Most incompetent communist ever –> h/t @ritholz pic.twitter.com/ySISShI4En
— Billmon (@billmon1) December 24, 2014
As explained by Matt O’Brien in the Washington Post:
…[I]f arbitrary round numbers are your thing, the Dow passed a big one on Tuesday, closing above 18,000 for the first time.
And that brings us to the worst op-ed in history. On March 6, 2009, former George W. Bush adviser Michael Boskin offered whatever the opposite of a prophecy is when he said that “Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow.”… Obama had been in office for less than two months at that point, and in that time, stocks had admittedly fallen a lot as markets worried that the big bank bailout known as TARP wouldn’t actually be enough to save the banks…
Boskin, though, didn’t think that this once-in-three-generations financial crisis was to blame for the market meltdown. Instead, he blamed it on Obama for … talking about raising taxes? “It’s hard not to see the continued sell-off on Wall Street and the growing fear on Main Street,” Boskin philosophized, “as a product, at least in part, of the realization that our new president’s policies are designed to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy.” What followed was the usual conservative jeremiad against higher taxes on the rich, lower taxes on the poor, and deficit spending. Obama’s trying to turn us into Europe, and that’s why markets are pricing in the possibility of a Great Depression—not the dying economy he inherited.
It was an obvious stretch, but it was extraordinarily ill-timed, too…
Add it all up, and Obama’s radicalism has killed the Dow to the tune of a 171 percent return since Boskin’s op-ed.
Apart from rude gestures in the general direction of the WSJ, what’s on the agenda as everyone tries to wrap up loose ends before the holiday?
My news feed tells me that Jan Brewer thinks Obama is a big disappointment. Such a strange duck, that woman.
The feed also notes that George H W Bush (90) has been hospitalized here in our hometown of Houston. I wish him well.
My agenda…off to the café to make sure all the baked pickup orders are ready for my customers.
It is now 31/4 hours to Christmas. To the Balloon Juice commentariat(?) and front pagers all; have a great day however and why-ever you choose to celebrate.
[repeated from dead thread below]
@Debbie(aussie): My friends are here from Sydney!
Here we go again.
Making poteca today.
@raven: Is the heavy weather an issue in your neck of the woods?
I need an English-to-American translation. A friend of ours from England tells us she just got an OBE. I’ve managed to figure out that it’s not as big a deal as a full knighthood, we don’t have to start calling her “Dame” or anything. But it still seems like it’s a pretty big deal to me. Can somebody help me calibrate just how big an honor this is?
@Anne Laurie: I have faith in the WSJ editorial staff. I have complete confidence that they could run an editorial TODAY stating that Obama is bad for the Dow, on the same page as an article celebrating the 18000 number. Heck, their writers could probably get both points into the very same editorial.
It’s beginning to look a lot like…
@Randy P: My friend got an MBE
He’s a Entomology professor specializing in bees.
So Obama is good for Wall Street. That’s news?
Am glad you were able to spend time with them. Hope you have a safe trip.
Greetings from South Florida where it is partly cloudy and 72 this morning. I’m getting up to head off to Trader Joe’s to pick up the wine for tomorrow’s feast at the home of friends where they will be serving a standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding.
I don’t have any plans to travel unless it’s a day trip to the Keys. Reading, writing, and relaxing the priorities these two weeks.
Obama is good for the entire economy. And sadly that would be news to a lot of folks.
Order of the British Empire. Excellent. For what did she receive it?
So you can be good for the 1% and the 99%, too? Is this some new species of separate but equal economics?
You can be if you don’t have a Republican House stopping your policies.
My YMCA is killing the Wellness Center (where I work out) by playing hymns to the mewling little bastard fraud louder than my headphones can drown out.
It’s not making me feel Christmassy. I want to shank any motherfucker who comes up to me with a “Merry Christmas” on their lips.
On a purely economic basis, policies that benefit the 99s also benefits the 1s.
The other part, the emotional smugness of 1s punching down in Calvinist/Randian superiority, is what gets left out, and the Jesus humpers can’t have that.
A few household chores today while hubby is at work. Supper will be a meat & cheese tray along with a nice sparkly wine. Headed to Charleston for the weekend where the weather will be a sight better than what we’re getting today.
Goodnight all and ‘happy holidays’ ?
@Debbie(aussie): I’m not sure, she didn’t say. I’ll have to find out more.
But I’m still not getting any more info than I already got from Wikipedia. I know what OBE stands for, and I did find out about the 5 degrees of civilian medal that raven mentioned.
