Thursday assorted links

Comments

alternative title for #1: "ppl getting offended by a disclaimer that acknowledges trans ppl exist"

People also exist who think they are Caesar, or a tree.

Aww, are you upset that society is progressing without you?

If you consider insanity progress, then no.

You are correct, we better round up all the loonies who are currently running around believing in a magical old guy in the clouds who gave them a magic book by which to live their life

As a reactionary, I am on the right side of history. Progressives are on the wrong side of history because they don't realize that history is cyclical.

I'm not so much upset as I' confused: income inequality in the US is at the record level, I'm told. Is this progress? People that used to be considered mental cases are fetted in the media. Progress? The other day, I read the this is bound to be the hottest year on record. Do you agree that this is also progress? Or should we consider only the changes that please you personally as "progress". Please guide me.

Society can progress in one direction while regressing in another. Which is to say, society is complex and non-linear, and it was an over-simplification for me to say that "society is progressing" rather than something that recognized society's complex non-linear nature

Yes, entertaining delusions is "progress."

I find your lack of scientific understanding on gender disturbing...

Not all women menstruate either, but singling out transgenders for recognition as one of the exceptions to the general class referenced is identity politics run amok.

In fact, a significant percentage of even college-age women may menstruate only (a few times a year or even not at all) if they are on some of the newer varieties of birth control pills:

http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/features/new-no-period-no-pms-birth-control-pills

Nearly every woman over 50 does not menstruate for instance.

Case in point, Caitlynn Jenner.

Nearly every woman over 50 does not menstruate for instance.

Not the case in my family.

Nobody is "offended". They are amused.

That's not it at all. How do they miss the obvious climate change tie-in?

"We all err, sometimes very badly. The theory says that VSPs face less incentive either to second guess their errors as they are making them, or to think through their errors after they have made them, because collective structures reinforce their tendency to think that they are right in the first instance, and their tendency to think that they ought to have been right (if it weren’t for those inconvenient facts/specific and contingent circumstances that meant that things didn’t go quite as predicted just this once) in the second."
-That applies to both Krugman and some inflation hawks.

Everyone is vulnerable to groupthink at some level. However, Krugman has staked out a position on fiscal and monetary policy that places him to the left of the Democratic Party and at odds with the Davos crowd, much of the European Union, and (until recently) the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve. So, whatever you think of Krugman, he is not trying to curry favor with people who hold political power or with elite institutions.

Ironically, many of Krugman's harshest critics would agree since they say that Krugman would have much more influence if he would moderate his tone and be nicer to people he has disagreements with. One of the hallmarks of VSPs is their desire to identify with the elite consensus and to be seen as moderate technocrats who rise above partisan nastiness.

Gee, it seems like Krugman has a lot of influence with Profs. Tabarrok and Cowen. They cite and quote him constantly. I think many academics actually admire Krugman's rudeness and incivility: it feeds their fantasy self-image as rebels sticking to the man.

I think that despite being an ass, Krugman still occasionally makes important points. Because of that people like Tabarrok and Cowen look past his incivility.

That's my take. Krugman's a boorish lout, but he's a smart boorish lout.

Uhm, Krugman has a lot of readers. A blog is, sadly, a business.

I think cranky older guys are some of the best people to read and Krugman is definitely one of them. He is old enough and accomplished enough he can speak his mind and not care if people if people are offended or think he is rude and uncouth.

More to the point, what is to his credit is the fact that he seems to genuinely want to influence voters and people who do not have and never will have any sort of elite status. He is happy to burn bridges with people who are relatively prominent and successful if he thinks they are being dumb or dishonest and that is part of his charm.

Krugman is a jerk unnecessarily, and often a bully. That's his prerogative. But insulting those who disagree with you is only good for preaching to the choir.
The choir thinks it's just "calling it like he sees it".

You can take it to the bank that his horrid wife writes the column. IIRC, his deal with the CUNY Graduate Center is one course a term. Last I checked, his last academic paper hit the presses in 2007. He's semi-retired. He has no children, just some shirttails (hers or his) he's 'close to' and a couple of pets above and beyond the pit bull he married.

He's not uncivil, but when he sees people making discredited arguments who should know better, he is very clear that they are making discredited arguments and should know better. Some see identifying intellectual dishonesty as a personal attack.
I just perused his blog front page, with a weeks worth of posts. Nothing uncivil posted.
This all goes back to calling him 'shrill' for calling it as he sees it - and generally being right.

