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February 2016

Tomorrow Is YUGE TUESDAY!!!!

Harry Enten: Super Guide to Super Tuesday — Republican Edition:

Alabama primary: 50 delegates (21 district, 29 statewide): Polling: Trump 39.4%, Rubio 19.6%, Cruz 15.1%, Kasich 5.5%, Carson 9.9%

Alaska caucuses: 28 delegates (statewide)

Arkansas primary: 40 delegates (12 district, 28 statewide)

Georgia primary: 76 delegates (42 district, 34 statewide): Polling: Trump 36.8%, Rubio 20.6%, Cruz 20.4%, Kasich 6.2%, Carson 7.9%

Massachusetts primary: 42 delegates (statewide): Polling: Trump 44.1% , Rubio 18.2%, Cruz 10.5%, Kasich 15.8%, Carson 4.1%
Minnesota caucuses: 38 delegates (24 district, 14 statewide)

Oklahoma primary: 43 delegates (15 district, 28 statewide): Polling: Trump 33.6%, Rubio 21.6%, Cruz 22.2%, Kasich 6.8%, Carson 6.3%

Tennessee primary: 58 delegates (27 district, 31 statewide): Polling: Trump 40.7%, Rubio 18.7%, Cruz 21.0%, Kasich 6.2%, Carson 8.1 %

Texas primary: 155 delegates (108 district, 47 statewide): Polling: Trump 27.2%, Rubio 17.6%, Cruz 36.0%, Kasich 5.3%, Carson 5.8%

Vermont primary: 16 delegates (statewide)

Virginia primary: 49 delegates (statewide): Polling: Trump 38.7%, Rubio 25.0%, Cruz 16.9%, Kasich 6.4%, Carson 5.9%


What Are the Essential Principles of America's Political Parties?

What are the essential principles of America's political parties?

Paul Krugman seeks enlightenment. But I think he looks in the wrong place. He looks in the works of German Charlie from Trier:

Paul Krugman: Partisan Classiness: "Many people in the commentariat are utterly committed to the view that the two major parties are mirror images of each other...

...despite vast evidence to the contrary. But until Harry Enten directed me to... Grossman and Hopkins, I hadn’t really registered the extent to which the same assumption of symmetry is often made by political scientists.... Grossman and Hopkins... document the very real differences in the two parties’ structure... in terms of how they work....

The Republican Party is the agent of an ideological movement, while the Democratic Party is best understood as a coalition of social groups.

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The Forthcoming--Behavioral--Economics of Abundance

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Over at Project Syndicate: Economics in the Age of Abundance: BERKELEY – Until very recently, the biggest economic challenge facing mankind was making sure there was enough to eat.

From immediately after the dawn of agriculture until well into the Industrial Age, by far the most common human condition was what nutritionists and public-health experts would describe as severe and damaging nutritional biomedical stress.

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Over at Project Syndicate: Pragmatism or Perdition

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Over at Project Syndicate: Pragmatism or Perdition: BERKELEY – It is almost impossible to assess the progress of the United States economy over the past four decades without feeling disappointed. From the perspective of the typical American, nearly one-third of the country’s productive potential has been thrown away on spending that adds nothing to real wealth or destroyed by the 2008 financial crisis. Since the mid-1970s, the US has ramped up spending on health-care administration by about 4% of GDP and increased expenditure on overtreatment by about 2% of GDP. Countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, and France have not followed suit, and yet they do just as well – if not better – at ensuring that their citizens stay healthy. Meanwhile, over the same period, the US has redirected spending away from education, public infrastructure, and manufacturing toward providing incentives for the rich... READ MOAR


Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Evan Osnos: Donald Trump and the Ku Klux Klan: A History: "There may be no better measure of the depravity of this campaign season...

...than the realization that it’s not clear whether Trump’s overt appreciation for fascism, and his sustained salute to American racists, will have a positive or negative effect on his campaign. For now, his opponents are rejoicing. Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, pronounced him ‘unelectable.’ Governor John Kasich, of Ohio, called Trump’s comments ‘just horrific.’ But it is by now a truism to note that Trump has survived pratfalls that other politicians have not.

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Live from La Farine: John Quiggin: The Three Party System: "There are three major political forces in contemporary politics in developed countries...

