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June 2015

Live from the Berkeley Campus: Ran into four online MPH students. They are here for their face time, before scattering elsewhere for the rest of their two-year mostly-online programs.

They were taking movies of Berkeley with their iPads--an assignment. I am not sure what the rationale was. Perhaps to demonstrate that they were here physically and doing stuff? Perhaps a multi media communications component?

The Past Two Decades: The Coming of the Information Economy Looks to Have Doubled Our True Rate of Economic Growth

Over at Equitable Growth: The Past Two Decades: The Coming of the Information Economy Looks to Have Doubled Our True Rate of Economic Growth

Over at Bloomberg View, smart young whippersnapper Noah Smith weighs in on the relationship between measured GDP at factor cost and societal well-being--including consumer surplus--in the information age:

Noah Smith: The Internet's Hidden Wealth: "The stagnationists... claim to have the numbers on their side... READ MOAR

Continue reading "The Past Two Decades: The Coming of the Information Economy Looks to Have Doubled Our True Rate of Economic Growth" »

Miriam Burstein on the Not-too-Hard-Working Donald Kagan: Hoisted from Ten Years Ago

Miriam Burstein: Cited by: "Dad the Emeritus Historian of Graeco-Roman Egypt...

...sent me to Donald Kagan's Jefferson Lecture. Despite Kagan's warnings against the dangers of over-generalization, his critique of contemporary historiography was so non-specific--apparently, we're still stuck in 80s crusades against DWM--that I had a hard time finding the 'there' there.  I've already had an earful about this lecture from a classicist's perspective, and I'll leave his call for history as a 'sound base for moral judgments' to other historians.

Continue reading "Miriam Burstein on the Not-too-Hard-Working Donald Kagan: Hoisted from Ten Years Ago" »

Must-Must-Read Extra Bonus Monday Smackdown: Senator Sessions Edition

Must-Must-Read: Steve Benen: The importance of setting Sessions straight: "The Senate Judiciary Committee held a... hearing...

...which became notable for one very specific reason. As much of the political world wait for the Supreme Court to issue its ruling in the King v. Burwell case, Republicans at least pretend to believe that the Affordable Care Act was written in such a way as to deny subsidies – on purpose – to consumers who enrolled through To that end, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) thought he was making an important point yesterday, addressing the Constitutional Accountability Center’s Elizabeth Wydra:

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Live from Peet's Coffee: Grifters gotta grift!

"[They have] taken our economy and turned it into a sick, debt-ridden dystopia incapable of stopping the forthcoming class. In sharp contrast to President Reagan's good morning, today we are facing an economic sundown...":

That's not David "Nobody Understands These Numbers" Stockman, Director of OMB for Ronald Reagan. That's the announcer. What Stockman says is things like:

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Today's Economic History: Nineteenth Century Amerindian Removal

Via Arthur Goldhammer:

Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America: 2.10: (Democracy in America I.2.10): "Nowadays the dispossession of the Indians... often accomplished in a routine and—one might say—perfectly legal manner.

Continue reading "Today's Economic History: Nineteenth Century Amerindian Removal" »

Noted for Your Afternoon Procrastination for June 15, 2015

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Must- and Should-Reads:

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


And Over Here:

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State-Level Fiscal Policy: Tyler Cowen's Language Strikes Me as Somewhat Aesopian...

Over at Equitable Growth: The sharp Tyler Cowen writes:

Tyler Cowen: Has fiscal conservatism met an impasse at the state level?: "The latest from Louisiana is that taxes are going up...

...but in a strange way that won’t be called a tax increase.... It is even weirder than that sounds.  Combine that with the recent fiasco in Kansas.... Fiscal conservatism has been stymied at the state level... for many other states, especially those governed by Republicans.... Trying to cut taxes at the state level doesn’t seem like a useful or productive way forward. If you have a better revisionist take on Louisiana and Kansas, please do put it in the comments, I would gladly read it, and if you have something really good I will pass it along.  But I see myself as stating what has to be the default hypothesis for the time being--should we not all come out and admit this? READ MOAR

Continue reading "State-Level Fiscal Policy: Tyler Cowen's Language Strikes Me as Somewhat Aesopian..." »

Live from La Farine: Steve Benen: Scalia's perfect capital-punishment case falls apart: "Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was dismissive of then-Justice Harry Blackmun’s concerns...

