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July 19, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

Cursor and FRED Graph FRED St Louis Fed

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed. We are where we were a year ago: Stable growth at 2% per year with no signs of rising inflation or a rising labor share.

The only significant difference that the Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain, and has now recognized that its confidence over the past six years that we were close to full employment was simply wrong:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: Jul 19, 2019: "1.4% for 2019:Q2 and 1.9% for 2019:Q3.News from this week's data releases decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q2 by 0.1 percentage point and increased the nowcast for 2019:Q3 by 0.1 percentage point. Negative surprises from housing data accounted for most of the decline for 2019:Q2, while positive surprises from survey data accounted for most of the increase in 2019:Q3...

Continue reading "July 19, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update" »


July 12, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

FRED Graph FRED St Louis Fed

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed. We are where we were a year ago: Stable growth at 2% per year with no signs of rising inflation or a rising labor share.

The only significant difference that the Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain, and has now recognized that its confidence over the past six years that we were close to full employment was simply wrong:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: Junly 5, 2019: "The... Nowcast stands at 1.5% for 2019:Q2 and 1.8% for 2019:Q3. News from the JOLTS, CPI, and PPI releases were small, leaving the nowcast for both quarters broadly unchanged...

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A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 12, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

TOP MUST REMEMBER: Cory Doctorow: I Was Naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment...

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 12, 2018" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 10, 2019)

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  • Fresh at Project Syndicate: Is Plutocracy Really the Problem?: The larger issue...is an absence of alternative voices. If the 2010s had been anything like the 1930s, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Conference Board would have been aggressively calling for more investment in America, and these arguments would have commanded the attention of the press. Labor unions would have had a prominent voice as advocates for a high-pressure economy. Both would have had very powerful voices inside the political process through their support of candidates. Did the top 0.01% put something in the water to make the media freeze out such voices after 2008?...

  • Smackdown: Failing to Do Robustness Checks Is Not a Virtue: This, from this past April of all times, greatly puzzles me: WHAT IN THE HOLY NAME OF THE ONE WHO IS IS GOING ON HERE?! Let us remember what really happened back in 2011 when the unemployment rate was 9%: "Reinhart... explained that countries rarely pass the 90 percent debt-to-GDP tipping point precisely because it is dangerous.... Reinhart and Rogoff... 'current debt trajectories are a risk to long-term growth and stability, with many advanced economies already reaching or exceeding the important marker of 90 percent of GDP'..." Yet there never was any "90 percent debt-to-GDP tipping point". Reinhart and Rogoff thought there was because they did not do any robustness checks of their data-analysis binning procedures. Perhaps an apology to the misled world should be a high priority? Perhaps it should be a higher priority than rants claiming that their critics like me—who were right—engaged in "years of mounting polemics against austerity policies, Keynesian dogma has become something close to a secular religion"?...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: Risks of Debt: The Real Flaw in Reinhart-Rogoff: A country that spends and spends and spends and spends and does not tax sufficiently will eventually run into debt-generated trouble.... But can this happen as long as interest rates remain low? As long as stock prices remain buoyant? As long as inflation remains subdued. My faction of economists—including Larry Summers, Laura Tyson, Paul Krugman, and many many others—believe that it will not...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: What Was the Point of Robert Woodward's "The Agenda"?: According to the Washington Post's headline writers (and according to pretty damn near everybody else who read The Agenda that I have talked to), Woodward's book tells the story of a president who (a) feels "blindsided" by their actions, (b) feels that the policies his administration is adopting means that he is losing his soul, (c) finds that the Republican Federal Reserve Chair's views are etching a deep impression on policy, (d) finds himself stuck with a "turkey" of an economic plan, (e) has advisors who fight fiercely in order to (f) control a wishy-washy president, and as a result (g) decision-making suffers and (h) clarity of vision is lost. Now I was there. (a) is simply wrong. (b) is sorta true, sorta false--Clinton was conflicted. (c) is true. (d) is false--it was a damned good economic plan. (e) is true. But (f) is false: wrestling intently and intelligently with hard choices does not make you the puppet of your advisors. (g) is wrong: the process produced a very good outcome. And (h) is wrong too. I want to set this out because in comments we have Bob Woodward claiming that his book was about... something else than the Washington Post headline writers who got the first excerpts from it and published them thought it was about...

  • Hoisted from July 3, 2008: Optimal Control: "Was the Federal Reserve too volatile and hair-trigger? Or was the ECB too sluggish?...

  • Note to Self: The establishment-survey payroll-employment numbers (red line) contain within them a guess as to how many newly-formed forms there are that have not yet caught up to and entered the payroll system. When a recession starts, that guess at the fudge factor can be way high. On the other hand, the household-survey employment numbers (blue line) has a lot more statistical noise in it...

  • Comment of the Day: Ronald Brakels: "If you record a bitch's new born puppy and then play that sound on a tape deck or other audio device the bitch will pick up that device and treat it like a pup. Dogs have about 2 billion plus neurons but this shows they are still very stupid. But no one seems to have a problem with this epic level of idiocy in our closest animal companions...

  • Comment of the Day: Charles Steindel: "Nothing at all wrong with Weller, really. The truly odd point appears to be how he got nominated. It seems that Trump was pleased that Jim Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed, voted to cut the funds rate at the last meeting, and offered Jim the slot. Bullard turned it down (no regional president would ever be included to accept a Board post other than Chair or Vice Chair; no more real power, combined with less pay and no staff) and suggested Weller. That's not the usual way these things get done...

  • For the Weekend: The Death of Stalin: Jason Isaacs as Georgy Zhukov Arrives at Stalin's Funeral: For the Weekend

  • Weekend Reading: Daniel Davies: One-Minute MBA: "The secret to every analysis I've ever done... has been, more or less, my expensive business school education.... Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance. I was first made aware of this during an accounting class.... Fibbers' Forecasts Are Worthless. Case after miserable case after bloody case we went through, I tell you.... Not only that people who want a project will tend to make inaccurate projections about the possible outcomes of that project, but about the futility of attempts to "shade" downward a fundamentally dishonest set of predictions.... It's been shown time and again and again; companies which do not audit completed projects in order to see how accurate the original projections were, tend to get exactly the forecasts and projects that they deserve.... Next week, perhaps, a few reflections on why it is that people don't support the neoconservative project to bring democracy to the Middle East (a trailer for those who can't wait; the title is going to be something like 'If You Tell Lies A Lot, You Tend To Get A Reputation As A Liar'). Mind how you go...

  • Weekend Reading: Annette Gordon-Reed: Some Thoughts About Sally Hemings

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: : Fifteen Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 12, 2018: TOP MUST REMEMBER: Cory Doctorow: I Was Naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Gregory, Augustine, and Ceolwulf: "A.D. 596. This year Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain with very many monks, to preach the word of God to the English people...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Ceawlin and Friends: "A.D. 568. This year Ceawlin, and Cutha the brother of Ceawlin, fought with Ethelbert, and pursued him into Kent. And they slew two aldermen at Wimbledon, Oslake and Cnebba...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Holy Pope Gregory, and Columba: "A.D. 560. This year Ceawlin undertook the government of the West-Saxons; and Ella, on the death of Ida, that of the Northumbrians; each of whom reigned thirty winters...


  1. Duncan Black: In The Old Times: "I'm not one to defend the Bush administration, but they did at least attempt to color inside the lines, if in garish bloody colors. I'm sure Yoo's torture memo was quite a marvel of legal reasoning that only someone who went to the best law school could come up with (our best laws schools are churning out sociopaths, but still). At this point, the Trump administration is just saying 'we are going to continue doing crimes and you can't stop us and hahaha you aren't even trying'...

  2. Sam Dangremond: Ken Griffin's 238 Million NYC Penthouse Is Most Expensive Home in America: "The penthouse at 220 Central Park South... $238 million.... At 953 feet, the 79-story tower stands out along the Central Park South skyline. Griffin's penthouse—a combination of two units—encompasses approximately 24,000 square feet, according to the Wall Street Journal. The $238-million price tag dwarfs the previous record of $137 million, which hedge-fund manager Barry Rosenstein reportedly paid for a home in East Hampton...

  3. MGI: Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation

  4. Abd Ar Rahman bin Muhammed ibn Khaldun: The Muqaddimah https://delong.typepad.com/files/muquaddimah.pdf #books

  5. Jared Bernstein: More Evidence–This Time from CBO... Higher (Even Much Higher) Minimum Wages Largely Do What They’re Supposed To Do: "Raising the federal minimum wage to 15 per hour by 2025 would lift the pay of 27.3 million workers—17 percent of the workforce—according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office. It would raise the incomes of poor families by 5 percent and thus reduce the number of people in poverty by 1.3 million. Since these low-end gains would be partially financed out of profits, the increase in the wage floor would reduce inequality. CBO also estimates that '1.3 million workers who would otherwise be employed would be jobless in an average week in 2025'.... The report warns that some will be hurt by the increase, but the best research suggests their job-loss estimate may be too high. Moreover, even if they’re right, the ratio of helped-to-hurt is 21 (27.3m/1.3m)...

  6. Tomaz Cajner, Leland D. Crane, Ryan A. Decker, Adrian Hamins-Puertolas, and Christopher Kurz: Improving the Accuracy of Economic Measurement with Multiple Data Sources: The Case of Payroll Employment Data: "The optimal predictor... puts approximately equal weight on the CES and ADP-derived series. Moreover, the estimated state contains information about future readings of payroll employment...

  7. David Byrne and Carol Corrado: Accounting for Innovations in Consumer Digital Services: IT Still mMatters: "Accounting for innovations in consumer content delivery matters: The innovations boost consumer surplus by nearly 1,800 (2017 dollars) per connected user per year for the full period of this study (1987 to 2017) and contribute more than 1/2 percentage point to US real GDP growth during the last ten...

  8. Kim Darroch: How Foreign Allies Talk About Trump Behind Closed Doors: "We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept...

  9. Owen Zidar (2013): Debt to GDP & Future Economic Growth

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 10, 2019)" »


Is Plutocracy Really the Problem?: Fresh at Project Syndicate

Is Plutocracy Really the Problem by J Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate

Fresh at Project Syndicate: Is Plutocracy Really the Problem?: After the 2008 financial crisis, economic policymakers in the United States did enough to avert another Great Depression, but fell far short of what was needed to ensure a strong recovery. Attributing that failure to the malign influence of the plutocracy is tempting, but it misses the root of the problem.... In fact, big money does not always find a way, nor does its influence necessarily increase as the top 0.01% captures a larger share of total income.... The larger issue...is an absence of alternative voices. If the 2010s had been anything like the 1930s, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Conference Board would have been aggressively calling for more investment in America, and these arguments would have commanded the attention of the press. Labor unions would have had a prominent voice as advocates for a high-pressure economy. Both would have had very powerful voices inside the political process through their support of candidates. Did the top 0.01% put something in the water to make the media freeze out such voices after 2008?... Read MOAR at Project Syndicate

Continue reading "Is Plutocracy Really the Problem?: Fresh at Project Syndicate" »


Smackdown: Failing to Do Robustness Checks Is Not a Virtue

Smackdown

This, from this past April of all times, greatly puzzles me: WHAT IN THE HOLY NAME OF THE ONE WHO IS IS GOING ON HERE?!

Let us remember what really happened back in 2011 when the unemployment rate was 9%:

"Reinhart... explained that countries rarely pass the 90 percent debt-to-GDP tipping point precisely because it is dangerous.... Reinhart and Rogoff... 'current debt trajectories are a risk to long-term growth and stability, with many advanced economies already reaching or exceeding the important marker of 90 percent of GDP'..."

Yet there never was any "90 percent debt-to-GDP tipping point".

Reinhart and Rogoff thought there was because they did not do any robustness checks of their data-analysis binning procedures.

Perhaps an apology to the misled world should be a high priority? Perhaps it should be a higher priority than rants claiming that their critics like me—who were right—engaged in "years of mounting polemics against austerity policies, Keynesian dogma has become something close to a secular religion"?

Marking your beliefs to market makes your thoughts stronger and raises your credibility. Not doing so does the reverse:

Ken Rogoff: The Austerity Chronicles: "After years of mounting polemics against austerity policies, Keynesian dogma has become something close to a secular religion in popular economic-policy debates. But a new study of 16 advanced economies shows that, as with all dogmas, righteousness is no substitute for empirical facts...

