• I should hasten to add that I remain a big fan of your diaries =)

  • comment on a post Krugman on The Economic Narrative over 3 years ago

    At this point, there is not much Pres. Obama, or his economic team can do to hasten the end of the current business cycle ~ they can make things worse, but not much better.  The time for that has past !

    Looking forward, the big issue that needs to be tackled is the slow trickle of manufactring jobs.  There is, I believe, a very misplaced and pervasive sense of complacency caused by a fundamental lack of understanding on the importance of manufactring jobs.  Every politician states that they understand the importance of manuf. jobs, while also buying into the contradicting notion that manuf. jobs are not really all that important, as long as we retain a monopoly on the creative design cycle.  I do not mean to make fun of politicians who do not understand how dangerous it is to believe in these two positions ~ I did so myself till about 10 years back. 

    The President's economic team is dominated by individuals who believe that the proper direction of capital to the right enterprise(s) is a worthy excersise.  There is nothing wrong with this belief ~ this is the goal of the financial markets.  However, it is wrong to be dominated by this belief alone, to the extent where you do not have the time to accomodate other thoughts.  Thus, to a wall street expert, supporting manufactring simply means shuffling some money around to the right producer (e.g. GM) in exchange for future or current profits; or shuffling a management team around.  If you are dominated by "proper direction of capital" thoughts, then you tend to forget that sustainable (i.e., real) GDP growth only occurs when you create, produce and sell things of increased value; and that manufactring innovation is a critical (and forgotten) step in this regard.

    And so, the change I would like to see is a whole sale replacement of the President's economic team with a group that includes several individuals with actual manufactring experience.  Further limiting the options, I would like to see an individual who understands the link between "ownership" of the critical manufactring steps, "innovation" and ultimate value growth.  For instance, I would go out and draft Intel's CEO.  Replacing one set of wall street experts for a "better" set of wall street experts is not the solution.

  • All "shovel ready" projects that could have been funded were funded during the first stimulus.  So that is out.  They can still do aid to states and local government and also unemployment assistance, and they should, but that merely averts greater tragedy and ameliorates human suffering... the time for a stimulus that could have taken corrective action is now past.

    My own take is that the savings rate will stabilize at around 8%, which is within the historical norm of 5-10% for the US (I had a diary on this long back; explaining why the 5-10% was the norm for the US).  We are now at around 6%, and we had started this cycle at -2% or so; so most of the deleveraging is now done (as I recall, you yourself had a diary called the "Balance Sheet recession" way back in 2008).  The rest will be done in about 12 months or so, and will likely happen before the effects of a 2nd stimulus can kick in (aside from aid to state/local govt., and unemployment assistance...these tend to happen faster)

    Dawn is always preceded by the darkest hour of the night !!

    That said, I was very surprised at the Beveridge curve.  As you may recall, the Minn Fed President Kocherlakota set off a firestorm when he said that the fed could not train construction workers to become manuf workers.  Actually, the controversial portion of his remarks was elsewhere, but many people (like Krugman) argued that there were not enough manuf. jobs either.  The Bev curve suggests otherwise; and so I am curious as to what the experts will say to that.



  • on a comment on Man In the Mirror over 3 years ago

    In your own reply, you address one of my complaints about your sympathies for Sarah Palin, which was about a line in your diary...obviously I must have read your diary to have gotten that line; and I fail to see how you could conclude that I did not (unless that is your conclusion everytime someone criticizes your rationale).

    WIth respect to your dairy itself; I have no comments, other than to say that if you express sympathies for Sarah Palin on  a progressive blog, you should back it up with something more than "the left was unjustified".  Perhaps this is not so self evident to you, but it goes to the essence of tailoring the amount of evidence you produce to backup your statements based on your audience.  Most readers here do not think that the left was unjustified in going after Sarah Palin, and so your threshold for evidence there is much higher.  You are not writing for redstate; and if you fail to see the difference, then that speaks to your intelligence, and not that of your readers.

    Likewise for TARP.  I think I have decent comprehension skills, and I understand that your diary was not about TARP.  I also understand that the specific comment thread that I was responding to was about TARP.  My complaint was that you produced a rant on TARP without producing any specifics.  The fact that you also ranted on ObamaCare, also without producing any specifics, does not justify the other.

    And yes, I am curious.  What is it about ObamaCare, and about TARP that you dislike so much.  

  • on a comment on Man In the Mirror over 3 years ago

    It is hard to see how your readers are engaged in groupthink because you have offered no rationales for your argument.  

     For instance, Sarah Palin may be cute, and she may have been villified by the left; but is that all you have to say in her favor ?  Not a word about her qualifications, experience, moral compasss etc ?  It is hard to indulge in groupthink when you dont offer a single thought on that.


    Likewise for TARP.  What is it about TARP that you don't like ?  It was not necessary ?  It was not sufficient ?  It did not do anything for the manufactring workers ?  Railing against TARP without offering any specifics as to what it is about TARP that upsets you is...groupthink.


    And it's not even hard.  I will give you an example:  I admire Sarah Palin for having the courage to bring a Down's baby into the world, because I probably would not have done that.  And as to TARP, I dont have a problem with TARP because it was enacted in a hurry...and there was no time to negotiate concessions from the bankers when it was done.  I do have a problem with subsequent programs (like TALF, and the ZIRP); which merely socialized bank losses while ensuring privatization of profits.  

