no inspiration.... I wish I conld think of TNR as moving beyond post-leftist crowing—-beyond a certain parvenu smugness, an excessive familiarity with the inside track and the inside dope, and, above all, beyond that devouring interest in other journalists that confines so many commentaries out of Washington to triviality. I wish I could think of TNR as moving beyond the bristling, snappv, reactive common-sense of the disenchanted liberal. There are worlds within worlds, even in Washington, that are [not] apparent... to the wearilv clever, easily exasperated, heirs and guardians of the liberal democracy that is the one tradition we seem to have left."

  2. Peter Orszag: The Battle Over Douglas Elmendorf--and the Inability to See Good News - "Senator Kent Conrad... asked Mr. Elmendorf whether the legislation was likely to curb the growth in health costs, as its advocates asserted. ‘From what you have seen,’ Mr. Conrad asked, ‘do you see a successful effort being mounted to bend the long-term cost curve?’ Mr. Elmendorf’s answer was clear. ‘No, Mr. Chairman,’ he said. ‘We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.’ For anyone who remembered health care history, the moment was ominous.... Congressional Democrats knew that the budget office had the loudest voice, and their staff members got to work... to nudge the health care system away from paying for the quantity of medical care rather than the quality. Ultimately, the C.B.O. judged those provisions to be substantive. The Affordable Care Act would reduce the deficit in the long run, the budget office forecast.... A central plank of the anti-Elmendorf case is the notion that his budget office has underestimated health care costs. Senator Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican, went so far this year as to call for a hearing on the subject. In reality, the Congressional Budget Office--like nearly every other group of health care analysts--has overestimated medical costs. We’re in the midst of a historic slowdown in the growth of medical costs.... The Affordable Care Act--specifically, those provisions meant to reward quality, like one that tries to cut down on needless hospitalization--plays some role in the slowdown"

  3. Sam Ro: Crude Oil Cost Of Production: Crude Cost Of Production Business Insider

  4. Ryan Avent: The Fed prepares to make a mistake: "ON FRIDAY my colleague noted that while job growth in America is hustling along, inflation remains well below the Fed's target rate.... I think... the Fed is close to making a big mistake.... Set aside potential downside risks (from a Russian financial crisis, or renewed euro-zone troubles, or a Chinese hard landing, or lord knows what else) and just focus on the dynamics within the American economy. Almost since the Fed announced that it was officially targeting an inflation rate of 2%, as measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures, actual PCE inflation has run below the target, and often well below. It remains below target now.... You'd have to be mad to think that inflation will average 2% over the course of this business cycle. The Fed has been content to let inflation rest below target for most of the last four years.... The longer the Fed fails to hit 2% on average the more likely the public is to expect below-target inflation on an ongoing basis.... And while inflation is low interest rates will remain low.... The risk to waiting to tighten is so comparatively small. That's the worst bit. In a year or two people will find themselves wondering why the Fed made this particular error, and there simply will not be good answers to give."

  5. Ta-Nehisi Coates: The New Republic: An Appreciation: "My first editor at The Atlantic came from TNR, as did the editor of the entire magazine. More than any other writer, TNR alum Andrew Sullivan taught me how to think publicly. More than any other opinion writer, Hendrik Hertzberg taught me how to write with "thickness," as I once heard him say. A semester in my nonfiction class is never quite complete without this piece by Michael Kinsley. TNR's legacy is so significant that I could never have avoided being drawn into the magazine's orbit. Even if I had wanted to.... The family rows at TNR's virtual funeral look like the "Whites Only" section of a Jim Crow-era movie-house. For most of its modern history, TNR has been an entirely white publication, which published stories confirming white people's worst instincts. During the culture wars of the '80s and '90s, TNR regarded black people with an attitude ranging from removed disregard to blatant bigotry. When people discuss TNR's racism, Andrew Sullivan's publication of excerpts from Charles Murray's book The Bell Curve (and a series of dissents) gets the most attention. But this fuels the lie that one infamous issue stands apart. In fact, the Bell Curve episode is remarkable for how well it fits with the rest of TNR's history."

Should Be Aware of:


  1. Robert Waldmann: "Google will protect me from any loss from the creation of the New New Republic.... I will google 'Jonathan Cohn' and find him wherever he is.... Most New Republic writers didn't stay at The New Republic. It was a gateway and Martin Peretz was not a good gatekeeper.... I think the real sincere genuine lament is for the loss of influence of TNR.... This is an expression of the liberal principle that debate should be exclusive and that participation in debate should be based on patronage by those who inherit (or marry) wealth. Or, to totally lose it... those who mourn the passing of the Old New Republic absolutely reject liberalism as such. They are not Burke mourning the passage of the age of chivalry. But they come as close as anyone can in these fallen times."

  2. Tim Duy: Fed Updates Ahead of FOMC Meeting: "Bottom Line: Fed is still positioning to begin normalizing rates in the middle of 2015. The data is less of an impediment with each passing day. The time to eliminate the 'considerable period' language is fast approach. The press conference calendar argues for next week. Honestly, I hope they will skip this meeting in favor of the January meeting just to prove that every FOMC meeting is a live meeting. Alas, I think they believe they need the press conference to temper any adverse reactions from market participants. Finally, I am wary with the consensus view that the oil price decline in disinflationary. Open up to the possibility of the opposite. Look back to what you believed in 2011."