Continue reading "Smackdown: Failing to Do Robustness Checks Is Not a Virtue" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 6, 2019)

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  • Weekly Forecasting Update: July 5, 2019: The Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain. We are one year closer to full employment, yes. But we have extended our view of when we will reach full employment by nine months...

  • Weekly Forecasting Update: June 28, 2019: : Ten-year CPI inflation breakeven is now 1.6%. If investors were risk neutral with respect to bearing this particular inflation risk, this breakeven ought to be 2.5% if investors expected the Federal Reserve to meet its 2.0% PCE inflation target over the next decade...

  • On Twitter: Socialist Calculation Debate 2.0: Sparsity: : Suresh Naidu: "Right: instead of trying to get all the prices right, the regularization bet is that is that 99% of the benefits of planning can be realized with 1% of the prices planned by the state (e.g. fed rates)." Arindrajit Dube': "'The commanding heights were a great idea but need ML to find them" Brad DeLong: We already have such bets. Milton Friedman bet that fixing the growth of nominal liquidity services at a constant proportional rate got us 99% of the benefits. Alan Greenspan bet fixing the price of nominal liquidity services at his guess at Wicksellian neutral rate got us 99% of benefits...

  • It is macro: recession, weak recovery, catastrophe, and then superweak recovery...: "I confess I do not get this from Paul Krugman. Yes, the trade deficit crowds-out traditionally-male blue-collar import-substituting manufacturing jobs, but imports crowd-in traditionally-male blue-collar wholesale trade jobs, and finance traditionally-male blue-collar construction (and capital-goods manufacturing) jobs.... NAFTA is nowhere. The 2002-2007 bilateral-trade "China shock" is simply not a terribly big deal for the country as a whole: employment in traditionally-male blue-collar occupations was flat. A big deal for places that found their manufactures competing with new imports from China, yes. But not for blue-collar traditionally-male employment in the country as a whole...

  • Note to Self: Gary Foresythe: "The Ineditum Vaticanum.... The second of the four anecdotes concerns an encounter between a Roman and a Carthaginian at the Strait of Messina on the eve of the First Punic War...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from Around the Week of July 5, 2018: Most Important: 1921—six years after the Ku Klux Klan revival sparked by "Birth of a Nation"—the early 20th Century's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in reverse: 39 officially dead, 800 wounded, more than 35 blocks destroyed, more than 10000 people left homeless: Erik Loomis (2016): Tulsa: "The Tulsa Race Riot is one of the most shameful events in all of American history and as we know, that’s a high bar to meet...

  • Weekend Reading: "A Republic, If You Can Keep It": "A lady asked Dr. Franklin: 'Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?' 'A republic', replied the Doctor, 'if you can keep it'. (The lady here aluded to was Mrs. Powel of Philada[delphia]...

  • Weekend Reading: Polybius on the First Two Treaties Between Rome and Carthage: "The first treaty between Rome and Carthage was made... twenty-eight years before the invasion of Greece by Xerxes [509 BC].... The ancient language differs so much from that at present in use, that the best scholars among the Romans themselves have great difficulty in interpreting some points in it...

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "Ads exist to increase your insecurity, so you'll spend money to lower it. The entire endeavour is not in the public interest...

  • Comment of the Day: D. C. Sessions: "One of those 'small city research universities' is New Mexico Tech... in a town (Socorro) of 10,000.... Socorro is losing ground. Before trying to copy NMT across the USA, it would be wise to understand why the formula isn't working here...

  • Comment of the Day: Graydon: "Intelligence is emergent.... You can get it more than one way.... You can get it with way fewer neurons than we use (that parrot again, or corvids) but we don't know what it emerges from or how.... It's more useful to think about something like Deep Mind as an artificial reflex than as artificial intelligence; a certain narrow range of stimuli produces a quick response. The emergent stuff is just not there at all...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Origins of Wessex: "A.D. 477: This year came Ella to Britain, with his three sons, Cymen, and Wlenking, and Cissa, in three ships; landing at a place that is called Cymenshore. There they slew many of the Welsh; and some in flight they drove into the wood that is called Andredsley...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Descendants of Cerdic to Ethelred Son of Ethelwulf Son of Egbert: "A.D. 495. This year came two leaders into Britain, Cerdic and Cynric his son, with five ships, at a place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And they fought with the Welsh the same day...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Alfred King of the Anglekin and His Successors: "Origins of Wessex: "Then succeeded Alfred, their brother, to the government. And then had elapsed of his age three and twenty winters, and three hundred and ninety-six winters from the time when his kindred first gained the land of Wessex from the Welsh. And he held the kingdom a year and a half less than thirty winters...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Cerdic and Cynric: "A.D. 509. This year St. Benedict, the abbot, father of all the monks, ascended to heaven. A.D. 514. This year came the West-Saxons into Britain, with three ships, at the place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And Stuff and Wihtgar fought with the Britons, and put them to flight. A.D. 519. This year Cerdic and Cynric undertook the government of the West-Saxons; the same year they fought with the Britons at a place now called Charford. From that day have reigned the children of the West-Saxon kings...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Astronomy, Northumbria, and Victories of Cynric: "A.D. 538. This year the sun was eclipsed, fourteen days before the calends of March, from before morning until nine...


  1. Shawn Donnan: Trade War Latest: Trump, G-20, China, Huawei, EU, Brazil: "A grim new reality for U.S. economic power. When Trump dialed up the heat with tariffs and threats, the rest of the world looked elsewhere for opportunities. The early results were not going in America’s favor...

  2. Tom Gara: The New Republic is Hiring an Inequality Editor: "This is a part-time role, requiring 29.5 hours per week, and does not include benefits...

  3. Adam Serwer: The Detention Camps at the Border Are a Crime: "The Trump administration’s commitment to deterring immigration through cruelty has made horrifying conditions in detention facilities inevitable...

  4. I agree that economists are doing a bad job of policing our discipline against intellectual grifters. But it is not because we need to shill in order to eat. Our problems are different: Wolfgang Munchau: Age of the Expert as Policymaker Is Coming to an End: "When economics blogging started to become fashionable, I sat on a podium with an academic blogger who predicted that people like him would usurp the role of the economics newspaper columnist within a period of 10 years. That was a decade ago. His argument was that trained economists were just smarter. What he did not reckon with is that it is hard to speak truth to power when you have to beg that power to fund your think-tank or institute. Even less so once you are politically attached or appointed. Independence matters...

  5. Barack Obama (2010): "Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year. Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will.  Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will...

  6. Azeem Azhar: Entrepreneurs, the Market, and the State: "Speaking with venture capitalist Bill Janeway...

  7. Apple (1997): Apple's World Wide Developers Conference 1997 with Steve Jobs

  8. Climateer Investing: Twitter Has an Algorithm That Creates Harassment All by Itself: "Harassment is such a harsh word, let's call it 'engagement'. From glitch girl MC Mclure's Twitter feed.... 'Social experiment: "Do NOT read the replies to this tweet before you reply to it".... What Twitter's doing is finding people with low-flow timelines & filling space in with "high engagement" tweets ("things you're likely to reply to too"). This tells us 2 things: It's not just "favs are RTs" now; REPLIES might be RTs too. TWITTER HAS AUTOMATED PILEONS...

  9. Martin Wolf: Why Democratic Government Is Showing Strains in the US and UK: "Reagan and Thatcher failed. Both countries went through radical policy changes in the 1980s, towards free markets. This did not work out as well as had been hoped. Nationalism duly became a way to mobilise support on the right.... Austerity bites. In both countries, the crisis bequeathed huge structural fiscal deficits. This encouraged politicians of the right to slash public spending. Elites decline. Democracies require respected elites. But, in both countries, the ideal of public service has corroded, while people increasingly think of their elites as incompetent, or crooks...

  10. Alan R. Rogers, Ryan J. Bohlender, and Chad D. Huff: Early History of Neanderthals and Denisovans: "Neanderthals and Denisovans were human populations that separated from the modern lineage early in the Middle Pleistocene. Many modern humans carry DNA derived from these archaic populations by interbreeding during the Late Pleistocene. We develop a statistical method to study the early history of these archaic populations. We show that the archaic lineage was very small during the 10,000y that followed its separation from the modern lineage. It then split into two regional populations, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. The Neanderthal population grew large and separated into largely isolated local groups https://delong.typepad.com/neanderthals.pdf...

  11. Doug Jones: Hits, Slides, and Rings: "Even though we’re mostly not aware of it, we’re very good at using our hearing to keep track of what’s going on in our physical surroundings... easily recognize the difference between someone going upstairs and someone going downstairs... good at recognizing individuals by their treads. The sounds that solid objects make can be broadly categorized as hits, slides, and rings.... Changizi argues that these correspond to the major categories of phonemes: Hits = plosives... Slides = fricatives... Rings = sonorants, including sonorant consonants, like l r y w m n, and vowels.... We can [also] do barks and pops and farts and so on. But our auditory systems are especially cued into solid object physics, so when we try to come up with easy-to-distinguish phonemes, that’s what we focus on.... Even if imitating nature is not the whole story of phonemes, it may at least be where they got started. Later on when we talk about writing systems, we’ll see there’s a similar argument about how these are tuned to tickle our primate visual systems...

  12. Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: John Cochrane's Claim in Late 2008 That a Recession Would Be a Good Thing Deserves Some Kind of Award...: The fact is that by the end of 2007 the construction sector had rebalanced: there was no excess of people pounding nails in Nevada... To: @johnmlippert.... I am tracking down John Cochrane's claims that (i) in your December 23, 2008 article you were "only... on a hunt for embarrassing quotes", (ii) he had "spent about 10 hours patiently trying to explain some basics" to you, and (iii) you took him out of proper context when you wrote: "'We should have a recession', Cochrane said in November, speaking to students and said in November, speaking to students and investors in a conference room.... 'People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do'."... John M. Lippert: "Hi Professor DeLong.... Cochrane’s complaint is something of which I became aware several months after we published our story in 2008.... Bloomberg did not respond to Cochrane’s comments. He never sent them to us, despite my request that he do so. When we became aware of his complaint, we saw no reason to make a correction. Cochrane made the ‘pounding nails’ comment at a Chicago Booth forum at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago in November 2008. It was part of an ongoing lecture series, as I recall. It was kind of a big event, with a couple hundred people. So they may have a recording that you can access. Good luck with your inquiries...

  13. David Brin: The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us To Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? #books

  14. Doug Jones: Speech Sounds: "The origin of modern human is one of the major transitions in evolution, comparable to the origin of eukaryotic cells, or of social insects. Language is crucial here: slime molds and ants organize high levels of cooperation, turning themselves into 'superorganisms', by secreting pheromones. Humans organize by secreting cosmologies...

  15. Maria Paula Cacault, Christian Hildebrand, Jeremy Laurent-Lucchetti, and Michele Pellizzari: Distance learning in Higher Education: "Online live streaming of lectures... student achievement and attendance... students at the University of Geneva.... Students use the live streaming technology only when events make attending class too costly, and that attending lectures via live streaming lowers achievement for low-ability students but increases it for high-ability ones...

  16. Octavia E. Butler: Speech Sounds #books

  17. George Washington's Mount Vernon: Elizabeth Willing Powel: "One description of a lavish party thrown by the Powels comes from John Adams’ diary, kept during the second session of the Continental Congress. On September 8, 1774, he wrote, 'Dined at Mr. Powells—A most sinfull Feast again! Every Thing which could delight the Eye, or allure the Taste.' Powel ran her parties in the French style of a salon, a location where leading intellectuals and other elites gathered to discuss current political and social issues...

  18. Gordon Bryant Brown: An Insider's Memoir: How Economics Changed to Work Against Us From Smith to Marx to BitCoin #books

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 6, 2019)" »


July 5, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

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The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed. We are where we were a year ago: Stable growth at 2% per year with no signs of rising inflation or a rising labor share. The only significant difference that the Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain. We are one year closer to full employment, yes. But we have extended our view of when we will reach full employment by nine months:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: Junly 5, 2019: "The... Nowcast stands at 1.5% for 2019:Q2 and 1.7% for 2019:Q3.... Higher than expected exports and imports data, the ISM manufacturing survey, and employment data...

Continue reading "July 5, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update" »


June 28, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

6a00e551f0800388340240a467baa8200c

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast. Worth noting is that the ten-year CPI inflation breakeven is now 1.6%. If investors were risk neutral with respect to bearing this particular inflation risk, this breakeven ought to be 2.5% if investors expected the Federal Reserve to meet its 2.0% PCE inflation target over the next decade:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: June 28, 2019: "The... Staff Nowcast stands at 1.3% for 2019:Q2 and 1.2% for 2019:Q3...

