Sunday assorted links

by on November 13, 2016 at 12:34 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Will Trump seek to change the Fed? (NYT)

2. Robin Hanson on what is the real botttleneck for innovation.  And Robin tells you to stop obsessing over the election and think big.

3. How to liberate Wu-Tang Clan music (NYT).

4. Interpretive frameworks and the election.

5. “…the protracted struggle over the mode of selecting an executive was but a continuation of the struggle that marked the debate on the composition of the legislature.”  Read Shlomo Slomin on the origins of the electoral college (pdf), no it wasn’t just about slavery and don’t be fooled by the (partisan) literature suggesting the contrary.  Slavery was just one issue of many behind the evolution of the institution.

6. Freddie says: “It doesn’t matter if you should have to change. You do have to change. Or else you have to accept the irrelevance of what you do.”  I think we’re going to find that a whole set of commentators suddenly have become irrelevant and uninteresting.

7. Are Yale economics students fragile snowflakes?

1 dearieme November 13, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Yale really should change its name: it’s named after a slave trader. I can’t imagine why the snowflakes aren’t pressing for this.

2 The Original Other Jim November 13, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Only because changing the name of Yale would actually affect them in a negative way.

Now, changing the name of a Lunch Special served every other Thursday in one of the cafeterias? Now THAT’s something worth setting cars on fire for.

3 Troll me November 13, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Why not change the name? Some people think there’s a reason to. Is there a good reason not to?

4 Josh November 13, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Yes, it’s called go fuck yourself.

5 dearieme November 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm

“I think we’re going to find that a whole set of commentators suddenly have become irrelevant and uninteresting.” Irrelevant to what?

6 anonymous as usual November 13, 2016 at 8:26 pm

Dearieme – thanks for your so often interesting observations. Please don’t take the following as a criticism or as telling you something you do not already know ….. An interesting inquiry in the real actual academic field of “discrete mathematics” is how long does it takes to find connections between various simple arithmetic operations in the context of a complex numerical description (anything from consecutive groups of simple remainders of small integers to the collective description of an exponentially large number of simple functions), Recreational math is more fun the question is how quick are irrelevant functions irrelevant (chess board and Go Board answer this question at different speeds, by the way, sometimes quicker sometimes slower. The glory years of the Journal of Recreational Mathematics addressed this question several times a year – sadly, I never contributed). Even Shakespeare and your Cambridge pal Newton will seem , in their writings, trivial one day, although of course the individuals in question will remain enigmas. Just my prediction – I get lost somewhere around the twentieth redirected reiteration of prime number tendencies or directions (very hard to say which is which after about 15 reiterations – and to tell the truth, while I feel comfortable somewhere around 23, even 29 and 31 flabbergast me) , and I am either wrong or ignorant about almost everything. As for your question – of course nobody is irrelevant qua irrelevancy, that is why the writer said “irrelevant and uninteresting”, which is a nearly infinitely lower bar. American English is more subtle than you give it credit for! How close to infinity my proposed lower bar is – ask the crew at The Journal of Recreational Mathematics, don’t ask me.

7 anonymous as usual November 13, 2016 at 9:02 pm

“twentieth redirected reiteration” should read “twentieth combinatorially simple redirected reiteration”. Even Google Images will be no help on the difference: but picture the Atlantic and a small pond. Then imagine the Atlantic is still the Atlantic and the small pond is now a 1200 pixel picture of a small pond. I am the pond-describing guy, not the Atlantic-describing guy, in that charming (well I think it is charming) image derived from my memories of the Gaussiana of my youth. For the record, the present tense “have become” is what I thought most tendentious – although the “suddenly” is sort of dodgy too. Then again I remember East Germany and its journalism as if it were yesterday, and am sensitive about that sort of thing.

8 anonymous as usual November 13, 2016 at 9:18 pm

One more revision – arithmetic in the second line should be “arithmeticish”, if that is a real word (Well Shiprah and Puah are real, and as relevant as ever, so that gives me some hope I was not too far off).

9 jseliger November 13, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I left this on Robin’s blog:

that difference is very likely much smaller than the variation in such things around the world today, and also the variation within the US so far across its history

The key issue is nuclear weapons. If he successfully uses them, or instigates another country to use them, we may be at game over.

