#smackdown Feed

I Look at How Bad Professional Republicans Calling Themselves Economists Are Today, and...

Clowns (ICP)

A friendly correspondent points out to me that the "serious and respected" professional Republican economists of 20 years ago were as big bull-------- as those today—and that I was complaining about them, albeit attempting to be more polite, back then.

Case in point: Allan Meltzer: Hoisted from the Archives from Twenty Years Ago: Allan Meltzer Drags Down the Level of the Debate...: He attracted my ire for going beyond a line he should not have gone beyond:

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Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Sam Harris convinces me that he is not part of what Charles Murray calls the "cognitive elite": Vox: The Sam Harris-Ezra Klein debate - Vox: "Sam Harris: [In] your last piece, you have this whole section on the 'Flynn effect' and how the Flynn effect should be read as accounting for the black-white differences in purely environmental terms. Well, even Flynn rejects that interpretation...

Continue reading " " »


Another April Fools Post: Why Does Niall Ferguson Do This to Himself?

Preview of Another April Fools Post Why Does Niall Ferguson Do This to Himself

I swear, when this showed up in my inbox—sent by somebody who wishes me ill—I really did think it was an April Fools Day parody...

Back up. As the eminent and intelligent John Scalzi says: to play the video game of life—"a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time"—as a straight white male in America is to play it on the lowest difficulty setting: on level one, so to speak.

Everybody else faces bigger obstacles and more distractions. Thus one should not be proud of one's “score“, however one likes to keep score. One should not pat oneself on the back as being in any way "superior" for what one has accomplished. And one should not whinge about how hard one's life is, and about how many obstacles one faces.

And if one starts whingeing—especially if start whingeing when people point out that one has been playing on level one—if one says one is being oppressed by sexist anti-sexists and racist anti-racists because somebody points out that one's score is at the top primarily because one was playing on level one, and that one is actively assisting others of one's ilk in playing on level one...

Well, one should be embarrassed: Such a fragile ego! Such an unwillingness to contemplate the reality in which one is cushioned! Such a sensitive snowflake!

Why, it is positively unmanly...

Continue reading "Another April Fools Post: Why Does Niall Ferguson Do This to Himself?" »


AAAAIIIIYYYYEEEE!!!!: Monday Smackdown—BitCoin Edition

BitCoin

Some people wish me ill. They keep emailing me things from John Cochrane. I wish they wouldn't. Or I wish I would develop some self-control. This is not making me happy:

First, let me set forth an intelligent, rational, measured assessment of BitCoin, made by somebody who was never a tenured finance economist at the University of Chicago:

Glenn Loury 2.0: @justabloodygame on Twitter: "Seriously, I read stories about people mortgaging their homes to buy Bitcoin and I want to rip my hair out..."

We can then compare this with the irrational word salad of John Cochrane. To the extent that there is an argument, it goes like this:

Continue reading "AAAAIIIIYYYYEEEE!!!!: Monday Smackdown—BitCoin Edition" »


(Early Hoisted) Monday DeLong Smackdown Watch: Cosma Shalizi

Smackdown

From 2012: Well-wisher Cosma Shalizi: Comment on Brad DeLong: Economists on the Ineffectiveness of Fiscal Policy; Sh@t Is All F@#^ Up and Bullsh@t Weblogging: "More elaborately: our gracious host would really like to be just a little bit to the left of a technocratic center...

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: Tax Reform Intellectual Garbage Cleanup Edition

Clown Car

Live from Souvenir on Claremont: (Early) Monday Smackdown: Tax Reform Intellectual Garbage Cleanup Edition:

1) I am informed—by "persons who say they are familiar with the matter"—that Barro, Boskin, Cogan, Holtz-Eakin, Hubbard, Lindsey, Rosen, Shultz, and Taylor are not lying when they say on Wednesday "we did not offer claims about the speed of adjustment to a long-run result...." even though the previous Saturday they had written about a raise in "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..."

Why aren't they lying on Wednesday?

Because the "if" does not mean: "it could be the case that..."

Instead, the "if" means: "for illustrative purposes, if you have trouble converting from changes in levels to growth rates, as an illustrative example, suppose that in a counterfactual world (which is definitely not this world)..."

