"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, January 25, 2014

same love

Macklemore & Lewis’ “Same Love” is more than a pro-gay marriage anthem

Josh Barro

I thought Josh Barro did an excellent job on Real Time with Bill Maher last night, especially when he argued monetary policy with Carly Fiorina.

Atlantic article by Jonathan Chait.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Legend of the Seeker

therealtabrettbethell via Bridget Regan's twitter

My post on Cara back in 2009

Keynes on the rentiers

A commenter quotes John Maynard Keynes:
The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes.
It is, of course, a perfect quote for our times, too. It comes from the last chapter of the General Theory — a chapter that definitely bears rereading in the light of current debates.

For what Keynes describes in this chapter is, pretty much, a condition of secular stagnation — of persistently low returns on investment, in which there is a chronic oversupply of saving. He believed, in 1936, that this would be the state of affairs in the decades ahead, and was of course wrong in that belief. But he wasn’t wrong about the possibility of such a state of affairs, and since Larry Summers came out as a secular stagnationist, the view that we may well be there now has gone mainstream.

What struck me, looking at what Keynes wrote, were his remarks on interest rates and the return to capital: low rates of interest, he suggested,
would mean the euthanasia of the rentier, and, consequently, the euthanasia of the cumulative oppressive power of the capitalist to exploit the scarcity-value of capital.
Actually, for now at least profits remain high — but bond yields are very low.

What Keynes didn’t say, but now seems obvious, is that the rentiers are unlikely to accept their euthanasia gracefully. And therein, I’d argue, lies the ultimate explanation of the persistent clamor for monetary tightening despite weak economies and low inflation. I’ve described on a number of occasions how tight-money advocates are constantly shifting their arguments — it’s about inflation; no, it’s about sound market functioning; no, it’s about financial stability — but always with the same bottom line: rates must rise now now now.

Well, what I think we’re hearing is the sound of rentiers and those who, explicitly or implicitly, work for them, demanding their natural right to earn good returns even if the resource they control isn’t actually scarce anymore. They are not willing to go gently into their euthanasia.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Broad City

The characters of Broad City don’t want to be liked—they want to be funny
Both episodes screened for critics—the premiere, “What A Wonderful World,” and the February 5 installment, “Working Girls”—depict impossible quests wrapped around schedules that are superficially demanding. But to the benefit of the show’s tangent-prone sense of humor, those itineraries have a lot of wiggle room, geographically and temporally.

.... Executive producer Amy Poehler has been visible and vocal in her promotion for the series; “Working Girls” boasts appearances by Janeane Garofalo and Rachel Dratch.

Monday, January 20, 2014

workaholic brownoses

Three-Piece Suits, Breakfast Meetings, and Overwork by Krugman

That's been my experience. It's why the culture has been suffering and will further decay.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

E.L. Doctrow

E. L. Doctorow: By the Book
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

He’s a reader and doesn’t need my instruction. On the other hand, if I could require Republican members of Congress to read one book it would be Keynes’s “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.”

James Tobin

James Tobin doesn't seem to get enough credit or recognition. In this interview, Krugman points to a book of his. In the recent Time magazine cover story, it describes how Yellen was his graduate teaching assistant and took marvelous notes which he used.