...tribalism, neoliberalism and leftism.... Until recently, the party system involved competition between different versions of neoliberalism. Since the Global Financial Crisis, neoliberals have remained in power almost everywhere, but can no longer command the electoral support needed to marginalise both tribalists and leftists at the same time. So, we are seeing the emergence of a three-party system, which is inherently unstable because of the Condorcet problem and for other reasons.

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Procrastinating on February 29, 2016

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Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog:

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Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: FLASH: Clive Crook and Jack Shafer Upset Because People Informing People Are Claiming to Be Journalists

Hosting this from last year: FLASH: Clive Crook and Jack Shafer Upset Because People Informing People Are Claiming to Be Journalists: Non-DeLong Smackdown Watch

I think it says something very important about the cognitive deformations and the cowardice that America's professional centrists inflict on themselves:


Let's take a break from the DeLong Smackdowns even though there are now a number in the queue. And, no, I don't have the guts to yet read another page of David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Mistakes. But two things did cross my desk last week that offend the shape of reality itself and really do deserve to be smacked down.

The first was from Jack Shafer:

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Hoisted from the Archives/Weekend Reading: Ezra Klein on the Racist Origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome

Live from the Hotel Giraffe Lobby: Origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome: I remember how back in 2007 and 2008 I would say that one reason Barack Obama might be a better candidate than Hillary Rodham Clinton was simply that America was now less racist than it was sexist--that the conservative quarter of the country would not be motivated to throw the filth at Barack Obama that they had and that they would throw at Hillary Rodham Clinton. I was wrong.

So let me turn the mike over to Ezra Klein, who muses on the racist origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome:

Ezra Klein: Obama Derangement Syndrome: "In 2003, the conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer diagnosed a new affliction in some of George W. Bush's fiercest critics...

...He described the condition as 'the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.' He called it Bush Derangement Syndrome.

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From the Archives: A Year Ago--Late February 2015

Ten Picks of the Litter:

  1. Today's Greek Crisis: A Non-Platonic Dialogue: The Honest Broker for the Week of February 22, 2015
  2. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot
  3. The Four Must-Reads You Need to Understand Thomas Piketty and His "Capital in the Twenty-First Century": Focus
  4. Dynamic Scoring Considered Harmful: Focus
  5. FLASH: Clive Crook and Jack Shafer Upset Because People Informing People Are Claiming to Be Journalists: Non-DeLong Smackdown Watch
  6. Today's Economic History: 1870 as the Inflection Point in Trade and Transport
  7. Live from the Hotel Giraffe Lobby: Origins of Obama Derangement Syndrome
  8. The Puzzlement of "Cognitive Capture"
  9. Blood and Souls for My Lord Arioch! It Is Cold!
  10. The Rise in Inequality: A Young Lady or Gentleman's Illustrated Primer: The Honest Broker for the Week of March 8, 2015

Continue reading "From the Archives: A Year Ago--Late February 2015" »


Comment of the Day: Harold Pollack: On Ross Douthat: "It's kindof like blaming Jackie Robinson for racist baseball fans because he once took out a shortstop on a double play."

And the extraordinarily execrable Ross Douthat, writing for the execrable New York Times editorial page:

Ross Douthat: From Obama to Trump: "The Republican Party’s Trumpian meltdown... hasn’t inspired is much in the way of [liberal] self-examination...

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Links for the Week of February 28, 2016

Most-Recent Must-Reads:

Most-Recent Links:

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Weekend Reading: Sam Richardson, Aaron Carroll, and Austin Frakt (2013): More Oregon Medicaid Study Power Calculations

Weekend Reading: Sam Richardson, Aaron Carroll, and Austin Frakt (2013): More Medicaid study power calculations (our rejected NEJM letter): "Sam Richardson, Aaron, and Austin submitted a more efficiently worded version of the following...

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Weekend Reading: Michael S. Gazzaniga: A Road Trip to the Origins of Our Species

Michael S. Gazzaniga: A Road Trip to the Origins of Our Species: "Paris may be the most beautiful place on the planet...

