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

You Can Fool Most of the People Most of the Time

At least on certain issues. I’m not inherently a great pessimist, but with few exceptions each passing month for over a decade now has seen my optimism whither, at least a little.  So I can’t help but see the manure-colored lining in this otherwise rosy, fluffy cloud. Steve Benen reports that according to the new […]

The rest of the dinner table deficit/debt discussion: Equity

I promise, there are numbers here, but lets have some fun first and write a screen play to set up the point. It is long, but…   “Dear, I’m getting nervous. We seem to keep adding to how much money we owe and our income hasn’t changed for the better. What can we do?”   […]

Politics and specific policies

by Robert Waldmann At Frum forum Justin Green extensively quotes Jeb Golonkin on how conservatism could be much better if conservatives made specific policy proposals.  Sad but true, almost all of the proposals that have been signed into law are by Barack Obama.  This is not a rare event.  While many conservatives stick to slogans, […]

What is the Economic Middle Class?

My lovely wife shared this link with me on Facebook.  I got into a discussion in comments there with a right winger who suggested that $250,000 was a very reasonable estimate for median income in Boston. As it turns out, median household income in Boston is $51,914, close to the national average, and way below […]

Yes, The Right Wing Lies When They Say Obama is a Profligate Spender

Part III – How to think about time series data. For reference:Part II  Federal Spending as a Fraction of GDP Part I  Federal Spending Growth Some commentors to the previous posts have rightly concluded that I consider spending under Obama in the context of historical trends.  In fact, if you don’t consider historical trends, you […]

Why Spending/GDP is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Metric For Judging Obama’s Performance

A post like this really shouldn’t be necessary, but part of the right wing canard that Obama has been a profligate spender is based on spending as a percentage of GDP. It looks like this – Graph 1. Graph 1.  Fed Expenditures/GDP Sure enough, by the end of Clinton’s term the ratio had fallen from […]

If They’re All Young Hooligans, Why Are Four of Eleven Over 35?

With a hat tip to Tim Harford, The General Manchester Police are reporting their already-public-record convictions via Twitter (@gmpolice). On a quick check, four of the eleven so far convicted (including the one woman), are over 35. So far: It appears that legendary “moral decay” began under Margaret Thatcher. Whodathunkit? Well, maybe David Cameron in […]

Two Reductionist Arguments: On Conservatism. On Classical Economics.

by Bruce Webb On Conservatism.Modern Conservatism = Protection of Property Rights. The historical process in Northern Europe and Britain from the mid 17th through the 19th century was marked by a sometimes gradual, sometimes violent collapse in belief in the Divine Right of Kings, and for that matter Popes. Conservatism replaced its traditional appeal to […]

Ross Douthat and the cocoon

Robert Waldmann Douthat is worried about the Republican information cocoon. He thinks that conservatives should not rely so much on Fox News and should be open to media which they consider unfriendly (such as his employer the New York Times). He argues that Republicans achieved more back before FoxIn the age Before Fox News, on […]