Continue reading "June 28, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update" »


It is macro: recession, weak recovery, catastrophe, and then superweak recovery...

I confess I do not get this from Paul Krugman.

Yes, the trade deficit crowds-out traditionally-male blue-collar import-substituting manufacturing jobs, but imports crowd-in traditionally-male blue-collar wholesale trade jobs, and finance traditionally-male blue-collar construction (and capital-goods manufacturing) jobs. If you look at all traditionally-male blue-collar—wholesale, construction, manufacturing, and mining)–what you get is not a story of the trade deficit, but rather a story of (a) macro shocks to aggregate demand, and (b) the long-run technology-and-preferences trend—some of which is automation.

NAFTA is nowhere.

The 2002-2007 bilateral-trade "China shock" is simply not a terribly big deal for the country as a whole: employment in traditionally-male blue-collar occupations was flat. A big deal for places that found their manufactures competing with new imports from China, yes. But not for blue-collar traditionally-male employment in the country as a whole.

For the country as a whole, it is aggregate demand—2001-3 recession, weak recovery, 2007-9 catastrophe, and then superweak recovery—with a supporting role for technology-and-preferences:

Https fred stlouisfed org graph graph id 577417 rn 817

Paul Krugman: "Yang asserts that automation destroyed lots of manufacturing in the midwest, [but] you don't have to be a protectionist to realize that the acceleration of job loss after 2000 was mainly about the surging trade deficit:

18 Paul Krugman on Twitter And while Yang asserts that automation destroyed lots of manufacturing in the midwest you don t have to be a protectionist to realize that the acceleration of job loss after 2000 was mainly about the surging

Continue reading "It is macro: recession, weak recovery, catastrophe, and then superweak recovery..." »


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

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  • Weekly Forecasting Update: June 21, 2019: : "About the only news in the past week or so is that the Federal Reserve has—behind the curve—become convinced that it raised interest rates too much in 2018. To the extent they attribute their change of view to news, the news is that President Trump is a chaos monkey with respect to international trade—but that was well known back in 2015. Worth noting is that the ten-year CPI inflation breakeven is now 1.6%. If investors were risk neutral with respect to bearing this particular inflation risk, this breakeven ought to be 2.5% if investors expected the Federal Reserve to meet its 2.0% PCE inflation target over the next decade...

  • Project Syndicate: Robo-Apocalypse? Not in Your Lifetime: "Historically, the tasks that humans have performed have fallen into ten broad categories. The first, and most basic, is using one’s body to move physical objects, which is followed by using one’s eyes and fingers to create discrete material goods. The third category involves feeding materials into machine-driven production processes...

  • Project Syndicate: U.S. as Doofus Country, China, and Grand Strategy: "note that—of course—all those necessary and needed pieces of action require that the U.S. look and act inwardly, not outwardly...

  • 15000 workers in the top 0.01% of income this year receive an average of 400,000 dollars a day How could one go about spending that? Suppose you decided this morning that you wanted to rent the 2000 square-foot Ritz-Carlton suite at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco hotel for the week of next Memorial Day, and did so. That would set you back 6000 for seven nights. You would still have to spend 394,000 more today to avoid getting richer: to avoid getting richer you would have to spend 16,667 an hour, awake and asleep, day in and day out...

  • Comment of the Day: JEC: On Economist James Buchanan: "So... what Buchanan learned from serving in the Navy at a time when blacks were allowed to serve on ships exclusively as cooks was that snobbish Yankees were mean to him. Remind me again why we're spending time on this man's 'thought?...

  • For the Weekend: Where There's a Whip, There's a Way!

  • Weekend Reading: Discussion of J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers: "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy

  • Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1937): How to Avoid a Slump: "So long as surplus resources were widely diffused between industries and localities it was no great matter at what point in the economic structure the impulse of an increased demand was applied. But the evidence grows that—for several reasons into which there is no space to enter here—the economic structure is unfortunately rigid, and that (for example) building activity in the home counties is less effective than one might have hoped in decreasing unemployment in the distressed areas. It follows that the later stages of recovery require a different technique...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Conquest of Southeast Britain: "A.D. 457. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Crayford, and there slew four thousand men. The Britons then forsook the land of Kent, and in great consternation fled to London.... A.D. 473. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Welsh, and took immense Booty. And the Welsh fled from the English like fire...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Arrival of the Saxons: "A.D. 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian assumed the empire, and reigned seven winters. In their days Hengest and Horsa, invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance, landed in Britain in a place that is called Ipwinesfleet; first of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against them...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Fall of the Western Roman Empire: "A.D. 443. This year sent the Britons over sea to Rome, and begged assistance against the Picts; but they had none, for the Romans were at war with Attila, king of the Huns. Then sent they to the Angles, and requested the same from the nobles of that nation...

  • Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: To the End of Roman Rule in Britain: "A.D. 189. This year Severus came to the empire; and went with his army into Britain, and subdued in battle a great part of the island. Then wrought he a mound of turf, with a broad wall thereupon, from sea to sea, for the defence of the Britons...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from around June 28, 2018


  1. Caleb Melby, Laura Marcinek and Danielle Burger (2014): Inflation Hawks Unrepentant and Zombified Watch!: ": Fed Critics Say ’10 Letter Warning Inflation Still Right.... John Taylor 'inflation, [un]employment... destroy[ed] financial markets, complicate[d]... normaliz[ation]... all have happened.'... Douglas Holtz-Eakin 'the clever thing... is never give a number and a date. They are going to generate an uptick in core inflation.... I don’t know when, but they will.' Niall Ferguson 'this bull market has been accompanied by significant financial market distortions, just as we foresaw. Note that word "risk". And note the absence of a date. There is in fact still a risk of currency debasement and inflation.'... David Malpass: 'The letter was correct'.... Amity Shlaes: 'inflation could come... the nation is not prepared'.... Cliff Asness... declined to comment. Michael Boskin... didn’t immediately respond.... Charles Calomiris... was traveling and unavailable.... Jim Chanos... didn’t return a phone call or an e-mail.... John Cogan... didn’t respond.... Nicole Gelinas... didn’t respond.... Phone calls... and an e-mail... to Kevin A. Hassett... weren’t returned. Roger Hertog... declined to comment.... Gregory Hess... didn’t immediately return.... Diana DeSocio... said Klarman stands by the position.... William Kristol... didn’t immediately return a call.... Ronald McKinnon... died yesterday prior to a Bloomberg call.... Dan Senor... didn’t respond.... Stephen Spruiell... declined to comment... https://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/11/15/open-letter-to-ben-bernanke/

  2. Win McCormack: The Green New Deal: A Capitalist Plot: "To save the planet, be more like Ike.... According Cohen and DeLong, economists at Berkeley who are among the key sources of the economic development strategy underlying the Green New Deal, the Eisenhower years were perhaps the most economically consequential in modern American history...

  3. Emily Blanchard: Trade Wars in the Global Value Chain Era: "Early evidence suggests that even in the very short run, the current trade war is taking a toll on US firms and consumers.6 The key question in the months and years to come is how, if these tariffs continue, they will begin to feed back through global value chains at the expense of firms and workers in the US, China, and around the world...

  4. John Maynard Keynes (1937): How to Avoid a Slump: "The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury...

  5. Patience Haggin and Kara Dapena: Google’s Ad Dominance Explained in Three Charts: "Tech giant is the leading supplier of services to carry out virtually every step of purchasing and selling ads...

  6. "Barry Eichengreen (2015): Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses—and Misuses—of History

  7. Paul Krugman: Notes on Excessive Wealth Disorder: "How not to repeat the mistakes of 2011...

  8. Antonio Gramsci (1926): Some Aspects of the Southern Question:

  9. Thomas R. Bates (1975): Gramsci and the Theory of Hegemony: "The intellectuals succeed in creating hegemony to the extent that they extend the world view of the rulers to the world, and thereby secure the 'free' consent of the masses to the law and order of the land. To the extent that the intellectuals fail to create hegemony, the ruling class falls back on the state's coercive apparatus...

  10. Weekend Reading: Discussion of J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (2012): "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy"

  11. Notebook: Economics Gone Wrong

  12. J. Bradford Delong and Lawrence H. Summers (2012): Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy

  13. Paul Krugman: Notes on Excessive Wealth Disorder: "How not to repeat the mistakes of 2011...

  14. It makes me sad that the sweet spot for this is 50 a year. How many such things do I feel I can afford to subscribe to at 50 a year? About 1/10 of those I would feel I could afford to subscribe to at 10 a year...: Daniel Mallory Ortberg: The Shatner Chatner

  15. Martin Wolf (2014): The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis

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


A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from around June 28, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Reads on Equitable Growth:

  1. A very nice paper concluding, among other things, that geographic mobility is the friend and not the foe of increases in the minimum wage as an equitable growth policy—it is the individuals who are able to move across state lines to opportunity who appear to benefit the most: Kevin Rinz and John Voorheis: The distributional effects of minimum wages: Evidence from linked survey and administrative data: "States and localities are increasingly experimenting with higher minimum wage...

  2. Brad DeLong: The lack of Federal Reserve maneuvering room is very worrisome

  3. Karen Dynan joins Equitable Growth Steering Committee

  4. It is worth stressing that motherhood penalties—work-gap penalties more generally—appear present throughout and beyond the Global North. Our labor market institutions and expectations are still as if designed for a male-dominated paid workforce in which women exit the paid labor force upon marriage or pregnancy and do not return: Eunjung Jee, Joya Misra, and Marta Murray-Close: Motherhood penalties in the U.S., 1986-2014: "Mothers earn less than childless women...

  5. I have long thought it unwise that feminist economics is not a much larger and more prominent subfield. The past century and a half, after all, has seen the typical woman go from eating for two for twenty years to eating for two for onlyfour. That is a huge change, with mammoth and fascinating implications and consequences within and far beyond economics—yet remarkably few (male) economists seem to care: Kate Bahn: Reporting from the International Association for Feminist Economics Conference: "Great presentation on 'Bridging Theory and Action: Digital Platforms as an Opportunity for Feminist Economics' by @leezagavronsky and @Bilguis92.... We need to move beyond the online/offline binary, since it often leads activism out in the world. Economists don't need to dumb things down, but present things in a more inclusive manner, with less jargon that obfuscates what we are actually trying to say...

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Fifteen Worthy Reads from around June 28, 2018" »


Making it real that we live in the "second gilded age"...

I am hearing from a number of people that columns like this one and its ilk by Paul Krugman and our other compadres are bloodless, and ineffective. They do not convey any sense of what is happening.

So let me make it more concrete:

The top 0.01% of American workers—now some 15000—this year have incomes, including capital gains, of about 500 times the average. Typical incomes in America today, including capital gains and benefits, are perhaps 300 a working day. The gulf between them and average income is large: average income is about 800. Thus 15000 workers in the top 0.01% of income this year receive an average of 400,000 dollars a day.

How could one go about spending that? Suppose you decided this morning that you wanted to rent the 2000 square-foot Ritz-Carlton suite at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco hotel for the week of next Memorial Day, and did so. That would set you back 6000 for seven nights. You would still have to spend 394,000 more today to avoid getting richer: to avoid getting richer you would have to spend 16,667 an hour, awake and asleep, day in and day out.

One way to think about the spending of these 15000 superrich is that they are, collectively, through their spending employing 7,500,000 who are dedicated to making them happier and advancing their purposes, whatever they may be. And a large proportion of them are bosses, partially constrained by their obligation to advance the purposes of the organizations they work for, but free to shape and interpret those purposes as they wish. Guess average is effectively the unconstrained boss of only 3 more: that makes 20,000,000 of us who are paid to directly and indirectly and who are thus are focused on advancing the top 0.01%'s particular and idiosyncratic purposes. Is that likely to be a healthy society?

