"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

Friday, May 11, 2012

Unemployment Rate Without Government Cuts: 7.1% by Justin Lahart
The Labor Department’s establishment survey of employers — the jobs count that it bases its payroll figures on — shows that the government has been steadily shedding workers since the crisis struck, with 586,000 fewer jobs than in December 2008. Friday’s employment report showed the cuts continued in April, with 15,000 government jobs lost.
But the survey of households that the unemployment rate is based on suggests the government job cuts have been much, much worse.
In April the household survey showed that that there were 442,000 fewer people working in government than in March. The household survey has a much smaller sample size than the establishment survey, and so is prone to volatility, but the magnitude of the drop is striking: It marks the largest decline on both an absolute and a percentage basis on record going back to 1948.
Moreover, the household survey has consistently showed bigger drops in government employment than the establishment survey has.
The unemployment rate would be far lower if it hadn’t been for those cuts: If there were as many people working in government as there were in December 2008, the unemployment rate in April would have been 7.1%, not 8.1%.
Ceteris is rarely paribus, of course: If there were more government jobs now, for example, it’s likely that not as many people would have left the labor force, and so the actual unemployment rate would be north of 7.1%.
It's regressive tax on the middle and lower classes as bargaining power is reduced because of a weak labor market. Cyclical unemployment is transformed into long-term unemployment as the nation's human capital and productive capacity is degraded. It's effective class warfare in the wake of a financial crisis caused by the finanical-system-casino being left to its own devices sans regulation.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dean Baker reduces uncertainty

Spanish Debt, the European Central Bank, and the Maginot Line by Dean Baker
Problems arise due to the distribution of the debt. If every third household borrowed $600,000, which was lent by the other two households, then this third household is getting deep in debt, with the other two are appearing to build up large amounts of assets.
This is what happened to Spain, the United States and other countries with serious housing bubbles. The other two households were willing to lend money to the third household because they thought it held an asset (a house) of great value. When this turned out not to be true, the third household found itself with an unsustainable debt burden and the other two households found themselves with assets of questionable value. If the third household can't repay its debt, then the loans are no longer worth their face value.
Central banks should be paying attention to the buildup of such unsustainable debt burdens. Unfortunately, the European Central Bank (ECB) was focused on building up its Maginot Line, being vigilant in its fight against inflation.
The problem now is to try to correct the imbalances created by growth of the housing bubble. Spain and the rest of Europe is getting little help from ECB which is still focused on reinforcing the Maginot Line rather than promoting growth in the euro zone.
The problem I have with the MMT/Monetary Mystics is that they believe all debt its bad.

Econoblog commenters like Troy at DeLong's blog, Dan Kervick, noncents, etc.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Which actor has appeared or is appearing on two of the best television shows ever?


Aiden Gillen who plays Littlefinger on Game of Thones and played Councilman Carcetti on The Wire.

I am liking the Hound especially after this past episode. He cut his way through those rioting peasants pretty easily to save Sansa. "Put the bird back in her cage."

As someone said it's not that he doesn't like Tyrion Lannister in particular, he hates everybody.

R.I.P. Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys (1964-2012) by Nathan Rabin

Was Paul’s Boutique Illegal? How dumb court decisions and bad laws have made it all but impossible for musicians to sample the way the Beastie Boys used to. by Yglesias

Another excerpt from Krugman's End This Depression Now

Monday, May 07, 2012

Game of Thrones Week 6: You can’t control wild creatures, and you can’t own people by Charlie Jane Anders

David Vitter Is Trying To Crush the Economy by Yglesias

Those Revolting Europeans by Krugman

A glimmer of hope. And of course the NYTimes runs a piece in the business section that is complete wrong. It couldn't be more wrong if had been written by that Triumvirate of Dumb - Amity Schlaes, John Cochrane, and Casey Mulligan.

Markets to Give France A Grace Period, Analysts Say by Liz Alderman


Robert Samuleson Gets Serious About Inflation by Dean Baker

Game of Thrones

The Old Gods and The New (for experts) Onion recap

The Old Gods and The New (for newbies) Onion recap

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Official and unofficial Game of Thrones cookbooks. The eels at the King's Landing market last episode made me think of Game of Thrones cuisine.

Ex-president bling bling by Krugman
For as I emphasized in that post earlier today, that German success story was based on a (modestly) inflationary boom in much of the rest of Europe. Give the peripheral countries a comparably favorable external environment — or actually a more favorable one, since they’re much deeper in the hole — and maybe there is a way to make this work. Let Spain regain competitiveness by inflating more slowly than Germany, rather than by deflating, and this whole thing might, might, become feasible.

But this means, yes, overall inflation in the euro area significantly higher than the less than 2 % target. It certainly means a lot higher than the 1.5% the market currently expects.

Don’t like that? OK, so no euro. It’s that stark.
Greta Gerwig has a new movie.
He was struck by her combination of “├╝ber-intellectual” and “every-girl connectivity,” he said, “which I find is very rare.”
“She intellectually understands what a lot of her problems are, as her characters, and yet is still incapable of overcoming those problems, which is something we all share and understand,” he said, “and she embodies that very naturally.”         ...
But Ms. Gerwig’s real style is not overtly sexy; she was carrying a backpack and wearing penny loafers, her favorite shoes, with the pennies. (She has three pairs: red, black and “businesswoman brown.”) She has been quietly dating Mr. Baumbach since September and likes NPR and reading the personals in The New York Review of Books.         
Chris Hughes, a Renly for our times as in an admirable gay leader who is interested in public service. The article says he follows Olivia Wilde on Twitter. She was(is?) in the popular show House, played the hottie in Tron: Legacy and Alexander Cockburn is her uncle. From the piece:
The evening was his debut in New York’s clubby literary society. Robert Silvers, the longtime editor of The New York Review of Books being honored that night, offered Mr. Hughes a warm hello. Ken Auletta, an author and New Yorker writer, nodded approvingly as he passed Mr. Hughes on the way out.
Krugman's new book excerpted in the New York Review of Books.