Continue reading "(Early) Monday Smackdown: Tax Reform Intellectual Garbage Cleanup Edition" »


Monday DeLong Smackdown: Trying and Failing to Get in Touch with My Inner Austrian Back in 2004...

Smackdown

That I never figured out how to write this paper is deserving of a smackdown. Why did I never figure out how to write it? Because I never figured out what to say, or what the answer was:

Hoisted from 2004: Getting in Touch with My Inner Austrian: A Still-Unwritten Paper: Fragment of an Unfinished Ms.: Part II of an unfinished paper, "After the Bubble." The paper currently lacks Parts I, III, IV, V, and VI:

II. Aggressively Expansionary Monetary Policy and Macroeconomic Vulnerabilities:

Continue reading "Monday DeLong Smackdown: Trying and Failing to Get in Touch with My Inner Austrian Back in 2004..." »


Monday Smackdown: Republican Whoppers on Tax "Reform" from Politicians, Non-Technocrats, and Technocrats Edition...

How did we get here?

The Republicans Are Huge Liars

First, where are we?

Matthew Yglesias: If the GOP tax plan is so good, why do they lie so much about it?: "Democratic programs may or may not be... good idea[s], [but] the bills they write that they say will expand the provision of social services in the United States really do expand the provision of social services...

...Not so... with the Republican plan....

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Republican Whoppers on Tax "Reform" from Politicians, Non-Technocrats, and Technocrats Edition..." »


Monday Smackdown: Robert Lucas Ignores the Volcker Deflation, and Paul Romer Comments...

Clown Show

With no high-quality smackdowns of DeLong on offer, let us turn to Robert Lucas's extremely bizarre reaction to the Volcker Disinflation...

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: Male Ex-Old New Republic Editors Are Simply Not Credible Here...

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I agree with Matthew Yglesias here: This from Franklin Foer simply does not pass the most-basic "plausibility" test. "I was totally oblivious to what was going on in the office I ran" = "I took and kept a job at which I was totally incompetent". I don't think anybody has ever called Franklin Foer incompetent. And what we are hearing is not about the various editors-in-chief's ignorance. What we are hearing is about the various editors-in-chief's complicity.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Matthew Yglesias: @mattyglesias on Twitter: "I’m a little confused as to what story we’re being told about male OTNR editors’ knowledge of the situation...

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Basic Econ 1-Level Tax Incidence Primer: Owen Zidar Requests MOAR Tax Incidence Model Blogging

Invocation

Over on the Twitter machine, the learned and incredibly sharp Owen Zidar writes, about the picky model-based incidence analysis points:

@omzidar: On Twitter: The number of tweets needed to describe this issue suggest more clarification/ a detailed step by step post would be useful...

My view is that in the end all this—Krugman (2017b) and (2017a); DeLong (2017d), (2017c), (2017b), and (2017a); Bernstein (2017); Furman (2017); and Mankiw (2017)—when unpacked, boils down to Econ 1-level tax incidence, and an algebraic mistake in calculating overelaborated and overcomplicated versions thereof.

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Monday Smackdown: Larry Summers on Kevin Hassett and Company

Smackdown!**

I confess that I, at least, never heard Larry Summers say: "A-list people do not directly criticize A-list people: doing so is a way to become a B-list person". I doubt he has ever said it that way.

I have, however, heard Larry say—many times—that it is in general not wise to presume bad faith or incompetence on the part of, say, present or former fellows at places like, say, the American Enterprise Institute.

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37000 Feet Above the Utah-Nevada Border on EDI-SFO, Fueled by Two Moscow Mules...

Bosch Hell

@Noahpinion: On Twitter: Brad DeLong will find your algebra errors: http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/10/note-to-self-greg-mankiw-providing-backup-for-kevin-hassett-department-larry-summers-one-last-time-on-who-benefits-fro.html

delong: Every day, a new fresh hell...

