Don’t fight the Krugman

Tim Duy said something fake-egalitarian and regrettable and Krugman took him to pieces. I don’t like liberal on liberal violence, but yeah.

Krugman’s piece is nice and short so I won’t bother summarizing it, beyond saying that Krugman insists that not all facts need to be political. Some facts are just facts and worth knowing in their own right. Not that Krugman has a monopoly on the facts. But he seems to near monopoly on believing they are important. Dark times indeed, when Tim Duy is teamed up with Yalie-wannabe Tucker Carlson to fake protect “the people” from meanie liberals by playing make pretend. (Incidentally that guy at BI seems really obsessed with Tucker Carlson.)

I want to make a short comment on elitism and egalitarianism. One of the really dumb ideas circulating after the election is the the liberals were too elitist and talked down to the low-achieving white racists in the rust belt. On this view, the GOP are more “respectful of the voters”, by telling them lies.

I think what the liberals mean to say is that they need to improve their messaging at election time. Getting behind and loudly touting policies that would actually help the less well off would probably be part of that. If beyond that, you need to cut some corners on the truth to get the message out, then I won’t complain — especially given what the other side is doing. But taking leave of reality by promising to bring back “manufacturing jobs” simply because they are a sentimental symbol of something else is NOT being respectful. It is just more highly skilled condescension.

As for elitism, the less well off matter as much as you or me or our financial overlords. But the US government leadership needs to be an elite. The world is complicated and dangerous and we need people with far above average ability in managing the governmental side of it doing government.

How the hell did that become controversial?


Kermit the fraud will lengthen maturity

Apparently, the new Treasury Secretary — who under no circumstances will give the upper end a tax cut — plans to deal with the rising federal debt by lengthening maturity. That way he locks in these low rates! On behalf of the people who will by definition be taking the other side.

Based on history, I am not sure what the optimal maturity of the federal debt is other than SOMETHING ELSE. QE was effectively just the Fed shortening the maturity on behalf of Treasury. And that was good, obviously.  And now we can lengthen maturity. And that will be good, obviously.

The beauty of lengthening maturity is that any capital losses imposed by rising interest rates will be imposed on the private sector. For some reason, that is meant to be good.

Folks might want to start with this.

 Uh-oh, liberal macroeconomist has feewings hurt

Simon  Wren-Lewis is all upset because Wolfgang Munchau slagged economists for getting the effects of Brexit wrong, which — to generalize — they certainly did. SWL defends himself and his profession, which seems totally fair. But then he moves onto the “offensive”, attacking journalists for being a bunch of weenies (which they are, to generalize) and for not checking with academics before writing up their stories.Does he mean academics like this or this?

In any case, it was not until  a journalist personally affronted SWL that he decided to point out that journalism has been a massive failure in the past couple years. Good to see he has his priorities straight. It is all about himself.

Citi economic surprise index

Yesterday, I lost it and published some rambling snark on this stupid thing.


That “breakout” set the top in the equity market through the election. The Citi economic surprise index is one of the dumbest bits of pseudo-quantitative misdirection going. But I need to document that, not just rant about it.  I now have data coming and so will have something a bit more serious later.

PS: For some reason, WordPress can’t handle some images and blacks out the lower half of them. In this case, I am going to leave well enough alone. I think the WHOLE chart should be blacked out.