Why Modern Economists Lean Left?

So I would say I am fairly conservative especially when it comes to the economy, the policies etc. Though recently I have noticed a trend where many of the economists you come across in the media and otherwise lean left. Not to say, I do also have read reports and research by conservative economists. Though, most of them in the media definitely seem liberal(the modern sense of the word). Came across this interesting report and the notable quote which goes:

It's worth asking: Why has economics shifted to the left? Maybe it's because the country itself, and its problems, have shifted. In the 1970s, when conservatism and Friedman became the face of economics, we faced high tax rates, heavy regulation, high inflation and powerful unions. But in 2015, we confront rising inequality, economic insecurity, and the aftermath of a financial crisis and a long, deep recession.

Maybe a country simply gets the economics it needs."

Here is the link to the original report from Bloomberg: Economics Stars Swing Left

What do you guys think? is that true or these media economists mostly reflect the bias inherent in reporting today?

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Comments (96)

Best Response
Jan 13, 2015

This is interesting - my econ experience in college and beyond (research-wise) was anything BUT left. But then again, you're looking at the media / prominent econ icons vs. academia, so perhaps that's where the difference lies.

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Jan 24, 2015

Same is true for me but I also went to school in Texas. Still many of my college professors were very left leaning and many of the books we used would sometimes bash the more conservative institutions and scholars.

Jan 13, 2015

What would Krugman have to talk about if he believed and advocated in smaller government and less involvement? Perpetual academia also influences this some.

Jan 13, 2015

Broadly speaking, the last great movement in economics was the Friedman monetarist approach that was popular in the 70s and 80s and had lasting effects in the 90s, 00s through to today. Monetarism did a lot of good, but also had a lot of assumptions which weren't practical or universal in their application. But people clung to the ideological purity of Monetarism for too long (and many still do). Monetarism underpinned the Washington consensus model, which didn't do a good job at all in a lot of developing parts of the world.

The greater amount of left leaning economists today, to some significant degree, likely reflects a reaction against the prevalence and failure of the preceding popular school ie Monetarism. This is not unlike Monetarism rising in popularity in the 70s as a reaction against the popularity of Keynesian economics before that.

You'll note that there's an assumption of a pendulous movement in thought underlying this view, a Hegelian dialectic in search of a synthesis. However, whether in economics or other areas of theoretical study, this sort of staggering back and forth between the boundaries of debate are common.

In this and the last two centuries, those boundaries have normally been conceptualised as "Left" and "Right". It has not always been this way and likely won't be seen this way in a few centuries.

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Jan 14, 2015

Could you elaborate on that last sentence? Interested in hearing your prognosis for what the alternative would be and your reasoning for the change.

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Jan 13, 2015
The Stranger:

Could you elaborate on that last sentence? Interested in hearing your prognosis for what the alternative would be and your reasoning for the change.

I don't have any prognosis this week. I'm basing my view on history - eg if we were somewhere in the political though of last two thousand years, we could be interpreting debates in economics in terms of many different frameworks which were the overarching perspectives applied to most debates at the time. A few that come to mind:

  • monarchists vs republicans
  • Guelfs vs Ghibellines
  • creationists vs evolutionists
  • anarchists vs communists
  • Stalinists vs Trotskyists
  • landed gentry vs emerging urban merchant class
  • guilds vs free enterprise
  • Papists vs protestants
  • icon venerators vs iconoclasts
  • homoiousianist vs homoeanist vs heteroousianist

Seeing things in economic class-based Left vs Right is just the dominant framework of the last two hundred years. Whether or not we agree with his politics, we're still living very much in the shadow of Marx's class-based view of history. And, in turn, the Hegelian dialectic.

And I'm often not a fan of dialectic thinking. It constrains the way you think about situations into thesis, antithesis, synthesis ie polarised argument, hoping for an answer that combines the two. This sort of thinking means most debate is stuck between the artificial poles of Left and Right with a false sense of the sensible outcome being some sort of compromise, as it those two are the only poles on the spectrum.

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Jan 14, 2015

While I share your distaste for dialectic thinking, I actually disagree with your conclusion - I think that people (particularly those in media/ politics) prefer to simplify things because that makes considering the argument more palatable to their constituents. While anyone who thinks about it will agree that this contrains solutions sub optimally, basic human tendencies will lead to people 'picking a side'.

Jan 13, 2015

Look at the platform not the sources. It really is as simple as that. Media has gone from a bastion of discussion of ideas to a giant circle jerk of like minded thinkers. The media as a whole leans left, therefore the find people who will promote their ideology. It really is as simple as that. The bankers no longer run the world. Major media players do.

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Jan 13, 2015

I attend probably the most liberal Ivy out there and I have never experienced even a slightly conservative undertone in any of my classes. Also most economists are very heavily influenced by academia. You have to think, most have spent 10+ years in an academic setting to recieve their PhD, so naturally they will absorb some of the leftist culture that is present in most universities.

Jan 13, 2015

As a non-economist/economics major, what is meant by left-leaning or right-leaning economics? Given that Keynesian economics has literally no history of ever successfully working (I'm not sure there is a single example that can be used as empirical evidence for support), my assumption was that Keynes had been discredited and wasn't considered seriously outside of Democrat politicians. With regard to right-leaning economics, aren't there numerous varying and often contradictory and often complementary (of each other) economic thoughts (supply-side, monetarism, Austrian, etc.)? I'm pretty right-wing and I'm a monetarist. My boss, however, is pretty right-wing and he entirely rejects the idea that the government should have any role in the economy (he supports the unadulterated gold standard).

Also, aren't there very true (empirically true) aspects of right- and left-leaning economic beliefs? For an extreme example, I'm struck by Karl Marx's prescience in some of his thoughts and observations about production, but I entirely reject his economic model as optimum. That must muddy the water somewhat when discussing right- and left-leaning economics because a pure, laissez-faire capitalist could accept the economic premise of even a communist but reject the communist's model.

Jan 14, 2015

LOL: Given that Keynesian economics has literally no history of ever successfully working (I'm not sure there is a single example that can be used as empirical evidence for support), my assumption was that Keynes had been discredited and wasn't considered seriously outside of Democrat politicians.

Bud, I think those WSJ op-eds may have gone to your head.

FYI: (Google, can't attach links unfortunately) What Debate? Economists Agree the Stimulus Lifted the Economy

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Jan 13, 2015
Oracle of Omaha:

LOL: Given that Keynesian economics has literally no history of ever successfully working (I'm not sure there is a single example that can be used as empirical evidence for support), my assumption was that Keynes had been discredited and wasn't considered seriously outside of Democrat politicians.

Bud, I think those WSJ op-eds may have gone to your head.

FYI: (Google, can't attach links unfortunately) What Debate? Economists Agree the Stimulus Lifted the Economy

What stimulus? Monetary stimulus or fiscal stimulus? I think economists agree that record low interest rates created by massive bond buying of the Federal Reserve has helped the economy recover better than in many places in the world, but I don't think there's a consensus at all that fiscal stimulus has improved the economy in any material way. Even so, this has been the worst post-recession recovery in history, hardly a ringing endorsement of Keynes.

Jan 14, 2015

Here is a link to the polling which I referred to, and yes it is regarding fiscal stimulus (Keynesian, if you like). There is a pretty overwhelming consensus among the academic economists polled that 'because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus bill.'

- http://www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-pan...

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Jan 14, 2015

It may be worth noting that Marx's "Communist Manifesto" was written while the guy was in his early twenties... his real contributions in terms of observing the economy imho come in Capital Vols 1-3 and The Grundrisse.

And one can't forget the "18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" for an amazing, contingency-heavy analysis of "revolution gone wrong".

And I do agree with your point in the final paragraph... lots of truth in many different "political-leaning" observations. The problem arises when people accept these arguments writ-large essentially *because* they are "right-wing" or "left-leaning" without actually critiquing the premises and carefully defining the terms upon which they base such premesis. The result is what Hobbes noted in his introduction to Leviathan... that some of the most schooled men (in these ideologies) end up believing some of the most obscene absurdities.

