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Mark Bauerlein (2006): On Michael Bérubé: Weekend Reading

Clowns (ICP)

I wonder if Mark Bauerlein has become a Trumpist? Yes indeedee, he has—not anti-anti-Trump, but the Full Monty: "President Trump is the only one who can stop the left now": Mark Bauerlein (2006): On Michael Bérubé: "An assigned essay topic that was claimed by a conservative student to be anti-American, a claim rightly judged by Bérubé a silly exaggeration. Still, the tendentiousness of the question is plain. Here is the final sentence: 'Analyze the U.S. constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded [the] majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America’s elite interest'...

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Weekend Reading: Raphael Hogarth: 'No Deal' Actually Means Total Supplication...

Dumpster fire Google Search

Weekend Reading: Raphael Hogarth: "Some MPs Talk about 'No Deal' as a Great Liberation. 'No Deal' Actually Means Total Supplication, Handing Huge Control over the UK to the European Commission.Read the government’s technical notices on no deal, and you will find that an awful lot of sectors will need a decision from Brussels to keep trading...

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An Antiplatonic Twitter Dialogue on What the Wish to "Preserve a Cultural Centrism" Actually Means

As Noah Smith says: "Please stop I give up you can have all my money":

School of Athens

Noah Smith: 🐇: Write another post! I'd be interested to know how you think Obama abandoned the cultural centrist ground, specifically.

#MMT: Moral Money Tao: @samvega: "Obama abandoned the cultural centrist ground" by moving ever further right to appease Republican leaders. Who doesn't know this?

Brad DeLong: 🖖🏻: Obama abandoned the "cultural centrist" ground because he decided to be a Black person, unlike Clinton, who decided to be a white person. See?

Noah Smith: 🐇: But his race did not change AFAIK. What did change? Did he start acting more culturally "black" in his second term? I detected no change.

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Lying Liar Kevin Hassett Lies Again...

Unnamed

I have here a transcript from a week or so ago of Kevin Hassett on Fox Business telling transparent lies. Seriously: why does he bother? What does he gain? Is it really the case that AEI will have him back after things like this? WILL banks like JPM Chase will pay him to speak to conferences?

If so, they have really really really really bad judgment:

7:38:49 BARTIROMO: The Atlanta Federal Reserve on Friday issued its GDP forecast for the first quarter, it’s three-tenths of a percent. What was your reaction to this? I know that this changes a lot, by the way...

7:38:59 HASSETT: Sure it does, yeah...

7:39:00 BARTIROMO: You’ll probably revise it umpteen times, but 0.3%, obviously not great for the first quarter...

7:39:05 HASSETT: Right, well there are two things going on. The first is that we started the quarter out with a 300,000 jobs number, north of 300,000. And most of the time when you do that, you end up with a 3% quarter. And so we’re gonna get jobs again this week, and if we get another really big number, and I think we’ll have a lot of confidence that something as low as three-tenths isn’t gonna happen. But there is this weird pattern in the data all the way back to 2010, that the first quarter tends to be about 1% below the average for the year. So if we think as we do at the White House that we’re gonna have about a 3% year, then right now, if you wanted me to put a number on the table, I’d say it’s probably gonna be about a 2% first quarter.

7:39:38 BARTIROMO: Okay, so is that largely because of the shutdown, or what happened in the first quarter...

7:39:41 HASSETT: No, it’s because of the seasonality thing, they don’t seasonally adjust the data correctly in Q1, it’s a weird technical thing. And you know, we could go to the blackboard, I know you’d love it, but your viewers would probably never get me invited back again...

These are lies.

2019 03 08 First Quarter GDP Seasonals numbers

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"Passing the Baton": The Interview

Bernie Sanders news a Clinton era Democrat makes the case for the left Vox

I would say that Zack has it slightly wrong here. There is not one core reason for passing the baton. There are three reasons: a political reason, a policy-implementation reason, and a we've-learned-about-the-world reason:

Here's Zack Beauchamp: Zack Beauchamp: A Clinton-era Centrist Democrat Explains Why It’s Time to Give Democratic Socialists a Chance: “The Baton Rightly Passes To Our Colleagues On Our Left”: "DeLong believes that the time of people like him running the Democratic Party has passed.... It’s not often that someone in this policy debate — or, frankly, any policy debate — suggests that their side should lose. So I reached out to DeLong to dig into the reasons for his position: Why does he believe that neoliberals’ time in the sun has come to an end?...

