Saturday, August 13, 2011

Quotes of the day

I believe that taxes are a necessary evil. The fact that they are necessary should not obscure the fact that they are evil.--Neptunus Lex

I don’t think the recent legislative debt did “enormous damage to our economy and the world’s.” I think the debt limit threat was undesirable, necessary, and effective.--Keith Hennessey

Already, hundreds more American troops have been killed in Afghanistan during the less than three years of the Obama administration than during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.--Ira Stoll

Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.--Drew Westen

One of the great puzzles of the past 30 years has been the way that men, as a group, have responded to the declining market for blue-collar jobs. Opportunities have expanded for college graduates over that span, and for nongraduates, jobs have proliferated within the service sector (at wages ranging from rock-bottom to middling). Yet in the main, men have pursued neither higher education nor service jobs. The proportion of young men with a bachelor’s degree today is about the same as it was in 1980. And as the sociologists Maria Charles and David Grusky noted in their 2004 book, Occupational Ghettos, while men and women now mix more easily on different rungs of the career ladder, many industries and occupations have remained astonishingly segregated, with men continuing to seek work in a dwindling number of manual jobs, and women “crowding into nonmanual occupations that, on average, confer more pay and prestige.”--Don Peck

... why are men failing to keep up? There are two common answers. First, girls are “better at school” than boys, and are able to better compete for the higher paying, higher status jobs that require a college education. The reasons for this are highly disputed. One possibility is that boys learn differently than girls and that the schools, where women do most of the teaching, fail to recognize boys’ particular interests and “learning styles.” Female teachers choose fiction, goes one example of this line of thinking, but boys prefer adventure stories and biographies. Another possibility is that girls possess noncognitive strengths that lead to greater school success. In a 2002 paper, “Where the Boys Aren’t,” Harvard economist Brian Jacob compared a large cohort of college grads who had been 8th graders in 1988. He found that while boys and girls scored similarly on cognitive tests, girls were better at paying attention in class, keeping track of homework, and collaborating with classmates.[13] Other studies have also found them to be more self-disciplined.[14] The second and related theory about why men are falling behind has it that today’s labor market prizes female strengths more than male strengths. The manufacturing economy, the one that ironically gave women the household revolution that helped to liberate them, relied on physical strength and endurance.  ... I would add a third, more existential explanation, for the male problem. The economic independence of women and the collapse of marriage norms have deprived men of the primary social role that incentivized their achievement. Adult manhood has almost universally been equated with marriage and fatherhood. Boys grew up knowing that they had inescapable future demands on them. There were exceptions, of course. In polygamous societies, low status men often had neither wives nor children; in others some males became priests and some, warriors and soldiers. But in most human societies, men knew that they were expected to become providers. Why have men agreed to do all of those dangerous, boring, dirty, exhausting jobs? Because people were depending on them. Evolutionary psychologists would point out it’s not insignificant that many of those dependents shared their genes.  Beginning in the middle of 20th century, not coincidentally the same historical moment that great numbers of women were moving into the workforce and becoming economically independent, the universal assumption that men were essential to family life started to erode.--Kay Hymowitz

Meltzer is probably one of the three most distinguished post-war monetarists (along with Brunner and Friedman.) But it seems to me that this type of monetarism has reached a dead end. It needs to be reformulated to incorporate the insights of the rational expectations and EMH revolutions. It needs to focus on targeting the forecast, using market forecasts, not searching for an aggregate with a stable velocity. And it must be symmetrical, with just as much concern for excessively low NGDP growth as excessive high NGDP growth. It needs to offer answers for high unemployment, and advocate them just as passionately as Friedman and Schwartz argued that monetary stimulus could have greatly reduced suffering in the Great Depression. Just as passionately as Friedman and Meltzer argued for monetary stimulus in Japan once rates hit zero. Unemployment is the great tragedy of our time. History will judge the current schools of thought on how seriously they addressed this issue.--Scott Sumner

No comments:

Post a Comment