13 Feb 2013

Potpourri

Daniel Kuehn, Economics, Humor, Krugman, Nick Rowe, Potpourri, Shameless Self-Promotion 86 Comments

==> I make a modest point about fracking and federalism.

==> Simon Lester thinks Krugman is up to no good on his post about protectionism, but I don’t really have a dog in that fight. BTW, my Krugman takedowns are still coming, I’m just digging myself out of a pile of stuff.

==> Consumers are now safe from milk that is too cheap, in Louisiana.

==> Gene Callahan explains the basic point that even if one trusts Barack Obama to only blow up the bad guys, what happens when we have a bad guy in the White House?

==> Mario Rizzo wants to raise your taxes. (But read it in context to see what he’s saying.)

==> Joe Salerno argues that the Fed is creating more asset bubbles.

==> Daniel Kuehn has no problem with minimum wage hikes, and Nick Rowe thinks economy-wide price controls might be good in the short run. I am now officially going to leave economics and go full-time into comedy.

86 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Daniel Kuehn says:

    Eh… I’m not sure I have “no problem” with them. But I certainly have more reactions to it than “no” :)

    Surely support for minimum wages isn’t THAT salacious, is it?

    It’s far more respectable than price controls ;-)

    …wacky Canadians

    • Matt Tanous says:

      “Surely support for minimum wages isn’t THAT salacious, is it?

      It’s far more respectable than price controls”

      How is it more respectable to be only for this ONE price control?

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        If I thought about it I’d probably be for a few others too…

        • Major_Freedom says:

          DK cares so much about low-skilled workers that he feels repulsed at the notion of them soiling their hands with earning a competitive wage they agree to with their employers.

          Since DK doesn’t want to soil his hands either, he prefers it better if his mommy and daddy government do the dirty work of threatening these potential workers out of the workforce altogether.

          Of course, they will have to be supported by some sort of welfare, which DK won’t willingly pay of course, and so the dirty job of collecting the money for this is also to be done by mommy and daddy government.

    • guest says:

      Surely support for minimum wages isn’t THAT salacious, is it?

      The Minimum Wage causes unemployment, creating poverty wherever there is unskilled labor:

      Good Intentions 2of3 Minimum Wage, Licensing, and Labor Laws with Walter Williams
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DS0XXFdyfI

      Defending the Undefendable (Chapter 30: The Scab) by Walter Block
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IiW7WgDcHA

      In recent times, the muddled and inconsistent thinking about scabs has become increasingly evident.

      Liberals – traditionally most vociferous in denouncing scabs – have, of late, shown signs of confusion on this issue. They have come to realize that in virtually all cases the scabs are poorer than the workers they seek to replace. And Liberals have almost always championed the poor worker.

    • Ken B says:

      “…wacky Canadians”

      Hey!

  2. Daniel Kuehn says:

    On Gene – I completely agree. Anyone who assess institutions on the basis of whether their most trusted politician would perform well with those institutions is not to be trusted at all.

    Of course, people who use other standards for assessing institutions may be well worth taking seriously.

    My view on the subject is that we don’t submit missile targets to courts, we don’t have courts approve troop movements. If our troops come across an al Qaeda encampment without any warning and have the element of surprise, we don’t wake up a judge to ask if that’s OK. Good commanders in chief make better use of these powers than bad commanders in chief. And since no commander in chief is an angel, we’ve made sure to design institutions with men in mind, rather than angels in mind.

    In the context of all of that, I’m still curious exactly what the argument is for giving this extra-constitutional authority to judges on this one facet of military action.

    • Dan says:

      What if they blow up children who were just collecting dung because they thought they might be terrorists? Should the people who made this horrific mistake be charged with a crime? If so, what crime do you think they are guilty of?

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        I think we should approach problems with drone targets that come from a high place on the chain of command the way we deal with problems with gun targets that come from a low, medium, or high place on the chain of command, or any other type of military engagement.

        The charges were premeditated murder in My Lai. That sounds about right. Of course gradations of murder might apply depending on the circumstances of the order.

        • Dan says:

          I’m giving you a real world example that actually happened. In that situation, do you think the people who blew those children to pieces were guilty of a crime? If so, what crime do you think they should be charged with?