I do think though the resuscitation of American industry through WWII is an oft-touted case of Keynesian economics working. Fundamentally I think there are probably many models that "work", the real issue is what kind of unintended consequences can arise from those policies?

Jan 14, 2015
Virginia Tech 4ever:

Given that Keynesian economics has literally no history of ever successfully working (I'm not sure there is a single example that can be used as empirical evidence for support), my assumption was that Keynes had been discredited and wasn't considered seriously outside of Democrat politicians.

Haha, what about 2008-present? We have two similarly sized first world economies, the US and the EU, 1 followed an austerity path, the other side a stimulative action. Which one is doing better?

Jan 14, 2015

I think that was a reference to fiscal stimulus, which neither block pursued for very long and therefore can't really be proven not to have worked (even though it did work in Japan in the 1930s for instance).

Jan 13, 2015
coreytrevor:
Virginia Tech 4ever:

Given that Keynesian economics has literally no history of ever successfully working (I'm not sure there is a single example that can be used as empirical evidence for support), my assumption was that Keynes had been discredited and wasn't considered seriously outside of Democrat politicians.

Haha, what about 2008-present? We have two similarly sized first world economies, the US and the EU, 1 followed an austerity path, the other side a stimulative action. Which one is doing better?

The US's stimulative path has been largely monetary stimulus, not fiscal stimulus. The many trillions of dollars shot into the economy through monetary stimulus dwarfs any fiscal stimulus. The European Union, on the other hand, has dozens of different economies that are under a singular currency, hence monetary policy works in practice more like the gold standard where governments don't have control over their own monetary policy. This goes back to my position as a monetarist.

Even so, America's economic recovery has been among the worst post-recession recoveries in modern times in the United States and is hardly a pillar of success for Keynes.

Jan 14, 2015

What an intriguing reply... 'The US's stimulative path has been largely monetary stimulus, not fiscal stimulus. The many trillions of dollars shot into the economy through monetary stimulus dwarfs any fiscal stimulus'...

And yet, 'Even so, America's economic recovery has been among the worst post-recession recoveries in modern times in the United States'... Need I say more? (Or anything at all??)

Jan 14, 2015
coreytrevor:
Virginia Tech 4ever:

Given that Keynesian economics has literally no history of ever successfully working (I'm not sure there is a single example that can be used as empirical evidence for support), my assumption was that Keynes had been discredited and wasn't considered seriously outside of Democrat politicians.

Haha, what about 2008-present? We have two similarly sized first world economies, the US and the EU, 1 followed an austerity path, the other side a stimulative action. Which one is doing better?

Binary causation fallacy.

The more recent trend illustrates the opposite is well. What effect do you think the insane tax hunt in the EU(Hell, the even had cash-sniffing dogs in Italy) is going to have on Capital flows?

Jan 14, 2015

I would have to agree with this. The nutty attack on anyone with some money in Europe is crazy. Want to see the regional effects of this in the US? Just look at the flight of the rich away from NY and CA. You can only tax so much before people find a cheaper place to live. Seeing the stats on Robinson Cano's salary potential with the yanks vs. Mariners was amazing when you factored in the taxes.

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Jan 14, 2015

good point. there are basically no rich left in CA or NY.

and, regulations hurt business. thats why there are no startups in CA or MA.

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Jan 14, 2015
scottyc:

good point. there are basically no rich left in CA or NY.

and, regulations hurt business. thats why there are no startups in CA or MA.

1st sentence: what? 2nd sentence: lack of regulations can hurt consumers

Jan 21, 2015

im pretty sure that was a joke, given the rest of the thread.

Jan 14, 2015
coreytrevor:
scottyc:

good point. there are basically no rich left in CA or NY.

and, regulations hurt business. thats why there are no startups in CA or MA.

1st sentence: what? 2nd sentence: lack of regulations can hurt consumers

The word you're looking for is sarcasm.

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Jan 24, 2015

You're ignoring some pretty massive structural differences between those two economies. Not only that, the EU isn't a homogenous economic system; there are massive disparities within the union.

Jan 20, 2015

Keynesian Economics has shown its worth. Look at present-day. The U.S. is growing after economic stimulus, while the EU is flirting with deflation after undergoing austerity measures. And the gold standard is medieval. It doesn't allow any monetary flexibility whatsoever. Experiencing hyper inflation? Deflation? Can't do anything about it.

Jan 20, 2015
antd1214:

Keynesian Economics has shown its worth. Look at present-day. The U.S. is growing after economic stimulus, while the EU is flirting with deflation after undergoing austerity measures. And the gold standard is medieval. It doesn't allow any monetary flexibility whatsoever. Experiencing hyper inflation? Deflation? Can't do anything about it.

This is a joke, right? You can't be this ignorant.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Jan 13, 2015
antd1214:

Keynesian Economics has shown its worth. Look at present-day. The U.S. is growing after economic stimulus, while the EU is flirting with deflation after undergoing austerity measures. And the gold standard is medieval. It doesn't allow any monetary flexibility whatsoever. Experiencing hyper inflation? Deflation? Can't do anything about it.

How many times will I be forced to reiterate this point in this thread?

First of all, there are MASSIVE structural differences between the United States and Europe. For one, the U.S. central bank (Federal Reserve) dictates monetary policy for the United States. In Europe, the European Central Bank dictates monetary policy for all of the EU member states (who are part of the Euro currency). There are something like 28 nations who utilize the Euro. By its very nature, ECB monetary policy will be less effective in regulating the economic cycle in Europe because you have 28 distinct nation-states with wildly different economic and fiscal needs. I believe this is actually one of the reasons that Friedman believed that the Euro wouldn't last (although don't quote me on that).

Second of all, European debt is/was completely out of control. If they had tried fiscal stimulus their currency would have collapsed and interest rates would have surged, which would have crushed their economies. Most EU nations didn't have the option to pursue fiscal stimulus, and I'd argue that it would have been a nightmare had they attempted it. You think Greece, Spain, Portugal, et al would have gotten cheap money (if any money at all) to spend on fiscal stimulus?

Third, U.S. stimulus has been predominantly MONETARY stimulus, which has dwarfed the economic impact of our FISCAL stimulus. These are distinct.

Finally, and most importantly, the U.S. has doubled its national debt in 6 years, and to what end? 4% GDP growth in the 6th year? In what way is this an endorsement of fiscal stimulus? There's essentially only one nation in the world that could add $22,000 in national debt for every man, woman, and child and still get cheap investor financing for it. And all that requires is a perfect credit history, the world's reserve currency, and economic malaise worldwide worse than our own. If anything, America's economic performance demonstrates the failure of Keynes--it demonstrates that it can only work (if it can even work at all) on a massive scale and only by nations that have access to massive cheap investor capital. And even then, its payoff isn't optimum since we've had the worst economic expansion after recession since WWII.

Jan 14, 2015
Virginia Tech 4ever:

Finally, and most importantly, the U.S. has doubled its national debt in 6 years, and to what end? 4% GDP growth in the 6th year? In what way is this an endorsement of fiscal stimulus? There's essentially only one nation in the world that could add $22,000 in national debt for every man, woman, and child and still get cheap investor financing for it. And all that requires is a perfect credit history, the world's reserve currency, and economic malaise worldwide worse than our own. If anything, America's economic performance demonstrates the failure of Keynes--it demonstrates that it can only work (if it can even work at all) on a massive scale and only by nations that have access to massive cheap investor capital. And even then, its payoff isn't optimum since we've had the worst economic expansion after recession since WWII.

This is where your argument breaks down. What if the US hadn't run any deficits over the period? Where would we be now? The US case does nothing to disprove the fact that fiscal stimulus can play a huge part in ensuring an economic recovery. As different as Italy's situation is, it's a poster child for the effect of austerity in a time of crisis (granted with an out-of-sync monetary policy, even if rates were at zero for most of the time).