  • comment on a post Mark Zandi on Unemployment over 3 years ago

    about the economy rebounding in the long run.  Everyone is pessimistic about the short run.  An insightful comment would have been a definition of the time windows associated with the two =)

  • on a comment on 28 May, 1453 over 3 years ago

    Yes, I did use that handle.  I had forgotten if my switch was before, or after our exchanges.  I am glad you remembered (and honored as well) !!

    I, too, rarely write diaries myself.  It is a pity, this blog used to have several insightful diaries.  JA's combative attitude seems to have scared off most people; although I think he is generally right on most issues.  I come here for Charles Lemos ~ wish I had half that writing talent.

    I am half tempted to dig back at our old comments to say who was right on our discussions.  My guess is that we both will have plenty of hat to eat; if we could revisit our old comments.

  • on a comment on 28 May, 1453 over 3 years ago

    Yes, but I was trying to focus on the period that was dominated by the red vs green dispute.  This era was only about 1000 years (post Constantine; and really only from 450 AD to about 1400 AD).

    By 1400, the dispute had become meaningless and was only given a few extra years because Timur Lane came and captured the Ottoman ruler... thereby giving the empire a few more years, allowing the feud to continue.

    So, I should have narrowed my window down to about AD 450 to about AD 1400.

    Regardless, I admit that I am sloppy with my  facts.  I am not a historian by profession; and generally dont bother to edit myself; or to double check my facts that I recite from memory..often incorrectly and/or inconsistently.  For instance, I used the number 88 emperors, which is generally said to include the line from Diocletian to Constantine 11; but cheerfully included the era from Augustus in laying down the era; which I then added up as 1400 yrs (also incorrectly); even though I was only talking about a 1000 yr period.  


    I suppose I should have spent a few minutes editing myself..but life is pretty hectic.  I did want to write that diary, because I have been very saddened by the GZM; but...

    How have you been...I dont know if you remember me from 2 yrs back (or was it more?).  We used to have several discussion on foreign policy.

    And who is Mr Gibbons ?

  • comment on a post Boehner Sets the Terms of the Fall Election Debate over 3 years ago

    that I did not call for Geithner's head.  I knew all along...that if I did so, I would end up on the same side as Boehner.  Like you.  Hah !!

  • on a comment on 28 May, 1453 over 3 years ago

    Ah, I get it now...

    You were complaining about my sloppy math... 1453 - (-27) is closer to 1500 than to 1400.  Fair enough.

  • on a comment on 28 May, 1453 over 3 years ago

    Yes, I played loose with some facts. That tends to happen when you are inherently sloppy (as I am).


    WRT the Roman empire starting with Augustus; I agree that yours is the consensus opinion.  However, I view the Republican era as one in name only; and so the distinction between Republic and Empire is one of degree and not substantive.  Even in the Republican era, you had to satisfy certain conditions before you could be elected as the big boss (you had to be born free, you had to be born into immense wealth which entitled you to vote for the Senate, you had to be born into even more wealth to run for Senate, etc. etc.) Thus, the Republican era was a pseudo empire at it's core.

    This should not be suprising, given that the transition from "Republic" to "Empire" happened within much less than 1 generation... Augustus was a boy of 17 sans the Augustus title when Ceasar was assassinated, and when everyone was a proud Republican.  By the time he was 22, he had become "Augustus", and the citizens had meekly accepted the Empire.  If you think of this, it can only make sense if the Republic was a sham to begin with.



  • comment on a post 28 May, 1453 over 3 years ago

    I thought you would.  

    But will anyone else, that is the question.


  • on a comment on I ♥ the 90s over 3 years ago

    Like I said, I dont have any better ideas.

    However, I do have a different diagnosis of the underlying problem.  Your approach assumes that the fundamental problem is corrupt pols, or pols who are wall street hacks.  My diagnosis is that the fundamental problem is pols who do not "get" the importance of manufactring (being a wall street hack sorta comes with that), and citizenry who are easily corrupted or distracted by nice shiny objects.

    That said, I cannot prove that my diagnosis is better than yours; so I can only wish you luck with your primary strategy.

  • on a comment on I ♥ the 90s over 3 years ago

    So, your strategy amounts to a game of chicken; but with a twist.  

    You want to bluff the wall street hacks into becoming more progressive.  If you bluff works, you have a wall street hack who gives some amount of lip service to your credo in order to get elected.  And if your bluff fails, you have a wall street hack who pays no lip service to your credo, and still gets elected.

    Sorry for nitpicking, (because I dont have any better ideas myself), but that doesnt sound very well thought out.


  • on a comment on I ♥ the 90s over 3 years ago

    In your list of things to blow up, you include (elsewhere) "primary the shit out of them".

    Given that in 2008, we had an incumbent (sort of--in HRC...a Clinton who is a wall street hack) who did get primaried; and we ended up with Obama who is also imperfect (as per your own statement...another wall street hack); it would appear that the primary process is not giving us the result you desired.  So, is something wrong with my framing it this way; or are you claiming that past performance is not an indicator of future success.  If it is the latter, do you have any reason to believe that a future primary process will give you a different result ?



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