          • Daniel Kuehn says:

            I thought I answered you.

            • Dan says:

              No, you told me you thought the people in My Lai were guilty of murder. You didn’t say anything about the people responsible for blowing up those children.

              Don’t worry about it, though. It’s impossible to have a straight conversation with you. I give up on trying to find common ground. I just found what you wrote above to be so despicable that I had to try to find an area about these things we both could agree on. I can at least take some solace that you at least draw your line at things like the My Lai massacre.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                “That sounds about right”

                Come on, man.

                And then I said I have no details on the event and it could be a gradation of murder – manslaughter, perhaps. I don’t know the details.

                If you’re just going to obfuscate once I answer you then don’t bother asking.

              • Dan says:

                Oh, OK. So you are saying that if what I described is true, and they dropped a bomb on three kids who were simply collecting dung for fuel, then the people responsible for this are guilty of a crime, possibly murder or manslaughter?

                If that’s the case, then that’s all I was looking for. Here is the story I was referring to, also. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/07/us-military-targeting-strategy-afghanistan

                Sadly, nobody gets brought up on charges of even manslaughter when the US army blows up a 12, 10, and 8 year old in Afghanistan. Heck, they say they are purposefully attacking children over there because they could be planting explosives. It seems to me that when children digging in the dirt is enough cause to justify launching a drone attack, that maybe the policy is a little too loose with its standards. And when nobody is brought up on charges for killing children, then the policy is just plain evil.

        • Mike T says:

          Daniel,

          One of the core problems here is the legal framework this administration has constructed to carry out these drone strikes. The “signature strike” is based on finding “suspicious behavior” around “patterns of life” where individuals can *not* be identified and thereby designating those military aged males in the target zone as “terrorists.” They can only be exonerated posthumously (how nice). The result, as anyone might imagine, is that scores of innocent civilians have been incinerated. Most notably, when the administration was first targeting Anwar Al-Awlaki in Yemen in Dec ’09, he was not in the area when a drone strike incinerated 14 women and 21 children instead. Should we just chalk this up to bad intelligence? Or a criminal act?

          How about the reports of the administration targeting funerals and rescuers? http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/obama-terror-drones-cia-tactics-in-pakistan-include-targeting-rescuers-and-funerals/

          Or killing a 16 year old kid without providing any evidence, charges, or indictment? Perhaps anyone with “irresponsible fathers” should be looking over their shoulder? http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/how-team-obama-justifies-the-killing-of-a-16-year-old-american/264028/

          How should anyone treat these “premeditated” acts arising out of a civilian, not military, agency?

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Ultimately this is probably a question for a lawyer.

        • Bob Roddis says:

          I’m a lawyer. I’m licensed to practice in three states. In addition to my J.D., I have an additional law degree, a Masters of Law LLM degree. The stuff one learns from Tom Woods or Justin Raimondo or our Scott Horton or “the other Scott Horton” is not taught in law school.

          http://scotthorton.org/2013/02/06/2513-the-other-scott-horton/

          What do you want to know?

        • Bob Roddis says:

          As that brilliant graduate of Duke Law School, DIck Nixon, stated:

          When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejvyDn1TPr8

        • Bob Roddis says:

          Stephen Colbert:

          “Trial by jury, trial by fire, rock, paper scissors, who cares? Due process just means that there is a process that you do. The current process is apparently, first the president meets with his advisers and decides who he can kill. Then he kills them.”

          • Ken B says:

            And yet when I point on on this board the importance of a real adherence to law and legal processes — just look back to ANY of the secession discussions — and people here act like I’ve said something crazy.

            • K.P. says:

              There might be a simple explanation here: secession advocates believe that it’s completely lawful.

              • Ken B says:

                That might be but in fact it’s not the explanation. Just read the threads. I even posed a hypothetical about what if there were a secession mechanism. Plus MF and other were saying Memphis could seced from Teneessee. Maybe morally it should be able to, but legally it’s pretty clear it cannot.

                Those threads are FULL of “I think this law is unjust so it’s not law’ stuff. Well that’s pretty unworkable, especially as unjust is a matter of degree.

