Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Pujo Committee hearings


Pujo Committee (1912-13) transcripts at the St. Louis Fed look interesting.

In 1912, a special subcommittee was convened by the Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, Arsene P. Pujo. Its purpose was to investigate the “money trust,” a small group of Wall Street bankers that exerted powerful control over the nation’s finances. The committee’s majority report concluded that a group of financial leaders had abused the public trust to consolidate control over many industries. The Pujo Committee report created a climate of public opinion that lead to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914.

The hearings were conducted between May 16, 1912 and February 26, 1913. The transcript of the hearings was published in three volumes. It is presented in the original 29 parts with the index, a table of interlocking directorates of 18 financial institutions, and the majority/minority report of the committee.

Comments (0) | |

Minimum wage increase this Friday


McClatchy reports:

The final installment of a three-part increase in the federal minimum wage is proving to be the most controversial.

Two previous wage hikes, one in 2007, the other in 2008, pushed the federal wage to $5.85 and then to the current $6.55 an hour. The third, which goes into effect Friday, will push it to $7.25 an hour.

That’s not a life-changing raise — an extra $28 a week for a fulltime worker earning the federal minimum — though low-wage earners like Kendell Patterson in Oklahoma City, Okla., say it’ll help.

But some economists worry that the wage hike is coming at the worst possible time and will only make the recession-battered job market tougher for the very workers it’s intended to help.

The increase will have minimal impact in most states. Eighteen states and the District of Colombia already have minimum wages that are higher or equal to $7.25 an hour. In nine more, the minimum wage is higher than $6.55 an hour and so workers in those states will see their wages rise by only a fraction of the 70-cents-an-hour increase, from four cents an hour in Florida to 40 cents an hour in Nevada.

That leaves 23 states where minimum wage workers covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act will enjoy the full 70-cents-an-hour increase.

Oh boy….another round of complaints about the destruction of the economy for $28.00a week per increased wage. God help our stingy little hearts when it comes to everyman, and not the Sachs bonuses.

Update: I think some of the commenters forgot who funded the recent bonuses…see write up here at Naked Capitalism…

Update 2: Those who claim to know econ 101 thinking on this topic should start here on the MAW and here and here by age.

Comments (0) | |

Tri-Committee Health Care Bill Deficit Neutral

by Bruce Webb

Press release from the House Ways and Means Committee dated Saturday July 18th. CBO Scores Confirms Deficit Neutrality of Health Reform Bill

Washington, D.C. — The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released estimates this evening confirming for the first time that H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, is deficit neutral over the 10-year budget window – and even produces a $6 billion surplus. CBO estimated more than $550 billion in gross Medicare and Medicaid savings. More importantly, the bill includes a comprehensive array of delivery reforms to set the stage for lowering the future growth in health care costs.

Net Medicare and Medicaid savings of $465 billion, coupled with the $583 billion revenue package reported today by the House Committee on Ways and Means, fully finance the previously estimated $1.042 trillion cost of reform, which will provide affordable health care coverage for 97% of Americans.

“This fulfills the strong commitment of the President and House leadership to enact health reform on a deficit-neutral basis,” said Chairman Henry A. Waxman, Chairman Charles B. Rangel, and Chairman George Miller. “The reforms included in this legislation will help control health care costs and expand access to quality, affordable coverage to all Americans in a fiscally-responsible manner.”

The estimates also cover important reinvestments in Medicare and Medicaid, including phasing in the closing of the “donut” hole in the Medicare drug benefit. The bill’s long-term reform of Medicare’s physician fee schedule to eliminate the potential 21 percent cut in fees, and put payments on a sustainable basis for the future, will cost about $245 billion. Those costs, however, are not included in the net calculations above, as they will be absorbed under the upcoming statutory “pay go” legislation that is pending in the House.

Good news as far as it goes, at least if you want to get as close to universal health care coverage as possible, and certainly you can expect progressives to run with it. But it raises some questions about the differences between ‘budget neutrality’, ‘surplus’, and savings. Rather than spoil the party I’ll move that discussion under the fold.

