Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wrong tax provision!!!

I don't know why this conservative news outlet-spread misinformation is being allowed to grow like this. The National Journal and other basic-research capable news outlets have all been able to find out this simple fact- the stimulus tax provision, which applied to millions of corporations across countless goods, is different from the tax break actually being discussed.

Markay making a mark

Colbert Super Pac...Success or Failure?

I just have a feeling that this is going to create A LOT of problems down the line....I want to a see a Glenn Beck Super Pac. By comparision, I have a feeling GB can generate a lot more money than careful what you wish for Stephen, Stephen, Stephen!

Grudging respect for Bachmann in The New Yorker

Dares to mention njDylan's hot factor.

Disappointing presser?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Where did Al Gore go wrong?

Bachmann as republican mother

Michele doesn't know about John Wayne, Obama doesn't know about his own daughter

Is she even his? Was she born in this country? I want to see her birth certificate!!!

Sixth Circuit says ACA Constitutional ... most likely ... for now

Or something like that. Another name for "legal-speak" is "double-speak" in my book.

I've read most of the decision- particularly Judge Sutton's contribution. First of all, I must say he is an excellent writer- especially for a judge! Not as folksy (or whatever you want to call it) as some (i.e. Scalia), but very clear and orderly. Second, many of you may recognize his name. After all, he was an AHI invited-speaker for the inaugural David Aldrich Nelson Lecture (Constitution Day). So there's a Hamilton connection (in that he spoke in the chapel. After all, the AHI is independent of Hamilton College, as we all know). Too bad he isn't an alumni- then Hamilton could claim credit for his writing skills.

He's also the first judge appointed by a Republican president to uphold the health care law. He hardly provides a stirring defense- just questions whether it truly is unconstitutional, or at least based on the current case presented.

This decision is the first from the three federal appeals courts expected to rule on the health care law this summer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


And so it begins.

Besides continuing my trend of using O'Jays song titles for blog posts (remember Money, Money, Money, Money?), I just couldn't help but wonder how much of this we'll see? She is notorious for her high-rate of staff turnover.

Particularly now that Michele is starting to look strong enough to capture the nomination, let alone strong enough to force Romney to name her as his VP running mate. I'm sure establishment figures will also come up with other inventive ways to attack her without alienating the Tea Party.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Serial Killer. Conservative Icon. Same person, right?

Don't worry- I'm not just picking on poor Michele. If Obama made a gaffe this hilarious, I'd post it. Don't these campaigns have staffers doing fact-checks? There's a big difference between Marion Morrison and the Killer Clown. Shouldn't Michele, who cried as a girl when her parents took her away from Iowa (allegedly), know this? Maybe Sarah could loan Bristol Palin and her Google search skills to the Bachmann campaign. It seems like they could use them.

Monday, June 20, 2011

SCOTUS sides with Wal-Mart

I cannot say I am surprised by this ruling. The idea that millions of different women working under very different circumstances in different areas could come together in a class action lawsuit is fairly farfetched. With that said, this ruling does not mean that women who feel that they were victims of discrimination cannot still sue Wal-Mart. As this article points out, Wal-Mart may end up paying for this decision in the form of thousands of seperate trials. Regardless I think this approach is much more just because each women's case will be handled and view seperately.

Must read for njDylan and PBM

Medicine by bureaucrats

Must read for PL

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The moral case for no new entitlements

People feel entitled...

IPCC loses even more credibility

This is why people are skeptical! Imagine if the U.S. government made claims that fossil fuels will be the energy of the future based on a paper written by an oil company lobbyist without publishing the author's name. Oh, and the earth may be headed towards a mini ice age. I say another Nobel Peace Prize is in order.

Would Blackface go over better?

I actually find all of Reggie Brown's quoted jokes here quite funny and perfectly acceptable. This is comedy people- learn to take a joke. If you're going to be ballsy enough to invite a Presidential impersonator to an official Party event to make jokes about the President (btw, where's the patriotism and respect for American institutions?), then grow a pair and accept perfectly harmless jokes about your own Party's candidates. If you can't take it, then you shouldn't be willing to have other people dish it out for you. Plus, you end up looking even worse on the racial elements involved.

GOP Candidates: Watch this video!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

On-line ad freedom

Marc Elias pleads Facebook's case for regulatory sanity.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Women and Children first

And as libertarian economist Alex Tabarrok noted:

"Perhaps the most outrageous provision was one the good guys won:

Critics of farm subsidies did score one victory: The House voted to block a $147 million annual payment to Brazil’s cotton industry. The United States agreed to make that payment last year after Brazil’s industry complained to the World Trade Organization that Washington unfairly was subsidizing U.S. cotton farmers. The United States lost the WTO case and agreed to make the payments to Brazil as a settlement.

So not only have we been subsidizing cotton farmers but we have been paying Brazil to allow us to keep subsidizing cotton farmers. Incredible."

Stay off the roads!

The Senate Does Something Worthwhile!

With bipartisan support! Grover Norquist is unhappy, but that just sucks for him. This is a huge step for bipartisanship, deficit reduction and commonsense. Hopefully the House will vote to cut ethanol subsidies as well. Just glad things are actually getting done. I wish the libertarian wing of the GOP and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party could get along and do things like this more often.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

People not paying *taxes*!!!!