              • K.P. says:

                Ken, I’d have to read the thread in detail, but it sounds like they are saying two different things, but not necessarily conflating the two. That is, it’s prefectly legal for the South or Texas to secede from the Union and it’s perfectly moral for Memphis to secede from Tennessee, legal or not. “Rights” talk gets very sloppy, very fast.

              • Dan says:

                Yes, KP, that is exactly the position we hold.

              • K.P. says:

                Well that’s wonderful Dan. You should try and be a bit more clear next time though, as it seems to be a bit confusing.

              • Dan says:

                KP, that has been explicitly stated multiple times. Many people explained why we viewed it as constitutional, and many explained that even if it wasn’t we would still support secession on moral grounds. If there was confusion on Ken B’s part then he has reading comprehension issues. But now that our position has been clarified, yet again, to him, see if he doesn’t bring this issue up down the line as if this conversation never happened.

              • Dan says:

                For example, KP, see this thread.
                http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2012/12/tom-woods-says-secession-is-as-american-as-star-wars.html

                Very early on Major Freedom uses a quote from Tom Woods to make the constitutional argument in favor of secession.

                ‘Woods:
                “You don’t have to have a “secession clause” in the constitution. This is a complete misunderstanding of the whole structure of constitution. The only specifics that need to be in the constitution are what the federal government can do. What the states can do, what the people can do, are not specifically laid out. There are specific prohibitions on the states (article 1 section 10), but that is not how the constitution is structured. The constitution only lists the specific things of what the federal government can do. Otherwise, it is assumed the residual remains with the states.”

                This is the legal argument that shows secession is constitutionally permitted.

                The moral argument is easy.’

              • Dan says:

                Also see this quote from MF.

                “A bunch of us have cited source materials, logical arguments, and legal scholars that show secession is constitutionally legal and morally justified.”

                From the very beginning we have been arguing what you posited above. MF explicitly stated what you wrote multiple times. It is not our fault if Ken B. ignores that and only then attacks strawmen because it is easier for him.

              • Dan says:

                Here is Joseph Fetz making an argument that secession is constitutional.

                “However, the rest of my comment does in fact challenge the conclusion that you drew from Tom’s quote, and I am sure that Tom would agree with what I said (i.e. that the people are sovereign to the states, and subsequently, the states are sovereign to the union). After all, it is the people who created the states, and it is the states that created the union.
                Obviously, Tom’s video was discussing the states’ relationship with regard to the union, that the states, as creators of the union, are indeed sovereign in that respect, thus they retain the right to secede from the union, or to dissolve it altogether.”

              • Dan says:

                Here is guest making a constitutional argument.

                “When Tom Woods says that people (or states) cannot cede their sovereignty, what he means is that they never stop being sovereign.
                The states never ceded their sovereignty, but rather they delegated certain powers.
                The Law by Frederic Bastiat
                http://www.constitution.org/cmt/bastiat/the_law.html
                If every person has the right to defend—even by force—his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right—its reason for existing, its lawfulness—is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force—for the same reason—cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.
                If the people or states want to undelegate those powers, they can either convince the peoples of the other states to amend the constitution, or they can leave the Union.”

              • Dan says:

                Here is Matt S making a constitutional argument in favor of secession.

                “If States can voluntarily join the union and the text of that compact doesn’t deny their right to leave and actually reserves them all rights not given to the Federal government then yes they have the right to leave the union.
                The Constitution is not a death pact.”

              • Dan says:

                You know what I’m having trouble finding, KP? I can’t seem to find where any of us who favor secession are arguing that adherence to the law is crazy. The only thing you’ll find is us arguing that secession is legal, and even if it weren’t legal that wouldn’t make it immoral to secede.

              • K.P. says:

                I appreciate the link Dan.

            • Matt Tanous says:

              We aren’t disagreeing that adherence to law is important. (Well, I am – I think civil disobedience is a good thing. Only government should be held to its inane laws.) But what the law actually is – that is where you were wrong.

              • Dan says:

                I’d just say that you believe adherence to the law is important, but an unjust law is no law at all.

              • Ken B says:

                Here’s Dan on queue KP:

                “an unjust law is no law at all.”

                How unjust? Does it matter if you cannot convince others it’s unjust?

