Assorted links

by on July 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. “Blaming the Republicans” is used as a false substitute for “rejecting the doctrine.”  We can do both!

2. The Great Factor Price Equalization; in this framework I have been focusing on our inability to move U.S. labor up the value chain of production with new, complex ideas.  You can discuss the causality in a number of different ways, such as putting more causal emphasis on how outsourcing has chipped away at the previous networks of production.

3. The importance of Google+?

4. Markets in everything: snore absorption rooms.

5. Disputes over the size of Chinese debt.

6. Poor choice of words.  And how can the now-expensive city of Budapest make that list?

7. What are Norwegian prisons like?

BTF July 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm

5. By which you mean, “the Communist Party-controlled daily says otherwise.” In two related stories, wheat production rose 12% last quarter, and we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Jamie July 23, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I wonder what the recidivism rate looks like in Norway. Not that that would change many minds in the U.S.

Careless July 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm

How about the fact that this guy is going to get less than 3 months per murder?

Rahul July 24, 2011 at 1:32 am

Is the number of people dead a good normalization factor?

DK July 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I think it is safe bet that recidivism rate among Norwegians in the USA is very similar to that in Norway.

jk July 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Re 7: I wonder if such progressive and humane Norwegians (“No death penalty here! That’s too barbaric like the US!”) will feel if the recent mass murderer is “incarcerated” there and his sentence commuted to 10 years…?

FYI July 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm

#1: If you think the government is too large, no matter what the debt situation is, you want to lower taxes. It makes sense that Bush used the surplus to do so. What doesn’t make sense is that he didn;t cut spending.

Counterfactual July 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm

-”What doesn’t make sense is that he didn’t cut spending”.

That just shows he didn’t think the government was too large. So we are back to where we started, Bush’s economic plan didn’t make economic sense. It did make political sense in that he was elected and then re-elected. So we are also back to Tyler’s point making sense.

FYI July 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Well, Bush might have failed in that respect but that doesn’t mean Republicans in general don’t believe the government is too large. Just look at what is happening now – if anything, Republicans are being criticized for taking the promise to cut the government too far.

swedenborg July 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Republicans voted to lower taxes and to increase spending and now want to vote against borrowing the inevitable difference. Bush started with revenues and spending in rough balance. Republicans could have insisted that every dollar of tax cut be paid for with a dollar of spending reduction, but they didn’t. They said Deficits Don’t Matter.

FYI July 23, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Yes, and those Republicans were voted out of their jobs. The current congress has very little to do with the 2004 congress, hence the current dispute on the debt. We cannot go back and change the past but we can change the future. Republicans were voted on a platform of cutting spending not raising taxes. The only difference is that this time they are actually doing what they were elected for.

Foster Boondoggle July 24, 2011 at 12:37 am

No, they’re not. Even the Ryan plan, with its conversion of Medicare to a voucher system doesn’t balance the budget in the foreseeable future, because it chops taxes even more than it slashes social programs.

The same GOP that wants to slash taxes and entitlements also wants to maintain a “defense” establishment responsible for roughly 1/2 of all global military spending. There’s a tremendous lack of seriousness about the undertakings of the current House.

Benny Lava July 24, 2011 at 12:50 am

Lolz @ FYI. Paul Ryan voted for the Bush tax cuts, Medicare part D, and the Iraq war. Was he voted out of office? No, he’s leading the party’s budgeting! Some lesson those Republicans learned! That suckers like FYI will swallow propaganda whole.

FYI July 24, 2011 at 9:49 am

@Foster: It doesn’t matter how much of our military spending is compared to the rest of the world. Within our budget it accounts for less than %20. The Ryan plan is not perfect but it is something. What is the Democrat plan? There is none. Again, look at the debt negociation and see who is trying to change things for real.

@Benny: I am not talking about specific individuals but about the whole. Republicans lost control of both houses because they acted like Democrats. Medicare part D was a mistake but Democrats voted for it as well. Democrats also voted for the tax cuts. The reality of 2004 is not the same as 2011, and you have to base your opinion on what the parties are doing now. It is not propaganda, it is the real world. The Republicans are bad but the Democrats are even worse.