Today's new fresh hell is chasing links on the way back from Edinburgh to find Mulligan, Cochrane, Mankiw all marveling over how "gorgeous" and "striking" it is that the ratio of the wage gain to the "static" revenue loss is always 1/(1-t)—how it is a remarkable and important insight that the production function parameters drop it. With not a single one saying:

Continue reading "37000 Feet Above the Utah-Nevada Border on EDI-SFO, Fueled by Two Moscow Mules..." »


Monday DeLong Smackdown Watch: Still Looking for a High Quality DeLong Smackdown Over the Past Month (or Earlier) Kevin Hassett Edition

Anybody have any suggestions?


UPDATE: OK. There are no suggestions for high quality DeLong smackdowns. And there is one request in comments for a Kevin Hassett smackdown, with a link. So here goes:

Jim Tankerley: Trump’s Top Economist Says Corporate Tax Cuts Will Lift Workers’ Wages: "[Kevin Hassett of] the Trump administration on Monday... ignor[ed]... studies that showed few benefits from corporate tax cuts for average workers and relyi[ed]... on research that supported a politically desirable result...

Continue reading "Monday DeLong Smackdown Watch: Still Looking for a High Quality DeLong Smackdown Over the Past Month (or Earlier) Kevin Hassett Edition" »


Monday Smackdown: Paul Krugman on Kevin Hassett et al.

Paul Krugman: The Schlock Of The New: "I’m still thinking about Kevin Hassett’s appearance at the Tax Policy Center...

Insults aside, he offered a new analysis of corporate tax incidence – an approach that is novel, innovative, and completely boneheaded. Oh, and it just happens to say what his political masters want to hear. As I see it, this is part of a broader pattern.

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Paul Krugman on Kevin Hassett et al." »


Monday Smackdown: The Elementary Arithmetic of a Value-Added Tax (VAT)

It would be nice if I could start off October with another real DeLong smackdown: an incisive critique of a place where my argument has been wrong, or at least pathetically incomplete and one-sided.

But it is not to be: the environment is just too target-rich.

Somebody who wishes me ill sends me a link to Paul Gigot and Gerry Baker's execrable Wall Street Journal, and provokes me into clicking it. It is John Cochrane from Stanford's Hoover Institution: claiming a hypothetical tax rate is 20%, when five minutes' thought gets 42.9% as the true number:

John Cochrane: Tax Consumption Through a VAT, and Voilà https://www.wsj.com/articles/tax-consumption-through-a-vat-and-voila-1504550331: "If the administration and Congress drop the income tax, it won’t be difficult to achieve 3% growth...

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Monday DeLong Smackdown: Noah Smith: Free Speech on Campus

Noahpinion Speech on campus A reply to Brad DeLong

Noah Smith: Speech on campus: A reply to Brad DeLong: "On Twitter, I wrote that I disagreed with Brad's ideas about speech on college campuses... http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2017/09/speech-on-campus-reply-to-brad-delong.html

...Brad then requested that I write my ideas up in the form of a DeLong Smackdown. So here we go.

Brad's post was written in a particular context - the recent battles over right-wing speakers at Berkeley. More generally, the alt-right has been trying to provoke conflict at Berkeley, seeing an opportunity to gain nationwide sympathy. The murder of Heather Heyer by Nazis, and general white supremacist street violence, has turned the national mood against the alt-right. The alt-righters see (correctly) that the only way to recover rough parity is the "both sides" defense - in other words, to get people so worried about left-wing street violence that they equivocate between left and right. To this end, they are trying to stir up the most obvious source of potential leftist street violence: Berkeley.

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Monday Smackdown Smackdown...

WWE SmackDown January 14 2016 Photo Galleries USA Network

Live from Evans Hall: The purpose of having a "Monday DeLong Smackdown" was twofold: (a) to make me smarter by forcing me to go through and internalize smart critiques of things I had written; and (b) to provide some reward and recognition to those people who would do me a favor by writing a smart critique of something I had written.

It has failed.