"He’s not uncivil,"

I assume you are referring to Paul Krugman, if so that statement is just wrong. Krugman's comments are often snide, harsh and arrogant.

A comment Krugman made about Donald Trump from a couple of weeks ago (July 14, 2015):

"“He’s a belligerent, loudmouth racist with not an ounce of compassion for less fortunate people,” Krugman said. “In other words, he’s exactly the kind of person the Republican base consists of and identifies with."

That is an uncivil remark.

Agra, he is often the one making discredited arguments, and should know better.

"So, whatever you think of Krugman, he is not trying to curry favor with people who hold political power or with elite institutions."
-Nope, university academics don't have any power at all, and Krugman certainly isn't being paid a cool quarter million per year for agreeing with their delusions:
http://gawker.com/income-inequality-institute-will-pay-paul-krugman-25-0-1563245534

"Ironically, many of Krugman’s harshest critics would agree since they say that Krugman would have much more influence if he would moderate his tone and be nicer to people he has disagreements with."

-That's tone-trolling, Ricardo. It's to get the man to STFU.

The Krugman vs. Moore debate, the video. - Link is missing.

4. Henry's definition of VSP makes Krugman himself one. Tyler is talking about a slightly different thing, perhaps further from what everyone else means but at least he avoids that.

I don't think Henry's definition includes Krugman in the set of VSPs. If existing power structures tended to reinforce and reflect Krugman's opinions, wouldn't we see more examples of policymakers moving in his direction? Krugman has a lot of influence, sure, but not so much with people who are actually in a position to implement economic policy. What success has Krugman or anyone else had convincing Europe, the UK, the US to implement further fiscal stimulus, or at least to halt deficit reduction while rates are near zero?

We did "half a Krugman" of stimulus in the Great Recession, because apparently we half-believed him.

To be fair, half a Krugman might not have been the worst plan. It still seems like everyone who tries to prove "austerity works" ends up on the rocks.

It seems that half way between 0 and Krugman's stimulus recommendation was about right. However, that makes Krugman about as good as those advocating zero stimulus.

Given that the economy stabilized in May of 2009 before hardly any of the porkulus money could have found its way to its beneficiaries, I'd say 'no stimulus' would have done just as well. We were already running large deficits from a collapse in revenues and from lending huge globs to various and sundry institutions of credit, just not financing the Party of Crime's extant wish list of goodies for their clientele.

#2) Well that was a pointless article. I was thinking Charlton Heston movie.

Anyway, the guy at U of R seems strange. There's about 2 dozen restaurants within 2 miles of U of R. Even Boulder Coffee just across the river isn't so bad (at daytime, you won't get mugged ;) )

...and if he doesn't want to leave his desk, there's a widely available food that's much cheaper than Soylent, has the same macronutrient ratio, and has a much, much shorter ingredient list: chocolate milk.

Boulder's okay, but there's not that much food there. A Chinese fast food place just opened up beside it last year. Everything else is enough of a walk, not easy to get to especially given that it snows over half the school year.

Anyway, 19th Ward is fine, I rented a house there, but there's no big grocery or much food.

Chocolate milk every day for lunch? I can't do it.

The housing in the 19th ward is fine. The available commerce on Thurston Rd. and Brooks Ave. has long been truncated and Genesee St. one avoids. You have to go up to Corn Hill, and that's mostly during the day. He can also take the shuttle to the downtown campus if he's looking for a place to eat. It does compare unfavorably to Syracuse as regards commerce in walkable neighborhoods. You really have to head out to Monroe or Clinton Ave. for that, and the shuttle does not run over there.

Oops. Monroe or Park Avenue. Thirty years in that place and I'm making mistakes gone too long.

The housing in the 19th ward isn't all that good. There's some really nice big houses there, but the hosing stock is really old and poorly maintained. If you're a student, it's ok for a year or so. I didn't last there even 6 months. Really poor houses, crime all over the place. It's not worth it.

I couldn't believe the condition of some of the houses people were renting out to students over there. Some were ok, but some looked like burned out hulks from the inside.

The crime is east of Genesee Street.

