16 Jan 2013

Jon Stewart Strikes Back at Krugman

Humor, Krugman 147 Comments

This proves better than anything that Krugman can’t think two moves ahead. You don’t get huffy with Jon Stewart.

Now do you guys agree I have been right to love Jon Stewart lo these many years?

147 Responses to “Jon Stewart Strikes Back at Krugman”

  1. xgsmmy says:

    Stewart doesn’t actually come out and give an opinion on what he really thinks of the economics of the idea. Krugman is wrong I think that Stewart didn’t “take it” well, he didn’t seem fazed at all. I agree with Krugman’s point, but don’t think a comedian needs to be the one who’s responsibility this falls.

    Even if Stewart supported the idea we would still want him to make fun of it mercilessly.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      re: “I agree with Krugman’s point, but don’t think a comedian needs to be the one who’s responsibility this falls.”

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      It’s not like Stewart is under some kind of obligation to do a detailed analysis of this stuff, after all. He’s a comedian. But one of the things that we like about him in particular is that he often does offer an informed view, and Krugman is dead on that it wasn’t here in this case. Of all issues, the federal budget in a major depression would have been a nice time for Stewart to pierce through to the underlying issue. Ah well.

      • Jonathan M.F. Catalán says:

        So anybody who thinks the coin is a really bad idea isn’t informed? Couldn’t it just be that Stewart disagrees with you (and Krugman)?

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          I should hope not, since I think the coin is a bad idea!!

          • Dyspeptic says:

            Daniel, why do you think the coin is a bad idea? How is it any different than the monetary hocus pocus that the Fed perpetrates on a daily basis with standard open market operations and Q.E.? Is it bad merely because it is so blatantly and obviously crackpot that even the gullible masses can understand it?

            • Daniel Kuehn says:

              It’s a solution requiring the executive to do in an ad hoc and less sensible way what the Federal Reserve does in a non-ad hoc and more sensible way in an effort to circumvent a Congress hell-bent on nonsense.

              That doesn’t seem like a good solution to me.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                It’s a solution requiring the executive to do in an ad hoc and less sensible way what the Federal Reserve does in a non-ad hoc and more sensible way

                The Fed does their thing ad hoc too.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                Somewhat when they were in crisis mode, MF. But I wouldn’t call QE ad hoc, for example.

                But in crisis mode, when the options are thin, it makes sense to take a chance with the ad hoc! I don’t think we have to do that in this situation.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                “Somewhat when they were in crisis mode, MF.”

                The Fed is always in crisis mode. Permanent crisis is what is faced by socialist institutions. They do not operate according to market signals of profit and loss, they instead enact their necessarily non-market rules.

                All of their rules are arbitrary and ad hoc even in “non-crisis modes”.

                I don’t really know what you are doing when you separate their activity between “non-crisis non-ad hoc” and “crisis and ad hoc”………

                “But I wouldn’t call QE ad hoc, for example.”

                …….where the latter of course isn’t even ad hoc after all. It’s all a part of “the plan.”

                “But in crisis mode, when the options are thin, it makes sense to take a chance with the ad hoc!”

                Of course, because real human beings are in fact lab rats. We need to “test” various theories based on constancy, because humans behave like lab rats.

                “I don’t think we have to do that in this situation.”

                You’re right. The Fed just needs to enact a different ad hoc arbitrary fly by wire plan. Don’t be do dogmatic and believe that none of them will work, because eventually they’ll hit on the holy grail of non-market money printing rules. The 45,765 prior rules were the result of bad economics. Rule 45,766 will probably work, I can feel it!

              • guest says:

                The Fed is always in crisis mode.

                Good point. Deflation and leisure are always the “crisis” to them.

                (If it were about reducing poverty, they would stop inflating away people’s purchasing power and misleading entrepreneurs into making malinvestments that will later have to be liquidated.)

              • Tel says:

                But I wouldn’t call QE ad hoc, for example.

                Heck no! Currency debasement has a long and proud history of temporary success followed by long term failure.

            • Yancey Ward says:

              You absolutely nailed it here! It is no different, just more obviously ridiculous

      • Matt Tanous says:

        The issue isn’t the federal budget in a major depression. (After all, we already had “Recovery Summer”, right?)

        The issue was the incredibly stupid idea of printing up a $1 Trillion coin to circumvent the debt ceiling. In which case, why not make it $20 Trillion, and pay off the debt entirely? Why not print up as much money as you desire, to start all sorts of new programs that were dropped because of funding issues? Stewart has – on this, at least – nailed the point, IMO.

        • Dyspeptic says:

          Spot on! as the Limeys would say. As soon as I heard about this I thought – why not make it a 1 googolplex dollar coin and pay off the debts of all humanity forever. No time for half measures now when it would be so easy to save the world with the ultimate stimulus.

          • Tel says:

            You have to leave the people holding dollars in their hands with some small glimmer of hope.

      • xgsmmy says:

        I’m thinking I agree with Daniel now. I don’t care that he’s a “only” a comic. He should get it right.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          He did get it right. The right answer is that it is a stupid f&*cking idea.

        • xgsmmy says:

          No, Stewart should have Krugman on his show if he’s so confident.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            “No” to what?

            Oh, and Stewart probably doesn’t have time to debate Krugman. He probably doesn’t want to turn economics into a talking point gong show.

