Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (August 11, 2019)

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  • Reflections 11 Years After the Crash: As long as people were confident that the 500 billion of bad mortgage debt would ultimately land on somebody who could absorb it, the only thing that would make a bad recession was if people anticipated a bad recession. And with no Lehman panic—if Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner had not caused everybody to say quote what the fuck is going on" by allowing Lehman's bankruptcy uncontrolled and then justifying their actions by claiming that they were forbidden by law to support a too-big-to-fail institution that was insolvent and not just illiquid... Without that, no reason to fear even as bad as the S&L crisis...

  • Weekly Forecasting Update: August 9, 2019: There was essentially no news about real GDP last week: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York nowcast continues to stand at 1.6% for 2019:Q3. We did see another fifteen basis points of market easing at the long end of the yield. Curve: the 10-Year TIPS yield is now 0.09%. And that, of course, makes equity stock market investments a deal. Patrick Chovanec is worth reading...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: A Now-Extended Non-Sokratic Dialogue on Website Design

  • DeLong Smackdown: Why I Was Wrong Over 2006-2010...: Let me say what things I was "expecting," in the sense of anticipating that it was they were both likely enough and serious enough that public policymakers should be paying significant attention to guarding the risks that it would create...

  • Note to Self: We know that big data can find correlations. We thus fear people will then use those correlations to hack our brains for their profit or advantage—and for our loss.... On the other hand... Big Ad Data is not smart enough to figure out: "although this internet identity is associated with this credit card number, the person surfing the web right now is not the person who buys the bras"...

  • Note to Self: et me say that I am 100% behind Roxane Gay here. When Jonathan Weisman was covering economics and monetary policy, he was a "Paul Krugman and Donald Luskin disagree about the shape of the earth: who can tell who is right?" guy. Those of us who talked to him took the incompetence for granted—and more than that: a willful desire to not understand the issues because then he might be unable to properly suck up to the sources he wished to suck up to...

  • Note to Self: Why was Jonathan Weisman's economic policy reporting for the Washington Post so execrable back in the mid-2000s? A person who was, as they say, very, very, very, very, very familiar with the matter: "Jonathan's big problem is that he's not that deep into the issues, and he has no backup. There's nobody that he can go to in that building to tell him 'this was how X was trying to mislead you' or 'this is Y's history' or 'be very careful here: if you get this detail Z wrong, they'll come down on you extremely hard'"...

  • Note to Self: For programming and Python Jupyter Notebook νBs, who are wondering what they are getting themselves into: Programming Dos and Don'ts: A Running List...

  • Looking Backward: From This Week at 24, 20, 16, 12, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (July 31-August 6, 2019): MUST OF THE MUSTS: James M. Buchanan: The "Social" Efficiency of Education: You have to be able to hold in your mind two things at once in order to understand economist James M. Buchanan: (1) He was a total loon: a strong believer in the de Maistrean trinity of Patriarchy, Orthodoxy, Autocracy as necessary for society—essential Noble Lies; a man who in 1970 wanted to shut down America's universities as teachers of evil, and regretted the failure of nerve that made that impossible; a man who saw Martin Luther King Jr. as a teacher of evil—whose response to the Civil Rights movement and its peaceful civil disobedience campaign was not Edmund Burke's "to make us love our country, our country must be lovely", but rather: how dare MLK claim that an African American should be "openly encouraged to use his own conscience"—rather than shutting up and accepting his subservient Jim Crow position in society! (2) A man who saw things that other economists did not and would not have without him...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads On and Off Equitable Growth for August 9, 2018:

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "You get what you reward, and the present mechanism of reward is advertising, fundamentally aligned with increasing people's insecurity so as to increase their likelihood of making a purchase to address that insecurity...

  • Comment of the Day: Cosma Shalizi: ":I have used Google as pretty much my only search engine since it became available.... Google should thus have a very complete idea of what I'm interested in.... I can, with charity, understand 'homemaking and interior decor' (because I'd been researching new window blinds), and 'pet food and supplies' (though my cat had died more than a year before). Everything else was just flat wrong, and often mystifyingly so...

  • Comment of the Day: Doctor Jay: "I'm very much not getting what I want out of social media. I very much AM getting what I want out of internet search...

