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October 2016

Must-Read: As I understand it, Paul Romer's critique of RBC and DSGE models is wide of the mark only insofar as people no longer take the conclusions of RBC and DSGE models seriously. Paul quotes Smets and Wouters from 2007 about the U.S. since the 1970s:

Monetary policy shocks contribute only a small fraction of the forecast variance of output at all horizons... account for only a small fraction of the inflation volatility.... "Demand" shocks such as the risk premium, exogenous spending, and investment-specific technology shocks explain a significant fraction of the short-run forecast variance in output, both the wage mark-up (or labor supply) and, to a lesser extent, output-specific technology shocks explain most of its variation in the medium to long run.... Third, inflation developments are mostly driven by price mark-up shocks in the short run and wage mark-up shocks in the long run...

And points out that there is something very wrong. Volcker said he was going to hit the economy on the head with a monetary policy shock brick to reduce inflation. He did so. Inflation fell from 10% to 4%. Unemployment spiked to 11%. And yet Smets-Wouters cannot see it. Instead, they see a great many driving shocks that are nothing but equation residuals.

If anybody believed this, it would be a YUGE problem. That (most) people do not believe this and yet still feel that they must talk this way is a big problem:

Simon Wren-Lewis: Paul Romer on Macroeconomics: "The microfoundations project, which was meant to make macro just another application of microeconomics, has left macroeconomics with very few friends among other economists.... 

Continue reading "" »


I do wonder whether in the end historians will lay root responsibility for the destruction of America's Republican Party to Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Nino Scalia, Sam Alito, and Clarence Thomas's decision that what they really wanted to do was to transform the political order to enable whack doodle billionaires to break things (Live from the Republicans' Trump Hell)

Benjy Sarlin: [@BenjySarlin][]: Take a sec to read this @DouthatNYT piece. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/opinion/campaign-stops/what-the-rights-intellectuals-did-wrong.html

Dana Houle: @DanaHoule: Always some glaring, self-refuting flaw in a Douthat piece...

...For instance, no mention of donors/funding sources. Douthat talks about the GOP like it’s just rubes w pitchforks outnumbering the people of ideas who he thinks should be guiding the rubes & keeping them from excess. Well, dude, those rubes have the financial backers, including elites.

Continue reading "" »


Josh Barro: @jbarro: "Republicans' impossible GOTV challenge, explained in two tweets:

Mitt Romney: @MittRomney: "Be sure to head to the polls for GOP Senate, House and statehouses; they are essential to defend and advance constitutional conservatism.

Mitt Romney: @MittRomney: "Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world."

(Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell)


Paul Krugman: [@paulkrugman][]: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/opinion/campaign-stops/what-the-rights-intellectuals-did-wrong.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0 "A tweetstorm on conservative intellectuals, inspired by Ross Douthat's brave but I think incomplete essay. (Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell)

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Brian Buetler says: He told us so (Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell)

Brian Buetler (March 1, 2016): [Donald Trump’s Nomination Will Have Real, Lasting Upsides][]: "In 2008, Republicans suffered a landslide defeat after placing Sarah Palin on the ballot and setting her loose... with the overwhelming approval of the conservative commentariat, to whip up an ugly right-wing populism...

Continue reading "" »


Late October 2012: The Republican Base Was Ugly, Ugly, Ugly Then...

Today's Exemplary Republican Tea-Party Voter: "I'm a Hard-Working Suburbanite Who Never Took a Bailout and I Wan't [Sic] Pay for Inner-City Health Care":

J. Bradford DeLong @delong: Duncan Black: The Evolution of Republican Suburban Tribalism http://bit.ly/RZEAQV

Tea Cardman @TeaCardman: @delong Growing up in a small town in a poor state and now owning my own home in a suburb makes me proud. You'll probably never understand.

J. Bradford DeLong @delong: @TeaCardman and the point is? That the changes the top 0.1% have made and Romney wants to reinforce have made this much harder?

