Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Well, duh!

Brad DeLong quotes from an article by Jason Furman in the Financial Times:
But the post-crisis experience, as well as research on the effects of fiscal policy, is establishing a “new view” grounded in five principles:
  1. At a time when conventional monetary policy faces limitations in a world of lower interest rates, fiscal policy can be a particularly effective complement....
  2. In today’s conditions fiscal policy may... “crowd in” private investment through stronger growth....
  3. [In] advanced economies... under today’s economic conditions effectively crafted investments could raise output by more than they raise debt--reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio....
  4. Prolonged lower interest rates and economies operating below potential suggest that fiscal expansion should be more sustained....
  5. Fiscal policy is even more beneficial if co-ordinated more across countries...
To which my reaction (as a lay reader, not an economist) is: Well, duh!  Wasn't all that obvious (except maybe for  #5) seven years ago?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Potty Humor

Ah, the Engish, they love it so!

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Moscovian Candidate?

From Kurt Eichenwald:

"The Russians engage in a sloppy disinformation effort and, before the day is out, the Republican nominee for president is standing on a stage reciting the manufactured story as truth. How did this happen? Who in the Trump campaign was feeding him falsehoods straight from the Kremlin?

The Russians have been obtaining American emails and now are presenting complete misrepresentations of them—falsifying them—in hopes of setting off a cascade of events that might change the outcome of the presidential election. The big question, of course, is why are the Russians working so hard to damage Clinton and, in the process, aid Donald Trump?"

Why, indeed!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

More on GOP Sabotage

Jonatan Chait's interview with President Obama sheds more light on the Republicans' deliberate strategy of sabotage.

"When I came into office, my working assumption was that because we were in crisis, and the crisis had begun on the Republicans’ watch, that there would be a window in which they would feel obliged to cooperate on a common effort to dig us out of this massive hole.
Probably the moment in which I realized that the Republican leadership intended to take a different tack was actually as we were shaping the stimulus bill, and I vividly remember having prepared a basic proposal that had a variety of components. We had tax cuts; we had funding for the states so that teachers wouldn’t be laid off and firefighters and so forth; we had an infrastructure component. We felt, I think, that as an opening proposal, it was ambitious but needed and that we would begin negotiations with the Republicans and they would show us things that they thought also needed to happen.
On the drive up to Capitol Hill to meet with the House Republican Caucus, John Boehner released a press statement saying that they were opposed to the stimulus. At that point we didn’t even actually have a stimulus bill drawn up, and we hadn’t meant to talk about it. And I think we realized at that point what proved to be the case in that first year and that second year was a calculation based on what turned out to be pretty smart politics but really bad for the country: If they cooperated with me, then that would validate our efforts. If they were able to maintain uniform opposition to whatever I proposed, that would send a signal to the public of gridlock, dysfunction, and that would help them win seats in the midterms."
Smart politics, bad for the country.  Pretty much sums up today's GOP, until nominating Trump caught up with them.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week of Whoppers

So the New York Times has finally got around to chronicling a week's worth of Trump's falsehoods.

Perhaps they can follow the example of Steve Benen, who in 2012 posted a list of Romney's lies every week, and make "A Week of Whoppers From Donald Trump" a continuing feature.

  I see Politico has chronicled a week's worth of falsehoods from each candidate, and come to this conclusion: "Trump’s mishandling of facts and propensity for exaggeration so greatly exceed Clinton’s as to make the comparison almost ludicrous."  (They calculate that Trump averaged one falsehood every 3 minutes 15 seconds in the five hours they examined.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Playing Skittles

Here's the tweet from Donald Trump, Jr. that has stirred up some controversy:

Let's unpack what it says.
"If.. I told you just three would kill you"

The meaning: I have certain knowledge that three of the Skittles in the bowl will kill you.

I'm guessing there are about 100 Skittles in the bowl, though Mr. Trump has used the figure 1,000

So in his scenario, 0.3% of the Skittles are known to be deadly.

To apply the analogy to Syrian refugees, Mr. Trump would need to have certain knowledge that 0.3% of them are known to be deadly terrorists.

Does he have that certain knowledge?
And has our pusillanimous press even thought to ask him that?

But to continue unpacking:
"Would you take" - I assume he means "eat" - "a handful?"

Presumably analogous to the US taking at random some proportion of Syrian refugees.
And if  0.3% of Syrian refugees were deadly, as Mr. Trump appears to claim, that would indeed be a concern.

But we do not take Syrian refugees at random.  There is a long drawn out screening process.
So to continue Mr. Trump's analogy, we should add:

"And if I told you we had screened out the Skittles that would kill you, would you take a handful?"

If I enjoyed eating Skittles, well yes, I would.

And if common humanity impelled me to give refuge to  
" your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

...well, yes, I would.

Chris Hayes and Ken Burns discuss the subject.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

One More Press Fail

“I’m a truth teller,” the Republican nominee told CNBC on Thursday. “All I do is tell the truth."

Needless to say, CNBC didn't bring up Trump's record of falsehoods so their audience would be properly informed.