Chronicle of the Conspiracy
Saturday, November 24, 2007KUDLOW REPLAY Here's the YouTube video, in which -- be afraid, be very afraid! -- Michael Panzner actually says something bullish!
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:22 PM | link
Thursday, November 22, 2007HERE'S TWO FOR THE TRIAL LAWYERS First, Mattel should sue the extreme leftist group Campaign for America's Future for expropriating the image and trademark of Barbie, in this Internet-only ad.
ABC News reports,
...a Barbie doll calls a Ken doll to complain she has contracted lead poisoning from a late-night, alcohol-induced, post-breakup (and off-camera) rendezvous with her dashing plastic boy-toy.A "nonpartisan watchdog," eh? My DC-insider friend "Mick Danger" as always, has the true story:
"Campaign for America's Future" is a union-funded, far left-wing (wing-tip?) group. In their version of our future, America becomes quite different, something like a Euro-Socialist, trial lawyer-dominated, totally unionized, income-equality PC-police state. Yummy! Time to face east and worship Hillary.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:00 PM | link
Wednesday, November 21, 2007KRUGMAN SKEWERED IN THE POST Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post:
"Inside the Beltway, doomsaying about Social Security -- declaring that the program as we know it can't survive the onslaught of retiring baby boomers -- is regarded as a sort of badge of seriousness, a way of showing how statesmanlike and tough-minded you are," Krugman wrote last week. "In fact, the whole Beltway obsession with the fiscal burden of an aging population is misguided."Thanks to Caroline Baum for the link.
Update... That thin-skinned narcissistic whiner is already responding on his blog. Krugman starts, astonishingly, by saying "Early in my tenure at the NYT, I was advised that it’s a bad idea to devote a column to attacking another columnist — not just at the Times, but anywhere. Why? Because it makes you look small..." Well, yes. And from there, he proceeds to make himself look very small indeed.
He makes two basic points. First, he claims that in his earlier stance that there was a Social Security crisis, it was only an issue insofar as it should argue against income tax cuts. But Marcus's column clearly shows that's a lie. He wrote repeatedly that the program has its own problems, arising from its own legacy debt. And the income tax cuts Krugman opposed were in fact passed -- so now, according to his present rationale, there should be an even greater crisis than there was before. Yet now there's no problem? Looking small, Paul!
Second, claims that the 1996 projections were more pessimistic than the current ones. Indeed they were. But the current projections still show a huge shortfall.
Krugman is playing fast and loose with the facts on this subject. For example, In his 11/17 blog post, he attempts to document that there is no problem:
According to the “intermediate” projection of the Social Security trustees, this trust fund will be exhausted in 2041 — but they also present a more optimistic scenario, based on economic assumptions that don’t seem at all outlandish, in which the trust fund goes on forever.But this "optimistic scenario" he's talking about isn't solely "based on economic assumptions that don't seem at all outlandish," it's based on many other factors, too, including demographic ones. All the factors must fall into place to avert insolvency. For example, fertility would have to permanently returns to levels we haven't seen since 1970. And longevity increases would have to slow so that gains over the next 75 years are less than over the last 35. That's a lot to ask.
This scenario is so unlikely that it doesn't even appear within the 95% confidence band of the Trustees' projections. The scenario in which the problem goes away entirely, even over 75 years, wouldn't even be a 1 in 100 shot. But Krugman doesn't warn you about that. Small! Small! Small!
Oh, and those economic assumptions he says are "not at all outlandish" include that real wage growth over the next 75 years will be more than 175% of the level it's been over the last 40 years. And inflation can never top 2% in any year over the next 75. Small! Tiny! Pygmy!