  • For the Weekend: J.R.R. Tolkien (1925): Light as Leaf on Linden Tree:

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Cynegils: "A.D. 635. This year King Cynegils was baptized by Bishop Birinus at Dorchester; and Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, was his sponsor. A.D. 636. This year King Cwichelm was baptized at Dorchester, and died the same year. Bishop Felix also preached to the East-Angles the belief of Christ...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Erkenbert: ""A.D. 639. This year Birinus baptized King Cuthred at Dorchester, and received him as his son...


  1. Brian Chappatta: Trump Risks Losing the Fed as a Recession Scapegoat: "The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to account for a 'simmering' trade war. Then the president turned up the heat and put a downturn in play himself. The market signal for a recession is blinking fast and Trump has only himself to blame. The markets have spoken. If they are to be believed, the potential for a U.S. recession has never been greater in the post-crisis era than it is right now. That’s a problem for President Donald Trump because after the events of the past few days, it should be clear that he has effectively forfeited the ability to use the Federal Reserve as a scapegoat for any economic slowdown, an angle he was clearly prepared to play...

  2. Jeremy R. Hammond: The Lies that Led to the Iraq War and the Myth of 'Intelligence Failure'

  3. Jonathan Stein and Tim Dickinson: Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq: "Mushroom clouds, duct tape, Judy Miller, Curveball. Recalling how Americans were sold a bogus case for invasion...

  4. Hubert Horan: Uber’s Path of Destruction: "Uber has disrupted... the idea that competitive consumer and capital markets will maximize overall economic welfare by rewarding companies with superior efficiency.... Uber’s most important innovation has been to produce staggering levels of private wealth without creating any sustainable benefits for consumers, workers, the cities they serve, or anyone else...

  5. Yereth Rosen: Record-Low Sea Ice in July Sets Up Conditions For an Ultra-Low Minimum Extent This Fall: "Sea ice extent in September of 2019 is likely to be among the five lowest minimums recorded...

  6. Patrick Chovanec: U.S. Market and Economic Review—August 2019

  7. Kieran Healy: Frank Oz Muppets and the Big Five Personality Traits


  1. After hanging out with Madeleine Albright last week, I'm going to start calling all of this what it is: neo-fascism: Annalee Newitz (2008): Larry Niven Tells DHS to Spread Organ Harvesting Rumors: "There's a small group of science fiction authors who call themselves SIGMA and offer the U.S. government advice on futuristic scenarios.... One of them—Larry "Ringworld" Niven — offered the Department of Homeland Security some of the creepiest advice we've ever heard about how to handle problems with overcrowding in hospitals... a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants. 'The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren't going to pay for anything anyway', Niven said. 'Do you know how politically incorrect you are?' Pournelle asked. 'I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work', Niven replied.... Other authors in SIGMA include Greg Bear (Darwin's Radio, Eon), Sage Walker (Wild Cards), and Eric Kotani (Between the Stars)...

  2. Future generations are going to have a very difficult time understanding the early twenty-first century Republican Party in America and its relationship to gun and ammunition manufacturers: Frank Wilkinson: El Paso Shooter's Bullets and Gun Culture: "What the El Paso shooter’s hyper-deadly ammunition tells us about gun culture. The hyper-lethality of the bullets is the point.... The 'manifesto' purportedly posted by the shooter accused of last weekend’s mass murder in El Paso, Texas... included a section called 'Gear'.... Along with his AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle, he cites an 8m3 bullet, which appears to have something of a cult following owing to its capacity to expand and fragment inside bodies, causing 'catastrophic wounds'.... It’s a sick soliloquy. But you can find others much like it. An anonymous review at SGammo.com states that the customer’s Russian-made 8m3 'works in all of my ak’s and is devastating in soft tissue'. Bullet talk is as revealing a window on American gun culture as gun talk–maybe more so. Consider this 2011 ammo review at Shooting Illustrated, the 'official journal' of the National Rifle Association.... Americans buy guns designed and marketed as hyper-lethal. They fill their magazines with bullets specifically manufactured to rip human bodies to shreds and make human lives unsavable. In 1993, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York proposed a huge tax increase on the most vicious brands of ammunition, pointing out that, unlike guns, ammunition doesn’t last forever. 'Guns don’t kill people', Moynihan said, 'bullets do'...