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown Smackdown..." »


Non-Monday Self-Smackdown: Gerard Baker Says the WSJ News Staff Will Go the Extra Mile Not to Call Trump's Lies Lies

If Gerard Baker really thinks going the extra mile to be an obsequious courtier to Trump is a way for him to build trust that the WSJ news pages are and are "seen as objective", he is wrong. But I really do not believe Gerald Baker thinks that is the case:

Gerard Baker (January 4, 2017): Trump, ‘Lies’ and Honest Journalism: "Why editors should be careful about making selective moral judgments about false statements... https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lies-and-honest-journalism-1483557700

Continue reading "Non-Monday Self-Smackdown: Gerard Baker Says the WSJ News Staff Will Go the Extra Mile Not to Call Trump's Lies Lies" »


Monday Smackdown: Every Time I Try to Get Out, They Pull Me Back In... Clive Crook Edition

So after a pep talk from Noah Smith Saturday night about how it is time to become kinder and gentler—to look for opportunities to praise for being smart people who in the past I have criticized for being really really really dumb—I wake up Monday morning, and I wince because Duncan Black has been reading the once-thoughtful Clive Crook again.

"People is weird... 'let's shoot ourselves in the face just to prove our gun works'..." is really four standard deviations kinder and gentler than this deserves:

Duncan Black: National Humiliation: "People is weird. [Clive Crook:]... http://www.eschatonblog.com/2017/07/national-humiliation.html

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Every Time I Try to Get Out, They Pull Me Back In... Clive Crook Edition" »


Clueless DeLong Was Clueless About What Was Coming in 2007 and 2008: Hoisted from the Archives

Dumpster fire animated gif Google Search

From November 2008: Why I Was Wrong... http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2008/11/why-i-was-wrong.html: Calculated Risk issues an invitation:

Calculated Risk: Hoocoodanode?: Earlier today, I saw Greg "Bush economist" Mankiw was a little touchy about a Krugman blog comment. My reaction was that Mankiw has some explaining to do. A key embarrassment for the economics profession in general, and Bush economists Greg Mankiw and Eddie Lazear in particular, is how they missed the biggest economic story of our times....

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Monday Smackdown: Apropos of the Opening of "Dunkirk"...: Remember How Bad the Old New Republic Was?

Also apropos of the three neoliberalisms: (1) Mont Pelerin; (2) Charlie Peters; and (3) anti-Black, anti-woman, anti-Arab, anti-union—and anti-French:

With the opening of "Dunkirk", time to hoist and highlight this:

2006: Nick Gillespie Has Had It with Marty Peretz ("Lafayette! Nous Sommes Ici!" Department) http://www.bradford-delong.com/2006/09/nick_gillespie_.html: He writes, accurately and correctly:

Hit and Run: They're starting to shit themselves in public... TNR owner and "Spine" blogger Marty Peretz is enacting the cyberspatial equivalent... with posts such as this one on French jokes:

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Apropos of the Opening of "Dunkirk"...: Remember How Bad the Old New Republic Was?" »


(Early) Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: John Cogan, Tobias Cwik, John Taylor, and Volker Wieland's Reputational Bet on Fiscal Policy Is Due, and They Are Bankrupt...

Apropos of Simon Johnson's, Charlie Steindel's, and my... distaste... for the 3%/year growth fake forecasts of Cogan, Hubbard, Taylor, and Warsh...

Let me say that in Taylor's case, at least, this type of bullshit misrepresentation of what we know and what the evidence says has now been going on for a very long time:

NewImage

I, at least, am as tired of it as are the more senior real economists who are John Taylor's peers.

Why John Taylor thinks he is still entitled to call himself an "economist" is beyond me. It has been beyond me for eight years:

Continue reading "(Early) Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: John Cogan, Tobias Cwik, John Taylor, and Volker Wieland's Reputational Bet on Fiscal Policy Is Due, and They Are Bankrupt..." »


Monday Smackdown: David Glasner on Friedrich von Hayek

Pinochet occasional links commentary

When I read this by David Glasner, I wonder whether the shift in Hayek's beliefs between the 1930s and the 1980s was an improvement. In the 1930s, he believed in big depressions—"secondary deflation"—as a way of breaking "nominal rigidities", which I understand as the power of labor to resist being forced to accept declines in real wage rates. By the 1980s, he seemed to believe in shooting people like me in soccer stadiums, and throwing them out of helicopters into the South Atlantic. See: Pinochet, Augusto

David Glasner: Hayek, Deflation and Nihilism: "Hayek argued that... neutral money was... constant total spending (MV)... https://uneasymoney.com/2017/07/23/hayek-deflation-and-nihilism/