Secondarily to that, one worries about creeping authoritarianism and the possibility of dictatorship in the U.S. While that is better than nuclear war, it is very bad for almost everything, including innovation and the future.

you are probably mostly horrified by most past human lives, attitudes, and policies, and also by likely long-run future variations

We didn’t have nuclear weapons until 1945, which somewhat limited the catastrophic potential of bad attitudes and policies in the past.

I think the nuclear scenario is still unlikely but became dramatically more likely than it was two weeks ago.

The people who are legitimately fearful (like me) are not worried about short-term policy (outside of climate change). They are worried about the death of millions and/or the structure of the U.S. itself. The historical precedence for the latter is very much available, as I’m sure you’re aware.

10 The Other Jim November 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Thank you for the fear-mongering. It was lovely.

And the best part is, 4 years from now you will never even have to acknowledge that you posted something as childish and stupid as this — twice.

Run along now – I think you still have time to buy a clown costume and jump out at some third-graders.

11 Mark Thorson November 13, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Please be kind to him. A cognitive dissonance cluster bomb just exploded in his living room, and it will be quite some time before he recovers.

12 Thor November 13, 2016 at 3:46 pm

But snowflakes have the excuse that they are young and have rarely had their views radically challenged. The OP, purportedly having thought about this, cannot avail himself of this excuse.

13 The Original D November 13, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Adams jumped the shark long ago, around the time he started suffering massive cognitive dissonance of his own. Trump won the election but it was nothing like what he predicted, and after the Billy Bush tape he actually changed his prediction to say Trump would lose.

14 Mark Thorson November 13, 2016 at 9:56 pm

And then he changed back to predicting a Trump win before the election because he said something else had changed. He did not walk that back before the election. He was right.

15 Mike November 13, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Do you think the risk of nuclear war is lower under Trump than it would have been under President Clinton? I think the overall risk is still low, but just increased somewhat with Trump being elected. Considering that billions of lives hang in the balance, that’s a big deal.

16 Anon November 13, 2016 at 2:09 pm


17 Peldrigal November 14, 2016 at 11:13 am

Last time I checked, analysts agreed that Pakistan, and probably India too, did not have ready nuclear capability, not even for a retaliatory strike. They would need time to prepare and assemble the warheads, and that should allow time for de-escalation, and avoid military hotheads to launch an unauthorized attack. It’s actually a feature, not a bug.
Things might have changed.

18 8 November 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm

The odds of nuclear war involving the United States or Russia went way, way down assuming current trends continue. The odds of nuclear war in the Middle East may go down if stability increases. The odds of nuclear war in East Asia might increase if Trump starts the U.S. exit from Korea and Japan.

19 Doug November 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Nuclear war between the US and Russia is a way way bigger deal than any other nuclear scenario. These two countries have arsenals far bigger than anyone else. The next largest nuclear powers could destroy 25-35 cities at most. The US and Russia could send humanity back to the stone age.

Given existing arms control frameworks there’s really no conceivable way for any other power, before the far future, to grow an arsenal beyond this size. To a first approximation nuclear risk is solely US-Russia nuclear risk.

20 Mark Thorson November 13, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Under Clinton, we’d implement a no-fly zone over Syria which would be likely to result in shooting down a Russian plane. Under Trump, we’ll cooperate with Russia, and they’d probably tell us just to stay out of the way.

21 Todd K November 13, 2016 at 4:26 pm

“The next largest nuclear powers could destroy 25-35 cities at most. The US and Russia could send humanity back to the stone age.”

First, China, Israel, the UK, Britain, India, Pakistan and France could destroy far more than 30 cities. Second, an all out nuclear war would not send the planet back to the stone age, although it would be tough times for a while.

It would look like 1977 with Startsky and Hutch but with everyone still using smartphones.

22 Alain November 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Great point Mark about the danger of a president Clinton.

Not how the media didn’t consider this at all. I hope that this administration does to media what the previous one did to banking.

23 The Original D November 13, 2016 at 8:59 pm

If I’m Iran, I’m making nuclear contingency plans right now.

24 A Definite Beta Guy November 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Britain and France are not launching nukes unless they get nuked, same as China. Pakistan does not have a functioning nuclear arsenal. The overwhelming concern is a nuclear war with Russia, which just went down in probability.

25 Todd K November 13, 2016 at 11:29 pm

Since when did Pakistan stop having a “functioning” nuclear arsenal?

