Previous month:
February 2019
Next month:
April 2019

March 2019

So Far, Only Three Professional Republicans Are Willing to Say that Stephen Moore Is Not Qualified to Be a Fed Governor

Clowns (ICP)

So far, only three professional Republicans are willing to say that Stephen Moore is not qualified to be a fed governor. A lot are saying it in private. But only three are saying it in public. They are:

  • Greg Mankiw
  • Ross Douthat
  • Steve Moore

#economicsgonewrong #orangehairedbaboons

Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 31, 2019)

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d

  • Hoisted from the Archives: What I Wrote in Advance of the FOMC's September 2018 Meeting: "What a difference six months makes! And now the Fed really wishes it had not raised interest rates in the second half of 2018 and yet is unwilling to move them now back to the summer-of-2018 level. Why they are unwilling I do not know...

  1. Wikipedia: The Old Man & the Gun

  2. Stephen King (2014): Joyland https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1781168490

  3. A close encounter of the fourth kind: A Valentines Day gift gone horribly wrong, a Komodo Dragon, and Sharon Stone’s husband’s toes https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Editor-stable-after-attack-by-Komodo-dragon-2911601.php

  4. Australian cork hat/Monty Python: https://www.evernote.com/l/AAEEa4uqACJLEYfDQosMH6ib2nx5-sYDbycB/image.png http://www.montypython.net/scripts/bruceskit.php

  5. Lindsay Ellis finds a disaffected dwarf in New Zealand https://youtu.be/Qi7t_g5QObs?t=1285

  6. Wikipedia: Alasdair MacIntyre: "1970. Herbert Marcuse: An Exposition and a Polemic.... 1971. Against the Self-Images of the Age: Essays on Ideology and Philosophy.... 1981... After Virtue...

  7. Douglas 'Skoryy' Hayden: On Twitter: "I'm here for Jacobin's 'Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better' special edition... Matthew Yglesias: On Twitter: "The joke is that after the revolution instead of building a better society they’re going to start killing their enemies and then each other?... Jacob T. Levy: On Twitter: "Bookmarking this for the next time someone says 'nuh-uh, it only refers to Haiti and therefore has nothing to do with the French Jacobins'... XLProfessor: On Twitter: "Seriously? All the revolutionaries were killed with this thing and some soldier made himself emperor...

  8. [John Holbo: On Twitter: "It's weirder than a Jekyll-Hyde sort of split. It isn't strange that 'good' people have a 'bad' side. But it's strange that a genuinely broad-minded mentality can be trapped inside a narrow-minded mentality without one or the other utterly cancelling...

  9. Douglas Preston: The Day the Dinosaurs Died: "More than 99.9999 per cent of all living organisms on Earth died, and the carbon cycle came to a halt.... Earth itself became toxic... ten trillion tons of sulfur compounds... combined with water to form sulfuric acid, which then fell as an acid rain that may have been potent enough to strip the leaves from any surviving plants and to leach the nutrients from the soil. Today, the layer of debris, ash, and soot deposited by the asteroid strike is preserved in the Earth’s sediment as a stripe of black about the thickness of a notebook. This is called the KT boundary, because it marks the dividing line between the Cretaceous period and the Tertiary period...

  10. David Glasner: Arthur Burns and How Things Fell Apart in the 1970s: "Thus, in 1973, even without an oil shock in late 1973 used by Burns as an excuse with which to deflect the blame for rising inflation from himself to uncontrollable external forces, Burns’s monetary policy was inexorably on track to raise inflation to 7%...

  11. Thor Berger and Per Engzell: Immigration, Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility in the US: "There are striking regional variations in economic opportunity across the US. This column proposes a historical explanation for this, showing that local levels of income equality and intergenerational mobility in the US resemble those of the European countries that current inhabitants trace their origins from. The findings point to the persistence of differences in local culture, norms, and institutions...

  12. Charles Gaba: Three-Legged Stool: The Motion Picture

  13. Timothy Garton Ash: On Twitter: "Remember the Brexit battle bus £350m a week for the NHS? Brexit has already cost us £360m a week...

  14. Angry Staff Officer: On Twitter: "For Confederate Heritage Month, here's Virginia-native General Winfield Scott, senior officer in the US Army at the outset of the Civil War, whose strategy eventually won the war and who kept his oath to his country...

  15. Miles Kimball: In Honor of Alan Krueger

  16. Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy: On Twitter: "The Declaration of Independence was fundamentally wrong.... The Confederate States are founded upon exactly the opposite ideas. Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition...

  17. Cassandra Khaw: On Twitter: "A routine reminder that we do not have flying cars, but we have the means to access all of the world's knowledge with a few clicks of a keyboard, communicate with people thousands of miles away in an instant, and are working on artificial burger meat. Also, the world is going to end catastrophically very soon as a result of climate change and capitalism, but a cyberpunk present wouldn't be complete without impending doom...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 31, 2019)" »


The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was a huge mistake. Of course, the confirmations of the other four corrupt Republican justices were huge mistakes as well:

Robert Barnes: Brett Kavanaugh Pivots as Supreme Court Allows One Execution, Stops Another: "The Supreme Court on Thursday night stopped the execution of a Buddhist inmate in Texas because he was not allowed a spiritual adviser by his side, when last month it approved the execution of a Muslim inmate in Alabama under the almost exact circumstances.... Kavanaugh...

Continue reading "" »


THE SPICE MUST FLOW! NO HARD BORDER IN IRELAND!!: John Holbo: On Twitter: "May loses by >50 votes hence can’t quit as she would have if she had won. Could have been worse. If >100 loss -> May becomes dictator for life. >200 loss would make her god-emperor. Dodged that bullet...