  3. Normally, when there is a small chance that a form of behavior assisted by particular commodities will produce very destructive results, we impose strict liability, and let those who promote that behavior and sell those commodities sort out the tradeoffs—or we heavily regulate for safety. Firearms is the only car in which we do neither: Paul Campos: Where Do Lone Wolf Mentally Ill Mass Murders Get Their Ideas About a "Hispanic Invasion"?: "From their Republican President Donald Trump: 'When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.'... From their Republican U.S senator John Cornyn: 'Texas gained almost nine Hispanic residents for every additional white resident last year.'... From Fox News's Laura Ingraham: 'As the so-called US-bound “caravan” traveling through Mexico continues to swell, some questions arise that the media will not ask. Who is funding these efforts? How has it grown so quickly and what did the Democrats have to offer besides a bunch of cliches and bromides, and of course grandstanding? If you have been watching other networks, you have been treated to sympathetic, overwrought coverage of this invading horde'...

  4. Nir Kaissar: Don’t Count Out Value Investing Despite Growth’s Spurt: "A decade or more of lagging doesn’t mean the landscape has changed permanently.... A third theory—and the most generous to value—is that the measure of value is broken... While it’s true that P/B ratio has been the worst-performing measure of value over the last 12 years, it’s premature to call it obsolete. No one measure has performed consistently better than others in decades past, so it’s just as likely that P/B ratio’s recent struggles are purely coincidental.... Also, P/B ratio has a long history of strong performance relative to growth stocks following bouts of weak performance, and vice versa, which strongly suggests that its recent underperformance will prove to be cyclical rather than permanent.... Of course, investors can sidestep the value versus growth debate by simply buying the market...

  5. David Rees: Cormac Ignatieff's "The Road": "Hello everyone! Personal message to all the New Yorkers out there: Did you read Michael Ignatieff’s essay in the the NY Times Magazine? If so, contact me ASAP to let me know you’re OK. I put your flyer up at Grand Central Station, but have heard no response. Myself, I’m just making my way out of the debilitating Level-Five Mind Fog that came from reading the thing.... Ignatieff’s 2005 NY Times Magazine essay justifying the Iraq war... said the reason the American public wanted to invade Iraq was to spread 'The Ultimate Task of Thomas Jefferson’s Dream'. (I am not making a joke. This is for real.) And, he implied, anyone who opposed the invasion of Iraq did so because they hated Thomas Jefferson— and they didn’t believe in the Ultimate Tasks of Dreams!... I was excited when I first saw this new essay: At last, Ignatieff was going to come clean about his super-duper-double-dipper errors. I expected a no-holds barred, personal excoriation. In fact, I assumed the first, last, and only sentence of the essay would be: 'Please, for the love of God, don’t ever listen to me again'. HOWEVER... The first nine-tenths of Ignatieff’s essay... is a collection of vague aphorisms and bong-poster koans. It hums with the comforting murmur of lobotomy.... Below, a smorgasbord of Ignatieff’s musings, with commentary: 'An intellectual’s responsibility for his ideas is to follow their consequences wherever they may lead. A politician’s responsibility is to master those consequences and prevent them from doing harm...' Right off the bat, he’s saying: 'It was right for me to support the Iraq war when I was an academic, because academics live in outer space on Planet Zinfandel, and play with ideas all day. But now, as a politician in a country that opposed the war, I’ll admit I screwed up, because politicians must deign to harness the wild mares of whimsy to the ox-cart of cold, calculated reality'. So, although his judgments were objectively wrong, they were contextually appropriate. Sweet! You’ve been totally 0wn3d by Michael Ignatieff! And so have all those dead Iraqis...

  6. Ben Thompson: A Framework for Moderation: "Section 230 doesn’t shield platforms from the responsibility to moderate; it in fact makes moderation possible in the first place. Nor does Section 230 require neutrality: the entire reason it exists was because true neutrality — that is, zero moderation beyond what is illegal — was undesirable by Congress. Keep in mind that Congress is extremely limited in what it can make illegal because of the First Amendment.... This is how we have arrived at the uneasy space that Cloudflare and others occupy: it is the will of the democratically elected Congress that companies moderate content above-and-beyond what is illegal, but Congress can not tell them exactly what content should be moderated...