                There really is a difference between saying “that law is unjust I will defy it” and “I think that law unjust so it doesn’t apply to me.”

              • Matt Tanous says:

                “How unjust? Does it matter if you cannot convince others it’s unjust? ”

                That would be a good question for, say, Rosa Parks.

                “There really is a difference between saying “that law is unjust I will defy it” and “I think that law unjust so it doesn’t apply to me.””

                How so? The former is more active resistance – going out of your way to subvert, instead of ignore, a bad law? To me, the former would be if Rosa Parks sat at the front intentionally because it was illegal, while the latter is that she sat wherever, and it just so happened one day that was at the front.

              • Ken B says:

                As for Rosa Parks Matt, you think it unjust that there was a public sidewalk for her to stand on while waiting for the bus or a publis school it drove past. So yes there really are degrees of injustice.

                And Rosa Parks didn’t deny the law. She challenged it quie deliberately as part of a deliberate effort to make the defenders of the law look bad enforcing it (as they did). That is not a denial of law, it is a demand that an unjust law be changed. Changed by the established processes too.

              • Matt Tanous says:

                “you think it unjust that there was a public sidewalk for her to stand on while waiting for the bus or a publis school it drove past. So yes there really are degrees of injustice.”

                The problem there is not a degree of injustice, but the greater difficulty of resisting the fundamental laws that created that situation.

                “And Rosa Parks didn’t deny the law. She challenged it quie deliberately as part of a deliberate effort to make the defenders of the law look bad enforcing it (as they did). That is not a denial of law”

                That is, in fact, a denial of the law. In short, she recognized the law as unjust and deliberately ignored it. Her willingness to suffer the consequences of state force, and belief that they would come out looking bad instead of her, is beside the point.

            • K.P. says:

              That really just looks like fast use of the term “law” though.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      My view on the subject is that when you have a criminal rogue President engaging in extra-constitutional and extra-judicial murder, you still have to use the court system to indict him, convict him and execute him.

      • guest says:

        … you still have to use the court system to indict him, convict him and execute him.

        Federalist 28

        If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.

  3. Bob Roddis says:

    Even if one trusts your guy to properly set the minimum wage, what happens when we have a bad guy setting the minimum wage?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Good point Bob, to connect these issues. In fact, Obama should just impose a $9/hour minimum wage on Al Qaeda volunteers. That would bring their terrorist network to its knees, with no loss of innocent life.

      • Silas Barta says:

        How about just a (retroactive) $9/hour minimum wage on Obama campaign workers, including (obviously exploited) volunteers?

  4. Dan says:

    “The minimum wage issue really is a type of intelligence test.” – Jeffrey Tucker

    From his Facebook page today.

    I considered DK far left already, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that he would support minimum wage hikes.

    • Richie says:

      so it doesn’t surprise me at all that he would support minimum wage hikes.

      But only in the case of Democrats proposing it. Had Romney won and he proposed the same EXACT thing that Obama said last night, DK would find some reason to oppose it.

      Why stop with the minimum wage though? If “inequality” is such an issue according to Stiglitz and others, why not just pass a law that mandates a uniform salary for all? After all, the workforce is just a homogenous blob, is it not? Every person that would earn $9.00 an hour, at a minimum, must have the same skill set and productivity, right?

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        re: “But only in the case of Democrats proposing it. Had Romney won and he proposed the same EXACT thing that Obama said last night, DK would find some reason to oppose it.”

        You really are out of your depths.

        Why is everyone accusing me of being a partisan lately? I’m pretty sure I felt this way about the minimum wage for the last six or seven years.

        But that’s right… “Richie” (whoever the hell that is) probably knows much better.

      • Dan says:

        I don’t think he is all that partisan. He seems to pretty much favor government solutions regardless of who offers them.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      What’s amazing about all this commentary is that the post was about my lack of enthusiasm for the proposal.

      Do you guys click through or just eat up what Bob tells you?

      Apparently I have to foam at the mouth of the mere mention of the minimum wage!

      • Matt Tanous says:

        “Apparently I have to foam at the mouth of the mere mention of the minimum wage!”

        Generally, that is the reaction that I would expect from someone versed in economics when any sort of price control comes up.