That still doesn’t tell me how big a deal this is. How rare an honor. Somewhere below Nobel Prize I guess, and somewhere above winning the local 10K charity run in your town. Can somebody give me some sense of how awestruck I should be in her presence?
@Randy P: Is she an academic?
Looks like a crummy Christmas Eve here in NYC – foggy and rainy. At least the air temp will be in the 50s.
@raven: Well, at least it gave the VC something to shoot at!
Whaddaya mean? It was a perfect continuation of the miracle work he had performed before. It’s right there in one of the preceding paragraphs (emboldended to assist in picking up the crucial detail):
That kind of hints at fruits Mr Boskin’s competence can be judged by.
@raven: Not as far as I know. She’s a trainer or at least she was when I first met her.
I found the citation in The Guardian. Something to do with empowerment of women. And it was announced in June, so she’s a little late in informing us, but I guess this falls under the category of “once a year christmas card news”
So an economic policy that included taxing the bejeesus out of the 1% would help them? How Jesuitical.
Apparently in 2013 the New Year Honours list had about 1,200 names on it. So, my guess would be that when you encounter the lady a congratulation would be in order, but no need to bend your knee.
ETA: Also, too, this may help to put it into perspective
The Order is limited to 300 Knights and Dames Grand Cross, 845 Knights and Dames Commander, and 8,960 Commanders. There are no limits applied to the total number of members of the fourth and fifth classes, but no more than 858 Officers and 1,464 Members may be appointed per year. Foreign recipients, as honorary members, do not contribute to the numbers restricted to the Order as full members do. Although the Order of the British Empire has by far the highest number of members of the British Orders of Chivalry, with over 100,000 living members worldwide, there are fewer appointments to knighthoods than in other orders.
But if Mitt were President , we still would have unemployment above six percent.
It’s a busy day. I’m going to whole foods and then cooking and cleaning.
Awesome band name or Balloon Juice nym.
@Randy P: Cool
@SRW1: Thanks, that helps a lot. And 100,000 out of a total UK population of 64 million is still a pretty exclusive club.
I imagine that if we asked Mr Boskin today, he would say that if we had been under Republican presidencies, the DOW probably would be over 30000 by now, so Obama has undoubtedly been a drag on the economy.
Yup, it would, up to a point. As the velocity of money increases due to a broader wealth pool, the returns on their equities not tied down to real estate and tangible objects would increase.
The economy is greatly afflicted by investments in real property, art, jewelry and collections of stuff – the return nothing. The second affliction is in the commodities, where non users toss money into gambles on futures, jacking up prices for the real users.
Presents wrapped…check. Provisions for dishes I’m taking to my sister’s tomorrow…check. Plans for quiet day with my man (breakfast out, movie afternoon at home and watching Christmas Vacation and Elf this evening)…check. Nice dinner and bottle of wine for this evening…ch…shit…damn…grocery store run. Fuck.
Well, off for what should be a 7 hour drive. Peace out.
Australia’s off again, on again Knights and Dames.
There’s Dames and then dere’s Dames
Punk Rock, of course.
Current day BJ interpretation of “Bah, humbug!”
I feel ya, man.
@Randy P: Yes. It is a big deal. Like Joe Biden big. I’m pretty excited to know somebody (virtually) who knows somebody who got it.
You still, being a proper republican (small R intended) ought not to genuflect.
@raven: be safe.
@wilfred: Do you really think it’s fair to characterize Reagan’s tax policies as “taxing the bejesus out of the 1%”?
Top tax rate 1981: 70.0%
I thought it was the lowest of that type of honor. The Beatles all got one in something like 65-66 which sent old timers in GB into a tizzy.
Having stayed up until past two making cookies (my toddler decided sleep was for chumps last night, putting me way behind), I’m up this morning to clean, do laundry, make a brisket and a vegetarian lasagna, etc. Ugh.
I would say modestly impressed but no need to curtsy.
Pretty good explanation toward the end of this article. “OBE: a distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field.”
Also, points off if this person is going around reminding everyone that she has an OBE.
Wrapping gifts, disinterested guy style. That means “It’s not just lazy I used the same paper for everything my wife gets, it’s a theme!”
More importantly, in the kitchen. Chocolate chip bacon cookies. Maybe a lemon loaf.
The Christmas flu struck. I have way too much to do to be sick so I’ll tough it out today and tomorrow and hopefully will be able to crash on Friday.
