Economics

"The Local is National, and Everything’s Political"

A wickedly effective attack on the author's "second least favorite socialist in the nation," Seattle city councilwoman and--big sigh--NC State economics Ph.D., Kshama Sawant

Her quotes include: In response to criticism that a $15 an hour minimum wage could hurt the economy, “If making sure that workers get out of poverty would severely impact the economy, then maybe we don’t need this economy.” 

Mind you she doesn’t have anything to replace it with . . . This seems to be a common theme for socialist revolutionaries, (especially ones whose formative years were in some place other than America) they’re big on “destroying the existing paradigm” but when you start looking at what they want to put in its place, things suddenly get really vague, and you get answers like “the government will provide.”  It’s a form of religion, and the worship of the state has never led to anything except re-education camps, starvation, and death. 


"Capitalism to the Rescue: The present crisis is a bracing reminder of the social value of free enterprise."

Some of us don't need a "reminder". Some of us do.

What has counted during the crisis is the ability of certain businesses to carry out their core functions at a very high level: the efficiency with which Amazon can deliver essential goods to our front doors; the ability of communications firms to give us socially distant social lives; and, above all else, the ingenuity of pharmaceutical companies searching for treatments, better testing, and a vaccine. In all these cases, the pursuit of shareholders’ best interests looks much less parasitic and much more aligned with society’s wider interests than it might have appeared before the crisis.

Related: "No, Capitalism Did Not Fail".


"‘Infuriating’: Nikki Haley Unloads On Illinois Dems For Trying To Use Crisis To Fund Its ‘Corrupt’ Pension System"

Conservatives better get used to this: states and cities which have been intentionally misgoverned for decades will from now on be demanding bailouts from the federal government.

Related: "Washington has no need to fund New York’s wasteful ways," "A Bailout for Illinois? Not Without Strict Conditions," and "States Made Risky Bets with Pensions Before Coronavirus. Now They Want a Bailout."

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"Why Politicians Focus on Trivia in the Midst of Disaster"

From Mike Munger at Duke, a small bit of genius.

Why would a sensible, conservative Senator—every time I see him, he tells me, “I’m really a libertarian!”—ignore both basic economics and the 10th Amendment reserving police power to the states? 

Because the problem of scarcity is hard to solve, and hard even to explain. High prices are easily visible, and the state has guys with guns. Send the guys with guns after the people trying to sell stuff that others need and want to buy.


"Nobel-Prize Winning Economist Dr. James Heckman on Social Mobility, the American Dream, and how COVID-19 Could Affect Inequality"

Professor Heckman has no patience for your anti-American griping.

Gonzalo Schwarz: Many commentators have said that it is not possible to achieve the American Dream any more in the United States. Do you think the American Dream is alive and well?

Dr. James Heckman: Ask any immigrant. They are grateful for the chances that America has given them. Many came with nothing. They live in decent neighborhoods and their families have better lives than they could have before coming here. Their children go to college and integrate into American society. The progress of African Americans over the past century is staggering. Many have shaken off the legacies of poverty and discrimination. Those who deny that the American Dream is achievable ignore the myriad success stories and the mindset for personal growth that America offers.

Includes a brutal smack at Chetty's "zip code is destiny" research.


"Urbanization and its Discontents"

Paper by noted Harvard economist Edward L. Glaeser:

American cities have experienced a remarkable renaissance over the past 40 years, but in recent years, cities have experienced considerable discontent. Anger about high housing prices and gentrification has led to protests. The urban wage premium appears to have disappeared for less skilled workers. The cities of the developing world are growing particularly rapidly, but in those places, the downsides of density are acute. In this essay, I review the causes of urban discontent and present a unified explanation for this unhappiness. Urban resurgence represents private sector success, and the public sector typically only catches up to urban change with a considerable lag. Moreover, as urban machines have been replaced by governments that are more accountable to empowered residents, urban governments do more to protect insiders and less to enable growth. The power of insiders can be seen in the regulatory limits on new construction and new businesses, the slow pace of school reform and the unwillingness to embrace congestion pricing.

Italics added by me. The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes yet again.