Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quotes of the day

Despite its remarkable contribution, The General Theory is an obscure book. I'm not sure that even Keynes himself knew completely what he really meant.--Greg Mankiw

... note that Keynesians think $97B was created via this spending and taxes this year, which is why they love government spending regardless of what it is spent upon. But if they issued $100B in bonds to create this 'new demand', where would that $100B have have gone otherwise? I don't think this makes sense in general equilibrium; money is never 'idle' unless it is under your mattress. I guess if you could caricature the two views: one thinks supply creates its own demand, the other that demand creates its own supply.--Eric Falkenstein

The issue is not that Krugman changed his mind (I’ve done that plenty, Alex too). The issue is that Krugman a) regularly demonizes his opponents, including those who hold Krugman’s old positions, and b) doesn’t work very hard to produce the strongest possible case against his arguments. Krugman’s response shows that he has changed his mind on debt, and explained why, but Heritage has not. It’s an “I am better than they are” response. That is beside the point, which is about elevating the views of others not oneself. The need to show all the time that one is better or more right than the others is itself harmful to depth, and responding with “but I really am better than them” is just falling into the trap again.
How about writing a NYRB essay that lays out the short-run negative output gradient to austerity, presents why austerity is considered a serious option nonetheless, discusses catch-up and bounce back effects and their relevant time horizons, analyzes what kinds of policies are actually possible in a 17 (27) nation collective, engages with the best public choice arguments (including Buchanan and Wagner) on a serious level, ponders the merits and demerits of worst case thinking, and ruminates on the nature of leadership in a way which shows some tussling with Thucydides and Churchill? Surely that is within Krugman’s capabilities and if it still comes out Keynesian or left-wing, great, at least someone will have seen those arguments through. Such an essay would stand a far greater chance of influencing me, or other serious readers, or for that matter President Obama. We should hold Krugman to the very high standard of actually expecting that he produce such work. Not many others are capable of it.
There is a kind of hallelujah chorus for Krugman on some of the left-wing economics blogs. The funny thing is, it’s hurting Krugman most of all.--Tyler Cowen

Really, what do you do with a guy who insults fellow economists, while admitting in writing that he doesn't even read the opeds and blog posts that are the cause for his insults (let alone their actual academic work, where ideas can be documented and defended)? He often doesn't even link or name the articles he's criticizing so his readers can decide for themselves!--John Cochrane

Sure, the top 10 [macroeconomists] make a good living, but no one else does, as companies and municipalities don't need macroeconomists any more than they need sociologists.--Eric Falkenstein

[Rex Ryan] kind of looks like Mario Batali.--Jason Gay, channeling Eli Manning

The vitriol toward [Josh] McDaniels has always surprised me. ... OK, he lost. Lots of coaches lose and get fired. But the overriding sentiment is that McDaniels destroyed the franchise, setting it back for years. On Sunday, the quarterback, record-setting receiver, third receiver and two starting offensive linemen came from the 2010 draft that McDaniels oversaw. The quarterback he picked and was ridiculed for is 8-4 and saved your season and just knocked the defending conference champ out of the playoffs and has your team in the final eight of the NFL. ... your disdain for McDaniels is irrational. He needed a strong GM, never got one, blew a bunch of draft picks and lost most of his games. That we know. Can you tell me if, say, Raheem Morris or Eric Mangini or Todd Haley, other coaches who got jobs in 2009, got the Denver job you'd be better off now? I can guarantee you none of them would have taken Tim Tebow in the first round.--Peter King

He’s a big dude, a strong guy. I know we talked about it, but I didn’t realize. He’s just a physical guy, his stature, just a big guy. I’ve seen some big guys over the years, but he’s probably one of the biggest and toughest, probably one of the strongest, that I’ve faced.--Vince Wilfork, 4 time All-Pro and Pro Bowl (325 lb) defensive lineman

[Nick] Saban walked off, escorted by three police officers. A couple of miles away, on Bourbon Street, the party raged, an army of drunken fans from Muscle Shoals and Dotham and Birmingham no doubt crooning along to ill-advised Skynyrd covers. Meanwhile, the coach did a neat bunny hop onto the back of a golf cart, hair slicked back in a Gatorade pompadour, and his wife sat next to him, and off he went, no doubt thinking fastidious thoughts. ... Saban adhered to his own process, measured and cautious; he lost when it didn't matter, and won when it did, and he did so with five field goals and one garbage-time touchdown. You may not like him, but you have to respect that, in a sport driven by misplaced emotion, the man always knows when to carry an umbrella. He will be remembered as the greatest coach of this era because he won a number of big games in the sort of methodical fashion that makes them very easy to forget. And maybe, when you think about it, the only way to end this season was with a frustrating anticlimax.--Michael Weinreb

On January 1, 1991, the federal excise tax on beer doubled, and the tax rates on wine and liquor increased as well. These changes are larger than the typical state-level changes that have been used to study the effect of price on alcohol abuse and its consequences. ... A conservative estimate is that the federal tax reduced injury deaths by 4.7%, or almost 7,000, in 1991.--Philip J. Cook, Christine Piette Durrance
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