...Once the downturn started to accelerate, causing aggregate spending to decline by 50% between 1929 and 1933, Hayek, totally disregarding his own neutral-money criterion, uttered not a single word in protest of a monetary policy that was in flagrant violation of his own neutral money criterion. On the contrary, Hayek wrote an impassioned defense of the insane gold accumulation policy of the Bank of France, which along with the US Federal Reserve was chiefly responsible for the decline in aggregate spending.... Hayek’s policy advice was... relentlessly pro-deflation. Why did Hayek offer policy advice so blatantly contradicted by his own neutral-money criterion?...

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: David Glasner on Friedrich von Hayek" »


Monday Smackdown: Republican Economists Burn Yet More of Their Reputations Department...

Must-Read: The quick and careful Justin Fox is unhappy with—and makes me aware of this.

All I can say is: unprofessional

I would not have thought that it was an argument that could be maintained by any economist of reputation—even though, as John Stuart Mill once said, "what was affirmed by Cicero... [of] philosophy...may be asserted without scruple of the subject of political economy—that there is no opinion so absurd as not to have been maintained by some person of reputation". I don't think that this is an opinion. And the cost to your reputation—I'm looking at you, John Taylor, and you, Glenn Hubbard, and you Kevin Warsh—may well exceed whatever your current positive balance is plus your available credit limit:

John F. Cogan, Glenn Hubbard, John B. Taylor, and Kevin Warsh: On the Prospects for Higher Economic Growth: "Productivity growth declined in the 1970s, rose markedly through the 1980s and 1990s, and fell again sharply in recent years. The data are not supportive of the popular contention that the United States is in the midst of a long-term decline in productivity growth..." http://www.hoover.org/sites/default/files/research/docs/on_the_prospects_for_higher_economic_growth_0.pdf

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Monday Smackdown: Why Do I Find John McWhorter so Annoying?

Peace Politics Gender and God Beowulf and the Women Of Early Medieval Europe blue stocking

Is it me? Or is it him?

I find an interesting link on Making Light http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016593.html, follow it, immediately find that the introduction annoys me—gets my back up—and then I notice that it is by John McWhorter. Other people like McWhorter a lot: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016593.html#4335396.

But I read:

John McWhorter: English is not normal https://aeon.co/essays/why-is-english-so-weirdly-different-from-other-languages: "Hwæt, we gardena in geardagum þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon...

...does that really mean ‘So, we Spear-Danes have heard of the tribe-kings’ glory in days of yore’? Icelanders can still read similar stories written in the Old Norse ancestor of their language 1,000 years ago, and yet, to the untrained eye, Beowulf might as well be in Turkish...

And my immediate response is: the cards have been dealt from the bottom of the deck here.

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Why Do I Find John McWhorter so Annoying?" »


Monday Smackdown: Bernard Lewis Makes His Bid for the Stupidest-Man-Alive Prize (Hoisted from 2007)

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2007: Bernard Lewis Makes His Bid for the Stupidest-Man-Alive Prize http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/03/bernard_lewis_m.html: Has Bernard Lewis always been this stupid, and did I just not notice?

Washington Wire—WSJ.com: Bernard Lewis drew a standing ovation from a packed house of conservative luminaries Wednesday night in a lecture that described Muslim migration to Europe as an Islamic attack on the West and defended the Crusades as “a late, limited and successful imitation of the jihad” that spread Islam across much of the globe. Lewis gave the nearly hour-long speech at the annual black-tie dinner of the American Enterprise Institute after receiving the group’s Irving Kristol Award. Among the attendees were Vice President Dick Cheney, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and ex-Pentagon official Richard Perle. Notably absent was I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby....

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Monday Smackdown: Kevin Hassett Self-Smackdown: I Think the (Extremely and Absurdly Low) Quality of Hassett's Analysis Here Speaks for Itself, Don't You?

Kevin A. Hassett (2007): Does Economic Success Require Democracy? http://www.aei.org/publication/does-economic-success-require-democracy/: "Sadly, no. In fact, the politically unfree countries are enjoying more economic growth than the politically free ones...