  7. Clair Jones: Former Fed chairs gang up on Trump : "Every living former US Federal Reserve chair has ganged up on US President Donald Trump in an op-ed with the Wall Street Journal.... 'When the current chair's four-year term ends, the president will have the opportunity to reappoint him or choose someone new. That nomination will have to be ratified by the Senate. We hope that when that decision is made, the choice will be based on the prospective nominee's competence and integrity, not on political allegiance or activism. It is critical to preserve the Federal Reserve's ability to make decisions based on the best interests of the nation, not the interests of a small group of politicians....' The Journal article is diplomatic, eloquent and reflective. Everything that Trump isn’t, then. The trouble is, in an era of short attention spans and pick-A-side politics where the Fed chair finds himself regularly called out on Twitter, relying on things like evidence, or a coherent argument, might not cut it.... Earlier this year, when addressing Trump’s threat to replace Powell, former Fed vice-chair Stan Fischer put it bluntly. If the US President used his re-election in 2020 to choose a Fed chair with views close to his own, there was a chance of the US becoming 'a Third World country'. Stark and not exactly politically correct. If they are to retain their independence, though, the world’s central bankers might need a bit more of Fischer’s zing...

  8. Moral fault attaches to all those who in any way support or excuse the New York Times: Scott Lemieux: Today is the Day Donald Trump Most Assuredly Became President: "Nate Silver: 'Not sure "TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM" is how I would have framed the story.' In fairness, you can’t deny that Trump has his finger on the pulse of the Rust Belt in a way no coastal liberal could ever understand: Reuters: '"May God bless the memories of those who perished in Toledo", Trump said, mistakenly saying "Toledo" not Dayton, Ohio, where 10 people, including the gunman, died over the weekend'...

  9. Market forces are voting, strongly, for green energy: Alwyn Scott: General Electric to Scrap California Power Plant 20 Years Early: "General Electric Co said on Friday it plans to demolish a large power plant it owns in California this year after only one-third of its useful life because the plant is no longer economically viable in a state where wind and solar supply a growing share of inexpensive electricity. The 750-megawatt natural-gas-fired plant, known as the Inland Empire Energy Center, uses two of GE’s H-Class turbines, developed only in the last decade, before the company’s successor gas turbine, the flagship HA model, which uses different technology. The closure illustrates stiff competition in the deregulated energy market as cheap wind and solar supply more electricity, squeezing out fossil fuels...

  10. Gauti Eggertsson, Jacob A. Robbins, and Ella Getz Wold: Kaldor and Piketty’s facts: The rise of monopoly power in the United States: "The macroeconomic data of the last thirty years has overturned at least two of Kaldor’s famous stylized growth facts: constant interest rates, and a constant labor share. At the same time, the research of Piketty and others has introduced several new and surprising facts: an increase in the financial wealth-to-output ratio in the US, an increase in measured Tobin’s Q, and a divergence between the marginal and the average return on capital. In this paper, we argue that these trends can be explained by an increase in market power and pure profits in the US economy, i.e., the emergence of a non-zero-rent economy, along with forces that have led to a persistent long term decline in real interest rates. We make three parsimonious modifications to the standard neoclassical model to explain these trends. Using recent estimates of the increase in markups and the decrease in real interest rates, we show that our model can quantitatively match these new stylized macroeconomic facts...

  11. Geoffrey Skelley: Why So Many House Republicans Are Retiring, And Why More Could Be On The Way: "Four Republicans who have criticized Trump or... opposed him.... Texas Rep. Will Hurd.... Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks.... Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell didn't vote to condemn the president over his tweets, [but] he was openly critical of them.... Alabama Rep. Martha Roby hasn't been critical of Trump recently, and has a very pro-Trump voting record]27] overall, she did say she wouldn't vote for him in 2016 after the release of an Access Hollywood video.... She faced opposition from a write-in candidate in 2016 and had to survive a primary runoff in 2018.... Tough reelection bids... Hurd.... Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall... only held onto his seat after a recount]35].... Reps. Kenny Marchant and Pete Olson... won reelection in 2018 by fewer than 5 points.... Republican conference rules... do not allow members to lead committees for more than three consecutive terms, unless they get a special waiver (which is rare).... Texas Rep. Mike Conaway and Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, as each was in his third term.... These early retirements don't necessarily signal a wave of future exits. But... don't be shocked if more Republicans decide to exit stage right...