...The core reason, DeLong argues, is political. The policies he supports depend on a responsible center-right partner to succeed. They’re premised on the understanding that at least a faction of the Republican Party would be willing to support market-friendly ideas like Obamacare or a cap-and-trade system for climate change. This is no longer the case, if it ever were.... The result, he argues, is the nature of the Democratic Party needs to shift. Rather than being a center-left coalition dominated by market-friendly ideas designed to attract conservative support, the energy of the coalition should come from the left and its broad, sweeping ideas. Market-friendly neoliberals, rather than pushing their own ideology, should work to improve ideas on the left. This, he believes, is the most effective and sustainable basis for Democratic politics and policy for the foreseeable future....

Here's me: We are still here, but it is not our time to lead.... Barack Obama rolls into office with Mitt Romney’s health care policy, with John McCain’s climate policy, with Bill Clinton’s tax policy, and George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy. And did George H.W. Bush, did Mitt Romney, did John McCain say a single good word about anything Barack Obama ever did over the course of eight solid years? No, they f---ing did not.... While I would like to be part of a political coalition in the cat seat, able to call for bids from the left and the right about who wants to be part of the governing coalition to actually get things done, that’s simply not possible...

And: Our current bunch of leftists are wonderful people.... They’re social democrats, they’re very strong believers in democracy. They’re very strong believers in fair distribution of wealth. They could use a little more education about what is likely to work and what is not. But they’re people who we’re very, very lucky to have on our side. That’s especially opposed to the people on the other side, who are very, very strange indeed. You listen to [Never Trump conservatives]... about all the people they had been with in meetings, biting their tongues over the past 25 years, and your reaction can only be, “Why didn’t you run away screaming into the night long ago?”...

And: We learned more about the world. I could be confident in 2005 that [recession] stabilization should be the responsibility of the Federal Reserve. That you look at something like laser-eye surgery or rapid technological progress in hearing aids, you can kind of think that keeping a market in the most innovative parts of health care would be a good thing. So something like an insurance-plus-exchange system would be a good thing to have in America as a whole. It’s much harder to believe in those things now. That’s one part of it. The world appears to be more like what lefties thought it was than what I thought it was for the last 10 or 15 years. ..

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#politics #politicaleconomy #moralresponsibility #highlighted #orangehairedbaboons

Real Gross Domestic Product FRED St Louis Fed

Note to Self: Current forecast for 2018QIV GDP growth: 2.0%. Current forecast for 2019Q1 GDP growth: 1.5%. All of these people are now very, very quiet:

  • Robert J. Barro, Michael J. Boskin, John Cogan, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Glenn Hubbard, Lawrence B. Lindsey, Harvey S. Rosen, George P. Shultz and John. B. Taylor: How Tax Reform Will Lift the Economy: "A conventional approach to economic modeling suggests that such an increase in the capital stock would **raise the level of GDP in the long run by just over 4%. If achieved over a decade, the associated increase in the annual rate of GDP growth would be about 0.4% per year...

  • Robert Barro (endorsed by Mike Boskin): How US Corporate-Tax Reform Will Boost Growth: "Gauging the effects of the tax-law changes on the costs (referred to as user costs) that businesses attach to investment in equipment and structures. Then I estimate long-run responses of the capital-labor ratio to the changes in user costs.... If we thought of C-corporations as corresponding to the whole economy, the changes in capital-labor ratios would imply a rise in long-run real per capita GDP by about 8.4%.... I made a rough downward adjustment of the long-run level effect from 8.4% to 7%...

  • James C. Miller III, Douglas Holtz-Eakin... Barry W. Poulson... Charles W. Calomiris... Donald Luskin... 95 others: Pass tax reform and watch the economy roar: "A twenty percent statutory rate on a permanent basis would, per the Council of Economic Advisers, help produce a GDP boost 'by between 3 and 5 percent'.... It is critical to consider that $1 trillion in new revenue for the federal government can be generated by four-tenths of a percentage in GDP growth. Sophisticated economic models show the macroeconomic feedback generated by the TCJA will exceed that amount—more than enough to compensate for the static revenue loss...

  • Susan Collins: Twitter: "On @MeetThePress today said that she had talked to [Holtz-]Eakin, Lindsay and Hubbard and they believed that the supply side stimulus would produce an increase on government revenue. This is problem when other side alleged serious people are really hacks.

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The learned and much-worth-listening-to Eric Alterman has darkened my day. I do, however, think it is time for everyone whose career was boosted by making the Faustian bargain of catering to Marty Peretz's bigotries, prejudices, and envies to exit the public sphere, quietly. Perhaps I should make an exception for Peter Beinart, who has done some atonement: Martin Peretz (2007): Tyran-a-Soros: "GEORGE SOROS LUNCHED with some reporters on Saturday at Davos. He talked about spending $600 million on civil society projects during the 1990s, then trying to cut back to $300 million, and how this year it will be between $450 and $500 million. His new projects aim, in Floyd Norris’s words, to promote a 'common European foreign policy' (read: an anti-American foreign policy) and also to study the integration (or so he thinks) of Muslims in eleven European cities...