            He’s probably got better things to do. I mean, does it make any sense for Stewart to debate EVERYONE who disagrees with him? There are only so many hours in a day.

            Maybe he thinks Krugman’s ideas just aren’t important enough, and considers his ideas like the support for the $1 trillion coin, a little too fringe.

            • Tel says:

              Stewart doesn’t like to debate these internet crank economists, because it just gives them an audience and acts to legitimitize their fringe views.

              • xgsmmy says:

                +1, Could Murphy triangulate this somehow? (Probably not, I’m just imagining things that could happen.)

      • Bharat says:

        Daniel, I think that’s a misunderstanding of his show, and what Stewart is trying to explain. His show isn’t about offering an informed view; it only appears that way because the people that watch it generally agree with those views. Meanwhile, those who disagree with it can find plenty of subtleties that Stewart skips over, that even those of the other side would admit are important to understand as part of a truly informed view.

        Stewart’s show is mostly about making fun of stuff that sounds stupid. The only time he offers what we can call truly informed opinions are when he debates people. He wasn’t debating anyone on the trillion dollar coin idea during that segment.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      xgsmmy wrote:

      Krugman is wrong I think that Stewart didn’t “take it” well,

      I am not kidding, I deliberately didn’t bring that part up, because I was too embarrassed for Krugman. After the above demolition, you don’t link to it and say, “He can dish it out but not take it.” That literally makes me feel bad for Krugman, if he thinks this is an example of a guy who can’t take some goodnatured ribbing. It would be like Krugman criticizing someone for not admitting when he was wrong about econo–oh never mind.

    • xgsmmy says:

      Yes, what I said was really stupid. Why is blowing up the financial system (if that’s what will happen) somehow not the thing that deserves mocking? What does Stewart think will happen?

      • guest says:

        Why is blowing up the financial system (if that’s what will happen) somehow not the thing that deserves mocking?

        The financial system was blown up when we adopted a non-commoity-money system. It’s why there are economic crashes and imperialist wars to hide the effects of inflation.

        If you want to continue using a destructive financial system, then you have yourself to blame when it crashes. Save your wealth by aquiring commodity money.

        • xgsmmy says:

          I have myself to blame? Do you even understand the debate? It’s a policy choice.

          You don’t seem to understand that inflation can’t continue if everyone doesn’t have higher income of some kind. Or you may be referring to money inflation, but your connection between wars and “non-commodity” money is spurious. You’re looking at how government’s choose to finance wars and then saying the financing causes the war rather than the war causes the finance.

    • Tel says:

      Even if Stewart supported the idea we would still want him to make fun of it mercilessly.

      If you were a comedian looking for material, having a billion dollar platinum coin and Paul Krugman at the same time would be like, errr gold I guess.

  2. Joseph Fetz says:

    I’ve been a fan every since he showed me what’s on the back of a $20 bill.

  3. Daniel Kuehn says:

    So you know I disagree with Krugman on the issue, but he actually has a good point on Jon Stewart.

    What’s funny here is that Stewart actually clipped the full claim about what Stewart’s “brand” is. In the interview, Krugman actually said Stewart’s brand is to make fun of dumb things but actually present a better informed view than you usually get. Krugman’s complaint was that that latter element was missing here.

    This was a great response from Stewart, but nobody can deny that that is perhaps the most essential ingredient of Stewart’s success – he’s a comedian that has a sounder take on the issues than most actual journalists.

    I wasn’t bothered by the Stewart treatment of the coin. Hell, that’s exactly why I don’t like the coin – it’s a ridiculous gimmick that doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. But Stewart did fall a little short here in that he didn’t even seem to grasp the underlying problem. He usually does. And to that extent, Krugman had a point.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      This was a great response from Stewart, but nobody can deny that that is perhaps the most essential ingredient of Stewart’s success – he’s a comedian that has a sounder take on the issues than most actual journalists.
      I wasn’t bothered by the Stewart treatment of the coin. Hell, that’s exactly why I don’t like the coin – it’s a ridiculous gimmick that doesn’t deal with the underlying problem.

      This makes absolutely no sense to me Daniel. If Stewart was right in his position, and he was undeniably funny, and he was making fun of the idiots on Fox/CNN talking about the coin, then how is this not classic Stewart? Should he have mentioned your blog as scholarly backup for his position?

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Well to bring this full circle your response makes no sense to me.

        Look, the intro to his piece says it all. Our debt is awful we all agree we need to deal with it and get things under control… downgrading our debt yadda yadda yadda.

        I think classic Stewart would mock the gimmick nature of the coin but at least show some sign that he realizes why people like Krugman support it – how crazy D.C.’s obsession with cutting the short term deficit is, and simply how crazy the debt ceiling is.

        In this segment at least, he didn’t seem aware of all that.

        I’m not complaining about the segment (the original one or this one). I do not rely on Stewart for my insights on fiscal policy after all. But like Krugman, I think it would have been nice to see more of an awareness of that, because it’s that sort of awareness that we usually like about Stewart.

        • Dan says:

          “I think classic Stewart would mock the gimmick nature of the coin but at least show some sign that he realizes why people like Krugman support it”

          What Stewart clip can you point to where he mocks an idea but shows that he understands why people support it? The whole reason he mocks an idea is because he doesn’t understand why people would support it.