People who have been following this debate may be scratching their heads. On Tuesday the CBO scored HR3200 as adding $1.048 billion to the deficit over ten years. Late Friday that score was changed to adding $239 billion over that same period, that is over the course of three days we somehow cut $809 billion off the cost. By Saturday night all of a sudden we now have a score of a $6 billion surplus, as close to dead even as makes no difference. So what happened? Did the bill change? Did CBO cave and change its methods? Well ‘No’ and ‘No’. It turns out that the answers CBO returns depend, as they should, on the precise nature of the question.

The first thing of note is that while these numbers are perfectly accurate in that if you score the impact of HR3200 and some accompaning legislation related to Pay-Go to be voted on soon you will get the $6 billion surplus, but under the cautious methods used by CBO this is somewhat to put the cart before the horse. Because the latest message from the CBO Director’s Blog, released early Saturday morning still puts the matter as follows:

Yesterday CBO released a preliminary analysis, conducted with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), of H.R. 3200, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, as introduced by several House committees on July 14. Earlier this week, CBO released a preliminary report on the health insurance coverage provisions of the bill; this latest report added analysis of the other provisions.

According to CBO’s and JCT’s assessment, enacting H.R. 3200 would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period. That estimate reflects a projected 10-year cost of the bill’s insurance coverage provisions of $1,042 billion, partly offset by net spending changes that CBO estimates would save $219 billion over the same period, and by revenue provisions that JCT estimates would increase federal revenues by about $583 billion over those 10 years.

By the end of the 10-year period, in 2019, the coverage provisions would add $202 billion to the federal deficit, CBO and JCT estimate. That increase would be partially offset by net cost savings of $50 billion and additional revenues of $86 billion, resulting in a net increase in the deficit of an estimated $65 billion.

First thing to note is that the last sentence is awkwardly phrased. That $65 billion is NOT the ten-year score but instead the score in Year 10, i.e. 2019. It basically represents the continuing cost of HR3200 going forward. But more importantly CBO is here sticking to the $239 billion figure (as bolded by me).

But whether you start from a $239 billion 10-year deficit or a $6 billion 10-year surplus this is quite a remarkeable achievement. Republicans who just days ago were crowing that the cost of providing near universal coverage was going to mean trillions added to the deficit are going to see that message stomped on. For example McConnell was reduced on Meet the Press to claiming this would cost “a quarter of a trillion dollars” perhaps hoping people are still scared by the label rather than the number. Because in the context of a $750 billion TARP package it is hard to scare someone with ‘$30 billion a year’.

Okay. So lets back off a little. Is it really fair to say that the changes to health care under HR3200 really save money compared to the status quo? Maybe yes, and maybe no, it all depends on where you are situated. The reality is that it is going to cost a bunch of medium term money to extend our current health care system in a way that covers 97% of the legal non-elderly population. On a national basis a good part of that will be offset by moving care delivery that is now non-compensated to being compensated. Just as a minor example we should be spending significantly less on collection agencies and medical bankruptcies. And billions of dollars formerly drawn from charity to run various hospitals can be directed other places. Plus we can save tens of billions of dollars if we just had every American on the right combination of blood pressure and cholesterol medication right from the git-go rather than after that heart attack or stroke. So there will be savings, and nationally there should long-term be net savings, and ultimately maybe huge net savings as we get per capita costs in line with other developed countries.

But the key point is that little to none of that is captured using CBO scoring methods. Savings to states, hospitals and individuals simply don’t register, nor do things like increased productivity from fewer lost work days. Now these kind of macro changes may well show up in CBO productions such as their Long Term Outlook but don’t register at the ground level of bill scoring.

In the cold light of day a big chunk of this is going to have to be paid for with a tax increase of around $500 billion dollars over ten years. And for the people tasked to pay it this isn’t going to save them anything over the status quo, not near term. Meaning that progressives shouldn’t get too far ahead of themselves crowing about a $6 billion net paper surplus.

I am warning about this because there is quite the excitement brewing in places like dKos among people who have confused the concepts of budget accounting and cash flow. Budgets and budget scoring are mysterious beasts and neither deficits or surpluses necessarily mean what they suggest once reported in the media.

In other words “I don’t think that $6 billion surplus means what you think it means”.

