Politics Roundtable

Politics Roundtable

Political blogs of interest to economists.

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February 6, 2016, 12:18 pm, 1606014

So here I am, sitting here trying to think about how I am going to teach "wealth maldistribution as a market failure"--that is, how when the distribution of wealth does not accord with utility and desert, the market economy's price-rationing of goods and services--and its assignment of jobs--can ...


February 6, 2016, 12:18 pm, 1606013

J. Bradford DeLong (1998): Robber Barons:

First draft October 13, 1997; second draft January 1, 1998.

I. Introduction

'Robber Barons': that was what U.S. political and economic commentator Matthew Josephson (1934) called the economic princes of his own day. Today we call them ...


February 6, 2016, 10:18 am, 1605999

Must-Read: An interesting political tack by ex-USTR Portman. TPP doesn't make any attempts to constrain "currency manipulation". But it doesn't contain any provisions that make "currency manipulation" easier. And I, at least, had not thought that the rules-of-origin on auto parts mattered at all...

David ...


February 6, 2016, 10:18 am, 1606000

The wise Mark Thoma sends us to the newly-unmuzzled and very sharp Narayana Kocherlakota: Dovish Actions Require Dovish Talk (To Be Effective): "The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)...

...has bought a lot of assets and kept interest rates extraordinarily low ...


February 6, 2016, 10:18 am, 1605997

What underviewed high-quality weblogs should I link to this weekend?

Michael Stickings: Blogging Is Important.: "Blogging is essential....

...The blogosphere isn't quite what it used to be, a truly independent and iconoclastic realm of commentary and dissent, given that blogging has ...


February 6, 2016, 10:18 am, 1605998

Must-Read: Cumulative advantage plus bureaucratic formally-meritocratic procedures that rely on "objective" indicators of achievement plus a degree of signaling but risk aversion do wind up producing something that looks a lot like a caste system. Thus I think Headworth and Freese misinterpret what their own results are ...


February 6, 2016, 10:18 am, 1605996

Must-Read: It is very good to see Speaker of the House Paul Ryan call for legislatin' rather than speechifyin'. Prospects for substantive dialogue are vastly increased when it is legislatin' that is on the table, as are prospects for win-win technocratic governance.

Now if we could only ...


February 6, 2016, 8:18 am, 1605985
(Steven Hayward)

Today is Ronald Reagan’s 105th birthday, and we might well wonder, as Charles Krauthammer does in the first panel below, how it is that after the experience of the second half of the 20th century, we’d find ourselves with a substantial portion of the electorate pining for an ...


February 6, 2016, 8:18 am, 1605984
(Scott Johnson)

Hillary Clinton stepped out to make a statement claiming victory in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night. It wasn’t clear that she had won and it still isn’t, but appearances had to be maintained.

Clinton gave a six-minute speech (video below) that almost captures her full awfulness. ...


February 6, 2016, 4:18 am, 1605970
(Paul Mirengoff)

The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, have written and directed some of the best films of the past 31 years (“Miller’s Crossing” is probably my favorite). They have also written and directed several (such as “No Country for Old Men”) that I didn’t like at ...


February 6, 2016, 12:18 am, 1605953
(Paul Mirengoff)

Hillary Clinton responds to criticism over the speaking fees she has received from corporate America, and Wall Street in particular, by challenging critics to cite one vote in which, as a Senator, she bowed to these interests. When she used this response last night, Bernie Sanders failed ...


February 5, 2016, 8:18 pm, 1605916
(John Hinderaker)

Something is rotten in the State of Iowa. That’s what the Des Moines Register says, with the headline: “Something smells in the Democratic Party.”

What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy ...


February 5, 2016, 8:18 pm, 1605915
(John Hinderaker)

This isn’t the only reason, actually. There are lots more. But this video encapsulates one aspect of Hillary’s awfulness as a presidential candidate. She breaks into song and dance at the end of a rally, along with a group of supporters. Hillary is catnip to a certain demographic: ...


February 5, 2016, 8:18 pm, 1605914

Must-Read: "The years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm..." --Joel 2:25 (KJV). The task of fiscal and monetary policymakers as of the start of 2009 was (1) to arrest the slide, (2) to trigger a strong recovery, and (3) to ...


February 5, 2016, 8:18 pm, 1605913

February 5, 2016, 6:18 pm, 1605887

A Non-Sokratic Dialogue on Social Welfare Functions: Hoisted from the Archives from 2003:

Glaukon: 'Professor!'

Agathon: 'Professor! Good to see you. Getting coffee?'

Glaukon: 'Yes. I'm teaching. I find that teaching is always ...


February 5, 2016, 6:18 pm, 1605886

Must-Read: Almost all of those believing that we are now near full employment here in the U.S. dismiss the low employment-to-population ratio by noting that the population is aging. They very rarely confront the collapse since the late 1990s of the prime-age employment-to-population ratio.

But when they ...


February 5, 2016, 6:18 pm, 1605885

Must-Read: Tim Worstall: Facebook Doesn't Waste Trillions In Time: That's The Value Facebook Adds For Us: "CNBC... [is] saying that we all spend lots of time on Facebook...

