Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman — Economic growth in the US: A tale of two countries

The rise of economic inequality is one of today’s most hotly debated issues. But a disconnect between the different data sets used to measure and understand inequality makes it hard to address important economic and policy questions. In this column, the authors highlight the findings from their attempt to create inequality statistics for the US that overcome the limitations of existing data by creating distributional national accounts.
Vox.eu
Economic growth in the US: A tale of two countries
Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman

James Woolsey and Vincent Pry — How North Korea could kill 90 percent of Americans


Hmmm. Sounds like the US is gearing up for something.

As an aside, it is rather ironic that a person named "Pry" served with the CIA.

The Hill
How North Korea could kill 90 percent of Americans
R. James Woolsey and Vincent Pry, Opinion Contributors
Ambassador R. James Woolsey was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1993-95. Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is chief of staff of the Congressional EMP Commission, served in the House Armed Services Committee and the CIA.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bill Mitchell — Front National – seems confused on its monetary proposals

Please do not interpret in what follows any hint of support for FN from this blog other than as a ‘cat among the pigeons’ force in European politics, anything that upsets the right-wing, neo-liberal, corporatist elites that run the show is to be welcome.…
FN’s policy proposals are outlined in its – 144 Engagements Présidentiels (144-point manifesto).
The opening statements talk about regaining France’s freedom and mastery over their own destiny (“Retrouver notre liberté et la maîtrise de notre destin en restituant au peuple français” and defines sovereignty in terms of “monétaire, législative, territoriale, économique”, which would suggest a return to its own currency.
Critics seem to characterise those who advocate a return to national currency sovereignty as ‘small vision’ as opposed to the European Union which is claimed to be ‘big’.  It is big on corporatism and anti-democratic bullying and certainly big on the unemployment it has created.
My view is that a return to national currency sovereignty, that is exiting the Eurozone and floating one’s currency is a grand vision for full employment and reduced inequality.
Of course, the neo-liberals can take control of a nation that is sovereign in its own currency (as in Australia or the UK at present) and use the capacity that currency independence brings to bad effect.
But a truly progressive government cannot really exist in the Eurozone or in a nation that pegs its currency or accepts legal dictates from an undemocratic bloc (such as the EU)....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Front National – seems confused on its monetary proposals
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Miami Herald — Were the hackers who broke into the DNC’s email really Russian?


Is the narrative breaking down owing to lack of evidence?

Miami Herald
Were the hackers who broke into the DNC’s email really Russian?
Glenn Garvin

Ramanan — Article 50 To Be Triggered. Nicky Kaldor Would Have Been Happy


Kaldor quote.

The Case for Concerted Action
Article 50 To Be Triggered. Nicky Kaldor Would Have Been Happy
V. Ramanan

Ray McGovern — The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate

Although many details are still hazy because of secrecy – and further befogged by politics – it appears House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was informed last week about invasive electronic surveillance of senior U.S. government officials and, in turn, passed that information onto President Trump.

This news presents Trump with an unwelcome but unavoidable choice: confront those who have kept him in the dark about such rogue activities or live fearfully in their shadow. (The latter was the path chosen by President Obama. Will Trump choose the road less traveled?)
What President Trump decides will largely determine the freedom of action he enjoys as president on many key security and other issues. But even more so, his choice may decide whether there is a future for this constitutional republic. Either he can acquiesce to or fight against a Deep State of intelligence officials who have a myriad of ways to spy on politicians (and other citizens) and thus amass derogatory material that can be easily transformed into blackmail.…
Consortium News
The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate
Ray McGovern, CIA analyst for 27 years and in charge of one-on-one briefings of the President’s Daily Brief under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985, and Bill Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA, and co-founder of NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center.

Sputnik — Cheney Seeks to Manipulate Trump 'Splashing Gasoline' Into Election 'Scandal'


Pavel Svyatenkov gets it right.
Political scientist Pavel Svyatenkov told Radio Sputnik that the US politician wants to "splash gasoline" in the election scandal to manipulate Donald Trump.

Svyatenkov recalled that Dick Cheney previously worked in the administrations of Republican presidents George Bush Sr. and George W. Bush.
"This is when a part of the Republican elite that is associated with the Bush group — both the elder and the younger — comes into the game," the expert said.
According to the expert, Cheney played an important role in the Bush administration — he held the post of defense minister and vice president and many believed him to be an extremely influential "shadow ruler" of America.
"Therefore, the fact that now Cheney makes such statements means that there is an attempt to pour gasoline into the scandal, and a serious split among the Republican elite,"Svyatenkov noted....
"Shadow ruler." I like it.