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Kevin Hassett Self-Smackdown: I Think the (Extremely and Absurdly Low) Quality of Hassett's Analysis Here Speaks for Itself, Don't You?" »


Hoisted from from Ten Years Ago: Kevin Hassett' Self-Smackdown: Yes, Kevin Hassett Is a Real Nutjob. Why Do You Ask?

Not as bad as Kevin Hassett's declarations that CERN's Large Hadron Collider might "swallow the Earth" and that the U.S. has "no recourse short of military action" to deal with the fact that "as science progresses, the possibility climbs ever higher that the fondest dreams of scientists might entail risks of planetary destruction.... The best science explores things far from our understanding. How can we know that things we do not understand will not kill us?"

But very bad even so:

Kevin Hassett (June 18, 2007): Why Did the Fed Help North Korea Launder Money? https://www.aei.org/publication/why-did-the-fed-help-north-korea-launder-money/: "Last week the New York Federal Reserve made what may go down as the most misguided move in the history of the Federal Reserve system....

Continue reading "Hoisted from from Ten Years Ago: Kevin Hassett' Self-Smackdown: Yes, Kevin Hassett Is a Real Nutjob. Why Do You Ask?" »


Monday DeLong Smackdown Watch/Hoisted from 2005: Ignorance Corrected!

Ben Weiss, Curator of Rare Books at the Burndy Library of MIT's Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology:

Ben Weiss: Brad DeLong's Website: DeLong's Ignorance Corrected!: "First off, I love your blog, and read it avidly; many thanks for the wide learning and elegant argument... http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2005-3_archives/000643.html

Continue reading "Monday DeLong Smackdown Watch/Hoisted from 2005: Ignorance Corrected!" »


(Early) Monday Smackdown: Annals of Low-Quality Sociometry: Andrew Sullivan Edition

Hoisted from 2006: Annals of Low-Quality Sociometry http://www.bradford-delong.com/2006/11/annals_of_lowqu.html: even Drum: "Here is a complete post from Andrew Sullivan last night:

The Black-White Test Score Gap: It isn't going away. Charles Murray and James Flynn debate why here.

Really? The fact that Charles Murray thinks the gap isn't going away is hardly news, but does James Flynn agree? That would be dispiriting indeed. But there's no need to give up hope. Here's what Flynn really said:

We analyzed data from nine standardization samples for four major tests of cognitive ability. These data suggest that Blacks gained 4 to 7 IQ points on non-Hispanic Whites between 1972 and 2002. Gains have been fairly uniform across the entire range of Black cognitive ability.

That sure doesn't sound like "it isn't going away" to me. Murray and Flynn aren't debating "why," they're debating "whether." And Flynn has the better of the argument.

November 30, 2006


Monday Smackdown: Der Spiegel: Donald Trump's Triump of the Stupidity

Monday Smackdown: Der Spiegel: Trump Pulls out of Climate Deal, Western Rift Deepens: "Donald Trump's Triumph of the Stupidity... http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/trump-pulls-out-of-climate-deal-western-rift-deepens-a-1150486.html

...German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other G-7 leaders did all they could to convince Trump to remain part of the Paris Agreement. But he didn't listen. Instead, he evoked deep-seated nationalism and plunged the West into a conflict deeper than any since World War II.

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Der Spiegel: Donald Trump's Triump of the Stupidity" »


Monday Smackdown: Yes, The Hoover Institution Made a Bad Mistake in Hiring John Cochrane. Why Do You Ask?

It is interesting that when Charles Dickens's character Ebenezer Scrooge says of the poor that "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”, he is well to the left of John Cochrane.

The position Scrooge takes is that the Victorian workhouse system is a sufficiently well-functioning entitlement that the poor have—not that the poor have "no such law, right, or entitlement" to enough food to keep from starving to death.

