Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings… (March 30, 2019)

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  • Professional Republicans, Not Professional Economists: How Low can They Go?: Among the professional Republicans, Ross Douthat joins Greg Mankiw in opposition to Steve Moore. So far, they are the only two I have seen—and Greg Mankiw is the only economist…. So far, not a peep I have seen out of anybody else: not Marty Feldstein, Michael J. Boskin, John Cogan, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Glenn Hubbard, Lawrence B. Lindsey, Harvey S. Rosen, George P. Shultz, John. B. Taylor, James C. Miller III, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Barry W. Poulson, Charles W. Calomiris, Donald Luskin, or Glenn Hubbard…

  • Yes, Of Course Larry Kudlow Is For QE Now and Was Against It When Obama Was President. Why Would You Think Otherwise?

  • Comment of the Day: Grizzled: “How Asia Works by Joe Studwell… the accounts he gives of successful asian development don’t seem to emphasize absolute property rights…

  • HA HA HA HA HA! Larry Lindsey and John Taylor: “PLEASE APPOINT US TO SOMETHING!! WE ARE LOYAL!!!! WE ARE NPOSTLTE PEOPLE!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!”: At some level, this is hilarious…. Greg Mankiw has said the obvious: that Stephen Moore is not qualified to be a Fed Governor…. Kevin Hassett—Kevin Hassett!—appears to are frantically trying to organize internal opposition…. And so John Taylor and Larry Lindsey decide that now is the time for them to demonstrate that they are NO PLATE OF SHIT TOO LARGE TO EAT people, as far as a Republican White House is concerned…

  • Weekend Reading: Salisbury the Late-Nineteenth Century Grand Strategist, as Explicated by Roberts, According to Gaddis: John Lewis Gaddis’s On Grand Strategy is not a book I would recommend highly…. However, there are two passages in the book that struck me very positively…

  • For the Weekend: Florence + The Machine: Tiny Dancer

  • Comment of the Day: Howard: “We need to remember that every other country in the world is now making plans on the expectation that having elected a trump once, America could easily do it again…

  • Note to Self: “Job Guarantee” vs. “Functional Finance”: Job Guarantee: “Our policy is for the government to run a deficit to offer low-quality make-work low-pay jobs that suck”. Functional Finance: “Our policy is for the government to run a deficit so that the labor market is in balance with employers getting the most value for their money possible and workers getting the most money for their time and energy possible with unemployment reduced to a ‘frictional’ level”. Job Guarantee is really stupid on many levels. Functional Finance is really smart. Put me down for Functional Finance…

  • Modern Dan Drezner Is Much Better…: “The Worst Piece Of Conventional Wisdom You Will Read This Year…. Stagflation in the 1970s…. Fiscal policy was an innocent bystander to this whole shebang. So I honestly don’t know what the hell Kinsley is talking about…

  • So, Professor Drezner, We Meet Again. And THIS TIME THE ADVANTAGE IS MINE!: Dan Drezner appears to mourn for the days when I was his nemesis…. I read Drezner’s piece in 2005 as an exercise in politics according to Karl Schmitt: that Drezner is following Schmitt’s advice that one’s first move when engaging in politics is to focus on identifying your enemies…. Here the point of Drezner’s piece is to assure (reassure?) his audience that his enemies are “Jackson and Sharpton… that thing they do”, which is to confront white politicians who are then “required to mau-mau kowtow to Jackson and Sharpton for something they say…” And he defines them as his enemies even though “they have a pretty valid point”. I am glad Drezner no longer does this…

  • I Said “Pass the Baton” to Those Further Left than I, Not “Bend the Knee”: Last night at dinner at Iyesare, Noah Smith admonished me for not making it clear that I said “pass the baton” to those further left, not “bend the knee”. So here I make that clear…. I said: pass the baton, right? I said: pass the baton. And yet as the thing spreads out into the Internet, it gets turned into “surrender”, “abandon my beliefs”, “bend at the knee”, all kinds of other things…

  • No Longer Fresh at Project Syndicate: Why Isn’t the Federal Reserve Buying Recession Insurance?


  1. Gene Sperling: Economic Dignity: “We must not lose sight of what economic policy is all about: allowing people to lead dignified lives…

  2. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt: How Democracies Die https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1524762938

  3. Jamie Powell: The Cloud Software Kings Are Nuts, When’s the Crash?: “Within the cloud software space there are clearly excellent businesses. Adobe, for instance, in 2018 posted free cash flow margins of 41.7 per cent, while increasing revenues 23.7 per cent. Similarly Dell subsidiary VMware, worth just under of 77bn, last year had ebitda margins of 30.9 per cent, and grew its free cash flow 15.9 per cent. So when the model really works. It really works. The question is, with valuations gazing out to an ever-receding horizon, will it work out for investors?…

