"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

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Academia, the corporate media and the corruption of the Republican party, for the most part, are the problem.

Shutdown takeaway: the US wants a fair society, not 'defund Obamacare' crazy by MarkWeisbrot

zero lower bound / liquidity trap & the monetary base

ZLB Denial by Krugman
Yes — if back in 2007 you denied the existence of liquidity traps, that is, denied that the zero lower bound on short-term interest rates places limits on monetary policy, you should long since have acknowledged that you were very, very wrong: 

Since late 2007 the monetary base has risen more than 300 percent, while GDP and consumer prices have risen less than 20 percent. And no, the disconnect is not all due to the 0.25 percent interest rate the Fed pays on reserves.

You can argue that the Fed could have done more — it could have expanded its balance sheet even further, and/or moved into riskier assets, and/or done more to change expectations. But I don’t see how you can deny that making monetary policy effective has been far harder since we hit the ZLB than it was before, and that this retroactively casts great doubt on Friedman’s claims that the Fed could easily have prevented the Great Depression.


AV Club reviews "The Right Shade of Brown" from Borgen

Friday, October 18, 2013

Obamacare will be fine and will be improved

Many more Americans will have health insurance and financial security.  That's progress.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Noble Prize in Economics

Sveriges Riksbank prize actually, blah blah blah by Daniel Davies

as we regroup, the CW

review of Reign
In the end, though, “Reign” is kept from being a true camp classic by the strong house style of CW, whose young-adult soap operas have an overriding strain of melancholy (catnip to angsty 18- to 34-year-olds). That, and the network’s quality control: none of its shows are great, but none of them are entirely laughable, either. “Reign” looks good (the pilot was shot in Ireland), moves smoothly and features CW’s characteristic bland but competent performances. Alas.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Can Somebody Please Check on Scott Sumner? In the Wake of the Nobel-Like Prize Announcement, He May Need His Meds Adjusted…: Noted by DeLong

Shiller wins Nobel Prize

Inefficient Markets: A Nobel for Shiller (and Fama) by John Cassidy
Nobody could say Chicago School economists aren’t resourceful, especially when it comes to defending their world view against attack. The Nobel committee, in recognizing yet another one of them at the same time it was honoring one of their most effective critics, was perhaps enjoying an inside joke. Or maybe it was displaying a newfound and welcome willingness to countenance rival and mutually contradictory views. Or, possibly, its members are suffering from cognitive dissonance. Whatever the explanation, the 2013 prize represents progress, of a sort.

debt ceiling clown show

Dems think they’re killing debt limit GOP extortion for good by Greg Sargent
The question about the deal is this: Given that the next debt limit deadline looms just after the date on which government funding runs out, doesn’t this just mean we’ll find ourselves in roughly the same situation in a few months, with Republicans demanding concessions in exchange for averting default and economic chaos?

Senate Democratic aides tell me they think the possibility that conservatives will insist on another round of debt limit brinksmanship is very real. But they think they’re on the verge of rendering any such threat an entirely empty one. The idea: Decoupling the debt limit from the budget talks, and placing the debt limit deadline further out, will effectively isolate the debt limit debate and make another default extortion crisis even harder politically. By refusing any meaningful concessions in exchange for a debt limit hike this time — and earlier this year – Dems will have finally killed the “Boehner Rule” (which demands spending cuts in exchange for any hike) and driven home that GOP debt ceiling extortion will never be rewarded again.

“Of course extending the debt limit for a longer period of time would be preferable, but under the circumstances, with Republicans trying to figure out a way to get out of this mess, the idea that the debt limit has been defanged as an extortion tool was enough,” a Senate Dem leadership aide tells me. “Conservatives will still try to bring this up and they still may end up damaging the economy, because it’s been so ingrained that this is a tool that should extract concessions. But it will be hard for anyone to take that claim seriously.” GOP leaders included, presumably.

I reported yesterday, Dem aides believe Republican tactics have delivered such a massive hit to the GOP that leaders will be even more wary of another default crisis once the 2014 elections are underway. As one aide told me, pressure from the right for another hostage standoff could divide Republicans — particularly if GOP leaders are even more eager to avoid a crisis – and put pressure on 2014 candidates to hew to extremism at an even worse political moment for the party.