...where humankind comes at you at every turn. There is nothing subtle about it, nothing to suggest that some sort of gradual evolution occurred to create it. Even the trip over, in which 220 animals calmly accepted their shared use of the hugely complex technology of a jet plane, revealed the special capacities of humankind: We are inventive and we thrive in groups. And we all want to know what flipped the switch in our ancestors. What made us this way?

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Procrastinating on February 28, 2016

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Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog:

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Econ 210a Spring 2016 (First Half): Introduction to Economic History: Files

Powerpoints:

Weekly Memo Questions

Syllabus and Readings

bCourses Page

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Weekly Memo Questions: Econ 210a Spring 2016: Introduction to Economic History (First Half)

Memo Question for: Commercial and Other Pre-Industrial Economic Revolutions: The January 20 class painted a picture of an economic world in which (a) total factor productivity growth was very slow, and (b) as a result the overwhelming effect of technological progress was to increase human numbers rather than raise standards of living above bare subsistence. This week we read pieces all arguing that very important things were happening in northwestern Europe in 1500-1800 to raise the rate of total factor productivity growth. Pick one paper. Do you think it makes a convincing case? Taking as background January 20's class, how much of a difference in the global economic trend do you think that paper's factors by themselves could have made?

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Live from La Farine: Kudos to General Hayden for being a real soldier. But I am much less optimistic here than Mark about the national-security, the military-industrial, and the establishment-Republican contexts. I remember that from 2001-2008 we had not one but two buffoons in the White House giving illegal orders. And there were remarkable few peeps of complaint:

Mark Kleiman: Donald Trump, Michael Hayden, unlawful orders, and the Establishment: "Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who ran the NSA and then the CIA under George W. Bush...

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Weekend Reading: Steve Randy Waldmann (2014): Welfare Economics: An Introduction

Steve Randy Waldmann (2014): Welfare Economics: An Introduction: "I thought I’d give a bit of a primer on “welfare economics”...

...as I understand the subject. It looks like this will go long. I’ll turn it into a series.

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Must-Read: I want to endorse this line of thinking from Paul Krugman because I think it is completely right. My initial worries about Sanders-Friedman was that it made promises about where we could get as far as economic growth over the next decade that were very unlikely to be achievable. More important is the Romers' accurate critique that Sanders's plan would not even come close to getting us there even in the unlikely possibility that things do break the way that Sanders-Friedman. And that generates the corollary that is perhaps most important: Sanders's plans look seriously underpowered, and we should be trying to assemble a coalition to do even more than he envisions come 2017...

Paul Krugman: The Cases for Public Investment: "One of the annoying aspects of the Sanders/Friedman flap was the assumption of many Sanders supporters that anyone who doesn’t accept extravagant economic projections...

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Must-Read: There is one way in which durable-goods deflation can be a minus for the economy: Since capital-goods investment overwhelmingly takes the form of the creation of durable goods, the depreciation of nominal capital values generated by durable-goods deflation reduces the nominal return on investment. It either needs to be countered by a higher overall inflation rate or it leads to secular-stagnation problems: we cannot afford to have holding your money in idle cash appear to be a better investment than committing it to building useful and productive capital:

Stuff Keeps Getting Cheaper Bloomberg View

Justin Fox: Stuff Keeps Getting Cheaper: "The great durable-goods deflation is what I'll focus on today...

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Procrastinating on February 27, 2016

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Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog:

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Liveblogging History: February 26, 1946: Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman: The President's News Conference:

THE PRESIDENT. I have an announcement or two to make, one of which you seem to have gotten from the Senate. I am making Charles R. Denny, Jr., Acting Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

And I want to issue a short statement about the air conference at Bermuda. I am very well pleased with it; and you will be handed a copy of the release as you go out. [Reading] 'The major purpose of the two governments'--this is the last paragraph-'in regard to civil air transport has now been set forth in writing.' And the paragraph from the conference is quoted here.

And I also want to say to you that the Army is doing a right good job. Six million, 300 thousand discharges now, on the 22d of February. In the Navy it must be about a million, three. So that makes over seven million who have been--over seven and a half million who have been discharged since last October.

