"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- Bravo. Very good to see this sort of thing. A bipartisan supermajority of Senators calling on the president to tackle tax and entitlement reform. One of the nice things about this sort of initiative is that even if they are overly conservative in their approach, a tax and entitlement reform is not going to pose the sort of threat to those struggling through a depression that, say, a cut to the non-military discretionary budget (i.e. - the portion of the budget that goes to working families) would pose. Even if they cut deeper than necessary, it's the sort of thing that unfolds over many years. And it's the sort of thing that really needs to be done. The fact that right now we need larger deficits does not change the fact that we face a very real long-term debt problem.
- This does not seem like a wise way to fight an increase in liquidity preference.
- This is perhaps the best post I've seen so far on the most recent back-and-forth over whether economics is a science or not. If it's not, fine - just count biology, geology, meteorology (and Sumner argues even physics) out too. It seems most meaningful to me to say that economics is a science because we chase useful knowleddge the same way all the other sciences chase useful knowledge. If you want to provide another definition for it, then be my guest. Go right ahead. In the mean time, I have some science to go do.
- Matt Yglesias tackles the constitutional justification for federal provision of infrastructure. He makes things more complicated than they need to be. He works his way through the commerce clause, dismisses it, and then brings up an unnecessarily obscure clause: "I would have said that the power “[t]o establish Post Offices and Post Roads” implies a generic grant of authority to do transportation." You don't need to read any farther than the first clause of Article 1 Section 8 - the Congress can appropriate money to provide for the General Welfare. The constitutional quibbles of Jefferson himself on this point amounted to no more than that he felt the need to obtain the permission of the states the roads and canals were passing through first. Nobody ever questioned this application of this clause until decades after the Constitution was ratified. To some 21st century eyes that may seem like it's close enough to be "originalism", but to me if someone takes decades to register a complaint I'm not buying that this is a legitimate originalist interpretation of the Constitution. If I were around back then I'd be in Gallatin's corner.
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