          • Daniel Kuehn says:

            Well maybe he doesn’t have to walk you through it all (it’s only a half hour show!), but at least he should “first, do no harm”. He should not be as dense as the Fox pundits he always mocks.

            Take for example his making fun of Jack Lew’s signature. There’s something really goofy about Lew and he makes fun of it. There’s something really goofy about the trillion dollar coin and he makes fun of it.

            But in the coin case he didn’t stop there – he famed it with a bad analysis of the issue.

            Not the end of the world. Not worth an initial blog post from Krugman. But he wasn’t exactly wrong on this point either.

            • Dan says:

              See Murphy’s response below about his analysis.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              This is ridiculous. Stewart mocks idiocy all the time, without the “but here’s why “intelligent” and “smart” people might think it’s not idiocy” caveats at the end of his pieces.

              You’re just looking for something to complain about, because he didn’t give a hit tip to you for having greater than zero acceptance that maybe there’s something more to the trillion dollar coin, than just plain idiocy mocking would deserve.

              What “bad analysis” are you talking about? The analysis that didn’t include “I’m just kidding everyone, I don’t think you’re all idiots for thinking this MAY be a good idea”?

              • xgsmmy says:

                Stewart has chosen his moments of when to get serious, maybe this is one of those times?

                He can debate Jim Cramer, but not Paul Krugman?

              • Major_Freedom says:

                I think contemplating a $1 trillion coin is exactly when not to get serious.

                As for having the time to debate Jim Cramer…

                You can always point to examples of who people actually debate and who they don’t have time to debate. It’s a necessary fact in anyone’s life, since everyone can only ever debate a less than everyone number of people.

                You take even Larry King, who talked with more prominent people than anyone, and one could still make a laundry list of those King did not speak with.

                There’s only 24 hrs in a day and 7 days in a week.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          DK wrote:

          But like Krugman, I think it would have been nice to see more of an awareness of that, because it’s that sort of awareness that we usually like about Stewart.

          Ah, so you were also upset when they had a black puppet pretending to be the RNC chairman, talking about how he was going to s&m strip clubs, right? You wished Stewart had ended such skits with a nod toward the Laffer Curve?

          • Joseph Fetz says:

            I was going to pipe in, but I thought to myself, “Murphy will probably jump on this and do a better job”. Well, you didn’t disappoint.

          • Daniel Kuehn says:

            I am very confused by this comment Bob.

            Let me restate the point. There are two elements of Jon Stewart’s original segment here: (1.) the analysis of the debt debate, and (2.) the joke at the goofy element of the story.

            Lots of his segments have these same two components – analysis and joke. We like Jon Stewart because he hits the mark on both. In this case he hit the mark on the joke but missed the mark on the analysis. Oh well – not a big deal. But it’s still the fact of the matter IMO.

            Sometimes he doesn’t even have an analysis – it’s just the joke. Such as an RNC chairman puppet and S&M strip clubs. That’s fine too. No need to always analyze. But when he does an analysis we like the fact that he usually does it right.

            • Bob Murphy says:

              The analysis was, creating a trillion dollar coin to avert the debt ceiling is a stupid f*cking idea. If you agree, it’s hilarious. If you disagree, it’s not.

              The “context” of people ripping on the RNC guy is that Republicans are a bunch of hypocrites with their family values stuff. Oh I so wish Stewart would have given a 30-second postscript on why single-parent families have higher crime rates. Oh wait, then his ratings would bomb.

              The platinum coin skit was great. The only reason you and Krugman don’t like it, is that you disagreed with the policy position.

              I’m not saying you *consciously* think that, but it seems unavoidable. The reasons you’re giving would work for just about anything Stewart does on his show–like he himself said.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                You are baffling to me today, Bob.

                Does anybody disagree that there are Republicans out there who are hypocritical about family values? Are you really challenging that? In their apology speeches they usually admit this themselves!

                It would be analagous if Stewart started that joke by saying “Family values are terrible things. Infidelity and lying are great” and then went on to mock a Republican that was a hypocrite on family values. Then you’d say “look, he nailed the joke but he had a terrible analysis”.

                That’s the case with the trillion dollar coin.

                Yes, the trillion dollar coin has a Dr. Evil veneer to it that lends itself to a lot of great jokes.

                But don’t give me that crap at the beginning that recycles inside the beltway talking points about what we all agree the problems are. Usually Stewart is better than to recycle that.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                And in the case of someone like you who actually agrees that the debt is the real issue, at least you have a sense of why the other side disagrees.

                That makes you wrong, but still an informed observer of the situation.

                I don’t think that’s the case with Stewart here. I don’t think he has any concept of why there are people out there who support the coin. That’s the real problem because he’s usually so well informed. I could be wrong of course.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                MAYBE!

                MAYBE NOT!

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                Hey, that’s my joke!

              • Ken B says:

                Actually Joe, M_F is referring to a video link I attached to one of the discussions.

              • Ken B says:

                DK: “You are baffling to me today, Bob.”
                The hell Daniel! What about the days he’s on about ID or souls or secession or OLG models???

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                Well Ken, I’m the guy that, um, repeated it first.
                :)

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                Yeah, that’s the ticket!

        • Major_Freedom says:

          “how crazy D.C.’s obsession with cutting the short term deficit is, and simply how crazy the debt ceiling is.”