South Wedge, just a mile away. There's quite a few restaurants there. I guess if you're walking, I can see the problem. But if you're driving a couple of miles, there's lots of places.

You can walk up to South Wedge, but it's a hike on your lunch hour. They have a pretty good faculty Rathskellar on the River Campus. There's a reason for that.

I must congratulate Tyler on linking to sites and people such as rational Wiki and Henry who completely disagree with him on the nature of VSPs. It should be clear that they are completely right, and his weird efforts to redefine the thing and make them into admirably moral people is a pathetic joke. But, at least he is willing to link to those who are disagreeing with him so vigorously. I guess he is trying to make his accurate forecast that Very Serious but utterly execrable Wolfgang Schauble would win his power struggle with the Syriza leadership into something that is moral and should be applauded, whereas this is in fact a shameful and despicable outcome that has occurred, quite aside from being unsustainable and idiotic, which Tyler basically admits.

People can't stand an outcome where they can't moralize against the Very Serious People more or less at will, so much is clear. Few writers and academics, were they to hold power, could do much better.

It's not at all 'clear'.
On the contrary, it seems that the 'people' you seem to disparage very much desire outcomes where they won't have to inveigh against the the 'very serious'.

Incidentally, it seems that the class of the very serious, including Herr Schaeuble, have little problem with the buying and selling of political influence.

Who are the VSP on the Iran nuclear deal? Most of the VSP noted in rational Wiki are against it with the word Munich in the comparison while the administration is fighting for it. Much like Iraq, we don't the quality of the deal until ten years later.

One thing the Bush administration first term did really well is they were an unified bunch in pursuing their policy. The Iraq War was the obvious example in which the war opposers were dirty anti-American hippies. (The left blogosphere still has it roots here.)

I still say Obama legacy will become the Iran deal.

Anyhow, "Very Serious People" is a simpleton, liberal progressive worship word often used by numbskulls, like Krugman, to insult people offering data/facts and to shut down debate.

TC: I remember an answer you or Alex gave to a query about buying a house in the midst of the bubble. You're answer was (if I remember), "Go Ahead. How bad could it get?"

VSP aren't always wrong - stopped clock, as it were. But, when they err it's catastrophic because they have far too much economic/financial power.

A year (2008) after RE prices began "tanking" Very Serious People like Dodd and Frank were saying, "Everything is wonderful." In the run-up to the housing bubble, a few Very Unserious Serious People (e.g., Treasury Sec. O'Neil - I think - saw it late, tried to do say/something, and was hung out to "dry") indeed identified the insanity of new paradigm - that RE prices always rise; FRB keeping rates low and FNMA/FHLMC pumping extra trillions of liquidity in the housing market; etc. - it's a very long list. Any Very Unserious People would have know that you can't lend on assumed continued huge rises in collateral values, especially when you didn't get a good "read" on the obligors' repayment capacities, especially when said rises were artificially inflated by government entities.

Whenever an objection was raise your VSP began shrieking the critic was nuts or hated poor people.

I wonder at the reasons I persist in coming here. Maybe it's same as enjoying feeding time at the Ape House at the Bronx Zoo.

Tyler,

In the case of Greece, each side has its morality. So, Schauble thinks he is imposing a morality about people paying their debts, and I kind of suspect that odd list of characteristics you put out for VSPs was made to fit him. I mean, yes, he also is anti-inflation and an economic nationalist.

But, there certainly is a morality on the other side, strong austerity clearly damaging prospects for young Greeks who had no say or role in the bad behavior of the Greek regime during the aughts that ran up the debts. Furthermore, and this is where the more traditional VSP biz comes in, this deal is not sustainable, as you yourself have admitted, and the certainly serious (not "Very Serious") IMF also states that it is not sustainable.

My own wish and hope all along, back when I was being Pollyanna Rosser, was that they would cut a deal that would save face all around, would reschedule the debts to reduce the primary surplus to be paid to a sustainable level while maintaining some fig leaf for the creditors. This could have been done, easily done. They were not very far from it. But Mr. Serious Schauble would have none of it. He had to assert his power and win and humiliate his opponents, only to gain something that is going to hurt lots of innocent people and will not work.

