Liveblogging World War II: December 17, 1944: Elsenborn Ridge
Morning Must-Read: Paul Krugman: The Limits of Purely Monetary Policies

Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for December 17, 2014

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


Must- and Shall-Reads:

And Over Here:

  1. Gregor Aisch et al.: Where Men Aren’t Working: "There are still places in the United States where nearly all men in their prime working years have a job. In the affluent sections of Manhattan; in the energy belt that extends down from the Dakotas; in the highly educated suburbs of San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Boston and elsewhere, more than 90 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 are working in many neighborhoods. The male employment rates in those areas resemble the nationwide male employment rates in the 1950s and 1960s.... On the whole, however, it’s vastly more common today than it was decades ago for prime-age men not to be working..."

  2. Dirk Schoenmaker: Macroprudentialism: "As the macroprudential toolbox is slowly being filled with new instruments, central banks need to learn how to use them. This will not be easy since the exact effect depends on the specifics of a country’s financial system and there may be unintended consequences.... Macroprudential policy, just like monetary policy, is more art than science.... The high costs of financial crises suggest that it may be better to err on the side of a pro-active macroprudential policy stance.... Macroprudential policy requires complete independence from short-term political pressures to deal with the inherent conflict between the short and the long term. This is why independent agencies, such as the central bank or the financial supervisory authority, are made responsible for macroprudential policy. This requires adequate arrangements for democratic accountability, as macroprudential decisions, such as lowering the loan-to-value ratio, can have a major impact on citizens."

  3. Noah Smith: Cultural Liberalism Is About Personal Responsibility: "Under a social censure model, punishment is communally imposed to get people to avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as drugs and broken families. Under a personal responsibility model, people are educated about the risks and dangers, and told that it is incumbent upon them to avoid doing the bad stuff.... Of course, this is a huge generalization, but I think you see this dynamic at work in the case of marriage and the case of drugs. The 'secret traditionalism' of upper-class liberals is no secret. It is simply the outcome of the repeated quiet exercise of personal responsibility.... Social conservatives, in my experience, often tend to argue that the lower classes of society are not smart enough to handle personal responsibility.... I am not a big fan of that idea.... But I suspect you'll find at least hints and threads of this idea throughout the arguments of many social conservatives. So that leaves the question: If personal responsibility works better than social censure, why?... At the aggregate level we now have a bit of circumstantial evidence favoring the liberal, health-and-responsibility-based approach over the conservative, punishment-and-censure-based approach on both marriage and drug use."

  4. Matt O'Brien: Sorry, Putin. Russia’s economy is doomedt: "Russia doesn't so much have an economy as it has an oil exporting business that subsidizes everything else.... Cheaper oil means Russian companies have fewer dollars to turn into rubles.... It hasn't helped, of course, that sanctions over Russia's incursion into Ukraine have already left Russia short on dollars.... The Russian ruble has fallen even further than the Ukrainian hryvnia or Brent oil has this year. The only asset, and I use that word lightly, that's done worse than the ruble's 50 percent fall is Bitcoin, which is a fake currency that techno-utopians insist is the future we don't know we want.... Russia, you see, is stuck.... Its economy needs lower interest rates to push up growth, but its companies need higher interest rates to push up the ruble and make all the dollars they borrowed not worth so much.... Putin could afford to invade Georgia and Ukraine when oil prices were comfortably in the triple digits, but not when they're half that. Russia can't afford anything then."

Should Be Aware of:


  1. Rick Perlstein: The Reason for Reagan: "Understanding Ronald Reagan requires looking beyond clichés to the cultural climate of the time. A response to Jacob Weisberg.... In 1980... pollsters... asked Americans whether they thought, as Reagan did, that ‘too much’ was being spent on welfare, health, education, environmental, and urban programs. Only 21 percent did.... Historiography on the rise of conservatism and the triumph of Ronald Reagan must obviously go beyond the deadening cliché that since Ronald Reagan said government was the problem, and Americans elected Ronald Reagan twice, the electorate simply agreed with him that government was the problem. But in his recent review of my book... Jacob Weisberg just repeats that cliché--and others.... The reviewer’s inattentiveness.... He must have missed Chapter 1... Chapter 15.... Did he not notice my extensive (and laudatory) discussion of Reagan’s welfare reforms as governor in Chapter 18?... Three chapters, ranging over some 102 pages, specifically about what made Reagan tick. Perhaps Weisberg skipped those, because he writes, ‘Perlstein doesn’t wonder about what made Reagan tick.’... Weisberg thinks I ‘pathologize conservative views.’ There are many pages in my book I could cite in refutation, but for the sake of brevity I’ll single out Chapter 15.... In some places Weisberg accuses me of writing things I did not actually write.... ‘Ronald Reagan,’ Weisberg writes, ‘was refining Goldwater’s pitch, shedding the warmongering, the pessimism, and the anti-New Deal extremism.’ No. He called the New Deal ‘fascism.’ Weisberg continues: ‘Reagan’s views were not simply Goldwater’s views; they were Goldwater’s views purged of their excesses and abstraction, grounded in the country’s lived experience, and given a hopeful cast.’... There was much... mind-blowingly excessive, unrefined, and not hopeful at all: For instance, that teachers unions were following a script laid down by Hitler and the Nazi Party..."

  2. Perry Anderson (1976): Considerations on Western Marxism: "Paul Sweezy retraced and summarized the whole history of the Marxist debates on the laws of motion of capitalism, from Tugan-Baranovsky to Grossmann, himself endorsing Bauer's last solution of the problem of underconsumption, in a work of model clarity, The Theory of Capitalist Development.... Sweezy... implicitly renounced the assumption that crises of disproportionality or underconsumption were insur mountable within the capitalist mode of production, and accepted the potential efficacy of Keynesian counter-cyclical interventions.... The ultimate disintegration of capitalism was for the first time entrusted to a purely external determinant--the superior economic performance of the Soviet Union and the countries which could be expected to follow its path at the end of the War, whose 'persuasion effect' would eventually render possible a peaceful transition to socialism in the United States itself. With this conception, The Theory of Capitalist Development marked the end of an intellectual age..."

  3. Steve M.: Did the GOP Establishment Learn the Wrong Lessons from 2014?: "[Jeb Bush]going to run with a Mitt Romney level of financing but a Jon Huntsman approach to the issues.... He's likely to clear the field quite a bit.... Clearing the field for an establishmentarian ultimately worked for the GOP in 2014 in Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Kentucky because those are deeply red states -- once you got to the general election, the Republican candidate was pretty much a shoo-in. But this isn't a deeply red country..."

  4. Echidne (2006): The Fertility Gap: "According to one Arthur Brooks, we liberals are going extinct because the conservatives are outbreeding us... far lefties are more hateful than far righties... conservative young people are more compassionate than liberal young people. This is one busy professor, isn't he?... There is no study available at all anywhere online or listed on the Professor's homepage.... We are steered to the raw data he presumably has used. Go on, he dares us, go and make up your own studies. I'm not telling you what variables I picked and how I standardized for them. This makes discussing the fertility gap a little bit iffy, largely because I have no way of checking Professor Brooks's arguments...."