          Because you reduce the total debt now by not cutting the deficit now.

          Right.

          • xgsmmy says:

            Daniel, I’m presuming,does not want to cut the total debt now.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Yes, that would be awesome if he mentioned me blog, btw.

        • Ken B says:

          Say something really stupid, that’s the best way to get a mention on Stewart!

          • Daniel Kuehn says:

            Nonsense Ken B. I’ve never seen him mention Major Freedom a single time.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              That’s because I don’t say things that are as stupid as that which contains non-absolute zero support for the trillion coin idea.

              Your non-stupid role models make it on Jon Stewart because he likes to make fun of really intelligent ideas that people have. That’s his M.O.

              It’s hilarious. An idiocy spewing Paul Krugman (note that I am not saying Krugman IS an idiot), whom DK admires, makes it on Jon Stewart, and DK is so butthurt over Stewart having nothing BUT mockings to give, that he feels compelled to IMAGINE me, Major_Freedom, worthy of making it on Jon Stewart too, because only then would the world make sense to him.

              You won’t find me on Stewart even if I was the only person in the news that week, because I tend to refrain from having anything more than non-zero support for stupid f&*cking ideas like the $1 trillion coin.

              • xgsmmy says:

                I would actually like to see you on The Daily Show.

                Do you have a identity somewhere else on the web? Or are you just Major_Freedom?

            • Ken B says:

              Stewart enforces a zero lower bound.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        For a great comedian’s take on how stupid the short-term debt obsessions of D.C. are, see Bill Maher’s interview of Christina Romer. Jokes plus awareness of the underlying issue. That’s what we like about both Maher and Stewart, but Maher was better at exhibiting it on this issue. Stewart was content to buy the Tea Party/Fox line on the debt, ironically.

        • Dan says:

          Who’s we? Jon Stewart is great but Maher is awful. He’s like listening to some stoner freshmen in college giving his inane take on life. Other than uber liberals, I can’t imagine there are many people who find him funny.

        • Sandre says:

          If you like Maher, you need to quickly go and have your head examined. He is an incompetent jackass.

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          Dan – if you think Maher is only popular among uber-liberals then you live under a rock. I do not think I am alone in this.

          Sandre – He is a jackass, but I loosen my standards when it comes to comedians. He’s certainly not incompetent.

          • Dan says:

            No, I base that assessment off the fact that republicans and libertarians don’t find him funny. Sure there might be a few who do like him, but for the most part his audience is far left.

            • Daniel Kuehn says:

              I don’t think the far left could sustain the show.

              Now wait a minute – do you consider me far left? Maybe the issue is just that you have a weird sense of the ideological distribution.

              Of course he’s going to have a more liberal audience for the same reason that Stewart does. But he’s got pretty broad appeal.

              • Dan says:

                Ahh, yes, I forgot you think of yourself as mister moderate.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                You don’t honestly think I’m “far left” do you??

              • Dan says:

                Yes, I think you are far left. I think of Ken B as more centrist, but I don’t see you that way at all.

                I understand you don’t agree with my assessment of you, but I don’t question giving you that label at all. Shoot, when I was a liberal I would’ve agreed with your views on political philosophy.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                I probably say “center left” more than moderate, but whatever.Anyone that calls me “liberal” is probably not fully informed of what I think and extrapolating a lot from the very narrow question of my views on macro-stabilization. Anyone who calls me “far left” doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

              • Dan says:

                I just call them like I see them. My opinion of you is based on reading your comments for the last three or fours years on this site, and reading a lot of your posts on your blog.

                Out of curiosity, do you disagree that Krugman is far left?

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                I don’t feel like I know much about what Krugman thinks outside of certain economic policy questions.

                On those he’s a welfare state neo-liberal… I have a tough time calling that “far left”, but honestly I’d rather not get more specific than just calling him a liberal. I don’t know.

              • Dan says:

                Well, if it makes you feel any better, I wouldn’t view center left as an improvement. It’d be just a different kind of wrong to me. So it’s not like I’m saying your views are worse by calling them far left.

              • Ken B says:

                I think Dan has our relative positions right, I am certainly right of DK. But I’m pretty right on most of the the things we discuss here, and I’d place DK at about percentile 65 or so on left vs right — sane centre left.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                Hey! Quit masturbating me you damn monkey!

                [if you have to ask, please just pretend you never read this]

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                Sane only because he’s not an imbecile (this has less to do with Daniel and more to do with the average man on the street). In more proper terms, he’s far left, but in more contemporary terms, he’s definitely more toward the center. Funny that.

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                I believe the words were “fondling” and “bonobos”.

              • Ken B says:

                The words were pleasuring and bonobos.

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                Ah yes, pleasuring. Each other.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                “Sane only because he’s not an imbecile ”

                I’ll take it!

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                Well, you’re smarter than I am. Which certainly doesn’t say much for the average man on the street.

              • Ken B says:

                OK, we like BETS here on FreeAdvice. Well Bob likes the idea of bets anyway, the ones he makes he seems to always regret. But I will bet a pledge of $5 to Bob’s debate fund on the following proposition: “Daniel Kuehn is seen by his cohort in his school as being right of the center of that cohort.”
                In other words, Daniel is seen by his peers as tending more to the right than their average.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Ken B:

                “But I’m pretty right on most of the the things we discuss here,”

                Ooh, ooh! Do me now!