Tea Cardman @TeaCardman: @delong I didn't answer your question. I am a hard working suburbanite who never took a bail out & I wan't pay for inner-city health care.

"Inner city" health care. I get it. Sheesh…

The curse of Barry Goldwater-Richard Nixon-Ronald Reagan still haunts the Republican Party--and through them the rest of us--this Halloween…


The Ask for Money: Part XV: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part XV: The Ask for Money:

And now, having denied that the Republicans have a gender gap problem and admitted Republicans have a Hispanic gap problem, Romney pivots. Rather than outline policies for dealing with the Hispanic gap problem, he decides it is time for the ask: he needs their money.

He needs their money to fight off Obama's campaign of character assassination--plus the fact that unemployment is down, that Osama bin Laden was brought to justice, and there have been none of the visible policy disasters that characterized the presidency of he-who-Romney-must-not-name--even though Fox News had by then listed perhaps 25 of "Obama's Katrinas". (Of course, there are the nasty Iranians and Palestinians out there who would have been brought to heel if Obama had not been "VEAK!!"; and there is the forthcoming "national bankruptcy... failed Treasury auction... interest rates... going... up... borrowed-money fantasy world [of]... made up money... hurtling toward a cliff... severity of the fiscal situation... Greece".)

Continue reading "The Ask for Money: Part XV: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


The Hispanic Vote: Part XIV: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part XIV: The Hispanic Vote:

Here Romney gets real: "If the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting bloc has in the past, why we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation..."

The "in trouble as a nation" is, I presume, simply a reflection of the Republican believe that a dominant Democratic Party is a very bad thing.

Now it used to be the case that politicians thought otherwise.

For example, in the 1920s Dean Acheson was a stalwart of a Democratic Party that was far from dominant in any sense. Yes, it won occasional congressional majorities. But Woodrow Wilson had only attain the presidency because of the spite of Teddy Roosevelt for W.H. Taft. And the only other Democratic president since Andrew Johnson had been that triangulating bastard Grover Cleveland.

But Dean Acheson did not see the United States as "in trouble as a nation". He saw a healthy political system with useful partisan alternation, even though his faction's share of the alternation was much less than 50-50. In his view, the Republicans were the party of enterprise--of people who had something for themselves, expected that they were likely to get a good deal more, and so wanted to arrange America so that their enterprises would prosper and they could get rich. The Democrats, by contrast, were those who were losing out and not getting their reasonable share from the growing market economy, and so needed it to be adjusted. The Republicans in power could do useful things the Democrats could not. The Democrats in power could do useful things that the Republicans could not. Acheson preferred the New Deal order in which Democrats held office most of the time. But he did not think that America in the 1920s when that was not the case had been "in trouble as a nation".

Now Democrats today do not agree with Dean Acheson. But that is because the Republican Party today--the party of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Tom DeLay, George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Rudi Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan--is the party not of those who expect to benefit from economic growth and creative destruction, but instead the part of those who have something to lose. And they have no clue how to make the American economy grow.

Maybe if Mitt Romney, John Kasich, and company were dominant figures in the Republican Party we would think differently. But they are marginalized. So we don't.

Still, it is good that Romney is willing to let his hair down and tell this audience that the Republicans have a Hispanic voter problem. But the solution--"Rubio!" "Great Hispanic leaders..."--is not, I think, what any of us would see as adequate.

Continue reading "The Hispanic Vote: Part XIV: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


The Election Is Winnable: Part XIII: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part XIII: The Election Is Winnable:

Now the audience turns away from foreign policy to the election--to what the audience can do to help Romney win. And Romney's first response is to cherry-pick a single number from an outlier poll.

There are two views of this:

  1. This might be a very, very bad sign about how Romney handles information: cherry-picking isolated numbers that support you may be a way to win internal bureaucratic struggles among management consultants, but it is really bad executive analytic practice and leads to bad decisions.

