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Archive for the ‘liberals’ Category

Matthew Shepard and Media Lying as a Deliberate Strategy

September 16th, 2013 No comments

The story that Matthew Shepard was murdered for being homosexual turns out to be totally false. He was killed by two other homosexuals he already knew, one of whom was crazy on meth. Read more…

U. of Virginia Got Rid of Two Nobel Laureates Because They Were Conservative

September 4th, 2013 No comments

.UVA expat: How Nobel winner Coase got pushed from Charlottesville has a hugely important example of a university getting rid of professors because of their conservatism:

In 1994, Coase told this reporter how one of his UVA colleagues accidentally received a copy of a secret dossier compiled by then Dean of the Faculty Robert Harris in which Harris outlined a plan to change the economics faculty. Under then President Edgar Shannon, Harris allegedly used non-promotion and non-offer-matching to force Jefferson Center scholars to disperse. Coase left UVA for Chicago in 1964; Buchanan departed four years later.

Form versus Outcome in the Polis

September 3rd, 2013 No comments

It would be useful for everyone, liberal, libertarian, and conservative, to confront the issue of which they’d prefer:
1. A dictator with the right policies (welfare state, free market, or promotion of virtue) or
2. A democracy with the wrong policies (free market and traditional values for the liberal, welfare state and traditional values for the libertarian, welfare state for the conservative). Read more…

Hoax at Oberlin: The Complicity of the Oberlin Administration and the Mainstream Media’s

August 23rd, 2013 No comments

Legal Insurrection’s “The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013″ tells us all about how two students, one of them a leftwing activist, generated nationwide furor over racism at Oberlin. Of course, it’s amazing how every single one of these furors turns out to be by a leftwing agent provocateur. In this case, the Oberlin Administration— which, alas, means Yalie President Marvin Krislov— kept quiet about the students’ motivations, and thus were complicit in the hoax. They even called in the FBI, despite knowing who the culprits were.

When liberals claim racism is rampant in American society, I’m skeptical. There have been too many of them trying to create false evidence.

August 25: From Legal Insurrection:

“While Jack Marshall at Ethics Alarms directs this praise towards me, it applies equally to the other skeptics who smelled a rat at Oberlin (emphasis in original):

‘William Jacobson, who is a Cornell law school professor, notes in his report that he “smelled a rat” with the Oberlin story, and investigated. Why was this story only investigated by a blogging law professor? Where were the journalists? Why weren’t they—the Times, the Post, CNN, CBS, FOX, NBC—checking the facts? That it took this long for the truth to come out is an indictment of how lazy, inept and biased our journalistic establishment has become.’

`Prof. Jacobson is an Ethics Hero. This was important work, and he set out to find the truth while smug reporters slept, and gleeful pundits on the left used a false account to implicate Republicans and conservatives.’ ”

Also, it seems the Oberlin Administration has shamefully doubled down on its deception. Its web announcement says

A report issued by the Oberlin Police Department regarding racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic incidents which occurred on the Oberlin College campus this past February and March has generated speculation on some web sites regarding the motives of the alleged perpetrators.

These actions were real. The fear and disruption they caused in our community were real. …Some commentators have suggested that the perpetrators engaged in these actions merely to provoke a reaction from our community.

As we have stated, these incidents occurred on a virtually daily basis over a period of weeks. The acts in question included racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic graffiti, flyers, and Internet postings, as well as written harassment of targeted individuals including threats of bodily harm and rape.

We take all such threats seriously and recognize that our obligation is to assure the safety of all members of our community. Many students, faculty and staff raised reasonable concerns about their security on our campus, based on these incidents and threats. Oberlin College will not tolerate an atmosphere in which people feel threatened on the basis of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, under any circumstances.”

The Administration, of course, nurtured the threatening atmosphere by its statements, actions, and silence about the liberal identity of the threateners.

Categories: academia, liberals, race Tags:

Just 1/3 of 1% of Social Psychology Scholars Are Conservatives

August 22nd, 2013 1 comment

From “Jonathan Haidt Decodes the Tribal Psychology of Politics,” January 29, 2012:

Haidt works in a field so left-wing that, when he once polled roughly 1,000 colleagues at a social-psychology conference, 80 to 90 percent classified themselves as liberal. Only three people identified as conservative.

