"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, March 27, 2014

Game of Thrones

"Dornish law does not apply." Tyrion had been so ensnared in his own troubles that he'd never stopped to consider the succession. "My father will crown Tommen, count on that."

"He may indeed crown Tommen, here in King's Landing. Which is not to say that my brother may not crown Myrcella, down in Sunspear. Will your father make war on your niece on behalf of your nephew? Will your sister?" [Oberyn] gave a shrug. "Perhaps I should marry Queen Cersei after all, on the condition that she support her daughter over her son. Do you think she would?"

Never, Tyrion wanted to say, but the word caught in his throat.... "I don't know how my sister would choose, between Tommen and Myrcella," he admitted. "It makes no matter. My father will never give her that choice."

"Your father," said Prince Oberyn, "may not live forever."

Something about the way he said it made the hairs on the back of Tyrion's neck bristle. Suddenly he was mindful of Elia again, and all that Oberyn had said as they crossed the field of ash. He wants the head that spoke the words, not just the hand that swung the sword. "It is not wise to speak such treasons in the Red Keep, my prince. The little birds are listening."

"Let them. Is it treason to say a man is mortal? Valar morghulis was how they said it in Valyria of old. All men must die. And the Doom came and proved it true."
        George R.R. Martin -- A Storm of Swords

Stop freaking out about debt by Yglesias



Paul Samuelson: "Like the mini-skirt, the radical faction gradually subsided..."

Game of Thrones

Only ten days until season 4.

New excerpt from the Winds of Winter.

The Americans

AV Club reviews The Americans: “The Deal”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Liberal Arts (film)


Charles Dickens’s Inner Child by Hitchens

The Dark Side of Dickens by Hitchens


Doug Henwood reviews Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Forces of Divergence: Is surging inequality endemic to capitalism? by John Cassidy

Fed governor Jeremy Stein

Leaning, then toppling by Ryan Avent

Baker and DeLong

DeLong responds to Krugman and others below:

A Dialogue on the Resolution of the Financial Crisis of 1989 and the Non-Resolution of the Financial Crisis of 2007: Tuesday Focus: March 25, 2014

Demand Management, DeLong and the Great Clusterfuck

What Krugman is reacting to in the post below is this post from DeLong.

DeLong post a chart he has used often which shows government purchases declining significantly.

If I had the time and energy I would make a chart that includes how the Fed reacted in 2007 onwards. It would also show how the 50 little Hoovers of state government offset Obama's stimulus. It would show how the sequester screwed us but the sequester is ending.


What It Would Have Taken by Krugman 
Brad DeLong is wrong. He thinks we have a disagreement, but he’s misinterpreting what I said when I argued that the Fed’s 2008 inflation phobia wasn’t responsible for the Great Recession and the Lesser Depression that have followed and continue to this day. 
What Brad says — and I agree with — is that there is no economic necessity behind our ongoing employment and output disaster. We could and should have moved the resources employed in the housing boom to other uses, and needn’t have paid this immense cost. 
But what would it have taken — what would it take now — to have maintained or restored full employment? My argument is that it would have required more radical, aggressive policies than anyone close to the levers of power has been willing to contemplate, at any point along the way. So the fact that the Fed was wrongly obsessed with inflation for most of 2008, the original subject of my post, was just a contributing factor; things would have been a bit better, but nowhere near OK, if the Fed had stayed focused on underlying inflation and ignored the effects of the commodity-price blip. 
Think of it this way: what would a really effective set of policies be right now? First of all, we should aggressively reverse the fiscal austerity of the last few years, getting government at all levels spending several points of GDP more to boost demand. 
Monetary policy should accommodate that boost; interest rates should not go up even if inflation goes somewhat above 2 percent. In fact, there’s an overwhelming prudential case for raising the inflation target — even if we’re not sure about secula(r) stagnation, it might be true, and we definitely know that the risk of hitting the zero lower bound is much higher than Fed officials imagined when they settled on 2 percent as the magic number. 
I’m not totally wedded to these particular numbers, but let’s say for the sake of argument that the right policy is two years of fiscal expansion amounting to 3 percent of GDP each year, plus a permanent rise in the inflation target to 4 percent. These wouldn’t be radical moves in terms of Econ 101 — they are in fact pretty much what textbook models would suggest make sense given what we have learned about macroeconomic vulnerabilities. But they are completely outside the bounds of respectable discussion. 
That’s the sense in which we are “doomed” to long-term stagnation. We have met the enemy, and it’s not the economic fundamentals, it’s us.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"The Fed, in its official policy statement, said it planned to keep short-term rates below what it sees as appropriate for a normal economy even after the unemployment rate and inflation revert to typical levels.
In 2016, for example, the Fed projects the jobless rate will reach 5.4%, economic output will be growing at a rate near 3% and inflation will be just below 2%. That level of unemployment would be lower than the average over the past 50 years.
Yet officials see the Fed's target short-term interest rate at just over 2% at the end of 2016, well below the 4% they consider appropriate for an economy running on all cylinders."
(via Calculated Risk)

positive and negative indicators

Bank says money multiplier is wrong - should we be shocked? by Simon Wren-Lewis

You Can’t Connect the [Fed’s] Dots Looking Forward by John Taylor