26 Troll me November 13, 2016 at 1:49 pm

A little out of left field, although there are occasionally some incidents that raise eyebrows and concerns in those regards.

27 Daniel Weber November 13, 2016 at 2:05 pm

The election is over.

If you worry about nuclear war, you should encourage smart and level-headed people to take up key positions in Trump’s administration.

28 ladderff November 13, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Luckily there is no shortage of smart and level-headed people at Trump’s disposal. Indeed an entire group of talented people who would previously never have agreed to work for a presidential administration is now available. People the world over have indeed just gotten safer owing to Trump’s victory, whether they accept this or not. You’re welcome, bitches.

29 Troll me November 13, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Can you tell us about the type of person that would have refused work for the previous administration but are now at Trump’s disposal?

What kind of qualifications and experience are you talking about, aside from some Trump’s gambling connections and Russian kleptocrats he helped to buy properties in Florida?

Serious questions. I’m not expecting serious answers. But I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

30 ladderff November 14, 2016 at 12:27 am

Think for yourself, cuck.

31 derek November 13, 2016 at 8:46 pm

Clinton did just fine in the destruction and devastation without nukes. If she went ahead with having the Ukraine join NATO she may very well incite a European war. Luckily she is now preoccupied with keeping herself and hangers on out of jail.

If we see a nuclear exchange in our lifetime it likely will be connected to the Iranian’s getting the bomb and either them or someone in response to them letting one off. Hard to blame Clinton for that, it is Obama’s legacy.

32 we live in interesting times November 14, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Oh, brother. I’m having a flashback to Jane Fonda talking to her son after Reagan was elected.

It was a print article, I think. Maybe in People.

LMAO then, too!

33 we live in interesting times November 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm

I still haven’t watched that stupid “Day After” movie.

34 TuringTest November 13, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Re: Hanson (prediction markets): didn’t prediction markets fail big twice this year?

35 8 November 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Clever sillies have deep pockets.

36 Simon November 13, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Telling if prediction markets succeed/fail is a huge research project. Sort of along the lines of the book Superforecasting.

Markets can’t see the future, the best they can do is try to provide unbiased probabilities based on available information. The level of inherent variance is a function of challenges predicting chaotic/nonlinear systems.

So if over the next 20 years (and past 10 years or whatever) a determined scientific researcher collects prediction market time-series, and calibrates them to actual outcomes, we can determine if they are providing unbiased measures of probablistic forecasts. ELSE it’s really hard to tell.

37 Jonathan November 13, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Re 5: That was a very interesting article, Tyler. Thanks. But I take the gist of Amar’s argument on this point to be not that the *origins* of the Electoral College were slavery-tinged, but that the revisitation of this question in 1803 in the 12th amendment was where slavery got its oomph. That said, reading articles like this reinforced with me (for the milllionth time) what an amazingly serious and thoughtful group of guys the founders were. The compromise represented by the Electoral College was, in many ways, as this article makes clear, brilliant.

38 Joël November 13, 2016 at 1:13 pm

#6 is a great post, and I discovered a new blogger.

39 Brian Donohue November 14, 2016 at 9:40 am

Yup. Freddie is right, but much of the media is already showing they don’t understand what happened. But it’s ok, because probably the biggest result of the 2016 election is that the influence of the MSM is close to zero, which is amazing.

If you think the MSM brings truth down from the mountain to the people, this is troubling. If you have difficulty separating wheat from chaff yourself, you’ll end up in one stupid bubble or another.

If you in neither of these situations, this is good news.

40 chuck martel November 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm

6. Freddie is upset. The supposedly powerful Methuselah Media and their close lefty associates, academe, primary education and the entertainment industry, are being ignored by the unwashed proles. It’s not because the message isn’t getting across, it’s because a significant proportion of the electorate isn’t buying what they’re selling. It isn’t that the media is becoming irrelevant, it’s that they’re wrong.

41 Jeff R. November 13, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Whatever the merits of FdB’s comments, they seem odd, coming from him. This is a guy who indulges in some pretty contemptible identity politics and class animus, two of the worst vices of the modern left. He can criticize the media if he wants for sneering at downscale white voters, sure, but he does the same to upscale white voters.