Yancey Ward July 23, 2011 at 8:32 pm

If I ever want to kill to someone, I will invite him/her to see the loveli moose in Norway.

Former Beltway Wonk July 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

#1: Lost in this debate is that who controls the Congress is far more important to the budget than who controls the White House.

The Republicans controlled Congress through the latter half of the 1990s when we were (just barely) running surpluses. Democrats have controlled the Congress since 2007 when we started running the huge deficits.

Of course, it also helps to have divided government, as having the Republicans control all three branches did lead to some deficits (albeit smaller) in the 2000′s.

Careless July 24, 2011 at 1:13 am

we were (just barely) running surpluses

Well, not in dollar terms. The last time we had a surplus the Democrats controlled Congress. Also, Eisenhower was president.

MP July 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Norway prisons sound like summer camp. Maybe that system works better considering their 71 prisoners per 100,000 population (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate) compared with 743 prisoners per 100,000 population in the US.

TallDave July 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm

1.Notably absent from both Krugman’s and this point: spending numbers. Federal spending has doubled since 2002.

Total gov’t spending is now at ~40% of GDP, which has destroyed any hope of growing our way out of this mess (yes, the GOP deserves lots of blame for this too) even as it digs our future graves in ruinous debt.

You could seize the entire portion of taxable income over $100K from every single U.S. taxpayer and still not close the deficit. Spending is the problem in our future as well, as SS and Medicare outlays grow.

Wake up, people. Downgrades are coming. The Great Recession is going to get even worse.

5. This topic absolutely fascinates me.

Matthew C. July 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Actually the debt will ruin itself and take the stupid fiat currency with it. There is zero chance that our children and grandchildren are going to work themselves to the bone to pay for these debts in worthless tokens of fiat that can’t be repaid. Therefore the fiat itself will pay the debts via hyperinflation and currency destruction.

Jacob July 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Ugh. You could let the Bush tax cuts (all of them) expire and close 90% of the budget deficit that way. Government spending is not intrinsically bad!

TallDave July 24, 2011 at 12:40 am

Where did you get the idea the Bush tax cuts are $1.44T per year? Estimates I’ve seen are less than a quarter of that. Are you perhaps confusing the 10-year projection with the one-year deficit?

Not intrinsically bad, no. There are many valuable functions gov’t can perform. But at 40% of GDP, it is also doing a lot of unproductive malinvestment.

Careless July 24, 2011 at 1:16 am

Well of COURSE the Bush tax cuts decreased federal revenue by more than half, Dave!

TallDave July 24, 2011 at 12:42 am

It’s especially scary after reading TGS. The growth rates in current forecasts may be ridiculously optimistic.

Steve July 24, 2011 at 12:29 am

I hope this Norwegian terrorist doesn’t get sent to a summer camp prison, and I also hope that the Norwegian 21-year-maximum sentence for murder is _per_ murder so that this guy isn’t out on the streets in his early 50s.

Dan G July 25, 2011 at 10:50 am

You can, in effect, get life in prison in Norway. The 21 year maximum prison sentence can be extended in perpetuity (see wikipedia link below).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forvaring

Millian July 24, 2011 at 4:00 am

7. Much of this is standard in Europe. Ireland has, at most, a handful of people serving life sentences. The UK has political debates in prisons. The other Scandinavians (as, to be fair, the article notes) have good open prisons as one aspect. But Cowen’s use of the phrase “What are Norwegian prisons like?” is irresponsible and, frankly, baiting a certain element of his audience. That was not the representative prison.

LemmusLemmus July 24, 2011 at 5:36 am

re 7 – Tyler only linked to the first page of the article, and I have a feeling that’s all that some people read. If you click through to the second page, you will find a (short) discussion of how there are, of course, higher-security prisons in Norway and that the “summer camp”-type prisons are used as a reward for good prisoner behaviour. Which seems like a reasonable approach, given that people tend to respond to incentives.

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