  2. Romney might well discount this outlier poll number in his inner counsels. But then the fact he thinks he needs to lead his conversation about the election with this group with misleading happy talk suggests an unwillingness to take his donors seriously: cattle to be herded into opening up their checkbooks, rather than partners to be leveled with and learned from.

But at the end of this passage Romney lets his hair down: he dismisses the possibility of an adverse gender gap, but he highlights a possible Hispanic gap:

Continue reading "The Election Is Winnable: Part XIII: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Palestine: Part XII: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part XII: Palestine:

The biggest long-run problem with respect to Israel and Palestine is that Palestinian political leaders do not dare abandon the ultimate goal of erasing Israel, somehow, from the page of time. But the second biggest long-run problem with respect to Israel and Palestine is that Israeli political leaders want to keep large chunks of the West Bank. They are trapped by the curse of Arik Sharon--that he wanted to get religious fanatics building settlements on every Judaean and Samarian hilltop where he wished he had had a firebase in 1948.

And so, if you had to ask which human cities are most likely to become seas of radioactive glass over the next half century, the list has to start with: Damascus, Tel-Aviv, Cairo, Tehran.

And that is a big problem.

What does Romney have to say? That trying over and over again to be an honest broker does not work, and that the only thing that works is for us to somehow "show our strength.... American strength, American resolve..." and someday, somehow...

This is not confidence-inspiring in the least. Especially when viewed against the background of Romney's knee-jerk assumption that talking to people makes us "VEAK!!"

Continue reading "Palestine: Part XII: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Iraq: Status of Forces: Part XI: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part XI: Iraq: Status of Forces:

Mitt Romney:

This president's failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable!

From Wikipedia:

The Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq was a status of forces agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the United States, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. combat forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011...

"This president's failure"? For domestic political reasons, the Iraqi government wanted a promise of the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces, and President George W. Bush agreed. So Romney wanted Obama to... what? Threaten to pull all support from the Iraqi government if it did not pronto allow us to unilaterally alter the deal? Invade Iraq?

The drunk, abusive daddy party at work: Mitt Romney's Green Lanternism--which we see here shining quite brightly--made him, IMHO, no prize as a potential president...

Continue reading "Iraq: Status of Forces: Part XI: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Beating America's Health-Insurance Monopolists: No Longer Live at Project Syndicate

J Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate

Michael M. DeLong and James Bradford DeLong

Beating America's Health-Insurance Monopolists: The Need for Competition--and the Need for a Recognition of the Need for Competition

With the coming of the Affordable Care Act to the United States, the importance of effective and successful antitrust enforcement in health insurance greatly increased. As Berkeley economics professor Aaron Edlin puts it, the competitor "I'm just not going to buy this" is always there, and is a competitor that no firm can either collude with or buy. But the Affordable Care Act requires that individuals purchase health insurance. It thus creates for a monopolist a vertical demand curve--meaning that the monopoly profits that can be earned through a monopoly or shared through collusion are enormous, and the consequent harm to consumer well-being is enormous as well.

And so in 2015 the insurance companies Anthem and Cigna and Aetna and Humana decided, both sets, to try to see what they could do: Could they merge? Could they reduce the number of private national health insurers from five to three, with consequent increases in market power and rents extracted?

Continue reading "Beating America's Health-Insurance Monopolists: No Longer Live at Project Syndicate" »


Must-Read: The IMF is, for moral hazard reasons, not a redistributionist but a system stability-preserving agency. In a better world, either a WTO or private sector insurers would provide developing country social insurance to cushion the impact of commodity price fluctuations. That is not the world we live in:

Carmen Reinhart: The Return of Dollar Shortages: "Seven decades later, despite the broad global trend toward more flexibility in exchange-rate policy and freer movement of capital across national borders, a “dollar shortage” has reemerged...

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The question is: what can the rest of us do to help the Republican Party regain its soul? One possibility would be to limit eligibility for the Republican nomination to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--and John Kasich.

We have strong disagreements with them about how a good society should be organized and what policies are likely to work. But at least they have walked the walk in a way that nobody else has (Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell):

Edward Luce: The War for America’s Conservative Soul: "Courage. Leadership. Virtue... Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower or George HW Bush...