Categories: academia, conservatives, liberals Tags:

Conservatives typically define their groups concentrically

August 21st, 2013 No comments
Categories: conservatives, liberals, Sailer, thinking, writing Tags:

“A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ” = “Another Chance to Condemn Conservatives as Secret Child Molesters”

July 24th, 2013 7 comments

What an evil document is “A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ”! It pretends to be a confession, but it actually is a condemnation of other people. But then the signers don’t dare make any specific accusations. They make general accusations that are slanderous, while helping to protect sin by careful lack of specifics. The Baylyblog does a good job of discussing the Statement and talking about what churches really ought to be doing about sexual abuse, but there’s more to be said. Here are a couple of notable sentences from the Statement:

“Recent allegations of sexual abuse and cover-up within a well known international ministry and subsequent public statements by several evangelical leaders have angered and distressed many, both inside and outside of the Church. These events expose the troubling reality that, far too often, the Church’s instincts are no different than from those of many other institutions, responding to such allegations by moving to protect her structures rather than her children….Institutions ranging from the Catholic Church, various Protestant churches and missionary organizations, Penn State, Yeshiva University High School, the Boy Scouts, and all branches of our military have been rocked by allegations of abuse and of complicity in silencing the victims.”

Read more…

Categories: Ecclesiology, liberals, religion, writing Tags:

Murray’s Cops and Progressives

July 15th, 2013 No comments

Charles Murray has an excellent long essay, “Simple Justice” from about 2005 that is useful for thinking about attitudes towards the Zimmerman case and to self-defense and threat and intimidation statutes generally. He distinguishes between Progressives and Cops. Progressives dislike self-defense, retribution, and punishment generally and who do not like to differentiate people into those who follow rules and those who break them. Read more…

Policy or Power?

July 3rd, 2013 No comments

It would be useful for everyone, liberal, libertarian, and conservative, to confront the issue of which they’d prefer:
1. A dictator with the right policies (welfare state, free market, or promotion of virtue) or
2. A democracy with the wrong policies (free market and traditional values for the liberal, welfare state and traditional values for the libertarian, welfare state for the conservative).

We can up the ante in either case by specifying whether the dictator or democracy uses heavy oppression to maintain itself, e.g. executing 100 political opponents per year (which a democracy is capable of doing, just like a dictatorship).

I think conservatives would have no trouble picking (1), and liberals would have a strong preference for (1) but be ashamed to admit it and so would pick (2). I don’t know about libertarians.

The Low State of English Departments

December 30th, 2009 No comments

What I find most appalling here is not that the top 20 English departments don’t have specialists in Jewish-American literature, a subject of tiny importance, but that they do have specialists in other ethnic literatures. No doubt Asian-American literature, like golf literature or science literature, is a worthy subject of study for someone or other, but to have a specialist in every department is crazy.

And of course it’s bad that he uses U.S. News & World Report as his criterion for excellence, even if he tries to backtrack with caveats.

Joshua Lambert, an assistant professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University, kicked off the discussion with an analysis of the top 20 English departments (as judged by U.S. News & World Report, a source that he acknowledged was flawed, but that he used to get a group of programs at highly regarded universities). He found that at these departments, every one has at least two and typically more specialists in African-American literature. All but two have at least one scholar focused on Asian-American literature. All but five have a Latino literature expert. All but 9 have an expert in Native American literature on the faculty.Only two of the institutions have a tenure-track faculty member whose area of expertise is American Jewish literature

, he said. (The University of Michigan, where Lambert earned his doctorate, is so ahead of the pack, with seven, that someone later referred to it with admiration as a shtetl.)

Categories: academia, liberals, race Tags:

A Good Sentence

November 20th, 2009 No comments

A good sentence from Jonah Goldberg:

Indeed, some of us will always be sympathetic to Mrs. Palin if for nothing else than her enemies. The bile she extracts from her critics is almost like a dye marker, illuminating deep pockets of asininity that heretofore were either unnoticed or underappreciated.

Categories: liberals, writing Tags:

Major Hasan’s Treasonous Powerpoints

November 18th, 2009 No comments

The Washington Post has posted Major Hasan’s powerpoint presentation on why Moslems should not fight Moslems, why the US army cannot reasonably expect loyalty from Moslem soldiers and so should let them resign, and how Islam requres Moslem states with non-Moslems as second-class citizens. It’s amazing.