        Minimum wages, like any minimum price, lead to shortages of buyers (employers), while maximum wages, like any maximum, lead to shortages of sellers (laborers). That’s like the very basics of the subject. Given that there will never be perfect inelasticity in demand and supply for anything, that will never change.

        • guest says:

          Minimum wages, like any minimum price, lead to shortages of buyers (employers), while maximum wages, like any maximum, lead to shortages of sellers (laborers).

          Oops; Reverse that.

          Minimum price leads to surplus (in this case, of laborers [i.e., unemployment]), while maximum price leads to shortages (less people want that particular job).

          • guest says:

            Oh, wait. You’re half right.

            Oops.

            I guess I saw the first half and inferred what the second half said.

            • Matt Tanous says:

              I just worded it unconventionally. The first half is correct.

              A surplus of labor is the same thing as a shortage of employment positions.

              • guest says:

                Ok, I see what you’re saying.

                Does that necessarily convey the idea that employers need to pay higher wages, rather than workers needing to expect lower wages, though?

                But, yeah, there is a shortage of employers, relative to workers. You were right on both counts.

      • Dan says:

        Yeah, I read what you wrote before I responded.

        “It seems like a blunt instrument, but not a terrible idea, and it appears to have far more modest consequences than a lot of people would have you think.”

        When I got to that part, I simply shrugged my shoulders and thought it fit perfectly with your world view. You don’t think minimum wages are a terrible idea, it’s just that you would like some other bigger government intervention more.

        • The Narrator says:

          Daniel wrote: “It seems like a blunt instrument, but not a terrible idea, and it appears to have far more modest consequences than a lot of people would have you think.”

          I’m not sure what *positive* argument for minimum wage hikes you are making here. You write: ‘a blunt instrument’ (which could be a negative or a less positive than other instruments), ‘not a terrible idea’ (which could mean ‘a bad idea, but not the worst’ or ‘a positive idea but there are much better ones’), ‘far more modest consequences than a lot of people think’ (which could mean ‘far less worse consequences’ or ‘far less good consequences’)

          Below you also write: “I’m not enthusiastically pro because it seems to cut against the primary need right now to bolster labor demand.” (okay, so does this mean you think that in current circumstances a minimum wage hike would likely have positive or negative net effects on whatever aspect(s) you deem most important? I can’t tell from what you write here) and you write “I’m not enthusiastically anti-because empirically the negative effects seem to be modest.” (okay, so this means that you meant ‘far less worse’ rather than ‘far less good’ above. But it’s still not clear what positive things you think there are about minimum wage hikes, or whether you think that in current circumstances such hikes would contribute something positive to the economy but at the expense of even more positive things, or contribute something positive while also contributing something negative (albeit less negative than others often think), let alone whether it creates a net positive.

          I mean, this truly seems to be one of the vaguest, most uncommitted posts I have ever read while somehow it does seem to suggest that it is actually saying something substantive (or at least it had this effect on many of the Austro-libertarians who responded, which may of course say as much or more about the intensity of their instincts and the effects these have on their reading comprehension and more (and of course Daniel may have anticipated as much, which may have been the main part of the fun of writing the post in the first place))

          • The Narrator says:

            I mean, if the post wasn’t intended to say anything substantive, then what is the point of writing it (other than to provoke the to-be-expected stereotypical responses from Austro-libertarians who let their emotions get the better of their reading comprehension)?

            • The Narrator says:

              and FWIW, personally I don’t really know what the effects of a minimum wage hike would be right now. I mean, I understand the theoretical argument against it, but that argument doesn’t take into account disturbing factors (although it does when it is formulated in terms of counterfactuals), let alone disturbing factors that would not otherwise have been set into motion (and a counterfactual formulation is of no use in preventing this problem), initial conditions, the extent of the change, and independently occurring changes in preferences.

              So in reality so much depends not just on a red wheelbarrow but on so many different factors that (except for extremish proposals) it is simply hard to say what the (net or even factor) effects of e.g. minimum wage hikes would be. (see also the comments to this GC post http://gene-callahan.blogspot.nl/2011/04/theory-and-practice.html )

              So in that sense I may be agreeing with Daniel in some way, in that I wouldn’t necessarily claim that a minimum wage hike has bad (net or even factor) effects, but at least I’m not trying to make it *seem* as if I’m actually making a positive and substantive claim about what the effects *will* be in reality!