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Please Help Me Out Here!

The Charge of the Brexit Brigade: “Forward, the Brexit Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

White papers to right of them,
Pollsters to left of them,
Presslords in front of them
Volleyed and thundered...

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It Is Saturday Morning, and Joe Weisenthal Is Trying to Start a... Symposium... on Twitter

It is Saturday morning, and Joe Weisenthal is trying to start a... symposium... on Twitter.

Make mine Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s navy-strength bathtub gin:

Joe Weisenthal: @TheStalwart: "Should I do a tweetstorm on what I think mainstream Keynesians like @paulkrugman @Nouriel and @ObsoleteDogma get wrong about Bitcoin?... I think most Keynesian types see Bitcoin as a horribly inefficient medium of exchange, whose loudest advocates include many scammers, charlatans, misanthropes, and Austrian economics adherents. And tbh, this is basically all true. But...

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This Is Nuts. When's the Crash?

The highly-estimable FT Alphaville has long had a series: This is nuts. When's the crash?. That is my reaction to learning that Hoover Institution senior fellows are now crypto...

It is not at all clear to me whether they are grifters or griftees here...

I had known about John Taylor, but had thought that was a strange one-off. And now Niall Ferguson. Is anybody even pretending to have a business model other than pup-and-dump? I think the only appropriate response is here:

Background:

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A Rant on Trump, Trade, and China...

Clowns (ICP)

I'm still trying to come to terms with my Commonwealth Club event with Steve Moore last month. As therapy, I took some of my less-than-coherent ravings and tried to turn then into proper rant:


Steve, what you are saying is simply delusional.

You keep saying that Xi needs to deal. Why? Because, you say, Trump is deadly serious on China an sod will not back down.

Do remember that Trump declared victory on reforming NAFTA, "the worst trade deal in the history of the world", with small adjustments on autoparts rules-of-origin. Small adjustment on auto parts were enough to transform NAFTA, in Trump's mind, from the worst trade deal in the history of the world into something he is now very proud of. Xi has to be thinking that he should deal with Trump the same way that Mexico did—hang tough, provide a few symbolic concessions only, and Trump will cave. then things will go go back to business-as-usual.

What is there in the situation that would keep that from being the obvious strategy for Xi to follow?

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Dani Rodrik joins those who believe that Donald Trump and his administration have too little competence and too childish an understanding of the world to do substantial persistent damage to equitable growth. I would like to believe him, but I worry that Italy under Berlusconi may be a relevant case that is a counterexample. As I see it, Berlusconi's kleptocratic and chaos-monkey nature robbed Italy of a decade of economic growth. Trump can definitely do the same Dani Rodrik: Trump’s Trade Game: "Though Trump’s unilateralism and mercantilism are bad... one should not exaggerate.... If other countries do not overreact–and, so far, they have not–the consequences for world trade will remain manageable.... The shift in global demand from goods to (less tradable) services; the increased skill-intensity of manufacturing... automation... reshoring... China’s transition... to domestic-demand-led growth... are likely to have a larger impact on trade than Trump’s bluster ever could...

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Commonwealth Club: Annual Economic Forecast Event (January 25, 2019): Relevant Files

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Commonwealth Club: Annual Economic Forecast

Short-Run Economic Forecast: The Economic Forecast: Commonwealth Club Non-Public Event Opening Statement

Talking Points and Snippets from Commonwealth Club January 25, 2019 Forecast Event

General Talking Points: Commonwealth Club Talking Points (January 25, 2019): Forecasting and Steve Moore Edition