Categories: army, Islam, liberals, Major Hasan Tags:

Major Hasan and Nuttiness

November 9th, 2009 No comments

First-rate Mark Steyn from The Corner:

For the purposes of argument, let’s accept the media’s insistence that Major Hasan is a lone crazy.

So who’s nuttier?

The guy who gives a lecture to other military doctors in which he says non-Muslims should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats?

Or the guys who say “Hey, let’s have this fellow counsel our traumatized veterans and then promote him to major and put him on a Homeland Security panel?

Or the Army Chief of Staff who thinks the priority should be to celebrate diversity, even unto death?

Or the Secretary of Homeland Security who warns that the principal threat we face now is an outbreak of Islamophobia?

Or the president who says we cannot “fully know” why Major Hasan did what he did, so why trouble ourselves any further?

Or the columnist who, when a man hands out copies of the Koran before gunning down his victims while yelling “Allahu akbar,” says you’re racist if you bring up his religion?

Or his media colleagues who put Americans in the same position as East Germans twenty years ago of having to get hold of a foreign newspaper to find out what’s going on?

General Casey has a point: An army that lets you check either the “home team” or “enemy” box according to taste is certainly diverse. But the logic in the remarks of Secretary Napolitano and others is that the real problem is that most Americans are knuckledragging bigots just waiting to go bananas. As Melanie Phillips wrote in her book Londonistan:

Minority-rights doctrine has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a ‘victim’ group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the ‘oppressive’ majority.

To the injury of November 5, we add the insults of American officialdom and their poodle media. In a nutshell:

The real enemy — in the sense of the most important enemy — isn’t a bunch of flea-bitten jihadis sitting in a cave somewhere. It’s Western civilization’s craziness. We are setting our hair on fire and putting it out with a hammer.

Categories: liberals Tags:

Barney Frank: Drugs, Prostitution, Money

November 8th, 2009 No comments

Isn’t it bizarre that one of the most powerful Congressmen, from a rich Boston district, is Barney Frank, who has been staying in the same houses as intimate homosexual friends used for growing drugs and for prostitution? When we add that he is perhaps more to blame than any other single person for the 2008 banking crisis (via his pressure to have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac encourage subprime loans), his political survival is just weird. Do liberal intellectuals really not care about any of this?

Categories: liberals Tags:

Marxists Obituarized Admiringly: Andrew Glyn

April 30th, 2009 No comments

(April 30–revised, see below)
From National Review:

Andrew Glyn is not a household name, and until I read his obituary yesterday in The Times of London I had never heard of him. But what an illuminating document that obituary proves to be, a perfect little insight into the age. The opening sentence informs that Glyn “was one of Britain’s most prominent Marxist economists who produced searching critiques of capitalism,” going on to salute him as “one of the finest of Oxford dons.”… Think of the abuse of privilege. Think of the false pretences. Think of the damage he did spouting rubbish year after year to students who would be expected to parrot it back to him. To one student, he is supposed to have said, “the three greatest men who ever lived were Lenin, Trotsky and Charlie Parker,” – a sentence that the obituary writer hilariously links to “his depth of knowledge.” Some of the unfortunate students will have recovered freedom to think for themselves, but some will be permanently damaged. The obituary writer does in the end concede that Glyn “will to some extent be deemed to have backed the wrong ideological horse” — that “to some extent” is a qualification that goes so far beyond hilarious that it is almost majestic.

Dr. Stern writes in an AER article:

This is dedicated to my close friend,
distinctive and distinguished economist and fine man,
Andrew Glyn, who died on December 22, 2007, and whose
funeral took place in Oxford, UK, on the same day as the
Ely Lecture, January 4, 2008.

I decided to delete my strong comments on Dr. Glyn. I don’t believe in De mortuis nil nisi bonum,
but I don’t know why he was divorced. I am skeptical, though, of how good and kind a person is if I then discover that he is divorced. Lots of people are charming when being charming has low cost and aids their social position, but cheat on their wives, molest their children, and neglect their parents.