Tags: , , Comments (0) | |

Wingnut 102: How HR3200 Outlaws Private Health Insurance

by Bruce Webb

Did you know that the House Tri-Committee Bill HR3200 openly and brazenly outlaws new private individual health insurance plans after Year 1 (now set for 2013)? Well me neither, mainly because it is only not true but in total context absurd. Not quite as absurd as the idea that the Moon landings were faked, that walking into a court with a gold fringed flag means you have lost all protections under the Constitution, that you can make yourself exempt from Federal Income tax by declaration, or any of the other engrained notions floating around Wingnuttia. But since somehow Flat Earthers, and Young Earthers and Birthers never go away it is worth examining this particular theory before it goes even more viral, I have already seen it on multiple sites.

What is the origin of this? Well it is from some seemingly clear language in the text of the bill, the entirety of which can be found here: HR3200: America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. This language is not hidden deep within the bill, which is what you would expect if something sneaky was going on (which should have given these guys pause for thought), nope it is right up front on page 16 of the bill, indeed it is in the second section of the bill’s Title 1, that is ‘SEC. 102. PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE’ The language itself:

(A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.

Which for some is the “insane” smoking gun, no new individual insurance after 2013. To understand why this is just a profound misreading of the bill (if you don’t already) you can follow me below the fold as I try to explain.

First thing to need to understand that Congressional language is a little tortured to start with. For one thing it is nested, that is you have to work your way up from the language of any given paragraph to the higher level organization and purpose. Second as here you always have to look out for language indicating exceptions.

The top level of this section is titled ‘Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage’ in keeping with Obama’s promise that if you like what you have you get to keep it. But this right is not totally unlimited, there are constraints that both keep employers from gaming the insurance pool and individual employees from evading the individual mandate by buying inadequate (but cheap) coverage. So the legislation sets out some terms and parameters. Right after the title we get sub-section (a) itself titled ‘Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined’. (Those of you not aware of the term ‘grandfathering’ is the principle that a property right once exercised can not arbitrarily taken away and in some cases is inheritable). Sub-section (a) lays out three limitations (1) Limitation on New Enrollment, (2) Limitation on Change in Terms or Conditions, (3) Restrictions on Premium Increases all of which taken together has led our conspiracy bugs to believe they are hiding a plan to strangle the individual insurance market out in favor of a public plan (which then I guess is free to destroy Tokyo unchecked.)

To understand why this is not so, or at least not so in the sense opponents would like to take it you need to back up and see what Sec 102 was opposing Grandfathered coverage AGAINST. Meaning that to fully understand Sec 102 you need to understand Sec 101 and in particular the meaning of ‘Qualified Health Benefit Plan’ as set out in Sec 101 (b). In order to offer new coverage under HR3200 private insurers simply need to offer a product that meets the new requirements. This is no different than requirements in past legislation that car manufacturers had to include such things as turn-signals, back up lights, seat belts in new model years, but in most cases grandfathered existing cars already on the road.

Backing up a little more. In order for a new plan for individual or group insurance to be offered it has to meet three tests under 101 (b):those of Sub-title B: Affordable Coverage, Sub-title C: Essential Benefits, and Sub-title D: Consumer Protection. If you meet those tests you are allowed to write new individual policies. Nothing is outlawed except the right to sell inadequate plans to new customers.

Now you don’t need to dig into the legislative language to see why this wingnut reading of Sec 102 had to be wrong. For example you could have just examined the CBO estimates of who would be covered by whom in the year 2019.
Insurance Coverage Specifications and associated text. If CBO estimates that in 2019 30 million people will bet getting insurance through the exchange and only 9 million of them covered by the pubilc options, who is left to write the other 21 million mostly individual policies? Private insurance. How can they do that if Sec 102 of the bill plainly makes writing any such coverage after 2013 illegal? Well they couldn’t. Which should suggests that the ‘simple’ reading of Sec. 102 that apparently sets up this paradox was not the correct reading, that in reading it that way that those readers just missed something. Something I suggest was Sec 101, the overall context of the unfolding debate, and CBO scoring.
While I am here. A good part of the progressive blogosphere is rending their clothes and gnashing their teeth because the current plans limit people with employer supplied insurance from resorting to the pubic plan. This too is a profound mis-understanding of the bill, though here from the other side.