Continue reading "" »


Hoisted from the Archives: What I Wrote in Advance of the FOMC's September 2018 Meeting

Prob6mo 2j5oc8g 1080x600

What a difference six months makes! And now the Fed really wishes it had not raised interest rates in the second half of 2018 and yet is unwilling to move them now back to the summer-of-2018 level. Why they are unwilling I do not know:


Hoisted from the Archives: Next week the Federal Open Market Committee—the principal policymaking body of the United States's Federal Reserve system—is overwhelmingly likely to raise the benchmark interest rate it controls, the Federal Funds rate that governs short-term safe nominal bonds, by one quarter of a percentage point from the range of 1.75-2% per year to the range of 2-2.25% per year. That would make it a little more expensive to borrow and spend and a little more attractive to cut spending and save. Thus there would be a little less spending in the economy, and so a few fewer jobs. Economic growth would be a little slower. The economy would be a little less resilient in the face of adverse shocks to resources or confidence that might generate a recession. These are all minuses—small minuses from a 25 basis point increase in the Federal Funds rate, but minuses.

Continue reading "Hoisted from the Archives: What I Wrote in Advance of the FOMC's September 2018 Meeting" »


Adam-Troy Castro: Young People Read Old SFF: "Nobody discovers a lifelong love of science fiction through Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein anymore, and directing newbies toward the work of those masters is a destructive thing, because the spark won't happen. You might as well advise them to seek out Cordwainer Smith or Alan E. Nourse—fine tertiary avenues of investigation, even now, but not anything that's going to set anybody's heart afire, not from the standing start. Won't happen...

Continue reading "" »


Almost a decade old, but well worth reading. Sam Bowles argues that liberal culture and order do not so much dissolve natural human sociability and compassion in the market nexus, but rather enable positive-sum ties of solidarity by weakening the zero-sum intra-clan sorority combined with inter-clan enmity:

Sam Bowles (2011): Is Liberal Society a Parasite on Tradition?: "Market-like incentives may crowd out ethical motivations, illustrating the parasitic liberalism thesis and the cultural and institutional processes by which it might work....Cross-cultural behavioral experiments...cast doubt on the thesis: liberal societies are distinctive in their civic cultures, exhibiting levels of generosity, fairmindedness, and civic involvement that distinguish them from non-liberal societies.... The idealized view of tradition embodied in the "parasitic liberalism" thesis overlooks aspects of non-liberal social orders that are antithetical to a liberal civic culture. Thus while markets and other liberal institutions may indeed undermine traditional institutions as claimed, by attenuating familistic and other parochial norms and identities, this may enhance rather than erode the values necessary for a well functioning liberal order...

Continue reading "" »


Pharmaceutical price reform is one of the very few equitable growth issues where there are actually Republican legislators willing to talk: CPPC: Senate Finance Committee Grills Drug Executives on Rising Prices, Criticize Them for Terrible Practices: "Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) opened by saying that America has a problem with high prescription drug prices, that a balance can be struck between innovation and affordability, and that the Committee was here to discuss solutions. He and Senator Wyden have launched a bipartisan investigation into the high price of insulin...

Continue reading "" »


Equitable Growth's Will McGrew has a pinned tweet pushing back against the meme that there are "really" no worrisome ethnicity or gender wage gaps because researchers can make such gaps disappear by adding sufficient variables to the right-hand side of a regression analysis. But when you add additional explanatory variables—when you "control"—you need to be very careful that you are only controlling for things that confound the relationship you are trying to study. When you control for things that mediate that relationship, you land up in garbage-in-garbage-out territory:

Will McGrew: Wage Gaps: "Some claim that the wage gap disappears if you control for all relevant variables. This is 100% false. According to the evidence, workplace segregation and discrimination are the largest causes of the wage gap faced by Black women...

Continue reading "" »


Joan R. Rosés and Nikolaus Wolf: Regional Economic Development In Europe, 1900-2010: A Description Of The Patterns: "Regional employment structures and regional GDP and GDP per capita in 1990 international dollars, stretching over more than 100 years.... Variation in the density of population and economic activity, the spread of industry and services and the declining role of agriculture... changes in the levels of GDP and GDP per capita... patterns of convergence and divergence over time and their explanations... a secular decrease in spatial coherence... a U-shaped development in geographic concentration and regional income inequality, similar to the finding of a U-shaped pattern of personal income inequality...

Continue reading "" »


Can someone parse this for me? On the one hand "I should have... I could also have... voices... ought to have been considered..." and yet "an apology would be the wrong response". Is the claim "I made bad mistakes, but I am proud that I made them, and anyone who wants me to try to fix things should get stuffed?" Isn't that what "I refuse to apologize"! means?: Ian Buruma: An Apology Would Be the Wrong Response: "I should have insisted that the accusations against him were spelt out in more detail. He omitted the fact that he had caused injury, with reports of one woman suffering a cracked rib, and he didn’t mention the large number of women who had accused him. I could also have made it clear that our intention had not been to exonerate him, let alone to excuse violence against women.... The voices of his accusers ought to have been considered, as a response to his evasions...

Continue reading " " »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 30, 2019)

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d

  • Professional Republicans, Not Professional Economists: How Low can They Go?: Among the professional Republicans, Ross Douthat joins Greg Mankiw in opposition to Steve Moore. So far, they are the only two I have seen—and Greg Mankiw is the only economist.... So far, not a peep I have seen out of anybody else: not Marty Feldstein, Michael J. Boskin, John Cogan, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Glenn Hubbard, Lawrence B. Lindsey, Harvey S. Rosen, George P. Shultz, John. B. Taylor, James C. Miller III, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Barry W. Poulson, Charles W. Calomiris, Donald Luskin, or Glenn Hubbard...

  • Yes, Of Course Larry Kudlow Is For QE Now and Was Against It When Obama Was President. Why Would You Think Otherwise?