Jan 13, 2015
GoodBread:
Virginia Tech 4ever:

Finally, and most importantly, the U.S. has doubled its national debt in 6 years, and to what end? 4% GDP growth in the 6th year? In what way is this an endorsement of fiscal stimulus? There's essentially only one nation in the world that could add $22,000 in national debt for every man, woman, and child and still get cheap investor financing for it. And all that requires is a perfect credit history, the world's reserve currency, and economic malaise worldwide worse than our own. If anything, America's economic performance demonstrates the failure of Keynes--it demonstrates that it can only work (if it can even work at all) on a massive scale and only by nations that have access to massive cheap investor capital. And even then, its payoff isn't optimum since we've had the worst economic expansion after recession since WWII.

This is where your argument breaks down. What if the US hadn't run any deficits over the period? Where would we be now? The US case does nothing to disprove the fact that fiscal stimulus can play a huge part in ensuring an economic recovery. As different as Italy's situation is, it's a poster child for the effect of austerity in a time of crisis (granted with an out-of-sync monetary policy, even if rates were at zero for most of the time).

How do we know that the fiscal stimulus had any impact at all? We've had historical levels of quantitative easing. Monetary stimulus has been massive and it's totally independent of fiscal stimulus. It's impossible to tell if fiscal stimulus has had any impact because you can't separate it from historical levels of quantitative easing. But what we can objectively state is that our economic recovery has been the most sluggish since WWII. That's not really a case for fiscal stimulus.

Jan 14, 2015

It's certainly not a case against it. And the ballooning in the US deficit during and after the financial crisis had a lot to do with automatic stabilizers and a huge drop in tax revenues. A huge slug of investment in infrastructure would have been more reflective of what Keynes had in mind.

As far as the recovery being the most sluggish since WWII, that agrees completely with Keynes' theories. Massive monetary intervention was essentially pushing on a string in a balance sheet recession and credit contraction where the US needed to become the borrower of last resort.

However, massive QE and ECB/Germany boneheadedness helped the US emphatically win the currency wars when it mattered and the shale boom was a very helpful positive influence that no one else had.

Jan 13, 2015
GoodBread:

It's certainly not a case against it. And the ballooning in the US deficit during and after the financial crisis had a lot to do with automatic stabilizers and a huge drop in tax revenues. A huge slug of investment in infrastructure would have been more reflective of what Keynes had in mind.

As far as the recovery being the most sluggish since WWII, that agrees completely with Keynes' theories. Massive monetary intervention was essentially pushing on a string in a balance sheet recession and credit contraction where the US needed to become the borrower of last resort.

However, massive QE and ECB/Germany boneheadedness helped the US emphatically win the currency wars when it mattered and the shale boom was a very helpful positive influence that no one else had.

This reminds me of a circular reference in Excel. At the same time I'm hearing that America's economic performance compared to Europe's is validation of Keynes and yet most of the deficits were not as a result of Keynesian fiscal policy. In March 2009, a $900 billion infrastructure omnibus bill was passed and signed into law. $900 billion. As far as I'm aware, those funds basically disappeared into the abyss since we are talking about raising the gas tax to pay for infrastructure.

The point is, we still have virtually no evidence that fiscal stimulus is a legitimate form of cyclical economic policy. Given the historic levels of QE, it's impossible to make a connection of fiscal stimulus and economic recovery between 2009 and 2014 unless you can parcel out the contribution of 0 interest rates and deficit spending.

Jan 14, 2015

That in no way discredits the potential effectiveness of fiscal policy. Only $90B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 went to infrastructure.

Saying it's not effective because you can't strip out the impact of ZIRP is not an argument.

Jan 14, 2015
Virginia Tech 4ever:
GoodBread:

It's certainly not a case against it. And the ballooning in the US deficit during and after the financial crisis had a lot to do with automatic stabilizers and a huge drop in tax revenues. A huge slug of investment in infrastructure would have been more reflective of what Keynes had in mind.

As far as the recovery being the most sluggish since WWII, that agrees completely with Keynes' theories. Massive monetary intervention was essentially pushing on a string in a balance sheet recession and credit contraction where the US needed to become the borrower of last resort.

However, massive QE and ECB/Germany boneheadedness helped the US emphatically win the currency wars when it mattered and the shale boom was a very helpful positive influence that no one else had.

This reminds me of a circular reference in Excel. At the same time I'm hearing that America's economic performance compared to Europe's is validation of Keynes and yet most of the deficits were not as a result of Keynesian fiscal policy. In March 2009, a $900 billion infrastructure omnibus bill was passed and signed into law. $900 billion. As far as I'm aware, those funds basically disappeared into the abyss since we are talking about raising the gas tax to pay for infrastructure.

The point is, we still have virtually no evidence that fiscal stimulus is a legitimate form of cyclical economic policy. Given the historic levels of QE, it's impossible to make a connection of fiscal stimulus and economic recovery between 2009 and 2014 unless you can parcel out the contribution of 0 interest rates and deficit spending.

THIS. Well said sir, well said. +1SB

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Jan 14, 2015

I think the reason's simpler than that. Left-leaning economic theory is in their self interest, as those policies serve to justify greater centralization of power in the federal government.

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Jan 13, 2015

The unfortunate fact of economics as a field is that the politics associated with economic theory aren't always clear, yet partisans are quick to reduce economic theory to a set of left- or right-leaning slogans. For example, Keynesianism is commonly painted as leftist big-government economics, but what that doesn't recognize is that the advocacy of countercyclical tendencies doesn't fit into either left- or right-wing politics. The same thing is happening to MMT now, which is commonly denounced by "monetarist" conservatives for being "left wing" when that clearly isn't the case.

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Jan 24, 2015

There are some valid points in the thread. I think it is sort of self perpetuating cycle though. The whole rich vs poor agenda has never been more glorified. Even tough your life is not affected by Bill Gates making a billion dollars, there is an acceptable standard of living that the media should focus on. If media were to talk about how we can remove the stickiness at the bottom, it would make perfect sense but pitting the poor against the rich just sells more. Once this happens, you want economists/people who can talk about income parity and how rich are making too much money and it is wrong. Once you have these people talking and the fickle public listening, other media sources catch on and they need to adjust their sources accordingly. It is sad how they are using people's ignorance to sell the idea that life is inherently unfair and you can do nothing about it.

Jan 14, 2015

Because right-leaning economists go into finance.
/thread

Jan 14, 2015
m2:

Because right-leaning economists go into finance.

/thread

Well stated.

Jan 14, 2015

This question could be be rewritten as; why do academic economist's views on economic policy generally align with the political left in America?

At its simplest, Keynesian economic thought provides an window into the failures of markets and yes, the ability of government to correct those market failures. Whilst Classical thought provides an avenue explore the capacity of markets to increase welfare. That said, this is somewhat of a caricature as there is significant crossover in mainstream economics with disagreement largely centering on economic policy rather than the actual economics itself.

Thus you may understand why economists of those frameworks tend to be of the left or right.

There are certainly many fantastic economists that could be considered of the political right. Gregory Mankiw, Robert Barro, Martin Feldstein, Robert Lucas and Ben Bernanke among others. So maybe this is more a question of why those economists championed today are of the left? Eg. Joe Stiglitz, Paul Krugman.

Perhaps if you consider the economic dynamics at play: Housing bubble, significant demand shock, labor scarring and high levels of inequality. The reason these views are championed are that they may provide the solutions to the economic problems at hand. Just as in the 1970s, Milton Friedman and co's free-market ideas provided the path to solving the problems of economic stagnation and rising inflationary pressures.

Side-note: It is important understand that America is quite rightward as a country politically, and in many parts of the world what you would consider so-called 'liberals' are really just moderates.

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Jan 14, 2015

Dividing people like Friedman or Keynes into Conservatives and Liberals is completely idiotic. Both have important insights into the functioning of fiscal and monetary policies and trying to decipher economic events while dismissing one or the other out of hand is a recipe for disaster.

Some of the best economic stewards of the country since WWII do not fit in neat ideological boxes either. Eisenhower was probably one of the most fiscally responsible presidents ever but he initially wasn't sure what party to run with and I highly doubt he would stand a chance in today's Republican party.