Asher Schechter — Richard Posner: “The Real Corruption is the Ownership of Congress by the Rich”


Judge Posner has some harsh words for the contemporary American political and judicial systems.

ProMarket — The blog of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Richard Posner: “The Real Corruption is the Ownership of Congress by the Rich”
Asher Schechter

Edward Harrison — Subprime auto delinquency rate at highest level since financial crisis

Why it matters: The big three areas of credit expansion this cycle – energy, auto and student loans – are not of the magnitude of the housing sector in the last cycle. Not only is the mortgage sector bigger, it was international in scope, adding significantly to systemic risk by undermining the balance sheets of European banks as well as American ones.
Nevertheless, increased delinquencies in the auto sector will spell trouble given the high LTVs of loans and lower credit scores of borrowers. And I am troubled by the OCC’s depiction of the commercial real estate sector; we could see heavy loan losses there in the next downturn.
 On autos, High LTVs mean lower recovery values for a depreciating asset. And this will be compounded by falling prices given the glut of production, now buoyed by subprime auto financing. And this will have a negative impact on the auto sector and the US economy. The question on a pullback in auto loans is timing; it’s not if, it is when and how hard — and how much this will impact bank balance sheets and the economy.
Credit Writedowns
Subprime auto delinquency rate at highest level since financial crisis
Edward Harrison

Ramanan — Robots, Globalization, Unemployment, Etc

Economists have played down the notion of technological unemployment. If production is constant and productivity rises, there’s a fall in employment because less labour is required to produce the same output. So output has to rise to keep employment from falling because of “automation”. In Post-Keynesian economics, the principle of effective demand matters both in the short run and the long run. So technological unemployment is a real possibility. New Consensus economists concede that John Maynard Keynes rules in the short run but assume that Jean-Baptiste Say rules in the long run. The irony hence is that New Consensus economists seem to show worry about automation these days.
In my opinion, this is because the sacred tenet of free trade must be defended by economists at all costs. So they make a concession about loss of employment to robots. Unfortunately that’s not right either. Globalization—both because of competition by international producers and offshoring of jobs via global supply chains—has led to the loss of livelihood for many in the Western world....
Tradeoffs.

Automation and robotization increase productivity, reducing the need for labor, which reduces worker incomes in developed countries. Globalization increases the available work force in open economies, increasing competition among workers in the global labor pool and reducing worker incomes in developed countries. Reduction in worker incomes undeveloped countries reduces effective demand, leading to excess capacity and potential oversupply, unless lagging demand is addressed by government fiscal policy.

Both globalization, which benefits emerging world workers, and automation and robotics, which increases productivity across the board, should be welcomed as an emergent opportunity and addressed simultaneously as an emergent challenge. Government that are currency sovereigns have tool for this, and global economy policy aimed at win-win can be achieved through concerted action rather than harmful competition and a beggar-thy-neighbor approach.

The developing world can be lifted up without necessarily dragging down the developed world.

The Case for Concerted Action
Robots, Globalization, Unemployment, Etc
V. Ramanan

Warren Mosler — Border tax comments, Redbook retail sales, International trade, Consumer confidence


Warren presents a simple model of international trade and taxation to illustrate Trumponomics.

The Center of the Universe
Border tax comments, Redbook retail sales, International trade, Consumer confidence
Warren Mosler

Chris Dillow — Keynes' flaws

Michael Roberts reminds us of something important – that Keynesian economics has severe shortcomings. I agree.
For me, the problem with Keynes was what he didn’t say. He was largely silent about three related issues: class, power and profits, or least he dismissed them lightly:
the problem of want and poverty and the economic struggle between classes and nations, is nothing but a frightful muddle, a transitory and an unnecessary muddle. (Preface to Essays in Persuasion)
It’s no accident that it should have been so easy to find a Keynesian-neoclassical synthesis, as both schools of thought ignored these matters.
This omission, however, has had several baleful effects....
Stumbling and Mumbling
Keynes' flaws
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

John Ross — The economic logic behind Trump's foreign policy - why the key countries are Germany and China

This article was published in Chinese before the recent summit between Chancellor Merkel and President Trump - which strongly confirmed its analysis.
The first steps by Trump as US President confirmed that he will pursue an anti-China policy but also that he will use different tactics to Obama and Clinton. Simultaneously Trump has launched a serious conflict with Germany, supporting countries leaving the EU and demanding European states rapidly increase their military spending – policies rejected by Merkel at the recent Munich Security Conference. What, therefore, is the internal logic uniting such apparently different actions as:
Maybe Trump is playing 4-D chess? Is Trump just taking a different approach to US dominance rather than flailing about wildly as it appears to many?