And then there are the rest of the top 0.1%—not 15,000 but 135,000 each on average one-ninth as well-off—who must spend and reinvest not 400,000 but 45,000 a day, but who are collectively of the same economic weight as the top 0.01%, and thus have another 20,000,000 of us working for them: paid to directly and indirectly and thus focused on advancing the top 0.1%'s particular and idiosyncratic purposes as well:

Paul Krugman: Notes on Excessive Wealth Disorder: "How not to repeat the mistakes of 2011.... What’s really at issue here is the role of the 0.1 percent, or maybe the 0.01 percent—the truly wealthy, not the '400,000 a year working Wall Street stiff' memorably ridiculed in the movie Wall Street. This is a really tiny group of people, but one that exerts huge influence over policy.... Raw corruption.... Soft corruption.... Campaign contributions.... Defining the agenda... [which] I want to focus on... a particular example that for me and others was a kind of radicalizing moment, a demonstration that extreme wealth really has degraded the ability of our political system to deal with real problems... the extraordinary shift in conventional wisdom and policy priorities that took place in 2010-2011, away from placing priority on reducing the huge suffering still taking place in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, and toward action to avert the supposed risk of a debt crisis...

Continue reading "Making it real that we live in the "second gilded age"..." »


U.S. as Doofus Country, China, and Grand Strategy

Il Quarto Stato

No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate: In the New York Review of Books, Adam Tooze recently wrote that: "across the American political spectrum, if there is agreement on anything, it is on the need for a firmer line against China". He is correct: On this, the bombs-and-bullets people, the geopolitics people, and the blame-somebody-else people are all agreed. The U.S. needs to do something to strengthen its relative position, and that means it needs to start doing something to China.

But that would be going about it the wrong way. Thinking that the right way to do something is to do something to China is a very bad way to think.

Continue reading "U.S. as Doofus Country, China, and Grand Strategy" »


Robo-Apocalypse? Not in Your Lifetime: No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate

Robo Apocalypse Not in Your Lifetime by J Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate

No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate: Robo-Apocalypse? Not in Your Lifetime: "Will the imminent “rise of the robots” threaten all future human employment? The most thoughtful discussion of that question can be found in MIT economist David H. Autor’s 2015 paper, “Why Are There Still so Many Jobs?”, which considers the problem in the context of Polanyi’s Paradox. Given that “we can know more than we can tell,” the twentieth-century philosopher Michael Polanyi observed, we shouldn’t assume that technology can replicate the function of human knowledge itself. Just because a computer can know everything there is to know about a car doesn’t mean it can drive it. This distinction between tacit knowledge and information bears directly on the question of what humans will be doing to produce economic value in the future... Read MOAR at Project Syndicate

Continue reading "Robo-Apocalypse? Not in Your Lifetime: No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate" »


June 21, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

Outlook Slides: https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0iqGf9C1E8-9mHJVeQdy1U7YQ

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The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways.

About the only news in the past week or so is that the Federal Reserve has—behind the curve—become convinced that it raised interest rates too much in 2018. To the extent they attribute their change of view to news, the news is that President Trump is a chaos monkey with respect to international trade—but that was well known back in 2015.

Worth noting is that the ten-year CPI inflation breakeven is now 1.6%. If investors were risk neutral with respect to bearing this particular inflation risk, this breakeven ought to be 2.5% if investors expected the Federal Resrve to meet its 2.0% PCE inflation target over the next decade:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: June 21, 2019: "The New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 1.4% for 2019:Q2 and 1.3% for 2019:Q3. News from this week's data releases left the nowcast for 2019:Q2 largely unchanged and decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q3 by 0.4 percentage point. For 2019:Q3, negative surprises from regional survey data drove most of the decrease...

Continue reading "June 21, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 19, 2019)

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  1. Fareed Zakaria: The Self-Destruction of American Power: "One is struck by the ways in which Washington—from an unprecedented position—mishandled its hegemony and abused its power, losing allies and emboldening enemies. And now, under the Trump administration, the United States seems to have lost interest, indeed lost faith, in the ideas and purpose that animated its international presence for three-quarters of a century...

  2. Christina Romer (1994): The End of Economic History?: "Perhaps more than any particular finding or direct implication, the fact that the debate about stabilization and the new data collection efforts are being carried out by a mixture of economic historians and macroeconomists is the most desirable development of all. As with all of the other recent developments in economic history that have been discussed here, the bringing together of researchers with different perspectives has not only stimulated exciting research, it has also meant that the lessons of history have been incorporated into other fields. In this way, the end of economic history has really been just the beginning of better and richer economics...

  3. AlphaChat: Jay Shambaugh on Tools to Fight the Next Recession: "The economist and Brookings Institution senior fellow talks to FT contributor Megan Greene about the fiscal policies that lawmakers could arrange now that would automatically kick in when some of the early signs of a slowdown start to appear...

  4. Ed Nawotka: Daunt Relishes Challenge of Leading B&N: "Daunt said his priority with B&N is not to cut costs, but to find a way to arrest the decline in sales and return the company to growth, much as he did at Waterstones. The key, he said, will be investment.... Above all, Daunt expressed calm about the transition, and advocated for patience...

  5. Charles Petzold (2008): The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine (Indianapolis: John Wiley: 9780470229057) #books

  6. Joanna Ossinger: JPMorgan Shows Where Huge Risks From Fed, G-20 Are Underpriced: "Stocks may correct if Fed isn’t dovish enough: Panigirtzoglou. Cross-asset measures show little volatility risk premium...

  7. Barry Eichengreen, Asmaa El-Ganainy, Rui Esteves, and Kris James Mitchener: Public Debt Through the Ages: "Periods when debt-to-GDP ratios rose explosively as a result of wars, depressions and financial crises also have a long history. Many of these episodes resulted in debt-management problems resolved through debasements and restructurings. Less widely appreciated are successful debt consolidation episodes.... We analyze the economic and political circumstances that made these successful debt consolidation episodes possible...

  8. Josefin Meyer, Carmen M. Reinhart, and Christoph Trebesch: Sovereign Bonds since Waterloo: "220,000 monthly prices of foreign-currency government bonds traded in London and New York between 1815 (the Battle of Waterloo) and 2016, covering 91 countries.... Returns on external sovereign bonds have been sufficiently high to compensate for risk. Real ex-post returns averaged 7% annually across two centuries, including default episodes, major wars, and global crises... an excess return of around 4% above US or UK government bonds... are hard to reconcile with canonical theoretical models and with the degree of credit risk.... Full repudiation is rare; the median haircut is below 50%...

  9. Olivier Blanchard and Takeshi Tashiro: Fiscal Policy Options for Japan

  10. DS100: Principles and Techniques of Data Science #book

  11. Barry Ritholtz: Buy Yourself a F--king Latte: "A Latte a Day Isn’t Going to Ruin Your Retirement. If spending $5 a day on fancy coffee puts your retirement at risk, you’ve got bigger problem...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 19, 2019)" »


Hoisted from Six Years Ago: To Steal a Line from Leon Trotsky: "Every Man Has a Right to Be Stupid, but John Cochrane Abuses the Privilege..."

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

Hoisted from the Archives: Stupidity Is a Willed Choice Files: John Cochrane: Reading Paul Krugman calls to mind that I never reacted to John Cochrane's July 2012 failure to mark his beliefs to market and, instead, doubling down on his claim that the biggest risk the U.S. economy faces is that of becoming "Argentina" "quickly".

I must say that if I had been opining stridently about issues of public policy without doing my homework five years ago, and if between then and now events had developed in directions strongly contrary to my expectations, I would not double down on what I had thought then--I would rather try hard to do my homework and to mark my beliefs to market.

And if I were going to criticize people for not citing my work, I would not claim that a sentence they wrote which comes immediately after a four-paragraph quote from me as an example, and I would have read their explanation of why they think expansionary fiscal policy right now does not raise the risks of "fiscal dominance" rather than remain in ignorance of it.

But to each his own!

Continue reading "Hoisted from Six Years Ago: To Steal a Line from Leon Trotsky: "Every Man Has a Right to Be Stupid, but John Cochrane Abuses the Privilege..."" »


Hoisted from the Archives: John Cochrane's Claim in Late 2008 That a Recession Would Be a Good Thing Deserves Some Kind of Award...

Hoisted from the Archives: The fact is that by the end of 2007 the construction sector had rebalanced: there was no excess of people pounding nails in Nevada—even if you did believe the false theory that recessions have recessions do the "necessary work of rebalancing", there was no rebalancing work to be done after 2007. Even a quarter-competent Schumpeterian who kept even half an eye on the data should have been able to recognize that...

More than Two Decades of Macroeconomic History Through the Lens of Four Key Components of Aggregate Demand


To: @johnmlippert: If I may beg a small slice of your attention...

I am tracking down John Cochrane's claims that (i) in your December 23, 2008 article you were "only... on a hunt for embarrassing quotes", (ii) he had "spent about 10 hours patiently trying to explain some basics" to you, and (iii) you took him out of proper context when you wrote: "'We should have a recession', Cochrane said in November, speaking to students and said in November, speaking to students and investors in a conference room.... 'People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do'."

Do you by chance remember the larger context of Cochrane's "pounding nails" comment, and do you have any idea why he now claims that you took him out of context? Or what he thinks the proper context would have been?

I would be grateful for any light you can shed on this.

Yours,

Brad DeLong brad.delong@gmail.com


John M. Lippert: "Hi Professor DeLong.

Thanks for your note. Professor Cochrane’s complaint is something of which I became aware several months after we published our story in 2008.... The bottom line is that Bloomberg did not respond to Cochrane’s comments. He never sent them to us, despite my request that he do so.

When we became aware of his complaint, we saw no reason to make a correction. Cochrane made the ‘pounding nails’ comment at a Chicago Booth forum at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago in November 2008. It was part of an ongoing lecture series, as I recall. It was kind of a big event, with a couple hundred people. So they may have a recording that you can access.

Good luck with your inquiries.

Tks,

John Lippert

Continue reading "Hoisted from the Archives: John Cochrane's Claim in Late 2008 That a Recession Would Be a Good Thing Deserves Some Kind of Award..." »


Federal Reserve Talking Points for Bloomberg: June 19, 2019

For ten years now, the Federal Reserve has:

  • overestimated how fast the economy will grow without exceptional support.
  • underestimated how many people the US can put to work at "full employment"—the point beyond which inflationary pressures start to build.
  • overestimated how fast an inflationary spiral could take hold.
  • underestimated the dangers of renewed recession.

 

And the result has been the worst economic recovery in American history. For example:

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  • The unwillingness of the Federal Reserve to change its 2%-going-forward inflation target deprived the economy of the usual faster-than-trend bounce-back from the depths of a depression.

  • The Federal Reserve's decision to treat 2%-going-forward as a ceiling rather than a target left banks with little incentive to lend out the massive reserves that quantitative easing had led them to hold.

  • The Federal Reserve's mid-2010s decision to announce that the time of extraordinary support would soon end nearly brought on a recession.

  • The Federal Reserve's end-of-2016 decision to initiate a tightening cycle has left it in it current situation, with the 10-year inflation breakeven for the PCE at 1.3%/year—0.75-points below the Federal Reserve's formal target, in which it dearly wishes the interest rates it controls were lower than they are but does not quite dare take steps to reduce them yet.

3 Month Treasury Bill Secondary Market Rate FRED St Louis Fed

 

More generally:

  • The Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut has been a complete failure at boosting the American economy through increased investment in America.
    • But it has been a success in making the rich richer and thus America more unequal.
    • And it delivered a short-term demand-side Keynesian fiscal stimulus to growth that has now ebbed.
  • The past month has seen an 0.8%-point decrease in our estimate in what seasonally adjusted annual-rate production growth was comparing April-June to January March.
    • This is in part an impact of Trump's attempt to fight a trade war with China
    • Plus Trump's attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix.
  • But this is mostly due to what Larry Summers calls "secular stagnation":
    • Financial markets are failing to mobilize the risk-bearing capacity of American society.
    • Thus even very low safe government-debt interest rates have not made capital affordable enough to induce the investment boom we would like to see.

Continue reading "Federal Reserve Talking Points for Bloomberg: June 19, 2019" »


More than Two Decades of Macroeconomic History Through the Lens of Four Key Components of Aggregate Demand

It is remarkable the extent to which you can tell the story of the U.S. macroeconomy over the past twenty-five years through the reactions of four components of aggregate demand to policies and shocks:

  1. The dot-com boom unleashed by the Clinton deficit-reduction program and high-tech innovation.
  2. The dot-com bust.
  3. The housing boom.
  4. The successful rebalancing of aggregate demand—housing sits down, while exports and business investment stand up as money flows are successfully redirected.
  5. The Fed well behind the financial-stability curve: the financial crisis and the collapse.
  6. Inadequate recovery: The Geithner Treasury and the Obama White House's failure to do anything to promote a recovery of residential construction.
  7. Inadequate recovery: Republican (and Obama) fiscal austerity.
  8. Inadequate recovery: Bernanke's highly premature taper tantrum.
  9. The Trump rebound.