Volcker was probably the best Fed Chairman of the past 50 years but he certainly wasn't going by Friedman's playbook.

Interestingly enough, Obama's presidency will prove to have been characterized by fiscal rectitude on a level last seen under Ike. The conflict between Obama and the Republican House over the past few years certainly has something to do with it.

Jan 14, 2015

And here's one that's sure to ignite a shitstorm.

Armstrong has a good writeup on one leftist economist that touches on the reasons why here:

http://armstrongeconomics.com/2014/04/13/thomas-pi...

Jan 14, 2015

economics is an empirical science. facts have a liberal bias.

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Jan 14, 2015

I tend to attach myself to a more conservative approach when it comes to economic theory, especially monetary stimulus. I don't feel that the modern economy should include a true gold standard like Austrian economists believe, but some of the ideas the Austrian school holds are very interesting. Check out the Ludwig Von Mises Institute if you are bored and want to see the closest to a libertarian economic thinktank that I could imagine. I think Krugman is awful. They throw money at a problem and his solution is to always print more to throw at it. His pieces in the times is just an itemized attack on conservatives with little "theory" attached to it anymore. The problem with current economists is the fact that they have to jump on the theory bandwagon to be paid, and the liberal economists are in demand. As others have stated before, it doesn't hurt that their degrees are from liberal professors in Ivy schools. Their education is superb, but the doctrine is skewed. I think that if you truly have to break down both sides, either could be explained and supported in theory. Results can also be explained and manipulated to back up whatever result is wanted. It's no different than political arguments.

Jan 14, 2015

A mix of austrian and behavioral economics is the solution.

Jan 14, 2015

I think in the case of economics, liberalism and conservatism can be confused with political liberalism/conservatism. For example, trade liberalization calls for free trade and removal of trade barriers (tariff and non-tariff). Trade liberalization was a staple policy of a distinctly politically conservative Reagan/Thatcher administration (and the following conservative admins.). Likewise, Reaganomics featured ginormous tax cuts, which according to the article, are the opposite of what they deem conservative economic policies. Just wanted to make the clarification that economic liberalism is often times under the guise of political conservatism as the political right has come to swallow up many of these "neo-liberal" economic policies. Conservatism, in the context of the Bloomberg article, is still conservative but just very far right. The economic policies associated with Liberals are often painted as increasingly socialistic, which is another economic thought (depending on who you ask).

Some earlier posts certainly hit the nail on the head about economists being the products of liberal environments (read universities). Therefore they would be naturally more inclined to be left leaning. However, in general I don't think the narrative has changed too much - except perhaps in the media and in some states/countries. The article points out that the challenges of today are "inequality, economic insecurity, and the aftermath of a long recession" and suggests they are best solved by liberal (political left in this case) policies. Why? These problems aren't a result of conservative policies and are found throughout the world regardless of economic system. What seemingly is occurring is a cycle where economies and micro-economies (think states, cities) adopt neo-liberal policies to attract business/jobs then later more social policies to serve a larger, more diverse population, and are then back to neo-liberal policies to re-attract/attract more business. Not sure if that makes sense but I feel many things are cyclical and economics is no exception. This goes hand in hand with the changing of political leadership.

Also, I feel more economist and policy makers are starting to realize the entire foundation of Keynesian and Friedmen economics were impractical to begin with. For one, any economic model that relies on perfect conditions with no outside variables is best used for teaching - not making decisions for a multivariable economy. Truth is economists and policy makers don't always know the effect certain policies will have. Thus, other Economists like Schumpeter and Adam Smith are becoming more relevant with the new drive for innovation and competition. These economist do not base their ideas off perfect scenarios but rather explain already occurring phenomenas.

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Jan 14, 2015

Truth in this. Perfect conditions and zero variables is a staple for economic theory. We don't live in a utopia, and the teaching of these models makes too simplistic a conjecture one way or the other. There are too many variables, outliers, conditions, etc. to not talk about the limitations of Keynes' and Friedman's work.

Jan 14, 2015

Totally agree. Anytime I hear anyone go on about Keynes or Friedman (which is rare albeit) I automatically throw their argument out. Their models hold as much weight as fairy dust. It's a fugazzi.

Jan 14, 2015

Fugazi?

Jan 14, 2015

Was referencing The Wolf of Wall Street scene where McConaughey and DiCaprio were at lunch. I'd provide a link but I'm not sure how.

Jan 14, 2015

I know what a fugazi is.

Jan 13, 2015
GoodBread:

I know what a fugazi is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftOZiLawT8w&t=3m12s

Jan 20, 2015

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

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Jan 14, 2015
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

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Jan 13, 2015
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

This is true. The guy said that the U.S. was in an era of austerity while our deficits have racked up historical debts.

Jan 13, 2015
Virginia Tech 4ever:
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

This is true. The guy said that the U.S. was in an era of austerity while our deficits have racked up historical debts.

The US was (and arguably still is) in an "era of austerity" (though I think the word "era" is a stupid one to use here).

Nothing wrong with deficits :)

Jan 13, 2015
Khayembii:
Virginia Tech 4ever:
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

This is true. The guy said that the U.S. was in an era of austerity while our deficits have racked up historical debts.

The US was (and arguably still is) in an "era of austerity" (though I think the word "era" is a stupid one to use here).

Nothing wrong with deficits :)

How can you say that the U.S. was and is in austerity when it has increased its national debt by 78% in 6 years? That literally defies logic.

With regard to deficits, there's nothing wrong with deficits so long as you possess 200+ years of perfect credit history, posses the world's reserve currency, and everyone else is worse off economically than you are. That applies to basically no sovereignty other than the U.S. federal government.

Jan 13, 2015
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

This is a great example of a political interpretation of economics. Krugman, sure, is a huge democratic party hack, but he also is a pretty good economist. He deserved the Nobel prize for his work on New Trade Theory.

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Jan 14, 2015
Khayembii:
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

This is a great example of a political interpretation of economics. Krugman, sure, is a huge democratic party hack, but he also is a pretty good economist. He deserved the Nobel prize for his work on New Trade Theory.

I wouldn't be able to tell you who else was considered when he won, so maybe stating that he didn't deserve it is a bit short-sighted. I am familiar with his earlier work, but lately the political push and the love of massive deficits and heavier QE is extremely risky and unnecessary, IMO. However, I still believe that no matter what he does now, it's way too highly regarded due to the fact that he has a Nobel.

Jan 20, 2015
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

This is very true, the Nobel prize is a joke and has been for a while. If only he could see how his name was being used now.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Jan 14, 2015
PeteMullersKeyboard:
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

This is very true, the Nobel prize is a joke and has been for a while. If only he could see how his name was being used now.

It's going to eventually be as misused as Einstein's name. "You think that up all on your own, Einstein?" Our kids will be saying, "Give that genius a freaking Nobel prize."

Jan 20, 2015
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:
wareagle4230:
PeteMullersKeyboard:

This isn't hard to figure out...most higher-education institutions are incredibly left-leaning, and its only their highest honor to churn out little Marxists.

Experienced this first-hand in undergrad. It's incredibly frustrating.

Really a shame too...a whole generation of mislead people entering the workforce with the wrong idea about how things work. Also...the unforeseen backlash...morons like Krugman make people think economics is useless. As with any science...if you use it poorly, then yes, it is useless.

I think one of the issues with Krugman, and others like him, is that the Nobel committee is too apt to throw a Nobel prize to anyone. I mean, look at Obama. He did NOTHING to deserve a Nobel prize for peace. Carter deserved one as a peace broker (even though he was a shitty POTUS), but they just keep handing them out to mostly satisfy their political views. So now Krugman is "a Nobel prize winning economist" and everything he spits out HAS to be the gospel. Ridiculous.

This is very true, the Nobel prize is a joke and has been for a while. If only he could see how his name was being used now.

It's going to eventually be as misused as Einstein's name. "You think that up all on your own, Einstein?" Our kids will be saying, "Give that genius a freaking Nobel prize."