For one thing current enrollees in employer plans are protected by the provisions of Sec 102 (b) which provides that they are not bound by a ‘unacceptable’ plans as defined, moreover employers are only given a five year grace period after Y 1 to upgrade their current plan to qualified plan standards. Additionally there are restrictions which keep your employer paid plan from costing the individual employee more than 11% of gross pay and which allow employee opt-out from being stuck in a lower cost plan just to meet that test. In fact I am not seeing in Title II or Title III anything that would keep an employee from choosing individual insurance from the exchange after Year 2 whether that coverage be private or through the public option. Nor am I seeing any ‘firewall’ keeping the employer out of the exchange, or in exchange for a fee amounting to 8% of payroll from simply dropping employer coverage at all.

Now it is more than possible that I am missing something here, and any help would be appreciated. But please if you can supply citations to the particular section of the bill containing the actual controlling language. Because while I can see restrictions that keep EMPLOYERS from shoving people against their will onto the public option, I am not seeing much to keep EMPLOYEES from freely choosing that.

Although even if there were such restrictions they would under some circumstances be defensible. What you don’t want is a situation where the employer sets up what is in effect two plans, one for favored employees and/or low cost insurance needs and another for less-favored employees and/or high cost insurance needs. There are some protections built in by salary, you can’t openly have two vastly divergent systems, but what you need is some protections against employers covertly and selectively pushing some people out the door. For example I would think it would be profoundly illegal to tie decisions on retention of probationary employees by the type of coverage they ‘freely’ chose. But employers know how to pass hints that suggest that people over 50 or who have lots of kids have problems passing probation if they insist on being on the employer plan, hint, hint, nudge, nudge. On my reading the bill attempts as best it can to limit this, but realistically it is hard to remove game playing from any complex system.
On a final note. Those who claim this plan is a blatant, open attempt to drive private insurance out of the market starting on Day 1 are totally off-base. On the other hand there are pretty good possibilities that that will be the effect by say year 20. Because the legislation is wittingly or not set up as a one-way valve, there are incentives in place to let some or all of your employees pass through that valve into the public option, while there is not much incentive to draw them back out. Which is the outcome that some of us dirty socialist DFHs are ultimately hoping for, Universal Single Payer through the back-door.

So people mis-reading Sec. 102 may well have identified the motive and the goal even as they mis-identify the actual mechanism.

Tags: , , Comments (4) | |

New (7-17) CBO scoring of the Tri-Committee Bill

by Bruce Webb

h/t to dKos poster Pronin2.

New scoring released Friday night shows the ten-year net increase to the deficit from the House Tri-Committee bill down to $239 billion with an actual five year surplus of $44 billion. I guess we will have to see whether the AP and the Republicans cling to that $1.5 trillion figure or not. And to be fair while the Press Release of the Committee claims CBO scored this actually as a 10 year surplus of $6 billion this was just accomplished by setting the $245 billion it will take to fix Medicare aside on the basis that that will be the result of separate legislation. This seems to be a dodge to me, I prefer to just stick with the numbers as they show in the table.

Either way ($239 billion 10 year deficit or $6 billion 10 year surplus) it gets harder for people to claim that covering 97% of Americans with health insurance is just too heavy a lift.

UPDATE: Hoo boy, this set off multiple hissy fits at dKos with competing diaries and claims of hoaxing to the point that both Pronin2’s and Dartagnan’s diaries got taken down. Bottom line?
1) The original ‘Press Release’ does not seem to have actually been officially released. The latest official release on HR3200 seems to be this: It does not claim a surplus but does say the ultimate result will be paid for.
2) This morning the CBO Director’s Blog was updated with this:

As noted above I would not have run with the $6 billion surplus of that purported Press Release and would have just stuck with the official CBO score, but the number just didn’t come out of nowhere. I suspect that someone drafted up a Press Release that never actually went out because it was mis-leading. Anyway the $239 billion 10 year number stands.

Tags: , Comments (0) | |

Dear Journalists — You can Smarten Up Now

by Noni Mausa

Dear Journalists — You can Smarten Up Now

Oh snap. Once again the papers demonstrate that when it comes to
dogs, the First Law of Journalism goes right out the window without
regret or even apparently noticing it.

That law? “First, Do Your Homework.”

What annoyed me today was an editorial in the NYT, here: Here
it is

When Dogs Fly
Published: July 16, 2009

The only objection we have to Pet Airways, the new airline devoted
just to pets, is the fact that we can’t book space on it ourselves.