              • The Narrator says:

                I guess I realize now what my goal is here: I want to be for Daniel Kuehn what Daniel Kuehn is for the Austro-libertarians.

                That is, I want to be Daniel Kuehn’s Daniel Kuehn, in the same way that Scooter Libby was Dick Cheny’s Dick Cheny!

            • Daniel Kuehn says:

              re: “I mean, if the post wasn’t intended to say anything substantive, then what is the point of writing it”

              I thought that was pretty obvious: to throw a bucket of cold water on the presidents proposal.

              I’m honestly a little confused Bob took it the way he did.

              True, I didn’t come out violently against the idea, but it was pretty clear I was unimpressed, I thought.

              re: “(other than to provoke the to-be-expected stereotypical responses from Austro-libertarians who let their emotions get the better of their reading comprehension)”

              I honestly thought my libertarian readers would say “Ha! This Keynesian is not all that enthused about a minimum wage!”, not that they would think I was promoting it. I am genuinely surprised it was taken this way. Anyway, what I have written is in plain English. It’s not like there’s a lot of subtext to my view.

          • Daniel Kuehn says:

            re: “I mean, this truly seems to be one of the vaguest, most uncommitted posts I have ever read while somehow it does seem to suggest that it is actually saying something substantive”

            No intent to be substantive. It’s vague because I really have no strong opinions on it. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

            Perhaps you will like this answer better: if I was an advisor to the president I would not have suggested this. If he asked me what I thought of putting it in the speech I would have told him to leave it out. But if he was very committed to the idea, I would not fight it all that much. I’d point out some of the negative consequences of it and insist that if he does this in an attempt to raise wage rates at the lower end of the income distribution he has to be more vigorous in policies to address demand for these workers.

            • The Narrator says:

              Okay, fair enough. Interesting how you rephrase it: if I was an adviser to the president’. I mean, obviously in such a scenario it would make sense to give your opinion on the topic even if you don’t have any strong feelings either way. But since you aren’t an adviser to the president or have a strong opinion about the proposal (or at least don’t want to present your opinion on whether the hikes could be effective), it’s not really clear to me why you would write a blog post about it at all. I mean, why “throw a bucket of cold water” (i’d actually say that given your views ‘lukewarm’ may be more apt) over the proposal if all you want to say is: ‘there could have been more useful policies than this one (and I’m not going to say whether this actually is or is not a useful proposal)’. I mean, if this becomes a sufficient criterion for writing blog posts about topics you’d have to write all day.

              Anyway, I still have no idea what your actual opinion on the question whether minimum wage could be useful in this situation (or in other situations)

              I mean, I learned a bit about how you think minimum wage hikes compare to other policies, or how your views on minimum wage hikes are different from some other people’s, but I still have no idea if you think they could have good net or factor consequences in this situation.

              you know, for what that is worth

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                re: “I mean, if this becomes a sufficient criterion for writing blog posts about topics you’d have to write all day.”

                Casual interest in sharing a thought is a necessary condition, I think. Probably not sufficient. I have casual thoughts all the time.

                I’m not sure there is a sufficient condition – except perhaps for a new Papola video.

      • Yancey Ward says:

        What is the source of your lack of enthusiasm?

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          I’m not enthusiastically pro because it seems to cut against the primary need right now to bolster labor demand.

          I’m not enthusiastically anti-because empirically the negative effects seem to be modest.

          • guest says:

            There are zero negative effects without a Minimum Wage law, since no one is entitled to a job.

          • Yancey Ward says:

            So, when labor demand is high, you support raising the minimum wage in order to reduce the demand for labor?

            • Daniel Kuehn says:

              I’m not sure I’d say “in order to reduce”. That wouldn’t be the point of it, in other words.

              There are a lot bigger structural processes going on that are driving wage inequality. Redistributive policies (either directly redistributive or forcing the private sector to be redistributive) make sense in counter-acting that. But citing broader trends in inequality doesn’t mean supply and demand has been repealed – so if you’re going to address it through something like this you’d probably be less enthused at doing it when demand is weak and you’d probably want to do it in concert with other policies (in other words – I don’t think of this as being an up or down choice on the minimum wage anyway).