 

Dot-Com Boom:

FRED Graph FRED St Louis Fed

 

Continue reading "More than Two Decades of Macroeconomic History Through the Lens of Four Key Components of Aggregate Demand" »


June 14, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

JOLTS Day Graphs April 2019 Report Edition Equitable Growth

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways. About the only news is that over the past month we have seen an 0.8%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, largely driven by reductions in durable goods orders, capacity utilization, net exports, and this morning employment. This might be an impact of Trump's attempt to fight a trade war with China, plus Trump's attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Jun 14, 2019: Nowcast: "1.4% for 2019:Q2 and 1.7% for 2019:Q3. News from this week's data releases increased the nowcast for both 2019:Q2 and 2019:Q3 by 0.4 percentage point. Positive surprises from retail sales, capacity utilization, and industrial production...

Continue reading "June 14, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update" »


The Intergenerational Burden of the Debt: Nick Rowe Tempts Fate Weblogging: Hoisted from the Archives

Cursor and 30 Year Treasury Inflation Indexed Security Constant Maturity FRED St Louis Fed

Until secular stagnation ends—until the yield on U.S. government debt exceeds the growth rate of the economy—worry about reducing of even stabilizing the debt-to-GDP ratio of a country like the U.S. that has assume running room via financial repression to stabilize demand for its debt is premature. Thus the takeaway is this: It would be much more productive right now to worry about how do we maintain normal levels of net investment in a high government debt post-interest rate normalization environment than to propose sending the economy back into recession in order to reduce government debt accumulation. Recession and high unemployment in the short- and medium-run are problems. Low investment in the medium- and long-run are problems. Government debt is a tool to avoid the first and a source of risk of the second. But it is better to keep your mind focused on the things that are real problems:

Hoisted from the Archives: The Intergenerational Burden of the Debt: Nick Rowe Tempts Fate Weblogging...: Nick Rowe:

Continue reading "The Intergenerational Burden of the Debt: Nick Rowe Tempts Fate Weblogging: Hoisted from the Archives" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 12, 2019)

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  1. John Holbo: "You, for example, are being slightly rude, asking such questions of religious people!: 'But... it is not usually taken as rude in religious circles to ask of people: Will you be on the left or the right "when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory...'" Oh absolutely. Rude to challenge people about their religious beliefs. Because that's religious liberty. But it's not rude for religious people to challenge non-religious people abut their beliefs. Because that's religious liberty. Purest proof of 'liberty' = 'privilege' here!...

  2. Brian Lyman: 'Where Was the Lord?': On Jefferson Davis' Birthday, 9 Slave Testimonies

  3. When the person driving the car becomes so exercised by the derogeance inflicted upon newlyweds Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill and Jennie Jerome by their parents' failure to give them the capital sum to purchase a Stately Home in which to entertain that she misses the turnoff to the Jacksonville airport...

  4. Duncan Black: Do You Even Have Friends: "A legitimate joke about conservatives is they occasionally stumble upon a problem that directly impacts them or their family or friends and suddenly become liberals... on only that issue. Learn to generalize...

  5. Doug Jones: Amplifier Lakes: "Paleontologists and paleoanthropologists are busy sorting out what was special about the climate and ecology of Africa, especially East Africa, that contributed to various phases of hominin evolution... particular times when lakes were flickering in and out of existence along the... East African Rift Valley... a rich (sometimes) but also a particularly challenging environment.... Lewis Dartnell’s very recent Origins: How Earth’s History Shaped Human History...

  6. When and why did the brain eater eat the brain of this guy?: Nick Confessore: "'[Does] secular liberalism ha[ve] a kind of stopping point that accepts the continued not just existence but flourishing of conservative religious traditions?' I haven’t yet encountered a liberal answer to this question in the current instance.... Anyone have a recommendation for a piece on the left engaging with that point?" Parker Molloy: "The premise is insane, Nick. There’s not a reasonable rebuttal to it. It’s honestly scary that there are people willing to view the argument as a reasonable position in the first place. We live in a world where it’s legal for a Christian business owner to fire an employee for being gay, but illegal for a gay business owner to fire someone for being Christian...

  7. Charles Jones (1994): "Economic Growth and the Relative Price of Capital," Journal of Monetary Economics 34, pp. 359-82 https://delong.typepad.com/jones94.pdf

  8. John Amato: Donald: Federal Reserve Are 'Not His People' Even Though He Chose 4 Out Of 5: "He apparently forgot that the current Fed panel is one of his creation...

  9. George Orwell (1936): The Road to Wigan Pier

  10. Dan Nexon: Trump Change: Grift and Graft in the New Gilded Age: "Republican concern about many matters – such as the role of congress in overseeing the executive branch and best practices when it comes to securing classified information–extends only so far as partisan political considerations dictates. The same is obviously true of kleptocracy. However, just because the GOP couldn’t care less doesn’t mean that we need to normalize it...

  11. Mark Sullivan: Sign in with Apple Puts Apple’s Privacy Stance to Work: "Sign in with Apple is an impressive, privacy-friendly alternative to one of the main data-harvesting techniques used by its rivals. And Apple isn’t just offering it up as a new option for developers. It will require apps that include sign-in buttons powered by other companies to add its new button as well...

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Hoisted from Eleven Years Ago: Poverty Traps: The High Price of Investment Goods in Poor Countries

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Hoisted from Eleven Years Ago: Poverty Traps: The High Price of Investment Goods in Poor Countries http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/poverty-traps-t.html:Here is how Larry Summers and I formulated it back in the early 1990s, and I believe that we were correct:

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A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Must- and Should-Reads from the Past Week or so: June 7, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Readings at Equitable Growth:

  1. That monetary policy is best which avoids creating needless unemployment while still maintaining confidence in the value of the unit of account. Yet surprisingly little thought has been devoted to figuring out which monetary policy jumps the highest with respect to this objective: Nick Bunker: Getting on the level with the Fed’s targeting of prices: "John Williams’s move to New York is a sign that the Federal Reserve may soon reconsider its target for monetary policy. It’s not clear whether a new target would emerge from such a process or how radical a change current members of the FOMC would consider. The current inflation targeting structure may have gotten the U.S. economy to where it is, but it took some time. A quicker recovery from the next recession would be to the benefit of everyone in the U.S. economy. So, a rethink is needed. Hopefully it’s coming soon..."

  2. I think "top 20%" is wrong. The fact that most of percentiles 80%-97% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis percentiles 98% and 99%—and that most of percentiles 98% and 99% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis the 99.9%, and most of the 99.9% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis 99.99% makes arguing that they have in some sense succeeded in realizing a dream that they now hoard a hard argument to make: Richard Reeves: Equitable Growth in Conversation_: "Dream hoarders... are the people at the top... the winners of the inequality divide... the top 20 percent roughly of the income distribution. That means they earn healthy six-figure household incomes, with average incomes of about $200,000 a year..."

  3. There was a lot of noise about how giving repatriated profits a tax break would boost investment in America. As near as I can see it, none of it was well-founded at all: Kimberly Clausing: Equitable Growth in Conversation: "We are distorting repatriation decisions by having this repatriation tax. But I don’t think we’re dramatically changing the investments found in the United States. The companies that have profits abroad can borrow against them to finance any desired investment. And some of the money isn’t really truly abroad—it’s invested in U.S. assets..."

  4. This web page at Slate has the wrong headline. It should be: "Education Won’t Solve Inequality: Not without workers’ power too". Sigh. On the substance, blaming increasing inequality on "Skill Biased Technical Change" was always a non-sequitur. Given the way the models were set up, SBTC was a residual: anything that diminished worker bargaining power was going to be labeled "SBTC" regardless of what it really was: Kate Bahn: Study: Unions increasingly represent educated workers: "Herbst, Kuziemko, and Naidu throws a wrench in the SBTC [Skill-Biased Technical Change] explanation of rising inequality. They find that the education level of union members also followed a U-shape curve from 1936–2016..."

  5. Looking forward to what we can learn from this BLS initiative: Kate Bahn: New data on contingent workers in the United States: "On Thursday, June 7, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release data from its freshly collected Contingent Worker Supplement. It’s important for policymakers and economists alike to know what to look for ahead of Thursday’s data release..."

Continue reading "A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Must- and Should-Reads from the Past Week or so: June 7, 2018" »


June 7, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways. About the only news is that over the past month we have seen a 1.2%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, largely driven by reductions in durable goods orders, capacity utilization, net exports, and—this morning—employment growth. This might be an impact of Trump's attempt to fight a trade war with China, plus Trump's attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Jun 07, 2019: Nowcast: "1.0% for 2019:Q2 and 1.3% for 2019:Q3. News from this week's data releases decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q2 by 0.5 percentage point and decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q3 by 0.7 percentage point. Negative surprises from the ISM manufacturing survey, employment data, and international trade data drove most of the decrease...

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (June 5, 2019)

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  • Live at Project Syndicate: What to Do About China?: "It is entirely foreseeable that America’s attempt to “get tough” with China could accelerate its own relative decline, effectively handing China the semi-hegemony it is already approaching.... So, what should the US do to shore up its position vis-à-vis China?...

  • Weekly Forecasting Update: May 31, 2019: No Significant Changes: "About the only news these past three weeks is an 0.7%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, driven by a reduction in estimated durable goods orders and capacity utilization. This might be an impact o Trump's trade war, plus Trump's attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix...

  • An Intake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016": Refinding the Path Toward Utopia: From 1938 to 1973 growth in the G-7 jerked forward again: not at the 0.76%/year pace of 1913-1938 or even the 1.42%/year pace of 1870-1913, but at an average pace of 3.0%/year. That is a material wealth doubling time of not the 90 years or so of 1913-1938 or even the 50 years of 1870-1913, but 24 years: less than a generation. Thus the G-7 was three times as well-off in 1973 as it had been in 1938...

  • An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016": The Cold War: There was one other fact about post-World War II that cemented the social-democratic mixed-economy Keynesian order that drove a generation of the fastest economic growth and the greatest advance in human prosperity and liberty the world had hitherto seen: it was the Cold War...

  • Note to Self: Lecture: African Retardation: https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0O8TxLOzM1gvGwSZYkWBV97rw

  • Note to Self: G-7 national income per capita growth since 1800, according to Hans Rosling's http://gapminder.org: https://www.icloud.com/numbers/07Q5v0jKa1sohBHiO8l3Np9Gw...

  • Hoisted from the Archives from 2017: Interview: "NAFTA Is Just Not a Big Deal for the U.S.": "In a typical year we sell exports that we could get 2 trillion for if we had to sell them here at home and get imports that would cost us 4 trillion. That makes us 2 trillion per year—25,000 per family each year—richer and more prosperous. That is a big deal...

  • A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Must- and Should-Reads from the Week of May 31, 2018...

  • Weekend Reading: Belle Waring: Uses and Abuses of Tarps: : "Such creativity! And the need to give Gorky one slender reed on which to lean for his glowing reviews of the labor re-education camps! Even his choice of fiancee seemed to augur his judgments: 'The famous writer embarked from the steamer in Prosperity Gulf. Next to him was his fiancee dressed all in leather—a black leather service cap, a leather jacket, leather riding breeches, and high narrow boots—a living symbol of the OGPU shoulder to shoulder with Russian literature'...

  • Weekend Reading: Henry Farrell: The American Right's Torquemada Option: "When anti-modern conservatives decide that the liberal world is depraved... cleanse it of the corruption of tolerance. Call it the Torquemada Option https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_the_Warlock. And the moderate success that some modern figures-such as Orban-have enjoyed in taking over the university system and forcibly purging it of those who would pollute our youth with gender studies and the like give old time reactionaries like Kimball some hope it can be done...

  • Weekend Reading: Jeremiah: 22 KJV: "'Do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if.. ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself', saith the Lord, 'that this house shall become a desolation'...

  • Weekend Reading: Into the Abyss: James David Nicoll on Heinlein's "Starship Troopers": "Heinlein... convinced himself he intended 'veterans' to include people whose public service included non-military organizations but there is no textual evidence of this.... 'Youngster, do I look that silly? I’m a civilian employee'. 'Oh. Sorry, sir'. 'No offense. But military service is for ants'. The doctor clearly sees service as military service...