But, in general, I agree that even if the people he’s addressing were to take his advice, I’m not sure what it would really accomplish. Sullivan County residents in PA aren’t going to start feeling the Bern the way I imagine Freddie wants them to no matter how many NPR correspondents show up there to talk to them about their feelings or their experiences or whatever else he thinks they ought to be doing. To me Freddie’s sentiments are just as out of touch as the people he’s criticizing.

42 y81 November 13, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Freddie shares the problem that a lot of professors have, that he can’t believe that anyone could really hear what he has to say and disagree. So he’s constantly thinking about how he could communicate better, but not about he could think better. This focus makes sense in an educational setting–there are many students who are disengaged or incomprehending, but few who are smarter or more knowledgeable than the professor–but it fails badly when engaging with other adults.

43 Art Deco November 14, 2016 at 6:11 pm

He actually has an administrative job at Brooklyn College. He had a visiting position where he was previously.

His book is writing and rhetoric.That’s what he teaches. He has a professional bias toward thinking in terms of communication.

44 Steve November 14, 2016 at 11:20 am

I’m in the camp that sees Freddie as generally a perceptive and valuable thinker, but you do have to overlook his core hypocrisy. “Be more empathetic and understanding, you entitled shitheads.”

45 Dzhaughn November 13, 2016 at 5:49 pm

His “I am not attacking coastal culture” addendum is interesting. The question it poses is: does “Coastal Culture” require its members to be dismiss alternatives to its point of view? Freddy retreats and says it is ok to be dismissive, you just don’t have to appear that way. That’ll work, good job!

If you buy into a Statist philosophy, there are limits as to how and how much the wisdom of the political elite can be questioned, because the superior wisdom of leaders is a key tenet of Statism.

46 Crandall November 13, 2016 at 1:21 pm

#5 Electoral College

Details of the actual conceptual foundations of the United States are a boring mystery to most all Americans, especially folks like Hillary, Trump, Bush, and “Constitutional Scholar” Obama.

They just can’t fathom the reasons for the Electoral College —it musta been the result of way too many tankards of ale at the Constitutional Convention.

Noted “historian” Newt Gingrich today re-confirmed his view that the Electoral College should be eliminated; that view meshes well with the Anti-Trump rioters.

47 Mark Thorson November 13, 2016 at 1:38 pm

To anyone interested in the topic, I’d recommend Presidential Lottery by James A. Michener. Great book, including his personal experience as an elector in 1968.

48 The Original D November 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Slavery had a lot to do with the EC.

49 Anon November 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm
50 kev November 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm

…slavery had absolutely nothing to do with it

(and Time Magazine is not a reliable nor unbiased source on U.S. history)

51 Anon November 13, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Its not Time. Its written by Akhil Reed Amar , easily one of the most knowledgeable Constitutional Scholars around.

52 Art Deco November 14, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Dr. Gingrich is a lapsed history professor, who wrote his dissertation at Tulane. Curious topic: schooling in the Belgian Congo.

53 JonFraz November 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm

We’ve had two elections in less than twenty years where the popular vote winner and the electoral college winner were not the same. This threatens the perception of legitimacy of the government, The electoral college should be junked for that reason.

54 Art Deco November 14, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Again, you’d have to nationalize elections administration (and do a great deal more to ensure ballot security) I think we’re safer with a distributed system.

What you failed to note was that neither HRC nor Gore won a majority. In fact, the only candidate to win a majority of the tabulated vote and lose the electoral college was Samuel Tilden in 1876. All presidential elections of that era were shot through with fraud and (in the South) intimidation. It was disputes over intimidation in several states that threw the popular balloting into disrepute that year.

If your interested in a reform, you could try this:

1. Abolish the office of elector. Make use of electoral votes as a tabulation convention.

2. Assign each state a quantum of electoral votes equal to the citizen population therein. Extend the franchise in presidential elections to dependencies held for a certain run of years (say, 50 years).

3. Cut up the more populous states into constituencies and award electoral votes according to the balloting in the constituencies. California breaks neatly into five constituencies, Texas into 6, Flordia into 4, New York into 2 &c.

4. Institute ordinal balloting with tabulation according to the conventions of the alternate vote.

5. If no candidate wins a majority of the electoral votes, retabulate the votes in constituencies won by the trailing candidate, tabulating the first preference votes and then eliminating and redistributing the ballots of all candidates who did not win any electoral votes and the ballots of the trailing candidate you are eliminating. Repeat this step until a candidate garners a majority of the electoral votes.