...That’s entirely true.... They’re then saying that that time has a value: this ...


February 5, 2016, 4:18 pm, 1605846
(Paul Mirengoff)

Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post provides a near-worshipful account of President Obama’s Wednesday visit to a Baltimore mosque. Jaffe’s third paragraph is representative:

The president often sounded like a concerned parent, worried for the country he leads as it prepares to replace him in a ...


February 5, 2016, 4:18 pm, 1605847
(Scott Johnson)

At conclusion of last night’s debate in Durham featuring Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, MSNBC moderator Rachel Maddow graphically showed how she was feeling the love for the two of them. Fellow moderator Chuck Todd confined himself to a polite handshake, but don’t be deceived! He ...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 pm, 1605760
(Scott Johnson)

Did you catch any of the close encounter between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in Durham on MSNBC last night? By far the most striking element of the affair was the concern of moderators Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow to perform their function on behalf of a ...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 pm, 1605759
(Scott Johnson)

I thought Hillary Clinton clobbered Bernie Sanders in their close encounter in New Hampshire on MSNBC last night. The video below (about eight minutes) is illustrative. CNN’s Stephen Collinson has a good summary with a 90-second highlight clip. NR’s Brendan Bordelon has a good ...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 pm, 1605758
(Steven Hayward)

One of the great things about being a leftist is that you never have to be consistent. Fossil fuels are too cheap!, we are constantly told, and their overuse is wrecking the planet. But when oil prices and gasoline pump prices soar, the left complains that the oil ...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 pm, 1605756

Live from Cloud-Cuckooland: This is, I may say, the best #slatepitch EVAR! Much kudos to Jonathan Chait!

Jonathan Chait: Why Liberals Should Support a Trump Nomination: "The initial stupefaction and dismay with which liberals greeted Donald Trump’s candidacy...

...ave slowly ...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 pm, 1605757

Must-Read: This moves to the very top of the "to-read" pile this morning:

Branko Milanovic (2016): Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization (Cambridge: Belknap Press: 067473713X) http://amzn.to/1PMGNIG:

"Global Inequality takes us back hundreds of years...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 pm, 1605755

Week 4 Memo Assignment: Slavery and Serfdom: In his Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith confidently asserted that slavery was uneconomic–that in commercial society, manumission was the road to higher productivity because the carrot of working for yourself is much more efficient than the stick of being ...


February 5, 2016, 10:18 am, 1605702

Live from Outer Space: It's a pity I always found the Simpsons a little too mean to Bart to enjoy watching--so many jokes that are going to be classics for all time:

The Simpsons (2004): Deep Space Homer: "News announcer Kent Brockman mistakes ...


February 5, 2016, 10:18 am, 1605701

Comment of the Day: Kansas Jack: Tiny Little Boxes and Convex Frontiers: "I, too, dropped Edgeworth but kept PPF...

...Though I also reduced the lecture time on PPF. What I wanted to make room for was the introduction of basic regression ...


February 5, 2016, 8:18 am, 1605659
(Scott Johnson)

Ammo Grrrll is thinking ABOUT LAST MONDAY…She writes:

My candidate did not win in Iowa. Who was that, you ask breathlessly?

Donco Cruzabee, that’s who. I want someone with Ted Cruz’s brains and debating skills, with the youthful good looks and inspiring backstory of Marco Rubio, the genial warmth and ...


February 5, 2016, 8:18 am, 1605658

Comment of the Day: C. Trombley: Computer Science Meets Economics: "Highly misleading headline...

It has only been shown that Nash is PPAD-Complete - not NP, which is something that needs to be mentioned. It's still mathematically possible that Nash is in ...


February 5, 2016, 8:18 am, 1605657

In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You:

Attention conservation notice: Over 7800 words about optimal planning for a socialist economy and its intersection with computational complexity theory. This is about as relevant to the world around us as debating whether a devotee of the Olympian gods should approve ...


February 5, 2016, 4:18 am, 1605600
(Paul Mirengoff)

Marco Rubio has been criticized, perhaps with some justification, for acting on Monday night almost as if he won the Iowa caucuses, rather than finishing third. But polling in New Hampshire (and at least one national poll) suggests that Rubio is getting the biggest bounce ...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 am, 1605553
(John Hinderaker)

Nowadays, every House and Senate contest is a national race. No matter where you live, the election of conservative candidates nationwide is important to you. Which is why you should care about this year’s race in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District.

The seat has been held by Republican John ...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 am, 1605551
(John Hinderaker)

The Bush administration drew endless flak from the left for treating Islamic terrorists as enemy combatants. Liberals prefer the law enforcement model, where terrorists and would-be terrorists are prosecuted for crimes, or else left alone. That is what has happened here in Minnesota, where a number of Somalis ...


February 5, 2016, 12:18 am, 1605552
(Paul Mirengoff)

I’ve found that big corporations sometimes respond to sustained attacks and bad publicity by trying to establish their liberal bona fides. They might launch an aggressive affirmative action program for hiring and/or for the selection of vendors (such as outside legal counsel). Or they might embrace ...