"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
I am in a very good mood today - I finished up a draft of a report on apprenticeship that has been bogging me down at work, I'm actually going to get out on the river in my kayak tomorrow which I've had to put off weekend after weekend lately, I'm going to get to start working on my engineering paper in the morning again rather than this apprenticeship paper, and my mother-in-law's house, which I have been doing cleaning and repair work on almost every weekend for months now is almost ready to go on the market. A good Friday! How is everyone's weekend going to be? Here are some interesting links:
- Blogger Noahpinion has two posts providing his opinion on his economics PhD program. I have not gotten the chance to read them yet, but a lot of people seem to be liking the posts (here and here).
- Brad DeLong provides measured praise of Tom Hoenig, the outgoing president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve who has gotten a lot of grief from people like me for advocating tighter monetary policy. It's a good read, and I think importantly makes the point about what unusual times we're in. Tom Hoenig actually had a pretty good tenure because he worked as a strong guarantor of price stability. And Keynesians are nothing if not advocates of price stability. The problem is, that disposition which works well in normal times can give you certain knee-jerk reactions that don't work well in severe downturns. Sometimes I muse on how liberal people in the blogosphere think I am. I'm really not all that liberal. When I say I'm "center" or "center-left" I mean it, and I have no major problem with the label "neoliberal". In normal times I'd be willing to put a fair deal of focus on deregulation and controlling inflation. But I'm not going to pretend that it's excessive regulation that got us into this, and I'm not going to worry about inflation right now. I'm actually a big fan of welfare reform and I think its good we've largely phased out cash welfare and replaced it in a lot of ways with the EITC. I think some targeted welfare programs to the truly destitute is a good idea, but for most of those hovering around the poverty line I think good labor supply policies like the EITC and perhaps a labor demand policy like a job creation tax credit are much, much better ways of going about it than welfare. People know I'm a strong advocate of federalism. People know I think property rights are essential and that a lot of our problems (e.g. externalities) emerge precisely where property rights are weak. I'm always curious whether, if I'm still blogging after the crisis subsides, some people are going to be surprised at how non-liberal I am. Keynesians look awfully liberal in a crisis to some people, but that can be misleading.
- Gene Callahan with more deep thoughts (for those who don't know the lingo "NAP" is non-aggression principle).
- I hate talking about the Civil War, partly because I know the South made an absurdly bad decision but I still feel an identification with the South. Virginia gives me an out in some ways, because Virginia resisted secession when it was just about guaranteeing slaveholders rights, and then finally caved when Lincoln started a war over it. It's a far cry from Washington's personal unionism, of course, but it's better than Alexander Stephens. This post provides some very interesting details on the role that a Coastal Survey map played in inspiring the secession within a secession: the secession of West Virginia from Virginia. I realize a lot of my readers may not have much experience with West Virginia - and it often gets portrayed as a real red-neck state. In a lot of ways that's justified I guess, but it really is a beautiful place, all the people there I've met are very nice - it's definitely worth visiting if you're in the mid-Atlantic.
Comparative advantage: a partial truth
13 hours ago