Wednesday assorted links

1. Should you be an insider or an outsider?  With advice from Larry Summers.

2. Paul Krugman refers to a piece on New Deal bankers wanting higher interest rates.

3. Would leaving the EU make it easier for the UK to control its border? (no, shout from rooftops)

4. Video excerpt, Luigi Zingales on whether Pope Francis is overrated or underrated.  And lots of cheating on emissions tests, not just Volkswagen.  Speaking of cheating, Angus and I say North Carolina barbecue is in decline.

5. The polity that is New York City:”Custodians took home an average pay of $109,467 in the 2013-14 school year — and 634 of the city’s 799 custodians earned more than $100,000 in salary and overtime during that time, city payroll records show.”

6. What are the current restrictions on American travel to Cuba?

7. How Iceland managed to survive and bounce back.


What does should mean, Professor?

#7: " In addition, governments in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany reimbursed depositors in Icelandic banks, in all ca. $5bn."

That sits oddly with the claim that Iceland "did not default". I guess it depends how nicely you define the word default.

$5B in deposit reimbursement is equivalent to about $16,000 per Icelandic citizen and is roughly 1 year's exports for Iceland.

Imagine if they were forced to pay that back on top of their other debts in Pounds/Euros, not worthless Icelandic Krona.

Iceland was able to get away with default because it's a tiny country and the rest of the world decided it wasn't worth dragging the entire country to bankruptcy court.

Greece's debts were too large to ignore.

Greece’s debts were too large to ignore.

They better learn to ignore them. They're not getting much back.

Bankruptcy court? No, the issue is that greece doesn't control its own currency, so it can't just print euros to pay off debts. And a default meant getting forced out of the Euro - no bankruptcy, just no more euro.
Iceland has its own currency, so could do as it pleased without having to kowtow to the EU.
There is no international bankruptcy court. Traditionally, if a country didn't pay, the powerful country would send in some warships, occupy a major port, and tax all the imports/exports until they felt satisfied. THAT is international bankruptcy court (essentially, war).
No one was going to try to invade Iceland.

#3: Hugo's argument depends on the Dublin regulation, which has been effectively thrown out of the window. Migrants *not* being processed in the first country they arrive in. They are being distributed. In any case, it's a little difficult to imagine migrants from, say, Syria choosing the UK as their first landfall.

What's amazing is that piece of forensic chicanery is retailed to us as suasive by the moderator. Kathy and 'Carol' Fata, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

"If we left the EU, we would no longer be able to rely on the cooperation of the French. Our border with France would effectively shift from Calais to Dover. And when asylum seekers did arrive, we wouldn’t have any right to send them back – that is, unless we pleaded with the EU to let us stay covered by the Dublin regulation, and it agreed."

What kind of preposterous nonsense is this? A nation's right to expel intruders does not derive from the European Union or the Dublin regulation. Possibly the Grauniad writer is equivocating on "send them back" as meaning "get France to take them in", but then he's either a fool or a liar.

This isn't related to the "right to expel intruders".

It's related to the right to seek asylum or refugee status.

Someone must be holding a gun to your head for your to spend significant fractions of your life commenting on a website of people your loathe so much.

I suggest calling 911.

And let's not forget the big overall picture here, namely that the UK has never been isolated from continental Europe in any meaningful sense of the term...

I actually opened that article. Thanks for the laugh. Why would an Englishman ever listen to someone like this?

#1. Some of us don't have a choice. Outsider is it.

I miss NC bbq. But when I lived in NC, I missed TX/OK bbq. Even if you win, you lose.

I'd be perfectly okay with a platter of either NC or TX bbq for lunch today

BBQ is due for a comeback considering low-carb diet trends. They just need to change the sides. More vegetables, less cornbread and baked beans.

Is okra a vegetable? It is in my mind.

Well, it is neither animal nor mineral. Anyway, it is horrible.

If you dip it in batter and fry it, it tastes remarkably like fried batter.

People who willingly eat okra are no better than animals.