This would allow you eschew making use of party primaries and conventions to nominate candidates. The party conventions could repair to adopting a platform and electing party officers and you could have a separate procedure (petition signatures or monetary deposits) to register candidates.

55 anon November 13, 2016 at 1:25 pm

1,2,4,6 – We still live in that funny time when agreeing that “government was on the wrong track” feels like you are agreeing on a right one. More than any post-election in my life that is not true. News today was that chief of staff could be Bannon or Priebus. Big difference.

It is strange to me that winners are still backwards looking, and still complaining, rather than trying to come together among themselves to create something. That is unusual.

But perhaps given all that is up in the air, backwards looking grievance is still the only glue.

56 derek November 13, 2016 at 8:52 pm

Why do you think that they are looking back? These people were forward looking enough to see what Trump saw in the electorate.

Or maybe forward looking means getting all the people who got it wrong into positions of power again, and hope they don’t screw up like they did last time?

57 anon November 14, 2016 at 7:11 am

Why are you asking me? My hope for centrist government was defeated, in favor of “anything is better than this.”

Now it is on the winners to define “anything.”

58 Anonymous November 13, 2016 at 1:27 pm

7. “Let me note that my students are not atypical. In fact, a majority of Yale students take the course.”

A majority of Yale students take one course, and it’s a Microeconomics course? That’s laughable.

“At the end, we give real grades on a strict curve, making it impossible for “everyone to do well.””

I’m sure you do. But in Yale itself, the average GPA is estimated to be a 3.6. This isn’t unusual among elite colleges, at Harvard “The median grade in Harvard College is indeed an A-. The most frequently awarded grade in Harvard College is actually a straight A”

59 Alain November 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Yep, his whitewashing was laughable.

60 Careless November 13, 2016 at 9:30 pm

Not only do a majority of students take it, but he’s describing it as a wash-out course.

61 mkt42 November 14, 2016 at 3:40 am

“A majority of Yale students take one course, and it’s a Microeconomics course? That’s laughable.”

It’s possible. I don’t know the enrollments in the various sections of intro econ at Yale, but Harvard’s intro econ course still gets IIRC 900 students per year. Harvard only has 6,700 undergrads, and you can do the math: over their four years at Harvard, about 3,600 of the 6,700 students are going to take Ec 10/Soc Anal 10.

I’ve never seen enrollment figures for Yale’s econ courses, but given Harvard’s figures it’s not far-fetched to imagine that Yale’s are similar.

OTOH, he describes Yale’s intro econ course as using a fairly advanced textbook, whereas Harvard’s intro course was using a standard intro level textbook. If Yale’s classes are indeed being taught at a more advanced level, that would markedly decrease the intro econ enrollments. But he didn’t give any details about the class.

62 anon November 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Speaking of frameworks, as a vibe, it feels like Libertarians ended up the biggest losers in this election. They split themselves off the Republicans, and not coincidentally everyone started taking big Republican spending increases as a given. Do Libertarians have a foothold in either of the Two Parties, or is it purely wilderness years coming up?

63 Alain November 13, 2016 at 6:22 pm

We got lower taxes and a dismantling of your regulatory framework. Sounds like we got everything we wanted.

Sorry about your luck.

64 anon November 13, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Tell me more, time traveller.

Lower enforcement seems a given, but Republicans will actually spend a trillion more while cutting taxes? How does that work out?

Is everyone who claimed to like balanced budgets converted, or just declared RINO?

65 Careless November 13, 2016 at 9:31 pm

“How did you go bankrupt? ”
“First gradually, then Bush II, Obama, and Trump”

66 Anon November 13, 2016 at 10:08 pm

Sounds like a B.O.T

67 Alain November 13, 2016 at 11:44 pm

I know you were complaining daily about deficits for the last few years, your conviction on this point has been noted.

It will work out as well as it did for the last eight years, only better since it will be individuals who earned their money spending it.

68 anon November 14, 2016 at 7:14 am

If Trump ends up, by force of circumstance, as just a right of center pragmatist, I’ll be pretty happy.

Is that what he is offering? Can you really say?

69 Alain November 13, 2016 at 11:46 pm

Once again, sorry about your luck in the election. Losing the house, the senate and the White House hasn’t happened often in the last 40 years.

So sorry.

