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Sep 22, 2011

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Billy Jones

I seem to remember several people telling me right here on this blog that it wouldn't happen in Greensboro.

Guess what, I was right as usual.

Ed Cone

Pretending Wall Street and Main Street weren't connected was the line once pretending Wall Street was going to be just fine didn't work anymore.

Bill Yaner

A good martini tonight will put this all in perspective. Always does.

Meanwhile, the next time our Fed has some "gloomy remarks" on our economy, I say resist the urge to share it with the world. Zip the lip, guys!

Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy.

Andrew Brod

As in your link, Krugman's been in an I-told-you-so mood recently. I wish he'd been wrong.

Andrew Brod

As DeLong flagellates himself for not being like Paul and Atrios suggests an apt punishment.

Andrew Brod

Re the N&R article, the headline isn't quite right. Instead of "Guilford's median income plunges" it should be "Guilford's median income plunged last year."

Bill Yaner

Okay, the martini helped. Also an excellent article in the New Republic by John Judis which looks at our current situation through the lens of history - not the kind that Republicans rewrite, but actual historical numbers. Seems that after the collapse of 1929, all the major European governments joined President Hoover in drastically cutting public spending. What followed, of course, was a sharp increase in unemployment on a global basis.

Today once again the Europeans are all tightening their belts. We have not, of course, had any such sharp cuts yet, but our failure to significantly INCREASE public spending - save for the anemic and compromised Stimulus Bill - has brought us to the edge of this precipice - and damn, its dark down there!

Andrew Brod

Speaking of the Europeans, here's some he-told-you-so, on behalf of Olivier Blanchard.

David Boyd

Regarding the Kash bit linked to by Krugman. Yeah, sure, capital flows suddenly stopping was a problem. But why did they stop?

...investors lost confidence in the ability of those countries to remain solvent. So they tried to dump the bonds from those countries, triggering the crisis.

So you end up back at the same place that the Germans are coming from - unsustainable debt and deficits are the heart of the matter.

Andrew Brod

No one's denying that they're at the heart of the matter. The issue is whether they're a cause or an effect. The fact that they're an effect, not the cause, is the point.

polifrog

The Obama stimulus plan that was passed was around 3/4 of the amount Krugman believed was needed to heal the economy.

Of course, what goes ignored is that there was the Bush stimulus, the monetary expansions under QE one and two as well as those "automatic stabilizers" which bring the total invested in stimulus to an amount that is far greater than anything that Krugman called for.

So, if we increased government spending by far more than anything Krugman called for yet have misery to show for it, then Krugman was wrong.

But wait! We have yet to add "Brodian stimulus", the embedded "stimulus" of general government spending Brod references in our discussion covering gridlock in Belgium:

Relative to its neighbors in the eurozone and the U.S., Belgium is indeed engaging in economic stimulus. Stimulus isn't a magic button that's pushed or left unpushed. It's a continuum, and Belgium's economic policies are--admittedly by default--more stimulative than other industrialized countries'.

Government spending not cut, according to Brod, is apparently stimulative.

Admittedly, measuring this form of "Brodian stimulus" would be as difficult as measuring Obama's "jobs saved", yet surely it should be added to our total stimulus spending which already exceeds anything called for by Krugman.

The depth of Krugman's wrongness is becoming immeasurable.

David Boyd

Everyone who owes what they can't pay, thinks they're a victim.

Andrew Brod

Yes, there's more to stimulus than discretionary stimulus. But Krugman was talking specifically about discretionary stimulus, i.e. above and beyond automatic stabilizers and monetary expansion. And what was done in 2009 was far less than 3/4 of what he advocated.

If the facts matter...

I must say, I'm amused by this line of argument. Good one, Frog! The fact that folks like Krugman advocated significantly more stimulus than was ever enacted undermines the conservative narrative. So hmmm, what to do? I've got it--change the facts!

Hey, we got more stimulus than Krugman ever called for! Now what do you dumb liberals think?

bubba

"The depth of Krugman's wrongness is becoming immeasurable."

....matched only by the depth of wrongful idolatry accorded him by those equally wrong-headed purveyors of economic disaster, as shameless huckstered here.

Billy Jones

Need I remind everyone that Bubba was one of those who said it wouldn't happen?

bubba

"Need I remind everyone that Bubba was one of those who said it wouldn't happen?"

Need I remind you that I said this was (and continues to be) a crisis of confidence on may different levels in many different ways, an opinion that has been validated many times on many different levels?

Billy Jones

Bubba, You're right, it is a crisis of confidence that was brought on by confidence men, aka con men, politicians and banksters, whose actions you supported when you tried to sell us all on the idea of some sort of New Age Self-Fulfilling Prophecy BS that implied that if we remained confident that none of what did happen, would happen.

Yes, we have a "crisis of confidence" but more importantly we have an economic model that has proven itself to be flawed, corrupted and unsustainable. Worse than your beloved ""crisis of confidence" we have a real crisis that you were, and continue to be, too blind or too ideologically compromised to see and understand.

And while you continue to preach your New Age Economic BS, we see straight through it!