I didn't know that. Another thing that tastes remarkable like fried batter is fried batter

Make an Indian friend and get invited for Dinner that also features Okra. Your opinion may change.

Collard greens are vegetables too.
Still, I'd rather have steamed brocolli or salad, personally.
Or maybe they can cook kale or swiss chard in the style of collard greens.
I've just never really dug the traditional barbeque sides.

Oh, I think the comeback is pretty mature judging by the local scene here (Ann Arbor). There are about 10 BBQ places in and around town -- most of which opened within the last few years (and not counting the Korean BBQ or the 'Old Carolina BBQ' chain). No restrictions on wood burning either, as far as I can tell.

Squash would be just fine, in my opinion.

Squash, Cauliflower, Brocolli, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, all yummy vegetables that go great with meat.
Why does it have to be Okra and Collard Greens ?

I have a high-protein diet for you.

Tyler should read up on why traditional wood-smoked BBQ is a dying breed here in NC.

"Monk said there's a difference in taste with the wood-cooking lasting nine to 10 hours compared to the electric cooking taking six hours. He noted that a lot of restaurants are grandfathered to cook by wood, and new businesses cannot receive a permit to do the pit cooking. Due to health department regulations, having fire pits in restaurants are not allowed anymore. Barbecue restaurants open prior to the new rules are grandfathered, such as Lexington Barbecue No. 1, which opened in 1962."

That's true, though even a lot of the people who cook with wood will tell you that cooking barbecue with wood is partially signaling. Gas is so much easier that when you find a wood place, you're a lot more likely to find an ornery pit master who is a stickler for all sorts of other details.

5. Folks advocating higher tax receipts should sit and examine the long and glorious list of ways those receipts are spent.

What, you want your kids to go to dirty school?

I wouldn't mind if other people's kids do!

Btw, redemption for Carl:

5. The way NY City is might be rational. If you work the custodians like nobodies business i.e. 100,000.00 a year implies to me that they're handing out a lot of overtime - then you might still be ahead of hiring additional workers. 2 people doing 40 hours a week might be more expensive then one guy doing 60 hours after benefits and the overhead (mangement and etc.) that you'd need for the second guy.

That's the implication from the article. The other (unstated) implication is that this is an F.U. to the custodian union. But while it may make business sense on paper, I don't know that you're getting 100% effort out of the guy working his sixtieth hour of the week.

They are not just janitors, custodians must possess licenses needed to operate and maintain a school building, including credentials for boilers, heating/air conditioning and fire sprinklers and alarms.

Custodians are doing boiler and HVAC work? Working on fire suppression systems? That most assuredly does not happen with custodians in some of the other major districts with which I have worked.

Do you have a cite for that claim?

That is true, they are really building managers. The people who actually clean the school have the title of cleaner. I know this because I was a cleaner during the summers in the late 1980's in NYC schools.

Here is the job description. They are technically "custodian engineers", but these jobs are not really close to what people think of when they hear "custodian".

More to the point, they are managers with staff underneath them. So yes, somebody in charge of the building maintenance staff in NYC working long hours is going to pull down $100K.

Good link Jan.

Concur, nice work Jan.

@ JWatts

Maybe I'm slow cuz I'm in private sector manufacturing, but I've never met a "manager" where OT is such a large part of compensation.

"but I’ve never met a “manager” where OT is such a large part of compensation."

I'm a Manufacturing Engineer (Controls Engineer) and that's routine for my company. My average total pay is roughly 50% higher than my specified salary. And almost all the profit sharing and bonus money is directly correlated with hours over 50.

Starting minimum salary in Jan's link is $56K for Level I. One would assume there are plenty of Level III's making significantly more than that. 70-80's range? And then you tack on OT pay for:

"Special Working Conditions: Custodian Engineers (BOE) may be required to work shifts including nights,
Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays."

And you're easily in the 100K's. Frankly, I've worked with plenty of Maintenance Tech's with no managerial role (no one under them) pulling $100K, even in the middle of the South East where the prevailing wage rate is certainly lower than NYC. Granted, those are the guys who work every weekend and every holiday, but I'm sure you've got the same in NYC. Generally speaking the non-manager role is straight hourly rate and the manager role is salaried, but the salaried role pay at least as much as the hourly rate. (Obviously, no one is going to agree to manage a team if they aren't making at least as much as the guys working under them.)

