Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More clean-up

but not necessarily shorter. This will probably be a two-parter.

The burden of proof:

rests on everyone but Megan, especially if she's talking about school vouchers.
You see, history didn't happen, FDR and the New Deal accomplished NOTHING, and tax cuts are the only thing that will work at all, the failures of conservatism be damned. All this is, of course, so self-evident that it's on those who disagree to prove they are correct.
And does slavish fealty to lowering taxes mean Megan has finally come out of the conservative closet? The only person in there with her was Ann Althouse, who I am not, and neither of them noticed the closet had no door.
(Hi Ann! Are you drunk yet?)

A data gold mine:

It's totally cool for Amex to cut the limits of people who shop at low end stores, because poor people's money smells like sour milk, and you can't let too much of it pile up in one place or it just reeks.

40% of Japanese investors think there is a risk of a US default:

I don't know how much of this is related to the $815 squintillion stimulus, or whatever it is we're proposing to spend this week.
Stimulus, schmimulus = ironclad argument against the stimulus proposal.

Liar, liar pants on fire:
How DARE I claim that stimulus spending didn't get us out of the Great Depression? GDP growth was really, really high under FDR!!!!
Oh, boy. She can't even manage to rephrase the argument against her to make it sound bad. Now she's going to TOTALLY show us why getting mad at Megan for being fucking stupid means she wins!!!!
Item One: Even a dead cat will bounce if you drop it from a high enough height. GDP contracted by nearly a third during the acute phase of the crisis, from 1930-32. It wasn't actually going to continue to contract indefinitely. This is basically the pattern you see in most countries with major financial crises: severe contraction, and then rapid climb back towards former output levels.
Item One: Megan is completely wrong and knows it, but that's the fault of reality.
Item Two: Remember how we talked about increasing a measurement by increasing one of its components? Government spending went up, which naturally pushed the measurement up. But that didn't mean the economy was healthy, and no reputable economist, left or right, claims that the Great Depression ended before 1940.
And just because that wasn't a claim made in her honest and respectful summary of her critics' position doesn't mean Megan can't pretend that money vanished from the economy once the government spent it.
Item Three: The statistics point to a lost decade.
which is to say, the stats show that Megan is wrong and her critics are right, but that's because we haven't shifted the goalposts yet.
The economy basically recovered to the same level of output it had enjoyed in 1930, with much higher unemployment (17% in 1939). Indeed, FDR had more years of 20+% unemployment than Hoover. But of course, during that time, the population had grown somewhat, so GDP per capita was slightly lower than in 1930.
An economy with 17% unemployment is not healthy. And economy with GDP fluctuating around the same level it was at ten years ago is not healthy. A healthy economy would have displayed new growth and much lower unemployment.
And yet it was much healthier than it had been. (Btw, since Megan doesn't source her stats we're left to wonder whether her unemployment claims are based on the dishonest idea that people employed by the government in projects like the TVA were still unemployed. It's a common lie in current debates, like the one using the failures of anti-New Deal policies in 1937 as proof the New Deal was a sham.)
FDR's programs may have helped alleviate the pain of the Great Depression, but they did not cure the underlying economic malaise, which was alive and well as we headed into World War II.
So in other words, just because the New Deal worked doesn't mean we shouldn't lie and claim the opposite for political purposes.

Department of non-leading indicators:
I just offered an acquaintance heartfelt congratulations on . . . not being laid off.
The recession is over! Megan knows someone who still has a job, that means the economy is growing at a blockbuster rate, or was until Obama fucked it up in the last 2 weeks.

This is your head, blogging:
Brian Beutler and I discussed the stimulus. In my defense, I kept speaking over Brian because I had a raging ear infection that had made me deaf in one ear.
I'd make a joke about it requiring physical gratification from some attractive female for me to be willing to watching this, but I'm not that big a whore.

Quote of the day:
I often think to myself, "how could anyone live on $500,000 a year? It's like something in the middle ages. Except, you know, with granite countertops and private schools for the kids." But then I started doing volunteer work on the Upper East Side, and... [blah blah blah]
The actual quote of the day is the first comment to this post;
Given you defined your own brush with crippling poverty as being unable to buy cocktails after having seen a Broadway show, forgive me for ignoring your snark here.
Posted by James

Breaktime. Mostly not-shorter part 2 in a few.


Malaclypse said...

Indeed, FDR had more years of 20+% unemployment than Hoover.

Only a cad would point out that this might be because FDR was president 13 years to Hoover's 4.

Indeed, FDR ate 325% more meals prepared in the White House kitchen, thus proving that government spending promotes gluttony!

clever pseudonym said...

When is Megan ever *not* sick so as to have some excuse for doing her job badly? If you have a raging ear infection that affects your ability to hear, then maybe it's a good idea to not appear in a dual discussion on camera?

Never mind sexual gratification. I'd want my own Adonis sex slave for life and a million dollars before I'd watch her smug ass in one of those horrid Bloggingheads spots.

Dhalgren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dhalgren said...

A decent piece by Jack Shafer on why no one should replace Kristol at the Times.