Makes me think of a Louis C.K. bit - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLoqhvZ1SZI

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Jan 19, 2015

as an econ major i hate saying this, but most economists are like leaves in the wind. "all things equal" my ass. an economists job should be to recommend the policies the country is in need of and not what the political masters dictate. those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it so I hope the asshole economists who preach socialist ideals read a god damned history book about the supernova level devastation suffered by communist and socialist systems (you know who you are! Paul Krugman ... fuck you buddy!!!). Assholes like that are the reason chicken shit economic advisers think it's a good idea to introduce even more capital gains taxes. KEEP OFF MY GOD DAMNED POCKETS. I was already heavily taxed on the principal now you want more of my interest on top of the other 900 taxes I get my ass violated with? Fuck off!!!!!

Jan 14, 2015

you're an econ major and you think paul krugman is a communist?

you're an econ major and don't understand that raising capital gains taxes would allow us to lower individual and corporate rates

you're an econ major and you don't understand that raising the capital gains rates BACK TO the REAGAN era RATES is not the same thing as the government owning the means of production... remember, you are the one suggesting others read a god damn history book. maybe you could start a book club, 1st book on the history of taxation in the US.

finally, as an econ major, you should be able to recognize the fundamental difference between capital and labor..

...what the hell are they teaching in those econ classes? right wing ideology or econometrics?

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Jan 20, 2015

Public policy progresses. The American Left knows that it can't just move the highest marginal tax rate from, say, 33% to 80%, so they move it up over time. I don't believe for 1 second that progressives will be satisfied to move the capital gains tax rate to 25%. If you really believe that then I've got oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you.

The Left has a relatively strong political strategy--expand the welfare state so that as many people as possible are dependent upon it and finance it via taxation of the least number of people. Case in point--"free" community college will extend the welfare state to the middle class and it will be financed only by high wage earners. Once the middle and lower classes are largely dependent on the state for their well being then the Left will be able to dominate politically like it has in Greece, where even the "conservatives" are more or less socialists out of political necessity.

So I think it's intellectually shallow (dishonest?) to suggest that the American Left simply wants to bump capital gains tax rates up or to simply raise marginal rates to a past time. The Left wants a social welfare state similar to Western Europe, and it can only be paid for through oppressive taxation.

Jan 14, 2015

DCD, the right has such a paranoid reactionary victim mentality, it can't recognize return on investment when its biting it in the ass.

Case in point -- "free" community college (to those with low incomes, high gpas, no criminal record) incentives youth to stay out of trouble, work hard and succeed, especially in communities where parents collectively fail. The cost, some $80b. The alternative, the free-market approach, is for-profit colleges @7.1% interest and no skills upon graduation.

So, ideologically, is this something libertarians and tea partiers and the i got mine so fuck you crowd can get behind? of course not.

Is it the exact type of policy i would have expected out of the heritage foundation in the 1990s, just like Obamacare? of course.

would republicans ever support when president blackenstein supports it? of course not.

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Jan 14, 2015

.

Jan 20, 2015

And the Left simply can't comprehend that there are unintended consequences for each public policy prescription, some good, some bad. Community colleges already have a terribly low success rate. When you take away incentive to succeed (i.e. "I've been working my ass off in a job to pay for my college tuition--I'd better do well") then you will increase your rates of failure. And this isn't even hitting on the topic of how subsidies actually raise costs and how the federal government will no doubt begin to micromanage the curriculum of community colleges when it's paying for them. And the fact that there are many over-crowded community colleges already, and how you'd be simply adding to this problem. Or the fact that states will have to come up with the other 10-20% of the cost, which means they'll necessarily have to raise taxes (because state governments can't print money like the federal government). Or how the federal government/CBO is notorious for underestimating costs. And so on.

Not every bright idea some infantile progressive gets at a coffee shop works in practice the way it's intended.

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Jan 14, 2015

1. This is exactly what i mean by paranoid. You think the federal government is going to dictate Lawndale Community College's Intro to Reading Skills class or Advanced Taxidermy for Outdoorsmen?

Let's assume, for a moment, your premise is correct, and the federal government sets new standards for what it considers a bare bones associates degree. ok, whats the terminal impact? a standardized associates degree? ok.

2. Overcrowding simply means we need to make infrastructure investments, offer more distance learning options and support students who make the career choice to improve their lot. After the for-profit colleges cash your check, they don't care if you pass or fail, get a job or not. Who cares, their shareholders got paid and thats all that matters. Community colleges are answerable to their community by the board of directors, city, county, state and federal funding.

3. State funding. States have been slashing funding to community colleges and universities because over the past 25 years, the federal government has increasingly picked up the tab. In the case of universities, its often because the university expands it role as research institution, and grant funding picks up. By providing a vehicle in which states can invest in education and yield measurable results, we are improving the metrics by which we measure other state investment in education.

But, leave it to a conservative to turn down 90 cents because they might have to chip in a dime.

Not every emotional tantrum thrown by the right has a modicum of merit.

Jan 20, 2015
scottyc:

1. This is exactly what i mean by paranoid. You think the federal government is going to dictate Lawndale Community College's Intro to Reading Skills class or Advanced Taxidermy for Outdoorsmen?

Let's assume, for a moment, your premise is correct, and the federal government sets new standards for what it considers a bare bones associates degree. ok, whats the terminal impact? a standardized associates degree? ok.

2. Overcrowding simply means we need to make infrastructure investments, offer more distance learning options and support students who make the career choice to improve their lot. After the for-profit colleges cash your check, they don't care if you pass or fail, get a job or not. Who cares, their shareholders got paid and thats all that matters. Community colleges are answerable to their community by the board of directors, city, county, state and federal funding.

3. State funding. States have been slashing funding to community colleges and universities because over the past 25 years, the federal government has increasingly picked up the tab. In the case of universities, its often because the university expands it role as research institution, and grant funding picks up. By providing a vehicle in which states can invest in education and yield measurable results, we are improving the metrics by which we measure other state investment in education.

But, leave it to a conservative to turn down 90 cents because they might have to chip in a dime.

Not every emotional tantrum thrown by the right has a modicum of merit.

1. How in the world can you call it paranoid to state that the federal government is likely to start dictating to community colleges how they are run? Have you heard of Common Core? That's one of the critical debates in education today, that the federal government is dictating public education standards to the lowest common denominator and micromanaging communities. The worst case scenario isn't a common associates degree. The most likely scenario is a bureaucratic nightmare.

2. We need more infrastructure improvements? So you mean the $60 billion federal estimate is really just bull crap because there are unintended consequences to "free" community college? Just like virtually ever federal cost estimate, BS...

3. Again, how are states going to pay for it? They will have to raise taxes. States can't just print money. So there will be a transfer of wealth from one individual to another. You can't just come up with an idea at a coffee shop where the rich are going to pay for everything, especially if you delegate some of the costs to the states.

4. The GOP would be all over subsidized community college if it replaced Pell Grants, food stamps, loan subsidies, welfare, etc. Unfortunately, the Democrats have no intention of eliminating or reducing spending on any of those things, so what you are presenting is a red herring.

The larger point isn't about "free" community college. The point is, the Left has barely--if at all--even considered the unintended consequences of these types of programs because they are so focused on expanding the welfare state. I'd bet dollars to donuts that you hadn't even considered my objections before I put them forth because you are dedicated to the idea of expanding the reach of government at any cost. That's the fundamental belief system of the Left--expand the welfare state to as many people as possible who become dependent upon government. Tax as few people as possible to make the welfare state as politically palatable as possible.

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Jan 14, 2015

1. The anti-common core crowd is laughable. I really wouldn't hitch my pony to the educational equivalent of anti-vaccines. Common core is a debate being played out only in the most extreme elements of the republican party. The sovereign authority of the federal government is also debatable, if you're Clive Bundy. But let's not confuse loud opinions with with merit-based critique. Remember, not every right wing tantrum has a legitimate point.

The Religious Right's attack on common core has nothing to do with arguing against global competitiveness and has everything to do with teaching kids that Jesus and George Washington sat down to turn the bible into the constitution and thats how American babies are made.