  • Comment of the Day: Grizzled: "How Asia Works by Joe Studwell... the accounts he gives of successful asian development don't seem to emphasize absolute property rights...

  • HA HA HA HA HA! Larry Lindsey and John Taylor: "PLEASE APPOINT US TO SOMETHING!! WE ARE LOYAL!!!! WE ARE NPOSTLTE PEOPLE!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!": At some level, this is hilarious.... Greg Mankiw has said the obvious: that Stephen Moore is not qualified to be a Fed Governor.... Kevin Hassett—Kevin Hassett!—appears to are frantically trying to organize internal opposition.... And so John Taylor and Larry Lindsey decide that now is the time for them to demonstrate that they are NO PLATE OF SHIT TOO LARGE TO EAT people, as far as a Republican White House is concerned...

  • Weekend Reading: Salisbury the Late-Nineteenth Century Grand Strategist, as Explicated by Roberts, According to Gaddis: John Lewis Gaddis's On Grand Strategy is not a book I would recommend highly.... However, there are two passages in the book that struck me very positively...

  • For the Weekend: Florence + The Machine: Tiny Dancer

  • Comment of the Day: Howard: "We need to remember that every other country in the world is now making plans on the expectation that having elected a trump once, America could easily do it again...

  • Note to Self: "Job Guarantee" vs. "Functional Finance": Job Guarantee: "Our policy is for the government to run a deficit to offer low-quality make-work low-pay jobs that suck". Functional Finance: "Our policy is for the government to run a deficit so that the labor market is in balance with employers getting the most value for their money possible and workers getting the most money for their time and energy possible with unemployment reduced to a 'frictional' level". Job Guarantee is really stupid on many levels. Functional Finance is really smart. Put me down for Functional Finance...

  • Modern Dan Drezner Is Much Better...: "The Worst Piece Of Conventional Wisdom You Will Read This Year.... Stagflation in the 1970s.... Fiscal policy was an innocent bystander to this whole shebang. So I honestly don’t know what the hell Kinsley is talking about...

  • So, Professor Drezner, We Meet Again. And THIS TIME THE ADVANTAGE IS MINE!: Dan Drezner appears to mourn for the days when I was his nemesis.... I read Drezner's piece in 2005 as an exercise in politics according to Karl Schmitt: that Drezner is following Schmitt's advice that one's first move when engaging in politics is to focus on identifying your enemies.... Here the point of Drezner's piece is to assure (reassure?) his audience that his enemies are "Jackson and Sharpton... that thing they do", which is to confront white politicians who are then "required to mau-mau kowtow to Jackson and Sharpton for something they say..." And he defines them as his enemies even though "they have a pretty valid point". I am glad Drezner no longer does this...

  • I Said "Pass the Baton" to Those Further Left than I, Not "Bend the Knee": Last night at dinner at Iyesare, Noah Smith admonished me for not making it clear that I said "pass the baton" to those further left, not "bend the knee". So here I make that clear.... I said: pass the baton, right? I said: pass the baton. And yet as the thing spreads out into the Internet, it gets turned into "surrender", "abandon my beliefs", "bend at the knee", all kinds of other things...

  • No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate: Why Isn't the Federal Reserve Buying Recession Insurance?

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 30, 2019)" »


Yes, Of Course Larry Kudlow Is For QE Now and Was Against It When Obama Was President. Why Would You Think Otherwise?

Clowns (ICP)

A question: Benedict Trump: @ProtectronArmy: "I wonder if Kudlow was pro or con QE when Obama was President...

I answer: He was against QE when Obama was President. Why would you think otherwise?:

Brad DeLong: @delong: Kudlow was against QE under Obama: The zero-interest-rate target will unfortunately remain in place much longer—until unemployment goes to 6.5 percent or less. Given rising tax and regulatory threats from Washington, and the job-stopping Obamacare regulations and mandates, unemployment may be sticky on the downside. But the big news is that the Fed may stop growing its balance sheet sooner than most market people expect. As someone who is totally uncomfortable with the Fed’s $4 trillion balance sheet and reserve-creation process, I welcome

Larry Kudlow (2013): https://t.co/U85MOHlB73: The zero-interest-rate target will unfortunately remain in place much longer—until unemployment goes to 6.5 percent or less. Given rising tax and regulatory threats from Washington, and the job-stopping Obamacare regulations and mandates, unemployment may be sticky on the downside. But the big news is that the Fed may stop growing its balance sheet sooner than most market people expect. As someone who is totally uncomfortable with the Fed’s $4 trillion balance sheet and reserve-creation process, I welcome the news. The central bank is listening to its critics, both inside and out...

They have no morals and no shame.

Continue reading "Yes, Of Course Larry Kudlow Is For QE Now and Was Against It When Obama Was President. Why Would You Think Otherwise?" »


The Financial Times—which in the circles I travel is widely-regarded as the only real newspaper, as the only one where when it publishes new things they are likely to be true while also publishing more than its quota of true things that are new, rather than taking its core mission to be pleasing its well-connected sources first and its advertisers second—should not have published this. Ian Buruma's transgression was that he took his authority and the authority fo the New York Review of Books and used it give a man—Jian Ghomeshi—who had assaulted more than 20 women space to lie, uncorrected. And the FT should correct this story, and add to the article a headnote noting that Ian Buruma does not even now understand how he was unprofessional as an editor: Ian Buruma: Editing in an Age of Outrage: "Ian Buruma lost his job at the NYRB after publishing a controversial article. Here he reflects on what went wrong... '[My] transgression was not that any particular view was defended, but that a person accused of sexual abuses should be heard at all...

Continue reading "" »


Comment of the Day: Grizzled: "I just read How Asia Works by Joe Studwell. I don't know what economists think of the book (although considering what he thinks of economists I would guess they're not that enthusiastic). But the accounts he gives of successful asian development don't seem to emphasize absolute property rights. Property rights, sort of, but in an environment set up by the state. This is particularly true in the finance sector; they do what they're told to do...

