#commentoftheday Feed

Comment of the Day: Ronald Brakels: In Australia we'd just say Lewis CK is an arsehole: "We don't have school shootings in Australia for 2 reasons: (1) It is much harder to obtain firearms. But this is only part of it. (2) The second reason is when people say shit about children who saw their friends die like Louis CK did, people say, 'You're a fuckwit, mate'. And then those people don't get gigs and they don't get paid. If you're a 'ha ha' fuckwit maybe you can find work, but not if you're a fuckwit fuckwit. Less access to firearms definitely helps, but so does a culture that encourages people to ask themselves, 'Am I a fuckwit?' before a mass shooting gets past its initial planning stage...

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Davie: "0, 179, 465, 654—what is the next number in this series? Stephen Moore claims it is obvious, and gestures at it with an 'and so on'": "Davie's master is also blocked by paywall, but given the quote about 'compounding', Davie would diffidently suggest that the mathematical error is more basic: The sequence should read 179, 365, 554. That is, from the second number in the sequence on, Mr. Moore accidentally added 100 to the total. Davie has seen his master make similar errors while not recognizing them, under the influence of Alzheimer's-type dementia. Davie would therefore gently suggest that Mr. Moore be checked for dementia...

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Comment of the Day: BruceJ: "Honestly, when you look back at Brooks' history, where he 'just happens' to reference ideas out of the 'dark, dank silos of the far right' I see less laziness, than an ongoing subtle injection of those very ideas into so-called 'respectable' conservative commentary. If it IS all happenstance and laziness, Brooks is the luckiest damned blind squirrel in the universe...

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PGL: Keynesian Economics vs. Normal Economics: "I wonder what the negative supply-side event was back in 1982 when we had a massive decline in real GDP? Was it those lower tax rates from the 1981 tax cut? Or the Republican led reductions in transfer payments? Oh wait—wrong sign. Or maybe the dollar appreciation except for the fact that in Barro's world we ignore the aggregate demand effects and focus on the increase in wages relative to the prices of imported goods. Oh dear-wrong sign again!...

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The remarkable thing about Robert Barro—and all the other Lucases and Famas and Boldrins and Cochranes who, back in 2008-2012, said it was logically impossible for expansionary fiscal policy to work—and his question "Where was the market failure that allowed the government to improve things just by borrowing money and giving it to people?" is that the answer had been well-known and on the table since at least 1829. The answer was given by John Stuart Mill The market failure is that the economy is out-of-equiilibrium, in a "general glut", with an excess demand for money and an excess supply of pretty much every currently-produced good and services.

Normally the existence of excess supplies and excess demands in an economy is a good thing: The entrepreneurial profits imbalances create set in motion the migration of resources to higher-value uses. But private-sector entities cannot migrate labor and capital into the business of creating money, for money is liquid trust and can only be created by institutions that are trusted to be, well, good for the money. So the solution is not to move resources out of creating currently-produced goods and services but to move demand into buying currently-produced goods and services. And—as long as it is good for the money—the government's borrowing-and-spending or printing-and-dropping works just fine:

Comment of the Day: JEC: Keynesian Economics vs. Regular Economics: "'Unlike the trade-off in regular economics, that extra $1 billion is the ultimate free lunch. How can it be right? Where was the market failure that allowed the government to improve things just by borrowing money and giving it to people?' The funny thing here is that Barro imagines this to be a killer rhetorical question, when it is in fact a crucial and open research question (and one that Keynesian macroeconomists have done far too little to answer, in my opinion). What makes it a research question rather than a damning rhetorical one is the empirical fact that, under certain circumstances, multipliers greater than one are well-documented. (In fairness, better documented today than in 2011)...

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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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Comment of the Day: I had always thought that the "male variability" hypothesis was really a "male skewed lower tail" hypothesis, and has nothing to say about the upper tail of males. It's the small Y-chromosome—the missing genes that make males overwhelmingly susceptible to color-blindness, hemophilia, the autism spectrum, may play a role in reduced life expectancy, and other things. But that male variability is greater because males are genetically weak says little or nothing about a possible genetic upper tail: Paul Reber: Patriarchy & Gender: "On Patriarchy & Gender... it's worth noting that a consequence of the Y-chromosome bottleneck 5000 years ago is that the 'fat tails' hypothesis that Pinker and Baumeister suckered Larry Summers with is obviously wrong. That is, the hypothesis that men exhibit genetically-dependent higher IQ variability, leading to more men on the upper tail of the distribution (and lower) which leads to over-representation in highly IQ-selective subsets such as professors at Harvard/MIT/etc....

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Comment of the Day: Pinkybum:: What Is Going on This Morning Over at "National Review"? Is It Worth Reading? No.: "I feel like Louis CK's Parkland joke is not funny because fundamentally the premise is not true. What he posits is (a) the kids who are getting the media attention (b) don't deserve it because (c) why does surviving a mass shooting make you (d) an expert in gun control? But really the fundamental truth of the issue is that they are experts because it doesn't really take much intellectual brain power to see that gun regulation could be much more comprehensive and effective if possession of guns took as least as much trouble as obtaining a driver's license...

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Comment of the Day: Ronald Brakels: Strong AI: "Just so you know, once we get something that can accurately transcribe podcasts that will be strong AI. It'll be some mightily powerful strong I. I'm not saying podcast transcribers are going to take over the world, but I am saying that we fix this one little annoying thing and we change the world beyond recognition...