So, again, aside from certifiable paranoia, is there a legitimate, reality based reason why federal funding for some colleges is inappropriate?

2. Unlike paying for war-profiteers through Cost-Plus rent-seeking, educational funding doesn't just run overages and say so-what, we're the DoD, pay up. I feel like you dropped this argument so ill move on.

3. States have a budget for colleges and universities. Its about spending dollars where they work best. For example, if states are spending $100m reimbursing employers for community college classes, it may make more sense to detach the student's education from the employer, so the free-market can do its job - efficiently allocating labor and resources. If employees are tied to their employers for education (or health - single payer ftw) benefits, it prevents them from obtaining a job where they are more productive. its an inefficiency in human capital.

4. Food stamp and welfare spending is already decreasing, because more people are working. And yes, there will be direct tradeoffs in food stamps, welfare, pell grants, subsidized loans, because thats what is currently making up the wage gap or paying for community college. A policy change in food stamps isn't required, or a policy change in EITC, if more people are making higher wages.

5. Of course this isn't just about paying for education so our citizens are globally competitive. Its about smarter government. Rather than subsidize a cottage industry of predatory loans and terrible for-profit colleges, we can cut out the middlemen, get new efficiency.

Even if we disagree on how to have better, smarter, heck, even leaner government, we can agree that those are noble goals for good governance.

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Jan 20, 2015
scottyc:

1. The anti-common core crowd is laughable. I really wouldn't hitch my pony to the educational equivalent of anti-vaccines. Common core is a debate being played out only in the most extreme elements of the republican party. The sovereign authority of the federal government is also debatable, if you're Clive Bundy. But let's not confuse loud opinions with with merit-based critique. Remember, not every right wing tantrum has a legitimate point.

The Religious Right's attack on common core has nothing to do with arguing against global competitiveness and has everything to do with teaching kids that Jesus and George Washington sat down to turn the bible into the constitution and thats how American babies are made.

So, again, aside from certifiable paranoia, is there a legitimate, reality based reason why federal funding for some colleges is inappropriate?

2. Unlike paying for war-profiteers through Cost-Plus rent-seeking, educational funding doesn't just run overages and say so-what, we're the DoD, pay up. I feel like you dropped this argument so ill move on.

3. States have a budget for colleges and universities. Its about spending dollars where they work best. For example, if states are spending $100m reimbursing employers for community college classes, it may make more sense to detach the student's education from the employer, so the free-market can do its job - efficiently allocating labor and resources. If employees are tied to their employers for education (or health - single payer ftw) benefits, it prevents them from obtaining a job where they are more productive. its an inefficiency in human capital.

4. Food stamp and welfare spending is already decreasing, because more people are working. And yes, there will be direct tradeoffs in food stamps, welfare, pell grants, subsidized loans, because thats what is currently making up the wage gap or paying for community college. A policy change in food stamps isn't required, or a policy change in EITC, if more people are making higher wages.

5. Of course this isn't just about paying for education so our citizens are globally competitive. Its about smarter government. Rather than subsidize a cottage industry of predatory loans and terrible for-profit colleges, we can cut out the middlemen, get new efficiency.

Even if we disagree on how to have better, smarter, heck, even leaner government, we can agree that those are noble goals for good governance.

1. The right isn't the only one opposed to common core. It's got almost as much opposition on the left. Your stark raving ignorance of the subject would be laughable if it weren't so demonstrative of the intellectual shallowness of the American far Left. By the way, you literally confirmed my position--that the intention of people like you is to take over the community college system and dictate curriculum and policies. Whether or not that is good or bad public policy is up for debate, but it sure as heck doesn't make me a conspiracy theorist.

2. Your argument is that we spend too much money on national defense and not enough on education? That's completely changing the subject because you know you're wrong on this point. The initial $60 billion cost estimate is complete bull crap, and you know it. The only way to justify this idiotic plan is to spend a lot more money on things that you call "infrastructure". The reality is, you can take whatever the Obama administration is estimating and double the cost.

3. Yes, states have a budget for colleges and universities. Massachusetts doesn't need Texas representatives telling them how to allocate their state funds. Texas doesn't need Massachusetts representatives to tell them how to allocate their funds. What you've put forth is a massive centralization of federal authority over states. As if unelected federal bureaucrats are somehow more in touch with the needs of states and counties. As if federal bureaucrats were somehow born with special DNA that gives them special insight into how resources should be allocated. I've got news for you--my family members and friend groups are composed of federal employees. They aren't special. They posses no special insight.

4. I don't know where you're getting that food stamp spending is going down. It's up about 20% year over year for the last 7 years and record numbers of people are on food stamps today. You're assuming that there will be some sort of correlation between free community college and higher wages. The only direct correlation that we know will exist will be higher taxes and more spending to pay for the program. Whether or not wages will increase is entirely dependent upon the future needs of the economy. Since you're a dedicated central planner I guess you are more capable than the free market of predicting the future.

5. My side doesn't support subsidizing college loans at all, so I'm not sure how we've become the bad guys who support federal loan dollars for the University of Phoenix. If anything, my side would love to see federal subsidies for college dry up or be reduced substantially.

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Jan 14, 2015

1. Wrong. There are critics of how common core is IMPLEMENTED on the left (testing, roll out of standards, etc.), but there are very few who are against the concept of common core on the left.

On the right, however, there are plenty of Jesusfreaks worried about the UN landing black helicopters during homeschooling.

Again, reality/merit based criticism of common core in principle don't exist, but critiques of implementation are real. I don't take issue with that, nothings perfect and we should take criticism of implementation seriously.

But, there's no link to a fed take over of educational content and community colleges. You can assert it, but like the anti-vaccine crowd, you know where you can stick your ASSertion. You're still a conspiracy theorist.

2. No, you missed the point completely. An education program just can't stick its hand out and say we spent the money, give us more. They aren't the Air Force.

3. Massachusetts probably doesn't need Texas telling them how to run schools. But, texas probably does need Mass. :)

If you were to say "fine, this program makes a lot of sense, i just don't want the feds to do it, can't the states?" I'd be all like, sure, but thats unrealistic given state budget constraints, but lets give it a try.

Instead, you're all like "elected reps from Texas are now unelected oppressors because education standards are tyranny or something." which is retarded. There are a number of bodies who define educational standards in college already, it doesn't make the AACSB into Nazis.

But you are still conflating the issue debated in #1. $ /= control.

And, the use of federal employees to administer funding does not mean they are going to pick your classes or spray their special DNA all over your face. It simply means they are going to administer funding.

4. Finally, a real argument about the efficacy of tuition. Yes, since the GWB depression, food stamps are up. But this month alone will see over a 2% drop of over 1 million people being removed. This is the trend forward, with US estimated to grow by 3.6% this year.

Furthermore, employers cite unskilled labor force as one of the biggest obstacles to hiring. 49% of employers say they are having trouble finding skilled workers for vocational jobs. The exact kind of jobs one learns to perform at a community school.

The free market is really good at some things and terrible at others. The successes of free-market are vast, but there are several key areas where government provides a framework for enterprise for utility reasons. Health care, utilities, education, etc. are areas where there is greater utility in having some form of government involvement than having business take a crapshoot at it.

By providing educational opportunities, we can better enable the free market to do what it does best. But by tying educational opportunities to employers generosity or copious risk/debt, we are constraining the potential productivity of the market.

5. If you define "your side" as you, im sure you believe exactly what you say. But if you are going for "your party" or the conservative party as its currently instantiated, then, no, your side is the one that wants to take from legitimate education, grants and loans and fork them over to the for profit and voucher crowd.

The question before us is really whether or not Mr. Obama's community college plan, modeled off of the Chicago successes, is better or worse than the status quo?

I have yet to hear an argument as to why its worse.

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Jan 20, 2015
scottyc:

1. Wrong. There are critics of how common core is IMPLEMENTED on the left (testing, roll out of standards, etc.), but there are very few who are against the concept of common core on the left.

On the right, however, there are plenty of Jesusfreaks worried about the UN landing black helicopters during homeschooling.