@esc: I’m right there with you in the Department of Drudgery. My teenager is out of school until after New Year’s, so I’ve been putting her to work, but she does such a half-assed job it’s easier to do shit myself (which would be playing into her hands).
Today she’s not only NOT helping me clean, she’s actively impeding me by setting up some photo shoot in the hallway using Christmas lights. FFS. I’m thisclose to going all bitch kitty on her, but that’s not the holiday memories I’m trying to make, so I decided to sit down and read blog comments instead. Maybe I’ll go get the oil changed and have brunch. If shit doesn’t get clean, fuck it, I say.
RobertDSC (Quad Intel Mac)
I just want the holidays to be over. No more of this shit.
I’m not sure what you’re getting at but if it were up to me I’d tax the 1% to extinction as a class. And no, I don’t think what’s good for Wall Street is good for the country, and no, I wouldn’t be bragging that Obama has been good for Wall Street – although clearly he has; and no, I don’t believe in some bizarre trickle up economics that implies that economic policy for the 99% will help the rich, too, if for no other reason than I don’t give a fuck about the rich or how good a year Wall Street had.
This, basically, is my position.
Big thank-yous to everyone who threw in tips for speaking with my Dragon Dictate. I have started a vocabulary list for things like my cat’s names (I wrote two new posts with it just yesterday morning!) so I don’t distort my normal speaking pattern in an attempt to get it right. I just teach my Dragon right in the first place.
I’ve also resisted the urge to raise my voice; that is tension and that’s bad for vocal cords. I can speak in quite a low voice and it’s still happy.
I’ve also learned many vital commands from my cheat sheet.
I have appointments and errands this morning, but then I’m coming home and playing with it some more.
That’s the right holiday spirit!
I like a clean house as much as anyone, but when time and energy are short, just how much do those dust bunnies menace me? I’ve seen Night of the Lepus. I can handle it.
Yes, the Bushes had some useless people working for them — and frankly, Boskin was one of the better ones.
50° & partly sunny here in Buffalo. I was in Wegmans by 6:30 am to get the inevitable forgotten items. Now home to tidy up the house a bit & rest before dinner with my sister’s family. Dinner here tomorrow: roast beef, mashed potatoes with dill & sour cream, roasted butternut squash with kale & red onion and pear & Brie salad. Christmas cookies for dessert. Lots of champagne, or course.
Oops. Need to do one more thing. I forgot to pick up the tablecloth at the cleaner’s so off I go into the fray.
Gin & Tonic
@Botsplainer: My YMCA is killing the Wellness Center (where I work out) by playing hymns to the mewling little bastard
You ever find yourself wondering what the “C” in “YMCA” stands for?
@Gin & Tonic: And it’s still better than Bing Crosby.
Even as a small child, something about his voice rubbed me the wrong way. And when the word on how he treated his children came out, I felt vindicated.
And I still can’t listen to him.
That WSJ editorial would go like this:
See-that wasn’t hard to do, was it?
Gin & Tonic
@wilfred: I don’t think what’s good for Wall Street is good for the country
A near-tripling of the DJIA is good for way more than just “Wall Street.” What are, say, union pension plans invested in? What’s your 401(k) invested in? How are CALPERS or TIAA-CREF looking in light of that increase?
@Betty Cracker: My dad’s phrasing: “It’s less work if I do it myself.”
@Randy P: It’s a deal, but a little deal. The Goon Show used to make fun of how easy they were to get (last item in the section).
@WereBear: Hey, my wife has one of those at work. I gotta hunt up that advice for her.
She simply can’t touchtype, or easily navigate a computer; it literally distracts her from her thoughts of the material she’s working on.
@Betty Cracker: My sis always said, “A clean house is a sign of misplaced priorities.” (she had 3 kids)
@Mustang Bobby: Me too. Two weeks of waking up late, sitting outside with my coffee until noon. Maybe a day trip somewhere to photograph a garden.
Sometimes South Florida really, really works for holidays.
@Gin & Tonic: They have changed it to just The Y.
I just read your comment to my 24 year old daughter, who’s in for Christmas. She said “teens aren’t self aware about how not doing things winds up making the parents do it. We just never thought about it, there was nothing intentional, no game.”
@OzarkHillbilly: As I siT here waiting for the princess to screw around “straightening ” so we can hit the awful fucking drive!
One could say the same thing about gas prices. “$4 a gallon? Obama’s fault!” “$2.50 a gallon? Fracking works!” (Yes, I’ve seen idiots saying such things.)