And of course for NYC jobs of this nature, the benefit package is probably outlandish. $30K+ per year per employee. So, the city is better off paying one guy to work a lot of over time at $100K versus 2 guys to do the same work at $80K.

If 800 guys with mops could actually clean all the schools in NYC, those supermen would be worth way more than 100,000 each.

Of course, since there's only 800 of them, it's pretty obvious they aren't just mop-pushers, and definitely aren't the "Average NYC school janitor". I don't know how much hands on maintenance work versus administrative work they do, but either could easily be worth 100k in NYC with lots of overtime.

And when asylum seekers did arrive, we wouldn’t have any right to send them back – that is, unless we pleaded with the EU to let us stay covered by the Dublin regulation, and it agreed.

Not buying. Put the bogus asylum seekers on a plane to their home country and let the home country deal with them.

The open borders fanatics in the British press are running out of sophistries.

Maybe this blog's name should be changed to Immigration Revolution.

The shnook writing for The Guardian fails to mention that if Britain withdraws from the EU, this whole mess goes:

And Britain can set its own immigration policy. In fact, all social policy making from Brussels ceases.

Well, why don't they go away? It was the British blood-suckers who begged to be let in--against the better judgment of real statesmen like De Gaulle, who made it clear that the insular and hostile British regime, as it stands, had no place in Europe.

They don't want to leave the EU because it means ending up on the wrong side of the tariff wall.

They'd be forced to obey EU laws in terms of regulation in order to sell to the EU market but they would have no say in how those laws are made.

So what, you sell to the rest of the world on the same terms, and the effect of tariffs on welfare is very modest.


There is no "tariff wall". EU tariffs are close to nil. Better yet, the UK can join the EFTA (European Free Trade Association). All of the benefits of Europe and none of the BS.

Probably turns out in practice that this effect would be more than balanced by the fact the EU wants to sell to Britain and would have to make its regulations with that in mind.... i.e. by making British law, you are influencing how EU law is made, because they wish to sell to you and more pressingly for the EU, buy from you.

Less true if a small country wanted out of the EU (e.g. Norway) but then a small country would have no influence in how EU regulation is made, anyway, via voting, etc.

The insular and hostile British regime helped save Free French bacon in 1940-45. For that, the cheese-eating surrender-monkeys will never forgive them.

The Soviets, the Americans and the brave peoples from the Dominions helped save Great Britain's liver and onions --even after it did all it could to enable Hitler-- and kept protecting it even while perfidious Albion surrendered Singapore. And the world never heard from the true winners of the war one-tenth of the gloating we have had to hear from the British bloodsuckers. If the fifth-columnists are not happy with Europe, let them go. Down with the mad dogs.

The Soviets, the Americans and the brave peoples from the Dominions helped save Great Britain’s liver and onions –even after it did all it could to enable Hitler

The last 10 words incorporate a malicious fantasy. Why am I not surprised? As for the 1st two words, I'm afraid assistance from the Red Army during the Blitz was nil, as Soviet Russia was in a functional alignment with Nazi Germany, manifest in their gang rape of Poland. Soviet assistance with various and sundry naval engagements was also nil. American assistance during the Blitz was limited to Lend-Lease Aid (which Soviet Russia also received from the Untied States from 1942 until the end of the war).

If not for efforts--and deathes-- of people really fighting Hitler, Britain would never have survived the power of the Axis. Even i "If not for efforts--and lives-- of people effectively fighting Hitler-- Britain would never have survived the power of the Axis. Even in 1942 in Singapore the Britiah regime was unwilling to fight. e was unwilling to fight. Even Churchill had to accept that it was the New World's mission save the old one.
As for the Hitler enabling, suffices to say that British censorship of Churchill's anti-Hitler position (Vox Clamantis in Deserto at Britain's right) became one of Milton Friedman's most famous examples of the ills of state-controlled media. Between 1933 and 1939, the British regime was an objective ally of Hitler'.s The pre-Churchill's Cabinet Conservative party was so pro-Hitler that Philby et all had to pretend to be fascists to have a shot at infiltrating the British right mainstream.