So it's wrong for poor people to not pay *taxes* (for anti-poverty reasons supported by the theoretical work of people like Milton Friedman, or decade's worth of empirical research showing it helps people escape poverty by increasing work propensity among the most dreaded of social pariah groups-single mothers!), but it's okay for millionaires to not pay *taxes*? I'm confused.

*P.S. I'm purposefully saying "taxes"- even though the correct term would be federal income taxes. It's a little joke for me. You see, like the dozens of Republican legislators and policy "experts" (from groups like Cato and the Tax Foundation) that I have spent hours watching at Congressional hearings attacking the refundable tax credits like the EITC, it appears that today- for some reason- I'm having trouble keeping track of what people actually pay in taxes, correct terminology, etc. Whoops?

Could you imagine what tax policies would look like from a combined "Minnesota nice" ticket of Pawlenty and Bachmann? After all, look at what "moderate" Tim Pawlenty has proposed in tax cuts:

Yes. You read that right (in the first table). That's over $11.6 trillion in tax cuts from current law. Deficit, schmeficit.

And the distributional effects?

In 2013 the Pawlenty plan would give people in the top one-tenth of 1 percent on the income scale (i.e., people with incomes above $2.7 million) an average annual tax cut of $1.8 million — which is more than four times what they got last year from the Bush tax cuts.

As E.J. Dionne wrote this morning in the Washington Post- doesn't the GOP field almost make you miss George W. Bush? And as Dionne also pointed out, Bachmann is only now looking like a moderate because the entire Republican party has shifted so radically in the last three years. That may be scary, but it doesn't make Michele look any less crazy.

Freedom index

Another comparison

Make up your minds. Is it FDR, JFK, Reagan, Carter, Hoover, or Wilson?

In defense of John Edwards

He's a creep, not a criminal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Votes that Pushed Us Into the Red

Revolving door is getting more crowded

Did I hear T-Paw Correctly?

During the first Republican Presidential debate, which for the most part did not reveal a whole about any of the Candidates, two things struck me. Number one, Bachmann impressed (which I certainly did not expect) and her polls numbers went up as a result. More importantly though, I learned that T-Paw is an idiot. His assertion that the U.S. is a "special" nation seemed okay, except that by it he meant that the U.S. should adopt an arrogant view of the world to mirror that "specialness." But this assertion paled in comparison to his next statement. Ol' T-Paw then told the American people that "If Brazil can have 5 percent growth, if China can have 5 percent growth, then America can have 5 percent growth." ...Right. The stunning idiocy of this statement needs to be acknowledged. Later on, overlooking his general demeanor and cowardly refusal to go after Romney's healthcare bill, which he had earlier dubbed "Obamney care," his assertion that Politicians had essentially caused the housing price bubble forced me to continue to watch the debate like it was some sort of fatal car wreck. I do not think I am being overly harsh here. The lunacy of T-Paw knows no bounds, and I hope his (mis)statements about the Economy will be dissected just as much as Romney's "flip-flopping" or Bachmann's strong performance.


Time for hard truths?

The truth? You can't handle the truth.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Palin Derangement Syndrome.

Horror of horrors: AmeriCare!

The greatest pundit prognosticator!

Jumping the shark?


Pretense of knowledge syndrome in economics.

Disturbing news

In Asia, population of women is 160,000,000 lower than naturally expected.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

John Marshall's ruling on PPACA

More red meat for PL

Conservative obstinacy is driving me towards this conclusion...

Something I've always resisted, since I hoped an American, really mixed-model could be found that would successfully control costs, expand coverage, and maintain quality. Unfortunately, conservatives have moved so far to the right (or more accurately economic crazy-land, since many Republicans just 20 years ago would have laughed at the current nonsensical right-wing thinking), that they clearly have no interest in improving the most viable mixed-market model incorporating most of the best health care policy thinking of the last several decades- i.e. PPACA. If a mixed-model like PPACA being implemented is so risky (in that it's never been successfully done comparatively), and Republicans aren't going to support it no matter what, then I question whether it makes sense for Democrats to continue to try this approach if it doesn't pretty quickly show promise. I know politically it seems unlikely to be possible, but from an analytic standpoint, it's quite clear that if the U.S. wants to control costs (and luckily also expand coverage and maintain quality), then the U.S. should dramatically expand the government's role in health care. Either dramatically increase the sector's regulations to something like Switzerland, Germany, France, etc. levels, or just nationalize it like the British system (I'm not necessarily a fan of the single-payer, or weaker public option, model like Canada- just because I think the other alternatives are better in the long-run. If we're doing big government, let's do it the best way possible).