Again, reality/merit based criticism of common core in principle don't exist, but critiques of implementation are real. I don't take issue with that, nothings perfect and we should take criticism of implementation seriously.

But, there's no link to a fed take over of educational content and community colleges. You can assert it, but like the anti-vaccine crowd, you know where you can stick your ASSertion. You're still a conspiracy theorist.

2. No, you missed the point completely. An education program just can't stick its hand out and say we spent the money, give us more. They aren't the Air Force.

3. Massachusetts probably doesn't need Texas telling them how to run schools. But, texas probably does need Mass. :)

If you were to say "fine, this program makes a lot of sense, i just don't want the feds to do it, can't the states?" I'd be all like, sure, but thats unrealistic given state budget constraints, but lets give it a try.

Instead, you're all like "elected reps from Texas are now unelected oppressors because education standards are tyranny or something." which is retarded. There are a number of bodies who define educational standards in college already, it doesn't make the AACSB into Nazis.

But you are still conflating the issue debated in #1. $ /= control.

And, the use of federal employees to administer funding does not mean they are going to pick your classes or spray their special DNA all over your face. It simply means they are going to administer funding.

4. Finally, a real argument about the efficacy of tuition. Yes, since the GWB depression, food stamps are up. But this month alone will see over a 2% drop of over 1 million people being removed. This is the trend forward, with US estimated to grow by 3.6% this year.

Furthermore, employers cite unskilled labor force as one of the biggest obstacles to hiring. 49% of employers say they are having trouble finding skilled workers for vocational jobs. The exact kind of jobs one learns to perform at a community school.

The free market is really good at some things and terrible at others. The successes of free-market are vast, but there are several key areas where government provides a framework for enterprise for utility reasons. Health care, utilities, education, etc. are areas where there is greater utility in having some form of government involvement than having business take a crapshoot at it.

By providing educational opportunities, we can better enable the free market to do what it does best. But by tying educational opportunities to employers generosity or copious risk/debt, we are constraining the potential productivity of the market.

5. If you define "your side" as you, im sure you believe exactly what you say. But if you are going for "your party" or the conservative party as its currently instantiated, then, no, your side is the one that wants to take from legitimate education, grants and loans and fork them over to the for profit and voucher crowd.

The question before us is really whether or not Mr. Obama's community college plan, modeled off of the Chicago successes, is better or worse than the status quo?

I have yet to hear an argument as to why its worse.

1. I love how you can just assert that Common Core opposition is from the Right only, get called out on it, back track into saying, "Well, there's some opposition, but for different reasons but you're still wrong", and not see how ridiculous that sounds.

Here is Salon.com's nice explanation about the convergence of Left/Right against Common Core.

http://www.salon.com/2014/09/29/common_cores_polit...

2. OK, I'm not sure how this backs up your point.

3. Case in point. Just wait until Texas decides to dictate to New York how to run its educational system and we'll see how well you like federal centralization of authority.

4. Community college is already cheap and abundantly available. People aren't taking advantage of the opportunities they have when they are paying for it (success rate is terrible at community colleges). Just wait until someone else is paying for it and we'll see how economically efficient "free" community college is. The stats say that 20% of students finish their associates degree in 3 years. Imagine when it is free and there is no accountability. Crowded classrooms, higher taxes, and much lower 3-year success rates. Seems like the perfect program for a liberal who hasn't considered the unintended consequences.

5. I've been an active member of the Republican Party since I was 7 years old and I can't tell you a single Republican who supports expanding federal subsidies for college tuition. Maybe there are some politicians here and there, but it's literally among the worst public policy ideas of the 20th century. Virtually every conservative I know or have ever known abhors the idea of federal loan subsidies, largely because it's the single biggest reason for the explosion of college costs. Supply/demand.

Your cognitive dissonance won't allow you to accept that people have genuine public policy disputes with "free" community college plan. I've put forth a half a dozen. The fact that you can come back and say you've yet to hear a legitimate argument as to why Obama's college plan is worse than the status quo leaves me breathless. I've put forth many reasons, and you haven't been able to break a single one of my arguments. You've used red herrings (we spend too much on the military, you support federal loan subsidies (!), etc.) and set up false straw men.

Jan 14, 2015

1. Do you even read the links you post?

The Salon article you claim backs you up and makes me look ridiculous says exactly what i need it to say and exactly what you dont need it to say:

"Progressives' objections have less to do with Common Core as an idea than with the standardized-testing regime they come with."

In other words, CC is a good idea, its implementation needs work.

Or, said differently, Im right.

but all thats irrelevant to Community College tuition.

2. You say the program will be vastly over budget. I say its funding is determined by congress, and that, congress would have to approve additional funding. Outside of the airforce, that doesn't happen.

3. you are still confusing tax dollars with content control. it simply isn't the case. again, you are asserting something that factually isn't the case.

4. Cheap according to whom? Available according to whom? How does going into thousands of dollars worth of debt at over 7% interest become cheap to someone making $12/hour? It isn't. There's a lot explanatory factors here too. Some don't finish school because the cost is prohibitive. Some don't finish because they never intended to take more than a few professional development classes. But, you miss the entire point of the plan. It isn't to hand out free classes to anyone who wants them. You have to maintain a 2.5, be enrolled at least 50%. So, its actually more likely that the program will provide incentives to succeed and finish. Instead of over-crowding, the programs standards can be used as a litmus to kick out under performers and increase overall academic achievement.

5. Aside from the price tag of ~$6b a year (or roughly $650/student/year), this is a program lifelong republicans should love. It requires individual aspiration, hard work, and holds people accountable to their performance. As an economist, the Ricardian tradeoffs from misallocated debt/interest payments should delight you.

So, no, I haven't yet heard a single argument as to why 9 million americans would somehow be worse off after Mr. Obama's plan.

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Jan 20, 2015
scottyc:

1. Do you even read the links you post?

The Salon article you claim backs you up and makes me look ridiculous says exactly what i need it to say and exactly what you dont need it to say:

"Progressives' objections have less to do with Common Core as an idea than with the standardized-testing regime they come with."

In other words, CC is a good idea, its implementation needs work.

Or, said differently, Im right.

but all thats irrelevant to Community College tuition.

2. You say the program will be vastly over budget. I say its funding is determined by congress, and that, congress would have to approve additional funding. Outside of the airforce, that doesn't happen.

3. you are still confusing tax dollars with content control. it simply isn't the case. again, you are asserting something that factually isn't the case.

4. Cheap according to whom? Available according to whom? How does going into thousands of dollars worth of debt at over 7% interest become cheap to someone making $12/hour? It isn't. There's a lot explanatory factors here too. Some don't finish school because the cost is prohibitive. Some don't finish because they never intended to take more than a few professional development classes. But, you miss the entire point of the plan. It isn't to hand out free classes to anyone who wants them. You have to maintain a 2.5, be enrolled at least 50%. So, its actually more likely that the program will provide incentives to succeed and finish. Instead of over-crowding, the programs standards can be used as a litmus to kick out under performers and increase overall academic achievement.

5. Aside from the price tag of ~$6b a year (or roughly $650/student/year), this is a program lifelong republicans should love. It requires individual aspiration, hard work, and holds people accountable to their performance. As an economist, the Ricardian tradeoffs from misallocated debt/interest payments should delight you.

So, no, I haven't yet heard a single argument as to why 9 million americans would somehow be worse off after Mr. Obama's plan.

1. Your position is literally idiotic. You're saying that the Left opposes it for the correct reasons and the Right for incorrect reasons. Your position is asinine. You stated that opposition was only from fringe Jesus Freaks. This is clearly and provably false.

2. So your position is that the program can never go over budget because Congress determines the budget?? So it doesn't matter if it costs $60 billion or $300 billion over 10 years, so long as Congress funds it then it won't be over budget? This is utterly ridiculous. Once again, asinine is the word of choice.