...about the death penalty.... Scalia had a case study in mind that demonstrated exactly why the system of capital punishment has value... Henry Lee McCollum... the perfect example--a murderer whose actions were so heinous that his crimes stood as a testament to the merit of capital punishment itself. Yesterday, McCollum was pardoned. Scalia’s perfect example of a man who deserved to be killed by the state was innocent.... The confessions appeared to have been coerced 30 years ago and new DNA evidence implicated another man whose possible involvement had been overlooked at the time. As recently as 2010, the North Carolina Republican Party used a McCollum photo on campaign fliers to attack a Democratic candidate as “soft on crime.” McCollum hadn’t done anything wrong...

Links and Tweets for the Week of June 8, 2015

Sanzio 01 The School of Athens Wikipedia the free encyclopedia



  • @jbarro: The first rule of Manhattan Club is you do not take Eighth Avenue.
  • @nick_bunker: A new paper from the Oregon Medicaid experiment tries to figure out how much of health insurance counts as income
  • @jdportes: New prize competition from @spectator. Spot the errors in @nfergus article (PhD not reqd) & win a full-page profile!
  • @jeremyschulman: From the heartland conference ... Wind farms cause climate change
  • @mostlybree: "He's not a neo-nazi, he's a misogynist white supremacist. WORDS MATTER" The internet picks the weirdest hills to die on. I mean, really.
  • @scalzi: Bless Eric Flint for still somehow believing reason and logic will work on the Puppies.

Continue reading "Links and Tweets for the Week of June 8, 2015" »

Noted for Your Nighttime Procrastination for June 14, 2015

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Must- and Should-Reads:

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


And Over Here:

Continue reading "Noted for Your Nighttime Procrastination for June 14, 2015" »

Must-Read: The extremely sharp Paul Romer sends us to the very patient and clever Dietz Vollrath. I am broadly with Paul Romer here: papers that do not clearly and succinctly explain (1) what they are doing, (2) why they are doing it, and (3) why the result is of interest to those of us who want to understand the world are wasting electrons, wasting photons, and wasting attention:

Dietz Vollrath: What Assumptions Matter for Growth Theory?: "Somewhere along I-40 and I-81 I was able to get a little clarity...

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Liveblogging the Cold War: June 14, 1945: Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day: June 14, 1945:

HYDE PARK, Wednesday—There is much discussion now about the McDonough bill, which would:

authorize the release of persons from active military service and deferment of persons from military service, in order to aid in making possible the education and training and utilization of scientific and technological manpower to meet essential needs both in war and in peace.

Continue reading "Liveblogging the Cold War: June 14, 1945: Eleanor Roosevelt" »

On the TPP

Scott Gosnell: Brad Delong on the TPP: "In this short preview of my interview with economist Brad Delong...

...we discuss the economic and social impact of the trade deals currently being negotiated by the US Trade Representative, including the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade Promotion Authority and related bills under consideration in Congress this month. The full interview will be available next week...

Scott Gosnell: Let me ask about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deal that are going on right now. What do you think of them?

Continue reading "On the TPP" »

Bonus Extra Monday Smackdown: Doesn't Anybody at the New York Times or in the Jeb Bush Campaign Know What Pickett's Charge Was?

Jeb Bush: I want to send a message that my campaign is like a disastrous and profoundly stupid attack that costs three casualties for every one inflicted:

Jonathan Martin and Patrick Healy: Jeb Bush Works to Recover From a Shaky Start: "Mr. Diaz... [who] seared John Kerry in 2004 and Mr. Romney in 2007...

...and other Bush aides are determined to develop new lines of attack against... Rubio... and... Walker.... By hiring Mr. Diaz, Mr. Bush wanted to send a clear signal that:

the culture of the Bush operation will now be a Pickett’s Charge engagement campaign with his main opponents

according to one Bush ally. It is a far cry from campaigning ‘joyfully,’ as he mused about doing last year...

Indeed it is a far cry from campaigning "joyfully".

As George Pickett said of Robert E. Lee--the general who ordered the charge--"That man destroyed my division!"

**Must-Read: Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Thank you! Oh, thank you all!...

...Thank you so very, very much. It is wonderful to be here with all of you. To be in New York with my family, with so many friends, including many New Yorkers who gave me the honor of serving them in the Senate for eight years. To be right across the water from the headquarters of the United Nations, where I represented our country many times. To be here in this beautiful park dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt’s enduring vision of America, the nation we want to be. And in a place… with absolutely no ceilings.

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Liveblogging the American Revolution: June 13, 1777: Lafayette, He Is Here!