I also think it is important not to praise someone as a good teacher when he teaches pernicious rubbish, even if he teaches it persuasively. A person can be nice and still be a Leninist, just as he can be nice and still be a Nazi. The comparison is by no means too strong. In fact, there is much more excuse for someone who was a Nazi in the 1930s than a Leninist in the 1980s. In the 1930’s the Nazis were thuggish and autocratic, but the horrors of WW 2 and the Holocaust were still to come. By now the excesses of Communism– not just the political murders, but the millions killed by collectivization– are well known. In fact, even by 1922 the crimes of Lenin and Trotsky were well known. I can understand why Communists would praise Dr. Glyn, but those of us who fall into one of the categories of people his heroes liked to kill shouldn’t praise him.

Categories: economists, liberals, universities Tags:

Mad Max and the Rule of Law

March 17th, 2009 2 comments

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome has a great phrase from Bartertown law, which perhaps I’ve even improved here:

“Bust a deal: spin the wheel”.

The wheel is a wheel of fortune with various punishments for breach of contract, including death.

Somehow I thought of that when I hear many supposedly free market, rule-of-law Americans saying that the government should force AIG to breach its contracts with its employees and not pay them the bonus amounts specified in the contracts, changing the law if necessary so the employees cannot have recourse to the courts to get their contracts honored. Even primitive societies believe that people should keep their contracts or pay damages.

Categories: bailouts, contracts, law, liberals Tags:

Think Tank Purposes, Left and Right: "more of an echo chamber of Heritage"

March 11th, 2009 No comments

Jonah Goldberg :

[T]his is what you get when you copy the form of, say, the Heritage Foundation, without actually understanding the function. Places like the Center for American Progress ( allegedly “the liberal Heritage Foundation)” were explicitly created to mimic what self-styled progressives believe to be the vast rightwing conspiracy (It was the same agenda that brought us Air America). In one sense, they were great at mimicking all this stuff, but like the aliens in Galaxy Quest they lacked a certain level of understanding of how this stuff works internally to these organizations. For instance, they don’t seem to understand that the purpose of institutions like the Heritage Foundation is to make the White House and Congress more of an echo chamber of Heritage, not the other way around.

Categories: conservatives, liberals, media, politics Tags:

Rush Limbaugh, Disliked Because He Is Not Partisan Enough

March 5th, 2009 No comments

Jay Nordlinger in NR is good on Rush Limbaugh. One reason Limbaugh irritates people, I think, is precisely that he uses remorseless logic to rub it in when liberals go wrong. The other reason is that he uses humor. In both, he doesn’t pull his punches when he decides to go after something, and he has far more substance than more timid pundits. Ann Coulter is much the same in her style, except that she is more pointed and sarcastic. Both are also really unconcerned about winning elections. It is actually the more partisan Republicans who can’t stand them, because the partisans want to sound moderate so as to get swing voters. Also, the partisans think you should never criticize other Republicans.

One thing Rush has always been happy to do is engage with ideas.

Are his critics willing to engage with him? Or just sneer and resent?

Rush has had a considerable influence on people, for the good, I believe. In my time at National Review, I’ve interviewed a lot of young people, for jobs — internships and junior editorships. And I often ask how they became a conservative (presuming they are). And a good many people have said — sometimes sheepishly — “I listened to Rush Limbaugh.” And a good many of those have said, “I listened to Rush behind my parents’ back.”

Are these dumb kids who hate books and long to join up with the Klan? Not on your life — they are among the fanciest: Ivy Leaguers, brainiacs, world-beaters.

Pro-Monopoly Economists

March 1st, 2009 2 comments

As Prof. Mankiw notes, it’s strange to see well-known economists supporting the bill in Congress to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections, allowing instead for the union organizers to pressure workers to sign cards publicly that the organizers then collect and turn in. I wonder if those economists would also oppose the secret ballot in Congressional elections?

As Prof. Mankiw notes, unions are cartels of labors, so a second question is why economists like those cartels. Unions get a special exemption from anti-trust laws, but they are just monopoly sellers of labor. They aren’t even cartels that redistribute income from rich to poor— they do the opposite. Unionized workers are, I think, on average richer than the average person, so when they get higher wages by restricting the amount of labor hired those workers who lose their jobs in the industry end up with lower wages, and also end up paying the higher prices for things such as cars that the unions produce.