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I think that this does not get what is going on, exactly. It's the Gingrich Rule and the Trump Rule. The Gingrich Rule is this: if the president of your party is not a success and not perceived to be a success, you might well lose your congressional seat at the next election. Those who follow the Gingrich Rule thus have one focus when the presidency is held by the opposite party: make the president look like a failure—and to hell with the well-being of the country. And those who follow the Gingrich Rule thus have one focus when the presidency is held by your own party: make the president look like a success—and to hell with the well-being of the country. But what if—as is the case with Trump—nothing you do can make him look like a success? Well, you might still squeak through if your voter base has a heavy partisan advantage as long as the party loyalists support you. And that means you have to at least appear to support the president, and make sure that the president never gets mad enough at you to make you a target. Want to understand Republican legislators right now? It's these two rules: (1) Try to make Trump look like a success. (2) Try not to make Trump mad at you. This is, however, not fear of Trump—it's fear of the voters you need in your corner next November—fear that the moderates will conclude that you are a loser because Trump looks like a loser, and fear that the base will conclude that you are a loser because you are not loyal enough to Trump. Actually, I would be surprised if we did not have a lot of Republican Senators refusing to run in 2020: it's much better for your future lobbying career to retire than to lose. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), David Perdue (R-GA), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), take note: A.B. Stoddard: Trump's Loyal Senate Republicans: "Republican officeholders would rather cross the voters than cross Trump, even as the bottom is falling out on the numbers.... John Cornyn... up for re-election next year... complained about the damage being done by the shutdown, saying that it’s 'Outrageous that federal prosecutors at Department of Justice and investigators at FBI, who we depend on to enforce the law are missing paychecks because of shutdown'. Yet after years of expressing scepticism about the efficacy of a border wall, he tells the Washington Post that he now won’t vote for a bill to reopen government without wall funding because, he said, 'the president won’t sign it'.... McConnell... could put spending bills that have passed the House... up for a vote on the Senate floor. But since the bills might pass, embarrassing Trump and risking a presidential veto, he won’t. What’s driving this partisan unity is not ideological solidarity, but fear.... When Murkowski was asked by the Post if she believed her GOP colleagues were afraid of the president she replied, 'I think some are, absolutely'...

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Bad actors acting badly. A century ago the authors and distributors of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion has theological and political motives—they saw their lies as buttressing what they saw as the essential institutions of orthodoxy and autocracy—rather than just seeking to make a buck. Which is worse?: Hannes Grassegger: The Plot Against George Soros: "The Unbelievable Story Of The Plot Against George Soros: How [the] two Jewish American political consultants [Arthur Finkelstein and George Eli Birnbaum] helped create the world’s largest anti-Semitic conspiracy theory...

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My read is that (1) Putin has something on Trump that Trump regards as either highly embarrassing or fatal (although what it could be is at this stage hard to imagine: what could embarrass Trump? what could lead McDonnell and company to stop defending Trump?); (2) Putin has said that he will keep quiet as long as Trump is "agreeable"; (3) Putin has left it up to Trump to define what "agreeable" is; (4) Trump is neither sophisticated nor wise as he attempts to do Putin's bidding: Edward Luce: The Unpalatable Truth About Trump’s Embrace of the Russian Bear: "Otherwise cautious former CIA directors, senior retired generals and other seasoned operatives talk of Russian kompromat as the best explanation for Mr Trump’s actions.... That judgment has hardened in the past three weeks. On top of the FBI’s inquiry are reports that Mr Trump has repeatedly tried to withdraw the US from Nato.... All of which presents the US public with a horribly binary choice. On the one hand, Mr Trump claims... [he] is the victim of a vast leftwing conspiracy... [and] the FBI and other branches of government had betrayed their oaths by working for one political faction. On the other hand... America’s commander-in-chief is working for a foreign adversary. Either account would break all historic precedent. The question is which of the two is less unlikely...

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Note to Self: The Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, and Stephen Moore Have No Principles Whatsoever. Why Do You Ask?: Now that Stephen Moore has signed up with Donald Trump, he is opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership.... On Trish Regan's show with him, he made four points about TPP: 1. The agreement is long, and has lots of pages in it. 2. The agreement does not commit the Asians to stop copying our intellectual property. 3. The agreement does allow the U.S. to impose retaliatory penalties on other signatories if they do copy our intellectual property, but they will copy anyway. 4. The agreement is unlike NAFTA, which is a good thing. But... short months ago...

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Hoisted from the Archives: The Kansas Republican Governance Experiment. Or Is That "Governance 'Experiment'"? Or Is That "'Governance' Experiment"?: Nothing like this was seen before.... It is only under Brownback that it has been down, down, down, down. You can argue how much of it is hostility to immigrants and strangers. How much of it is the profoundly un-Christian cast of a "Christian" government, and how much of it is the collapse of public services. But it has been effective. My friend Dan Davies says that the best proof that there is a skill and art of management comes from the fact that nobody doubts that there is such a thing as gross mismanagement. Similarly, the best proof that there is such a thing as good technocratic government leading to shared prosperity and equitable growth is... Brownback, and his acolytes and supporters, in Kansas:

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Everyone who gets a C in first-semester statistics knows that if your sample is random you do not have to double the number of data points when the population doubles. You do not have to increase the number of data points at all. And in the interest of trying to lowball civilian war deaths. Fake and fuzzy math in the service of trying to loball civilian war deaths is not just stupid. It is evil: Stephen Moore (2006): 655,000 War Dead? A Bogus Study on Iraq Casualties: "I was surprised to read that a study by a group from Johns Hopkins University claims that 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war.... The key to the validity of cluster sampling is to use enough cluster points.... Curious about the kind of people who would have the chutzpah to claim to a national audience that this kind of research was methodologically sound.... Another study in Kosovo cites the use of 50 cluster points, but this was for a population of just 1.6 million, compared to Iraq's 27 million...