  • Comment of the Day: As Dan Davies says, finance works with criminal penalties for material misrepresentations, and works better. Would not politics also work better with such?: Graydon: "Remember that in this case, Boris made the public lie in an official capacity, was told by the relevant governmental body that it was a lie—the statistics authority officially informed the official persona of the officeholder that no, no, that's not correct; that is not close to correct—and the official persona went right on making the lie in public in ways the court refuses to find obviously immaterial...


  1. Gershem Gorenberg: "The actions of a leader desperate to hold power and stay out of jail are utterly beyond prediction...

  2. Paul Krugman: Robot Geometry: "Imagine an economy that produces only one good... using two techniques, A and B, one capital-intensive, one labor-intensive.... Technical progress in A, perhaps also making A even more capital-intensive... will lead to a fall in the real wage, because 1/w must rise. GDP and hence productivity does rise, but maybe not by much if the economy was mostly using the labor-intensive technique. And what about allocation of labor between sectors?... Capital-using technical progress in A actually leads to a higher share of the work force being employed in labor-intensive B...

  3. Nadiezda Kizenko (2000): A Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People https://books.google.com/books?isbn=027101976X: "Three introductory comments.... While I have tried to do justice to a figure as complex as Father John, this is not a hagiography.... Because I intend this book... for readers... interest[ed] in the history of Russia and... of Christianity, I have included background material.... I am well aware that Father John still sparks intense reactions...

  4. Mark Thoma (May 29, 2019): Your Daily digest for Economist's View

  5. Chris Patten: Unforgettable Tiananmen: "It's not surprising that the Communist Party of China has worked so hard to eradicate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre from public memory. History–including the horrors of Mao Zedong’s rule–is too volatile a substance for the Chinese dictatorship...

  6. David Evans: New Findings in Global Education: "Want better test scores? Lower the heat....Parents make school choices based not only on test scores but also on a school's contribution to reduced crime or teen pregnancies.... Education reform ≠ education gains.... It’s hard to teach what you don’t know...

  7. Erin Blakemore: The Korean War Hasn't Officially Ended. One Reason: POWs: "And then there were the POWs who were not returned at all. About 80,000 South Koreans were in North Korea when a ceasefire ended the war. Most are thought to have been put to work as laborers, 're-educated', and integrated into North Korean society. In 2010, South Korea estimated that 560 were still alive. Their ordeals in repressive North Korea were unknown until a small group of defectors told their stories...

  8. Chris Duckett: AMD 3rd-Gen Ryzen Series Coming in July LedbyBy 12-Core Ryzen 9 Beast: "Range of chips beginning at 330 and topping out at 500 for the 12-core Ryzen 9... 7 nanometre technology... 12 cores, can handle 24 threads, has 2.8GHz base frequency with 4.6GHz boost, and has 70MB of cache. 'That's half the price of our competition with much, much more performance', AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su said...

  9. HathiTrust Digital Library

  10. Mihir Sharma: Modi's Election Win Sends a Populist Warning to the World: "From Trump to Brexit, don’t bet against voters making the same choice again...

  11. Hoisted from 2010: How an Economy Can Live Beyond Its Means on Its Wits: P.J. Grigg: "I distrust utterly those economists who have with great but deplorable ingenuity taught that it is not only possible but praiseworthy for a whole country to live beyond its mens on its wits and who in Mr. Shaw's description tech that it is possible to make a community rich by calling a penny two pence, in short who have sought to make economics a vade mecum for political spivs..." Confront economists' theories of depressions... and you find yourself immediately confronted with... seven... Monetarism... Wicksellianism... Minskyism... Austrianism... Vulgar Keynsianism... Hickianism... Post-Keynesianism...

  12. Hoisted from 2009: Fama's Fallacy II: Predecessors: Fama, actually, is much worse than the British Treasury economists of the 1920s. They acknowledged that monetary policy could affect the level of employment--could do more than shift resources from one use to another. Fama's argument based on his misinterpretation of the NIPA savings-investment identity has the implication that monetary policy cannot affect the unemployment rate either...

  13. Paul Krugman: "Back in the USA and thinking about what it must be like for conservative economists who weren’t always total hacks but have sold their souls-eg backing crazy claims about tax cuts or declaring that Bernanke was debasing the dollar to help Obama. All that self-abatement to curry favor with the right-and then Art fricking Laffer gets a presidential medal while they get nothing. Self abasement. If I could do self abasement I probably would...

  14. Neil McInnes: The Great Doomsayer: Oswald Spengler Reconsidered

  15. George Kennan (1947): The Sources of Soviet Conduct

  16. U.S. National Security Council (1950): NSC-68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security

  17. Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Irving Kristol: "This explains my own rather cavalier attitude toward the budget deficit and other monetary or fiscal problems. 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...

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What to Do About China?: Live at Project Syndicate

What to Do About China by J Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate

Live at Project Syndicate: What to Do About China?: BERKELEY–In a recent issue of The New York Review of Books, the historian Adam Tooze notes that, “across the American political spectrum, if there is agreement on anything, it is on the need for a firmer line against China.” He’s right: On this singular issue, the war hawks, liberal internationalists, and blame-somebody-else crowd all tend to agree. They have concluded that because the United States needs to protect its relative position on the world stage, China’s standing must be diminished.... But that is the wrong way to approach the challenge.... It is entirely foreseeable that America’s attempt to “get tough” with China could accelerate its own relative decline, effectively handing China the semi-hegemony it is already approaching.... So, what should the US do to shore up its position vis-à-vis China?... The US could start to become what it would have been if Al Gore had won the 2000 presidential election, if Hillary Clinton had defeated Trump, and if the Republican party had not abandoned its patriotism... Read MOAR at Project Syndicate

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Interview: "NAFTA Is Just Not a Big Deal for the U.S.": Hoisted from the Archives from 2017

Shenzhen skyline 2015 Google Search

Joseph Ford Cotto: J. Bradford DeLong says "NAFTA is just not a big deal for the U.S.", explains why: "Support for Bernie Sanders and the Donald did not rise out of nowhere, after all. In such turbulent waters as these, it is important to seek the guidance of a wise, seasoned captain. Insofar as the sea of dollars and cents is concerned, J. Bradford DeLong is just that fellow. He is "a professor of economics at UC Berkeley, a weblogger for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth http://equitablegrowth.org/blog, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury in the Clinton administration .... He also writes the weblog Grasping Reality: http://bradford-delong.com," as DeLong's U.C.B. biography explains. Dr. DeLong recently spoke with me about many topics relative to our nation's economy. Some of our conversation is included below....

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The Cold War: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"

Cold war checkpoint charlie Google Search

Post-WWII Political Economy: Stabilization

Challengers

But what about the other factors that had fatally disrupted the pre-WWI global order? Imperialism, nationalism, militarism, fascism, and a really existing version of socialism preached and practiced by Stalin and his heirs that was, in many of its modes, hard to distinguish from the barbarism that Rosa Luxemburg feared that World War I had revealed as socialism’s only alternative? Fascism had been buried in the rubble of Berlin in 1945: thereafter its attractions had been limited to those plutocrats, authoritarians, colonels, and landlords trying to run unstable con games to try to stave off popular and global civil society demands for things like land reform and a less-unequal distribution of wealth as underpinnings for political democracy and the mixed economy.

Or so we had thought.

Continue reading "The Cold War: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"" »


Refinding the Path Toward Utopia: An Intake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"

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Recall the pre-1913 post-1800 progress of humanity in the direction of a utopia of material abundance.

The classic Industrial Revolution period—1800 to 1870—had seen material productivity and living standards rise by perhaps one-quarter worldwide, with an average growth rate of perhaps one-third of a percent per year. Growth had been faster—greater than one-half percent per year—in the countries that were to become the G-7, even though two of its future members, Italy and Japan, as of yet showed few signs of significant industrial-era growth. Then 1870-1913 the modern corporation, the industrial research lab, the manufacturing value chain, plus globalization—the land and submarine telegraph cable, the iron-hulled screw-propellered ocean-going steamship and the railroad, and global migration—pulled the world forward with a large jerk: a more than tripling of growth, with a more than doubling of growth rates in the industrial core that was to become the G-7 and substantial participation elsewhere even where factories were not build. A Mexico, for example, saw its productivity levels double between 1870 and 1913. An Argentina, for example, saw its productivity levels triple. And growth in Italy and Japan for the first time kept pace with that in their future G-7 partners.

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May 31, 2019: No Significant Changes: Weekly Forecasting Update

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways. About the only news these past three weeks is an 0.7%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, driven by a reduction in estimated durable goods orders and capacity utilization. This might be an impact o Trump's trade war, plus Trump's attempts to add a trad ar with Mexico to the mix:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: "May 31, 2019.... The New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 1.5% for 2019:Q2. News from this week's data releases increased the nowcast for 2019:Q2 by 0.1 percentage point...

 

Key Points:

Specifically, it is still the case that:

  • The Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut has been a complete failure at boosting the American economy through increased investment in America.
    • But it has been a success in making the rich richer and thus America more unequal.
    • And it delivered a short-term demand-side Kerynesian fiscal stimulus to growth that has now ebbed.
  • U.S. potential economic growth continues to be around 2%/year.
  • There are still no signs the U.S. has entered that phase of the recovery in which inflation is accelerating.
  • There are still no signs of interest rate normalization: secular stagnation continues to reign.
  • There are still no signs the the U.S. is at "overfull employment" in any meaningful sense.

  • A change from 3 months ago: The U.S. grew at 3.2%/year in the first quarter of 2019—1.6%-points higher than had been nowcast—but the growth number you want to put in your head in assessing the strength of the economy is the 1.6%/year number that had been nowcast. The falling-apart of Trump's trade negotiating strategy with China will harm Americans and may disrupt value chains, and the might be becoming visible in the data flow.

  • Changes from 1 month ago: Industrial production appears to be falling as new durable goods orders come in below expectations. Industrial production may have peaked last December:
     
    Industrial Production Index FRED St Louis Fed

  • A change from 1 week ago: Trump has now added a possible trade war with Mexico to the mix...

  • Over the past 20 years: United States manufacturers are ordering no more in the way of the nominal value of capital goods than they order two decades ago. Deflators here are very hazardous, but I believe that translates to a zero increase in real orders as well. This is unprecedented for the U.S. economy: nothing like it has happened before:
     
    Manufacturers New Orders Durable Goods FRED St Louis Fed

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 28, 2019)

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  1. (23013): Mourning the Death of James Buchanan: "Daniel Kuehn gets it right, I think, on the significance of the career of the late Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan: 'He got a lot right, with public choice and constitutional economics. He also got a lot quite wrong, particularly his take on the political economy of the Keynesian revolution. But he certainly was a talented and productive economist well deserving of his Nobel prize.' I would go somewhat further: he got a lot right that desperately needed to be gotten right and that nobody else would have gotten right in his absence. He made a difference in economics at more than the margin, which is something you can say of very few economists... | Six Faces of Right-Wing Chain-Forging Economist James Buchanan...

  2. Abigail Adams (1776): Letter to John Adams: "What sort of Defence Virginia can make against our common Enemy?... I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Eaquelly Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs. Of this I am certain that it is not founded upon that generous and christian principal of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us...

  3. James Buchanan (1997): Has Economics Lost Its Way? https://delong.typepad.com/buch_econlostway.pdf

  4. Dierdre McCloskey: Review of Buchanan, "Better than Plowing"

  5. Wikipedia: Étienne Maurice Gérard: "1er Comte Gérard (4 April 1773–17 April 1852) was a French general, statesman and Marshal of France. He served under a succession of French governments including the ancien regime monarchy, the Revolutionary governments, the Restorations, the July Monarchy, the First and Second Republics, and the First Empire (and arguably the Second), becoming Prime Minister briefly in 1834...

  6. Wikipedia: List of American and British defectors in the Korean War

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From Total Industrial to Limited War: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"

Preview of From Total Industrial to Limited War An Outtake from Slouching Towards Utopia An Economic

Total Industrial War

A total industrial war sees a state taking control of an economy and society via bureaucracy, mobilizing most young and some old men into its armed forces, and then hurling as much as it can of men, metal, and nitrogen-based explosives at an enemy so using up more than half of society’s productive potential in works of destruction. What is the point? The first aim is to keep the adversary from doing the same to you. The next aim varies: to establish for Germany a proper place in the sun and control of enough land and resources to support a very large and prosperous population; to establish for Japan an empire—a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere—like those European powers had established in the 1800s; to end Hitler’s régime; to reform Germany’s politics and somehow transform it into a peaceful democracy; to end all wars; to keep imperial Germany from turning Russia into a puppet semi-colony; to end the encirclement of Germany by a hostile Russia and a hostile France; to demonstrate that Austria-Hungary can destroy Serbia in retaliation for its state-sponsored assassination of Austria-Hungary’s crown prince; to preserve the balance of power on the European continent; to demonstrate that one’s treaty promises are credible by preserving the independence and neutrality of Belgium as guaranteed by the provisions of the 1839 Treaty of London; to preserve the Union that is the United States of America; to end slavery on the North American continent; “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.

