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

There is hope.

The barriers facing black people in America today are numerous and daunting:  poor schools, dangerous neighborhoods, lack of income, wealth, and connections, persistent formal and informal discrimination in so many settings.  The list goes on, and it certainly includes many problems with our criminal justice system, from over-criminalization to degrading conditions of imprisonment to oppressive […]

Ezra Klein is mad at the Democrats over automatic stabilizers

The HEROES act passed by House Democrats did not include a formula that would keep expanded unemployment insurance benefits in place until the economy has recovered.  The always thoughtful Ezra Klein is very critical of this omission.  His argument can be boiled down to two points: If Biden wins the presidency, Republicans will predictably try […]

COVID-19 progress, take 2

In response to the comment on my last post . . . rolling 7 day average death rates with the peak for each country set to 100.   We peaked later than most countries other than Germany, which seems to be making better progress than us.  We may be doing as well (or as badly) […]

A simple plan to produce billions of N95 masks

We desperately need to increase our capacity to test for COVID-19, to trace contacts, and to produce masks and other forms of personal protective equipment.  This will allow us to keep the virus under control and to cautiously re-start economic activity as we await development of a vaccine.  Unfortunately, President Trump has made it clear […]

Yes, the Democrats can play hardball with McConnell

Voters typically hold the President and his party responsible for the state of the country at the time of elections.  This means that Trump and the Republicans have a strong incentive to support an aggressive federal response to the Covid-19 epidemic and the economic collapse.  Under normal rules of political engagement, this should allow the […]

Conservative rhetoric, COVID-19, and Lockdown Socialism

Arnold Kling has a recent post up on “Lockdown Socialism”: I’ve seen headlines about polls showing that people are afraid of restrictions being lifted too soon. To me, it sounds as if they prefer what I call Lockdown Socialism. Under Lockdown Socialism: –you can stay in your residence, but paying rent or paying your mortgage […]

Real options and social distancing

I missed this when it first came out: We think that the debate regarding extreme social distancing has a clear verdict — it is imperative that we should engage in this social distancing (shelter in place for all but essential workers) at least for the foreseeable short-term, but for reasons that both sides have missed. Our […]

Quick take on the Payroll Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

The House yesterday approved the Payroll Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.  The PPP part of the law quite literally just increases the amount of money allocated to the program.  That’s it.  The law does almost nothing to fix the serious defects of the program in the original CARES act.  This is remarkable because […]