"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"
- Tyrion Lannister
"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."
- Jorah Mormont
"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."
- Tyrion Lannister
"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."
- Michael Barone
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Transcendence and the techno-paranoia thriller by Tasha Robinson, Scott Tobias
Monday, April 21, 2014
OVER AT THE WASHINGTON CENTER FOR EQUITABLE GROWTH: NOTES AND FINGER EXERCISES ON THOMAS PIKETTY'S "CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY": THE HONEST BROKER FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 19, 2014 by DeLong
Brienne put his age at ten, but she was terrible at judging how old a child was. She always thought they were younger than they were, perhaps because she had always been big for her age. Feakish big, Septa Roselle used to say, and mannish. "This road is too dangerous for a boy alone."
"Not for a squire. I'm his squire. The Hand's squire."
"Lord Tywin?" Brienne sheathed her blade.
"No. No that Hand. The one before. His son. I fought with him in the battle. I shouted 'Halfman! Halfman!'"
The Imp's squire. Brienne had not even known he had one. Tyrion Lannister was no knight. He might have been expected to have a serving boy or two attend him, she supposed, a page and a cupbearer, someone to help dress him. But a squire? "Why are you stalking me?" she said. "What do you want?"
"To find her." The boy got to his feet. "His lady." You're looking for her. Brella told me. She's his wife. Not Brella, Lady Sansa. So I thought, if you found her..." His face twisted in sudden anguish. "I'm his squire," he repeated, as the rain ran down his face, "but he left me."
-- George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows
Sunday, April 20, 2014
In an article on the likely political implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the November election, the NYT wrongly implied that the beneficiaries are a relatively small segment of the population. It told readers:
"Democrats could ultimately see some political benefit from the law. But in this midterm election, they are confronting a vexing reality: Many of those helped by the health care law — notably young people and minorities — are the least likely to cast votes that could preserve it, even though millions have gained health insurance and millions more will benefit from some of its popular provisions."
Actually, virtually the entire pre-Medicare age population stands to benefit from the ACA. Millions of insured people lose their insurance every year, typically because they lose their job. These people will now be able to get insurance through the exchanges, in most cases at prices far below what they would have paid in the individual market previously. In this way, the ACA is effectively giving the insured population security in their insurance that they did not previously have.This is especially important in cases where the reason people lost their job was due to bad health.
This is a huge benefit that is being extended to tens of millions of people who will be voting in November. Due to poor coverage of the impact of the law, it is likely that most of these people do not recognize the extent to which the ACA provides them with security in their insurance coverage.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
It is remarkable that no country has outlawed economics as a dangerous occupation on a par with drug dealing or murder for hire. The damage done to the world over the last seven years based on policies designed by economists has been incredible.
Floyd Norris documents this fact in a nice piece comparing the change in employment rates (the percentage of the population employed) in rich countries since 2007. The only two countries with higher employment to population ratios today than at the start of the downturn are Germany and Japan. Both countries have broken with the economic orthodoxy in important ways.
In Germany, the government has adopted policies that encourage employers to keep workers on the payroll by cutting back hours rather than laying them off. As a result, their unemployment rate is almost three percentage points below its pre-recession level even though its growth has actually been somewhat slower than in the United States.
Japan has adopted a policy of aggressive deficit spending even though its debt to GDP ratio is already more than twice that of the United States. It also has deliberately targeted a higher rate of inflation as a way of lowering real interest rates and reducing debt burden. As a result, it has created a number of jobs that would be the equivalent of more than 4 million in the United States.
In short, ignoring the economic orthodoxy works. Listening to orthodox economists brings destruction to the economy and devastates peoples' lives.