Continue reading "" »


Must-Read: What does it say about me that I find "we have used a Stern-Gerlach magnet with a field gradient in the direction z to measure spin in the direction y..." to be the funniest thing I have read this month?

We are all, potentially, the Friends of Wigner. It has always seemed to me that anyone with the empathy and imagination to think of him or herself as one of the Friends of Wigner is then driven inescapably to either "quantum mechanics is totally wrong wrong wrong wrong and just predicts well for incomprehensible reasons" or "many-worlds". There really are no other alternatives, or at least what alternatives there are are even stranger.

I am reminded of Sidney Coleman's joke--or was it--that he concluded that he and he alone could cause the reduction of wave packets, and his advisor's natural question: "Before you were born, could your father collapse wave packets?":

W. H. Zurek (1981): Pointer basis of quantum apparatus: Into what mixture does the wave packet collapse?: "Hence, there is also a 100% correlation between the state of the atom and the spin in a basis completely different...

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Obama Is Weak and Naive: Part X: Romney Secret 47% Video

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part X: Obama Is Weak and Naive: :

One way to look at American foreign policy since 1945 is to draw a contrast between the Kennanites and the Kissingerites. The Kennanites believe, by and large--except for when George Kennan and his followers would get into depressed Spenglerian moods--that the tide of history is running our way. They believe that our system and our values are immensely attractive They believe that all we need to do is to contain sources of trouble and then in the end--not too distant an end either--our soft power will win through for us.

The Kissingerites believe, by contrast, that we are, as Romney quotes Kissinger, "VEAK!" We are "VEAK!" because our people are unwilling to send our soldiers to die in substantial numbers in distant places over lengthy periods of time for dubious geopolitical advantages. We are "VEAK!" because the media, members of congress, and occasionally presidents do not have the stomach to bomb and burn things down in ways that kill substantial numbers of civilians.

Since we are "VEAK!", the Kissingerites think, we need to be scary-weak. We need people to fear that we will respond irrationally and destructively to whatever is going on if it crosses our interests. We cannot be predictable. We need to be drunk and abusive, so that people know that they must tiptoe quietly around this.

The fact that pursuing such a Nixonian-Kissingerite foreign policy strategy of rationally acting irrational is unfit for any self-respecting American to adopt, and furthermore greatly undermines our most powerful foreign-policy instrument--our soft power--is something that the Kissingerites do not grasp. Why? Because they do not understand that we have the soft power and that it is very strong indeed.

Kissinger did not start the Kissingerite strain in Republican foreign policy. John Foster Dulles did. Neither "massive retaliation" nor Nixon's four-year extension of the Vietnam War to get in 1972 the agreement of 1968 nor supporting Pakistan in its attempt to kill everyone in Bangladesh with a college education nor letting the Argentine generals think they had a blank check nor George W. Bush's many misadventures have served us well. But at least George H.W. Bush was a Kennanite.

Continue reading "Obama Is Weak and Naive: Part X: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Iran: Part IX: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part IX: Iran:

If you ever thought the Republican Party was in any sense "the responsible Daddy Party" on foreign affairs. This should disabuse you. Mitt Romney is as good as it gets for Republicans as far as foreign policy is concerned since the retirement of George H. W. Bush. And this is "the drunk, abusive Daddy Party" in action:


Romney: Please. Yeah—I heard a voice, please.

Continue reading "Iran: Part IX: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Asking for Advice/National Bankruptcy: Part VIII: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part VIII: Asking for Advice/National Bankruptcy:

Here it is very clear: Mitt Romney has been listening to the wrong economists. It is not clear whether John Whitehead actually said any of the things Mitt Romney attributes to him. It is clear that--no matter who is theoretically signed up as Romney's economic advisors--nobody who actually understands what a liquidity trap is at all had been let in to brief him on the Federal Reserve, on why it was doing what it was doing, on the sources of demand for Treasury debt, or on the difference between the short-run fiscal situation (in which austerity was unhelpful) and the long-run (in which intertemporal budget balance is essential) in a time of secularly low interest rates.