My main complaint, Tyler, with your efforts to redefine this term "Very Serious People" all along has been that you have wanted to make the VSPs into admirable people, with this also somehow tied to their winning. Schauble was going to win, irrespective of the morality of the matter that can be debated, so therefore those silly Greeks were Not Very Serious when they tried to go up against him. I might be more willing to go along if you in fact would admit that everybody but you who talks about VSPs is talking about people who are fundamentally wrong.

So, the original VSPs were those pushing the Iraq War, and they were wrong about nearly everything they said about it, dead wrong. But here we have some of them on TV again, denouncing the Iran nuclear deal, and being taken seriously. Why should anybody take a lying war criminal like Dick Cheney seriously? Ah, he is an oh so moral VSP!

You may disagree, but we have had multiple rounds of exaggerated hysteria about Social Security by various VSPs still at it. I guess it is too soon to say who is really right or wrong on that one, but there is no doubt that the VSPs who harp and harp and harp on it have made one ridiculously wrongheaded argument after another about it, and gotten away without anybody in the media publicly telling them that they have egg all over their faces to their faces, because, well,.they are VSPs, and such people must be treated with the greatest of public respect..

My objection was that nobody in the whole Greece situation really fit this, but you wanted to somehow turn VSPs into "moral" good guys whom nobody should be picking on. I have repeatedly stated that I thought this was a mistake, and it looks like pretty much everybody else out there in the blogosphere agrees with me. Everybody else in the b-sphere thinks the term Very Serious People means, and should mean, stuffed-shirt establishmentarians who are spouting utter nonsense and not getting taken to task for it. This really has nothing to with morality or economic nationalism or inflation or any of the rest of the stuff you had on your list of what this all about. This is why so many people have been dumping on you and so hard.

Tyler, you really cannot go and redefine words (or phrases) from how they have come to be used. You will get people coming down on you, just as you are having happen, especially when you persist in it and attempt to turn it into a morality tale where you are the good guy and somehow everybody else is not (or they are falsely imposing morality when they should not)..

Better to have stuck with just "serious" rather than "very serious" in the whole discussion of Greece. That term implies "realistic," but not necessarily moralistic. So, your main complaint against Varoufakis was that he was not realistic, that he did not figure it out that there was no way that Schauble would bend, and the Greeks would just have to suck it up and accept their austere fate (or get the heck out of the euro, which they may yet still do). Keep in mind that if we want to talk about really really serious people, the following would have to be on the list: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, Mao, de Gaulle, Ho Chi Minh. One could keep Schauble's unfortunate fellow countryman who caused so much trouble back then off the list, along with his Italian sidekick, because in the end they lost, were not realistic, and did not die in bed with all around them praising them as national heroes as did those I listed (granted that FDR apparently died in a hot tub with his mistress nearby, but you get the picture).

Needless to say, being "moral" has nothing whatsoever to do with being "serious," but when one wants to tie morality to the absurd category of Very Serious (or Not Very Serious), especially when one is trying to turn "Very Serious" from being a negative joke to being something admirable, one is getting oneself into waters that are simply too deep, and that is what you have done, Tyler, I fear.

Concision is a virtue.

This is supposed to be a justification for you providing 10-15% of the comments on a typical MR thread, including this one, even though nobody can figure out just how far up your behind your head is, "Art Deco"?

Tyler,

Let me give a more concise and more personal answer on this matter of being able to "moralize" against VSPs. You probably have not followed it in detail, but starting back on Max Speaks over a decade ago and then on Econospeak since, I have been part of the gang along with Dean Baker and Bruce Webb who have beaten up the VSPs who have gone on and on about the supposed Social Security crisis, with in fact Krugman picking up his eventual position from us. I have to say that I have never viewed this as some sort of moralistic struggle. I do not think that people like Fred Hiatt or Robert J. Samuelson are being immoral when they vaporize hysterically and stupidly about the need to reduce future SS benefits now because if we do not do so there might be a need in the future to, you know, reduce the benefits. It has been more an annoyance with stupidity and entrenched propagandizing than some moralistic issue.

After all, these people are quite sure that they are being moral. This really is a matter more of intellectual annoyance, not moralizing. Hope this helps clarify.

It's somewhat amusing that Art Deco makes the comment "Concision is a virtue.", then you respond by saying he has his head stuck up his behind, and then 20 minutes later add another post starting with "Let me give a more concise...".