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Liveblogging History: February 25, 1946: Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:

HYDE PARK, Sunday—Judging from some of the fantastic misconceptions that I am getting in my mail, it seems to me that some of our people are not approaching the aftermath of war with great common sense. For one thing, I should like to make it entirely clear that I never said the children of Germany were 'chubby.' No one in Asia or war-torn Europe is chubby. I did say that while there was hunger in Germany, as yet there was no starvation. The thing one dreads in war-torn countries is epidemics. These are more apt to occur where the people have been on low and undesirable diets for a long time and, therefore, have had their resistance undermined. That is the case in Europe wherever Germany was the conqueror in the early days of the war and was able to syphon off the available food into Germany, leaving the conquered nations a far lower minimum of calories than Germany herself is being allowed today.

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Liveblogging History: February 23, 1188: Ferdinand II of León and Santiago de Compostela

Wikipedia: Ferdinand II of León: "Born in Toledo, Castile, he was the son of King Alfonso VII of León and Castile and of Berenguela, of the House of Barcelona...

...At his father's death, he received León and Galicia, while his brother Sancho received Castile and Toledo. Ferdinand earned the reputation of a good knight and hard fighter, but did not display political or organising faculty.

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Must-Read: IMHO, Paul Krugman should have had not two but four parting observations:

  1. Primaries are valuable testing grounds for candidates' ideas and teams, which is a point he makes.
  2. It's dangerous to believe something because it is what you want to hear, which is a point he makes.
  3. A point he doesn't make but should: If you believe that hysteresis is not a one-way ratchet--that it is as easy to boost potential via a high-pressure economy as to destroy it via prolonged depression--Sanders's stimulus plans are underpowered by a factor of four.
  4. A point he doesn't make but should: If you believe--which I do--that so far hysteresis has only gobbled about two-thirds of the gap between current production and the pre-2008 trend, then Sanders's fiscal stimulus plans are about the right size--and HRC's are much too small.

Paul Krugman: Romer and Romer on Friedman: "Two parting observations, however:

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The Affordable Care Act Six Years After Passage

The Affordable Care Act Six Years After Passage: Hopes, Fears, Disappointments, Windfalls, and Realities (So Far)

The Future of Health Care Lecture Series: February 26, 2016, 5-7 PM: Thompson Courtroom, UMKC, KC MO http://mediasite.law.umkc.edu/Mediasite/Play/16b615abd5084bbea3cd1fa9d939847e1d


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Live on La Farina: Paul Krugman: How To Read Primary Results: "When Nate Silver is good, he’s very good...

...This ‘swingometer’ http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/bernie-sanders-doesnt-need-momentum-he-needs-to-win-these-states/ from FiveThirtyEight is exactly what we all need to make sense of Democratic primary results. Oh, and hold the Hillary-hatred and all that, OK? Whoever you support, this is a great tool for tracking your favorite’s progress or lack thereof. What Silvers et al have done is to quantify something we all know: demography matters a lot.... What they find is that in all three contests so far — yes, including New Hampshire — Clinton has done better, and Sanders worse, than the 50-50 case would predict.... That is, of course, not at all what you’d think from media coverage, which flipped from Clinton doom after NH to Sanders collapse after NV. The prediction markets, on the other hand, have been pretty cool and rational...


Must-Read: Christina D. Romer and David H. Romer: Senator Sanders's Proposed Policies and Economic Growth: "According to an analysis by Gerald Friedman...

...Senator Sanders’s proposed policies would result in average annual output growth of 5.3% over the next decade, and average monthly job creation of close to 300,000. As a result, output in 2026 would be 37% higher than it would have been without the policies, and employment would be 16% higher. Although we share many of Senator Sanders’s values and enthusiastically support some of his goals, such as greater public investment in infrastructure and education, we also believe it is vitally important to be realistic about the impact of policies on the performance of the overall economy.

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Live from Cupertino: John Gruber: Apple's Motion to Vacate: "This one is clear...

...This stuck out to me:

Congress knows how to impose a duty on third parties to facilitate the government’s decryption of devices. Similarly, it knows exactly how to place limits on what the government can require of telecommunications carriers and also on manufacturers of telephone equipment and handsets. And in CALEA, Congress decided not to require electronic communication service providers, like Apple, to do what the government seeks here. Contrary to the government’s contention that CALEA is inapplicable to this dispute, Congress declared via CALEA that the government cannot dictate to providers of electronic communications services or manufacturers of telecommunications equipment any specific equipment design or software configuration.

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