Some of these secondary war aims are worth five years of death, destruction, temporary mass poverty, and strict rationing. Most are not.

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

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  1. Rob Beschizza: Reporters Who Quote Ums And Ahs Only Make Themselves Look Bad: "Journalists sometimes use a version of the facts to support faleshoods. Check out the following, posted by Daily Mail reporter David Martosko, quoting a teenager on Trump's use of the racist 'Pocahontas' slur.... Martosko wanted to establish here was that the teen—and perhaps by implication young Warren supporters in general—is confused and foolish. He did this by including all the ums and ahs of speech, filler terms... and extraneous commas. Most people saw this 'verbatim' text for what it was, and Martosko was thoroughly ratioed by readers.... Most of us talk just as the teen did, when challenged to speak extemporaneously. This can be true of even polished and well-prepared speakers. Listen to politicans and pundits on cable news panels, with an ear for the fillers, and you might be surprised.... We don't usually judge speakers for it because our brains correctly interpret it as meaningless filler.... Reporters usually remove speech disfluency when they quote subjects. In fact, it is generally considered unethical and unprofessional for editors not to remove the ums and ahs and filler terms...

  2. Eliza Mackintosh: Finland Is Winning the War on Fake News. Other Nations Want the Blueprint

  3. Julian Matthews: A Cognitive Scientist Explains Why Humans Are So Susceptible to Fake News and Misinformation » Nieman Journalism Lab: "We might like to think of our memory as an archivist that carefully preserves events, but sometimes it’s more like a storyteller...

  4. Andrew Carnegie: Steelmaking: "The eighth wonder of the world is this: two pounds of iron-stone purchased on the shores of lake Superior and transported to Pittsburgh; two pounds of coal mined in Connellsville and manufactured into coke and brought to Pittsburgh; one half pound of limestone mined east of the Alleghenies and brought to Pittsburgh; a little manganese ore, mined in Virginia and brought to Pittsburgh. And these four and one half pounds of material manufactured into one pound of solid steel and sold for one cent. That’s all that need be said about the steel business...

  5. Sam Biddle: Facebook’s Work With Phone Carriers Alarms Legal Experts: "From these eight categories alone, a third party could learn an extraordinary amount about patterns of users’ daily life, and although the document claims that the data collected through the program is 'aggregated and anonymized', academic studies have found time and again that so-called anonymized user data can be easily de-anonymized. Today, such claims of anonymization and aggregation are essentially boilerplate...

  6. Khoi Vinh: ‘John Wick: Chapter 3–Parabellum’ Review: "A film creates a compelling fantasy world and fans clamor for more. So sequels build that world out, they show more of its mechanics, its people, its history... the inevitable outcome is bureaucracy...

  7. Joe Wiggins: Why Are Other Investors So Biased? | Behavioural Investment: "If you ask a fund manager why they believe that their investment philosophy can generate excess returns, they will almost inevitably state that they are seeking to exploit the behavioural biases exhibited by other investors that create pricing inefficiencies.  It is somewhat puzzling therefore that if you question the same fund manager about how they seek to address their own biases the response is either entirely unconvincing or evasive...

  8. Ben Steverman: The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich: "Thirty-two-year-old French economist Gabriel Zucman scours spreadsheets to find secret offshore accounts...

  9. Arindrajit Dube: Econ 333 : "Income Inequality & Policy Alternatives...

  10. Wikipedia: Barbarian: "The case has been made that [Rosa] Luxemburg had remembered a passage from the Erfurt Program, written in 1892 by Karl Kautsky, and mistakenly attributed it to Engels: 'As things stand today capitalist civilization cannot continue; we must either move forward into socialism or fall back into barbarism'...

  11. Douglas B. Harris (1997): Dwight Eisenhower and the New Deal: The Politics of Preemption

  12. Brian Warren: Mac Open Web

  13. Gavin Kennedy (2010): What Adam Smith Actually Identified as the Appropriate Roles for 18-century Governments

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


May 24, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways. About the only news these past two weeks is an 0.8%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, driven by a reduction in estimated durable goods orders and capacity utilization. This might be an impact o Trump's trade war.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: May 24, 2019: "The New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 1.4% for 2019:Q2. News from this week's data releases decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q2 by 0.4 percentage point. Negative surprises from the Advance Durable Goods Report drove most of the decrease...

 

Key Points:

Specifically, it is still the case that:

  • The Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut:
    • To the extent that it was supposed to boost the American economy by boosting the supply side through increased investment in America, has been a complete failure.
      • To the extent that it was supposed to make America more unequal, has succeeded.
      • Delivered a substantial short-term demand-side fiscal stimulus to growth that has now ebbed.
        • (A 3.2%/year rate of growth of final sales to domestic purchasers over the seven quarters starting in January 2017,
        • pushing the level of Gross National Income up from 2.0%/year from this demand-side stimulus.)
  • U.S. potential economic growth continues to be around 2%/year.
  • There are still no signs the U.S. has entered that phase of the recovery in which inflation is accelerating.
  • There are still no signs of interest rate normalization: secular stagnation continues to reign.
  • There are still no signs the the U.S. is at "overfull employment" in any meaningful sense.

  • A change from 3 months ago: The Federal Reserve's abandonment of its focus on policies that are likely to keep PCE chain inflation at 2%/year or lower does not mean that it is preparing to do anything to avoid or moderate the next recession.

  • Changes from 1 month ago: The U.S. grew at 3.2%/year in the first quarter of 2019—1.6%-points higher than had been nowcast—but the growth number you want to put in your head in assessing the strength of the economy is the 1.6%/year number that had been nowcast. The falling-apart of Trump's trade negotiating strategy with China will harm Americans and may disrupt value chains, and the might be becoming visible in the data flow.

  • A change from 1 week ago: Industrial production appears to be falling as new durable goods orders come in below expectations. Industrial production may have peaked last December:
     
    Manufacturers New Orders Durable Goods FRED St Louis Fed

  • Over the past 20 years: United States manufacturers are ordering no more in the way of the nominal value of capital goods than they ordered two decades ago. Deflators here are very hazardous, but I believe that translates to a zero increase in real orders as well. This is unprecedented for the U.S. economy: nothing like it has happened before.

Continue reading "May 24, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update" »


Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Statistics

Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Statistics: An updated graph that Claudia Goldin had me make two and a half decades ago. The nonfarm unemployment rate since 1869:

2016 04 05 Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Estimates numbers

Then it was 1890-1990, now it is 1869-2015, thanks to:

  • J.R. Vernon (1994): http://delong.typepad.com/1-s2.0-0164070494900086-main.pdf
  • C.D. Romer (1986): http://delong.typepad.com/spurious-volatility.pdf
  • BLS (2015): http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?ln

with spreadsheet at: http://tinyurl.com/dl20160405

The assumption–debateable–is that “unemployment” is not a farm thing–that in the rural south or in the midwest or on the prairie you can always find a place of some sort as a hired hand, and that “unemployment” is a town- and city-based nonfarm phenomenon.

I confess I do not understand how anyone can look at this series and think that calculating stable and unchanging autocorrelations and innovation variances is a reasonable first-cut thing to do.

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 21, 2019)

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Robo-Apocalypse? Not in Your Lifetime: Live at Project Syndicate

Robo Apocalypse Not in Your Lifetime by J Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate

Live at Project Syndicate: Robo-Apocalypse? Not in Your Lifetime: "Will the imminent “rise of the robots” threaten all future human employment? The most thoughtful discussion of that question can be found in MIT economist David H. Autor’s 2015 paper, “Why Are There Still so Many Jobs?”, which considers the problem in the context of Polanyi’s Paradox. Given that “we can know more than we can tell,” the twentieth-century philosopher Michael Polanyi observed, we shouldn’t assume that technology can replicate the function of human knowledge itself. Just because a computer can know everything there is to know about a car doesn’t mean it can drive it. This distinction between tacit knowledge and information bears directly on the question of what humans will be doing to produce economic value in the future... Read MOAR at Project Syndicate

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"Neoliberalisms", Left and Right: Hoisted from the Archives

stacks and stacks of books

Hoisted from the Archives: From 2015: _"Neoliberalisms", Left and Right: Today's best piece I have read on the internet is by the extremely sharp John Quiggin: The Last Gasp of (US) [Left-]Neoliberalism: "US neoliberalism is... closer to Blair’s Third Way than to Thatcher....

...[US] neoliberalism maintained and even extended ‘social liberalism’, in the US sense of support for equal marriage, reproductive choice and so on. In economic terms, its central claim was that the goals of the New Deal... could best be pursued through market-friendly policies that would earn the support of the financial sector.... [The] signature issues for US neoliberals were free trade, cuts in ‘entitlement’ spending, and school reform... a ‘grand bargain’, in which Republicans would accept minimal increases in taxation in return for the abandonment of most of the Democratic program. The Clinton administration was explicitly neoliberal.... And, while Obama’s 2008 election campaign was masterfully ambiguous, his first Administration neoliberal through and through.... But developments since then, including the global financial crisis, the failure of school reform and increasing awareness of entrenched inequality have destroyed the appeal of neoliberalism...

I think that John Quiggin is largely correct—if you correct "abandonment" to "reconfiguration".

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The ε-Stigler and the Other Components of Stigler: On George Stigler's 1962 Denunciation of the "Insolence" of Demonstrating Negroes, and Other Topics

School of Athens

Twitter Thread: Daniel Kuehn wrote: "We say something intelligent and on-point about Buchanan or Friedman or Tullock or Stigler and then we try to extrapolate a history of conservatism from it. Generally we're not equipped to do that (I'm certainly not), and should be wary of it. Wary doesn’t mean don’t cross-pollinate. I think the interaction between the two communities is great. Just something to be aware of..."

Let's take the George Stigler vector and project it onto a complete intellectual basis made up of the unit vectors ε, σ, π, β, γ:

Continue reading "The ε-Stigler and the Other Components of Stigler: On George Stigler's 1962 Denunciation of the "Insolence" of Demonstrating Negroes, and Other Topics" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 19, 2019)

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  1. Yes, Some People at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Think Churchill Was a War Criminal for Not Making Peace with Hitler in May 1940. Why Do You Ask?

  2. Ernst H. Kantorowicz: The Fundamental Issue: Documents and Marginal Notes on the University of California Loyalty Oath

  3. Robin Harris: The Bastards Say, Welcome: "The most famous computer ad that never ran was created for Data General.... After IBM announced the Series/1.... DG marketing came up with a rough draft of a 2-page ad: 'They Say IBM’s Entry Into Minicomputers Will Legitimize The Market. The Bastards Say, Welcome'...

  4. Muriel Dal-Pont Legrand and Harald Hagemann: Business Cycles in Juglar and Schumpeter􏰀: "One important difference is that for Schumpeter the classical business cycle is driven by technological innovations of medium size, whereas for Juglar the cause for an overheated boom is speculation fuelled by easy credit...

  5. Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus: Life of Tiberius Gracchus

  6. DS100: Principles and Techniques of Data Science

  7. Erik Wade: St. Bride's Day Massacre : "We had to kill the Vikings, because they bathed and brushed their hair and our wives couldn't resist such sophistication" is a HELL of a take by medieval English chroniclers: 'One thirteenth-century chronicle attributed a slaughter of Danes by Anglo-Saxons in 1002 to the former's irresistibility to the latter's spouses: "The Danes made themselves too acceptable to English women by their elegant manners and their care of their person. They combed their hair daily, according to the custom of their country, and took a bath every Saturday, and even changed their clothes frequently, and improved the beauty of their bodies with many such trifles, by which means they undermined the chastity of wives...

