The Democrats’ Deficit Line in the Sand: Hoisted from the Archives

Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (December 18, 2018)

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  1. Hoisted from the Archives: The Democrats’ Deficit Line in the Sand: From ten years ago.... A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and it seems pointless to work to strengthen the Democratic links of the chain of fiscal responsibility when the Republican links are not just weak but absent...

  2. Hoisted from the Archives: An Unrealistic, Impractical, Utopian Plan for Dealing with the Health Care Opportunity of 2007: Think of it as a utopia—and think of it as a utopia coming from a guy who is not a real health economist but has an undeserved reputation because he was good at translating the economese spoken by real health economists like David Cutler, Sherry Glied, Ken Thorpe, Len Nichols, et cetera in a way that made it intelligible to senior Bentsen aides like Marina Weiss and Michael Levy...

  3. Comment of the Day: Charles Steindel: Weekend Reading: Paul Krugman (2011): Mr Keynes and the Moderns: When I was in grad school in the '70s it was tacitly taught that the 'General' in the title was essentially Keynes' marketing—what we think of as 'Keynesian' economics was really a special, not general, case.... 2008 taught me otherwise.... Zero rigidities means something like absolutely continuous wage and price setting. That is the extraordinarily "special" case, not the existence of normal human behavior...

  4. Weekend Reading: David Brooks (2003): The Collapse of the Dream Palaces: It still amazes me that David Brooks has a paying job...


  1. Jon Schwarz: The 10 Most Awful Articles in the Weekly Standard’s Short Life I: "'The Collapse of the Dream Palaces' by David Brooks, 2003. The top four places on this list rightfully belong to the Weekly Standard’s voluble case for, and defense of, the Iraq War. And this David Brooks article is unquestionably the most horrifying of them all.... What you may find is that it makes you feel as though a sweaty, middle-aged man is pointing a gun at you and fervently explaining that people like you who wear red shirts are human scum and you, all of you, are about to get what’s coming to you, at last. Then you look down and notice you are not wearing a red shirt, but the man with the gun is. When you’re finished reading the piece, remember that this was published just five months before the New York Times hired David Brooks as an op-ed writer. In other words, the Times saw this gibbering, so disconnected from reality it is functionally insane, and thought: This is exactly who we want explaining the world to our readers... #journamalism #orangehairedbaboons #moralresponsibility

  2. Driftglass99 (2010): David F. Brooks Lying:

  3. Claudio Borio, Mathias Drehmann and Dora Xia: The Financial Cycle and Recession Risk: "Financial cycle booms can end in crises and, even if they do not, they tend to weaken growth. Given their slow build-up, do they convey information about recession risk? We compare the predictive performance of different financial cycle proxies with that of the term spread - a popular recession indicator. In contrast to much of the literature, our analysis covers a large sample of advanced and emerging market economies. We find that, in general, financial cycle measures provide valuable information and tend to outperform the term spread...

  4. Wikipedia: Colorado College

  5. The problem is that British politics is already poisoned by a "leave" campaign carried out by lying liars, and it will be further poisoned by the disruption that Brexit will generate, and by the natural tendency to blame future disruption that Brexit did not generate on Brexit: Robert Skidelsky: The Continuing Agony of Brexit: "It is playing with fire to seek a second vote on the ground that you did not like the result of the first one. And there’s one further issue to bear in mind: Leavers detest the EU more intensely than Remainers love it. If the Remainers win a second vote, a passionate resentment will sour British politics for years. So we must hope that May gets her amicable divorce when Parliament finally votes on it in January... #orangehairedbaboons #brexit #neofascism