Germany and minimum wage

To Form German Coalition, Merkel’s Party May Need to Support a Minimum Wage
Over the weekend Ms. Nahles insisted that without an agreement to introduce a minimum wage, her party would not be interested in forming a government with the conservatives. Germany is one of the few European countries to lack a legal minimum wage, which critics charge has allowed employers to exploit workers and contributed to a rise in income inequality since cuts to minimum benefits were introduced in 2005.   
Traditionally, industry leaders have negotiated wages with trade unions, setting a minimum wage for individual branches, like chemical, construction or metal workers. Ms. Merkel praised that strategy as a cornerstone of Germany’s cherished social market economy in her regular weekend podcast.

“In recent years, the German government has introduced a sector-specific minimum wage for more than four million workers,” Ms. Merkel said.

Yet that number is roughly half of the 7.5 million Germans the Social Democrats and leading unions say earned less than the guaranteed $11.55 hourly base wage that the center-left party is seeking for workers in both the country’s former eastern states and the more affluent west.

Monday, October 14, 2013

hostage to fortune with Silver

Seth Ackerman attacking John Judis
In the last debt ceiling crisis, two years ago, the public expressed overwhelming revulsion and blamed the GOP by a wide margin; the next year, Republicans won the House again, and ended up with three-fifths of the governors and state legislatures. Most likely the same or worse will happen again in 2014.
2010 was post financial crisis with TARP etc.

over? until January?

Almost Over by Krugman

Senate Republicans have figured out what to do:

It ain’t over until the tanned man sings, but it looks as if Obama’s Michael Corleone strategy has succeeded.

Senators Near Deal on GOP Surrender by Jonathan Chair
This is a huge win for those Republicans who got into the shutdown to help unions. For those who had other goals, it's basically a total surrender. The policy changes attached to the deal appear to be minor, and reciprocal — each party got something of roughly equal value, so the deal could have occurred without the threat of default or shutdown. Democrats probably will have succeeded in their overall goal of giving Republicans nothing through extortion they could not have gotten through regular legislation.
Republicans are delusional about US spending and deficits by Dean Baker

2014 midterms

Poll: Basically Everyone Now Angry at GOP Over Shutdown by Dave Weigel

percentage of Americans disapproving of the way Republicans are handling negotations: 74 percent

Washington Post/ABC news poll for Oct. 9. On Sept 25 i was at 63 percent.


Fama, Shiller, and a modeler win Noble. Fama is a bubble denier.

Mark Schieritz:
great thing about bubble-deniers like fama: they can't tell the fed to tighten because of bubbles

Walking Dead (GOP)

AV Club reviews "30 Days Without An Accident" from The Walking Dead

Walking Dead huge hit in the ratings.

16.1M viewers for the season premiere of The Walking Dead.
10.4 million in 18-49 demo

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Obamacare and the debt ceiling clown show

On Stephanopolous, Krugman was right to say that the ACA problems would be fixed this year and over time. The Republican talking heads were wrong - yet again - in predicting that Obamacare would be an open wound leading up to the elections.

Plouffe was right to say that the 2011 sequester budget is a Republican budget. That's the baseline.

He and Biden negotiated it. It's weird how Biden is taking blame. Is this for Hillary? More likely it's the truth.

Republicans won't admit that what is going on is extortion, that it is a new development, and that the Clean CR is a Republican budget.

Obamacare Success by Krugman

The Walking Dead (GOP)

Wow AMC's lengthy preview ad for the new season of The Walking Dead was emotionally powerful. Looks good! They used Sharon Van Etten's "Serpents" as the soundtrack.

Alex Gibney, filmmaker:

"FOLLOWING The Naked Capitalism blog gives you a very unvarnished look at the political economy. You find out things that don’t show up in the news until weeks later. Also, the Center on National Security Web site, which every day publishes a roundup of articles about national security issues."

Naked Capitalism and similar sites and commenter have said Obama will do a Grand Bargain.

From an article on the fiscal crisis:

Stuck on Usual Quarrel: Raising New Revenue by Jackie Calmes
“On the one hand, the speaker says he wants to have an open negotiation; on the other hand, he is shutting the door to eliminating a single tax break for the purpose of reducing the deficit,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland. 

On the Republican side, a senior Congressional aide who declined to be identified while the parties were trying to break the impasse, said flatly: “We’re never going to have a grand bargain with this president, I think that is safe to say. Ever.”
Mobility is no answer to dispersion by Steve Randy Waldman

12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiof, and Eric Foner discuss 12 Years a Slave