  8. Sam Lau, Joey Gonzalez, and Deb Nolan: Principles and Techniques of Data Science

  9. Lyall Taylor: The LT3000 Blog: Uber, Delusion, and Ride-Hailing's Structural Economic Inefficiency: "NYC and Silicon Valley based investors forget that the majority of the world doesn't live in these areas.... Every time I go back to New Zealand to spend time with my parents [I see] that private vehicle ownership isn't going to cease any time soon. Commuting with one's own car is cheap, reliable, fast, and comfortable. Why wait around for an expensive Uber when you can just whip yourself down the road to the local store or restaurant in 5 minutes, and park for free outside on the road or in designated parking areas outside?...

  10. AlphaChat: Kimberly Clausing Makes the Case for Open Economies

  11. Lumen Learning: The Bank War

  12. James A.Kahn and Robert W.Rich: _Trend Productivity Growth: "Through 2019Q1... with probability 0.93 productivity remains in a low-growth (1.33% annual rate) regime.... Productivity growth in 2019Q1 in the nonfarm business sector was 3.6% (annual rate), the highest rate in more than four years...

  13. I missed this when it came out three years ago: Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, Zhenxiang Chen, Paul M. Ong, Darrick Hamilton, and William A. Darity Jr.: The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles

  14. The full text is online. Go read it!: Heather Boushey, Ryan Nunn, and Jay Shambaugh: Recession Ready: Fiscal Policies to Stabilize the American Economy

  15. George A. Akerlof et al.: Exhibit A: "George A. Akerlof, Professor Susan Dynarski... and Professor Janet L. Yellen... regularly use and teach statistical analytical methods.... Amici have a wide range of views about the appropriateness of using race as a factor in college admissions. However, they share the view that Dr. Card is one of the most outstanding and respected scholars in the field of econometrics and applied economics, that his statistical analyses in this case were methodologically sound, and that the criticisms of his modeling approach in the Brief of Economists as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiff, Dkt. 450 ('Plaintiff’s Amici Br.'), are not based on sound statistical principles or practices...

  16. Jacob T. Levy: "Somehow this article never asks whether... maybe our experience with a president whose qualifications were 'playing a rich person on TV' and 'shouting on twitter' has some important lessons...

  17. Boing-Boing: Nebula Awards: "The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman)...

  18. Leah McElrath: @leahmcelrath: "//begin sarcasm font// It’s absolutely totally okay to have no idea how many children our government has stolen from their parents. Just business as usual. //end sarcasm font// This is what we’re accepting now...

  19. Michael Bennet: Why We Need a Public Health Insurance Option: "I Got Lucky With My Cancer Treatment, But Many Americans Go Bankrupt. That's Why We Need a Public Option...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 19, 2019)" »


May 17, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

Industrial Production Index FRED St Louis FedManufacturers New Orders Nondefense Capital Goods Excluding Aircraft FRED St Louis Fed

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Nothing has changed—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: May 17, 2019: "The New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 1.8% for 2019:Q2. News from this week's data releases decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q2 by 0.4 percentage point. Negative surprises from industrial production and capacity utilization data largely offset positive surprises from housing and regional survey data...

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"Attempts to Make Sense Out of Right Wing Austrian Economics Can Never Amount to Anything"—rootless_e: Hoisted From the Archives

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rootless_e is correct: Ludwig von Miese is not: Hoisted from the Archives: Quote of the Day: November 12, 2011: "Attempts to carry out economic reforms from the monetary side can never amount to anything but an artificial stimulation of economic activity by an expansion of the circulation, and this, as must constantly be emphasized, must necessarily lead to crisis and depression. Recurring economic crises are nothing but the consequence of attempts, despite all the teachings of experience and all the warnings of the economists, to stimulate economic activity by means of additional credit"—Ludwig von Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit...

"Attempts to make sense out of right wing Austrian economics can never amount to anything."—rootless_e...

"Fictitious" Wealth and Ludwig von Mises: Nevertheless, like a moth to a flame—or like a dog to vomit, or like a dog to something worse—I find myself under a mysterious but inexorable and irresistible compulsion to waste what would otherwise be productive work time trying to make some kind of sense of it—to at least understand wherein lies the error, and how somebody trying very hard to understand the economy (never mind that he is a big fan of the political leadership of Benito Mussolini) can go so pathetically wrong. It is, of course, not the case that every expansion of the circulation is an "artificial" (and unnatural) "stimulation of economic activity" that must "necessarily lead to crisis and depression". So why does Ludwig von Mises think that it must? Here is my current guess as to where von Mises is coming from:

Continue reading ""Attempts to Make Sense Out of Right Wing Austrian Economics Can Never Amount to Anything"—rootless_e: Hoisted From the Archives" »


Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 16, 2019)

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  • Yes, Societal Well-Being Depends on a Very Strong Distributional Bias Along the Lines of "To Each According to Their Need". Why Do You Ask?

  • PREVIEW: Economic Growth in Historical Perspective: U.C. Berkeley: Spring 2020

  • Note to Self: F--- you, @jack: "Quite stunning that you have developed such potentially useful tool, @jack, and yet have managed to make yourself so thoroughly my enemy, isn't it?...

  • Note to Self: Are all the cool kids still writing weekly email newsletters? If not, why no longer? If so, why?...

  • Twitter Thread: On Thomas Jefferson's Declaration: The problem with it rhetorically (which is only a very small part of the problem with it morally) is that it requires an extra paragraph: "He tempted us, and we fell, and now we are in a horrible spot. And now he is trying to make their and our situation worse by sparking a servile insurrection, with all its bloody and terrible consequences, upon these shores". But I do not know if he could say that paragraph, even to himself in his heart. And certainly the Constitutional Convention would not say it...

  • Twitter Thread: On Peng Dehaui: "In 1970 Peng was formally tried and sentenced to life imprisonment, and he died in prison in 1974...

  • Twitter Thread: On James Buchanan: "If you are hanging with Mt. Pelerin, with its Lykourgan moments and its "the merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally" and "by the slogan that 'it is not your fault' that the demagoguery of unlimited democracy, assisted by a scientistic psychology has come to the support of those who claim a share in the wealth of our society without submitting to the discipline to which it is due", either you dissent strongly and sharply or... we read between the lines...

  • Comment of the Day: John Howard Brown: "Most white males don't experience their lives as privileged. If anything, they feel less privileged than their fathers.... Too bad that so many 'Baby Boomers' got scared by the inflation monster in the 1970s...

  • Comment of the Day: Howard: "Graduated high school in Allentown, PA in 1970.... White males like me who didn't go to college expected to find life-long work and reasonable pay at Bethlehem Steel, Mack Truck, or the Western Electric Plant. All those jobs are long, long gone...

  • Comment of the Day: Robert Waldmann: "Why promise inflation after the recession rather than produce inflation now when monetary policy isn't at the zero lower bound? Is it really likely that people could be convinced that the Fed will accept inflation over 2% some years after then next time we are in the liquidity trap when it demonstrates that it won't accept it right now? They should walk the walk, not just pre-commit to possibly talking the talk at some time in the indefinite future. Still progress...

  • Weekend Reading: Joseph Schumpeter (1927): The Explanation of the Business Cycle

  • Weekend Reading: Raymond Aron (1955): Nations and Ideologies

  • Weekend Reading: Samuel Brittan (1980): Hayek, the New Right, and the Crisis of Social Democracy


  1. Martin Wolf: How the Long Debt Cycle Might End: "Start then with inflationary fire. Much of what is going on right now recalls the early 1970s: an amoral US president (then Richard Nixon) determined to achieve re-election, pressured the Federal Reserve chairman (then Arthur Burns) to deliver an economic boom. He also launched a trade war, via devaluation and protection. A decade of global disorder ensued. This sounds rather familiar, does it not?...

  2. Charlotte Ahlin: The 'Game Of Thrones' Survival Odds For The 5 Characters Who George R. R. Martin Said Would Make It To The End: "TV Bran stands a pretty good chance of surviving.... Survival chances: 9.5/10. No one cares enough to kill him anymore.... Good luck to anyone foolish enough to try and kill Arya Freaking Stark.... Survival chances: 7/10. 'Not today'.... TV Tyrion... will probably survive to be the power behind whoever ends up on the throne... but a Tyrion death scene would give us one hell of a gut punch in the series finale. Survival chances: 6/10. Leave our boy alone, Bronn!... TV Dany... yikes. Her babies are dropping like (dragon)flies.... Survival chances: 3/10. Dracarys.... TV Jon is everyone's top pick for Special King Boy.... But... honorable Stark men don't fare all too well down south.... Survival chances: 8/10. It's his game to lose...

  3. Barry Ritholtz: Index Funds Don’t Hurt Consumers, But Monopolies Do - Bloomberg: "Critics of passive investing blame the wrong thing for higher prices in some industries...

  4. Minxin Pei: Is Trump’s Trade War with China a Civilizational Conflict?: "Recent remarks by a senior Trump administration official suggest that the United States' current approach to China is dangerously misconceived. The rise of China under a one-party dictatorship should be met with a united front in defense of the liberal order, not talk of a clash of Caucasian and non-Caucasian civilizations...

  5. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh: Marianne Johnson: "Dr. Johnson's research focuses on the history of public economics and public choice, particularly as related to public goods and public policy decision-making. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal for the History of Economic Thought and Oeconomica. Dr. Johnson recently finished a five year term as co-editor for Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology. Dr. Johnson is the secretary for the History of Economics Society and former president of the Wisconsin Economics Association...

  6. Christopher Monroe: Quantum Computing Is a Marathon Not a Sprint

  7. Josh Brown: The Book That Changed My Life: "The 20th anniversary of Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth.... Nick Murray has taught thousands of financial advisors about the inherent dignity of our careers...

  8. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service): Fort Baker: "Fort Baker, the 9th and final 'Post-to-Park' conversion in the Golden Gate National Parks, is a 335 acre former 1905 U.S. Army post located immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This hidden gem of a site consists of over 25 historic army buildings clustered around a main parade ground, a sheltered harbor protected by a jetty, a number of historic gun emplacements, and trails and forested areas climbing gently up from San Francisco Bay...

  9. Cavallo Point Resort: The Luxury Hotel at the Golden Gate

  10. Ludwig von Mises: Dictatorships and Double Standards: "Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history...

  11. Ludwig von Mises: The First Lesson About Conservative Thinkers Is That They All Rot in One Generation or Less...: "The socialists are coming with a plan to equalize gender relationships–and by making the wife an equal of the husband it is only a matter of time until the worker seeks to be the equal of the boss, and with sex itself freely shared among consenting equals how can we even maintain the idea of 'private property'?...

  12. Ludwig von Mises: The First Lesson About Conservative Thinkers Is That They All Rot in One Generation or Less...: "The pseudo-democratic movement endeavours... to make the strong equal to the weak, the talented to the untalented, and the healthy to the sick.... The radical wing of the women’s movement seeks to make women the equal of men…. But the difference between sexual character and sexual destiny can no more be decreed away than other inequalities of mankind...

Continue reading "Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 16, 2019)" »


Yes, Societal Well-Being Depends on a Very Strong Distributional Bias Along the Lines of "To Each According to Their Need". Why Do You Ask?

Il Quarto Stato

At least half of our wealth comes from the ideas and investments of those who are now dead. And as we grow richer, that proportion grows as well. None of the living have any just exclusive claim on any portion of this cornucopian storehouse of technologies. The dead have no just claim on it either: respect for their legacy does not entail honoring their wishes as to its use, if that honoring upsets the principle of equal opportunity. Thus the most bedrock moral-philosophical principal is that more than half of our wealth is held in common for the human community to distribute as it decides is good.

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PREVIEW: Economic Growth in Historical Perspective: U.C. Berkeley: Spring 2020

After hearing Ellora Derenoncourt rave about being a TA for Melissa Dell and her Econ 142: The History of Economic Growth, I have decided to go full parasite and stand up my own version of the course for the spring of 2020 here at U.C. Berkeley. Tell me what you think! Here are my notes so far:


Course to be at: Teaching Economics: https://delong.typepad.com/teaching_economics/econ-135.html


Econ 135: Economic Growth in Historical Perspective

This course examines the idea and reality of economic growth in historical perspective, beginning with the divergence between human ancestors and other primates and continuing through with forecasts for the 21st century and beyond. Topics covered include human speciation, language, and sociability; the discovery of agriculture and the domestication of animals; the origins and maintenance of gross inequality; Malthusian economies; the commercial and industrial revolutions; modern economic growth; international prosperity differentials; OECD convergence and East Asian miracles; the political economy of growth and stagnation; and the stubborn persistence of poverty.

Continue reading "PREVIEW: Economic Growth in Historical Perspective: U.C. Berkeley: Spring 2020" »