  4. Iyesare

  5. Stephen Spratt, Edward Bolingbroke , and Liz McCormick: Here’s Why U.S. Bond Yields Plunged So Much Over the Past Week: “Mortgage investors were forced to hedge, intensifying move. Traders who’d bet volatility would stay low were also burned: The Federal Reserve’s surprise policy shift last week shook markets, but, even still, the intensity of the ensuing drop in U.S. bond yields has puzzled many observers. A massive wave of hedging in the swaps market helps explain the scale of the eye-catching move…

  6. Still no professional Republican economists save Greg Mankiw opposed to Moore: Alexandra Petri: “Appointing My Horse Incitatus to the Federal Reserve Board to Own The Libs… sibusisodan: That’s a bit self-defeating, because it will never vote Aye…

  7. Lemin Wu et al.: Entertaining Malthus: Bread, Circuses, and Economic Growth

  8. Peking University: Lemin Wu

  9. I cannot stress this enough: there are no reasonable Republicans to make policy nice-nice with. For one example, look at the Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut. Republican economists could have drawn a red line and said they would oppose any plan that merely increased inequality without promising significantly faster investment and growth. They did not: they signed on to a plan that produces a pointless increase in income inequaity, and they lied about what it was likely to do: Paul Rosenberg: After the Mueller Gaslighting, We Know the Adults Won’t Save Us. But the Kids Might | Salon.com: “Jerry Taylor writes, ‘overcoming Republican intransigence is the only way that ambitious climate policy is ever going to come to fruition’, This is, quite frankly, absurd. As self-described Clinton-era neoliberal economist Brad DeLong recently explained in a Vox interview, there are no reasonable Republicans to make policy nice-nice with…

  10. Lucrezia Reichlin: The Eurozone’s Real Weakness: “The eurozone’s real weakness is not the lack of exchange-rate flexibility, or its common monetary policy. Rather, it is the breakdown in risk sharing when the economy is hit by large shocks, combined with the absence of a common fiscal policy. That is the main lesson of the past 20 years…

  11. Hinoki & the Bird

  12. Grand Central Market

  13. Tacos Tumbras a Tomas

  14. Tom Braithwaite: Apple and Goldman’s painful reinvention is hard to credit | Financial Times: “Jumping into consumer finance shows both companies are grasping for growth…

  15. Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza

  16. Wikipedia: Toffoli Gate

  17. Mrs Fish: March Omakase Special

  18. Wikipedia: Bless the Harts

  19. Nobu Matsuhisa: Miso Marinated Black Cod

  20. Wikipedia: Vladimir Tatlin: “one of the two most important figures in the Soviet avant-garde art movement of the 1920s, and he later became an important artist in the Constructivist movement…. In 1948 he was heavily criticized for his allegedly anti-communist stance and lost his job, but was not repressed. Tatlin died in 1953 in Moscow and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery…


  1. Let the record show that the Spartans did not show up for Marathon, save for the 300 hid in the Peloponnese until others had borne the brunt of the battle at Salamis, surrendered at sphakteria, allied with the Mede to try to destroy the freedom of the Greeks, and then hid in the Peloponnese from Philip, Alexander, and their successors: Paul Rahe: Was There a Spartan Mirage?: “the predilections and preferences fostered by bourgeois society and a reflection of our propensity to make of the past a morality tale supportive of our own way of life. If Lacedaemon is worthy of study today, it is as the opposite. For its example serves nicely as a corrective to our propensity for supposing ourselves the pinnacle of humanity. How well, we should ask, would we measure up if the Mede were to return? Would we fight? Or would we collaborate?…

  2. James Montier will soon have an answer to his question why people hate MMT. MMT is about to hate James Montier too: James Montier: Why Does Everyone Hate MMT?: “Many of the negative articles I’ve read about MMT use the tried and tested method of setting up a straw man purely for the purposes of knocking him down. So, to avoid confusion, I will lay out a simple and straightforward description of what MMT is…. (4) Functional finance, not sound finance. Fiscal policy is much more potent than monetary policy. Fiscal policy should be aimed at generating full employment while maintaining low inflation…

  3. Still only Greg Mankiw out of professional Republican economists publicly opposed to Steve Moore to the Fed. Still only Ross Douthat among professional Republican non-economists publicly opposed to the Fed: Catherine Rampell: Stephen Moore Says He’s No Trump Sycophant. But He Sure Sounds Like One: “He says that Trump has a rockin’ bod and deserves a Nobel Prize: Stephen Moore… ‘I don’t think anybody can reasonably say I am a sycophant for Trump, because I’m not’. Come. On. Moore has spent the past three years serving as surrogate, spin doctor and sycophant…. Moore has… abandoned many of the other issues in his ‘economic philosophy’…. Once a warrior for free trade, Moore now regularly defends Trump’s tariffs. Until recently a champion of undocumented immigrants, he now rails against them…. Previously an inflation truther who warned that official government statistics were hiding the dangerous hyperinflation just around the corner, he is suddenly a deflation truther…. Consider the personal flattery…. The president is ‘very charismatic’, ‘clever’, ‘gutsy’ and ‘the greatest marketer of modern times’…. ‘What a showman! What a gifted orator’… ‘looks like a football player, in incredible, great shape’… ‘in all seriousness… Donald Trump deserves the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics’…