Lafayette arrives in South Carolina:

On this day in 1777, a 19-year-old French aristocrat, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arrives in South Carolina with the intent to serve as General George Washington’s second-in-command.

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Can Somebody Please Tell Me What Is Going on with Obama and TPP?

Over at Equitable Growth: Can somebody please tell me what is going on? What happened with the Obama administration and its making the case for the TPP?

I am what Paul Krugman calls "Davos Man" to a substantial degree--a card-carrying neoliberal, a believer in globalization and free trade, someone who has seen more than enough of the stupidities of places like Berkeley and so doesn't mind hippy-punching now and then. As a believer in free-trade, in the importance of harmonizing global economic regulation, and in getting intellectual and general property rights right, I ought to be a very strong technocratic advocate for the TPP. Yet I found myself having major questions about it: READ MOAR

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Liveblogging World War II: June 12, 1945: Eisenhower

Eisenhower: Guild Hall Address:

The high sense of distinction I feel in receiving this great honor from the city of London is inescapably mingled with feelings of profound sadness. All of us must always regret that your country and mine were ever faced with the tragic situation that compelled the appointment of an Allied Commander-in-Chief, the capacity in which I have just been so extravagantly commended.

Continue reading "Liveblogging World War II: June 12, 1945: Eisenhower" »

(Early) Monday Wall Street Journal Auto-Smackdown: Contesting the Historical Existence of White Supremacy Department

I don't think any words are necessary. I think this passage from the Wall Street Journal's attack on the College Board's AP U.S. History curriculum speaks for itself:

Daniel Henninger: Bye, Bye, American History: "From Key Concept 1.3: ‘Many Europeans developed a belief in white superiority... justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians, using several different rationales.

Pity the high-school or college student who puts up a hand to contest that anymore. They don’t. They know the Orwellian option now is to stay down.... Weak school administrators and academics empowered tireless activists who [have] forced all of American history and life through the four prisms of class, gender, ethnicity and identity. What emerged at the other end was one idea—guilt. I exist, therefore I must be guilty. Of something. The College Board promises that what it produces next month will be ‘balanced.’ We await the event.

Which part of that Key Concept do Daniel Henninger and the Wall Street Journal editorial board believe should be contested, and wish to contest? The subjugation of Africans? The continued subjugation of African-Americans? The subjugation of American Indians? The belief in white supremacy? The link between subjugation on the one hand and belief in white supremacy on the other? The claim that there were different rationales for white supremacy in different times and places?

Inquiring minds really want to know. The Wall Street Journal--and Daniel Henninger--owe us a long-form follow-up.

Discussion of Matthew Rognlie: "Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share": The Honest Broker for the Week of June 14, 2015

Discussion of Matthew Rognlie: "Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share"

J. Bradford DeLong :: University of California at Berkeley


Let me begin by thanking Matt Rognlie for doing some very serious and thoughtful digging into this set of factor-payments data. That digging leaves me in an ideal position for a discussant: There are interesting and important numbers. These numbers have not been put together in this way before. The author is wise enough not to believe he has nailed what the numbers mean to the floor. Thus I am in an excellent position to, if not add intellectual value, at least to claim a lavish intellectual-rent share of Matt Rognlie's product.

Continue reading "Discussion of Matthew Rognlie: "Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share": The Honest Broker for the Week of June 14, 2015" »

Live from La Farine: Grifters Gotta Grift!

I must say that I would be more impressed with Ted Cruz's "sacrifices" if Ted Cruz were to securitize his future Fox News Contributor and corporate board earnings, and then sacrifice by pledging those securities to his campaign...

Ted Cruz: "Dear ----- ,...

...I'm about to ask you to make a sacrifice in the next 48 hours. But before I do, I want you to know: I wouldn't ask you if I hadn't already done it myself.

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Noted for Your Evening Procrastination for June 11, 2015

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Must- and Should-Reads:

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


And Over Here:

Continue reading "Noted for Your Evening Procrastination for June 11, 2015" »

Niall Ferguson Claims He Was Smeared by Facts, Fights Back

It is very nice to see the Financial Times correction of Niall Ferguson--although it does not, in my opinion, go far enough.

A word, however, to Lionel Barber, Gillian Tett, and company: The Financial Times's only current assets are an incredibly skilled and hard-working journalistic team and a reputation as a trusted information intermediary. You are not going to be able to out-pander the Spectator, the Wall Street Journal, the Torygraph, and Fox News as a place where the rich feel comforted rather than afflicted by the news. That means you cannot risk your reputation as a trusted information intermediary by routinely publishing pieces that undermine it.