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Comment of the Day: I deleted a an anti-anti-Trump trollish comment, but this reply to it seems worth keeping: JEC: There is something deeply mentally, morally, and psychologically wrong here—with Glenn Kessler, with his bosses, and with his colleagues: "'He makes it very clear that he is responding to a reader's question about a part of O'Rourke's quote, to which he posts a video link. I simply fail to see how responding to a reader question about a statement made internally in a quote is the same as making something up and attributing it to the candidate.'...

...Well, you just did exactly the same thing. Did you notice?

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Comment of the Day I have noticed this a lot over the past fifteen years. Journalists are very, very bad at citing their sources—it is one minor reason why they have a low reputation. That and their overaddiction to beat sweeteners, when not playing opinions-of-the-shape-of-the-earth-differ: Kansas Jack: The New York Times Has a Serious Quality Control Problem: "Has anyone else noticed that interesting, novel observations at Vox.com, especially by Matt Yglesias, come out a week later, slightly altered in the NYT? Is it just me who thinks that?...

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Comment of the Day: JEC: The Uses of a University: "It's worth expanding on this a bit. Brad is advocating for a particular view of the purpose(s) of a university—a view I happen to share. But to understand the debate, we need to bear in mind that this view isn't the only one with a substantial following...

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Comment of the Day: Graydon: Jacob Levy: I don’t think there’s anything—anything—on which I’ve gotten so much disbelief-that-becomes-near-anger as when I contradict the post-2014 Fox narrative about campus life...: "The campus narrative is a way to assign moral wrong because they can't assign factual wrong back to the institutions and processes which are assigning factual error to them...

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Comment of the Day: Tracy Lightcap: Jacob Levy: I don’t think there’s anything—anything—on which I’ve gotten so much disbelief-that-becomes-near-anger as when I contradict the post-2014 Fox narrative about campus life...: "This is it, but I think the process is a bit more complicated. People who have made up their minds on a topic and committed themselves to it are still susceptible to arguments that work through repetition to undermine authority figures...

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Comment of the Day: Shelly Lundberg: "Re question at the end...:

Shelly Lundberg: Can't disagree with [Matt Notowidigodo's] sentiment but, as others have noted, the first part of that screenshot from @delong deserves comment. Says that tenure committees are making decisions on the basis of whether you spend long hours in the office and have flexible schedules--so bad for moms.

Matt Notowidigdo: Professor @delong says exactly what I've been thinking about recently http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/07/feminism-in-the-long-20th-century-an-intake-from-slouching-towards-utopia-the-economic-history-of-the-long-20th-century.html. I agree that the "economic rise of women" is one of the most important changes in the last 100 years; it has affected almost every part of modern economic life.

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Comment of the Day: Graydon: Understanding Karl Marx: "The thing -- well, a thing, and I think an important thing still generally missed -- Marx missed was the metallic cartridge. From ~1860 through 1914, the decisive aspect of your military campaign was 'how many riflemen, how well fed, and how well trained?'...

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Comment of the Day: JEC: Protecting Ourselves from Facebook: "I think it's worth mentioning that (a) 'How do I protect my privacy?'...

...and (b) "How do I protect myself from hostile psyops?" are different questions with partially overlapping answers. And "How do I protect myself from the actions of my neighbors who fail to protect themselves from hostile psyops?" is a third, and arguably more important, question...

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Comment of the Day: I have never understood this belief in "snapback". Previous "snapbacks" had all taken place in the context of the Federal Reserve driving the real interest rate far below the Wicksellian neutral rate and a supportive fiscal policy. Neither of those were present. Where was snapback supposed to come from after 2009?: Charles Steindel: : "It was a belief that the recession was primarily the result of the collapse of the financial system...

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Comment of the Day: Robert Waldmann: Paul Krugman Looks Back at the Last Twenty Years of the Macroeconomic Policy Debate: "2a) I think Paul Krugman was wrong. b) I had conceded that he was right as always. c) now I'm back. It has to do with the expected inflation imp...

...Krugman discussed a central bank which could credibly promise to be irresponsible in the future when the economy is out of the liquidity trap. I don't like the use of "credibly". The question is what promises are credited by economic agents. The identification of "credible" and "credited" is part of the damage done by the rational expectations assumption. Agents' beliefs about policy are described as an aspect of the policy. It is insinuated that a central banker with resolve, character, integrity determination and a pre-commitment facility, can make people believe anything.

Krugman has never asserted that his proposed monetary definitely would work if tried. He always argues that it might work and fiscal stimulus is clearly politically impossible. But he does try to claim it would work if only central bankers followed his advice.

His problem is Kuroda, who did everything as Krugman advised and was determined to do whatever it takes to get to 2% inflation. From 2015 through 2017 Japanese consumer price inflation fluctuated rought from 0.5% to -0.5%—the only way they got CPI inflation was raising the value added tax (VAT) rate (and causing a recession). I now think the data which convinced me Krugman was right were due to Japanese realizing that Abe was really really going to raise the VAT.

Agents' expectations are not an instrument of policy. Central bankers try to use the "expectations channel" but it usually doesn't work. More here: https://angrybearblog.com/2018/03/a-comment-on-the-return-of-its-baaaack.html

Also, as noted by our Advisor, Krugman assumes that everything will return to normal in the long run. He analyses 2 periods, the present and the long run, and the long run is assumed to include full employment. He has trouble modellings secular stagnation. We must walk through the valley without the long run as our shepherd http://rjwaldmann.blogspot.it/2015/06/delong-praises-long-run.html

Also dreadful plumbing in a pdf here http://bit.ly/1cBYU0x