  12. Maciej Ceglowski: Our Comrade The Electron: "I want to close with my favorite Termen anecdote, from the end of his life. Termen spent years trying to join the Communist party, and they kept making excuses to turn him away. When he was ninety years old, he applied again, but they told him that to join he had to take a five-year advanced course in Marxism-Leninism. So he did it. He went to night school and did it. In 1991, literally weeks before the fall of the Soviet Union, Termen got his party badge. The 95-year-old Bolshevik was briefly the youngest Communist in the country. Naturally people asked him, 'Lev Sergeyevich, why on Earth would you join the Communist Party now, when everyone else is leaving?' He gave them the most badass answer imaginable: 'I promised Lenin'...

  13. The China shock was not the only shock American manufacturing has experienced. yet New England politics did not turn nativist in the 1960s. What was the difference? No Fox News?: John F. Kennedy: New England Industry and the South: "The southward migration of industry from New England has too frequently taken place for causes other than normal competition and natural advantages...

  14. Overly cynical, IMHO: Modernization theory is correct in that the "advanced" shows the "backward" more about the "backward"'s own future than the "backward"'s own past and present show. Picking the most attractive "advanced" society and trying to replicate what it does well is always a smart development strategy, if you can go about it smartly—in an Alexander Hamiltonian vein, say: Nils Gilman: Modernization Theory Never Dies: "Modernization theory was among the most influential historical and policy paradigms to emerge in the United States during the 1950s, but fell into steep academic disrepute from the 1970s forward. Despite this loss of intellectual credibility, however, it has for fifty years continued to exercise a major influence on the developmental imaginary both in the United States and in many other countries. This article examines how modernization theory’s leading progenitor, Walt Whitman Rostow, developed his narrative of modernization to provide a metahistorical theory of development and asserts that the enduring appeal of modernization theory, despite its intellectual flaws, rests on the optimistic historical narrative it proposes and the flattering role it provides in that narrative for policy and intellectual elites...

  15. Wikipedia: Talent (Measurement): "The talent as a unit of weight was introduced in Mesopotamia at the end of the 4th millennium BC, and was normalized at the end of the 3rd millennium during the Akkadian-Sumer phase...

  16. Gary Forsythe: A Critical History of Early Rome: "Historians have traditionally labeled the period c. 1100–800 B.C. the Greek dark age, characterized by village societies headed by local chieftains, from which the city-state eventually arose. The unsettled conditions of the late second millennium B.C. might have extended as far west as eastern Sicily. Coastal sites exposed to sea raids were abandoned, and the inhabitants occupied defensible positions of the interior, such as Pantalica near Syracuse (Holloway 1981, 107–14). It is also noteworthy that at the close of the Bronze Age the major site in the Lipari Islands met with violent destruction and was reoccupied by people from the Apennine Culture of Italy...

  17. Back, eight short years ago, when Conor Friedersdorf embraced the racism as part of what he saw as an attractive package deal: Conor Friedersdorf (2011): Grappling With Ron Paul's Racist Newsletters: "Were it 1964, I'd never vote for Paul.... But it is not 1964. Other injustices better define our times.... I wouldn't begrudge someone who... decided... the racist newsletters are reason enough to refrain from supporting Paul. In some ways, it would be easiest for me to reach that conclusion.... Among the candidates who could win, Paul is... least likely to deprive innocent foreigners of their God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... most committed to civil liberties and drug legalization at home.... Bygone complicity in racist newsletters doesn't... tell us whose policies, which candidate, would do the most to square American government with the highest ideals of our polity. Support for Paul is grounded for many in the judgment that he is that candidate.... I remain sympathetic to that argument...

  18. This was what Conor Friedersdorf back in 2012 was endorsing as part of an attractive package deal: Ron Paul (1992): Fundraising Letter: "I have unmasked the plot for world government, world money, and world central banking... high officials who are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations.... I’ve been told not to talk, but these stooges don’t scare me. Threats or no threats, I’ve laid bare the coming race war in big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS.... The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica.... The Soviet-style 'smartcard' the Justice Department has in mind for you.... Welfare riots in the big cities. Massive unemployment. The destruction of wealth. The erosion of personal liberties. Vicious economic controls. The exaltation of envy. The suppression of privacy. Authoritarian clamp-downs. Bank and S&L closings on a massive scale. A world dollar crisis as the greenback (or 'pinkback') is rejected for almost any non-paper alternative...