Continue reading " " »


A Perfect Post for April Fools' Day: Larry Lindsey and John Taylor, and Now Kevin Hassett Editio

Clowns (ICP)

Larry Lindsey and John Taylor: "PLEASE APPOINT US TO SOMETHING!! WE ARE LOYAL!!!! WE ARE NPOSTLTE PEOPLE!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!"

At some level, this is hilarious: HA HA HA!!!

Greg Mankiw has said the obvious: that Stephen Moore is not qualified to be a Fed Governor. Kevin Hassett—Kevin Hassett!—appears to are frantically trying to organize internal opposition to the nomination of a grotesquely-unqualified governor who admits he is grotesquely-unqualified. Kevin:

As the process moves forward, if Steve ends up being the nominee, he'll have good explanations for his positions. You're right that he's gone through his career being a pundit and having really interesting things to a whole range of topics, but as a nominee you have to be more careful about every little word that he says. I'm sure that he's going to be pulling back his op-eds and preparing for confirmation, should that [nomination in fact] arise..."

And so John Taylor and Larry Lindsey decide that now is the time for them to demonstrate that they are NO PLATE OF SHIT TOO LARGE TO EAT people, as far as a Republican White House is concerned. note that they do this even though they may well in so doing alienate Banking-Committee Republican senators with likely long future tenures who this it kinda important that the Fed be, you know, a functional institution. Or are all the Repubilcan senators on the Banking Committee NPOSTLTE people too?

David Patten: Trump Fed Nominee Stephen Moore Targeted by Liberal Resistance: "Moore's roster of big-name advocates include... Bush economic adviser Larry Lindsey... two-time runner-up to serve as Fed Chairman John Taylor...

Continue reading "A Perfect Post for April Fools' Day: Larry Lindsey and John Taylor, and Now Kevin Hassett Editio" »


Salisbury the Late-Nineteenth Century Grand Strategist, as Explicated by Roberts, According to Gaddis: Weekend Reading

January 1943 FDR Day by Day

Weekend Reading: John Lewis Gaddis's On Grand Strategy is not a book I would recommend highly. The "practitioners" he thinks he has learned from are "David Brooks, Walter Russell Mead, John Negroponte, Peggy Noonan, Victoria Nuland, Paul Solman, Jake Sullivan, and Evan Wolfson". These are, respectivley: a Republican hack-journalist with some regrets, an ex-Yale professor now Hudson Institute fellow a little too enamored of the "clash of civilizations", a George W. Bush Iraq ambassador and DNI whose tenure was about an aveage disaster for the disastrous George W. Bush admiistration, another Republican hack-journalist but this one without regrets, a former assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs who appears to have been so undiplomatic in her communications to have made a personal enemy of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a very sharp business-and-economics correspondent for PBS, one of the chief negotiators for the Iran nuclear deal, and a co-counsel in the Hawai'i "freedom to marry" case. With the exception of Jake Sullivan, these are not people I would take as positive role-model practitioners of "Grand Strategy" at all. But there they are.

However, there are two passages in the book that struck me very positively:

The first was made up of Gaddis's strictures about how "foxes" are btter than "hedgehogs". I might write about this someday...

The second was about British late-nineteenth-century prime minister Robert Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil (1830-1903), eventually 3rd Marquess of Salisbury from 1868, and Britain's grand strategy. Starting in the 1840s with the Oregon affair, Britain pursued a grand strategy of appeasing the United States—a strategy that Robert Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil unwillingly embraced—that managed to make the United States Britain's wired aces in the seven-card stud poker game that was world geopolitics from 1914 to 2000:

John Lewis Gaddis On Grand Strategy https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0143132512: "One night during the [American] Civil War, Georgina Cecil awoke to find her husband standing, asleep but agitated, before an open second-floor window. He seemed to be expecting invaders, 'presumably Federal soldiers or revolutionary mob'. Strangely, though, this happened in England, and the sleepwalker was Lord Robert Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, a descendant of Queen Elizabeth’s trusted counselor Lord Burghley. As the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, this Cecil would go on to serve his own queen, Victoria, three times as prime minister. Never though, his wife recalled, did he suffer 'such extremes of depression and nervous misery as at that time'. For the United States terrified Salisbury...

Continue reading "Salisbury the Late-Nineteenth Century Grand Strategist, as Explicated by Roberts, According to Gaddis: Weekend Reading" »


Brad DeLong: "Job Guarantee" vs. "Functional Finance":

Job Guarantee: "Our policy is for the government to run a deficit to offer low-quality make-work low-pay jobs that suck"

Functional Finance: "Our policy is for the government to run a deficit so that the labor market is in balance with employers getting the most value for their money possible and workers getting the most money for their time and energy possible with unemployment reduced to a 'frictional' level'

Job Guarantee is really stupid on many levels. Functional Finance is really smart. Put me down for Functional Finance, Alex, and make it a true daily double...

Continue reading "" »


This is, I think, wrong: it was not eugenics that shrank the number of full Spartiates—it was assortative mating that increased land-wealth inequality and so pushed many children of Spartiates below the required property-ownership bar. This means, among other things, that the right strategy for Athens in the second half of the 400s BC was the appeasement of Sparta by every means possible. It was weakening itself generation by generation: Sarah Bond: This Is Not Sparta: "In a recent article within the ancient history journal Historia, historian Timothy Doran addresses the evidence for the use of eugenics in ancient Sparta. In the fourth century BCE the number of elite Spartan citizens had declined sharply, from about 8,000 adult males around 480 BCE to around 1,000 in the mid-fourth century. Doran attributes the dwindling of the Spartan population to their 'cultural, eugenic, and racial exclusivity' that kept marginalized groups from becoming part of Sparta as its numbers decreased. Citizenship was notoriously hard to achieve and was predicated on ideas of purity and lineage...