The pre-Churchill’s Cabinet Conservative party was so pro-Hitler that Philby et all had to pretend to be fascists to have a shot at infiltrating the British right mainstream.

This has no reality outside your imagination.

I thought that name was already taken by the "American Revolution".

#2 "So the demand for higher rates is coming from a narrow business interest group..." But of course, Paul, nothing whatsoever to do with seniors with savings...

Depends on how well diversified "seniors" are and whether they care about whether their children and grandchildren have jobs.

Because raising interest rates is free money for those who buy bonds, as is widely known.

"And lots of cheating on emissions tests, not just Volkswagen"

Oddly enough, this is a German company in the news, and prior_approval is nowhere around pointing out how awesome German's are to everyone else.

From the link, it is best to take notice of what Germans actually do, not what they say.

#1 helps explain why so many people seek "outsiders" during elections, and why so many politicians try to present themselves as such. Well put, but maybe common knowledge.

Anyone who has the option of being an insider isn't really an outsider, even if they try to act like one. Still, I think people are morally obligated to side with outsiders for the sake of political equality. A club in which insiders protect other insiders strikes me as inherently corrupt.

Seems to me that competing factions of insiders bash each other in public quite a bit, sometimes for attribution, sometimes in their guise as 'a senior official', but I'm not a subtle thinker like Dr. Summers. I gather from what people who know him are willing to retail to the papers, the man is a terror to work with.

I worked for him a bit. Not a terror at all unless you are terrorized at someone being THAT much smarter than you are. :)

#4 I suspect the ever tightening EPA emissions +CAFE standards are getting really hard to meet for a combustion engine, Hence the increasingly pervasive cheating.

Small diesel engines may have a hard time. Not much market share - and an easily expendable group of furrin' manufacturers. The political cost of Regulation is low.

The Regulators will back off when the financial $ting for certifying a gasoline ICE gets too steep. I'm in NY State, and current huge loopholes exist - one gives hyper-polluting vehicles (such as 15+ year old diesel HD pickups!) a COMPLETE emissions pass.

Sure, the watermelon lobby wants Americans in large electric golf carts, but they underestimate the costs.

"54.5 miles per gallon by 2025" is the new standard. Of course, that's never going to happen. As soon as Obama is out that will be repealed, if a Democrat wins it will be quietly pushed back and delayed, if a Republican wins it will be publically denounced. But in neither case, will American's except being forced to buy something as small as a Prius. (And just for the record, the current Toyota Prius only hits 50 mpg).

#4) With all this cheating on emissions tests, why does our environment still seem to be in pretty good shape, at least relative to our prior expectations? For example, global temperature keeps falling significantly below model predictions. As far as I know, we have not experienced higher than expected respiratory problems, etc. If the regulations and testing regime were actually useful, shouldn't we have already been suspecting rampant cheating before the VW revelations based on heretofore mysterious environmental degradations? What, if any, are the environmental mysteries that could now be solved as a result of the VW cheating revelations?

2014 was the hottest year on record

July 2015 is the hottest month on record

Yes, and the price level in July 2015 was also the highest on record since price records have been kept. That doesn't mean that inflation has been as high as many expected or warned. As Asness and Brown have pointed out, temperature has remained far below model expectations/predictions: []. (That doesn't mean that the models won't be right someday. So far, however, those models have overshot the mark.)

How to say this ... Um, price and temperature are in no way related.

Price inflation is in no way analogous to changes in temperatures.

No, don't you know that temperatures are neutral? You are conflating nominal temperatures and real temperatures: you have to discount temperature inflation.

Francis is over-rated by liberals (he does not support a carbon tax) and underrated by Conservatives (he thinks ACC is real).

It doesn't make sense to ask whether or not the Pope is under- or overrated, given that there exists no substitutes; he is incomparable.

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