"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Baker and DeLong on currency values

The Washington Post's TPP Challenge by Dean Baker
Since adjusting currencies are an essential part of a "free-trade" regime, a real trade deal should have rules against currency management. While the exact provisions are more than I have time for just now, Fred Bergsten (the president emeritus of the Peterson Institute for International Economics) and his colleague Joe Gagnon give us a good start here.

 Must-Read: Very good thoughts in a Kaleckian mode...
by DeLong
It is very odd. Back in 1988-1994, when I was a deficit hawk, there was reason to be: interest rates were relatively high, bad news about future deficits appeared to no longer strengthen but to slightly weaken the dollar--suggesting that the hot-money Unconfidence Fairy and the Bond Vigilantes were near if not at hand--and there was a large disconnect between the revenues and the spending that the laws in place would generate.
And now?
Interest rates are lower than anyone thought they would see in many lifetimes. The dollar's value is not in any sense threatened by deficit news. And the thirty year fiscal gap is 1.7% of GDP--a number that normal politics can deal with--and in a world of safe asset shortage many not be too high but rather, too low (and improperly backloaded).
but none of the non-Keynesian economist professional deficit hawks have shifted sides since 1992, and a new generation has grown up and started getting their deficit-panic welfare...
I don’t understand the political economy that has brought us tight fiscal & easy money--it simply isn’t creating enough winners to be sustainable...
Rising asset values certainly have created a block of beneficiaries.... But... with gilt yields at around 0.5%... years of saving isn’t worth as much as they hoped... [and] owning a more valuable house will [not] be seen as adequate.... This cohort will get bigger each year....
Whilst the macroeconomic argument for more active fiscal policy has always been strong, the political economy conditions that may drive it are becoming clearer. Aggressive deficit-financed state spending may (unusually) create two sets of winners--the workforce who benefit from faster growth, tighter labour markets and stronger real income growth and the mass of (relatively) small scale rentiers who would benefit from higher rates.... [But the] voting public don’t seem particularly keen on deficits. I’ve wondered myself recently--whatever happened to deficit bias? It may be that, as Eric Longeran has argued, this is the best argument for helicopter money. If fiscal policy makers won’t do what is required, then perhaps monetary policymakers can.
And Paul Krugman:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Van Jones on Hillary's challenges

Van Jones on the staggering political challenges Hillary Clinton would face as president

Infrastructure, Cassidy and Krugman


Wisdom, Courage and the Economy by Krugman
Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try. I’d argue, in particular, for substantially more infrastructure spending than Mrs. Clinton is currently proposing, and more borrowing to pay for it. This might significantly boost growth....

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Beckworth and Bernstein comment on Williams's NGDP targettting comments

The dollar’s makin’ me holler, and other tales of the macro muddle by Jared Bernstein

Nominal Demand Ain't What It Used to Be by David Beckworth

Trump voters and economic anxiety, Kwak and DeLong

That “Massive New Study” Says Nothing About Economic Anxiety by James Kwak

Must-Read: Martin Sandbu: Trump Supporters on the Couch:
by DeLong
Economic anxiety can make voters more prone to racial resentment... 
It is, of course, an old trope in social thinking that economic pressure makes it easier to wind masses up against a scapegoated group perceived as “other”. Conversely, times of widespread and rising prosperity are good for liberalism and tolerance. Brad DeLong is quite right that this is a good time to pick up Ben Friedman’s prescient pre-crisis work on the moral consequences of economic growth.... 
Racial status anxiety and economic anxiety can be one and the same phenomenon, insofar as the economic pressure is perceived as affecting a particular social group. Much is said, all correct, about how the American white working class, and Trump supporters in particular, are well off compared with minorities and the real poor. But over the past generation, the trajectory of the white working class has no doubt changed the most for the worse, compared with the previous generation. 
That is true in material, indeed plain physical, terms: while black mortality rates remain higher than those of whites, it’s only for the white working class that the secular mortality decline has gone into reverse. And it is surely true that, as a result, the relative social status of working-class whites has fallen noticeably. That reflects a sharpening of class difference with widening inequality and an unequivocally welcome reduction in racial status difference. 
All told, that is a story of tremendous progress. But there is no need to dismiss the economic roots of the racial backlash we now see...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hillary and the Scandinavian-American Dream

Tulsi Gabbard nominates Bernie Sanders

Dianne Abbot at DNC convetion in Philly

Day One of the Democratic Convention by Dianne Abbot
There is lot of interest in Jeremy Corbyn here. Most of the nonsensical British media coverage has not impacted on ordinary Americans and they see him as a progressive insurgent on the Sanders model with Sanders uncanny ability to enthuse idealistic young people. Sanders’ program, with priorities like a higher minimum wage, government health care, breaking up big banks and rebuilding infrastructure, is also very similar to the current Labour leadership.

John Cassidy on Democratic convention