Continue reading " " »


Many Democrats have been saying "at its core, ObamaCare is a Republican idea from the Heritage Foundation!" and Scott Lemieux has been saying "Republicans have always hated the idea of making health care affordable to those who cannot pay through the nose in a broken adversely-selected market!" The many Democrats have said that by ignoring its Heritage Foundation roots Scott is making ObamaCare appear to be a more extreme-lefty plan than it is. Scott has been saying that by pushing the "ObamaCare = HeritageCare and RomneyCare" line the many Democrats have been feeding the myth that Reepublicans are actually in favor of getting more people health care. Can't we agree that ObamaCare does have Heritage roots but that the Heritage Plan was never intended to be a serious policy proposal? Can't we agree that the fact that the core of ObamaCare was a compromise that Mitt Romney felt he could accept is a sign that it is not a lefty plan? Can't we all just get along?: Scott Lemieux: You Ever Think They're Not Acting?: "As long as John Roberts remains the median vote of the Court—not a trivial condition!—this suit has virtually no chance of actually destroying the ACA, but is handing Democrats a nice political gift. The 'we support healthcare reform, just not this healthcare reform' con Republicans have been running for decades—with lots of inexplicable help from liberals–is finally over...

Continue reading " " »


Ian Dunt: Indicative Votes: A People's Vote Just Became Much More Likely: "This was a very good night for the People's Vote campaign.... Oliver Letwin... made it clear that it would be a multi-stage process... [with] a further day... which would move from finding the options with substantial support and see if any of them could secure a majority.... The government whipped against it, in a last-gasp attempt to kill off the process, and they failed.... There were surprisingly clear answers about what kinds of propositions might be able to secure support.... The hardline Brexit options fell hard.... Soft Brexit did surprisingly badly. Labour's alternate plan, which does not specify a model, fell by 237-307.... Two propositions stood out.... Ken Clarke's proposal for the UK to stay in the customs union fell by just 264 votes to 272.... Margaret Beckett's motion calling for a confirmatory public vote on whatever deal was passed fell by 268 votes to 295... a far tighter margin than expected and also the single largest positive vote for any Brexit option so far.... The question now becomes which options are brought back to be decided on on Monday. Logically, it should be customs union membership and a second referendum, but Letwin may want to include one or two more. There is also a question about the voting system.... It's only been 48 hours since the Letwin amendment was passed. And already the Brexit debate is changing beyond all recognition...

Continue reading "" »


Adam Tooze: Is This the End of The American Century?: America Pivots: "It is a gross exaggeration to talk of an end to the American world order. The two pillars of its global power–military and financial–are still firmly in place. What has ended is any claim on the part of American democracy to provide a political model. This is certainly a historic break.... Trump has forever personified the sleaziness, cynicism and sheer stupidity that dominates much of American political life. What we are facing is a radical disjunction between the continuity of basic structures of power and their political legitimation. If America’s president mounted on a golf buggy is a suitably ludicrous emblem of our current moment, the danger is that it suggests far too pastoral a scenario: American power trundling to retirement across manicured lawns. That is not our reality. Imagine instead the president and his buggy careening around the five-acre flight deck of a $13 billion, Ford-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier engaged in ‘dynamic force deployment’ to the South China Sea. That better captures the surreal revival of great-power politics that hangs over the present. Whether this turns out to be a violent and futile rearguard action, or a new chapter in the age of American world power, remains to be seen...

Continue reading "" »


Still only Greg Mankiw out of professional Republican economists publicly opposed to Steve Moore to the Fed. Still only Ross Douthat among professional Republican non-economists publicly opposed to the Fed: Catherine Rampell: Stephen Moore Says He’s No Trump Sycophant. But He Sure Sounds Like One: "He says that Trump has a rockin’ bod and deserves a Nobel Prize: Stephen Moore... 'I don’t think anybody can reasonably say I am a sycophant for Trump, because I’m not'. Come. On. Moore has spent the past three years serving as surrogate, spin doctor and sycophant.... Moore has... abandoned many of the other issues in his 'economic philosophy'.... Once a warrior for free trade, Moore now regularly defends Trump’s tariffs. Until recently a champion of undocumented immigrants, he now rails against them.... Previously an inflation truther who warned that official government statistics were hiding the dangerous hyperinflation just around the corner, he is suddenly a deflation truther.... Consider the personal flattery.... The president is 'very charismatic', 'clever', 'gutsy' and 'the greatest marketer of modern times'.... 'What a showman! What a gifted orator'... 'looks like a football player, in incredible, great shape'... 'in all seriousness... Donald Trump deserves the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics'...

Continue reading "" »


Modern Dan Drezner Is Much Better...

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers All Items Less Food and Energy FRED St Louis Fed

Dan Drezner: The Worst Piece Of Conventional Wisdom You Will Read This Year: "OK, so, a few things.... Stagflation in the 1970s was caused primarily by an inward shift of the aggregate supply curve due to a surge in commodity prices, particularly energy. Some central banks responded with accommodating monetary policies that accelerated inflation even further. Fiscal policy was an innocent bystander to this whole shebang. So I honestly don’t know what the hell Kinsley is talking about...

Continue reading "Modern Dan Drezner Is Much Better..." »


So, Professor Drezner, We Meet Again. And THIS TIME THE ADVANTAGE IS MINE!