  19. Jean-Claude Juncker: “If it comes to a hard Brexit, that is in no one’s interest, but the British would be the big losers. They are acting as though that were not the case but it is. We are fully prepared even though some in Britain say we are not well set up for a ‘no deal’. But I am not taking part in these little summer games.... We have made clear that we are not prepared to hold new negotiations on the withdrawal agreement but only to make certain clarifications in the framework of the political declarations that regulate future relations between the United Kingdom and European Union. We are well prepared (for no deal) and I hope the British are too...

  20. Izabella Kaminska: Uber Becomes Modern Art: "Back in September 2016, we cited a BCA report which questioned Uber’s 62.5bn valuation, arguing its model was neither innovative or viable. Unfortunately, the report didn’t really register with the great and the good who have money to burn. Ahead of Uber’s IPO... as much as 120bn was being thrown about by some enthusiastic bankers. Fast forward to August 8, and Uber has truly beaten even the most extravagant of money-burning expectations. Here’s the Q2 results table, possibly in need of framing.... The thing that really hit market sentiment was the slowdown in revenue growth at 14 per cent to $3.2bn. Analysts had been expecting a 20 per cent rate which would have taken the top line to $3.4bn. This is important because Uber’s investment case is based on the thesis that the continuous net losses don’t matter because it’s still a growth company, and its pathway to profitability is through market domination and, of course, revenue growth...

  21. I confess I do not understand what is to be done here. These internet platforms are not utilities—the technology is not stable and investments are not large enough—so rate regulation would seem inappropriate. The economies of scale on the production side and the economies of scope on the consumption side are very large, and so it would seem inappropriate to sacrifice them to generate competition at the core services of each platform. Consumer surplus appears to be very large, so reducing the profits to successful innovators seems a very bad idea. And there is the question of whether these firms are giving their customers what they need instead of what they think they want—but do recall that in early generations one socialist critique of the market was that the market economy was making people unfree by failing to force them to wear identical blue overalls, drive identical utilitarian black cards, and listen to properly uplifting music: Ben Thompson: Tech and Antitrust: "That is not to say that tech deserves no regulation: question of privacy, for example, are something else entirely. Nor, for that matter, is antitrust irrelevant in the United States generally: concentration has increased dramatically throughout the economy. What is driving that concentration matters, though: at the end of the day tech companies are powerful because consumers like them, not because they are the only option. Consumer welfare still matters, both in a court of law and in the court of public opinion...

  22. Jane Waldfogel and Emma Liebman: Paid Family Care Leave: "The unmet need for leave to care for a family member with a serious illness is actually more widespread and more frequent than it is for the other types of family leave. This is why its relative neglect in research and its uneven treatment by policymakers is all the more striking. For these reasons, this paper focuses on reviewing what we know and do not know about family care leave. In particular, this paper contributes to an understanding of the need for paid leave to care for a seriously ill family member and the current state of policy and research. In doing so, we draw on the best available research on family care leave where available, but because such research is often lacking, we also draw on evidence about family and medical leave more generally when necessary...

  23. There are many obstacles to the successful reintegration of ex-convicts. This—access to credit resources—now looks like a surprisingly important one: Carlos Fernando Avenancio-León: Without Access to Credit, Ex-Cons May Return to Lives of Crime: "Within the former inmate population, those experiencing sharper drops in credit availability are more likely to engage in future criminal activity: For each thousand dollars of available credit card limit lost, recidivism increases by 1.4 percentage points. Accordingly, a history of incarceration and lack of access to credit creates credit-driven crime cycles for this population.  Yet, after accounting for credit history and income, former inmates are less likely to default on loans than individuals who have never been incarcerated. Because former inmates present lower credit risks, lenders extend former inmates slightly more loans, albeit not nearly enough to overcome a lending contraction driven by low credit scores...

  24. Hannah Critchlow: The Science of Fate: Why Your Future is More Predictable Than You Think: "Once you have built up a perception of the world, you will ignore any information to the contrary. Your brain is already taking up about 20% of your energy, so changing the way that you think is going to be quite cognitively costly. And it might be quite socially costly too...