@Botsplainer: 90% of the things that “need to be done” don’t need to be done.
@Botsplainer: Someone, somewhere has coined a phrase about doing half the job one agreed to do (to your parent) when nagged, then doing half the remaining job when nagged the second time, and so on, like that mathematic progression:
1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + (1/n+1….)
Notice it never quite adds up to one!
Just Some Fuckhead
@wilfred: Forget it, Wilf. This is Obamatown. We celebrate all wins, even the “bad” ones like drone kills and number of new billionaires.
@Raven: When I die I will have to wait for my wife to get her coffee, then her water, then her sunglasses, then her jacket, extra shoes, keys, book to read, muffin, yogurt, etc etc before I will be allowed to leave this vale of tears.
@ThresherK: Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox.
Now that we’re empty nested, it’s amazing how orderly the house tends to stay. Youngest came home Sunday with her cat, the other two showed up yesterday with fellas and an extra unspayed dog – a perfect match for my nonneutered young male. They’ve emptied my good whiskey and drank all my beer and are spreading their crap EVERYWHERE.
Feeling a tad stabby.
@WereBear: Yes, I couldn’t stand Bing Crosby either. As a person he seemed weak and insipid. His voice also hit me as weak and thin.
I guess that once you get to 7/8 or 15/16 of the job done, Mom will decide that’s close enough.
@different-church-lady: That’s half the battle (/rimshot). Now is there a good cartoon about recalcitrant children who have to be nagged every step of the way?
(Disclaimer: I remember that phase of my sullen childhood, not unlike the Calvin and Hobbes where mom reminds him he promised to do his chores, he carps loudly, our tiger says “Why don’t you just start picking up your room now?” and our hero replies “I won’t be done complaining about it for another ten minutes”.)
I won’t be allowed to exit until I get those things for her. And sent back a few times to get the right ones, since I always get the one she doesn’t want.
Don’t sweat it, Betty. She’s home and she’s having fun. For a teenager, that’s the gold standard.
My youngest son is 21 and lives at home because he’s still attending college and commutes there. My oldest son lives downtown and he is in marketing for the MetroParks system. My middle son works for Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte and he’s home for a whole ten days, so my Christmas and my heart are full. It should be a great holiday.
I don’t want to come across like an old scold, but enjoy your daughter while she’s there. It’s clear that you adore her and she loves you, too. Have a great Christmas!
@Gin & Tonic:
I guess I should have added that I don’t subscribe to neoliberal wanking of any sort. I guess you’re right, though. Somewhat analogously it’s why I’m sympathetic to the argument that building millions of low cost cars in India with primitive emission controls has to be good since it puts so many people to work, giving them income to be taxed and to buy cars with.
Guano harvesting was also a good business, once.
@Botsplainer: My wife tried that with me. I just did the teenager thing and allowed incompetence to rise to a level of art that would have made Monet jealous,
I sincerely hope Esquire’s fashion blog isn’t recommending this as a style option for men.
@Just Some Fuckhead: Do me a favor. At least once try to understand complexities. I can dislike Obama’s foreign policy while at the same time thanking him for saving my retirement funds. My parents’ retirement funds went in the 1990s so they have SS and Medicare and me. But because Obama didn’t allow the whole thing to crash I have some options after they pass.
It’s not that hard, is it?
@wilfred: Oh, look. A new troll.
Where do you get these fuckers from, Cole?
@wilfred: congratulations. Only a few million votes, and your position will mean something at some point, outside of of your house.
I’m going to struggle with the last two work assignments on my plate, maybe take a nice walk in this delightful fog. Or some pictures. Or say fuck it and try to tidy up the house.
@Amir Khalid: I dislike long beards, but those are hilarious. Hey, if you’re going to have a long beard, you might as well do something creative with it :)
You gave the strategy away!!
@Just Some Fuckhead: You just wait until the Obama bubble bursts and we have the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic.
@AxelFoley: New? wilfie has been around since Bush was popular.
Cole and I go way back. And you’re right – only I troll from the extreme left. Getting to be that time, just like 7 or 8 years ago when I was one of the few people on this blog who was championing Obama, although it was for his anti-war position, not his Wall Street handjobbery.
Hilary will mean lots of dead and mutilated brown people and a Wall Street just like the good old days. The two go hand in hand. Time to start moving a bit to the left.
You forgot: “And I can do no other.”