                Where am I in the “spectrum”?

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                I agree with that, so I can’t take you up on your bet. He certainly isn’t a Marxist.

              • Ken B says:

                I already answered that M_F: zero lower bound.

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                MF, in a small thread that contained ideas such as bonobos pleasuring each other, you go ahead and say, “do me now”?

                Oh boy!

              • Ken B says:

                And don’t forget this is the ‘felching’ thread too Joe!

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                And I was just about to eat dinner!

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                And shrimp(ing) wasn’t on the menu.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Ken B:

                “I already answered that M_F: zero lower bound.”

                That is not enough information for me to form a coherent picture.

                “Zero lower bound” on what scale that contains zero at one end?

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                MF, I personally have always though of the left/right spectrum as a scale from -100 to 100, with zero in the center. However, I doubt that he’s calling you a centrist.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Right, because then zero would not be a lower bound.

                I’m guessing he’s trying to cobble together a joke that suggests I’m the bottom of…something, but then considering how much he likes to engage with me,

                I’ll just take his behavior to be similar to how the Arabs were enamored with zero.

            • Daniel Kuehn says:

              Anyway – I find this funny because your description of Maher’s audience sounds exactly like Bill O’Reilly’s description of Stewart’s audience. I think you both are missing the broadness of the appeal of these guys (granted, O’Reilly has warmed to Stewart since that episode).

              • Dan says:

                I’ll give you an example of what I mean. My cousin used to be a hardcore Clinton/Obama guy. During this time he used to send me clips constantly of the guy. He thought he was hilarious. Then, after a couple years of arguing with him, he became a libertarian, and now he can’t stand the guy. He finds him more obnoxious than I do. He still likes Stewart, though, even if he disagrees with his views from the left.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                I could offer a more plausible take on that anecdote, but I don’t want to be mean to your family members.

                Maher is more hard-hitting than Stewart is. I think that explains a lot of the difference. Aside from that my prior has been that Maher is more popular among libertarians than Stewart.

              • Dan says:

                I doubt you could come up with a more plausible explanation for why my cousin no longer likes Bill Maher than I can. I have the distinct advantage of knowing exactly why his opinion changed on Maher. He liked him before when they agreed on politics and now that they disagree he finds him obnoxious. Stewart, on the other hand has the ability to still make him laugh in spite if their political differences.

                Also, I don’t know what libertarian circles you hang in, but I only see Maher brought up to be mocked or criticized by libertarians. Stewart still gets a lot of love, tough.

          • Jason B says:

            “He is a jackass, but I loosen my standards when it comes to comedians. He’s certainly not incompetent.”

            He’s not incompetent at running his show, he’s incompetent at comedy.

    • Simon Grey says:

      I don’t think it’s relevant that Stewart didn’t grasp the underlying problem. His point wasn’t the coin wouldn’t solve the problem, his point was that there was a gap in the logic. If two $1 trillion dollar coins can provide be used to mediate the debt ceiling problem, then why not simply mint a coin that covers the entire debt? That’s what Stewart was driving at. If the $1 trillion coin idea is so wonderful, why not take it to its logical conclusion? Since Krugman and others do not take the idea to its logical conclusion, it is reasonable (though not necessarily logical) to conclude that the $1 trillion coin idea is all that wonderful. In presenting the gap in logic, Stewart is basically calling BS on Krugman et al.’s argument.

      Thus, to Stewart, the underlying problem was not the federal fiscal issues, but that the proposed solution was dishonest. And, to that extent, he identified and mocked the problem correctly. He wasn’t asserting that the coin would fail, he was asserting that the proponents of the coin didn’t really believe it would work.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        I don’t think the 1 T vs. 20 T was the crux of the joke…

        Presumably the 1 T was because 1 T is what you need to cover the fiscal year and if they can mint one now they can mint more later.

        The crux of the joke is that it’s a goofy solution period.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          It’s goofy in part because of fact that it’s $1 trillion instead of $20 trillion.

          It’s the arbitrariness of picking $1 trillion instead of more, since it’s already at a goofy level.

  4. Daniel Kuehn says:

    I liked that he ended saying how much he liked Krugman…

    It’s like he anticipated the Krugmaniacs’ reaction and wanted to make that clear.

  5. skylien says:

    Just looked up what “felching” means… omg..

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      It’s a fairly unassuming word relative to its definition, isn’t it?

      • skylien says:

        Certainly! There is not even a word for it in my mother tongue.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          Challenge accepted.

          What’s your mother tongue?

          • skylien says:

            German.

            I didn’t find one, yet I also didn’t spend hours looking for one..

            ;)

            • Ken B says:

              If there is a word for it it’ll be a borrowing from French …

            • Major_Freedom says:

              German.

              OK, how about

              SchlükenLochßamen?

              • skylien says:

                MF,

                That word doesn’t exist. You created that, it sounds funny though, yet it doesn’t really transport much information. If I translate that back into English it would be: Swallow-hole-seed(or sperm, since ‘Samen’ has severeal meanings).

                The right way to put those three words together was ‘Lochsamenschlucken’.

                Since it is ceated by you I guess it doesn’t really count.

                At least I have found another meaing of felching, which would make it politically correct to use ‘felching’ and ‘mother’ in the same sentence.

                http://www.notacult.com/forums/showwiki/Felching

              • skylien says:

                ‘At least I have found another meaing of felching, which would make it politically correct to use ‘felching’ and ‘mother’ in the same sentence.’

