Snail Races

...where even the winners are slow and slimy. It's all a matter of degrees, really. Reality based since 1692.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

remembering Spiro

I read Brad DeLong regularly, although I am rarely certain that I have grasped his point in full. But at least I learn a little of the state of the economic debate, in much the same way that a baby is nourished by the bits that find their way into his mouth as he smears oatmeal all over his face, head, torso, and surrounding two thousand square feet.

This is the sort of thing I am seeing more and more, as the scales are falling from eyes right, left and center. The distance from here to James Howard Kunstler is becoming less and less.

Barry Ritholz thinks the state of the business cycle is weaker than commonly thought. He sees a bunch of people ignoring their transversality constraints--thinking that they can stay suspended in midair forever. He mentions households and the government. I would add all those--private and public--who are holding U.S. long-term bonds:

The Big Picture: Goldilocks Economy? Hardly.... In one camp, the "Realists," and on the other side, the folks who call the realists the "Pouting Pundits of Pessimism." One has to wonder what leads people to take their intellectual cues from the philosophy of Spiro Agnew....


The public hasn't bought into the happy talk either.... Michael Mussa, who served on Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers from 1986 to 1988, noted : "If you ask the classic Ronald Reagan question 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?,' a large number of Americans are in fact not better off.'

The American public is hardly a pessimistic lot; they are, however, deeply aware of their own financial situations.

Lastly, a word about Agnew: all his complaints about the "Nattering Nebobs of Negativity" -- Agnew's phrase (via speechwriter Safire) for the critics of his time -- proved completely unfounded. The criticism of the Viet Nam War, President Nixon and Watergate turned out, ironically, to be well founded. Agnew resigned in a bribery scandal....

Ironically, indeed.... heh.


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