Think of it: separate compartments — dog crates, that is — with plenty
of room to stretch out, flight attendants, a pet lounge, escort from
check-in to the plane and preboarding walks. We wouldn’t recommend it
for business travelers. The trip from New York to Los Angeles — $250
one way — does take about 24 hours. But that includes dinner, play
time and a sleepover in Chicago. No security hassles, no in-flight
movies, just the luxury of one’s doggie dreams in one’s private cabin.

Yes, Pet Airways is yet another stage in the humanizing of our pets, a
process that has resulted in, among other things, Rachael Ray pet food
and animal health care and lifestyles beyond the means of most of the
humans on this planet.


The immediate overbooked success of Pet Airways suggests a growing
intolerance for the sometimes haphazard care of pets on the national
airlines. If Pet Airways succeeds, there may be an economic lesson as
well for the foundering human airlines. If we had less stress at the
airport and dinner on board, we, too, would feel a lot happier about

My opinion below the fold


“Another stage in the humanizing of our pets.” Oh, gimme a break.
That’s not what this is about.

Anyone who has tried to ship a pet by air has met a nightmare network
of local and federal laws. But much worse are internal airline
policies and price structures which can change overnight.

For pet owners this is bad enough. For breeders it’s a constant
source of stress and expense.

By “breeders” I mean the dedicated people who spend decades or more in
the difficult task of maintaining their chosen breed. Unlike a
species, a breed is separated from other animals of its species only
by careful choice of breeding stock and monitoring and exclusion of
unwanted qualities. Breeding dogs is like maintaining topiary
hedges. It doesn’t happen all by itself.

A lot of this maintenance has to do with travel. People travel with
their dogs to dog shows, which are essentially conventions where
breeders can learn from each other and see (and touch) the
up-and-coming breeding stock. (The breeding element trumps the beauty
pageant element — neutered dogs may not be exhibited.)

But also, dogs travel on their own. Again, this is tied to breeding.

Purebred puppies go to their new homes. These homes may be hundreds
of miles away, because not all breeds are common in all areas. Some
are so uncommon that the good breeders may be overseas or clear across
the country. People wait months or years for one of these puppies and
may pay $1000 to $3000 for one of them at eight weeks of age. Should
these toddlers be sent as freight? (Hint – airline insurance for lost
or damaged freight isn’t sufficient either.)

Grownup dogs are also shipped. Part of responsible breeding is to
outcross (or else line-breed) to good bloodlines whose examples might
be, again, clear across the country. Breeders send their females to
exemplary males (otherwise the hapless males would never be home.)
Either she might travel for a one night stand, or she might be placed
for a year or more with the receiving breeder. (AND be just as
pampered there as she is at home — the calculations of pedigrees do
not prevent breeders from spoiling the objects of their

It is not too much to say that for all practical purposes, breeds
exist because they can travel. If you love wide-eyed Cocker Spaniels,
or clownish Pugs, or big white Maremmas, then dog travel concerns you
even if you’re just a pet owner.

Why is this new airline sold out? I looked at the price and did a
cartwheel. Safety in a pressurized compartment, continuous care by
experienced people, feeding, watering and exercise — at $250 this
service is a big fat bargain in dollars and in peace of mind. And 24
hours to make the trip is nothing — nothing — compared to the
Byzantine scheduling sometimes required for freight shipping of dogs.

One final note — to all you journalists out there, you can skip the
puns, the jokey headlines, and the stories which either paint dogs as
precious toddlers or else as frothing monsters. Part of knowing a
beat is knowing the field from the inside, and you won’f find either
stereotype to be especially true. Don’t let rules of evidence and
worries about slander go out the window just because the target
happens to be a dog. Make sure what you’re writing isn’t just
someone’s ignorant or malicious opinion. Do your homework.
by Noni Mausa

Comments (0) | |

Update: Real world business

by divorced one like Bush

Time for an update on real world business. I posted back in 12/08 about the costs of a flower shop being in a wire service. The costs should matter, as it is what happens when one buys on line from a non-real florist. It is also a lesson as to what a real small business is dealing with. Sales are off 25% for the year on top of 8% for last year.

This morning my sweetie stated that “they” are screwing up health care for us. Her concern was that we would now have to be offering insurance for our employees. I informed her that the cut off was 25 employees. We are safe regarding this issue. Unfortunately, nothing proposed will help with our health care costs (currently $7800for insurance and $4028 out of pocket with an additional $3500 still owed to the hospital and the need for cataract surgery and about $1500 in dental for the daughter).