Still have to finish shopping, clean house and commence prep work for Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Pork Loin Roast, which I recommend without reservation to anybody who has no concerns whatsoever about his/her cholesterol levels. Come to think of it, that would apply as well to just about other Cajun recipe I’ve ever read or used. Shopping, well, it will be for whatever I bloody choose to select for various nieces and nephews. Shopping on Christmas Eve is actually pretty easy; even retail employees are in a reasonably good mood, the pressure is off…etc. Still to finish ripping some vinyl LPs to fulfill requests, which is a pain in the ass but a labor of love.
WaPo gives not one but two illustrations this morning of how greatly Elizabeth Warren is (not) loved by the Village, which as far as I’m concerned is further evidence as to why she is a force to be reckoned with, and in a good way. One, actually a link from the 29th, is a Post editorial on ‘poor’ Antonio Weiss and how he has fallen prey to a “populist witch hunt”. The tell comes in the very first paragraph:
In the Villager worldview, there’s no such thing as ‘legitimate’ vilification of the well-to-do, particularly if the well-to-do individual in question is an alumnus of (Lazard Freres/Goldman Sachs/JP Morgan/pickyourpoison inc). After all, these are people who you might encounter at a cocktail party and it is totally unseemly for them to be abused by the proles, no matter how many of those same proles may have been impoverished in the course of filling Wall Street pockets to overflowing. Take a note, Fred Hiatt – if vilification is the only thing Weiss and his ilk have to put up with, I’m sure they’ll find some consolation from their loot, which in Weiss’s immediate case would include $21 million from his current employer if he’s confirmed – purely a gesture of appreciation from Lazard for his great sacrifice and public service, I have no doubt – certainly no quid pro quo involved, just a gentle reminder of how he should do the right thing.
Another example of Villager sentiment, such as it is, is today’s column by David Ignatius, starting with its title: “Warren’s War on Wall Street”. Hard to know where to start with this gem, but…
No, Dave, the problem with Larry Summers wasn’t his toxic political enemies, it was his toxic personality (read: certified prick with ears) and his even more toxic and well earned rep as a Wall Street tool.
Then there’s the resounding conclusion:
First sentence is correct….to put it mildly. In the Villager view, raising the minimum wage is a political hot topic, while hedge fund billionaires’ income being taxed at capital gains rates, well, that’s just the way things are, no point in even discussing it…among multitudinous examples of how the poor and middle class get rogered in the ass on a daily basis by economic policies that have been part of the Villager consensus for forty fucking years. As to the idea that Weiss or any other Wall Street alumnus in government service (being a mole, in spy lingo) ‘challenging the financial world’…please, stop, you’re killing me Dave! Challenging the financial world is not what they are there for, and looking after their once-and- future-employers’ interest is.
Keep it up, Ms. Warren – the louder you make these pigs squeal, the greater the confirmation you’re on the right track and
the better we like it. Puts a spring in my step, a smile on my face and a sparkle on my teeth.
Now then, if anyone happens to know where I can find a recording of Joe Cocker’s rendition of Something (by George Harrison)….
@Betty Cracker: Edit: you make me feel much better – if o cleaning gets done except getting the papers off the table, it will be just fine with me.
Assuming we don’t have a serious downturn in the next 2 years (and I have hope, because Republican economic sabotage seems to be having a side effect of smoothing out and lengthening the regular boom/bust cycle of our economy), these numbers lead to possibly the easiest political ad to write in history for Hillary or whoever is the next Democratic nominee:
Image of “Economy under Clinton” with numbers from beginning and end of presidency
Image of “Economy under Bush” with numbers from beginning and end of presidency
Image of “Economy under Obama” with numbers from beginning of presidency and current date ad is made
voiceover at end: “Vote for Clinton, because the US economy might not survive 4 more years of a Republican president.”
Air ad over and over and over, so no one can ignore reality. The difference is so extreme because of the way the recessions all fell mostly during the reigns of Bush I and Bush II. I think it actually exaggerates the real difference between competent democratic governing and the inept kleptocracy of republican government, but that isn’t a bad thing in this case. The numbers speak for themselves.
Officer of the British Empire? Roughly 2000 are awarded each year, and there are roughly 100,000 living conferees.
I certainly cannot.
Perhaps she was awesome even before some old relic read her name off a list prepared by nameless bureaucrats?
@Keith G: Heavy Weather https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqashW66D7o
I wonder how a PR screwup like this happens in the 21st century.
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
The boy is going to college four hours away in my home town. I fully expect him to stay away for the holidays.