The wall of the fact-free bubble was very thick indeed in the Republican Party in 2012. And it has only grown thicker since:


Romney: With that introduction, I'm going to turn to you for counsel, advice, or questions. Policy questions. Wanna talk about tax policy? Or political questions? How I win? Please.

Continue reading "Asking for Advice/National Bankruptcy: Part VIII: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Procrastinating on October 25, 2016

NewImage

Over at Equitable Growth: Must-Reads:

Continue reading "Procrastinating on October 25, 2016" »


Late October 2012: Bill Galston Wanted the Obama Administration to Nuke the Recovery: Looking Back at the Internet Past

Bill Galston Wanted the Obama Administration to Nuke the Recovery: Looking Back at the Internet Past: Three years ago, in late 2009, Bill Galson was telling Obama to anticipatorily adopt the austerity policies of Cameron-Osborne-Clegg that have been so disastrous for Britain. It is remarkable:

Continue reading "Late October 2012: Bill Galston Wanted the Obama Administration to Nuke the Recovery: Looking Back at the Internet Past" »


Must-Read: Yes, a lot of discouraged workers a year ago did not say they were discouraged workers. And the same is highly likely to be true today. Why do you ask?

Joe Weisenthal on Twitter Per Goldman the biggest contributors to the LFPR rebound were drops in the disabled and don t want a job category https t co RxEA35cX7C

Joe Weisenthal: @TheStalwart: "Per Goldman, the biggest contributors to the LFPR rebound were drops in the disabled and 'don't want a job' category."


It is starting to look like the stab-in-the-back legend that Drudge, Breitbart, Hannity, O'Reilly, Ingraham, Coulter, and company are already starting to propagate to explain Trump's (likely) loss will be primarily directed at Paul Ryan and company, and not at Democrats or minorities. The focus, so far at least, looks to be on Republicans who betrayed Trump, rather than--as Mitt Romney claimed after 2012--on Democrats who got minorities to vote for them by promising them "free stuff" (Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell):

Oliver Darcy and Pamela Engel: Trump's effect on the conservative media: "'There is no autopsy this year that does not include dealing with the right-wing media', Sykes said. 'There is none'...

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Why Did Keynes Write "In the Long Run We Are All Dead"?

The appearance of "Niall Ferguson" in my inbox stream as the posts from October 2012 flow across reminds me that I have a very serious point here that has not gotten sufficient attention.

To some degree this is my fault:

So let me try again. It is, I think, an important story.

It involves more than just a (flawed and failed) attempt by Niall Ferguson to feed tainted red bigotry meat to a California audience he did not understand.

It also involves bad-faith intellectual debate and intellectual history from von Hayek and Schumpeter, who thought it a good use of their time to misrepresent and slander a recently-dead man who was a greater economist than either of them could ever hope to be.

And it involves Gertrude Himmelfarb. I am not sure whether Gertrude Himmelfarb was simply misled here by trusting Schumpeter and his History of Economic Analysis as an authority on technical economic areas that she could not follow, or whether she is also a bad intellectual historian actor here. She certainly cuts off Keynes's "Puritan fallacy" quote at a very suspicious place if it is the first...

Continue reading "Why Did Keynes Write "In the Long Run We Are All Dead"?" »


Unskilled Immigration: Part VII: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part VII: Unkilled Immigration:

And here comes the pivot against unskilled immigration!

In my view, somebody who can barely read from Chiapas who is willing to undertake a risky and hazardous journey of thousands of miles and be a stranger in a strange land to better him or herself is a much greater potential asset to America and much more likely to become a true American than some Asian princeling or some MBA working for Bain Capital.

I am sorry, but this is simply ignorant and mean.

That is: I am not sorry that I say this is ignorant and mean. I am sorry for Mitt Romney that he is ignorant and mean. And I am far sorrier for those who bear the consequences of his ignorance and meanness.