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Hoisted from the Archives from 2016: Ben White: "Ben White: Morning Money: "Larry Kudlow and Steve Moore... [were] confident he and Kudlow could help nudge Trump away from his protectionist trade policies.... Moore noted that Trump has largely stopped talking about big tariffs on Chinese goods. Kudlow added: 'I think Mr. Trump does not want to see a wall of tariffs. He's actually pushed that rhetoric aside in recent months'...

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Hoisted from the Archives from 2010: If You Did Not Think UCLA Law Professor Steve Bainbridge Had Lost His Mind—or Perhaps Had No Mind to Lose—You Do Now...: I genuinely thought this was a joke when I first saw it. But, no, people who deal with him every week have persuaded me UCLA law professor Steve Bainbridge really does think Paris Hilton is the tenth worst American of all time. The misogyny is strong in this one: "20 Worst American... Aldrich Ames... John Wilkes Booth... James Buchanan... Aaron Burr... Robert Byrd... Jefferson Davis... Louis Farrakhan... Nathan Bedford Forrest... Rutherford B. Hayes... Paris Hilton...

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Hoisted from the Archives from 2005: Kevin Drum: The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Is More of a Joke than Ever: "Stephen Moore's maiden outing as a member of the WSJ editorial board.... Moore's sermon today is about the wonders of supply side economics.... 'President Ronald Reagan chopped the highest personal income tax rate from the confiscatory 70% rate that he inherited when he entered office to 28% when he left office and the resulting economic burst caused federal tax receipts to almost precisely double.'... Tax revenue doubled!... First, we should adjust for inflation.... Population increased... tax revenue was $2,283 per person in 1980 and $2,694 per person in 1990. That's not double. It's an increase of 18%... a lot of that is due to consistent tax increases throughout the 1980s.... We can play this game with any decade.... Adjusting for inflation and population growth... 70s produced an increase... of 25%. The Clinton 90s produced... 40%.... Reagan produced the slowest growth in... any decade since World War II. That's a real supply side triumph. Welcome to the Journal, Steve. You guys deserve each other...

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Greg Mankiw: The Bad Economics Behind Trump's Policies: "Moore and Laffer... learned the importance of flattering the boss... Trump is a 'gifted orator' who is always 'dressed immaculately'. He is 'shrewd',” 'open-minded', 'no-nonsense', and 'bigger than life'.... The book quotes Trump as claiming... his tax plan... would not increase the budget deficit because it would raise growth rates to 'three, or four, five, or even six percent'. The authors offer no credible evidence that the tax changes passed will lead to such high growth.... The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Trump tax cuts will increase growth rates by 0.2 percentage points per year over the first five years [and then give all of that back in the next five years]... a long way from the one- to four-percentage-point boost that the president and his associates have bragged of, and that Moore and Laffer quote without explanation, caveat, or apology...

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Why do people do this? Because it gets you invited back on to CNN. Why does it get you invited back on to CNN? That remains a mystery to me, and to others: Brad Reed: Trump-Loving Economist Caught Red-Handed 'Making Up Numbers' by Ann Guest: "Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell busted Trump-loving economist Stephen Moore on Friday when he falsely claimed that we are seeing vast 'deflation' in the United States economy thanks to interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.... 'Wait, wait, wait!' interjected Rampell. 'There is no deflation!' 'Yeah there is', Moore replied. 'No there is not', she shot back. 'Look at the Consumer Price Index!'... Rampell then nailed Moore for his false warnings during the Obama presidency that it was unwise for the Fed to keep interest rates low because it would lead to hyperinflation—despite the fact that the economy at the time was deeply depressed and much more in need of easy money...

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My view has always been that (a) too many big lies were told by pro-"Leave the EU" advocates and that (b) too large a proportion of the pro-"Leave the EU" advocates were shady grifters sure that they would lose but who were maneuvering for political advantage—they wanted to denounce the Establishment for failing to give everybody a pet unicorn, rather than to actually take power and run a unicorn-breeding stable. My view has been that the British press committed grave malpractice in hiding (a) and (b) from the electorate. My view has been that the best way to deal with this shambles is (c) for the press to come clean and (d) hold an informed revote—and that politicians opposed to a revote given the illegitimacy of the "Leave" mandate are shady grifters, etc. The argument against a revote is that it will split the country. But the country is split already. Better to have a split more-prosperous country with a government with a genuine mandate for its policies than a split less-prosperous country with a government with a fake mandate. Martion Wolf agrees with me: Martin Wolf: The Risks of a Second Brexit Referendum Must Now Be Run: "Another vote will be divisive —but what is happening is already splitting the country.... I can say what should happen. The answer is a second referendum.... I do not take that view with enthusiasm...