Https www typepad com site blogs 6a00e551f08003883400e551f080068834 compose preview post

Dan Drezner appears to mourn for the days when I was his nemesis: Dan Drezner (2005): So How Do Mexicans View African-Americans?: "While Latino critics in the United States have their hands full combating discrimination in the Star Wars movies (link via Glenn Reynolds), Latinos south of the border have a slightly bigger problem.... dealing with their own racial prejudices. Traci Carl explains for the Associated Press: 'President Vicente Fox reversed course Monday and apologized for saying that Mexicans in the United States do the work that blacks won't....' An intriguing angle about this story is the ability of Jackson and Sharpton to go global with... that thing they do (though in this case they have a pretty valid point). Readers are heartily encouraged to predict the next world leader who will be required to mau-mau kowtow to Jackson and Sharpton for something they say. I think it's a toss-up between Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin.... UPDATE: Brad DeLong objects to this post without saying why he objects. From his comments section, I gather it was my use of the phrase 'mau-mau', which some argue is a racially offensive term. Wikipedia backs them up (though they treat it as a noun and I used it as a verb)—so let me take the opportunity to apologize for using the term...

Continue reading "So, Professor Drezner, We Meet Again. And THIS TIME THE ADVANTAGE IS MINE!" »


James Montier will soon have an answer to his question why people hate MMT. MMT is about to hate James Montier too: James Montier: Why Does Everyone Hate MMT?: "Many of the negative articles I’ve read about MMT use the tried and tested method of setting up a straw man purely for the purposes of knocking him down. So, to avoid confusion, I will lay out a simple and straightforward description of what MMT is.... (4) Functional finance, not sound finance. Fiscal policy is much more potent than monetary policy. Fiscal policy should be aimed at generating full employment while maintaining low inflation...

Continue reading " " »


I think Athenian democracy had this right: not only are you allowed to call for new votes, but after the new vote the advocates for the position taken in the first vote are liable for criminal prosecution for having convinced the government to pass an unjust law: Hans-Werner Sinn: Let the People Decide on Brexit: "British voters now know far more about Brexit and its possible consequences than they did at the time of the 2016 referendum. Given the narrow majority for leaving the European Union back then, and the impasse at which UK institutions find themselves now, holding a new referendum is both appropriate and necessary...


#noted

I Said "Pass the Baton" to Those Further Left than I, Not "Bend the Knee"

Pass the baton olympics Google Search

Last night at dinner at Iyesare, Noah Smith admonished me for not making it clear that I said "pass the baton" to those further left, not "bend the knee". So here I make that clear, and repost:

Carville-Hunt "Two Old White Guys" Podcast:

Al Hunt: Brad, your critique is brilliant.... Your solution that worries me. Turn it over to the left, and then try to make their proposals slightly more palatable. I don't see how that becomes in any fashion a winning coalition, legislatively or politically.

Brad DeLong: I said: pass the baton, right? I said: pass the baton.

Continue reading "I Said "Pass the Baton" to Those Further Left than I, Not "Bend the Knee" " »


Professional Republicans, Not Professional Economists: How Low can They Go?

How to Be an Unprofessional Republican Economist in Four Easy StepsAmong the professional Republicans, Ross Douthat joins Greg Mankiw in opposition to Steve Moore. So far, they are the only two I have seen—and Greg Mankiw is the only economist:

Ross Douthat: Why are people up in arms over Steve Moore for the Fed?: "The consensus in conservative academic think tank land is that Moore is an enormous hack, and this was true long before his Trump boosterism. Trump wants to nominate him because he's against Fed tightening, which is probably correct policy, but Moore pretty clearly is only taking that view because it's Trump's view and he likes Trump...

Continue reading "Professional Republicans, Not Professional Economists: How Low can They Go?" »


Let the record show that the Spartans did not show up for Marathon, save for the 300 hid in the Peloponnese until others had borne the brunt of the battle at Salamis, surrendered at Sphakteria, allied with the Mede to try to destroy the freedom of the Greeks, and then hid in the Peloponnese from Philip, Alexander, and their successors: Paul Rahe: Was There a Spartan Mirage?: "the predilections and preferences fostered by bourgeois society and a reflection of our propensity to make of the past a morality tale supportive of our own way of life. If Lacedaemon is worthy of study today, it is as the opposite. For its example serves nicely as a corrective to our propensity for supposing ourselves the pinnacle of humanity. How well, we should ask, would we measure up if the Mede were to return? Would we fight? Or would we collaborate?...

Continue reading "" »


Why Isn't the Federal Reserve Buying Recession Insurance?: No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate

Hundred Dollar Bill Peel and Stick Jumbo Size Removable Wall Decal 100 Dollar Bill Google Express

No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate: The Fed Should Buy Recession Insurance: The next global downturn may well not be yet at hand: odds that the North Atlantic as a whole will be in recession in a year are now down to about one-fourth. German growth may well be positive this quarter. China might be rebounding this quarter. The U.S. is definitely slowing to 1% growth or so this quarter, but it is not yet clear that this slowdown will be more than a blip.

Continue reading "Why Isn't the Federal Reserve Buying Recession Insurance?: No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 26, 2019)

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d


  1. Shelly Hagan and Wei Lu: San Francisco's `Super Rich' Lead a Widening U.S. Wealth Divide: "The Income Gap Is Getting Worse in American Cities. U.S. income gap between top 5% and middle 20% grew by 118,000. Boise City, Idaho, and Knoxville, Tennessee, have robust gaps: The tech hub’s 'super-rich versus middle-class' gap swelled by $118,000 to $529,500 over the past five years, as the top 5 percent of households earned $632,310 in 2017, compared with $102,785 for the middle class, according to the Bloomberg analysis of U.S. Census data...

  2. Richard Samans: Better Labor Standards Must Underpin the Future of Work: "As technology and deregulation continue to shape the labor market, maintaining strong worker protections is as important as ever...