Anyway, here are the economists who signed the open letter that I’ve heard of in a scholarly context:

Katharine Abraham, University of Maryland
Philippe Aghion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kenneth Arrow, Stanford University
Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University
Rebecca Blank, Brookings Institution
Joseph Blasi, Rutgers University
Alan S. Blinder, Princeton University
William A. Darity, Duke University
Brad DeLong, University of California/Berkeley
John DiNardo, University of Michigan
Henry Farber, Princeton University
Robert H. Frank, Cornell University
Richard Freeman, Harvard University
James K. Galbraith, University of Texas
Robert J. Gordon, Northwestern University
Lawrence Katz, Harvard University
Dani Rodrik, Harvard University
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University
Robert M. Solow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University
Peter Temin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lester C. Thurow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Weil, Boston University
 
Categories: economists, liberals, monopoly, unions Tags:

Whigs and Tories, Tradition and Progress

February 19th, 2009 No comments

Reading Prof. Henry Smith’s “Community and Custom in Property” working
paper I thought of some different ways of thinking about tradition and
progress. This was shortly after I was grousing yet again about how
badly designed car radios are nowadays compared to the past. With
digital tuning, we don’t have the quick and easy controls of analog
tuning, where the dial was round and quick and the pretuned buttons
stuck out so you could punch them without taking your eyes off the
wheel. I consoled myself with the idea that after 20 years or so the
engineers would figure this out. That made me realize that progress is
just the establishment of tradition– which takes time. Starting from
zero– as one does after an innovation— it takes time to build up a
tradition. Till you have the tradition built up, change is desirable.
Once you have the tradition, it’s time to stop making changes unless
some radically new and good innovation is found. But a fondness for
tradition and a belief in progress are not incompatible.

The four parties of Victorian Britain illustrate different
combinations of liking for tradition and for progress.

The Tories— the mainstream Conservatives— favored no change. They
admired the old and disliked the new.

The Whigs— the mainstream Liberals— favored gradual change. They
were neutral on the old and the new. They liked both tradition and
progress.

The Radicals— the left Liberals— favored big changes. They hated
the old and loved the new.

The Tory Democracy— the “Fourth Party” of Randolph Churchill—
favored big changes. They admired the old, but rather liked the new
too, as supportive of the old. Bismarck would perhaps be in this
category. (They were actually not called the 4th party because of my
categories here, but because the Conservatives, Liberals, and Irish
Nationalists were three parties and Churchill and friends were rather
like Newt Gingrich and the young House Republicans, wanting to be
much more barbed and inconvenient with the ruling Liberals than their
senior party members thought proper.)

I’m a Whig myself. In England, they went over to the Tory PM
Salisbury, if I remember correctly, after Gladstone allied the
Liberals with the Irish Nationalists, and the Whigs were absorbed into
the Conservative Party. Hayek liked to call himself a Whig too.

Brad DeLong Calls for Colleague To Be Fired

February 18th, 2009 No comments

Brad DeLong has posted a shocking letter calling for Professor Yoo of Berkeley Law to be fired for his work in the White House– the “torture memo”. I’d thought reputable economists wouldn’t write that kind of letter. It should be a warning to us all— the Left *does* want to criminalize conservatism. Liberals, you watch out— the Mensheviks come next.

Krugman, Barro, and Crook

February 11th, 2009 1 comment

Clive Crook wrote an FT column
about economists blogging, citing Barro and Krugman as examples of economists who went to extremes. Part was this:

I had thought they would at least agree that raising trade barriers at a time like this must be a bad idea. Then I read Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate, Princeton professor, and New York Times columnist, explain that raising tariffs – though perhaps unwise for other reasons – “can make the world better off”. “There is a short-run case for protectionism,” he went on, “and that case will increase in force if we don’t have an effective economic recovery programme.” What are his readers to make of this? Are all the economists who say otherwise just wrong?

This impression of disarray – that economics has nothing clear to say on these questions – is not the fault of economics as such. It is a mostly false impression created by some of its leading public intellectuals, Mr Krugman among them.

Economics outside the academy has become the continuation of politics by other means. If you wish to know what Mr Krugman thinks on any policy question, do not read his scholarly writings; see which policies are advocated by the progressive wing of the Democratic party. Mr Krugman agrees with liberal Democrats about most things, and for the rest gives as much cover as the discipline of economics can provide – which, given its scientific limitations, is plenty. He does this even on matters where, if his scholarly work is any guide, the economics is firmly against his allies. Liberal Democrats are protectionists. Mr Krugman is not, but politics comes first.