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Zack Beauchamp: Brexit Vote: Theresa May’s Defeat Reveals the Lies Behind Brexit: "UK Prime Minister Theresa May spent months negotiating a deal with the European Union on the terms of Brexit.... The UK Parliament voted to reject the deal by a resounding 432-202 margin.... May’s tenure in office... was premised on the lie that she could work out a Brexit deal palatable to all sides. Now, in the clarifying light of this vote’s failure, it’s time to be honest.... Either the UK exits the EU without a deal by the March 29 deadline, which virtually every expert agrees would result in economic catastrophe, or else the country pulls back from the brink and decides to remain in the EU. These options aren’t what the Brexiteers promise, but it’s difficult to envision any other ones after the failure of May’s deal...

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Ian Dunt: Historic Defeat: May Faces Her Day of Judgement: "At the moment there is no majority for no-deal or a People's Vote. Many MPs have ruled out both. But soon they are going to have to decide which of the two they find least objectionable. No-deal comes closer and closer.... Options are likely to whittle down until only a People's Vote is left. The question is whether enough MPs have the bravery and responsibility to prevent no-deal. We're about to find out...

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The curious thing is that Rod Dreher has never had any problems despising and demonizing those who embrace what he sees as bad men and bad causes. But somehow the Trumpists—the Trumpists alone—get a get-out-of-jail-free card from him: Rod Dreher: A Yankee Franco and The Long Defeat: "Conservative Christians will embrace politically a bad man... because unlike left-wing leaders, he doesn’t despise them, and seek to demonize them.... If progressives in America push too hard, and economic conditions are just right, the years ahead may bring about an American Franco—that is to say, a right-wing authoritarian leader who demolishes democracy, and rules by decree... [and] will be popular with half the country.... I deeply wish that the mainstream left... would get a freaking grip on itself, and understand exactly what kind of demons it is calling forth...

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Harry Brighouses: Marina Hyde Competition: "Yesterday’s Marina Hyde... contains... 'voluminously overcoated Jacob Rees-Mogg, who still resembles an 11-year-old Jacob Rees-Mogg sitting on Nanny’s shoulders for a nursery game called Disaster Capitalist’s Bluff'... affectedly shambling figure of Boris Johnson–not so much a statesman as an Oxfam donation bag torn open by a fox'... One sentence descriptions, please, of politicians who are unsuited to office, in the style of Marina Hyde...

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Marina Hyde: Welcome to the Westminster apocalypse. Have you thought about theocracy instead?: "Here comes the affectedly shambling figure of Boris Johnson—not so much a statesman as an Oxfam donation bag torn open by a fox–who could conceivably still end up prime minister of no-deal Britain. May needed to go again to the EU 'with a high heart, fortified by the massive rejection of the House of Commons', judged Johnson, speaking as always like a Taiwanese news animation of Winston Churchill. In the meantime, 'we should be actively preparing for no deal with ever more enthusiasm'...

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Daniel Larison: Threat Inflation and "The Jungle Grows Back": "Damir Marusic has written an incisive review of Robert Kagan’s The Jungle Grows Back.... 'Kagan... rues the fact that... no bogeyman big enough to keep Americans focused on maintaining their preeminent position in the world exists.... Kagan therefore makes an attempt to cast first Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and then Xi Jinping’s China, as authoritarian challengers and potential threats to the American way of life...' The end of the Cold War was a calamity for many hawks because it deprived them of a sufficiently powerful and menacing adversary, and the history of U.S. foreign policy over the last three decades has been the desperate search for a suitable replacement...

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The very sharp Jeet Heer traces David Brooks's intellectual panic back to the John Birch Society: Jeet Heer: A Few Thoughts on "Cultural Marxism," Marcuse, John Wayne, the John Birch Society, and Anti-Semitism: "Goobers in the Trump administration are worried about 'Cultural Marxism' in the 'Deep State' opposing Trump.... 'Cultural Marxism' is a big boogeyman on the alt-right: it's the people who are supposedly responsible for creating PC, feminism, etc. The actual historical 'cultural Marxists' (or 'Western Marxists') were the Frankfurt School: Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse etc... sought to supplant and update Marx's economic system with recognition of cultural forces...