  3. Hess Chung and Eric Engen (20134): Identifying the Sources of the Unexpectedly Weak Economic Recovery Using the FRB/US Model

  4. Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo: The Economic Lives of the Poor

  5. Daniel Alpert: What the Federal Reserve Got Totally Wrong about Inflation and Interest Rate Policy: Getting Real About Rents

  6. Jared Bernstein: On the Economy

  7. Katrin Gödker, Peiran Jiao, and Paul Smeets: Investor Memory: "Self-serving memory bias... distorts beliefs and drives investment choices. Subjects who previously invested in a risky stock are more likely to remember positive investment outcomes and less likely to remember negative outcomes. In contrast, subjects who did not invest but merely observed the investment outcomes do not have this memory bias. Importantly, subjects do not adjust their behavior to account for the fallibility of their memory...

  8. Wired: How Animators Created the Spider-Verse

  9. Mark Thoma: Links (3/24/19)

  10. Ben Thompson: Apple’s Services Event: "The problem, though, is that there will never be a product like the iPhone again; Apple may have found its product future (good for developers and customers), but its financial future is less certain (not so good for Wall Street)...

  11. Data For Progress: A Green New Deal. New Consensus: Green New Deal

  12. Menzie Chinn: "Stop Stephen Moore from being appointed to the Fed. Here is a non-exhaustive recounting of Moore’s reign of error...

  13. Marina Hyde: Get Set for Brexit: Indicative Day–The One Where the Grand Wizards Turn on Each Other: "On Sunday it was all looking so good for the Brexit ultras. Then came Monday, and that parliamentary vote.... Like all initiatives handled by Oliver Letwin since the 1980s, it promises to go spectacularly wrong in ways we haven’t even thought of yet, but let’s pretend otherwise before the shitstorm gets properly under way on Wednesday...

  14. Catherine Rampell: The Op-Ed that Got Stephen Moore His Fed Nomination Is Based on Two Major Falsehoods: "Trump has nominated to the world’s most powerful central bank a guy who has trouble telling whether prices are going up or down, and struggles to remember how the most famous Fed chair in history successfully stamped out inflation. But hey, Republican senators still seem keen on him because 'the establishment' keeps pointing out how inept he is...

  15. Nick Timiraos: @NickTimiraos: "Ben Sasse supports Moore: 'Steve’s nomination has thrown the card-carrying members of the Beltway establishment into a tizzy, and that says little about Steve and his belief in American ingenuity, but a lot about central planners’ devotion to groupthink'...

  16. Catherine Rampell: Stephen Moore Could Inflict More Long-Term Damage than Any of Trump’s Other Nominations: "President Trump has made a lot of ill-advised nominations. But perhaps no single choice could inflict more long-term damage than the one he announced Friday: Stephen Moore, Trump’s pick to join the Federal Reserve Board...

  17. Jo Walton (2010): The Suck Fairy

  18. Martin Cahill: A Stunning Debut: Arkady Martine’s "A Memory Called Empire"

  19. UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose: @IIPPUCL_: "Watch as @bankofengland Chief Economist Andy Haldane explores 10 monetary myths that will help present and future generations to rethink and reframe the way we organise our economies, our financial systems and our societies https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Ul0pTVl8l98...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 26, 2019)" »


Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession: Tuesday April 9, 2019, 9:45-11:00 AM

Il Quarto Stato

John Judis and Catherine Rampell are the best people:

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)... symposium on 'The Future of Democracy' on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at CFR’s headquarters at 58 East 68th Street in New York. You will be speaking on panel two, 'Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession', from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. We have confirmed John Judis and Catherine Rampell to join you on this panel. We are still working to confirm a presider.

A session on the state of democratic government in different regions of the world will take place from 8:00 to 9:45 a.m., followed by your session at 10:00 a.m. A few minutes before the session begins, you will be seated onstage with your fellow panelists.

Continue reading "Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession: Tuesday April 9, 2019, 9:45-11:00 AM" »


Charles Pierce: Khalid Shaikh Mohammad Tapes Went Unreviewed in Lead-Up to 9/11 in Latest Bush Administration Blunder: "'Terry McDermott, co-author of “The Hunt for KSM,” said his research found that United States satellites “randomly scooped up” calls between Mr. Mohammed and an alleged deputy, Ramzi bin al-Shibh. “The N.S.A. intercepted calls but didn’t listen to them or translate them until after 9/11,” he said. “Afterward, they went through this stuff and found out what it was.”' It is here where we remind everyone that one of the first things John Ashcroft did after being named attorney general by President C-Plus Augustus was to reorient the Justice Department's priorities toward porn and busting Tommy Chong for weed... how clustered was the fck that was the intelligence community... in the summer of 2001... how desperate were the efforts to cover up all of the above, and more, in the wake of the attacks themselves...

Continue reading "" »


Indicative Votes How Parliament Will Try to Change Brexit Bloomberg

Robert Hutton: Indicative Votes: How Parliament Will Try to Change Brexit: "Members of Parliament will have put forward proposals they think should be voted on and it’s up to Bercow to choose which go forward.... At 7 p.m., Bercow will draw proceedings to a close and announce the vote. This won’t be like the usual House of Commons votes, where MPs walk through different lobbies to express their views. Instead, they’ll be given a piece of paper listing the options, and asked to vote Aye or No on each one. They’ll have half an hour.... Counting the indicative votes will probably take around an hour, and it will be up to Bercow whether he interrupts the government debate to announce the result, or waits until later. So some time before 10 p.m. The results will show how many MPs voted for and against each motion, and what happens next depends on that. Under Letwin’s proposals, Parliament will next have control of its own agenda on Monday April 1. That could be used to narrow options further, or to order the government to pursue a particular course of action...