It's been years since the health care reform debate really heated up, and so far Republicans and conservatives have mostly stuck to the few ideas Obama and Democrats didn't include in PPACA- things like HSAs (an appropriate decision here, since they have numerous flaws and in many ways worsen conditions in the health care sector) and tort law reform (which the most generous analyses find you'd be lucky to get a one-time 1% decline in overall health care costs, even including savings from reduced defensive medicine). The only new thing (for Republicans, since it was always a wonky liberal policy idea) discovered is the premium support model, which is largely a cost-shifting proposal with limited cost-saving potential at the level Ryan proposes. Hence leftish-wonks favoring much higher growth rates than Ryan proposes in the premium support annual updates, because sensible policymakers don't suggest placing the burden of sky-high health care costs and deficit reduction on the elderly. For successful implementation, the premium support model also requires significant market reforms and regulations that Republicans now frequently resist (likely because Obama had the audacity to include them in his PPACA reforms). Anyways, this health care debate is getting old, Republican ideas are getting stale, and the inability of private solutions to solve the health sector's problems (due to obvious free market assumption violations for health care) is becoming increasingly clear. PPACA is the law-of-the-land, and if you want a strong private role in American health care, than you should actively be working to improve PPACA by strengthening it- not repealing, replacing, or weakening it. If it doesn't work, then people should get out of the way, because the American public will force the government to step in to take on a European-level role in health care. Especially once they wake up and realize that other countries have had cheaper yet superior health care systems for almost a century (by the time this kind of reform is likely). The American people simply won't accept a deteriorating health care market forever. People prematurely dying in large numbers from a lack of health insurance tends to focus the public.

More brilliant Republican economic thinking

Let's hope this is the floor...

and not the ceiling for Republican economic thinking over the next year or two. First of all, Bartlett is correct that getting to 5% GDP growth sustainably (for a decade like Pawlenty proposes) is absolutely ridiculous. Second of all, tax-cutting ad naseum is not going to get you that growth- even if you combine it with massive deregulation and fiscal austerity to get spending to the 18% of GDP level that Pawlenty has supported. Sensible conservative economists understand that taxes have modest effects on long-term economic growth. They push lower marginal rates and other specific tax policies to minimize even that modest-level. They don't run around claiming you could get to the GDP growth levels Pawlenty proposes, let alone that any government action could cause it! Does Pawlenty have any understanding of economics and how economic growth is heavily related to productivity increases, and what ridiculous causal pathways would be needed to explain how cutting taxes so much like Pawlenty proposes- particularly the specific tax cuts he favors- would get you such growth? Who is his campaign's economic adviser? Kevin Williamson from the National Review makes similar points here and here in response to this weird meme spreading among conservatives that the solution is magical unicorn economic growth. This makes Reagan's Rosy scenario and Ryan's Heritage estimates look modest in comparison. I'll also point out that his specific tax cuts would also exacerbate the economic changes that have resulted in economic stagnation for about 90% of all Americans for the last few decades, since they are so heavily focused on capital income. This is an economic, and political messaging, problem for Republicans suffering from weak economic thinking that ignores the American middle class. Ramesh Ponnuru (also of National Review fame) captures this problem here. Reagan may have been an economic simpleton (to his credit, most politicians also are fools), but he was politically savvy enough to know the Republican Party couldn't succeed by focusing solely on the richest 1% and ignoring the American middle class. Reagan was smart enough to know that Americans don't trust trickle-down economics, and nor should they after the past decade's experiences. In addition, let's note that Pawlenty's preferred spending levels could only be reached by something like the Republican Study Committee budget (even more extreme than Paul Ryan's), which specifically proposes $9 trillion in total spending cuts, cuts nondefense discretionary spending by 70%, and cuts non-ACA Medicaid, SSI, and SNAP by 50% or more (all levels from what they would be otherwise over the next decade). Even if Pawlenty could somehow get spending levels that House Republicans wouldn't pass, his phenomenally low revenue levels would result in sizable deficits that would eat away many of the gains of his fantasy-land economic growth. Yes we need strong (plausible) economic growth, but we also need small deficits- which by definition means getting revenues and spending close to one another. If you can't get to Ryan's spending levels, let alone the Republican Study Committee's, then you can't have Pawlenty's tax policies (and you can't have Ryan's either- which are looking more fantastical as time passes). Oh, and the spending cuts Pawlenty's words indicate he would support- and what it would take to get to them- would almost certainly cause a double-dip recession if started anytime soon. Also, achieving the growth Pawlenty wants would almost certainly require far looser monetary policy than he or any other prominent Republican would support. I know Pawlenty wants to win the primary, which means throwing red-meat to the foolish base, but does he have any sense of shame? After this and other ridiculous things Pawlenty has said (dog-whistling to the Tea Party about moving back to the gold-standard for instance), I can no longer consider him a moderate or an acceptable potential Republican President. And he's this crazy now and Bachmann hasn't even gotten into the race yet!!! Right now the only Republicans with any shred of sanity appear to be Romney and Huntsman- though who knows what they'll say now. (Oh, and did anyone notice how he never mentioned Medicare. We'll see if talking tax cuts out the wazoo will get Pawlenty a pass on his not-so-subtle backing away from Ryan's proposal to privatize Medicare)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

If you like your health insurance.......

there's a good chance your employer will dump you in to obamacare.

Become a Beltway outsider

We met with Mike Dubke in February.

Big news about Lachlan

Look for his new bi-line.