                Provided either the object or the subject of the sentence, well, is an ‘arrow’.

              • Ken B says:

                Felchieren.

                That’s a wee joke for skylien which no-one else need bother trying to puzzle out.

              • skylien says:

                ‘Felchieren’

                Right that sounds like German now. Even though it is made up, maybe I try to incorporate it into my language and spread it. Maybe one day we even find it in the Duden, and on Wikipedia we may read that it originated on Bob’s blog from a commenter called Ken.

                ;)

              • Ken B says:

                TYhe joke, for those who know no German, is that the way German absorbs new verbs (from Romance languages especially) is to take the stem from the other language and turn it into a verb by adding -ieren.

              • skylien says:

                And I guess it is an advantage if the word keeps its characteristic of being unassuming and does not give away too much… (Apart from the fact that I will have to do a lot of explaining…)

              • Ken B says:

                As long as it doesn’t end up in the illustrated Duden!

          • Ken B says:

            Don’t use ‘felching’ and ‘mother’ in the same sentence.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              “Don’t use ‘felching’ and ‘mother’ in the same sentence.”

              Exactly, because then you might end up saying something totally untrue, such as

              “Ken B and is mother were NOT engaging in felching.”

  6. Jason B says:

    First of all, I’m pretty sure that IS my brand.

    And second of all, if somebody is ruining their own brand with a trillion dollar coin idea – I don’t think it’s the non-economist.

    I don’t there’s anything that needs to be said here, I just wanted to make sure it was quoted in the comments.

  7. The Narrator says:

    Bob’s analogy with the RNC chairman is flawed (as Daniel points out in the paragraph that starts with “It would be” and ends with “terrible analysis”) because in that case Stewart was not (to my knowledge) making a point about an idea / policy proposal, but only mocking the Republicans for their hypocrisy, not (again, to my knowledge) for the beliefs they espouse, only for the fact that their own actions contradict these beliefs.

    In the trillion dollar coin example, however, Stewart *was* mocking an idea / policy proposal, and he was doing through a form of analysis (‘if we can create a trillion dollar coin to solve this problem, why stop there? why not create a 20 trilllion dollar coin to solve all of our problems?’). So if Daniel says that Stewart’s analysis here was lacking and if Bob then counters by saying that Stewart didn’t try to give some sort of analysis of Republican beliefs about families etc., then Bob misses the point that in the latter case Stewart was not mocking these beliefs (which *would* have required some form of analysis), only the fact that the Republicans’ own actions contradict their own beliefs.

    Where Daniel goes wrong, in my opinion, is in stating or implying that the superficial, jokey kind of analysis that Stewart gave of the trillion dollar coin plan is somehow unusual for Stewart, that when Stewart does criticize an idea / policy proposal (and so not somebody’s hypocrisy or whatever), his analyses typically *are* more detailed or serious or well-thought out than his analysis of the trillion dollar coin proposal was.

    I can’t think of an example right now, but I would bet quite a bit of money that in the Daily Show’s archives of just the past year one can find at least a dozen of such examples where Stewart criticizes an idea / policy proposal and does so through a funny but not well thought out analysis (so one that is similar to his trillion dollar coin analysis).

    and for what it’s worth, every libertarian whose opinion on Bill Maher I know, *loathes* Maher. And many of these same people do like Stewart.

  8. The Narrator says:

    also, Stewart’s criticism of the trillion dollar coin doesn’t seem that different from Daniel’s own criticism of it. Basically both criticisms come from a political economy kind of perspective, not from a purely technical economics one. Stewart is saying or can at least be sensibly be interpreted as saying that if the trillion dollar coin plan becomes reality, then what’s to stop politicians from going even further in the future and just creating coins worth 20 trillion dollars etc.
    And Daniel’s criticism is that the trillion dollar coin plan is unprofessional and that going through with it undermines the relevant institutions:

    “Kevin Drum puts it this way: “Fighting banana republic with more banana republic is far more dangerous than coin supporters think. It’s one thing for Republicans to go crazy. It’s another for craziness to essentially become institutionalized. When liberals stop fighting this kind of stuff, we really are on our way to banana republic-hood.”

    Exactly”

    These two kinds of criticism aren’t that different from each other, and so I’m also not sure I understand why Daniel criticizes Stewart’s criticism.

  9. Jonathan J says:

    I agree with Krugman — minting a trillion dollar coin is really not all that much stupider, in reality, than what the Federal Reserve and US Treasury do every day. It just seems that way.

  10. Bob Murphy says:

    Daniel, I also think it is obvious that libertarians despise Maher.

    I think I figured it out: Daniel you really can’t tell when guys whose politics you agree with are just plain jerks. That’s why you say stuff like, “I can’t believe people get so bent out of shape when DeLong calls them the stupidest man alive” or “that’s why we love Stewart and Maher.”

    Note, I’m not saying you’re wrong for liking DeLong and Maher. I’m saying, I can’t believe you don’t at least understand why so many people hate those guys (and Krugman) with a passion. It’s not because of their politics. I have no problem with Karl Smith or Jon Stewart.

    • xgsmmy says:

      In the nineties Maher referred to himself as a libertarian and he did briefly seem to like Ron Paul. (Just saying for no real reason.)