The syndrome affects economists on the right as much as on the left. Just as there is a consensus among economists that protectionism should be opposed, most economists believe that a powerful fiscal stimulus is both possible and desirable in present circumstances, and that the best stimulus would include big increases in public spending. Yet recently, Robert Barro, a scholar with conservative sympathies, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that this view was an appeal to “magic”.

The problem is not that Mr Krugman questions the consensus on trade (if indeed he does), or that Mr Barro questions the consensus on fiscal policy (as he certainly does). It is that both set the consensus aside so carelessly. In doing so, these stars of the profession destroy the credibility of their own discipline. Mr Krugman gives liberals the economics they want. Mr Barro gives conservatives the same service. They narrow or deny the common ground. Why does this matter? Because the views of readers inclined to one side or the other are further polarised; and in the middle, those of no decided allegiance conclude that economics is bunk.

What is interesting is not that article (which is wrong on Barro, I think), but the responses of Professors Krugman and Barro. Mr. Crook displays the correspondence in The Atlantic. Barro and Crook had a polite exchange of emails discussing their disagreements. Krugman said,

Clive used to be a reasonable guy; in his mind he probably still is a reasonable guy. But he has misunderstood what it means to be reasonable. He now apparently believes that it means declaring, in all circumstances, that Democrats and Republicans are equally in the wrong, even if the Democrats are talking Econ 101 and the Republicans are being led by the crazy 36.


And it means hysterical attacks on yours truly for actually taking sides in this debate
, with the ostensible basis for the denunciation being a wonkish blog post — it says so in the title — in which I acknowledge that there is a potential short-run argument for protectionism, while making it clear that I’m not in favor of acting on that argument. He doesn’t actually take on my argument; he just insists that the only reason I might possibly have said anything like this is partisan bias, as opposed to an attempt to be intellectually honest.

That’s interesting in itself. But now let us proceed to Paul Krugman’s argument for protectionism.

Should we be upset about the buy-American provisions in the stimulus bill? Is there an economic case for such provisions? The answer is yes and yes. And I do think it’s important to be honest about the second yes.

So Krugman not only thinks that there is an economic case for buy-American, but that it’s important to stress it. And while we should “be upset” about the buy-American policy, that’s just an emotional response– the “economic case” is in favor of it.

The economic case against protectionism is that it distorts incentives: each country produces goods in which it has a comparative disadvantage, and consumes too little of imported goods. And under normal conditions that’s the end of the story.

But these are not normal conditions. We’re in the midst of a global slump, with governments everywhere having trouble coming up with an effective response.

Okay– so the economic case against protectionism is not determinative here– we are in a special situation.

And one part of the problem facing the world is that there are major policy externalities. My fiscal stimulus helps your economy, by increasing your exports — but you don’t share in my addition to government debt. As I explained a while back, this means that the bang per buck on stimulus for any one country is less than it is for the world as a whole.

And this in turn means that if macro policy isn’t coordinated internationally — and it isn’t — we’ll tend to end up with too little fiscal stimulus, everywhere.

Now ask, how would this change if each country adopted protectionist measures that “contained” the effects of fiscal expansion within its domestic economy? Then everyone would adopt a more expansionary policy — and the world would get closer to full employment than it would have otherwise. Yes, trade would be more distorted, which is a cost; but the distortion caused by a severely underemployed world economy would be reduced. And as the late James Tobin liked to say, it takes a lot of Harberger triangles to fill an Okun gap.

Let’s be clear: this isn’t an argument for beggaring thy neighbor, it’s an argument that protectionism can make the world as a whole better off. It’s a second-best argument — coordinated policy is the first-best answer. But it needs to be taken seriously.

Let me restate his argument. Every country needs fiscal stimulus because of the recession, and that’s the most important thing. But countries won’t enact fiscal stimulus unless they can be protectionist too, because they’re selfish. So, since protectionism isn’t as bad as lack of government spending, it’s worth having trade barriers so as to get the government spending.

This is, actually, saying that beggar-thy-neighbor policies are a good thing. He is saying that if every country tries to beggar every other by buy-domestic policies, they’ll all be better off in the end than if they didn’t. He’d prefer having the same amount of government spending without the buy-domestic policies, but he doesn’t think that’s possible politically.