Iowa Old Lady
You all are making me laugh with your stories of family home for the holidays. Thanks. I needed that!
Wondering if it’s a bad sign that the morning earworm is Maxwell’s Silver Hammer…
@Gin & Tonic:
A jump in stock prices is mostly good for people who already have a lot of money in stocks. It’s actually bad news for people who want to invest. For pension funds, it’s mixed news depending on whether their industry is growing or shrinking. The main reason people treat a rising DJIA as such a big deal is because it’s seen as an indicator of the general health of the economy, but that’s less true now than it used to be.
You mean like the actual economic history of the last 100 years in the the U.S.?
@Randy P: It’s a pretty big deal, but not huge as you say.
Lennon returned his MBE to protest the Vietnam war, UK involvement in Biafra, and for banning “Cold Turkey”.
@Gin & Tonic:
Rising stock prices are less good than people think. They’re great for people who already have a lot of money in the market, but they’re bad news for people who aren’t in the market yet but want to be. IOW, they tend to favor established interests over newcomers. For pension funds, they’re a mixed bag in about the same way. They’re good for pension funds for established industries that are paying out more than they’re bringing in, but they’re bad news for industries that are currently growing and are mostly trying to build up a reserve for their beneficiaries. The main reason people are so excited by rising stock prices is because they’re supposed to be a sign that the economy is doing well, but the past 6 years of rapidly rising stocks with a stagnating economy should show that correlation isn’t particularly strong.
You must be right. It never made sense to me that the rich opposed the New Deal so much, or why they pissed and moaned about the Great Society. I’m not sure they know about the destruction of the American middle class and why that’s…I’m lost now, is that good or bad for the 1%?
I honestly do not understand this response.
@Roger Moore: Agreed, but I’d go farther. Rising stock prices can reflect a huge distortion in the economy. People aren’t investing in plant and equipment, average wages aren’t rising much, long-term bonds pay almost nothing, infrastructure needs aren’t being met, …. Money is tied up in corporate profits rather than moving through the rest of the economy and that’s driving up stock prices.
I’d be much happier if the DJIA and S&P500 were rising 6% a year while wages were rising 4% a year and interest rates on 10 year CDs were 4% than having the stock indexes rising at 10-20% a year than what we have now. Dunno how long it’s going to take to get back to something like that, though.
Rising stock prices over the last 6 or so years can largely be attributed to MNC’s not investing their excess capital. Instead of actually creating new jobs or markets, the bigwigs took those monies and did stock buybacks. Nick Hanauer has touched on this aspect in recent op-eds.
Of course it’s a bubble.
Bullpuckey. There is probably no better exemplar of the art of passive-aggressive than a teenager asked to perform a tedium of some sort.
The only remedy is a top marginal rate increase. My own suggestion is any income above the $10M threshold be taxed at 90%.
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: @Corner Stone:
Of course a big part of the rise over the past 6 years is what we’re using as a baseline: the bottom of a crash caused by a massive panic. Just ending the panic was enough to get the market to bounce most of the way back to its pre-crash position, which accounts for a big chunk of the overall gains.
I’d prefer to have that tax increase be hidden in the form of a higher inflation target. Going back to a 3-4% inflation target would achieve two good things. One is that it would give the Fed more leverage if there’s another financial crisis, since there would be a bigger margin between the target inflation rate and the zero lower bound. It would also act as a big tax on wealth held primarily in purely financial instruments, and more broadly to effectively raise the tax rate on capital gains. A graduated estate tax, with very high rates on value over a few million dollars, wouldn’t hurt, either.
Haven’t posted anything about this up to now, but it looks like Christmas will be spent on the phone and looking for Facebook updates. My 23 year old grand daughter was in a horrible car accident Saturday night. Ran off the road and in to a ravine. Airbag and seat belt fail and she was thrown from the car. Could not call for help until she found her cell phone the next morning. Of course the first thing she did was call work and tell them she would not be in. She has a broken neck, a crushed pelvis, completely blown out knee and other minor injuries. Doctors at Harborview Hospital in Seattle had to go in Sunday to remove a life threatening blood clot from her leg. Monday a team went in and replaced the L5, 5 hours of surgery for that. Yesterday evening 7 hours of surgery to stabilize and repair the multiple factures of the pelvis. She will need another surgery to complete that process. They don’t know when they will get to the right leg, maybe next week.
