a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Campbell Robertson and Kim Severson (NYT) - Storms’ Toll Rises as Scale of Damage Becomes Clear
The death toll, including those who were killed by storms earlier in the week in Arkansas, reached 333. On Friday evening, Alabama emergency officials announced that the state’s death toll had reached 232. . .
. . .echoing the volunteers who have come in such high numbers that they are being turned away in some areas, Mr. Obama turned the focus toward the work ahead.
“We can’t bring those who have been lost back,” he said. “But the property damage, which is obviously extensive, that’s something that we can do something about.”. . .
Slobodan Lekic (AP) - NATO dismisses Gadhafi cease-fire proposal
Protesters Brave Live Crackdowns in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia
Syrian Army Splits over Deraa Repression
NATO Strike on Command Center kills Qaddafi Son
A Gay Girl in Damascus - My father, the hero
NATO says it wants Moammar Gadhafi's forces to end their attacks on civilians before it considers the Libyan leader's cease-fire offer. . .
. . .hours before Gadhafi proposed the truce, his forces indiscriminately shelled the besieged port city of Misrata, Libya, killing several people.
"All this has to stop, and it has to stop now," the NATO official said, adding that a cease fire must be "credible and verifiable."
(via Saheli Datta
Arthur Silber - Once Upon A Time. . .
We had a visit from the security services. . .
. . ."What are your names?"
They tell him. He nods. "Your father," he says to the one who threatened to rape me, "does he know this is how you act? He was an officer, yes? And he served in ..." (he mentions exactly and then turns to the other) "and your mother? Wasn't she the daughter of ...?" They are both wide-eyed, yes, that is right,
"What would they think if they heard how you act? . . .
. . .time froze when he stopped speaking. Now, they would either smack him down and beat him, rape me, and take us both away ... or ...
the first one nodded, then the second one.
"Go back to sleep," he said, "we are sorry for troubling you."
And they left!. . .
Mike Konczal - Testimony Concerning Assembly Bill 935, the California Foreclosure Fee.
. . .I'm deeply unhappy (which can frequently be read as: murderously angry) that I'll certainly die ten to fifteen years earlier than I might if I had regular medical care, but I'm pretty much resigned to that. If I manage to make it to the beginning of May, I'll be 63. . .
. . .But damn it, there are some things I want to write about. I have been able to make some notes about two new essays, and I'm hoping I can actually devote time to them in a day or two. . .
My great thanks to all of you once more. . .
Mike Konczal - Huffington Post’s Amazing Article on the Interchange Battle
. . .There’s a well documented conflict between the interests of those managing foreclosures and actual investors. Mortgage servicers managing troubled debt get paid fees when properties go into foreclosure and make more money when loans go into foreclosure as opposed to when they are modified. . .
Scott Sumner - Comments on Brink Lindsey
. . .[W]hat galls merchants about swipe fees is that they have no ability to negotiate over them as they do with other costs of business. . .
Krugman - The Intimidated Fed
In an earlier study I found that if one excluded size of government, the country with the world’s most market-friendly policies was actually Denmark. So if Brink is right, you’d expect tiny Denmark to be an entrepreneurial hotbed. . .
. . .So Denmark isn’t just the most free market economy, and the most egalitarian, and the most civic-minded, and the happiest. It’s also the most entrepreneurial. And is has the world’s best restaurant. Thank God the weather will always be awful. Oh wait. . .
. . .the Fed has more or less explicitly indicated what it considers a Goldilocks outcome, neither too hot nor too cold: inflation at 2 percent or a bit lower, unemployment at 5 percent or a bit higher.
But Goldilocks has left the building, and shows no sign of returning soon. . .
Question for econ pros: How much consensus is there among economists about the theory/concept of the "Output Gap"
? Do Baker/Galbraith agree with Kruglitz/Chin agree with Summers/Romer agree with Mankiw/Taylor agree with Lucas/Prescott agree with Fama/Cochrane about the size of the output gap? If not, by how much do they disagree?
If the Fed is refusing to close the output gap because of inflation fears, doesn't that mean that the US Treasury should be indicating a willingness to absorb a lot more of the inflation risk, rolling over nominal Treasury bonds with TIPS bonds? Recognizing that a lot of senior citizens are leery of finding good investments, might it even make sense to issue THIPS (Treasury Health-Care-Inflation Protected Securities)?Karl Smith - Worse Than Inflation, CtdBrad Delong - An
Unrealistic, Impractical, Utopian Bold, Courageous & Serious Plan for Dealing with the Health Care Opportunity (June 2007)
the mother of all Health Savings Account proposals. . .
. . .the mother of all public-health and subsidize-preventive-medicine proposals. . .
. . .single-payer above 20% of income . . .
Of the three parts of the plan, I think the most important is the single-payer above 20%. How much would it cost if the federal government paid every (justified) claim above 20% of income? What about 30%? 40%? 50%? 60%?
How about if you used wealth instead of income?Brad Delong - Conceding the Principle
. . .for Reinhart and Rogoff it is always 1931 and we are always Austria--that fiscal policy is too dangerous to use for stabilization policy because government credibility is always shaky. . .
If this is the case shouldn't Reinhart & Rogoff be an advocate of very aggressive monetary policy, both because fiscal policy is ruled out and because of reduced real debt burdens?Orwell - The Road To Wigan Pier (1937)
Paul Krugman - Bionomics (1997)
. . .Everyone who saw Greenwood's play Love on the Dole must remember that dreadful moment when the. . .working man beats on the table and cries out, 'O God, send me some work!' This was not dramatic exaggeration, it was a touch from life. That cry must have been uttered, in almost those words, in tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of English homes, during the past fifteen years. . .
A Bit of Fry and Laurie - Creamy Olde England
Standard economic theory offers reasons to believe that markets are a good way to organize economic activity. But it does not deify the market system, and it even offers a number of fairly well-defined ways in which markets can fail, or at least could be helped with government intervention. And that, for some conservatives, is just not good enough. . .
. . .The economy is an ecosystem, like a tropical rain forest! And what could be worse than trying to control a tropical rain forest from the top down? You wouldn't try to control an ecosystem, wiping out species you didn't like and promoting ones you did, would you?
Well, actually, you probably would. I think it's called "agriculture.". . .