3. I'm not confusing anything. The federal government can create Common Core because it controls the money. In the same way, the federal government can--and WILL--control content at the community colleges when they are paying for it. Do you think for a second that Congress is going to allow Idaho to run the content and the bureaucracy of their community college system when the feds are paying for 80-90% of it? Tell your position to NHTSA and DOT, which have de facto control over driving laws and priorities for state infrastructure. The one who controls the money controls.

4. The community college down the street from me is considered the "Harvard" of community colleges in the nation. It's $149 per credit hour. If you can't afford this THEN YOU ALREADY HAVE ACCESS TO PELL GRANTS AND OTHER SUBSIDIES!! This serves a narrow political and ideological purpose--creating a political wedge issue, putting the middle class on welfare, and shifting the burden to pay onto someone else. It does nothing to control costs or to incentivize actual achievement. The poor are already taken care of. They have no community college burden.

5. How on Earth will the program only cost $650/student? How does that even make sense? If it costs so little how does it alleviate the burden to the student? Seems to me like a political wedge issue and not something that is based on actual burdens.

Jan 14, 2015

1. again, you fail at reading comprehension. Some (very few) on the left oppose some of the ways CC is implemented, not the idea of core curriculum. Many (most) on the right who oppose have some conspiracy theory, like yourself, as to why its the next holocaust or something.

but all that shows is that Left and Right aren't always the best way of describing positions, which others have made very clear in this thread.

but the Salon evidence you cite literally says exactly what i was saying.

2. yes, my position is that CBO and OMB aren't partisan, they'll come out with estimates if legislation is ever drawn up. and my position is also that congress will control funding. your point is that 60 somehow = 120 (but you dont have to show your work).

3. You'll have to tell that to the 19 states + Iowa that rejected common core. States are free to reject highway funding, but somehow all those republican socialists are fine with .08 BA.

4. First, you should be delighted we can do away with pell grants for community college, as administration of Pell Grants is terrible. It uses this bizarre formula for expected family contribution, which isn't reflective of the reality of someones financial situation. There are also a number of normative conditions put on pell grant recipients. Also, the awarding of pell $ is ass-backwards in that it goes to the school and there's a bunch of overhead. This program, on face, appears much more efficient.

I've demonstrated why incentivizing tuition based on GPA and enrollment will increase academic achievement. You assert it wont. I'll take my warrants over your assertions any day of the week.

5. Do the math. $6b/9m students = $666/student/year. However, if it takes roughly 6 semesters of CC to get an Associate's degree, $4k is a massive debt burden on someone making far below median wage. If the person can spare $50/month, it would only take 10 years to pay down, with about 25% of the repayment going to interest.

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Jan 19, 2015
scottyc:

you're an econ major and you think paul krugman is a communist?

you're an econ major and don't understand that raising capital gains taxes would allow us to lower individual and corporate rates

you're an econ major and you don't understand that raising the capital gains rates BACK TO the REAGAN era RATES is not the same thing as the government owning the means of production... remember, you are the one suggesting others read a god damn history book. maybe you could start a book club, 1st book on the history of taxation in the US.

finally, as an econ major, you should be able to recognize the fundamental difference between capital and labor..

...what the hell are they teaching in those econ classes? right wing ideology or econometrics?

point by point:
1. i am and i think he is a socialist at best (and clearly so are you)

2. no one is going to lower our income taxes; they want this in addition to everything else they get already; if you think differently then you need to read every speech the current administration has made on taxation to get over your ignorance

3. history of taxation: when were the us income tax rates the highest? during war time when it went to about 90% so that we could pay for war. we are in a middle of a war now which has no plans to slow and keeps getting more expensive. add on to that ACA and community college and whatever else they are talking about and the costs stack up. then think about these things some more and see if you still think they are raising the cap gains to reduce income taxes .... the only way if would be satisfied even with the current level of cap gains taxed is if the income tax rate was 0. Pick one and stick to it and stop double dipping. Government should only spend on the basics (defense, cops, firefighters, regulation and care for kids, elderly & vets to name the main ones) and the rest can be handled by private sector.

4. capital is the driving force behind labor; if someone didn't lay out the capital for a venture, labor would be sitting their ass down with no jobs; even ditch diggers need capital for the picks, shovels etc plus the land belongs to someone who spent capital to get it. while there might be differences in those two groups, one cannot function without the other and the value each derives from the respective activity is ALWAYS going to get taxed just a matter of how much and I think it's too much already

5. they gave us the facts and I used them to form my own views. that is how one learns as opposed to having someone tell you what to think which seems to be the norm these days.

Jan 14, 2015

but, im glad all the republicans here think Ronald Reagan was oppressive.

Jan 14, 2015

1. What a narrow ideological spectrum you have. I'm obviously pro-capital markets enough to work in finance and investments. Dr. Krugman won a noble prize studying the effects of international trade on domestic production. Is Gerald Epstein a socialist? Joseph Stiglitz? Or do they simply produce empirical research you disagree with?

2. So, the president is proposing $500 credit for each working person in a family, raising the cap gains rate from 23.8 to 28%, to a republican congress. What pound of flesh do you think republicans are going demand for cap gains? Dividend rates are probably off the table, which leaves corp and income. You don't show up to the negotiating table with a compromise, that will happen if its political feasible.

3. This is precisely what i mean: our current effective tax rates are the lowest in modern history. bush cut taxes massively during a war. maybe its time to pay the piper. income can be taxed up to 36% for sweating, while many are taxed just 22% for walking to the mailbox to cash a dividend check. every economic transaction is new event, so the fact you paid dividend taxes last year on money you re-invested this year is irrelevant. There is NO SUCH THING AS DOUBLE TAXATION.

4. i agree. but that's also irrelevant to whether or not there should be equitable distribution of taxes between capital and labor.

5. uh huh.

Jan 14, 2015

Finally, i should add, you can pay for this one way or another. Through EITC, food stamps, loan subsidies, pell grants, unemployment benefits, welfare, etc., or we can invest in a way that lowers the use of direct handouts, improves the general educational base for millions of younger workers, and offer people a path away from a lifetime of handouts by extending the educational promise we make to our citizens to the current job market.

Jan 20, 2015

scottyc just getting straight dominated on this thread . . . fucking love it

Jan 13, 2015

It took longer than I thought for this thread to explode. Wow

Jan 14, 2015

"Deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney. Never heard anyone on the right wing complaining when things like that were said, and then magically in 2009 I couldn't escape it all the deficit hawks that materialized. Not a peep when when Bush was using the most politically convenient/easy portions of both supply side & Keynesian-ism (stimulus checks and unfunded tax cuts while a war is starting), without doing the unpopular counter-effects both schools of thought require (spending cuts, yes, defense counts, and building surpluses during boom-times for the latter strategy).

I have big problems with the economic policy of today, but this one-sided whining about how horrible things are strike me as completely overwrought.

Jan 24, 2015

ITT: People with no idea of Economics trying to discuss Economics

Obvious political biases are obvious.

Oct 15, 2015

What would be a good book to read so I can take a more informed stance? I had economics undergraduate coursework but only the basics and I really have no clue regarding economic theories I should espouse loudly over social media if I ever so choose to participate again. I am interested in both "left leaning" and "right leaning" perspectives.

Also, I never understand the inevitable vitriol that these threads produce.

Jan 24, 2015

If you are looking at modern economic theory, you can read Krugman, Hayek, Keynes etc. It's a good mix. Also on why economics gets so emotional, Robert Shiller's Animal Theory is a great commentary.

Oct 15, 2015

@frattisimus101

Hell yea, appreciate the response. I am assuming it is "Animal Spirits" you are referring to? (After a quick google search)

Jan 24, 2015

Yeah, you got it. Sorry, I was half asleep when I responded.

Oct 16, 2015

This is a really good thread. I was thinking about this a lot over the summer.

All the Ivy's seem to teach this left leaning economics. My theory is that there is synergy between their poli-sci and economics programs and capitol hill.

All you really need is Milton Freidman and Ronald Reagan.

Oct 15, 2015

@realjackryan I'm not sure if you were responding to me when you said "all you need is..." but that wouldn't give me the full picture I'm looking for I don't think.

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