We lost my dad exactly a month ago. Not going to be he happiest of Holidays. OTH, if she makes a full recovery, we will be calling it the Christmas miracle next year. Oh, and I’m going to bitch slap the next person who criticizes Obamacare. She is 23 and was able to stay on her parent’s insurance. Otherwise she probably would not be insured at all and would be facing hundred of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
@Corner Stone: Um, because the rich have done objectively better during times of more broadly shared prosperity? @wilfred: Which they have still opposed, because a) they’re fucking stupid, and b) they love lording over the peasants more than anything.
Gin & Tonic
@feebog: That’s terrible. Here’s hoping for better news and a full recovery.
One can only hope the people harping on about it put there money where their mouth was by shorting the market and lost their shirts. Of course that’s not true because none of these 1% actually believe their own BS. Only the rubes that listen and vote for them
That’s the thing, though. They’re not stupid. If they can’t lord it over the peasants, it’s objectively worse for them.
I don’t believe that broad-based prosperity is better for the rich. What really makes them happy is power, and general poverty gives them power, even if by some metric they have less money. The rich in dirt-poor countries live like kings; they have armies of servants waiting on them and can do anything they want. In a country where everyone is doing all right, they may have more toys, but the general public can tell them to take a hike instead of doing their bidding and acting grateful for the privilege.
Oh no. I hope your granddaughter will be okay. I know she has a long hard slog ahead of her.
I apologize because I am obviously missing some connection here. Objectively, there has not been such a gap in wealth in about 80 years. How were the rich doing better in 1950 as opposed to 2010?
I’m either not understanding how you define “objectively better” or what “broadly shared prosperity” means.
I’m sure there are a number of ways to bring about a more equitable outcome for larger society. I prefer the tax increase because of its statement on broader policy goals. Plus, IMO, there are some choices to be made in dealing with higher inflation. I believe treating all income the same and raising the top rates is a more blunt tool in the kit.
@Shalimar: I love your idea!
I think the disparity in wealth is actually a bigger problem than disparity in income, since wealth disparities wind up creating despicable parasites like the Koch brothers. Inflation is good both because it has benefits for monetary policy and because it’s the most straightforward way of implementing a wealth tax.
@feebog: Wow, I’m sorry that happened to her, but thank goodness it wasn’t worse! Here’s hoping she makes a full and speedy recovery. Condolences on your dad.
I just wonder what kind of economic chaos would ensue if we established a maximum income- anything over, say, 100 Mil per year would be confiscated.
I mean seriously- what would happen?
I’m premising this on the social justice theory that since all wealth is the product of natural resources (which are owned by all in common), human labor (owned by the laborer), and capital, there is no justification for asserting complete and unfettered ownership of wealth; every bit of it is subject to the right use and just outcome of society.
So an accumulation of wealth beyond a given point can be said to be, by itself, unjust and illegitimate.
I think something needs clearing up here: we’re not celebrating a record stock market — we’re celebrating Michael Boskin and the WSJ being incredibly, embarrassingly, undeniably wrong wrong wrong.
Nobody’s going to defend Bing Crosby? He was a very fine musician with an amazing voice. Frank Sinatra idolized him.
Not a nice man, apparently, but still.
The Galt-going would finally get going, and the populace as a whole would be much better off for it. Eventually.
I think the bigger question is what is best for the 1%: maximizing the growth of their absolute wealth or increasing disparity between the people at the top and the bottom. History shows that policies that favor the 1% relative to the rest of the economy are enough worse for overall growth that their absolute wealth grows more slowly than when policies favor broad-based growth. That doesn’t necessarily mean much, though. The 1% are going to do well in absolute terms in anything but VDE’s dream world, so they may be happier seeing their relative position improve even if it comes at the expense of less absolute wealth.
I find this fascinating because it’s actually the exact opposite of the favorite policy arguments of people who argue in favor of less equal growth. They try to sell a slightly more sophisticated version of trickle-down by saying that letting wealth accumulate at the top will spur investment, which will lead to more rapid growth and a larger tax base that can be used to fund government policies that benefit the poor. In practice, though, we seem to achieve better growth by giving more to the poor in the first place. It turns out that rich people do better by allowing broad-based prosperity to maximize growth followed by policies that redistribute the wealth upward- the opposite of what we’re being told. I assume this is because the limit on growth is demand, not investment. If we want rapid growth, we need to boost demand by giving money to poor people, who will boost demand by spending it. If we push the wealth upward, it will be invested in projects with ever diminishing returns because of the lack of demand, or spent pursuing prestige goods like mansions and fine art.
