Sunday, April 8, 2012

For Once, I Agree With Newt Gingrich

Via Crooks and Liars, here is a direct quote from Newt Gingrich:

"We're not an Etch a Sketch party. It was an unfortunate comment by Romney's communication director. We are a broadly conservative party. We don't have to be severely conservative as Romney said at CPAC."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Too Poor To File For Bankruptcy

From Jialan Wang, Professor of Finance:

Household bankruptcies in America increased steeply between 1980 and the mid-2000s, reaching an annual rate of 1.6 million filings in 2004 – representing 1.4% of all US households. In response to this trend, and because of substantial lobbying by the consumer credit industry, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in 2005. The law was intended to prevent ‘abuse’ of the system by wealthy debtors by imposing a means test, mandatory credit counselling, and other new requirements on bankruptcy filers. These changes increased the costs of filing by 60%, from $921 to $1,477 (GAO 2008).

Friday, April 6, 2012

Rational Monetary Policy Versus Let's Give The Fed Chairman Some "Texas Justice" And Let's Back Money With Oversized Texas Belt Buckles

Paul Krugman writes:
But why are the attacks on Mr. Bernanke so destructive? After all, nobody in America is or should be immune from criticism, least of all those — like the chairman of the Fed — who, by the nature of their positions, have immense power to make our lives better or worse. And while there is an unmistakable thuggishness to the campaign against the Fed, most famously Rick Perry’s warning that the Fed chairman would be treated “pretty ugly” if he visited Texas, surely the bad manners of the critics aren’t the most important issue.

From Matthew Yglesias: Nontaxpayers Mostly Elderly

Over at Salon, Matt Yglesias writes:
The main bloc of people who don't pay income or payroll taxes are elderly people. Old people tend not to work, and many old people don't have much in the way of investment income either. But it's not like they're freeloading, they're just people who paid taxes in the past when they were working.

Yes, It's True That Much Of The Republican Party Wants To Return To The Nineteenth Century

Over at Crooks and Liars, Mike Lux writes: 
I wrote a book that came out in early 2009 called, “The Progressive Revolution: How The Best In America Came To Be,” that talked about the history of the American political debate. One of my fundamental arguments was that conservatives are using the same arguments against modern day progress that their ideological ancestors used against the progress we made throughout history. What I underestimated, though, is how fiercely and broadly the modern conservative movement is trying not only to block advances in progress, but to actually roll back the gains of our history. Things that had seemed long settled only a few years back when I wrote that book are now being fought over anew, and not by trivial people on the fringes of our politics but by most of the leaders in the Republican Party.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Debt, Greece Hysteria

As most people probably know, Greece has faced enormous difficulties with its debt. Conservatives have been pushing Greek debt hysteria in order to push their supply side Kool-Aid. However, there is no reason to think that the United States will become like Greece any time soon. Interest rates on United States' bonds are still low, meaning investors are still willing to buy them. Also, unlike Greece, the United States still controls its own currency. Finally, while the political system in the United States is far from perfect, it is no where near as bad as Greece's dysfunctional political system, which contributes to investor fear that Greece will not be able to pay off its debts.

No Health Care Is Not Broccoli

Henry J. Aaron explains the bad economic reasoning of the Supreme Court's conservative justices. Here is a small snippet:

Dumb Things People Say: Nikki Haley Edition

On the View, Nikki Haley said that women don't care about contraception. Really? That is news to me. I could see some Republican man making that sort of claim. It would be the sort of thing that would come out of Rushbo's mouth. But, seriously, Nikki Haley is a woman. And unlike Rushbo, Haley did manage to graduate from college. I could be wrong, but I don't think Haley is dumb.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stuff About Wage Rigidity

I assume most of you are familiar with the concept of wage and price stickiness. If you are, then stop reading now and just click here to Paul Krugman. If not, then read on.

On Low Wage Jobs

There is an interesting paper on low wage jobs, written by John Schmitt at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.  Schmitt writes:

Yes, The Republican Party's Preferred Approach Is A Disaster

Matt O'Brien writes:
Euro zone unemployment just hit a 15-year high. German unemployment just hit a 15-year low. What can those of us across the Atlantic glean from this seemingly bipolar state of affairs? That austerity, every economic conservative's favorite prescription for an ailing economy -- the medicine Republicans here in the United States are pushing hard -- is an utter disaster.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gene Simmons: Great Musician,But As An Economic Historian, Not So Much

Let me say that I think that Gene Simmons is great musician and showman. I grew up listening to Kiss. I still have several of their albums lying around. So, it pains me a little to rag on Gene. But, I feel I must, for he has repeated an old right wing cliche about economic matters.

Republicans, And Mitt Romney In Particular, Talk A Lot Of Smack About The Economy

I think there is a growing consensus that European austerity has been a disaster. The confidence fairy was supposed to appear in Europe as a result of severe budget cutting. But, apparently, the confidence fairy decided that she had better things to do than to fix Europe's economic troubles, and, therefore, she ended up being a no show. So things have been pretty rough in Europe.

Ann Coulter Wrong On "Stand Your Ground" Law

Ann Coulter says that the "Stand Your Ground" law is not implicated in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Me thinks, Ann is full of it here. Of course, anybody that has wasted their money on one of Ann's books, and I don't recommend that you do, knows that Ann is full of it often.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bat Shit Crazy Things Pat Robertson Says: March 2012 Edition

The Phoney Baloney Selective Libertarianism Of Conservative Supreme Court Justices: 4th Amendment Edition

After hearing the comments made by the Supreme Court's conservative justices, during the recent ACA litigation, one gets the impression that they must think that the individual mandate is The Road To Serfdom. Of course, countries such as Switzerland have an individual mandate,but they are hardly socialist utopias. 

The Ayn Rand Health Insurance Plan

Over at Angry Bear, Michael Halasy, writes about Paul Ryan's health insurance plan. Here is part of his post:
Now, along comes Congressman Ryan, despite being rebuffed last year for the “Roadmap”, he has come along with a v 2.0. Unfortunately, he is making headway. I won’t comment on the other aspects of the new and improved Roadmap, but it seems to be just as much of a disaster as the previous one. The House has already passed it of course, and Romney, aka etch a sketch, has enthusiastically received the Congressman’s endorsement and has endorsed Ryan’s plan as well.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The 24 Types of Libertarian


Name That Justice

Let's play a game. We'll call the game "Name That Justice". Here is how the game works. I will show you something written by a Supreme Court justice. Then you will try to guess which Supreme Court justice wrote it.

Voice Crying For Help On 911 Call, Not Zimmerman's, Say Experts

From the Orlando Sentinel:

As the Trayvon Martin controversy splinters into a debate about self-defense, a central question remains: Who was heard crying for help on a 911 call in the moments before the teen was shot? 

Privatizing Infrastructure: Libertarian Paradise or Libertarian Nightmare?

Ezra Klein has posted an article about the privatization of infrastructure. It is a good read. Here is the link.

Did Hell Just Freeze Over?

Did hell just freeze over? Or is The Junk Yard Dog in a delusional state? Because a Republican Attorney General said that he would prefer government run health insurance over the individual mandate. The Attorney General of Louisiana, Buddy Caldwell, said, "Insurance companies are the absolute worst people to handle this kind of business."