70 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz November 13, 2016 at 7:22 pm

I’m not sure what you mean. There has been a libertarian party since the 70s with its own presidential ticket. Rand Paul ran a quasi-libertarian campaign with the Republican party for President and Senate and won the latter, and there are others like Sen. Flake that are pretty fiscally responsible. The Republican Liberty Caucus still had a present at county and state conventions. Even many Trump supporters consider themselves socially tolerant and fiscally conservative, they just think reducing immigration will reduce welfare and the Trump was better than Clinton.

Trump is less likely to spend political capital on social conservationism given his instincts on transgender bathrooms and being pro-choice most of his life, we won a lot of ballot wins on decriminalizing cannabis sativa. While Trump may not cut spending, he has some good instincts such as making NATO pay its own way, allowing corporate funds to be repatriated, and so on. I think he might do as much of what we want as anyone, although without the predictability of someone like Ted Cruz.

71 anon November 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Well, if the End the Offshoring Act is real, it isn’t a reduction in government. It is big government enforcement along new lines. In worst case the End the Offshoring Act could be more direct interference in business than we have ever seen. Government will review placement of factories?

72 Donald Pretari November 13, 2016 at 2:15 pm

#5…Nothing in U.S. politics provides more amusement than people who defend the asinine anti-democratic Electoral College. Read the original debates. The founders were wise. It’s the people who hate Trump that want to alter the perfect document. Did anybody who voted for Trump read the 100 day plan on his website? The first change Trump proposes is to alter the Constitution by an amendment to limit Congessional terms. Clearly Trump has no problem with the idea of improving the Constitution. I’m not for limiting Congressional terms, but at least that idea makes some sense to me. The Electoral College makes no sense in today’s world.

73 Harun November 13, 2016 at 3:34 pm

You are under the impression that democracy was the goal of the founding fathers. The actual goal was preserving liberty. Democracy is an imperfect tool to do this and thus it was limited.

74 Donald Pretari November 13, 2016 at 4:17 pm

OKay. But in the same way that the Seventeenth Amendment was argued for and passed.

75 Bob November 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm

So a guy with a taxpayer funded secure sinecure who gets paid mostly to surf the internet and post mostly inane speculations tells everyone else to relax….

76 The Original D November 13, 2016 at 2:36 pm

2. As much as I opposed Trump — more than any other candidate in my lifetime — I’m actually hopeful he can be a change agent.

My concerns with him were not so much about policy as temperament and his over-the-top narcissism. He is less beholden to special interests than probably any candidate ever, and he openly warred with his own party in the stretch run. His agenda conflicts somewhat with the House, but he doesn’t have to worry about re-election in two years and will feel no need to be a rubber stamp for Ryan and company.

I’m still not convinced he actually wants to be president or really even cares about what Congress does. He seems to just want to do lots of rallies and be on TV every day.

77 Donald Pretari November 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

#2…I totally support what Trump says about Draining The Swamp in the 100 day plan. I just think it’s bullshit.

78 Anon November 13, 2016 at 2:58 pm

To really show a higher percentage of draining, first it should be cluttered even more with Washington insiders. Brilliant.

79 anon November 13, 2016 at 3:13 pm

How does a lobbying ban pass free speech and free association protections? There are negative aspects to an Air Force General becoming a Northrop executive, but how would it even work to stop him? Attack it the other way and say the government will not buy weapons from people who employ ex-military? That would have its own set of negative consequences. Weapons by people who have never fired weapons.

I not sure this is well thought out.

80 Daniel Weber November 13, 2016 at 3:32 pm

It sounds like an employment contract issue.

81 anon November 13, 2016 at 3:36 pm

It does. It would have to both override state non-compete rules, and I would think be forward looking only. That is people wanting to work for government would have to start signing a funny document. Instead of “non-compete” it would be “no parallel interest?”

82 NPW November 13, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Active military members do not have freedom of speech or assembly, and retired military have limitations also. Expanding the employment limitations for retired military to include lobbying isn’t beyond the pale. And has been rather strongly supported by military members. Only a vanishing small percentage go into lobbying, and they are typically being paid rather well by the taxpayers already.

83 anon November 13, 2016 at 7:57 pm

What would happen with Academi (formerly Blackwater)? I don’t think you can thread the needle that they can exist, and ask for contracts, without “lobbying.”