Socialist Economic Bulletin
John Ross

Bill Mitchell — Why are CEOs now supporting basic income guarantees?


Must read on the basic income guarantee and why it sucks.
Recall that Marx wrote in his 1844 work A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. that “Die Religion ist der Seufzer der bedrängten Kreatur, das Gemüth einer herzlosen Welt, wie sie der Geist geistloser Zustände ist. Sie ist das Opium des Volks” (Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people).
Religion was a major vehicle for social control used by capital to divert attention away from what they were up to – suppressing wages and worker autonomy and advancing their own interests.
Think about the role the Roman Catholic church played in Latin America as stark examples of the more subtle processes that operate in more advanced nations.
As the hold of religion lessened over time, capital found mass consumption as the next effective way to sustain a docile, compliant working class.
Please read my blog – The mass consumption era and the rise of neo-liberalism – for more discussion on this point.
But that meant allowing the standard of living of workers to increase through real wages growth in line with productivity growth and a more equitable distribution of national income.
As neo-liberalism has become more refined (not in quality but in its ability to attack the living standards of workers), the mass consumption strategy has become more involved.
Capital worked out that it could suppress real wages through labour market deregulation, take the gap generated by productivity growth for itself (redistribute national income in favour of profits), and then maintain mass consumption by pushing massive debt onto households, via the relaxing of credit standards and the corruption of banking, allowed for by the simultaneous deregulation of the financial markets.
Neat.
Major lobbying was expended to make this seemingly perfect solution operational.
Except greed got in the way and the GFC came along because the debt that was being pushed onto households was no longer subject to satisfactory prudential standards and the NINJAs finally couldn’t pay.
At that point, a new form of social control was needed to cope with the mass unemployment that has been created around the world.
Enter the next ‘you-beaut-plan’ – the CEO-advocated BIG.
And the progressives who are pushing for the BIG don’t know what day it is!
So our conception of humanity is of a bare minimum consumption unit – where society only has a responsibility to provide a small capacity to ensure this consumption is enabled.
End of story. We keep people in their boxes with just enough food and other things to keep them alive – just so they don’t rebel and challenge the capacity of the top-end-of-town to go on their merry way pillaging national resources and generated income.
Social control – BIG time.
If they want a better material existence then they can do a bit of work! But haven’t the robots taken all the jobs?...
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Why are CEOs now supporting basic income guarantees?
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Monday, March 27, 2017

James Hamilton — How the Federal Reserve controls interest rates


Good short summary of how central banks manage interest rates within a corridor with a floor rate and a ceiling rate. Hamilton compares and contrasts ECB and Fed operations.

Econobrowser
How the Federal Reserve controls interest rates
James Hamilton | Professor of Economics, UCSD

Matthew Rozsa — He’s a Keynesian now: Donald Trump tells New York Times he wants to “prime the pump”

“We’re also going to prime the pump,” President Trump told Robert Draper of The New York Times Magazine. “You know what I mean by ‘prime the pump’? In order to get this [the economy] going, and going big league, and having the jobs coming in and the taxes that will be cut very substantially and the regulations that’ll be going, we’re going to have to prime the pump to some extent. In other words: Spend money to make a lot more money in the future. And that’ll happen.”
Pulling a Nixon.

Salon
He’s a Keynesian now: Donald Trump tells New York Times he wants to “prime the pump”
Matthew Rozsa

Voice of America — Cyber Firm Rewrites Part of Disputed Russian Hacking Report

Voice of America
Cyber Firm Rewrites Part of Disputed Russian Hacking Report
Oleksiy Kuzmenko and Pete Cobus – WASHINGTON, March 25, 2017