And Professor Andrew Brod, before you pile on, it is quite evident from the years of your ramblings that you know no more about the subject at hand than Bubba knows. You too, Polifrog!

polifrog

I was under the impression the conversation was specifically about Krugman and it is well known that no matter the amount of stimulus under consideration, Krugman will call for an ambiguous more. It is a wise gambit on his part, though, as stimulus generally results in extending contractions and when it fails he can fall back on "it wasn't enough" or "we never really tried a true stimulus", concepts echoed by yourself.

It is not science when one's concepts can never be tested.

Let's compare what Krugman seems to have called for via NPR:

Krugman is of the opinion that the proposed $800 billion-plus stimulus package is not large enough to have a meaningful impact. He says the administration should spend $1 trillion or more over two years.
.

to the 13 trillion in stumulus PBS references which, of course, does not include the baseline of immeasurable "Brodian Stimulus" more commonly known as general government spending.

The myth is that the US never met the amounts of stimulus spending Krugmans said we needed to work our way back into properity. The reality is the we exceeded the Krugman call by a factor of between 10 to 15 and found even greater misery.

Despite Krugman's obvious desire to avoid set data points by which to measure the success or failure of his proscriptions, government spending out paced even Krugman's wildest Keynesian fantasies and was found lacking.

Krugman was wrong.

bubba

"And while you continue to preach your New Age Economic BS, we see straight through it!"

"New Age Economic BS!" As if.......

bubba

"Krugman was wrong."

But....but....but....but....but....but he DID predict 11 out of the last three recessions!

Andrew Brod

Don't worry, Billy. At this point the crazy people have taken over the thread.

john hayes

What I don't understand is, why the idolatry of this guy, right or wrong, among fiscal liberals? Why is he placed on such a pedestal from which to spoon-feed his disciples The Word on stone tablets? He hardly ever deals in specifics. He shamelessly promotes far-left ideology under the guise of economics. The faithful will let him be wrong for 8 yrs to be right for 3, and then say "I told you so". Is it the Nobel Prize,( which puts him on the same par with Obama and Al Gore)? Is it the beady little eyes and salt-n-peppa beard? Is it just the New York Times we-await-your-talking points thing? My guess is it's the savory blend of all three. We all need our heroes, I guess.

Andrew Brod

I don't see idolatry, though I understand why you need to call it that. What I see is a guy who's been right practically every time.

If that matters...

bubba

"What I see is a guy who's been right practically every time."

That's not even close to being a fact.

We've had this discussion before. Your (and Cone's) love affair with the former Enron advisor isn't based on anything of substance produced by him.

Like most of what the two of you say, it's strictly faith-based. It almost qualifies as some sort of perverted religion.

Andrew Brod

You're right; we have had this discussion before. You probably thought you won that debate, which of course is kinda sad.

john hayes

Spag!!! ah, those were the days my friend....

Andrew Brod

You thought they'd never end?

bubba

"You probably thought you won that debate, which of course is kinda sad."

No, Andykins.

What's sad is that you constantly self-rationalize that somehow, in someway, you actually possess some quality that passes for academic and intellectual adequacy on virtually everything that's discussed here.

bubba

Let's re-visit the facts about Krugman's almost comic wrongness, as detailed by Don Luskin.

Noteworthy:

"In most cases, any given one of Krugman’s prevarications — if uncorrected, his lies — will seem trivial, as though I were nitpicking to focus on it. But the cumulative effect of them all — every exaggerated statistic designed to bolster some economic argument, every out-of-context quotation designed to make some conservative politician look venal or conservative economist look stupid, every inaccurate historical citation designed to make conservatives into crooks and liberals into heroes — is to shape Krugman’s narrative with a persuasive power it would never achieve if it were confined to the truth."

Of note, we could substitute several local names for "Krugman" in the above piece, and the paragraph would still be an accurate assessment, wouldn't it?

john hayes

"he predicted a new bull market in gold and gold stocks, for which he drew intense criticism from fellow columnists including Jim Cramer.[17] Shortly thereafter, Luskin's escalating public dispute with Cramer led to his resignation from theStreet.com via real-time postings on the site's discussion boards that became a cause célèbre on the web.[18] Since his prediction, the price of gold in dollars has gone up seven-fold. [19]"

Pretty impresssive. Nah, I guess not, since he's been called the stupidest man alive by one of the Kru-fu clones. Carry on fellas

Thomas

And then there's that next paragraph...

bubba

"Good source."

Compared to you?

Absolutely.

Ed Cone

The whole framing of this argument seems off to me, obscuring the actual records of the people under discussion in favor of name-calling (of each other and the economists).

No economist gets everything right. In terms of predicting the demise of the housing bubble and the current terrible economy, Krugman was clearly much more accurate than Luskin.

That doesn't mean Krugman's prescriptions for getting us out of this mess are necessarily correct, although I think he makes a good case, and certainly he was right about interest rates.

bubba

And to be called the "stupidest man alive" by DeLong has got to be an honor.

He uses that description on a regular basis on people who are much more substantial academically and intellectually than him. Andykins can certainly relate personally to a situation like that.