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        And this – Maher gets lots of attention from libertarians for his positive mentions of Ron Paul.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      I don’t know what else to say, Bob. I’ve said many times that DeLong is rude to people and I wish he wasn’t in a lot of cases. I said in this very thread that Maher is a jackass.

      If I keep saying these things and you keep telling me I don’t understand the things that I am openly saying, I’m not sure what else to do.

      I disagree on Maher. As I said, Stewart has a broader appeal, period, because he’s a friendly guy and Maher is a jackass which is why he’s on HBO and he has a smaller audience in general. But Maher does get a lot of credit from people for being a civil libertarian, hitting the drug war, American imperialism, etc. That’s my experience.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      What I say about DeLong is not that he’s not rude to people. I say that he’s no worse than (and in a lot of ways better than) people on the libertarian side that other libertarians never seem to complain about.

      I dispute this idea that the Keynesian blogosphere is somehow disproportionately full of meanies. I’ve always made a point of highlighting the fact that DeLong is unnecessarily nasty to people. I’ve received censure from DeLong himself for pointing this out!

      • The Narrator says:

        Daniel wrote:

        “What I say about DeLong is not that he’s not rude to people. I say that he’s no worse than (and in a lot of ways better than) people on the libertarian side that other libertarians never seem to complain about.”

        This is true and important to point out. I guess what bugged me about Daniel’s response to DeLong’s response to Bob’s losing the bet was that being rude and insulting (as DeLong was) to somebody who exactly is typically not rude and insulting and who goes out of his way to be fair to the people he disagrees with and who is very much open to being corrected on (non-minor) points (as Bob is and does) is a special kind of rudeness that deserves a special kind of strong condemnation, even more so because the analysis it was based on (Bob should give up all of his Austrian beliefs and shut down his blog because he was wrong about his inflation prediction) was shoddy (a phenomenon that Daniel exactly did condemn re the Stewart vs. Krugman skit)

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          I need to revisit what was said but I recall thinking people overreacted to that particular post.

          Noting that you might want to rethink your underlying theory when your predictions fail is not rude. And when you talk about chanting mantras at Krugman’s feet that’s clearly a flourish. The idea that that’s particularly rude is not very convincing.

          Maybe there was an odd sentence I’m missing that was indeed rude (and I’m not going to track it down now – I’m willing to accept I might have missed a particular sentence that was bad), but the general thrust of the comment wasn’t rude IMO.

          re: “(Bob should give up all of his Austrian beliefs and shut down his blog because he was wrong about his inflation prediction)”

          I am going out on a limb here, but I think this is just a flourish. I don’t think he actually thinks he should shut down his blog or give up “all his Austrian beliefs”. DeLong has noted at several points Austrian beliefs he agrees with after all (his bad Hayek, good Hayek thing).

          I am going out on a limb – I can’t read his mind. But my sense is it is a very sturdy limb.

          • The Narrator says:

            “Noting that you might want to rethink your underlying theory when your predictions fail is not rude.”

            If DeLong had just said something like that, that would have been fine. But what he wrote was considerably more insulting, especially because of how it attacked Bob’s character:

            “The most terrifying thing of all is that being completely, comprehensively, unmistakably, fundamentally, fatally, totally wrong has not led Robert Murphy to rethink or modify any

            [really?]

            ” of his analytical positions or ideological beliefs by even one iota.

            I mean, one would expect”

            [really?]

            “an announcement on his weblog like: “I have been totally wrong, about everything. I am closing down this weblog for five years to avoid misleading readers while I intellectually retool.”

            [I don't understand how this is even funny. I mean, it is based on a false premise (that Bob was wrong about everything), so how can the rest of it be funny *qua* the topic at hand?) ]

            “You will find me sitting at the feet of Paul Krguman”

            [really? how does it follow that Bob should think Krugman was right just because there has not been 1-% inflation?], chanting ‘om mani padme hum’ until I achieve enlightenment.”

            Not gonna happen…”

            of course the ‘sitting at the feet of’ aspect is a flourish and although somewhat uncivil can be accepted, but the ‘at the feet of *Paul Krugman*’ aspect is much more objectionable because Bob’s being wrong about the 10% inflation thing doesn’t (as Bob has pointed out repeatedly, by invoking the fact t that he lost the bet to another austerity advocate, Henderson) imply that Krugman was right (although your point then was that on the topic of inflation Henderson’s and Krugman’s underlying theoretical models were actually quite similar)

            And the general attack on Bob’s intellectual honesty is even more objectionable.

            I don’t understand how this is not obvious.

            • The Narrator says:

              Also, Daniel wrote:

              “I am going out on a limb here, but I think this is just a flourish. I don’t think he actually thinks he should shut down his blog or give up “all his Austrian beliefs””
              Yes, but what follows from that re the topic at hand? Does that make it less rude qua joke and/or less inaccurate qua analysis?

              re bias:
              I mean, DeLong’s analysis was wrong and hence the jokes that were based on that analysis were at the very least problematic and not very funny, and he attacked Bob’s character unjustly. Daniel objected to Stewart’s analysis being wrong (even though he found the joke itself funny). Then why not object to DeLong’s post where the analysis was wrong as well (and the jokes were problematic or not that funny to begin with) and the character assassination attempt was unjust?

