16 Aug 2015

John 3:16

Religious 59 Comments

I’m sure many of you recognize this as being held up at sports events etc., but don’t know what it is. Here you go (in context):

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

15 Aug 2015

Potpourri

Potpourri 19 Comments

==> How do you guys feel about this geologist who predicted the EPA spill?

==> Richard Ebeling on John Stuart Mill.

==> I thought I would write on this, but I just don’t have time. For a while, Paul Romer & Friends were criticizing the modern Chicago School for being lawyers rather than scientists when it comes to macro. As Scott Sumner pointed out here, when you read how Romer is describing Lucas’ defenders, it is astonishing. In particular, and I’m going to paraphrase here, there was a guy saying, “Paul, Robert Lucas may have done what you say in that particular paper, but I don’t know that he did it intentionally to mislead anybody, and he’s more open than 99% of the profession.” Romer then summarized this by saying the guy was defending the practice by saying “everybody does it.” No no no that’s totally misleading.

==> Someone on Facebook (I don’t know if he wants me mentioning this) pushed back on my criticism of this Krugman post. Specifically, he said that Krugman singled out Trump’s prediction of 9% unemployment because of ObamaCare, and that was in fact wrong, so who am I to object? Well, if I were advising Trump, I’d tell him to respond to Krugman by pointing out that “some predictions matter more than others,” and that a botched unemployment prediction clearly has no bearing on someone’s economic model.

(I’m just kidding. If Trump actually wanted to respond to Krugman’s post, he would kick Krugman in the crotch and say, “Whoa! Guess you didn’t predict that, did you Mr. Pointy Head?” Way more effective than my gotcha.)

==> John Cochrane has a phenomenal response to Larry Summers’ silly column on minimum wages and other regulations. (HT2 Nick Rowe)

==> Believe it or not, I actually like Scott Sumner’s recent series (1, 2, 3, and 4) using empirical data to discuss the quantity theory of money.

15 Aug 2015

Responding to David Beckworth on the Canadian “Expansionary Austerity” of the 1990s

Economics, Market Monetarism 13 Comments

David Beckworth wrote up a nice response to my previous Mises CA post on the Canadian fiscal turnaround of the 1990s. At this point, I just have two main replies:

(#1) ==> The whole point of my previous Mises CA post was to show that what David had earlier referred to as an expansion in the monetary base, was in fact an elimination of reserve requirements. So it’s frustrating to me that David describes our exchange like this:

Nonetheless, I laid out further evidence for the monetary offset view in a later post. Bob Murphy has now replied to me in a new post and concedes that at least one of my points, the permanent increase in the monetary base, does lend some support to our view. (However, he correctly points out there are timing issues with the increase in the monetary base.) So he does concede the story is more complicated than he originally envisioned.

I must confess, that just seems weird to me; I almost wonder if David understood my post. I was pointing out that there WAS NO “increase in the monetary base,” so I certainly wasn’t conceding that it lent support to his view. (To be clear, I was saying that the phase-out of reserve requirements was a loosening of policy, and that lent support to his view–though even here the timing was not great for his position.)

This ties in to my broader frustration with the Market Monetarist approach, epitomized in the writings of Sumner but endorsed by Nick Rowe and (I think) David here. They call Fed policy since 2008 incredibly tight because NGDP has risen so slowly, when I think it makes much more sense to call it “incredibly loose but according to some economists not loose enough.”

Especially when the very issue under dispute is whether more or less monetary easing is a good idea, it seems very dangerous to me to use definitional moves that make it impossible for the neutral outsider to even understand what is really occurring.

(#2) ==> More fundamental to the dispute over Canada, again because David isn’t trying to even knock down my own position, I worry that he’s not fully grasping why my view–if right–would sterilize what he thinks is such compelling evidence for his position.

First let’s consider an analogy. Suppose Ford announces that it is cutting production by 20%, and consequently the price of Ford vehicles rises dramatically. Economist #1 says, “Well, the Fed obviously just loosened policy, causing Ford prices to rise.” Economist #2 says, “Huh? Look at the Fed’s behavior–its purchases are the same as 6 months before. What’s happening is that the drop in Ford output corresponds to a lower supply and higher price. This would happen even if there were no central bank at all.” Economist #1 comes back and says, “No, the Fed passively loosened. Look, the auto market is very competitive. Ford vehicle prices rose relative to GM, so this is a clear-cut natural experiment. Obviously this is the result of Fed tinkering with Ford prices.”

Do you agree with Economist #1 or #2? Okay, now instead of Ford cutting production of vehicles, plug in the Canadian federal government and its production of bonds. Economist #1 is David Beckworth, while economist #2 is Bob Murphy.

14 Aug 2015

Potpourri

Shameless Self-Promotion 9 Comments

==> Mark Spitznagel touts Rand Paul’s “Economic Freedom Zones.”

==> A great Tom Woods interview with FEE President Larry Reed on Upton Sinclair and other topics.

==> Another good Tom Woods episode featuring his response to those claiming Ron Paul was a leftist because he opposed aggressive U.S. foreign policy.

==> David Beckworth Strikes Back.

13 Aug 2015

Beckworth + Murphy = Total Consciousness

Economics, Shameless Self-Promotion 6 Comments

David Beckworth wrote a response to me (and David R. Henderson) on the Canadian budget turnaround in the 1990s. In this Mises CA post I summarize the debate and then reconcile Beckworth’s position and mine.

The apparent contradiction was that (a) I had shown stagnant growth in the Bank of Canada’s assets in the period when the budget cuts kicked in, but (b) Beckworth showed an apparent one-shot surge in the B of C’s monetary base in 1994. What’s the deal?

It turns out that the Bank of Canada phased out reserve requirements from 1992 – 1994, and that’s what’s going on. I have a chart that makes this crystal clear. I also comment on how this reconciliation affects the broader debate.

13 Aug 2015

QE and the USD

Dollar 20 Comments

Today at his blog Krugman writes:

China has experienced a very large real appreciation since 2011, partly due to higher inflation than in its trading partners, partly because its dollar peg means that it has tagged along with the rising dollar (which was supposed to plunge due to QE, but never mind)…

In other words, Krugman was ridiculing those who had warned that QE would depreciate the dollar.

OK here’s the chart:

The dollar clearly fell in November 2010 with the start of QE2, it clearly strengthened once QE2 ended, and it strengthened sharply once QE3 began tapering off.

Yes, the dollar in absolute terms against other currencies was bolstered since 2008 because people are panicked and rushed into US Treasuries, but the notion that the dollar’s current strength refutes the people warning about QE is misleading at best. The above chart makes perfect sense with the people saying QE would lower the dollar, except for the period of QE3 where the Fed’s balance sheet grew rapidly while the dollar stayed in a tight range.

Incidentally, you know which economist came out and said QE2 had “worked” partially through weakening the dollar? You get one guess.

12 Aug 2015

“Man Down”

Big Brother, Drug War 4 Comments

It’s rather disturbing that this is all real footage.

12 Aug 2015

Economics of the Stateless Society

Economics, Shameless Self-Promotion 1 Comment

Some new material in this one, even for you veterans of Mises U videos…