Randoms of the day

Still commies.

Mencken: "Man can only achieve dignity if superior men are given absolute freedom to think what they want to think and say what they want to say."

More on commies from Borepatch

When conservatives and libertarians read stuff like this, they condemn government. The better response would be to get in on the good stuff.

Lots of studies show that people with kids are less happy than those without kids. People also complain that everyone seems to ignore these studies. I’m with Ulysses though. Having kids makes you more and less happy. Actually, everything that makes you really happy makes you unhappy for a while. If you don’t have to work at something a bit, it’s worthless (by definition).

All the smart people are suggesting that the Fed target nominal GDP instead of targeting inflation. This seems too clever to me, after all, nominal GDP is just GDP and inflation. Let’s say GDP shrinks by a billion dollars. Targeting NGDP means that you would print money until NGDP gets back the billion plus some amount (after all, we have to allow for constant progress and what is constant progress if not artificial increases in GDP?). Essentially, targeting NGDP gives the central bank a license to ignore inflation. "Who cares if inflation is 15%? We’re not targeting that, we’re targeting a level of NGDP?" You can almost hear Ben Bernank saying something like this. This idea fits with my general thesis that progress in macroeconomics is equivalent to proposing more irresponsible policies. Telling central banks to ignore inflation is retarded.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t enough money in Europe to bail out the sovereigns and the banks.

The bureaucracy pwns the education reformers. Efforts to reform the bureaucracy are always welcome, as far as I’m concerned, since they’ll always result in raising my salary.

Why America collapsed. You may also enjoy pictures from the 21st Century.

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15 Responses to Randoms of the day

  1. Gian says:

    Dignity is rather a weasel word. What does it signify here?
    Did Mencken mean that only the superior people need freedom of expression and the mankind is not served well by the inferiors speaking freely?

    Who are the superior men anyway? Was Marx a superior man? Was Stalin?. FDR?

  2. Handle says:

    The anti-NGDP-target position is the only thing I’ve read about on your blog about which we disagree. It’s not perfect, but if we’re not going to get rid of the current overall monetary system then I maintain that it’d be a definite improvement over the awful, unpredictable, ad hoc improvisation Fed policy we have now. I’ll be in the DC area for the next three months, and maybe we can meet up sometime and I can give you my defense of the idea.

  3. AC says:

    “The better response would be to get in on the good stuff.”

    Any good government jobs for MDs?

  4. Tschafer says:

    Whether or not the “Occupy Wall Street” people fit the textbook definition of “commie”, they most certainly fit the textbook definition of “Leftie” and also the textbook definition of “stupid”. The fact that a lot of libertarians think that these people are on their side tells you a lot about the discernment and selectivity of many of the most recent iteration of libertarians.

  5. Fake Herzog says:

    Foesti,

    The obvious defense of NGDP against your attack is that of course it doesn’t ignore inflation — the key question is what is the level target? If we set our NGDP target at 4% annualized growth, then if inflation causes NGDP to go OVER 4% the Fed will take action to decrease NGDP by attacking inflation via the money supply. So the key is what’s your level?

    • Foseti says:

      Except that inflation doesn’t work that way. If you need 10% inflation to get back to last year’s level, you can’t dial it up to 10% and then back to 2% like you’re a magician.

      • Fake Herzog says:

        Well, do we ever really need 10% inflation? And Volcker did a good job of smashing high inflation in the early 80s (although there was pain involved). I think Sumner, who is the guru of NGDP targeting, would say that there is a lot of historical evidence that the Fed has tools to impact nominal GDP in fairly straightforward ways. I think Taylor disagrees (along with some of the other inflation hawks on the Fed Board) so I know there are counter-arguments, but Sumner is extremely persuasive…go over to his blog and start posting comments.

  6. RS says:

    > Having kids makes you more and less happy. Actually, everything that makes you really happy makes you unhappy for a while. If you don’t have to work at something a bit, it’s worthless (by definition).

    Indeed, in addition to the question about what these surveys really mean, do they really ‘work’ – there is also this philosophical question that you mention. Which is basically utilitarianism vs eudaimonism. Nietzsche in his radical eudaimonism of course sneered at ‘happiness’ and worshiped power. “Real happiness is that the will overcomes, again and again, all that stands in its way” – something like that. He barely ever used words like eudaimonism or utilitarianism, and is not all that often discussed in this way, but in fact the sole idea of all his books is how can we convert 1880s Europe (and ourselves – at the least ourselves) back into a bracingly eudaimonist civilization – very like Hellas – a thousand miles from lowly utilitarianism. The crisis of modern life is not being pushed enough. “Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong — otherwise one will never become strong.” Instead of danger one might think more generally of compulsion or obligation of any kind. This is largely why a eudaimonist is not a liberal, prizing freedom of choice.

    These concepts are very nearly the heart of all that we love to talk about. Though maybe not quite exactly. Eudaimonism almost means vitality… and in fact Objectivism, ‘heroic libertarianism’, has not a little to do with it. And of course, taken to the extreme, all these ideas led directly into fascism ; it’s quite important to uncover how they were used there, and perhaps somewhat altered.

  7. dearieme says:

    Having children makes you happy in new ways and unhappy in entirely familiar ways. Though it also introduces the possibility of unfamiliar levels of fear.

  8. dfghjk955 says:

    I especially liked the “Huge National Sales Tax” from the 1% “prophet” at “Why America Collapsed”. I know he likes it because it’s the most regressive tax he can think of. But it’s also, and this makes me happy, completely retarded for obvious reasons.

    1.Since it will have to be so very high, it creates an extreme desire to cheat. Profit margins will at least double, and probably far, far more by doing deals under the counter. BLACK MARKET GO!

    2.It will crush the poor to death. Remember, they “don’t pay taxes”… well, technically they do, but 1% Prophet FEELS that they don’t. And his FEELINGS trump my facts. But in any case, I’m sure THOSE taxes won’t be reduced. So the poor will have a new crushing load placed on them…. that will kill them, literally, unless they riot or 1% gives them a way out. I know, I know, they are SOOOOO selfish.
    How exactly is this tax credit going to be managed? On a per loaf or bread purchased basis? Oh yeah, that’s gonna be insane.

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