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That conservative parties' policies redistribute wealth and power upward while distracting their mass base by focusing them on internal or external enemies has long been the point of Toryism—since before try Gordon Riots, in fact. And now Tucker Carlson is surprised that there is gambling going on, and is just asking questions? Does he want us to take him seriously?: Eric Levitz: Why Tucker Carlson Plays a Critic of Capitalism On TV: "Melinda Cooper... explains:

Writing at the end of the 1970s, the Chicago school neoliberal Gary Becker remarked that the “family in the Western world has been radically altered—some claim almost destroyed—by events of the last three decades.” … Becker believed that such dramatic changes in the structure of the family had more to do with the expansion of the welfare state in the post-war era than with feminism per se... a consequence rather than an instigator of these dynamics.... Becker’s abiding concern with the destructive effects of public spending on the family represents a key element of his microeconomics... that is consistently overlooked...

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Jeet Heer: Let's Talk about Anti-Semitic Ideology: "The idea that George Soros (symbol for many on right of Jewish conspiracy) is behind Caravan isn't confined to Nazis. Here's Congressman Matt Gaetz. Here is popular Trumpist cartoonist Ben Garrison—again, someone with an audience outside the Nazi right but circulating idea that Soros is working to destroy America. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy:

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@attackerman and @chick_in_kiev have both written about how all these Soros theories replicate classic anti-Semitic tropes:

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Comment of the Day: Cervantes: British Produce: "I didn't know that British produce comes into season at the end of March, actually. You learn something every day...

Phil Koop: Also, according to this tweet by Sam Coates, 63% of Tory party members say they would be "delighted/pleased/relieved by no deal", whereas 18% of the electorate says the same. Seems like a collision course with destiny, then.

Matt: “It’s not like we won’t be able to eat”. Ferinstance, there are all these useless Tories that happen to be made of meat.

JEC: I actually expected this. In the future, look for rhetoric linking Brexit with the Blitz and U-boat warfare: lots of "Britons have always been willing to endure privation if that's the price of sovereignty!"

howard: what a bleedin' cockup, and what a fantastic misreading of reality.

Graydon: It doesn't. March through May are colloquially "the hungry months" if you ask an allotment gardener or similar; stored winter produce consumed, nothing new available yet. Somebody elsenet had list of where the UK's supermarket carrots come from; in March and April, it's Spain. (then it switches to France)...

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0, 179, 465, 654—what's the next number in this series? Stephen Moore claims it is obvious, and gestures at it with an "and so on". Two numbers give you a line, three (that don't fall on a line) give you a parabola, and four (that don't fall along a line or a parabola) give you a cubic. We have four: What are the next numbers iin the cubic? 542, and -75, and -1401. Add up the first ten terms of this "and so on" series and we get not +6000 billion but rather -39820 billion. Economists know how to do and use math. Stephen Moore just doesn't: Stephen Moore: The Corporate Tax Cut Is Paying for Itself: "Kevin Hassett... caused a brouhaha by claiming... that the corporate tax cut... has 'about paid for itself.'... He is almost entirely right.... Even if we assume a reversion to the pre-Trump 1.9% growth path, the ratchet up in GDP this year translates into 179 billion in unexpected output this year, 465 billion next year, 654 billion in 2020, and so on. This magic of compounding yields more than $6 trillion additional GDP over the decade thanks to the faster growth already achieved...

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As I have said: It is a long time since NEC Chair Larry Kudlow was an economist—now he is just a guy who plays an economist on TV: Fred Imbert: White House Advisor Kudlow Says Apple Technology May Have Been 'Picked Off' by China: "'Apple technology may have been picked off by China and now China is becoming very competitive with Apple',” says Kudlow. 'There are some indications from China that they’re looking at that, but we don’t know that yet. There’s no enforcement; there’s nothing concrete', Kudlow adds... John Gruber: "What he’s saying here is that the Chinese stole Apple technology, copied it, and are now flooding the Chinese market with phones based on that stolen tech. I’m 99.8 percent certain that hasn’t happened—if there were Chinese phones built with stolen Apple technology we’d know it because we’d see it. I was going to say 'You can’t just make shit like this up', but as with most of the Trump Kakistocracy, things that you think are can’t’s are really just shouldn’t’s...

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Where did David Brooks learn to use the term "cultural Marxism"? From Alexander Zubatov and his attempt to rehabilitate it from its anti-Semitic not just connotation but denotation. How does Zubatov do this? By taking Russell Blackford out of context: Zubatov claims that Blackford's bottom line is "in other words, [cultural Marxism] has perfectly respectable uses outside the dark, dank silos of the far right". Blackford's actual bottom line is that the modern

conception of cultural Marxism is too blunt an intellectual instrument to be useful for analysing current trends. At its worst, it mixes wild conspiracy theorizing with self-righteous moralism.... Right-wing culture warriors will go on employing the expression 'cultural Marxism'... attaching it to dubious, sometimes paranoid, theories of cultural history.... Outside of historical scholarship, and discussions of the history and current state of Western Marxism, we need to be careful.... Those of us who do not accept the narrative of a grand, semi-conspiratorial movement aimed at producing moral degeneracy should probably avoid using the term 'cultural Marxism'...

