Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Remarks on things claimed by Mr Krugman.
  2. Truth remains stranger than fiction.
  3. Libya and lessons learned thus far.
  4. Gay marriage?
  5. War powers.
  6. Well, it had to happen. Some nut thought the earthquake was caused by global warming.
  7. A monastic library goes online. Probably more fun if you can read classical Greek.
  8. A film noted.
  9. IPCC authorship. What the … ?
  10. A strategic analysis of Libya and NATO.
  11. Our liberal friends will have to tell us why such things are a good idea.
  12. Lawyers and the sort of “depends on what ‘is’ is responses.”
  13. Freedom of expression and schools.
  14. Mr Obama’s employment record.
  15. Categorizing atheists (and a reminder that Mr Meyer is a dull sort of wit).

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  1. Boonton says:

    Remarks on things claimed by Mr Krugman.

    As usual evaluating gov’t spending in terms of the Great Depression (and elsewhere) needs to be done by adding full spending. If the gov’t spends a dollar on building a road, there’s nothing magic about that dollar being spent by the Federal DOT, a state DOT or even a local gov’t. So Hoover’s increase in gov’t spending almost certainly nets against the pull back in spending by state and local gov’ts as the Great Depression hit.

    More importantly, the author plays too many percentages games. Fed gov’t spending in 1932 was $286B. In 1921 it was $339B (see table 1). During the roaring 20’s there was a large pull back in gov’t spending but there was also a large boom and the continued spend down from coming off WWI.

    It is interesting that Hoover gets credit/blame for being a ‘cut spending to balance the budget’ when reality is that Hoover didn’t cut spending and FDR didn’t campaign on running a deficit. It’s a meme that seems to have survived, though, for several reasons:

    1. Hoover didn’t increase spending enough, didn’t increase monetary stimulus enough (i.e. first changing the price in gold in terms of dollars and then finally going off the gold standard). Going to 1921’s level of spending was nothing compared tothe onslaught of the Great Depression, esp. considering that 1921 was probably not a period of harsh state and local gov’t cuts.

    2. Later in life Hoover bitterly defined himself as the ‘anti-FDR’. FDR’s supporters likewise defined FDR as ‘Mr. Keynesian economics in action’ so Hoover defining himself as ‘Mr. Anti-Keynes’ worked for both camps and has stuck to the present day. Reality, though, was much more mixed. A lot of the Great Depression was not the story of testing one particular economic ideology but rather lots of people trying and advocating all types of contradictory policies in all directions.

    3. The real experiment that I’ve yet to hear critics address was WWII which rose gov’t spending thru the roof on all fronts. To boot this spending was not on consumer production but war goods that were by definition almost useless after the war ended. I’ve yet to hear an anti-Keynesian economist of any stripe provide a serious explanation of why WWII ‘worked’ in the sense that unemployment fell to zero and there was no post-war depression or recession as ‘payback’ for all that gov’t spending and borrowing.

  2. Well, it had to happen. Some nut thought the earthquake was caused by global warming.

    Maybe it “had to happen,” but you didn’t have to link to it. After all, you didn’t link to all the nuts who thought God did it to punish people and there were way, way, way more of those. Agenda, much?

  3. Mark says:

    You make a fair point … on the other hand, TMV approvingly linked it and as noted by Mr Motls, the site “Clean Technica” gets a lot of traffic. It doesn’t have the appearance of a loon site.

    You (or people like you who are of the AGW faithful … not the skeptics) should be linking and disapproving of this … not me.

  4. Boonton says:

    Well God did cause 9/11 as punishment for the ACLU.