You walk a fine line when you introduce concepts such as 'shame' then imply morality has nothing to do with the, only-in-this-lame-blogosphere-space, argument about the nature of VSPs. Careful where you step.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-literary-mind/200911/the-four-moral-emotions

Here is the link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdkjSHY3bic&feature=youtube

@#7 - deworming data is bogus

Goldacre: "The papers are about deworming pills that kill parasites in the gut, at extremely low cost. In developing countries, battles over the usefulness of these drugs have become so contentious that some people call them “The Worm Wars.” " - there's no sugar coating it, these deworming pills are bitter, as any dog owner knows even your pet, much less the girl in the lead photo, don't like to swallow them.

"Looking at 41 deworming trials, the Cochrane review found little to no evidence that these pills boost cognition, school performance, anemia, nutritional status, and so on. " - that's what my dog says! Worms are natural, like fleas, and help the body's immune response! But on the internet even your dog can be an MD.

"That’s why the saga of these two deworming trials should be regarded as a pivotal point in history. These core problems in science and medicine — missing data, and the need for reproducibility checks — are now instantiated by the single biggest trial ever conducted, on one of the most commonly used treatments in the world; and by Miguel and Kremer’s deworming study, the pivotal trial for an entire movement.It is time to change. Nullius in verba. On the word of nobody. Show me the data."

True, but same thing plagues economics: no study to 95% confidence shows an economy reacts to anything a central bank does. Monetarism is bogus. I keep telling Scott Sumner: show me the data that monetarism works to 95% confidence and I'll quit trolling your blog. But he refuses, not because he wants to, but because he knows I'm right, no data to support ex ante the quantity theory of money (ex post of course it's just an accounting theory, but show me where printing money changes either real or even nominal GDP variables in the future--can't be done).

@myself--ex post quantity theory of money is an 'accounting identity' is what I meant, not an 'accounting theory'. Meaning if you play with velocity you can make the right hand side of the equation equal the left, but it tells you nothing, going forward, about how an economy will react to a central bank printing money. "Money is always and everywhere neutral" - Ray Lopez, paraphrasing Milton Friedman.

Of course it is bogus. There is a reason economists are hired on a marketing budget, and not an RnD budget.

"in 2008, Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, reportedly chased world leaders around the room pretending to be a giant intestinal worm."

He wrote the whole article just so he could get that in. Surely?

Are we certain she was pretending? Perhaps she identifies as an intestinal worm.

4. Henry's observation, that everyone has biases it's just that the biases of VSPs are magnified and reinforced and therefore VSPs are less likely to second guess or think through theirs, seems about right. His larger point, however, is where Cowen and Henry really diverge: "individual biases, together with a certain degree of pigheadedness can have advantages for group problem solving, as long as people have a minimal capacity to come around to recognizing the advantages of a better perspective, however grudgingly, and (my addition) as long as collective structures of decision making do not systematically entrench certain kinds of bias. This is the advantage of democracy when it works; it harnesses mulishness and rancorous dispute, to reveal the information that is latent in the disagreements between our various perspectives on the world (which are inextricably intertwined with our value judgments)." This is really about democracy, which a Straussian distrusts more than the revealed wisdom of the Platos, Aristotles, and Ciceros, the VSPs. What is the good for the nation? To a Straussian it won't be found in the collective wisdom of the masses, for the collective wisdom of the masses leads to extremism, of the Nazi or Marxist kind or permissive egalitarianism, the latter being the threat of liberal democracy in a place like the U.S. The VSPs, who possess the revealed wisdom, are all that stand between the good and extremism.

Of course, Strauss's view conveniently exonerates German and Austrian VSPs of their crimes - liberal democracy is to blame. Yet, Strauss and his acolytes are simultaneously of the view that Germans and Austrians don't suffer from a character flaw, for it was the Nazis not the Germans and Austrians who brought civilization near an end.

#4 The commentators on Crooked Timber consist solely of mulp and prior_approval it seems.

If you had a Koch drinking game going there, you'd be dead.

The contributors include Richard Yeselson and Corey Robin.

Most of the commenters seem rather worse than the Koch-fixated characters here.

The commentators I just read on Crooked Timber seemed better than mulp, but worse than prior_approval. Two thirds of the time p_a's comments are just humorless snarky posts, but one third of the time he writes a factual and informational post.