  5. Tel says:

    … Nick Rowe thinks economy-wide price controls might be good in the short run. I am now officially going to leave economics and go full-time into comedy.

    Australia did it with the “Prices and Incomes Accord” to try and bring the stagflation of the 1980′s under control.

    It did work, but moved the footing of Australian industry toward a Corporatist model — big business, big unions and big government triumvirate. It was basically a leaf out of Mussolini’s book.

    Later the Accords came to an end John Howard tried a few reforms to reverse things and make life a bit better for small business and self-employed people. Howard didn’t offer much, but he didn’t have to because he opponents offered a lot less.

  6. Gilbert Peralta says:

    Score, it was idea for Bob to go into comedy! I won’t ask for royalties Bob, just free tickets every once in a while. You truly make me laugh almost every day. I love you sharp sense of humor.

  7. Gilbert Peralta says:

    ^correction: “…it was MY idea for Bob…”

  8. Nick Rowe says:

    Bob: but you missed the really nice thing I said about Austrians in that post!

  9. Blackadder says:

    I thought Richard Epstein’s take on the drones issue was interesting.

  10. Tom E. Snyder says:

    “==> Daniel Kuehn has no problem with minimum wage hikes, and Nick Rowe thinks economy-wide price controls might be good in the short run. I am now officially going to leave economics and go full-time into comedy.”

    You might as well. It’s obvious that they have.

  11. Bob Roddis says:

    Ray McGovern, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, discusses CIA Director-to-be John Brennan’s “Tenet-Like Testimony” about Iran’s nuclear program to the Senate Intelligence Committee; Brennan’s apparent willingness to “fit the facts around the policy” and lie Americans into yet another war; why Brennan knows much more about CIA torture, rendition, and black sites than he admits; and the spectacle of Obama and Brennan casually giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down – like Roman emperors – deciding the fate of “kill list” victims.

    http://scotthorton.org/2013/02/12/21113-ray-mcgovern/

  12. Bill says:

    Regarding the minimum wage, I’d be interested in your thoughts on this: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage-2013-02.pdf

    A survey of evidence purporting to show that the effects of the minimum wage hover around zero – sometimes bad, but sometimes good, often negligible.

      • Bill says:

        That’s a great article. I’m still curious how to explain this apparent empirical evidence that the minimum wage doesn’t have the effects that the textbooks all predict.

        • Dan says:

          You can’t do controlled experiments in economics. Who knows what the cause would be for unemployment not to rise even though minimum wages were raised. It could be that a tax was lowered at the same time, or people learned more efficient was to beat a tax. Maybe a new technology came out that increased the productivity of lower income wage earners that allowed them to keep their jobs. Economies are too complex to know exactly what is going on in those kind of studies.

          Still, if they are right then why not raise minimum wage to $100 or higher? I believe they keep incrementally raising it because it is easier to mask the effects it has on unemployment. If they raised it to $20 tomorrow then people would immediately see the true cost.

          • Bill says:

            I’m playing devil’s advocate here – I agree with the straightforward Austrian/Rothbardian analysis. I knew about the Card-Krueger study and was prepared to dismiss it as at best an isolated anomaly. I was surprised to see that study’s results apparently repeated so many times. Were all of those studies flawed? Were their conclusions misrepresented? It catches my attention when empirical results seem significantly at odds with what a priori analysis tells me. These results *seem* significant enough to be interesting in that respect. I was someone might be able to shed some light on these results specifically – I already know the theory that says we can safely ignore them. ;)

          • Bill says:

            ^ I was *hoping* someone…

  13. Matthew M. says:

    Unsurprisingly, Daniel K’s chart starts with the highest real value of the minimum wage ever, as opposed to the full history (http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/minwage.html).

    It’s pathetic that something this simple and irrefutable is denied by so many. The minimum wage is stupid, and I personally hate it even more because I’m looking for a job and frankly would be happy to work for $5 an hour to get my foot in the door somewhere, but you all heart and no brain interventionists have made that illegal.

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