Continue reading "" »


Brad Setser: Why China's Incomplete Macroeconomic Adjustment Makes China 2025 a Bigger Risk: "China... wants to 'localize' the production of the bulk of the high tech goods that its economy needs... Made in China 2025... a mix of subsidies (some disguised, as they flow through state-backed investment funds and the financial sectors) and 'Buy China' preferences.... Losses... China is good at both hiding them—and, well, absorbing what at the time seems like large losses as an inevitable cost of its rapid growth. The usual argument against such a mix of industrial policy and protectionism is that it just won’t work. A country that subsidizes its industries ends up with inefficient industries.... But China, is, to use Philip Pan’s phrase, the state that failed to fail...

Continue reading "" »


Prob3mo 258o9s5 1080x593

The very sharp Mohamed A. El-Erian misses one important thing here: almost always, recessions are much deeper than any naive computation of the size of the initial shock minus the sum of monetary and fiscal offset would predict. Why? Because businesses and investors are forward-looking, and take recession signals seriously. As Tim Duy says: everyone's "recession indicator... probability models... [are] raising red flags". It's a multiple-equiibrium thing. So while a recession in the next year is not certain and may not be probable it is not unlikely: Mohamed A. El-Erian: Inverted Yield Curve Doesn't Necessarily Mean Recession Is Nigh: "This rather benign economic outlook conflicts with the traditional signal of an inverted curve for four main reasons.... [1] Europe... puts downward pressure on U.S. yields.... [2] The Fed... a remarkable and rapid U-turn.... Other segments of the bond market are not signaling a major economic slowdown.... The erosion in inflationary expectations may... [be a] realization that many of the underlying drivers are structural.... This curve inversion is unlikely to be the traditional signal of a U.S. recession...

Continue reading " " »


Cathy Young: Who’s Afraid of The Bulwark?: "The conservative media wars heat up—but miss the point.... I don’t know what The Bulwark’s endgame is, but right now, it’s among a deplorably small number of outlets that get high marks for intellectual diversity and integrity. That should be good enough...

Continue reading "" »


The Fed Board Unmoored: Live at Project Syndicate

Prob6mo 2j5oc8g 1080x600

Live at Project Syndicate: The Fed Board Unmoored: "In December 2015, the right-wing commentator Stephen Moore, US President Donald Trump’s pick to fill a vacancy on the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors, savagely attacked then-Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, for maintaining loose monetary policies in the years following the 'Great Recession'.... On December 26, 2018, he savagely attacked Yellen’s successor, Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates to unwind the very approach that he had condemned three years earlier. 'If you cut engine power too far on a jetliner', he warned, 'it will stall and drop out of the sky'. Moore complained that after having 'risen by 382 points on hopes that the Fed would listen to Trump and stop cutting power', the Dow Jones Industrial Average had “plunged by 895 points” on the news of another interest-rate hike. This, he concluded, was evidence that 'the Fed’s monetary policy has come unhinged'...

Continue reading "The Fed Board Unmoored: Live at Project Syndicate" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 25, 2019)

6a00e551f080038834022ad3b05124200d


  1. Margaret Leslie Davis: The Quest to Acquire the Oldest, Most Expensive Book on the Planet: "The price of the book when it left the printer’s workshop was believed to be about thirty florins, equivalent to a clerk’s wages for three years...

  2. George A. Akerlof: Sins of Omission and the Practice of Economics: "Economics, as a discipline, gives rewards that favor the 'Hard' and disfavor the 'Soft', Such bias leads economic research to ignore important topics and problems that are difficult to approach in a 'Hard' way—thereby resulting in 'sins of omission'.... Greatly increased tolerance in norms for publication and promotion... [is] one way of alleviating narrow methodological biases...

  3. Wikipedia: Quantum Logic Gates

  4. Andy Matuschak: "I want to expand the reach of human knowledge and ability...

  5. Michael Nielsen: Neural Networks and Deep Learning

  6. Michael Nielsen: Interesting problems: The Church-Turing-Deutsch Principle: "Deutsch... propose[d] a revision of the Church-Turing thesis... that every physical process can be simulated by a universal computing device...

  7. Alain Aspect: The future of Quantum Technologies: The Second Quantum Revolution

  8. Barbara Tuchman: “A Single British Soldier…”: "'What is the smallest British military force that would be of any practical assistance to you?' Wilson asked. Like a rapier flash came Foch’s reply, 'A single British soldier—and we will see to it that he is killed'...

  9. Michael Andersen: Six Secrets From the Planner of Sevilla’s Lightning Bike Network: "Sevilla, Spain: It went from having about as much biking as Oklahoma City to having about as much biking as Portland, Oregon. It did this over the course of four years...

  10. I wish it were so, but I see only one professional Republican economist—Greg Mankiw—coming out in opposition to Moore. The rest are very quiet. All honor to Greg Mankiw, yes, but where are the others?: Brendan Greeley: Swift Pushback on Stephen Moore, Trump's Latest Pick for the Fed: "Stephen Moore drew swift and unusually pointed criticism after President Donald Trump picked him to be a governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve, with at least one prominent Republican economist calling on the Senate to block the appointment. 'He does not have the intellectual gravitas for this important job', Greg Mankiw, a Harvard professor who was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, wrote in a blog post on Friday. 'It is time for senators to do their job. Mr. Moore should not be confirmed'...

  11. Paul Krugman Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/with_replies

  12. Stephen Moore Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?vertical=default&q=Stephen%20Moore&src=typd

  13. Wikipedia: Battle of Mycale

  14. Wikipedia: Battle of Plataea

  15. Roman expeditions to Sub-Saharan Africa

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 25, 2019)" »


The very sharp Tim Duy comes over to my position on the Fed: Tim Duy: Fed Needs to Get With The Program: "An inverted yield curve is a well-known recession indicator.... Either embrace that relationship in your analysis or reject it on the basis that any signals from the term structure are hopelessly hidden by the massive injections of global quantitative easing.... I... choose the former.... Recession indicator... probability models based on some combination of yield spreads and other leading indicators. Most will be raising red flags like this estimate of the probability of recession in six months...

Continue reading "" »