After a couple more paragraphs saying that we have to consider the political economy, we come to his bottom line:

But there is a short-run case for protectionism — and that case will increase in force if we don’t have an effective economic recovery program.

His argument has three problems (aside from its premise that the stimulus package is a good thing and should pass). First, it’s not plausible that the stimulus package will shrink much if it is less protectionist, and his argument depends on there being enough shrinkage to counteract the bad allocative effect of protectionism. Second, if we’re talking political economy, we should bring in the fact that allowing protectionism into a stimulus bill will result in it being more distorted to serve special interests rather than having the single objective of serving the public interest of Keynesian stimulus. Third, an economist should start by making the economic arguments clear, rather than mingling them with the politicking, compromise, and buying-off-of-interests arguments. Politics requires compromise, but an op-ed piece does not. In fact, even in politics, you start off the bargaining by taking your preferred position– you don’t start by offering your opponent something halfway towards his position. In fact, you might want to start with something more extreme than your preferred position.

In this particular case, of course, the buy-American provisions weren’t in there to garner moderate and conservative support for a bill that wouldn’t pass otherwise– they were an actual hindrance towards compromise. Krugman’s got it exactly backwards– the buy-American was bad economics *and* bad politics.

Note what Greg Mankiw says,

Matthew Yglesias says that my stimulus proposal is “a pretty good idea” but also says “it’s wildly impractical” because it is “so outside the ballpark of what congress is prepared to consider.”

Let me reply by quoting Milton Friedman:

The role of the economist in discussions of public policy seems to me to be to prescribe what should be done in light of what can be done, politics aside, and not to predict what is “politically feasible” and then to recommend it.

A List of Prominent Democrats in Trouble

January 21st, 2009 No comments
  1. Senator Dodd, Chairman of Senate Finance Committee, (preferential mortgage treatment)
  2. Tom Daschle, nominee for Secy. of HHS, tax evasion.
  3. Rep. Rangel, Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Taxes.
  4. Blagojevich,Governor of Illinois, selling a Senate seat.
  5. Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, Obama Cabinet pick, grand jury investigation.
  6. Spitzer, Mayor of New York, hiring a prostitute.
  7. Larry Langford, Mayor of Birmingham (2008). Indicted for bribery.
  8. Marion Barry, former Mayor of Washington (2009)(current City Councilor). Failure to file income taxes (his cocaine conviction was a long time ago).
  9. Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland, Oregon (2009). Homosexual relations with a teenager.
  10. Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit Mayor (2008). Charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and official misconduct stemming from a sex scandal and a whistle-blower lawsuit
  11. Sheila Dixon, Mayor of Baltimore (2009) indicted
    for perjury, theft, misconduct in office
    .

  12. Bernie Madoff (2008).
  13. William Jefferson (D-La). Racketeering, soliciting bribes, money laundering
  14. Attorney-General nominee Eric Holder (2008). (Marc Rich pardon, Puerto Rican terrorist pardon, testimony under oath that he’d not heard of Rich when in fact his office had litigated against a Rich company in 1995, while Rich was on the 10 Most Wanted list)
  15. Treasury nominee: Geithner (2008). Cheating on taxes.

An earlier post said this:

A WSJ op-ed made me realize that the list of post-election scandals has gotten amazingingly long. What good timing luck the Democrats have had!

We might include the Acorn, Minnesota recount, and Ohio plumber-disclosure small-fry Democratss.

Name That Party is a website that looks at new stories about politicians in trouble with attention to whether their party affiliation is mentioned (yes, if Republican) or not (if Democratic).

There are some Reublicans too, but fewer and less prominent (Senator Stevens being the exception):

  1. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) 2008 False statements on Senate disclosure forms
  2. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) 2008 Extortion, wire fraud, money laundering
  3. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) 2007 Bathroom homosexual solicitation
  4. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) 2007. Trading political favors for gifts. Convicted, sentenced to 2.5 years in prison
  5. Don Young (R-Alaska) 2008. “Under investigation”. Four separate federal investigations: a $10 million earmark for a road in Florida, assistance to convicted VECO executive Bill Allen, ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, financial relationship with indicted businessman Dennis Troha.
  6. Vito J. Fossella (R-NY) (2008). Drunk driving, adultery.
  7. Joseph L. Bruno former New York Senate Majority Leader for New York: indicted for mail fraud, January 2009.