  6. Interesting euphemisms in this twitter thread from the very sharp but strangely blinkered Geoff Kabaservice... Kabaservice sees conservative political energy back in the age of Nixon-Ford-Carter-Reagan coming from "liberal overreach and failure" on "crime, foreign policy, and the economy" plus "outraged public opinion" because of liberals' policies on "busing, affirmative action, welfare, and feminism". Jonathan Chait parries that the energy for conservatives' 1980s victories was racial—that it was no accident that Reagan started his campaign in Philadelphia, MS, and there did not say what he did not say—that "conservatism was always and everywhere thoroughly racist, morally bankrupt, and populated with hypocrites and authoritarians". Kabaservice's response? That he rejects Chait's formulation and "prefer[s Charles Sykes's]... 'recessive gene' theory". But the conservative whom Sykes holds up as "marginaliz[ing] those uglier voices on the right" is... William F. Buckley. William Fracking "The White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically" Buckley. Buckley does not say that measures then used to maintain white supremacy like lynching Blacks who try to vote and shooting civil rights activists in the head are "necessary to prevail". But he does not say that they are not necessary either. There was a pre-Barry Goldwater pre-James Buchanan smaller-government more-entrepreneurship Republicanism that did not try to harness racial animosity to the task of curbing the New Deal, and did not think that the right to discriminate against Black people was an important right that needed to be safeguarded from an overreaching federal government. Kabaservice needs to reach back to a Teddy Roosevelt who was eager to invite a Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House—not to a Ronald Reagan who takes his lines and directions from Lee Atwater and company—if he wants to see clearly what needs to be done: Geoff Kabaservice: "How should the left think about the right? The past week brought 4 examples of different approaches. Start with George Packer's historical overview.... Packer's... correct that the actions of the GOP-controlled state legislatures in MI & WI are textbook political corruption and a disgrace to US democracy, as well as further confirmation that Scott Walker has always been toxic. He's also correct that the GOP acts this way because it's the product of an ideological movement rather than traditional coalition-based politics...

  7. Jonathan Chait (2012): How the GOP Destroyed its Moderates: "Moderates... do continue to exist in the Republican Party. They merely do not exercise power.... They provide off-the-record quotations to reporters, expressing unease over whichever radical turn the party has taken at any given moment. They can be found in Washington and elsewhere rolling their eyes at their colleagues. The odd figure with nothing left to lose—say, a senator who has lost a primary challenge—may even deliver a forceful assault on the party’s uncompromising direction. For the most part, though, Republican moderation is a kind of secret creed, a freemasonry of the right. It lacks institutions that might legitimize it, or even a language to express itself...

  8. Martha Wells: The Future of Work: Compulsory: "IT’S NOT LIKE I haven’t thought about killing the humans since I hacked my governor module. But then I started exploring the company servers and discovered hundreds of hours of downloadable entertainment media, and I figured, what’s the hurry? I can always kill the humans after the next series ends. Even the humans think about killing the humans, especially here. I hate mines, and mining, and humans who work in mining, and of all the stupid mines I can remember, I hate this stupid mine the most. But the humans hate it more...

  9. Anna Cieslak and Annette Vissing-Jorgensen: The Economics of the Fed Put: "Low stock market returns predict accommodating monetary policy by the Federal Reserve.... a more powerful predictor of subsequent federal funds target rate changes than almost all macroeconomic news releases.... Stock returns cause Fed policy...

  10. Jacob Heilbrunn: ‘The Weekly Standard’: A Record of Failed Regime Change: "For most neocons, however, journalism has never been more than a Leninist means to an end—to form an intellectual vanguard.... Kristol, Podhoretz, Boot, and others belong to a second generation of neocons that never drifted away from the Democrats toward the Republican Party. Instead, they were right from the beginning.... Many seem simply politically adrift, like Russian exiles stranded in Paris after the Bolshevik revolution pining for the ancien régime.  A conference attended by about a hundred people last week at the Niskanen Center, a small think tank located near Capitol Hill, offered a timely reminder of their losses...

  11. Gillian Brunet: Stimulus on the Home Front: The State-Level Effects of WWII Spending: "WWII is viewed as the quintessential example of fiscal stimulus and exerts an outsized influence on fiscal multiplier estimates, but the wartime economy was highly unusual...

  12. The very sharp Simon Wren-Lewis lives in a Manichean world: good academic economists, bad "City" economists, and bad journalists who do not know or perhaps do not care to highlight the difference. The problem is that here in America we have not a lot of but we do have influential academic economists who manage to neutralize the voice of those who know what they are talking about: Simon Wren-Lewis: Experts and Elites: "The view of the overwhelming majority academic economists that Brexit will be harmful is going to be ignored by many.... The neoliberal right has had an interest in discrediting economic expertise, and replacing academic economists with City economists in positions of influence.... Right wing think tanks like the IEA are particularly useful in this respect.... Just look at how the media began to treat climate change as controversial...

  13. John Authers: Ferreting Out Three Fed Rate Scenarios: "Jerome Powell and his colleagues at the Federal Reserve are about to give us the last big market event of the year, with what will almost certainly be a fourth interest-rate rise, followed by what should be a fascinating press conference to explain it. Barring a major (and unpleasant) surprise, the central bank chairman will suggest that rates won’t be rising all that fast next year.... Meanwhile, the agonies for banks in the euro zone grow ever worse. The new reason for their problems, which have happened even though the European Central Bank, unlike the Fed, is still engaged in QE, seems to be a shortage of dollars. This is partly because of the Fed...

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