  25. I am not sure whether what is needed is for economics to "go digital" as for economics to finally recognize what John Maynard Keynes called "the end of laissez-faire". But since he wrote about the end of laissez-faire 94 years ago, I am not holding my breath for a better economics: Diane Coyle: Why Economics Must Go Digital: "Drug discovery is an information industry, and information is a non-rival public good which the private sector, not surprisingly, is under-supplying.... Yet the idea of nationalizing part of the pharmaceutical industry is outlandish from the perspective of the prevailing economic-policy paradigm.... Should data collection by digital firms be further regulated?.... The standard economic framework of individual choices made independently of one another, with no externalities, and monetary exchange for the transfer of private property, offers no help...

  26. Arthur Eckstein: Mediterranean Anarchy, Interstate War, and the Rise of Rome: "Tarentine ambitions and strategies... were unrealistic: their resources, large though they were for a city-state, were inadequate for dominion over southern Italy... failure to create a stable hegemonic structure. Tarentum was not powerful enough to impose a hierarchical alliance system upon the Italiotes in the manner of Athens in fifth-century Greece, yet it also failed to create a cooperative and integrative league, such as the Achaeans and Aetolians did in Hellenistic Greece. Nothing in that direction was really attempted.... Thus Tarentum differed from Rome in organizational vision and ability—but it was as militaristic and diplomatically aggressive as Rome.... The citizen army remained strong; the government adapted to the increasing pressure from the Italic highlanders with a reasonable policy of hiring mercenaries... and bringing in famous generals... [and] the last half of the fourth century witnessed the erection of the great statues of Nike and Zeus the Thunderer in the city center. The wide claims of Tarentum show that Rome was not alone in Italy in making such claims—just alone in the capacity to enforce them...

  27. Our Fearless Leader at Equitable Growth on the very sad, very depressing story of Arthur Laffer. "Charlatans and cranks" was what George W. Bush's chief economist Greg Mankiw called him and his ilk. And Laffer's early promoter Irving Kristol, later half-apologized for his "rather cavalier attitude" toward whether Laffer actually knew what he was talking aboug: "The task, as I saw it, was to create a new majority, which evidently would mean a conservative majority, which came to mean, in turn, a Republican majority-so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government": Heather Boushey: "A few thoughts on Arthur Laffer’s legacy:: "Laffer promoted a set of ideas to policymakers that promised to deliver a more fulsome American Dream, even though they were not grounded in empirical evidence. Time and again, we’ve seen that Laffer’s hypothesis that tax cuts will lead to an amount of growth that would make up for lost revenue and improve economic well-being broadly is false.... Research undermines the contention since the 1970s that lower rates stimulate the economy. What they seem to do instead is increase inequality. Millions of families have felt the effects of stalled incomes and cutbacks in much-needed government services, including education.... Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a proponent of Laffer’s ideas, admitted that putting his supply-side tax cut plan in place would be ‘a real live experiment’, one that failed so spectacularly his Republican legislature overrode his veto...

  28. One very peculiar thing about America is majorities that believe that government doesn't have our back and indeed, shouldn't have our back. This is a very puzzling attitude to see in a democracy: Gillian Tett: Why Japan Isn’t Afraid of Robots: "The social safety net.... 63 per cent of people in Japan think that it is up to the government... to help the population adapt to automation.... In the US, however, only about 30 per cent of the public expect the government to help.... A recipe for anxiety: some of America’s current problems can be traced to the sense of abandonment felt by many workers in deindustrialised regions...

  29. Geoffrey Skelley: Why So Many House Republicans Are Retiring, And Why More Could Be On The Way: "Four Republicans who have criticized Trump or... opposed him.... Texas Rep. Will Hurd.... Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks.... Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell didn't vote to condemn the president over his tweets, [but] he was openly critical of them.... Alabama Rep. Martha Roby hasn't been critical of Trump recently, and has a very pro-Trump voting record overall, she did say she wouldn't vote for him in 2016 after the release of an Access Hollywood video.... She faced [opposition from a write-in candidate][30] in 2016 and had to survive a primary runoff in 2018.... Tough reelection bids... Hurd.... Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall... only held onto his seat after a recount.... Reps. Kenny Marchant and Pete Olson... won reelection in 2018 by fewer than 5 points.... Republican conference rules... do not allow members to lead committees for more than three consecutive terms, unless they get a special waiver (which is rare).... Texas Rep. Mike Conaway and Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, as each was in his third term.... These early retirements don't necessarily signal a wave of future exits. But... don't be shocked if more Republicans decide to exit stage right...