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:57 AM | link
SOMEHOW I DOUBT IT Presumably this sign wasn't put up by the economics department.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:08 AM | link
SEEN IN SILICON VALLEY ...where only the best will do, in flowers as in software.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:07 AM | link
JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE PARANOID ...it doesn't mean the world isn't a dangerous place, full of suspicious packages, bomb scares, mysterious fires, and some terrorism here and there. Here's the whole bleak picture summed up as a Global Incident Map, link courtesy of Bruce Kesler.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:07 AM | link
Tuesday, November 20, 2007WILL GORE ACTUALLY REGISTER AS A LOBBYIST? Following up on our suspicions last week about Al Gore becoming a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins primarily to act as a lobbyist, the Wall Street Journal has the goods.
After making more than a dozen "green tech" investments, Kleiner is still waiting for its first exit. According to a Kleiner spokeswoman, many companies in its portfolio are "in stealth mode." The firm will "neither name nor comment on them." So it's impossible to determine precisely how much the Kleiner-backed firms will benefit from either current federal subsidies, or new provisions that are part of the House and Senate versions of the stalled energy bill. But we do have some hints.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:56 AM | link
KUDLOW REPLAY Here's the YouTube video, in which Brian Wesbury and I have to give Gary Shilling a little lesson in how to read a balance sheet, and I bet dollars to donuts about Fed policy with a former Fed policy maker.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:35 AM | link
Monday, November 19, 2007PAUL KRUGMAN EXPLAINS THE DOLLAR TO US "WARNING," he warns us self-aggrandizingly, "FAIRLY WONKISH." Actually, it's just fairly foolish. So the dollar has been declining against most foreign currencies. Krugman wonders whether it is "recessionary" -- and then gives the game away when he proceeds to ask, "OK, so how do we make this story more pessimistic?" Turns out he really can't do it, which is surely a first for him.
He's discards the idea that the falling dollar is inflationary, saying "The big dollar fall from 1985 to 1988 wasn’t notably inflationary." That's rich. Remember back in the early 1980s, before Krugman was so concerned that Ronald Reagan was a racist, and deigned to work for his Council of Economic Advisors? Remember that memo that he and Larry Summers wrote in 1982, "The Inflation Time Bomb?"? The one where he predicted an explosion in inflation, just as our economy was embarking on a quarter century of declining inflation? The one where he based his forecast on the exchange rate of the dollar? This is just too f***ing funny.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 11:00 PM | link
Sunday, November 18, 2007SENATOR WHO? Crapo. Mike Crapo. Haven't heard of him? My DC-insider pal "Mick Danger" thinks you should start to pay attention:
Senator Crapo (R-ID) is a rare breed. Smart, hard-working and well positioned. Not heard much about him? Well, he’s the other Senator from Idaho.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:06 PM | link
NOTHING LIKE BEING THROWN OUT A JOB TO CLARIFY THE MIND And so it is with the Republican party. Is it, perhaps, beginning to find its way again with this -- The Little Book of Big Government. Lots of juicy facts and factoids to throw around a cocktail parties when the subject turns to politics and the guy or gal on the other side of the conversation is pontificating about what government "should" do under a Democratic president and congress. Not a lot about the GOP's own complicity in creating our bloated nanny state -- but it's a step in the right direction. When the GOP was in power, the Dems just talked about how to spend more money, and spend it differently. At least when the GOP is out of power it talks about spending less.
Thanks to Jameson Campaigne for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:58 PM | link
I GUESS THEY'RE STILL WORKING THE BUGS OUT The new Fox Business Network didn't exactly cover itself in glory on this one last week:
Thanks to "Irrational Exuberance" for the link.ALEXIS GLICK: There's some news coming across the tape right now. We're seeing from Wall Street Journal that Apple is buying an 8 percent stake in AMD."
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:36 PM | link
THE SENATOR "FROM" MONTANA I guess that's a literally true description of Democrat Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee who holds the future of American tax policy in his hands. The question is: is he the senator of Montana?
Democratic U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, who is running for his sixth term next year, didn’t own a home in Montana for 11 years of his 29-year Senate career.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:30 PM | link