I enjoy mulp , but that may be because I used to drive on the left side of the road; you probably drive on the right side.

p_a has really gone down hill. I mean, hes cut back on his constant whining about GMU, but hes replaced it mostly with stuff pulled from his ass.

+1 Godawful stuff over there...why Daniel Davies bothers is beyond me, unless he is doing some king of perverse penance for being a successful stockbroker and having what seems to be a nice life.

A much better discussion of VSPs than that mess that was on here yesterday.

The lack of charity towards Very Serious People is fascinating. Have Very Serious People, on net, done more harm than enlightened intellectuals?

Yes, because if the intellectuals do harm, it proves they're not enlightened.

When intellectuals do harm, the harm was caused by wreckers. Or because we didn't give the intellectuals enough power.

#4. I think the entire VSP concept is off base. I mean, I know it's a meme, but I don't think "VSP" are really as coherent a group as people would like to imagine they are, or that their VSP-ness has anything to do with common sense morality.

I do think that there is a phenomenon of self-reinforcing bias amoung intellectual elites, but that phenomenon holds on both ends of the political spectrum. Paul Krugman is a "Very Serious Person" to a large chunk of the left. And his beliefs are clearly being reinforced by what is considered "common sense" in leftist circles. Indeed, on might argue this is what is really driving his shift on the minmum wage.

Going back to the Iraq War, I would actually dispute that there was anything like an overwhelming consensus in favor of the war amoung "Very Serious People". The war I remember it, there was a *popular* consensus in favor of the war that was driven by anger over the 9/11 attacks, while the intellectual elites were much more ambivalent and nuanced about it's merits and necessity. It was more that the public sentiment was so powerful that opposition to the war was effectively muted and the pro-war side was allowed to dominate.

+1

+1, great post Hazel, née Meade

Isn't she originally Hazel Stone?

No, she was the mother in the novel "The Rolling Stones". She was Hazel Meade (and a pre-teen) in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"

Correct. I actually never heard of Hazel Stone until long after, even though she appears first in Heinlein's juveniles as a grandmother Hazel Stone.
I read 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' first, and I always liked the character of Hazel Meade - 12 year old red-head spitfire who joins the lunar revolution.

Ah! Thanks for the clarification.

I hadn't read "The Rolling Stones" and thought she was one of the kids. Wikipedia now tells me they were boys and older.

It does seem vague, half-baked, ill-elucidated and trivial. Rather like all the babble about 'mood affiliation'.

It's all so weird. Sounds like an update of the "stuffed shirt" concept which has been around for ever and knows no political bounds.

Perhaps there is a VSP (relatively speaking) in every conversation, and if you don't know who it is, it's probably you.

"Perhaps there is a VSP (relatively speaking) in every conversation, and if you don’t know who it is, it’s probably you. "

What? Looks around. Doesn't see any likely candidates. Oh, damn.

On the Iraq War, if I interpret your comment as saying there was never an elite consensus in favor of the war, I would agree. However, I do clearly remember sources as diverse as Frontline on PBS, Thomas Friedman, Bill Clinton and most of the conservative and Republican establishment insisting the evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was overwhelming. On the WMD question, there is a bit of an analogy with what people like Krugman are trying to get at on views of the economy in that there are certain things that "everyone knows" are right and if you dispute the conventional wisdom, you run the risk of being branded a crank or ideologue and losing status as a result. The analogy isn't perfect because the WMD issue boiled down to an echo-chamber of hearsay based in turn on secret evidence and off-the-record quotes instead of propositions that can be fact-checked and analyzed using publicly available data.

You think Krugman is challenging things that "everyone knows" about the economy? The way I see it, he's basically upholding a Keynesian consensus that "everyone", especially the commenters on his NYTimes columns, agrees is obvious. I really don't think people in Krugman's camp are in any danger of being labeled cranks or ideologues. In fact, it's more like that's what he is fervently trying to do to his opponents.

I agree with this. It looks to me that, by a non-ideological definition of VSP, Krugman is one.

I would not doubt there's a multiplier. The task for critics of 'austerity' is to demonstrate to the rest of us that the converse of 'austerity' is something other than Daddy-Warbucks-Forever-and-Ever. They're not succeeding.