What a maroon!:

Noah Smith: Americans Sure Seem to Like Universal Health Care: "In a recent blog post, Hoover Institute senior fellow John Cochrane likens single-payer health care to single-payer food... https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-06-01/americans-sure-seem-to-like-universal-health-care

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Yes, The Hoover Institution Made a Bad Mistake in Hiring John Cochrane. Why Do You Ask?" »


(Late) Monday Smackdown: Observing Jared Kushner Beat Sweeteners Edition

Jared Kushner beat sweetener by Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman and Sharon LaFraniere—all the news that flatters our sources, because we think being a trustworthy information intermediary is for real losers:

Scott Lemieux: Hey, Harvard Doesn't Sell Its Degrees to Just Anyone!: "Truly, the reincarnation of Machiavelli walks among us... http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/05/hey-harvard-doesnt-just-sell-degrees-anyone

Continue reading "(Late) Monday Smackdown: Observing Jared Kushner Beat Sweeteners Edition" »


Monday Smackdown: Physics Professor Phil Price the NIMBYist

Must-Read I disagree with Noah Smith: reading Phil Price convinced me that Phil Price is an idiot, that for many, many people NIMBYism is not a "flawed but serious package of ideas" but rather "simple ignorance"—or, perhaps, rather, very hard work to remain ignorant, in a way that is supportive of the "selfishness of incumbent homeowners trying to feather their own nests... [and] white people trying to exclude poor minorities from their communities while still appearing liberal..."

What was Andrew Gelman thinking in giving him his microphone?

Noah Smith: The NIMBY Challenge: "NIMBY theorists like [Phil] Price... should do the following thought experiment... http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-nimby-challenge.html

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: Physics Professor Phil Price the NIMBYist" »


Monday Smackdown: "Neo-Fisherism" in Monetary Economics as a "Sokal" Hoax

Clowns (ICP)

The internet and chance lead me back four years ago to the highly estimable Nick Rowe.

A "Sokal" hoax is something that tells us important about the intellectual standards of an academic community. I think that Nick Rowe is 100% correct in calling "neo-Fisherism"—the doctrine that in order to raise inflation the Federal Reserve should sell bonds and so push bond prices down and interest rates up—the "Sokal" hoax of macro-financial economics.

Continue reading "Monday Smackdown: "Neo-Fisherism" in Monetary Economics as a "Sokal" Hoax" »


Early Monday Smackdown: Chicago Booth Edition

Tax Reforms http://www.igmchicago.org/surveys/tax-reforms:

UPDATE: Alexia Fernández Campbell: "When I contacted the two economists whose opinions differed, they said that their answers were an error, and that they actually disagreed with the claim..." https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/4/15536394/american-economists-trump-tax-plan

Tax Reforms IGM Forum

I know of no works of theory or empirical analysis that says that the one page of tax reform talking points set out by Steve Mnuchin and Donald Trump is a "plan". And I know of no works of theory or empirical analysis that could lead a rational Bengt Hölmstrom or a rational Ken Judd to say that they "strongly agree" with the proposition that that one-page of talking points could be implemnted in a way that would likely pay for itself through higher economic growth:

Can anybody explain to me why Bengt Hölmstrom and Ken Judd are being so unprofessional? Can anybody elucidate their thinking to me?


(Late) Monday Smackdown: Robert Lucas Pretends... Edition

Clowns (ICP)

(Late) Monday Smackdown: This, from eight years ago, still seems to me to be highly, highly unprofessional:

Robert Lucas (2009): In defence of the dismal science http://www.economist.com/node/14165405: "Fama tested the predictions of the EMH.... These tests could have come out either way...

...but they came out very favourably. His empirical work was novel and carefully executed.... [The] flood of criticism which has served mainly to confirm the accuracy of the hypothesis.... Exceptions and “anomalies”... for the purposes of macroeconomic analysis and forecasting... are too small to matter.

The main lesson we should take away from the EMH for policymaking purposes is the futility of trying to deal with crises and recessions by finding central bankers and regulators who can identify and puncture bubbles. If these people exist, we will not be able to afford them...

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A Month-Long April Fools Festival of Kevin Hassett, Day 2: Economist of Mass Destruction Round I

Clowns (ICP)

I still can barely believe that Kevin Hassett used a law professor and a philosopher to urge that CERN's LHC (a) might destroy the earth and so (b) needed to be stopped and shut down (c) using the only means available to the U.S.--(d) an airstrike on the Swiss-French border:

Hoisted from the Archives from 2010: American Enterprise Institute "Economist" of Mass Destruction Kevin Hassett Strikes Again (Republican War on Science Department): Carrying the Republican War on Science to previously unplumbed depths of human stupidity:

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A Month-Long April Fools Festival of Kevin Hassett: Dow 36000 Round I

Clowns (ICP)

Is Kevin Hassett really going to chair the Council of Economic Advisers?

