Assorted links

1. Scott Sumner on his economic method (with a passing mention of ngdp).

2. Do French kids snack?

3. How much does deleveraging matter?: a U.S.-UK comparison.  And is the UK price behavior just due to the VAT?

4. Man’s best friend?  Maybe Argentina can export these dogs to Spain soon, and what’s all this about the Michael Jensen/Werner Erhard connection?

5. Is the health care cost curve finally bending?


Is snacking bribery?

Or low blood sugar because of weak dining habits?

Do French kids snack?

No, but they do eat Pringles and Milky Ways for dinner. After all, someone has to eat all the highly processed crap sold in every French grocery and convenience store.

I'd wager the truth is more like "high-status French kids don't snack".

Right, just like the "French Women don't get fat" book. Well of course they do. But the Americans who write (and read) those kinds of books are upper class Eastern coastal elites. The only French people they ever come into contact with are the French equivalent of Eastern coastal elites, who they wrongly assume are representative of the nation as a whole.

I once got lost on my bike and ended up in a French trailer park. It was as bad as you'd imagine. Shirtless men lounging about, dirty clothes hanging from lines. We got chased by a couple of mangy dogs barking at our heels. I'd like to take the author of the "French women don't get fat" book to that trailer park and see what she thinks.


Austerity!!!!!! Beware!!!!!

3. What's with all the French hype lately? I'm not saying that the French are bad people or that we can't learn from them. It just seems the French are this year's Chinese. Can one take that as a lagging indicator?

Who wouldn't rather be a "Le Tigre"* mom instead of a Tiger mom?

A couple of anecdotes:

My French co-workers snack, and pretty regularly. My place of work (run under French rules**) even has a weekly morning tea with a huge assortment of snacks. My youngest son, currently enrolled in moyenne, has daily snacks. The snacks are fairly substantial, to the point that there was a large cash payment required at the beginning of the year to cover the cost of food.

*Yes, I know "Le Tigre" is an American brand.
**I'm actually off on Monday and Tuesday for May Day (Fete du travail)

Two decades ago, as a French kid, I never snacked. I don't know where this aversion for snacks come from. Eating between meals was seen as something really bad. I guess you get used to it and I was never hungry outside the scheduled times.

2) They do snack! At 4 pm of "course"....

If you Google "gouter", which the article says is one of the four meals per day the French eat, you will find the definition is "the traditional 4:00 pm snack." So if it is regularly scheduled, it isn't a snack?

5. Just as I expected, the continuing conflation of expenditures and costs.

I hear a lot of this BS about "bending the cost curve" and I've never seen or heard WHAT "bending the cost curve" means or HOW someone is going to do it.

Growth in expenditures (and costs for particular services) can be rising without a doomcast. If people are CHOOSING to spend more on health care and if more is spent because a wider variety of procedures, devices, and drugs are available, and if the baby boomers are demanding more health care, this is a natural phenomenon. The cost of health care SHOULD go up to ration health care resources.

The problem is that insurance is almost a contract for any new damned thing, and insurance companies can't get away with denying care if it's available. The people benefitting didn't pay the premiums.

Government provided health care either won't ration because of political pressure or will ration in arbirtrary and bureaucratic ways. Private incos will be sued into submission.

When grandma has to decide whether to get a $2 million treatment at the cost of her entire bequest, then people will start making efficient decisions. I work with retirees and near retirees every day, and it is amazing how efficient and risk averse their choices are for decisions that are not government subsidized. They make tough choices about their homes, trusts, gifts, estate taxes, annuities, bequests, DNR, wills. I see courage and generosity every day when people are put to a decision on their own money and the welfare of those they love. Even those who selfishly exhaust their resources leaving nothing behind do so rationally. Then again, my clients are people who actually earned and saved money for four or more decades. I expect better decisions from them than the general public.

1. "Doesn’t it seem slightly crazy to undershoot our inflation target in the midst of the biggest global debt crisis ever?"

Good sentences?

I took a quick poll and no one here will admit to their children snacking every day let alone 3 times a day.

#5 it seems bound to happen, how much more can they do to us.

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