U.S. #cybersecurity firm #CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of #Russian #hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign. The shift followed a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank.
In December, CrowdStrike said it found evidence that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, contributing to heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with pro-Russian separatists.
VOA reported Tuesday that the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which publishes an annual reference estimating the strength of world armed forces, disavowed the CrowdStrike report and said it had never been contacted by the company.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has stated that the combat losses and hacking never happened.
CrowdStrike was first to link hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors last year, but some cybersecurity experts have questioned its evidence. The company has come under fire from some Republicans who say charges of Kremlin meddling in the election are overblown.
After CrowdStrike released its Ukraine report, company co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch claimed it provided added evidence of Russian election interference. In both hacks, he said, the company found malware used by “Fancy Bear,” a group with ties to Russian intelligence agencies.
CrowdStrike’s claims of heavy Ukrainian artillery losses were widely circulated in U.S. media.
On Thursday, CrowdStrike walked back key parts of its Ukraine report.
The company removed language that said Ukraine’s artillery lost 80 percent of the Soviet-era D-30 howitzers, which used aiming software that purportedly was hacked. Instead, the revised report cites figures of 15 to 20 percent losses in combat operations, attributing the figures to IISS.
The original CrowdStrike report was dated Dec. 22, 2016, and the updated report was dated March 23, 2017.
The company also removed language saying Ukraine’s howitzers suffered “the highest percentage of loss of any … artillery pieces in Ukraine’s arsenal.”
Finally, CrowdStrike deleted a statement saying “deployment of this malware-infected application may have contributed to the high-loss nature of this platform” – meaning the howitzers – and excised a link sourcing its IISS data to a blogger in Russia-occupied Crimea.
In an email, CrowdStrike spokeswoman Ilina Dmitrova said the new estimates of Ukrainian artillery losses resulted from conversations with Henry Boyd, an IISS research associate for defense and military analysis. She declined to say what prompted the contact.
“This update does not in any way impact the core premise of the report that the FANCY BEAR threat actor implanted malware into a D-30 targeting application developed by a Ukrainian military officer,” Dmitrova wrote.
This is apparently a false claim:

"Crowdstrike, along with FireEye and other cybersecurity companies, have long propagated the claim that Fancy Bear and all of its affiliated monikers (APT28, Sednit, Sofacy, Strontium, Tsar Team, Pawn Storm, etc.) were the exclusive developers and users of X-Agent. We now know that is false.

"ESET was able to obtain the complete source code for X-Agent (aka Xagent) for the Linux OS with a compilation date of July 2015. [5]

"A hacker known as RUH8 aka Sean Townsend with the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance has informed me that he has also obtained the source code for X-Agent Linux. [11]

"If both a security company and a hacker collective have the X-Agent source code, then so do others, and attribution to APT28/Fancy Bear/GRU based solely upon the presumption of “exclusive use” must be thrown out.

"This doesn’t mean that the Russian government may not choose to use it. In fact, Sean Townsend believes that the Russian security services DO use it but he also knows that they aren’t the only ones."

Reached by VOA, the IISS confirmed providing CrowdStrike with new information about combat losses, but declined to comment on CrowdStrike’s hacking assertions.
“We don’t think the current version of the [CrowdStrike] report draws conclusions with regard to our data, other than quoting the clarification we provided to them,” IISS told VOA.
Dmitrova noted that the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community have also concluded that Russia was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the email account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.
Note: The FBI and US Intelligence community has said that it relied on the Crowdstrike report without investigating and that they were also denied access to the DNC server that was allegedly hacked. In addition, there is reason to think that the incident was the result of an insider leak rather than a cyber hack.
The release of embarrassing Democratic emails during last year’s U.S. political campaign, and the subsequent finding by intelligence agencies that the hacks were meant to help then-candidate Donald Trump, have led to investigations by the FBI and intelligence committees in both the House and Senate.
Trump and White House officials have denied colluding with Russians.
See also

Fabius Maximus
Exposing the farcical claims about Russian hacking of the election
Editor

Matt Bruenig — Against Chelsea Clinton


A chip off the old blocks. Taking nepotism to a new level.

Jacobin

Dean Baker — National Income Accounting for Robert Samuelson and Friends


Dean Baker does sectoral balance analysis but obliquely without mentioning it specifically.

Beat the Press
National Income Accounting for Robert Samuelson and Friends
Dean Baker | Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C