Continue reading "Unskilled Immigration: Part VII: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Late October 2012: John Podhoretz Badly Needs Some Better Friends than Fred Barnes...

: John Podhoretz Badly Needs Some Better Friends than Fred Barnes...: Watch Fred Barnes snooker John Podhoretz in real time...

And then watch Podhoretz get angry at those of us who point out to him that Barnes has snookered him https://twitter.com/jpodhoretz:

John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: Correcting earlier tweet: Battleground poll Romney 52-47. In response, Nate Silver raises Obama victory likelihood to 99 44/100 % pure

John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz: link to [Fred Barnes] Battleground Poll story: http://www.weeklystandard.com/new-poll-projects-romney-52-obama-47/article/658066

But Fred Barnes was lying to his audience--including John.

Continue reading "Late October 2012: John Podhoretz Badly Needs Some Better Friends than Fred Barnes..." »


Late October 2012: The Unarmed Dylan Byers of the Politico Engages Nate Silver in a Battle of Wits on Twitter!

Dylan Byers of the Politico Is Back! And Tweeting! And Meat's Back on the Menu, Boys!: Nate Silver Really Is a National Treasure Weblogging:

Dylan Byers @DylanByers: Honest Q: People are aware that RCP poll aggregate also predicted 49 of 50 states in 2008 & also missed Indiana, right?

Nate Silver @fivethirtyeight: .@DylanByers: We have a lot of readers because we use data to cut through the drivel that you obsess over. Not because we make predictions.

BGrueskin @BGrueskin: It's hardly a fair fight when @fivethirtyeight takes on @DylanByers

J. Bradford DeLong @delong: @DylanByers Honest Q: Are you really unaware that RCP's Obama up by 2.4% in Ohio right now is the same reality as Silver's 75% Obama chance?

Dylan Byers @DylanByers: @delong that was exactly my point, brad

J. Bradford DeLong @delong: @DylanByers that not your point. Your point was coffee-drinking NPR types would be shocked to learn that many think Silver highly overrated

Continue reading "Late October 2012: The Unarmed Dylan Byers of the Politico Engages Nate Silver in a Battle of Wits on Twitter!" »


Late October 2012: Dan Drezner Accidently Reads Niall Ferguson

Dan Drezner: Does the international affairs community need some Razzies?: "I made the mistake of clicking....

An alternative surprise... I have long expected the president to pull if he finds himself slipping behind in the polls. With a single phone call to Jerusalem, he can end all talk of his being Jimmy Carter to Mitt Romney’s Reagan: by supporting an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities...

A few things: (1) Here’s a pro tip:  if your foreign affairs observations represent a reprise of wacky Donald Trump musings, maybe it’s best to take your ball and go home.

Continue reading "Late October 2012: Dan Drezner Accidently Reads Niall Ferguson" »


Hoisted from Late October 2012: The Half-Month of MittMentum

Late October, 2012: The Half-Month of MittMentum: Fox News and all its friends claiming Romney was way ahead if the polls were properly unskewed, the New York Times, Washington Post, major networks, and all the rest of the MSM claiming it was a toss-up because of "MittMentum". Plus the War on Nate Silver for, you know, actually counting up what people who had been asked how they would vote had said:

Continue reading "Hoisted from Late October 2012: The Half-Month of MittMentum" »


For the Weekend...

Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys: There's no one as Irish as Barack OBama:

We all remember that Donald Trump got his start in American politics as an unhinged loon ranting that Barack O'Bama was not really one of us. I would not say he has only descended since--there is no possible descent. But this is what the Republican primary electorate wants, and this is what the Republican political establishment supports.

We will not forget...