So, here is what has happened regarding the wire service aspect of our business.
June’s Teleflora statement.
Total value of in and out orders: $974.78

Processing costs (membership, Dove, Quality program, Sending fee): $301.15
Advertising (directory, Co-op): $206.00
Publications: $3.75
Commissions due (orders in 27%, orders out 80%): $455.46
Total paid to Teleflora: $966.36

Balance of order value – costs: $8.42

Total value of orders to be filled: $614.78 That is, I had $8.42 to work with to fill orders that valued $614.78. In a nutshell, this is how it is that bigger business have via financialization, sucked money up hill from the smaller business.

Percent of order value out to orders in 59% June 09. (Year to date: 50%, Last year to date: 60%)
Compared last year to date incoming value down 14%, outgoing value down 42%.

I can’t convince the sweetie to drop at least one of the wire services as she sees it as work and thus a cash flow perspective verses an accrual. Overall regarding our net profit as of the end of the first half of the year, (you know, money in the pocket) on a cash flow basis, we are off 43.9% on an accrual basis we are off 88.1. Far cry from Goldman Sachs No?

And, we are now in the slow period of the flower business cycle.

Tags: , , , Comments (0) | |

Partisan is as partisan does – reflections on writing a book

by cactus

The other day I had a post about a book I’m co-authoring; the book is slated to come out in the spring. As I noted then, the book looks at

at how a large number of variables – everything from abortion rates to economic growth, evolved over the length of each presidential administration beginning with Ike and running through GW.

We do that by looking at how each of these issues – say, real GDP per capita as an example – changed over the length of each administration, from right before an administration took office to right before it left office. We note the results graphically, and then try to understand why we saw the results we did. Many of the chapters parallel posts that were written for Angry Bear; the posts in Angry Bear were, in fact, a dry run for some of the later versions of many chapters. Kind of like making notes for a speech, then giving that speech a few times at Toastmasters, learning what works and doesn’t, and then rewriting the speech before standing up in front of a larger, potentially less forgiving crowd. The Ex-GF is a member of Toastmasters, and I’ve seen her do just that.

In comments a few people indicated the book is going to be biased. These are mostly long-time readers who’ve seen the posts I wrote on the results on economic growth… and don’t like them. I put up a response in comments, but I’d like to expand on that response a bit below. So here goes…

Say I told you I was co-authoring a book about Switzerland, in particular how Swiss Chancellors had performed on a wide range of issues from abortions to crime to the economy. The goal would be not just to see how these chancellors did on each of those issues, but to see if there were lessons that could be learned. Now, say, further, that:

1. the book would look at how each issue evolved over the length of each chancellor’s stay in power
2. the book would treat the growth rate of each issue the same – namely from right before each chancellor took office to right before he left office
3. the book would present all the results graphically and try to explain any patterns that arose
4. the data used would come from an unimpeachable source – official Swiss government statistics

A book that did that would be lauded as attempting to be unbiased by most people who came across it. And if it turned out that chancellors from one party or another tended to do worse than chancellors from other parties on, say, economic issues, you might conclude that perhaps something was wrong with the policies they pursued. Now say the book then considered the objections that thoughtful people might bring up (e.g., noting how results change or don’t leaving out the first year of each chancellor’s term, considering the effect of the Swiss central bank’s actions or the make-up of the various Houses of the Legislature, etc.), and found that a) the difference between the parties remained and b) there was a specific set of policies that was followed by chancellors from the party that underperformed, and the other parties always followed the opposite set of policies. Most Americans who read such a book would conclude that

a. the authors had specifically sought out the approach to writing the book that was least likely to impose their biases on the outcomes
b. the policies followed by the economic underperformers should, at a minimum, be handled with care, if not avoided altogether in Switzerland

The only Americans who would conclude that the book was not written in a way as to be unpartisan as possible would be folks who either had some prior biases about Switzerland and its politics, or found some sort of analogy between the not-very-successful policies in Switzerland and policies they happen to like here in the US.

Furthermore, they would have to be the sort of people who would not abandon their prior beliefs just because it was contradicted by data. Put another way – there is no way to satisfy those who are truly partisan except by also being partisan.
by cactus

Comments (0) | |