Salman Rafi Sheikh — Trump’s Syria Strategy is in Place Now

Here a question also rises about the nature and the extent of objectives the US is pursuing in Syria. Clearly, there are no “short term” objectives and corollary to this is the fact there is no short term presence either.
Deployment of forces in Syria means that the US is certainly not looking at restroing Syria to its pre-war political situation. While the question of removing Assad from power doesn’t seem to be on the cards, what is very much on the cards is a division of Syria into zones and thus render Assad as the president in name only.
The plan, as some reports of the western media have suggested, should be the “creation of several autonomous zones within an otherwise still-centralized state.” These zones, according to this plan, will directly engage with, and be dependent upon, the international community for all types of “aid”, leaving potentially nothing in Assad’s hands and instead forcing him into quitting his role.
The plan also places the onus of responsibility of maintaining peace and conducting terror operations in Syria on the US/NATO forces which, by any means, have no legitimate and justifiable presence in Syria in the first place. Accordingly, Russia and Syrian forces are reduced to playing a second fiddle to the US and Iranian forces are completely removed from the Syrian territory.
The plan, in simple words, is to pave the way for a deep entrenchment of the US forces in Syria. The creation of “zones” in Syria thus makes perfect sense when seen against this background.
It only then that the US can reverse the setbacks it had to suffer in Syria during the Obama administration. It is only then that the US can prevent Russia and Iran from having an overwhelming presence and thus stabilize Syria under President Assad. On the contrary, creation of long-term “zones” in Syria means Iran will always remain vulnerable to its Arab rivals’ plans of defeating and destabilizing the Islamic Republic and establish their own hegemony fully backed by the US and Israel. 
NEO
Trump’s Syria Strategy is in Place Now
Salman Rafi Sheikh

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Branko Milanovic — The welfare state in the age of globalization

In my previous post that looked at policies to reduce inequality in the 21st century, I mentioned that I will next discuss the welfare state. Here it is...
Global Inequality
The welfare state in the age of globalization
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

China Daily — Central bank: Boost economy using fiscal policy

The cycle of global quantitative easing is coming to an end and policymakers should rely more on fiscal policy to stimulate growth, Zhou Xiaochuan, China's central bank governor, said on Sunday.
Zhou warned about the overreliance on monetary easing and said that policy is not "a panacea that can cure all kinds of illness".
"The direction is to see the limit (of monetary policy) and to consider very carefully how to get out of the period of monetary easing," Zhou said at a panel discussion at the Boao Forum for Asia.
In addition, governments should improve balance sheets and fiscal positions to create more room for fiscal policy, he said....

The central bank governor said China has the flexibility in fiscal policy, as the debt level of the central government is not very high, and added the country needs to streamline the relationship between the central and local governments to ensure fiscal policy fits the local conditions.
Zhou saw inflation and asset bubbles as the "unintended consequence" of the monetary easing....
The central bank launched mortgage rules to cool the property market. Among them, raising the down payment requirement for buyers of a second home in Beijing to 60 percent of the price.
China.org.cn
Central bank: Boost economy using fiscal policy
China Daily

Also

China will be more open to foreign investment in its financial sectors, but the level of openness depends on compromises of all parties concerned during bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations, said People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan on Sunday.
Speaking during the Boao Forum for Asia, Zhou stated China has prepared, in its BIT negotiations with the US and its trade talks with European and ASEAN countries, to take even more significant steps to open up its banking, insurance, investment banking, securities and payments sectors.
However, he noted that China hopes Chinese investors, particularly those in private sectors, can gain fair treatment overseas after it opens up its financial sectors. The governor added that China's attempts to import high-technology in at least civilian sectors should be allowed.
"Each party should make some compromises. Only then can globalization move forward and all benefit from it," said Zhou.
China will substantially cut the number of sectors on the negative list which are not open to foreign investment and offer foreign investors fair treatment in its 11 free trade zones, according to Zhou.
The governor also mentioned U.S. President Donald Trump's call for a "big border tax" on imports or the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT), which has been a topic of much discussion around the world. It is believed that BAT will lead to the appreciation of the U.S. dollar by 20 to 25 percent.
Bai Chongen, a Tsinghua University professor and member of the central bank monetary policy committee, suggested further openness in foreign direct investment be considered to reduce the negative impact of the U.S. tax reform on China.
Zhou indicated that it remains to be seen whether or not the U.S. will implement BAT in its tax reform. He said China has prepared for further openness in recent years, but its openness is not directly connected with the foreign exchange rate.
The governor noted that China is waiting to see how the Trump administration approaches trade and investment negotiations. Meanwhile, China is actively negotiating with Japan, European and ASEAN countries to achieve positive results as early as possible.

Michael Roberts reviews Fred Moseley, 'Money and totality'


This pertains especially to those interested in Marx, Marxist and Marxian economics and the controversies thereof. However, being about "money," it is also of interest to those interested in MMT.

Fred Moseley debunks the major critiques of Marx's Das Capital as being without foundation.

Weekly Worker
Consistent, realistic, verifiable – Michael Roberts reviews: Fred Moseley, 'Money and totality'

There is a shorter review at Michael Robert blog.