Krugman has said the stimulus package under Obama was too small and that the Fed and central banks of other countries operating below potential should increase inflation to at least 5%. Can you name any country where such aggressive fiscal and monetary policy gets a fair hearing from policy-making elites? Certainly not in the U.S. It is well-documented that a stimulus package that would have been consistent with Krugman's (not to mention CEA chief Christina Romer's) Keynesian analysis was shot down not by the Republicans but by Obama's own political advisers even before Obama sent a proposal to Congress.

IIRC, we were running deficits approaching 9% of domestic product in 2009. Of how much in the way of deficit spending are you speaking? And, again, economic output stabilized in May of 2009. There had been a great deal of credit extended to financial institutions and to the auto industry, but the ha-ha-ha shovel-ready projects were just a gleam in Democratic mayors eyes. What were federal officials in the business of doing in the spring of 2009. The answer is (1) financing extant wish list, (2) generating regime uncertainty, and (3) adding to their clientele by relaxing requirements to draw on public benefits.

Even if the elites were more nuanced about the war, if you step back and think about what was actually being proposed: 'Let's invade and occupy a middle east country because their army may have some chemical weapons' is obviously crazy and not something that the US has ever done before.
Yet it was treated as a reasonable topic for discussion, and most elites said "yes, we should do that" even if they had nuance. The VSP around it was that it was to be treated as a weighty issue that should at least be acknowledged as a borderline good idea.
With the economics, it is austerity and the idea that austerity will restore 'confidence' in the markets, which will be the engine of recovery. Rather than spending that puts people to work and actually circulates money through the economy.
As with Greece: how is more poverty actually supposed to help? The remarkable thing is that the major players; the IMF and Germany, have acknowledged it will not and the debt load is unsustainable. But the are refusing to do anything because debt forgiveness is not 'serious'

it is austerity and the idea that austerity will restore ‘confidence’ in the markets, which will be the engine of recovery. Rather than spending that puts people to work and actually circulates money through the economy

That's is not the idea at all. What is being called "austerity" is simply the reality that lenders will not lend you any more money if you do not pay it back. It's not the evil lenders fault for imposing this "austerity" on you aren't doing things that give them any confidence they're going to get their money back NEXT time they lend to you. The confidence that is being restored is not the "market", it is the confidence of the lenders that they will actually get paid back next time around. You can't tell me that if I refuse to lend you any more money after the third time I got burned that I'm a horrible person who is imposing this evil austerity on you by not lending you money. Do something to give me some confidence that you've turned your life around.

If you're not going to pay your debts, you'd best learn to manage your finances in a way which does not require borrowing. It's taken Greece 5 years to manage to get within sight of that goal and now they're objecting. At the same time, they insisted on maintaining an unsuitable currency, unsuitable labor law, &c.

On the austerity debate Krugman points out in the Moore video we can't all decrease spending at the same time. This seems like an obvious point but apparently it is not. Most refutations of the paradox of thrift I have seen rely on some sort of "my savings are someone else's investment" but that ignores the word "all" in the description of who is decreasing spending. If government, business and consumers are all trying to deleverage you have got a problem. The solution to the paradox is to increase the monetary supply but my impression is the supporters of austerity are often the same people who are against "debasing currency".

VSP: someone who doesn't change her mind in spite of the evidence that she is, whose conviction that she is right grows stronger as the evidence of being wrong mounts, and whose opinion is highly valued by other VSPs. As for the Iraq War, opinions differed all along the political spectrum, and opinions changed all along the political spectrum, but the opinions of the VSPs never changed.

Except for the female pronouns, you describe Krugman.

"someone who doesn’t change his mind in spite of the evidence"

More spending!

"whose conviction that he is right grows stronger as the evidence of being wrong mounts"

More spending!

"whose opinion is highly valued by other VSPs."

What is more "serious" than the "Grey Lady"?

Absolutely. Krugman is a VSP.

Krugman has yelled spending for about as long as interest rates have been zero. I understand it gets annoying but it's a pretty simple correlation.

3. I feel in parts of India, parents of girls with higher education now have better negotiation regarding bride price where it exists. But seeing the excessive opulence of the weddings ( mostly borne by the bride's parents) , had come to the conclusion that education doesn't necessarily imply a more progressive perspective.

I get the impression that Stephen Moore doesn't understand monetary policy very well. He also seems to confuse savings and investment.

and of course there is the Coen brother's "A Serious Man"

Aww, you're no fun.

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