Here's a little insight into DeLong, and a bonus on his fellow cretin Krugman.


bubba

"Krugman was clearly much more accurate than Luskin."

Oh please, spare us.

Overall, Krugman stands at about five percent of Luskin's record of getting it right

bubba

Here's a better link to Bainbridge re DeLong/Krugman.

Ed Cone

Bob, your browser may need adjusting -- it seems to have snipped the the full quote, which was, "In terms of predicting the demise of the housing bubble and the current terrible economy, Krugman was clearly much more accurate than Luskin."

That's objectively true, verifiable, and relevant to a discussion about the current situation.

Again, this is not a sporting event, where rooting interests predetermine one's view of events. Or at least it shouldn't be.

michele

My best economic indicator is how many homeless people are on the street. Despite the millions of dollars of taxpayer funds thrown at "ending homelessness" in Guilford County and Greensboro, those numbers just continue to rise.

Andrew Brod

I can see why Bubba keeps citing Luskin. I found a few of his columns online, and boy does he hate Krugman. Read this one from 2003 and judge for yourself. Maybe you'll say, wow, that Luskin sure is smart.

On the other hand, maybe you'll note that in this column Luskin defends big government deficits during an expansion; pooh-poohs the likelihood of a financial crisis in the U.S.; mischaracterizes various Krugman discussions of risks as hard-and-fast predictions; and of course shows that he really, really hates Krugman.

john hayes

How could you hate somebody like Krugman? All he does is write about his opinions and vie for status among other such types. You could make a case that he's not contributing a tremendous amount to society in that capacity, but hate?

Michele, is there a message in there, or are you just making an observation?

bubba

"That's objectively true, verifiable, and relevant to a discussion about the current situation."

The current?

Yo mean Krugman's foolhardy and dangerous bleating about how the Obama economic policy failed because he just didn't waste enough money in the guise of "stimulus"?

Regardless of how you and Andykins want to frame this discussion, Luskin is still demonstrably and reliably correct far more often than Krugman has been.

bubba

"You could make a case that he's not contributing a tremendous amount to society in that capacity......"

Talking about destructive polices advanced by irresponsible people like Krugman and enablers is never wrong.

Billy Jones

Michelle wrote, "My best economic indicator is how many homeless people are on the street. Despite the millions of dollars of taxpayer funds thrown at "ending homelessness" in Guilford County and Greensboro, those numbers just continue to rise."

And sadly it's only going to get a lot worse. After the Great Crash and the ensuing Great Depression, the government stepped in, started work programs, bailed out farmers, put money in people pockets and enabled those people to buy things that lead to more employment for people who could make the things Americans needed. This time around the nation's manufacturing infrastructure, having been wiped out by years of NAFTA, CAFTA and other supposed "free trade agreements" leaving us with a broken link that will take decades to repair if it is to ever be repaired.

In other words, Welcome To Bushville.

polifrog

Billy Jones:

After the Great Crash and the ensuing Great Depression, the government stepped in, started work programs, bailed out farmers, put money in people pockets and enabled those people to buy things that lead to more employment for people who could make the things Americans needed.

Actually that contraction didn't become commonly known as the Great Depression until after the crash in 1937 which itself was the direct product the failure of government sponsored false demand.

Americans felt then just as we do today that "stimulus" simply bridged two downturns with simulated prosperity creating one long stream of misery. They named that stream, that Keynesian Coma book ended with recession, The Great Depression. Our current stream of misery has earned in the minds of many the unimaginative title of the Second Great Depression for its increasing similarity to the first.

It is Krugman's lot to play lead minstrel of misinformation concerning this reality. Apparently it is yours to dance to the tune.

Ed Cone

But he doesn't just "write about his opinions." He brings a lot of data and informed analysis to the table.

There's a difference. I'm speaking on a panel at UNCG on Weds night, and one of the things I hope to cover is that difference, and the attempt to obscure it in contemporary media culture.

Billy Jones

polifrog,
Nothing you wrote changes the fact that we no longer have our manufacturing infrastructure and it was ultimately the use of a manufacturing infrastructure that got us out of the Great Depression.

With all your education and fact checking snipes you still don't know squat.

You are probably the type that still thinks off-shoring is a good thing. You know, like Bubba.

bubba

"Apparently it is yours to dance to the tune."

And dance he does with his "He brings a lot of data and informed analysis to the table" rationale for agenda-driven bad policy and the always present arrogant attitudes.

It sounds to me like kindred spirit support rather than honest opinion and analysis.

Ed Cone

I'm also confused by the suggestion that these conversations (not necessarily the ones in these threads, but the ones they reflect) are essentially meaningless, when in fact they go directly to major public policy decisions. I disagree with Bob's previous comment about the validity of some of these policy suggestions, but he's right that the policies themselves are very real.

Roch101

"I'm speaking on a panel at UNCG on Weds night, and one of the things I hope to cover is that difference, and the attempt to obscure it in contemporary media culture." -- Ed

Conveniently, here are two great examples from today's News & Record for you.

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