Fred Moseley and Marx’s macro-monetary theory

Jared McKinney — Why America—and Its Political Leaders—Should Think Twice about Poking China


Good response to a hawkish approach to China in the South China Sea. While the author is responding to an article in The National Interest, it is an argument that is commonly made that is based on dodgy assumptions and poor logic.

Someone needs to write a companion piece at The National Interest about similar assumptions about Russia that are equally dubious.

The National Interest
Why America—and Its Political Leaders—Should Think Twice about Poking China
Jared McKinney, nonresident fellow at the Pangoal Institution (Beijing) and a PhD Student at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)

Freedom Caucus now in contrition on the Tax Cuts


Giving "the deficit!' some "freedom!" to expand (to them).  Bullish.





Peter Cooper — The Confidence Fairy and Formation of Demand Expectations Under Uncertainty

From a broadly Keynesian viewpoint, output is demand determined. This suggests that fiscal policy, by affecting demand, can affect output and employment. At the same time, however, many Keynesians emphasize fundamental uncertainty. Firms’ output decisions depend upon expectations of future demand, and these expectations must be formulated under conditions of uncertainty. It can be wondered how the efficacy of fiscal policy squares with the presence of uncertainty....
heteconomist
The Confidence Fairy and Formation of Demand Expectations Under Uncertainty
Peter Cooper

Right starting to strike back...


Some recent altercations where we can see the right starting to get even.

This weekend in Cali; guy in the visor gets a right counter in over the top early:




Cops getting more confident and putting the dogs on them:




"Stickman" breaking his stick over the one guys head this one went viral a few weeks ago:






Building up...


Peter Dorman — Economics: Part of the Rot, Part of the Treatment, or Some of Each?


Peter Dorman puts his finger on what wrong with economists. Econ 101 aka "economism" (James Kwak). As Paul Krugman has said on multiple occasions the framework of conventional economists (neoclassical) is rational optimization and equilibrium.

Peter Dorman submits that this framework guiding conventional economists is not empirically based and is simply assumed as the way that market economies actually work or should work if markets are left to themselves.

These fundamental assumptions that distinguish conventional (neoclassical) economics from so-called heterodox approaches are never questioned even when facts run counter to it.

Econospeak
Economics: Part of the Rot, Part of the Treatment, or Some of Each?
Peter Dorman | Professor of Political Economy, The Evergreen State College

Rush to Judgment— The evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC is collapsing

To begin with, Crowdstrike initially gauged its certainty as to the identity of the hackers with “medium confidence.” However, a later development, announced in late December and touted by the Washington Post, boosted this to “high confidence.” The reason for this newfound near-certainty was their discovery that “Fancy Bear” had also infected an application used by the Ukrainian military to target separatist artillery in the Ukrainian civil war.…

The definitive “evidence” cited by Alperovitch is now effectively debunked: indeed, it was debunked by Carr late last year, but that was ignored in the media’s rush to “prove” the Russians hacked the DNC in order to further Trump’s presidential ambitions. The exposure by the Voice of America of Crowdstrike’s falsification of Ukrainian battlefield losses – the supposedly solid “proof” of attributing the hack to the GRU – is the final nail in Crowdstrike’s coffin. They didn’t bother to verify their analysis of IISS’s data with IISS – they simply took as gospel the allegations of a pro-Russian blogger. They didn’t contact the Ukrainian military, either: instead, their confirmation bias dictated that they shaped the “facts” to fit their predetermined conclusion.
Now why do you suppose that is? Why were they married so early – after a single day – to the conclusion that it was the Russians who were behind the hacking of the DNC?...
Crowdstrike founder Alperovitch is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, and head honcho of its “Cyber Statecraft Initiative” – of which his role in promoting the “Putin did it” scenario is a Exhibit A. James Carden, writing in The Nation, makes the trenchant point that “The connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council has gone largely unremarked upon, but it is relevant given that the Atlantic Council – which is funded in part by the US State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk – has been among the loudest voices calling for a new Cold War with Russia.” Adam Johnson, writing on the FAIR blog, adds to our knowledge by noting that the Council’s budget is also supplemented by “a consortium of Western corporations (Qualcomm, Coca-Cola, The Blackstone Group), including weapons manufacturers (Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman) and oil companies (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP).”
Johnson also notes that CrowdStrike currently has a $150,000 / year, no-bid contract with the FBI for “systems analysis.”...
AnitWar

Global Macro Monitor A Few Thoughts On Why Health Care Went Down


Amplifies on the reasons that the AHCA crashed in flames and what to expect next.

Global Macro Monitor
A Few Thoughts On Why Health Care Went Down
ht Zero Hedge