"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, September 05, 2014

that uneasy feeling & Europe

The Pent-Up Wage Growth Story: Why Does Janet Yellen Say These Things? by Dean Baker

ECB will start buying ABS, covered bonds in October

Jobs Day! First Impressions–It’s a disappointing report, but one month does not a new trend make. by Jared Bernstein
As Dean Baker and I stress, and EPI economists makes the same case here, one standard benchmark is the rate of productivity growth:
…for workers to get their fair share of the economy’s growth, real wages should keep pace with productivity growth. Productivity growth has been weak recently, most economists put the underlying trend at close to 1.5 percent. This means that wage growth at a 3.5 percent annual rate (2 percent inflation plus 1.5 percent productivity growth) would be consistent with the Fed’s inflation target.  
But there’s even more room for non-inflationary wage growth than that. In recent years we’ve seen a large shift within national income from wages to profits. Wage growth paid for by a shift back toward to a more normal split between wages and profits does not put pressure on prices. 
So the persistent trend in average nominal hourly wages of about 2% per year has a lot of room to grow.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Whit Stillman

Stillman has a new show on Amazon called The Cosmopolitans. He was on Charlie Rose last night and I share his sensibility very much. Metropolitan is about how not all of the one percent are assholes. Barcelona was a plea for foreigner to treat Americans in their countries better. Not all Americans are assholes. His father worked for Kennedy and FDR Jr.  He's a romantic but like Salinger and Woody Allen brings some humor to the romanticism.

The Cosmopolitans is set in Paris and about bringing romanticism and nostalgia to the present day, very much like Midnight in Paris. By the way, Corey Stoll who played Hemingway in that is on The Strain.

AV Club gives it a B+.

dangerous times for the 1 percent

Class interests by Simon Wren-Lewis
So if you wanted to critique my (and Kalecki’s) characterisation of the views of the wealthy, you might say that keeping unemployment above its natural rate is not a sustainable strategy (and therefore not rational). To which I would respond maybe, but there could be a reason why now, like the 1980s, is a particularly important time to keep unemployment high for a while. 
The reason for this is that the aftermath of financial crisis is extremely threatening to the neoliberal political consensus and the position of the 1%. I remember saying shortly after the crisis that the neoliberal position that government regulation was always bad and unregulated markets always good had been blown out of the water by the crisis. This was politically naive, in part because a crisis caused by unregulated markets was morphed by the right into a crisis caused by too much government debt, or too many immigrants. But that fiction will not be sustainable once a strong recovery has reduced both government debt and unemployment. For the 1%, these are very dangerous times, and they want to be on favourable territory for the battles ahead.
See Piketty.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Hard money is not a mistake by Steve Randy Waldman

Sunday, August 31, 2014


via Waldman's tweet
While it is true that France has some old laws that block innovation (e.g. Uber vs Taxis), it is also true that the French National Unemployment Agency (Pole Emploi) is the first business angel in France. Thanks to its monthly allocation, I was personally able to give up a well paid internship at Microsoft to start my own company. 
I know several entrepreneurs who quit their jobs at big companies, knowing they would get 2 years of allocation, so that they could start their own companies, without having to worry about money for rent. France makes these resources possible to entrepreneurs.