- Anthony Juan Bautista Wants You To Know He Has Been Banned From Comments
- Paul Krugman: Sequester of Fools
- Links for 02-22-2013
- The 'Woodford Period'
- Fed Watch: Don't Dismiss the Communications Value of QE
- 'It's an Affinity Thing'
- 'Rebuilding Unemployment Insurance'
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 04:52 AM PST
I don't do this often, but two days ago I decided to ban two people from comments. One, Anthony Juan Bautista, is now attempting to "tattle" on me in comments and he is also impersonating many of you in an attempt to get his comments through (when people are banned -- I think there are five people in total who are -- they always think it's what they say, i.e. that it's political, etc., rather than how they say it, i.e. their behavior).
When he impersonates regular commentors, he says things you surely wouldn't appreciate. I was having second thoughts about banning him -- the other person was much worse, a no-brainer ban, and I was worried I might have made a mistake in my irritation at the time -- but his behavior since, the impersonation of regular commetors in particular, has convinced me the decision to ban him was correct (this post can serve as a character reference when he is Googled). If he impersonates you and I miss it when I clean his comments out, please let me know (so far, it's been cm, bakho, ilsm, paine, Emichael, Lafayette, and DrDick).
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 12:33 AM PST
Take a sad song, and make it worse:
Sequester of Fools, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: ... The ... "sequester" [is] one of the worst policy ideas in our nation's history. Here's how it happened: Republicans engaged in unprecedented hostage-taking, threatening to push America into default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama agreed to a grand bargain on their terms. Mr. Obama, alas, didn't stand firm; instead, he tried to buy time. And, somehow, both sides decided that the way to buy time was to create a fiscal doomsday machine that would inflict gratuitous damage on the nation through spending cuts unless a grand bargain was reached. Sure enough, there is no bargain, and the doomsday machine will go off at the end of next week. ...
But that's water under the bridge. The question ... is who has a better plan for dealing with the aftermath of that shared mistake. ...
Unfortunately, neither party is proposing that we just call the whole thing off. But the proposal from Senate Democrats at least moves in the right direction, replacing the most destructive spending cuts — those that fall on the most vulnerable... — with tax increases on the wealthy, and delaying austerity in a way that would protect the economy.
House Republicans, on the other hand, want to take everything that's bad about the sequester and make it worse: canceling cuts in the defense budget, which actually does contain a lot of waste and fraud, and replacing them with severe cuts in aid to America's neediest. This would hit the nation with a double whammy, reducing growth while increasing injustice.
As always, many pundits want to portray the deadlock ... as a situation in which both sides are at fault, and in which both should give ground. But there's really no symmetry here. A middle-of-the-road solution would presumably involve a mix of spending cuts and tax increases; well, that's what Democrats are proposing, while Republicans are adamant that it should be cuts only. And given that the proposed Republican cuts would be even worse than ... under the sequester, it's hard to see why Democrats should negotiate at all, as opposed to just letting the sequester happen.
So here we go. The good news is that compared with our last two self-inflicted crises, the sequester is relatively small potatoes. ... But the looming mess remains a monument to the power of truly bad ideas — ideas that the entire Washington establishment was somehow convinced represented deep wisdom.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 12:03 AM PST
Posted: 21 Feb 2013 06:34 PM PST
The 'Woodford Period': A Bourbon for Bernanke?, Twenty Cent Paradigms: The news release summarizing St. Louis Fed President's James Bullard's recent speech on the "current stance of monetary policy" includes the following:
Posted: 21 Feb 2013 03:10 PM PST
Don't Dismiss the Communications Value of QE, by Tim Duy: The minutes of the last FOMC meeting indicated that one group of policymakers was getting anxious about the size and pace of QE:
Posted: 21 Feb 2013 10:59 AM PST
The other day I asked why anyone listens to Bowles/Simpson. After all:
Simpson is, demonstrably, grossly ignorant on precisely the subjects on which he is treated as a guru, not understanding the finances of Social Security, the truth about life expectancy, and much more. He is also a reliably terrible forecaster, having predicted an imminent fiscal crisis — within two years — um, two years ago.In addition, he is:
cantankerous, potty-mouthed individual, who evidently feels not a bit of empathy for those less fortunate.He's also partisan, and has a clear agenda. Yet "he's lionized" by the media. Paul Krugman tries to explain the attraction, and what it says about those who hold him in such high regard.
Posted: 21 Feb 2013 10:14 AM PST
Have distractions this morning, so a quick one. Thoughts on this? (I don't like all of these proposals, but do like the ones that offer a positive incentive, e.g. a bonus, for finding work sooner rather than later):
Rebuilding Unemployment Insurance, by Tim Taylor: In theory, the federal government sets minimum guidelines for each state's unemployment insurance system, and then each state sets its own rules for what is paid in and and what benefits are offered. Each state has its own unemployment trust fund. The idea is that the the trust fund will build up in good economic times, and then be drawn down in recessions. But it hasn't actually worked that way for a long time, and the problem is getting worse. Christopher J. O'Leary lays out the issue and possible solutions in "A Changing Federal-State Balance in Unemployment Insurance?" written for the January 2013 Employment Research Newsletter published by the Upjohn Institute.