Looking at just what has been revealed about Rep. Rangel so far, he seems to have done far worse than Senator Stevens.

Categories: corruption, crime, democrats, law, liberals Tags:

A List of Prominent Democrats in Trouble

December 19th, 2008 No comments

January 21: Let’s start a list.

  1. Dodd
  2. Rangel
  3. Blagojevich
  4. Richardson
  5. Spitzer
  6. Jefferson

  7. Madoff
  8. Gutierrez
  9. Chief of Staff Emmanuel (talks with Blagojevich)
  10. Attorney-General nominee: Holder (Marc Rich pardon, Porto Rican terrorist pardon, testimony under oath that he’d not heard of Rich when in fact his office had litigated against a Rich company in 1995, while Rich was on the 10 Most Wanted list)
  11. Treasury nominee: Geithner

A WSJ op-ed made me realize that the list of post-election scandals has gotten amazingingly long. What good timing luck the Democrats have had!

Here’s a list of just the biggest names in trouble:

Dodd, Rangel, Blagojevich, Richardson, Spitzer, Jefferson, Madoff, Gutierrez, Emmanuel, Holder

I think there’s mayors of Birmingham and Detroit too, and maybe some more Congressmen. And we might include the Acorn, Minnesota recount, and Ohio plumber-disclosure small-fry Dems.

Of course, the Republicans have their scandals too: Ted Stevens and Don Young. We seem to have localized the problem to Alaska, though.

January 1, 2009: Name That Party is a website that looks at new stories about politicians in trouble with attention to whether their party affiliation is mentioned (yes, if Republican) or not (if Democratic).

Looking at just what has been revealed about Rep. Rangel so far, he seems to have done far worse than Senator Stevens.

Categories: corruption, liberals Tags:

Senate Vote on the General Motors Bailout

December 12th, 2008 No comments

From a place I forgot to link:

Voting “yes” were 40 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 2 independents.

Voting “no” were 4 Democrats and 31 Republicans.

Democrats No

Baucus, Mont.; Lincoln, Ark.; Reid, Nev.; Tester, Mont.

Republicans Yes

Bond, Mo.; Brownback, Kan.; Collins, Maine; Dole, N.C.; Domenici, N.M.; Lugar, Ind.; Snowe, Maine; Specter, Pa.; Voinovich, Ohio; Warner, Va.

Others Yes

Lieberman, Conn.; Sanders, Vt.

Categories: liberals, votes Tags:

A Community College Political Correctness Story

November 19th, 2008 No comments

From a VC comment:

Since we are telling college stories.

I started school at a community college and transfered to a four year. While at the CC, I did a paper on the different types of rape. At the time, womyns groups were pushing different types from actual unwanted sexual contact to my favorite–a woman is in the area of a man and without saying or doing anything he thinks of her as a sexual being without consent (psychic rape).

I did a paper for criminal justice class I was proud of, breaking the subject down into five types, and got an A. I buffed it up and turned it in for english comp, too. I got an E, and in front of witnesses the professor accused men like me of being the reason women get raped.

I appealed, and the dean stated the paper was of poor quality. Other profs suggested requesting a formal hearing in front of the college president with the class called as witnesses, I did make a request and the dean excused me from the rest of the class and gave me an A.

Categories: liberals, universities Tags:

Marxists Obituarized Admiringly

February 11th, 2008 No comments

From National Review:

Andrew Glyn is not a household name, and until I read his obituary yesterday in The Times of London I had never heard of him. But what an illuminating document that obituary proves to be, a perfect little insight into the age.

The opening sentence informs that Glyn “was one of Britain’s most prominent Marxist economists who produced searching critiques of capitalism,” going on to salute him as “one of the finest of Oxford dons.”…

Think of the abuse of privilege. Think of the false pretences. Think of the damage he did spouting rubbish year after year to students who would be expected to parrot it back to him. To one student, he is supposed to have said, “the three greatest men who ever lived were Lenin, Trotsky and Charlie Parker,” – a sentence that the obituary writer hilariously links to “his depth of knowledge.” Some of the unfortunate students will have recovered freedom to think for themselves, but some will be permanently damaged. The obituary writer does in the end concede that Glyn “will to some extent be deemed to have backed the wrong ideological horse” — that “to some extent” is a qualification that goes so far beyond hilarious that it is almost majestic.

Categories: liberals Tags: