03 May 2017


Politics, Potpourri 7 Comments

==> “Dadbucks”: an experiment in central banking.

==> This NYT headline says a guy was fined for “doing math without a license.” I assumed it was hyperbole, but it’s pretty close to what happened. (He was protesting the length of yellow lights to a city council.)

==> In honor of the March for Science I recycled (ha ha) an awkward quotation from Krugman’s review of Nordhaus’ 2013 book on climate change economics, and then I ended with:

To be sure, Krugman goes on to say that he disagrees with Nordhaus on this matter. But Paul Krugman is not a pioneer in the field, and he hasn’t spent decades developing a peer-reviewed model that was one of three selected by the Obama Working Group to estimate the harm of carbon dioxide emissions. William Nordhaus was, and William Nordhaus is saying that the popular 2°C target “is not really very scientific.”

I sure hope those who marched for science will take seriously the input from one of the most respected authorities on the planet. To make the case that governments should intervene to limit greenhouse gas emissions, it’s not enough to list a bunch of potentially bad things that could happen from “business as usual.” There are serious scholars in the field of economic science who are using the state-of-the-art modeling to argue that popular climate goals will hurt humanity more than they will help. When so many environmental activists glibly dismiss these warnings, it leads me to suspect that the “refusal to follow the science” is more widespread than these marchers realize.

==> [EDIT: See this post to understand the problem with this particular item. Bernie linked to, but didn’t write, the article in question.] I was doing an article on Venezuela and came across this awkward Bernie Sanders post on his own official website, from 2011. Last paragraph: “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who’s the banana republic now?”

==> The Trump Administration continues to produce upside down results. In his zeal to zing Gary Cohn, Kevin Drum ended up admitting that the rich pay almost all of the federal income taxes in the US, and even produced this chart:


This struck me as amazing. I thought, “This is really really unusual for Mother Jones to run a chart like this; it’s normally something you’d expect from Cato or Heritage.”

Just to check myself, I googled “mother jones rich don’t pay fair share” and immediately found this article from 2011:


Phew! I’m not going crazy. (BTW both of the Mo Jo articles rely on data from the Tax Policy Center to make their case, and neither of them is lying. Discuss.)

7 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. David R. Henderson says:

    Excellent post.

  2. Josiah says:

    Is economics a science?

  3. Daniel Kuehn says:

    My thoughts: they’re getting their data from the best source. And I’m not just saying that because they always have the best snacks in their communal space are always the best.

  4. Scott says:

    If you believe that the formal and real incidence of taxation are not the same….how is that graph even relevant? 🙂

  5. E. Harding says:

    This isn’t a Bernie statement; it’s on his “must reads” page. Not sure if that counts as an endorsement or not, but it’s not apparent he wrote it.

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