              That’s what I mean by the bias.

              anyway, I’m gonna drop it as well now.

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          While we’re on the topic of pronouncements from DeLong, I doubt he really wishes the Washington Post would shut down. I even doubt he wishes there were no more Republican Party. I think he wants to bring attention to things he thinks need reform in them.

          Do people really not see this for what it is – a flourish? some hyperbole?

          Jesus, these are blogs people. This is social media. The tone is more eccentric and interesting than more staid venues traditional for academics.

          • Bob Murphy says:

            DK:

            Do people really not see this for what it is – a flourish? some hyperbole?

            See my comment above, about Daniel not recognizing why some people don’t like guys who are super jerks.

            “Yes yes Bob, I totally understand why some people would not want Joe Pesci to deliver the homily on Christmas Eve. But I mean c’mon people–do you really think he believes every other guy he talks to, had sex with his own mother? That is just hyperbole. Italians get agitated a lot. Wow you people are uptight.”

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Anyway I’m going to drop it now. What this whole thing boils down to, is Paul Krugman is saying he has better comedic sense than Jon Stewart (hence the “he can dish it out but not take it” absurdity). I am going to have to disagree on that one.

              • Ken B says:

                I’m not convinced. You laugh at Krugman more often.

        • Ken B says:

          If you write sentences like that you need to rethink your moniker.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      What strikes me about the “stupidest man in the world” thing is that people seem to take it way more literally than its intended. I think people miss the fact that its a gimmicky title.

      But even despite that – I still complained that DeLong used it.

      And guess what! He retired it after responding to my complaints a few times. So what’s the fuss? Why the suggestion that I’m turning a blind eye?

    • The Narrator says:

      Bob writes:

      “I think I figured it out: Daniel you really can’t tell when guys whose politics you agree with are just plain jerks.”

      I think this is true to a significant extent. Daniel is right to point out that he has objected to DeLong’s rudeness in the past, but re the kinds of dishonesty Bob has regularly pointed out in Krugman’s behavior Daniel’s response typically is to try to interpret that behavior in a much more positive light while others (such as myself) are sort of flabbergasted that Daniel doesn’t just see in Krugman’s behavior what we are seeing (or that he is trying so hard not to acknowledge it / to deny it).

      In the Stewart – Krugman episode Daniel made reasonable points throughout but his biases did show, in my opinion, in that (as Bob also sort of pointed out) he does pick on Stewart for not framing his analysis correcty which in this case comes at the expense of the proponents of at least he economical thinking that is behind the trillion dollar coin plan, while seemingly being unaware of or not objecting to all the other times Stewart is not fair in framing his analysis or where his analysis is superficial and misleading but where this comes at the expense of people Daniel would likely disagree with (although again, it is an open, empirical question whether I am actually right that Stewart does this regularly)

      I think this kind of bias is primarily a matter of perception and instinct, less so of conscious cognition, but it is something that it is good to become aware of (as Daniel tries to make libertarians aware of their own biases)

  11. Bob Roddis says:

    Justin Raimondo, April 02, 2007

    Is Bill Maher never going to go away? That he ought to was proved definitively the other day during his interview with Rep. Ron Paul, who recently announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination. Senor Maher claims to be a “libertarian” — but doesn ‘t seem to realize that this is not (necessarily) synonymous with being a sleaze-bag. (Maher, you’ll probably not want to remember, starred in the role of Bill Clinton’s penis). The smarmy look on his face as he tried to snark Paul with questions designed to trip up the congressman was a cross between Smeagol and one of those gargoyles that leer from the parapets of medieval churches. Paul creamed him, and won over the audience — much to Mayer’s visible annoyance.

    I had my own duel with the fake “libertarian” Maher, which you can read about here. Suffice to say that Maher represents the “liberalism” of the Hollywood crowd: facile, content-less, and, in this particular case, downright malevolent. This is a guy who said of the Kosovo war, “I’m for this war because it’s the liberal thing to do,” agreeing with his guest Bill Kristol that we ought to “crush Serb skulls.” Oh, but that was one of Clinton’s “liberal” wars, and therefore fine with Maher.

    http://antiwar.com/blog/2007/04/02/people-im-sick-of-part-v-bill-maher/

  12. Bob Roddis says:

    More Justin Raimondo

    AND THE GOOD NEWS IS …

    First and foremost, that p**** Bill Maher is off the air. Glory, glory, hallelujah! I went on that puffed-up popinjay’s misnamed show when it was on cable, in 1996, before Maher made the leap from minor obnoxious lout to bigtime bullsh*tter.

    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j070102.html

  13. Bob Roddis says:

    This ought to be a lesson to the Austrians of how simple and easy it should be to humiliate Krugman and make him and the Keynesians an object of scorn by the public. I have said many times that the coin was a bridge too far for them. We need to save those whiny quotes from them about how the coin is really just what goes on all the time anyway in a slightly different form.

  14. Gamble says:

    IT is ironic the TPlatinum coin was supposed to be a stab at Gold buggers but turns out to be a true picture of what the US guberment and Federal Reserve has been doing since 1971. Ultimately the TPlat folks were making fun of themselves.

    Gold buggers understand the value of coinage is not arbitrary or fiat, rather market derived.

    I say make the darn coin. Eventually the real value will come to fruition and the guberment will be worth nothing.

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