Why does Zubatov misuse Blackford? In the hope that he will pick up readers like Brooks, who will take his representations of what Blackford says to be accurate. Why does Brooks take Zubatov's representations of what Blackford says as accurate? Because Brooks is too lazy to do his homework: Ben Alpers: A Far-Right Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theory Becomes a Mainstream Irritable Gesture: "At the heart of this largely rote piece of Brooksian pablum is a claim that deserves a closer look.  'The younger militants', writes Brooks, 'tend to have been influenced by the cultural Marxism that is now the lingua franca in the elite academy'. This is interesting both for what Brooks appears to be trying to say and, more immediately, how he has decided to say it.... Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik... murdered sixty-nine people... William Lind... associated with both the Free Congress Foundation and Lyndon LaRouche... Lind’s conception of Cultural Marxism was explicitly anti-Semitic.... Over the course of these years, the idea of Cultural Marxism spread across the American far right... [with] a big boost from Andrew Breitbart.... Why would a columnist like David Brooks, who is himself Jewish in background (if, perhaps, no longer in faith) and who has tried to build his brand identity by peddling in respectability and civility, adopt the term?...

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Laboratories of democracy! It seems pretty clear that Brownback was in on the grift, but expected—hoped?—that his tax cuts would pull enough activity and people from Kansas City, MO to Kansas City, KS that that plus a normal rapid recovery would allow him to claim a "Kansas boom". But his henchmen still control the Kansas Republican Party: Heather Boushey: Failed Tax-Cut Experiment in Kansas Should Guide National Leaders: "Sam Brownback’s failed “red state experiment” has truly come to an end.... In 2012 and 2013, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the largest tax cuts in Kansas history. The top state income tax rate fell by nearly one-third and passthrough taxes that affected mainly relatively wealthy individuals were eliminated. With the decline in revenues came significant spending cuts...

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Debating Societies, Talking Points, and Choosing Our Governors

Daniel Webster In The Webster Hayne Debate Photograph by Cora Wandel

Debating Societies, Talking Points, and Choosing Our Governors This is a piece that never came together—on Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders's henchman Warren Gunnels, JEB!! henchman Franklin Foer, and other people who have paved our way to our current Trumpist detachment of media and political discourse from, you know actual governance.

But here it is, for what it is worth:


With Bill Clinton, or Bill Bradley, or Al Gore, or Barack Obama, or Lloyd Bentsen, or Hillary Rodham Clinton—you listen to them, or you talk to them, and you know there is a mind back there deeply knowledgeable about and wrestling with substantive issues of societal welfare and technocratic policy.

With other high politicians, not so much. I gather that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie boldly stated that Marco Rubio failed his Turing test—and large numbers of observers agreed. Or take Ted Cruz, who starts out with a quite reasonable discourse on the fundamental aims of monetary policy:

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Yes, the "LEAVE!" faction of the British Conservative and Unionist Party is bats--- insane. Any questions?: Arj Singh: 'Increasing Number' Of Tory MPs Are Considering No-Deal Brexit As A 'Viable' Plan B: "A Leave-backing former cabinet minister said... 'People aren’t going round and saying "No Deal" is going to be a cakewalk. But... people are... asking "how much will this actually impact people’s lives?" We won’t be able to get certain foods like bananas or tomatoes but it’s not like we won’t be able to eat. And we’ll be leaving at a time when British produce is beginning to come into season, so it’s the best possible time to leave with no deal'...

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Maybe now that Trump has embraced lowering corporate profits as a policy goal, Mike Pence will be willing to invoke Amendment 25: Josh Barro: China Is Losing Trump’s Trade War—and So Are We: "This is the insanity of the president’s trade war policy: it’s negative-sum.... Trump’s own economic adviser is going on television and saying his policy is going to reduce corporate profits. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the strange disconnect between financial markets and economic data.... Well, as Bloomberg put it in a headline this morning, 'Bad Stuff the Stock Market Worried About Is Starting to Happen'.... The economy is weakening, and market participants know it, but the weakened performance has not yet shown up in lagging economic data...

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Benjamin Page and William Gale: CBO estimates imply that TCJA will boost incomes for foreign investors but not for Americans: "CBO estimates that TCJA will increase U.S. GDP by 0.5 percent in 2028.... Most of that additional capital will be financed by foreigners... net payments of profits, dividends, and interest to foreigners also will rise... boost GNP by just 0.1 percent in 2028.... To maintain that larger capital stock a larger share of output must be devoted to offsetting depreciation.... Thus, long-run incomes for Americans as measured by NNP will be more or less unchanged by the TCJA...

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