Back when I read Jeb Bush’s Detroit “Economic Policy” speech, the thing that most astonished me was how thin it was. 3088 words. And yet the things that could count as federal economic policy proposals were few. It read not as a federal economic policy speech, but rather as a simulacrum of a federal economic policy speech spoken by somebody who really didn’t know what a federal economic policy speech was — a cargo-cult airfield rather than a real World War II-era Pacific military aviation base.
I’ve said it before. I will say it again: There is something morally wrong with anybody who pays money to or receives money from The Washington Post. There has to be a limit. And the Post is well beyond it:
Must-Must-Must Read in Its Entirety: The reason that I find the Princeton Economics Department’s refusal to tenure Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas in the early 2000s incomprehensible, save as the sign of a massive collective cognitive disfunction:
The emotional heart of the book is Harrier’s re-examination of her life and her work. For five years (and two novels) she has been refusing Lord Peter’s proposals of marriage. Now she begins to consider them, and at last comes to see that they could have a marriage that would be a partnership, not a job. Before that she has to regain her self respect, to have a place to stand and go on from. Harriet’s conclusion is by no means assured, and the emotional trajectory of the book is extremely well done. The arguments for a marriage of equals, as opposed to the social expectation, have never been done better we even see the disadvantage from the man’s point of view ‘someone who would try to manage me’. Manipulation was the women’s trick, when the man had all the power, but having all the power and being manipulated wasn’t much fun either.
… so here’s some thoughts about Europe instead. The Greece issue highlights continued severe structural problems with the construction of the Eurozone. Anglo-Keynesians tend to focus on the lack of fiscal transfers, but the real issue is a lack of legitimate decision-making. There is too much inter-governmentalism, opacity, and reliance on ECB discretion rather than accountable decisionmakers. To work, more authority needs to be in the hands of the Commission and the parliament, with the Commission responsible to parliament. But with the UK & Sweden disconnected from the Euro, this raises a version of the West Lothian Question as well as normal resistance. In short, Europe’s political architecture still needs some serious work and there isn’t a totally obvious path forward.
It is the job of a government conducting stabilization policy — and of an international agency located, cough, cough, near Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC — to make Say’s Law true in practice even though it is false in theory. How are governments and international agencies supposed to do this? By creating the safe liquid cash money that the private sector wants to hold in order to induce it to spend its full-employment income on currently-produced goods and services, and to fill in remaining gaps by itself serving as a liquidity-provider, a credit-guarantor, a lender, a buyer, and an employer of last resort when necessary.
Jonathan Martin is not trying to build a reputation as a trusted information intermediary because he would rather please his sources in the Walker campaign who he hopes will give him scoops. And Jonathan Martin’s boss Dean Baquet does not much care about building a reputation as a trusted information intermediary — he thinks he has other, more important fish to fry.
…Even I wouldn’t go that far. I’m happy to mostly ignore them instead. The problem, though, is that because of [pollster] herding, it’s become harder to get what I really want — an undiluted sample of public opinion. Instead, there’s sometimes quite a bit of conventional wisdom baked into the polls. Be wary when there’s a seeming consensus among the polls, especially under circumstances that should make for difficult polling. There’s a good chance the polling will be wrong — but in the opposite direction of what most people are expecting.
He underestimated by half. The death toll of the 1793 Terror too was overshadowed, as was its rate of execution. Then, only 2,500 had been guillotined in eighteen months; in a single week of 1871, ten times that number or more died from bullets sprayed by the mitrailleuses. The Paris municipality paid for the burial of 17,000 Communards, but the bodies of many more disappeared into the fabric of the city — buried haphazardly beneath the overturned barricades, in the Parc Montceau, or in the chalk mines under the Buttes Chaumont, the pleasure garden gifted to the working class four years earlier, where now the tunnels were dynamited to conceal the dead.
…a small group of staffers at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held top-secret talks with officials from the German and French finance ministries to discuss the idea of restructuring Greece’s debt. Many independent analysts believed a restructuring was inevitable because the country’s debt burden appeared unsustainable. But instead, the “Troika” — the tripartite group of lenders that included the IMF, the European Commission and European Central Bank — attempted to resolve the crisis by giving Athens bailout loans of unprecedented magnitude, piling debt atop debt. The idea considered in those secret talks would come to fruition only much later, in March 2012, when Greece received the largest debt relief in history. In the meantime, the rescue effort would go terribly awry, with consequences that continue to reverberate today as the euro area struggles with weak growth and a rekindled crisis in Greece. This paper tells the story of the first Greek rescue, focusing on the role played by the IMF, and based on interviews with dozens of key participants as well as both public and private IMF documents. A detailed look back at this drama elucidates significant concerns about the Fund’s governance and its management of future crises.