  30. I agree with Larry Glickman here: Talking your book is never good, Tyler. And monopsony is not freedom—not even if the monopsonist works for you: Lawrence Glickman: "I have questions about this piece by @tylercowen: https://t.co/UllO6J28my: Why must very wealthy universities 'choose between boosting their academic quality through better training, or paying them higher stipends and teaching wages to ease their immediate financial concerns'? Why is it an inherently zero sum situation? Why can't they do both? You write, 'I would merely note that many of my graduate students come from relatively well-to-do backgrounds and face favorable prospects after they graduate'. First, anecdotes about your grad students is not the best basis for policy making. Second, presumably you do not want to live in a world in which grad school is only feasible for the 'well-to-do'. Third, your students may face 'favorable' job prospects, but there is a huge jobs crisis in the humanities that you may have read about. Grad students may not be 'employees in the traditional sense', but the category of "employees in in the traditional sense" is shrinking. There are many more Whole Foods employees than coal miners. Unions work just as well for the former as the latter...

  31. Olivier Blanchard and Lawrence H. Summers: Evolution or Revolution: An Afterword: "Since... we wrote... neutral... have likely declined even as the crisis has receded. The notion that low rates largely reflected the after-effects of the financial crisis and would slowly fade away has simply proven wrong.... Fiscal policy has continued to be expansionary in Japan and has turned strongly expansionary in the US and mildly expansionary in Europe.... Inflation has barely reached the Fed’s inflation target.... In the euro area and in Japan, inflation remains below target.... Output is still below potential, at least in the euro area and in Japan.... These facts lead to the inevitable conclusion that fiscal policy will have to play a much bigger role in the future than it has in the past.... For a long time, economists looking at Japan pointed to mistakes in policy and excessive reliance on deficits; it is now clear that the Japanese macroeconomic response was, on net, the right one.... We noted... that both the Depression and the Great Inflation of the 1970s led to dramatic changes in macroeconomic thinking–much more dramatic than have yet occurred in response to the events of the last decade. We think it is increasingly likely that this gap will close in the next few years...

  32. Pascal Michaillat and Emmanuel Saez: How to design a stimulus package | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal: "the size of the stimulus does not follow the bang-for-the-buck logic.... Stimulus spending should be similarly small when multipliers are small and large. The stimulus should only be large for medium multipliers. Relatedly, the threshold value of one for the multiplier plays no role at all.... A well-designed stimulus package should also depend on the usefulness of public expenditure.... When the elasticity of substitution is higher, extra public goods are more valuable, so stimulus spending is more desirable.... We find that the output multiplier is not a robust statistic to use in stimulus discussion. Instead, we should use the ‘unemployment multiplier’...

  33. Kara Swisher: Can anyone tame the next internet?: "which jobs will be impacted? It’s not just factory workers, burger flippers, and long-haul truckers. Highly paid lawyers, skilled doctors (don’t let your daughter be a radiologist), and, yes, even lowly journalists will need to find new lines of work. And those tectonic workplace realignments will only become more profound as the AI becomes inevitably—and exponentially—better. To thrive in this environment will require being in a profession that is creative, where analog interactions are critical—one that cannot be easily made digital. Think art, think the caring professions, think anything in which being human trumps cyborg. And since AI becomes ever smarter, it will make sense to allow it to do more and more as we become ever less so.... We’ll also soon see the effects of radical advances in robotics and automation.... The way we wage war is changing dramatically, but it’s not the killer robots we think of...


  1. Kent Holsinger: Lecture Notes in Population Genetics

  2. TechWiser: 7 Best Clipboard Managers for Mac (Free and Paid)

  3. Github: Hello World: Guide

  4. Kinks: Lola

  5. Ellora Derenoncourt: Can You Move to Opportunity?: Evidence from the Great Migration: "The northern United States long served as a land of opportunity for black Americans, but today the region’s racial gap in intergenerational mobility rivals that of the South.... Racial composition changes during the peak of the Great Migration... reduced upward mobility... with the largest effects on black men.... The Migration’s negative effects on children’s adult outcomes appear driven by neighborhood factors, not changes in the characteristics of the average child... greater white enrollment in private schools, increased spending on policing, and higher crime and incarceration rates.... The overall change in childhood environment induced by the Great Migration explains 43% of the upward mobility gap between black and white men in the region today...

  6. Achadinha Cheese Company

  7. The Kinks: Waterloo Sunset


#noted #weblogs

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