  4. Adam Tooze: Is This the End of The American Century?: America Pivots: “It is a gross exaggeration to talk of an end to the American world order. The two pillars of its global power–military and financial–are still firmly in place. What has ended is any claim on the part of American democracy to provide a political model. This is certainly a historic break…. Trump has forever personified the sleaziness, cynicism and sheer stupidity that dominates much of American political life. What we are facing is a radical disjunction between the continuity of basic structures of power and their political legitimation. If America’s president mounted on a golf buggy is a suitably ludicrous emblem of our current moment, the danger is that it suggests far too pastoral a scenario: American power trundling to retirement across manicured lawns. That is not our reality. Imagine instead the president and his buggy careening around the five-acre flight deck of a $13 billion, Ford-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier engaged in ‘dynamic force deployment’ to the South China Sea. That better captures the surreal revival of great-power politics that hangs over the present. Whether this turns out to be a violent and futile rearguard action, or a new chapter in the age of American world power, remains to be seen…

  5. Ian Dunt: Indicative Votes: A People’s Vote Just Became Much More Likely: “This was a very good night for the People’s Vote campaign…. Oliver Letwin… made it clear that it would be a multi-stage process… [with] a further day… which would move from finding the options with substantial support and see if any of them could secure a majority…. The government whipped against it, in a last-gasp attempt to kill off the process, and they failed…. There were surprisingly clear answers about what kinds of propositions might be able to secure support…. The hardline Brexit options fell hard…. Soft Brexit did surprisingly badly. Labour’s alternate plan, which does not specify a model, fell by 237-307…. Two propositions stood out…. Ken Clarke’s proposal for the UK to stay in the customs union fell by just 264 votes to 272…. Margaret Beckett’s motion calling for a confirmatory public vote on whatever deal was passed fell by 268 votes to 295… a far tighter margin than expected and also the single largest positive vote for any Brexit option so far…. The question now becomes which options are brought back to be decided on on Monday. Logically, it should be customs union membership and a second referendum, but Letwin may want to include one or two more. There is also a question about the voting system…. It’s only been 48 hours since the Letwin amendment was passed. And already the Brexit debate is changing beyond all recognition…

  6. Many Democrats have been saying “at its core, ObamaCare is a Republican idea from the Heritage Foundation!” and Scott Lemieux has been saying “Republicans have always hated the idea of making health care affordable to those who cannot pay through the nose in a broken adversely-selected market!” The many Democrats have said that by ignoring its Heritage Foundation roots Scott is making ObamaCare appear to be a more extreme-lefty plan than it is. Scott has been saying that by pushing the “ObamaCare = HeritageCare and RomneyCare” line the many Democrats have been feeding the myth that Reepublicans are actually in favor of getting more people health care. Can’t we agree that ObamaCare does have Heritage roots but that the Heritage Plan was never intended to be a serious policy proposal? Can’t we agree that the fact that the core of ObamaCare was a compromise that Mitt Romney felt he could accept is a sign that it is not a lefty plan? Can’t we all just get along?: Scott Lemieux: You Ever Think They’re Not Acting?: “As long as John Roberts remains the median vote of the Court—not a trivial condition!—this suit has virtually no chance of actually destroying the ACA, but is handing Democrats a nice political gift. The ‘we support healthcare reform, just not this healthcare reform’ con Republicans have been running for decades—with lots of inexplicable help from liberals–is finally over…

  7. The Financial Times—which in the circles I travel is widely-regarded as the only real newspaper, as the only one where when it publishes new things they are likely to be true while also publishing more than its quota of true things that are new, rather than taking its core mission to be pleasing its well-connected sources first and its advertisers second—should not have published this. Ian Buruma’s transgression was that he took his authority and the authority fo the New York Review of Books and used it give a man—Jian Ghomeshi—who had assaulted more than 20 women space to lie, uncorrected. And the FT should correct this story, and add to the article a headnote noting that Ian Buruma does not even now understand how he was unprofessional as an editor: Ian Buruma: Editing in an Age of Outrage: “Ian Buruma lost his job at the NYRB after publishing a controversial article. Here he reflects on what went wrong… ‘[My] transgression was not that any particular view was defended, but that a person accused of sexual abuses should be heard at all…

  8. Joan R. Rosés and Nikolaus Wolf: Regional Economic Development In Europe, 1900-2010: A Description Of The Patterns: “Regional employment structures and regional GDP and GDP per capita in 1990 international dollars, stretching over more than 100 years…. Variation in the density of population and economic activity, the spread of industry and services and the declining role of agriculture… changes in the levels of GDP and GDP per capita… patterns of convergence and divergence over time and their explanations… a secular decrease in spatial coherence… a U-shaped development in geographic concentration and regional income inequality, similar to the finding of a U-shaped pattern of personal income inequality…


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