Jonathan Chait: Niall Ferguson Claims Smeared by Facts, Fights Back: "[Ferguson's] most recent example of ‘correct politicalness’ is the humiliation Ferguson suffered when...

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Across the Wide Missouri: Journamalism Watch:

"Obama's failure to transcend America's partisan divide is not the result of a deliberate decision by the Republican Party to deepen that divide, but rather of Obama's failure to lead, with leadership." That is something that professional Green-Lantern "centrists" like Clive Crook and Ron Fournier have said. That is something they continue to say--even though moderate Republicans' talking point now is: Pelosi and Reid kept Obama from being the bipartisan centrist president he wanted to be.

I wonder why they have not yet smelled the coffee, and gotten the memo. It would be easy to shift to: "Obama tried to lead, but Pelosi and Reid refused to follow". It would be more plausible and not more untrue than the current position. So why not shift?

Ron Fournier: The Right Way and Wrong Way to Win the Presidency: "Hillary Clinton appears to be taking the easy path. It would be the wrong one: Democratic and Republican presidential candidates face a choice...

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When Did I First Come Out in Support of NGDP Targeting?: DeLong FAQ

When did I first come out in support of Nominal GDP targeting?

Damned if I remember.

If you are asking:

Should monetary policy and fiscal policy together aim at a stable growth path for nominal GDP?,

I think the answer is that I have always believed that.

If you are asking, instead:

Continue reading "When Did I First Come Out in Support of NGDP Targeting?: DeLong FAQ" »

Across the Wide Missouri: Alexi Panshin (1981): Heinlein's Expanded Universe: "Heinlein’s best has been his hunger... break free from all the limitations of his turn-of-the-century, Bible Belt Missouri background, his engineer’s pragmatism and exactitude, his naval officer’s dedication and discipline, his willingness to think and rethink, and his readiness to educate the young in necessary survival skills. Heinlein’s bad side has been his arrogance and egotism, his manipulativeness and concern to always have the upper hand, and -- worst of all -- his misplaced morality.

Must-Read: I must say, it is becoming increasingly clear to me what it is that they are doing when a Robert Lucas says that Christina Romer is only in favor of expansionary fiscal policy because it is what her political master wants, and when a Russ Roberts says that Paul Krugman is in favor of expansionary fiscal policy because he is a big government socialist. What they are doing is looking into the mirror at themselves. What they are then doing is projecting. They are thinking that we have their morals and their thought processes, and so are as ideologically-blinded, as loyally-partisan, and as short-sighted as they are.

But we are not like them.

We are for effective government that works, not a big government for its own sake: private where private belongs; government where it is needed; circumstances alter cases. We are for an informed public sphere, not one that thinks a bigger or more active government is always better: we want to see voters who understand the technocratic pluses and minuses support politicians who recognize them.

And we are for marking our beliefs to market: for a ruthless criticism of the existing order of things--including the order of ideas--that shrinks neither from its own intellectual discoveries nor from conflict with the political powers that be. We are therefore not in favor of our hoisting a dogmatic banner. Quite the reverse. We try to help the dogmatists to clarify their ideas--and mark them to market: Why do we (or you) believe that? Is it true? And what is to be done?

Paul Krugman: Why Am I A Keynesian?: "[I] make a regular practice of asking myself whether I’m letting that kind of bias slip in...

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$15 too High for a Local Minimum Wage?

Over at Equitable Growth: The very sharp Jared Bernstein wrote:

Jared Bernstein: Going Bold in Los Angeles: "The city council of Los Angeles has voted near-unanimously... support of a gradual increase in the city minimum wage, from $9 today to $15 in 2020... thereafter, indexed to inflation.... What its impact might be is a harder question.... READ MOAR

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Live from La Farine: As I wrote, moderate Republicans have abandoned the claim that President Obama stiffed them and ran a partisan administration. Instead, they now say that Obama wanted to negotiate with Republicans, but that Pelosi and Reid, somehow, would not let him do so. Thus it remains very interesting that Ron Fournier continues to cling to the 2009-2011 "Obama won't let us into the room, won't listen to" Republican talking point. And it is also interesting that Ron Fournier claims that Bill Clinton began his second term "with standing to convert campaign promises into results":

Erik Loomis**: Idiocy Upon Idiocy: "Of course Ron Fournier would weigh in on the New York Times...

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