@feebog: May everything go well from here on in. And thank goodness she can get that care!
@feebog: Wow. :-( Here’s hoping she has a full and speedy recovery.
Hang in there.
What he said.
Speak for yourself. My IRA, which I busted my ass for a very long time to have, is in a stock index fund. If you’re a public employee or a union member with a pension, this is almost certainly far better for you than the alternative.
As I understand it, it’s a recognition that you’re a leader in your field in Great Britain, usually in the arts or sciences. Kind of like getting the Kennedy Center Honors in the US or something like that.
Seeing “OBE” reminded me of the story Christopher Lee tells about when his good friend Peter Cushing got into a bicycle accident the same day his OBE was announced. Lee promptly reminded Cushing that OBE stands for “Order of the British Empire,” not “Old Bicyclist Ejected.”
Yes, I know it’s the second time I’ve repeated that story within a couple of weeks, so here’s a bonus, very sweet essay about the lifelong friendship between Lee and Cushing.
Possibly my favorite part since it involves three classic horror movie stars of the 1960s:
Just Some Fuckhead
@srv: I’ve heard rumors there was a time before Obama,
@burnspbesq: Meh. Lots of good magazines have perished over the years. I’m not sure the (apparent) death of TNR is lamentable. That defense didn’t seem especially strong to me. YMMV.
J R in WV
@Amir Khalid: Ignorance of recent history, along with non-existent population of African folks in Iceland.
The lack of historical awareness among younger folks is astounding, and scary, for they are doomed to repeat some of the worst episodes in human history. I just hope it doesn’t happen until I’m long gone.
Here’s the Christmas song for you:
“I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” — Blink-182
J R in WV
Condolences on the loss of your father! So glad you granddaughter is in hospital and looks like she will recover.
Best of luck!
Krugman had a good column recently about how often famous economists of the neocon/supply-side variety (Boskin, Hubbard, Laffer, etc.) are wrong, and how they continue to be “renowned” and highly-paid for speeches and such, despite being majorly off in their economic predictions and investors losing money if they followed their advice.
It’s because their main role is not making accurate predictions but storytelling. They tell stories about the economy and the world that flatter the 0.1% circles they run in, and such people will continue to pay them for telling them what they want to hear even if it has no predictive value.
There are obvious parallels with other right-wing mouthpieces.
There are five ranks within the Order. It’s the “Officer” rank that usually goes by “OBE.”
I can’t find the Lee quote online, so I’m going by memory. It’s probably in one of my back issues of Video Watchdog.
Er … What is Video Watchdog?
Video Watchdog: The Perfectionist’s Guide to Fantastic Video
If you ever wanted to find out who sells the most complete version of a Mario Bava or Roger Corman film, VW is your publication.
I remember hearing a guy I work with saying, the day after Election Day 2008, “Well there goes my 401K.” I think I’ll go remind him of that.
They might have moved it all to cash the spring of 2009, and waited out the 70% run-up over the next year or so. (I know somebody who did almost that (move to cash winter 2009, not spring). They were not a wingnut, just panicky.)
“That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown” – A Charlie Brown Christmas (plus the making of the show). . . .
@Roger Moore: But inflation in prices of consumer goods is also regressive in that it’s effectively a consumption tax; it hits the people with the largest marginal propensity to consume.
(I get the impression that, currently, overall inflation is low but food prices are way up, which is particularly bad, because it implies that there’s not that much upward pressure on wages but people who are living paycheck to paycheck are getting it in the neck when they buy food. This is also part of the reason why you will see people swearing that massive inflation is currently happening, regardless of what economists claim.)
…Does anyone of repute in fact think the current run-up of the stock market is just a bubble about to burst? Just eyeballing charts makes it seem like it might be one, but I don’t have a feeling for what is ridiculously overvalued, like Internet stocks in the late Nineties or real estate in the mid-2000s.
Yes. John Hussman runs the Hussman family of mutual funds and is a former professor of economics and international finance at the University of Michigan.
His weekly market insights are worth following. He thinks the current market is wildly overvalued, with a very high probability of a serious decline.
The trouble is that the WSJ will never make this Boskin fellow write an apologia, as in ‘Sorry, folks, I really screwed it up on this one.’ And that’s the problem with most of the mainstream media. Pundits just pull whatever they want out of their you-know-whats without fear of retribution. Their followers believe what they write and never ever doubt the ‘authenticity.’ I’m certain that today, most wingnuts will continue to claim that Obama ruined the economy that Bush tried to save.