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June 2017

Weekend Reading: Why Do Democracies Fail?: David Frum on Dan Ziblatt

Weekend Reading: David Frum: Why Do Democracies Fail? https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/why-do-democracies-fail/530949/: "It’s suddenly a very urgent and important question. Daniel Ziblatt’s new book arrives just in time to deliver a powerful and supremely relevant answer...

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Ten Years Ago at Grasping Reality: June 21, 2017

Five pieces definitely worth rereading: (1) Tanta watches the gathering financial crisis, which is still in schadenfreude mode; (2) Peter Orszag lays out health care reform options; (3) As You Know Bob has fun with electromagnetism; (4-6) are a bunch of well-paid journalists being dicks, and Dan Froomkin and the staff of McClatchy doing their proper jobs.

  • The Late, Great Tanta of Calculated Risk: The Bear Stearns Reporting Contest http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/the-bear-stearn.html
  • Peter Orszag on Health Care Opportunities and Challenges http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/peter-orszag-on.html: "Jared Bernstein says that we must all troop off and read what Peter Orszag, our Nonpartisan High Priest of Policy and Budgetary Rationality, has to say about health care..."
  • Possibilities for Really Cheap Entertainment http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/possibilities-f.html: As You Know, Bob: "Come sunset, I went down to the basement and dug out a couple of 48" fluorescent bulbs, and threw them and the family into the car. We drove over to the nearest high-voltage power line, and we watched the fireflies while we waited for full dark, and then we played light sabers in the gloaming..."
  • Slate and Ron Rosenbaum pwn themselves completely by complaining about the salacious picture of Angelina Jolie they republish: Self-Pwnage Department http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/self-pwnage-dep.html
  • Rick Perlstein: : Bloggers vs. Heathers: "[Dan] Froomkin got the last word He said: that's precisely the point. You don't respond to administration lies about Iran by not running Iran stories. You respond to it by doing stories - about adminstration lies about Iran......" http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/rick-perlstein-.html
  • Hoisted From Comments: Your #1 Source for DC News Ought to Be: McClatchy Washington Bureau http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/hoisted-from-co.html: Corvid writes: "McClatchy also led the way on the U.S. Attorney scandal. Here's the deal with McClatchy, formerly Knight-Ridder: They're not a big-name MSM news organization, therefore they avoid the huge handicap of having Washington insiders leak to them..."

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Must-Read: Low-end labor markets simply do not appear to work like competitive markets. Rather, they work like markets in which employers have substantial market power—and thus minimum wage laws have the same efficiency benefits as does natural-monopoly rate regulation. Why low-end labor markets do not appear to work like competitive markets is a very interesting—and, I believe, unsolved—question. But it is in all likelihood a fact to deal with:

Michael Reich, Sylvia Allegretto, and Anna Godoey: Seattle’s Minimum Wage Experience 2015-16: "Seattle implemented the first phase of its minimum wage law on April 1, 2015... http://irle.berkeley.edu/seattles-minimum-wage-experience-2015-16/

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Ten Years Ago in Grasping Reality: June 20, 2007


Procrastinating on June 20, 2017

We re All Public Intellectuals Now The National Interest

Over at Equitable Growth: Must- and Should-Reads:

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Reading List for an Ungiven Course: The "Classical" Mediterranean Economy

Fall of rome Google Search

It looks to me as though I should admit (to myself at least) that I am unlikely to ever teach my course the "classical" Mediterranean economy. Thus it is time for me to move it to the Assignment Desk--things that I really wish other people work on.

Here is the skeleton of the reading list: things that I think must be on it.

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Notes: Polanyi: Aristotle Discovers the Economy: Hoisted from the Archives

**Hoisted from the Archives Notes: Polanyi: Aristotle Discovers the Economy http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/001464.html: A whole bunch of this article is simply wrong: the claims that "in the fourth century... Greeks initiated the gainful business practices that in much later days developed into the dynamo of market comnpetition" are false. This means that Polanyi is wrong when he says that Aristotle is examining a new phenomenon when he looks at the economy. Aristotle is examining an old phenomenon from the point of view of an Athenian aristocrat.

But there is much of value in Polanyi's exposition of what Aristotle says...

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"A Conspiracy So Immense": Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy: Hoisted from the Archives:

"A Conspiracy So Immense": Is the American right any crazier than it ever was? No. It was the submersion of the crazy right during the "end of ideology" age that was weird.

Exhibit 1: William F. Buckley and Eliot Abrams. Buckley, remember, is the person whose reaction to Catholics being allowed into Yale on equal terms was: "let's be sure to keep the Jews down!" And Abrams... you will see...

"A Conspiracy so Immense": Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/05/history_lesson_.html: William F. Buckley says:

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Ten Years Ago at Grasping Reality: June 14-June 19, 2017

A bunch of stuff. This is, I think, the most worth reading. It's a big problem. It's a big problem that we have had ever since Newt Gingrich launched his assault on the George H.W. Bush GOP, and the George H.W. Bush GOP responded by surrendering unconditionally:

  • A Proposed Pecking Order for Honest Conservatives http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/a_proposed_peck.html: As far as honest conservatives are concerned, it's a difficult question. Those I usually suggest... I find dismissed as "not typical conservatives. We want a representative of the conservative point of view. Someone like Larry Kudlow or Ramesh Ponnuru."... Those who reject my advice are (as is almost always true) making a mistake.... We want an "honest conservative"--a conservative intellectual adversary we can respect, who is also intelligent. But their first move is to define a "conservative" as a public supporter of the Bush regime and its deeds. That means, I think, that they are searching the empty set. Slavoj Zizek applied this to the puppet regimes of Eastern Europe under the iron curtain: "The Trilemma: Of the three features—-personal honesty, sincere support of the regime, and intelligence—-it was possible to combine only two, never all three. If one was honest and supportive, one was not very bright; if one was bright and supportive, one was not honest; if one was honest and bright, one was not supportive..." But it applies just as well to the Bush regime...

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Hoisted from from Ten Years Ago: Kevin Hassett' Self-Smackdown: Yes, Kevin Hassett Is a Real Nutjob. Why Do You Ask?

Not as bad as Kevin Hassett's declarations that CERN's Large Hadron Collider might "swallow the Earth" and that the U.S. has "no recourse short of military action" to deal with the fact that "as science progresses, the possibility climbs ever higher that the fondest dreams of scientists might entail risks of planetary destruction.... The best science explores things far from our understanding. How can we know that things we do not understand will not kill us?"

But very bad even so:

Kevin Hassett (June 18, 2007): Why Did the Fed Help North Korea Launder Money? https://www.aei.org/publication/why-did-the-fed-help-north-korea-launder-money/: "Last week the New York Federal Reserve made what may go down as the most misguided move in the history of the Federal Reserve system....

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Worth Hoisting from Grasping Reality's Archives from April 2007

Topkapi Palace

A baker's dozen:

  • One piece on the information-age economy (CITRIS)
  • One piece on finance (equity premium)
  • One piece on quantum weirdness (erasers)
  • Two pieces on the public sphere's inadequacies (Greenspanese, supply-siders)
  • Five pieces on journamalism (Gordon, Frankel, and Hiatt; Douthat and Ricks; Bird on Hiss; the Economist's Lexington; Joe Klein)
  • Three pieces on the pathologies of the right (Luskin, Novak, the end of the reality-based right)

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Links for the Week of June 19, 2017

School of Athens

Must-Reads:

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Hoisted from the Archives: How Supply-Side Economics Trickled Down...

Hoisted from the Archives: How Supply-Side Economics Trickled Down... http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/04/how_supplyside_.html: Bruce Bartlett's piece on supply-side economics:

How Supply-Side Economics Trickled Down - New York Times: AS one who was present at the creation of “supply-side economics” back in the 1970s, I think it is long past time that the phrase be put to rest. It did its job, creating a new consensus among economists on how to look at the national economy. But today it has become a frequently misleading and meaningless buzzword that gets in the way of good economic policy...

sparked an interesting and useful debate at Mark Thoma's Economist's View (which I previously noted).

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Must-Read: David Glasner says smart things about what Hayekian business cycle theory would have been had Hayek based his business cycle theory on his own insights into the price mechanism, rather than following the path he did, of attempting to reanimate a zombie version of the monetary overinvestment cycle.

It has always struck me as very strange: monetary overinvestment business cycle theories have very strong implications about how price systems are incapable of handling coordination problems. Yet the entire thrust of the rest of Hayek's economics is on how price systems are often able to do so rather well...

David Glasner: FIFTEEN THOUSAND WORDS ON TEMPORARY EQUILIBRIUM, EXPECTATIONS, AND CONSISTENCY OF PLANS:

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Procrastinating on June 16, 2017

We re All Public Intellectuals Now The National Interest

Over at Equitable Growth: Must- and Should-Reads:

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Must-Read: Janet Yellen gets it right. As I find myself saying a lot these days, if I were the Fed I would appoint an Inflation Target Level Technical Advisory Commission to write a report, and make Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers co-chair it:

Janet Yellen and Nancy Marchall Genzer: Janet Yellen Interested in Reevaluating 2% https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4673824/janet-yellen-interested-reevaluating-2: "Nancy Marchall Genzer, Marketplace: 'Recently, a group of economists sent the Fed a letter...

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Should-Read: David Cutler and Emily Gee: Coverage Losses Under the ACA Repeal Bill for Congressional Districts in All States: "Within a decade, on average, an additional 55,000 more individuals in each congressional district, or nearly 8 percent... would lack coverage... https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2017/03/21/428914/coverage-losses-aca-repeal-bill-congressional-districts-states/

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Must-Read: The misperceptions of the Overclass are on display here in the very sharp Barry Ritholtz's offhand observation that "Ronald Reagan... oversaw a... 'once in a generation' economic boost that resonated for the next 30 years..."

There was no such thing as far as economic growth was concerned: what Reagan presided over was the recovery to normal levels of activity from the 1979-1982 Volcker Deflation. The growth of the economy's productive potential he presided over was the same then-thought sub-par rate of growth as Carter. It was Clinton who presided over what looked to be a speed-up—hopes for which, have, alas!, been catastrophically dashed under his now-three successors.

But Reagan did not just preside over but initiated the enormous upward shift in the distribution of wealth that has so benefitted people like Barry Ritholtz, and me. But it was not an economic boost for the country—just one for people like him and me, purchased with what has been the worst more-than-a-generation in terms of economic growth that America's middle and working classes have ever experienced:

Barry Ritholtz: Tax Reform Is Dead: "The long-awaited 'pivot towards being presidential' hasn’t arrived, and by all indications never will... http://ritholtz.com/2017/06/tax-reform-dead/

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Procrastinating on June 13, 2017

We re All Public Intellectuals Now The National Interest

Over at Equitable Growth: Must- and Should-Reads:

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Must-Read: The joke here: At the very top of the ADP Employment Report website https://www.adpemploymentreport.com it says: CHANGE IN US NONFARM PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYMENT. PRIVATE.

ADP has no government jobs subset, because ADP doesn't do any payroll processing for governments.

Yet neither Trump OMB Director Mark Mulvaney nor beat-sweetener-writer journamalist Alex Pappas have a clue. Clown show:

Nick Bunker: On Twitter: "That staffer was probably looking for a long time..." https://t.co/VTYtRS4TJU https://t.co/mvFkKu2i3b https://twitter.com/nick_bunker/status/874363647858024448

Nick Bunker on Twitter That staffer was probably looking for a long time https t co VTYtRS4TJU https t co mvFkKu2i3b


FoucaultAlthusserDerridaJameson

School of Athens

Hoisted from Ten Years Ago: FoucaultAlthusserDerridaJameson http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/foucaultalthuss.html: In comments and elsewhere, those with a sharp distaste for cultural studies "theory" in moral philosophy see it as one undifferentiated reactionary mass: FoucaultAlthusserDerridaJameson.

I want to draw some distinctions:

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No, It Is Really Not Harder to Make the Case for Free Trade These Days...

Sanzio 01 The School of Athens Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Hoisted from Ten Years Ago: Still, I think, true today. Thus I continue to hoist my neoliberal freak flag here: Is It Really Harder to Make the Case for Free Trade These Days? http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/04/is_it_really_ha.html: Paul Krugman wonders if it is harder to make the case for free trade these days. There are more losers from trade liberalization, he thinks, and it is much less clear that the losers are in some sense "undeserving".

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Must-Read: I really object to "money-metric social welfare" as a phrase. I prefer "false Negishi-price plutocratic weights for interpersonal utility comparisons". When you say the standard goal is to maximize consumer plus producer surplus, you are making interpersonal utility comparisons in a particularly stupid and cruel way. But that is largely orthogonal to Robert's—very, very good—point here:

Robert Waldmann (2007): The Simple Analytics of Progressive Income Redistribution: "Economists generally agree that redistribution reduces money-metric welfare... http://rjwaldmann.blogspot.com/2007/06/possible-efficiency-gains-due-to-taxes.html

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