Links for the week of October 23, 2016

Most-Recent Must-Reads:

  • Simon Wren-Lewis: Neoliberalism and Austerity: "Austerity could [not] have happened on the scale that it did without this dominance of this neoliberal ethos...
  • Paul Krugman: Debt, Diversion, Distraction: "There was a time... when deficit scolds were actively dangerous...
  • Daniel Boffey: Brexit: leading banks set to pull out of UK early next year: Anthony Browne, head of the British Bankers’ Association, warns that major lenders are poised to hit relocate button
  • Brahman: [A Few Thoughts on Finance and BREXIT...][]: "Trouble is that even @MarkFieldMP MP for the City can't be bothered to fight to stay within the Single Market...

Most-Recent Links:

Continue reading "Links for the week of October 23, 2016" »


Weekend Reading: David Warsh: The Tardy Product: Gorton and Holmström

David Warsh: The Tardy Product: Gorton and Holmström: "When high theory is placed in juxtaposition to practice that has developed in the world itself, surprising new issues for the theory sometimes emerge...

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: David Warsh: The Tardy Product: Gorton and Holmström" »


Weekend Reading: Olivier Blanchard (2007): Monetary Policy, Labor Markets, and Fiscal Policy

Olivier Blanchard (2007): Monetary Policy, Labor Markets, and Fiscal Policy: "Why is inflation targeting so popular, both among central banks and among academic economists? For two conceptually separate reasons...

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: Olivier Blanchard (2007): Monetary Policy, Labor Markets, and Fiscal Policy" »


Skilled Immigration: Part VI: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part VI: Skilled Immigration:

Here we see Mitt Romney in Republican "rootless global cosmopolite" mode, cheering for skilled immigration. He doesn't elaborate--it's taken for granted that in a good world and in a good country educated people would be allowed into the United States with enthusiasm. My principal reaction, however, is that the main point of saying he likes skilled immigration is to set himself up for the pivot against unskilled immigration...

Continue reading "Skilled Immigration: Part VI: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Americans as Lucky: Part V: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part V: Americans as Lucky:

Having (falsely) established that he is as much of a pull-himself-up-by-his-own-bootstraps I-was-raised-with-good-values everything-I-have-I-earned-the-old-fashioned-way-by-hard-work kind of guy, Romney then does something that makes me like him. He pivots to making the very true point that all Americans should be very grateful for the opportunities that this great country offers us all.

Continue reading "Americans as Lucky: Part V: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


America as a Land of Opportunity/I Inherited Nothing: Part IV: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part IV: America as a Land of Opportunity/I Inherited Nothing:

Romney is still telling his and his wife Ann's personal and ancestral story. He seeks to present himself and his wife as links in a chain of upwardly-mobile hard-working immigrants, believing in their dreams and willing to sacrifice to take care of and assist family members. It is an inspiring--and true--story. That it was and is still (albeit to a lesser degree) possible in America is one of the things that keeps America great.

Then, however, Romney takes what I regard as an interesting rhetorical turn.

Continue reading "America as a Land of Opportunity/I Inherited Nothing: Part IV: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


Minorities Have It Easier!: Part III: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part III: Minorities Have It Easier!:

Here we see Romney push the first of the Republican hot-buttons that he is going to push with his audience this evening: that because of affirmative action and "diversity" minorities have life easy in America today, and have life undeservedly easy. It's a joke. But it's not. It's a half-joke that reveals a truth that everybody in the room believes and yet knows it is not polite to speak openly.

Continue reading "Minorities Have It Easier!: Part III: Romney Secret 47% Video" »


The Choice: Does America Stay America or Become Like "Europe"?: Part II: Romney Secret 47% Video

Mitt romney 47 video Google Search

I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.

Part II: The Choice: Does America Stay America or Become Like "Europe"?:

As I said before, Republicans "wrong track" rhetoric tends to be much more apocalyptic--and not in a good way--than Democrats'. This has, I think, powerfully fueled the rise of Trump: "make America great again"--and the feeling that America is not in need of a course correction to become more itself and even greater, as the arc of the universe tends toward justice, but rather is no longer great and no longer itself.

Continue reading "The Choice: Does America Stay America or Become Like "Europe"?: Part II: Romney Secret 47% Video" »