84 NPW November 13, 2016 at 7:59 pm

Lobbying != developing

Very different. I work within the military industrial complex and have zero influence on what weapon system is selected. Even when I was writing the risk analysis for development of ACAT1 level projects, the decisions were dictated by money going to congressional districts rather than the risk/price/heritage Political realities decides far more than technical details.

85 anon November 13, 2016 at 8:03 pm

I imagine one of the real difficulties will be that “lobbying” is in the eye of the beholder. If Bob in government (DOE, NIH, doesn’t matter) calls his friend Jim who left and works to develop potentially for government, and asks a question, is the answer “lobbying?”

Perhaps there is a mistake here to focus on the people, and what will surely be free speech, and not on the money. The problem we have is Jim giving Bob a reelection check, not Jim giving Bob an opinion.

86 NPW November 13, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Re: Blackwater

Irony is that that wasn’t a military contract. It was a State Dept contract. Rummy wouldn’t let the State Dept use Marines as bodyguards, so they hired mercs. The guy who started it wasn’t a flag officer, so I’m not as bothered by it. I don’t recall if he was retired either.

87 NPW November 13, 2016 at 8:09 pm

Lobbying has some pretty clear definitions in government, and govys have some rather strict rules on “gifts”. Unremitted free advice isn’t restricted, typically.

88 anon November 13, 2016 at 8:09 pm

The problem with any rule is the number of corner cases. “Stop the revolving door, end the lobbying” always plays well because people don’t think about it too deeply. They think about the sinister. But the sinister is just an emergent property of a mixed economy. We have government, we have business, they must worth together with shared information.

Stopping the money was called “leftist” but I think it really has fewer complications, contradictions, than stopping the people.

89 rayward November 13, 2016 at 2:39 pm

1. Cowen’s friend Peter Thiel says we need less monetary stimulus (“bubbles, bubbles, bubbles”). Trump has suggested we need more fiscal stimulus (“infrastructure”). Cowen says we need uncertainty (“complacency”). Whether we get Thiel’s preferred policy or Trump’s, either way we get Cowen’s. Here is an excerpt from Cowen’s next book:

90 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz November 13, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Ha Ha you got censored. Infrastructure projects with a cost benefit ratio better than one aren’t really stimulus, they are capital investment.

91 y81 November 13, 2016 at 3:07 pm

7. It seems that what Prof. Barry is saying is that most of his students are grade-grubbing careerists, with only a handful of SJWs. However, the SJWs hold the campus hostage, and in this case forced him to make available to everyone something intended for people who were sick, or had a death in the family, or some such. That is consistent with what I have observed (including during my own time in New Haven): most students are contemptuous of both professors and their SJW peers, but since they don’t plan on staying in the environment long, they put their heads down and ignore it, on their way to jobs in the real world. Some of the ones I knew even ended up voting from Trump. Those who don’t find life in an environment of stifling conformity and endless ritual obeisance to be unbearable are good candidates for academic careers.

92 Asher November 13, 2016 at 4:34 pm

#7 – Barry piece is really a masterpiece. How brave and stalwart his students are! They are willing to be exposed to concepts like competitive equilibrium and market failure, and many are even willing to show up for a midterm the day aft-er election day – that exhausting era when we are bidden to spend half an hour out of 24 at the polls.

Someone who can be proud of this is truly a snowflake.

93 Millian November 13, 2016 at 4:13 pm

5. Which partisans insisted the US election system was “just about slavery”? As in, only about slavery, back when words used to mean what they meant.

94 Jason Bayz November 13, 2016 at 6:55 pm
95 Anon November 13, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Nice catch.

96 November 13, 2016 at 7:29 pm

Re previous: Trolley Problem

“””Moore first gave subjects a version of the trolley problem where outcomes were guaranteed to occur, and then one where they weren’t. Subjects in the latter case were less likely to think killing one to save five was either “appropriate” or “moral” (they were asked about each). Under uncertainty, “participants may have relied more on deontological,” or rule-based reasoning, “than utilitarian moral reasoning,” the researchers say. “””

97 Michael November 13, 2016 at 8:54 pm

6. So, should we change our opinions because they are unpopular, or because they are wrong? Or are they wrong because they are unpopular?

I understand that the Democratic party machine may want to reflect upon their message (because they want people to vote for them). But in many other areas I think that diversity of opinion is actually pretty important, and that people should continue to write what they think regardless of how little it “resonates” with people who don’t want to listen.

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