Monday , October 26 2020
Home / Tag Archives: Politics and economics

Tag Archives: Politics and economics

Understanding the Left

This is an essay on politics. Some of my most valued readers have expressed they don't enjoy my posts on politics. Fair enough, I'll be back soon with commentary on monetary policy. See you later. This essay is part of a larger project from last fall, to understand what's going on with the Woke movement in the far left of American politics. This is an economic analysis -- I analyze behavior from incentives. I don't try to examine the content of ideology, but I watch its uses. I look for...

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The Philadelphia Statement

 While we're at it, The Philadelphia Statement is another effort to broadcast the value of free speech and open inquiry, with 15163 signatories so far.  A few choice quotes: Our liberty and our happiness depend upon the maintenance of a public culture in which freedom and civility coexist—where people can disagree robustly, even fiercely, yet treat each other as human beings—and, indeed, as fellow citizens—not mortal enemies. And not just as morally deplorable by virtue of...

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Open letter on campus culture

Adam Ellwanger, Professor of English at the University of Houston, has organized an important open letter on campus culture. It has hundreds of signatories. You can sign too if you wish.  Campuses have been drifting left for a long time. But, as the letter notes, there is a new qualitative difference, that the bureaucratic machinery now compounds what was just social and to some extent professional (don't hire conservatives) pressure among the faculty. ... campus...

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OECD talk — rebuilding institutions in the wake of Covid-19

Friday morning I had the pleasure of participating in a session at the OECD, as part of their program on Confronting Planetary Emergencies - Solving Human Problems. I had the tough job of following brilliant remarks by Acting CEA chair Tyler Goodspeed and Ken Rogoff, and discussing great questions all starting at 5 AM. FYI here is the text of my prepared remarks. My focus is how to rebuild the competence of our institutions, which failed dismally in this crisis. Covid and BeyondJohn...

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On Re-Education Programs

On Sept 22,  the White House put out an "Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping." Media coverage has been curiously spotty. Reading the primary source is revealing.  One expects an executive order to consist of  a short list of things that can and cannot be done, like a regulation. This one is an investigative report, with a philosophical preamble. What's in the program?Federal agencies are already implementing programs, on a wide scale. The order tells us...

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Artistic representation of government waste

"...the man‐and‐horse statue outside the FTC, which signifies the government’s heroic battle to strangle trade. " Link from Chris Edwards proposed museum of government failures. (The actual title, "Man controlling trade," is almost as good in an unintentional, new-Deal sort of way, but I like Chris' better. )I was chatting with Chris and nominated the California high speed railway, which will soon be a massive Christo-scale installation, dedicated to the same cause. Imagine...

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Political diversity at the AEA

Mitchell Langbert, writing in Econ Journal Watch documents the ratio of Democrat/Republican Party affiliation and campaign contributions in the American Economic Association. Here is the bottom lineThe most interesting part of the paper that the AEA skews more and more Democrat as you look higher up the hierarchy to who has more influence in the organization. Members are only 3.8:1 D/R rather than 1.3:1 in the population. If you think all economists are heartless conservatives, you...

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Storm coming

I am very worried about how the next election will play out. I am more worried than most commenters, hence this post, because as an economist I predict people's behavior by asking what is natural given their incentives and the rules of the game as they are. That thinking leads to a dark place.  Our democracy has one essential function: a peaceful transfer of power. There are rules of the game. A winner is determined even in a close race. Both sides agree who won, and that the winner is a...

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Muni haircuts

"Municipal bond investors have to share the burden in state bailouts" writes my colleague Josh Rauh, and he is exactly right.Background: State and local governments borrowed a lot of money and blew it. They borrowed further by not funding their pensions. Now covid comes along, people are fleeing cities, and they don't have tax revenue to fund ongoing expenses. The big question hanging over Washington: If we are going to help state and local governments weather the storm of their current...

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