That gives me an idea. April Fools Season is started--32 days to April Fools Day inclusive. Can we find 32 examples of Kevin Hassett writing things that are really stupid--so stupid that they should have gotten him bounced from his cushy chair at AEI immediately for intellectual incompetence? The answer is yes--we could find 32 things from Dow 36000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market alone. But the journey--one a day between now and April 1--will be rewarding...

Dan Froomkin reminds me of number 1, from the very sharp Barry Ritholtz:

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Monday Smackdown: Hoisted from the Archives: Levitt and Dubner's "Superfreakonomics": The Parable of Horseshit

Outsourced to: Elizabeth Kolbert: Hosed: "One commentator predicted that by 1930 horse manure would reach the level of Manhattan’s third-story windows...

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Global Warming: Time to Call the Bad Intellectual Bets...

Eric Holthaus: @EricHolthaus: "Now that it's over, we can say for sure: 2016 was the warmest year we've ever measured on Earth." https://t.co/zmL9tEwWkA

Eric Holthaus on Twitter Now that it s over we can say for sure 2016 was the warmest year we ve ever measured on Earth Image andyskuce https t co zmL9tEwWkA

We need to remember who the deniers and the skeptics have been over the past 30 years: bad judgments and corrupt arguments need to be remembered.

First of all: I'm looking at you, Steve Dubner and Steve Levitt...

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: Yes, John Podhoretz Is a Jerk--and an Idiot...

Outsourced to: Robert Waldmann: Podhoretz: "John Podhoretz who wrote...

What if the tactical mistake we made in Iraq was that we didn't kill enough Sunnis in the early going to intimidate them and make them so afraid of us they would go along with anything? Wasn't the survival of Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35 the reason there was an insurgency and the basic cause of the sectarian violence now? [John Podhoretz (July 25, 2006). "Too Nice to Win? Israel's Dilemma". New York Post. Retrieved April 7, 2007 <http://nypost.com/2006/07/25/too-nice-to-win-israels-dilemma/>]

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: Outsourced to Kevin Drum

Clowns (ICP)

Why can't "fiscal conservatives" ever man up and take responsibility for their actions and their lives?

When you try to starve the government, sometimes you succeed--and then things that need to be done don't get done. Shame on the LA Time for publishing this.

Outsourced to Kevin Drum:

Kevin Drum: Blame Oroville on "Fiscal Conservatives": "Victor Davis Hanson is a native Californian who hates California because it's become too brown and too liberal...

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: Garland Tucker: If We Don't Honor John C. Calhoun, We Will Forget How Awful He Was

Clowns (ICP)

Monday Smackdown: This may be the stupidest thing I have read this year! Shame on the FT for publishing it!

I get 4480 results on google for "Garland Tucker". I get no results before this morning for "'Garland Tucker' +Calhoun". The fact that Yale's Calhoun College has been named for John C. Calhoun all of Garland Tucker's life has never led him to say anything about how bad a person John C. Calhoun was. Garland Tucker has had his chance all his life before now to use the honor Yale has done Calhoun to, as he quotes Cicero, "not be a child". He whiffed it.

For, you see, Tucker doesn't think Calhoun is bad: his position as the most powerful pro-slavery politician and leading intellectual advocate for the expansion of slavery in the first half of the nineteenth century is, in Garland Tucker's eyes, vastly less important than Calhoun's being a "free trader and" and opponent of "expanding federal government... bloated bureaucracy, patronage abuses... and ever-higher tariffs..."

But John C. Calhoun's role in history is not "complex"--it is evil, starting at the top of the evil tree and hitting every branch all the way down:

Garland Tucker: Expunging slave-owners’ names erases our complex history: "Calhoun will no longer be Calhoun.... Yale... after eight decades it will rename one of its residential colleges...

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