Political journalism naturally tends to dwell on the activities of those who hold the levers of power, but the biggest political story of 2017 was the resistance to Donald Trump.
via Matt Yglesias at VOX: The political lesson of 2017: resistance works
This is a must read.
Donald Trump’s Lies Versus Hillary Clinton’s Lies
When Hillary Clinton gets pressed on her somewhat slippery answers about why exactly she decided to use an off-label email server, she ends up looking evasive. She looks and acts like a normal human being who’s been caught out in an embarrassing situation. She’s admitted that she did the wrong thing, but she also doesn’t think she should suffer any consequences for it. It’s not a great look.
Trump, by contrast, is shameless. What’s his plan for ISIS? It’s a secret. If the generals are so dumb, why would he ask for their plan? He’ll get different generals.
Trump hasn’t learned. He doesn’t know basic facts about the world, and he doesn’t care. The question now is whether the American people will.
This sums it up. Hillary is basic political spin. She’s not even that good at it. Trump is a nutter detached from reality.
The ‘decline’ of marriage isn’t a problem
If every poor adult in America married another poor adult, in other words, we would see a significant drop in the poverty rate. Nobody’s actual income would have increased, of course, but through the magic of statistics we would achieve a significant win in the war on poverty.
Something economists thought was impossible is happening in Europe
Something really weird is happening in Europe. Interest rates on a range of debt — mostly government bonds from countries like Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany but also corporate bonds from Nestlé and, briefly, Shell — have gone negative. And not just negative in fancy inflation-adjusted terms like US government debt. It’s just negative. As in you give the owner of a Nestlé bond 100 euros, and four years later Nestlé gives you back less than that.* In my experience, ordinary people are not especially excited about this. But among finance and economic types, I promise you that it’s a huge deal — the economics equivalent of stumbling into a huge scientific discovery entirely by accident.
This the exact opposite of a the sovereign debt crisis that the austerity crowd has been warning about. The demand for debt is so high that people are willing to lose money to purchase it.
Obama’s bank tax is a big idea that might actually get done – Vox
What Obama proposed was a 0.07 percent tax on borrowing by America’s largest banks. The way this works is that banks with over $50 billion in assets (which is about 100 banks) would need to pay a 7 cent tax to the federal government on every $100 that they borrow. That has two goals — raising revenue and restraining risky debt from bailout-prone institutions. And Congress isn’t going to pass it.
This would both make a bailout less likely, it would create a fund that would pay for a bailout. And it would fall onto the banks directly. Why is anyone against this?
A $20 an hour minimum wage really would cost a lot of people their jobs
The good news about Denmark is that their unemployment rate is only very slightly higher than the USA’s and was lower in the recent past. The Danish economy as a whole does a good job of keeping people employed, and it also does a much better job than the American economy of delivering high living standards for the poor. But mandating high wages for fast food workers has more or less the impact you would expect — low levels of fast food employment.
The standard response to raising the minimum wage is always why not a million dollars and hour as if that’s under consideration. $20 is too hight. Much to high. That doesn’t mean that $0 is the correct answer.
Over a million Hispanics turned white between the 2000 and 2010 Census
about two million people switched from describing themselves as Hispanic members of “some other race” to being Hispanic members of the white race, while only about one million people switched in the other direction.
I expect the trend to continue in the 2020 census.
Obamacare implementation went great and people love it
None of this proves that the Affordable Care Act is a good law or that conservatives should love it. But it does prove that the Affordable Care Act is working just fine. When an initiative comes in ahead of schedule and below-cost, that’s called working. And the people on the new Obamacare plans are using them and they like them.
We are two decades away from people holding up signs demanding the government keep out of their Obamacare.
Basic Economics Has a Liberal Bias
People to the left of econ 101 will typically invoke the phrase “political economy” to explain why, for example, econ 101 underrates labor unions. Conversely those to the right of econ 101 will instead invoke the phrase “public choice” to explain why, for example, econ 101 overrates utility regulation. But in both cases the critics are saying the same thing, namely that the moderately liberal policies advocated by introduction to economics textbooks are ignoring certain realities of institutional design, practical politics, power dynamics, etc.
That is 100% spot on. I just do not see how it fits in with his title. Maybe I am missing something but it reads like Yglesias is making the mistake of confusing economics with a morality play.