BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-05-21 Fr

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...


You can think of the labor market as being in one of three different modes. In the first mode there is chronic over supply of labor at the prevailing wage. In the second mode the labor market is in balance, and in order for employment as a whole to rise firms need to offer higher real wages. In the third mode the labor market is at full employment and even increasing wages will not increase employment in the economy as a whole. The labor market has been in the first mood for so long the employers regard to the second as grossly irrational, and talk about "labor shortage" whenever we get into it. But mode two is not “labor shortage”. Mode three is when you can talk about "labor shortage":

Anne LaurieFruits of Their Labor: The Secret Is Leaking Out: ‘The Wall Street Journal is shocked, shocked—companies that pay competitive wages draw the best, loyalest hires! Of course they knew that worked for MBAs, but who would have suspected even lowly wage serfs were capable of such motivated reasoning?… "After raising employee wages to $15/hour, Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor in Pittsburgh received ‘well over 1,000 applications’ for job openings. Co-owner Jacob Hanchar says customer service has improved and he hasn’t ‘noticed a difference on our bottom line’…

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One Video:

Emi NakamuraIs the Phillips Curve Getting Flatter? <>

Share Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality

Very Briefly Noted:


Trade wars are not easy to win, and they are not popular:

Kris Mitchener, Kevin O’Rourke, & Kirsten WandschneiderThe Ghost of Smoot-Hawley Tells Why America Isn’t too Big to Avoid Retaliation: ‘The US faced substantial and widespread retaliation from trade partners in response to protectionist measures employed in the wake of the Great Depression. Exports to retaliating countries fell by as much as 33%…. As Irwin (1998: 337) points out, there were three possible responses to Smoot-Hawley. The first was not to respond at all, but in the context of the Great Depression that might have involved raising tariffs for purely domestic political reasons. The second was to take Smoot-Hawley as a signal that international cooperation had broken down, and erect tariffs as a result. And the third was to take “direct retaliatory measures against the United States”. Only the last of these possibilities constituted retaliation per se…. At the time, however, there was little doubt in policymakers’ minds that Smoot-Hawley had provoked widespread retaliation…. We provide the first systematic quantitative estimates of the impact of retaliation against Smoot-Hawley…. Having high frequency data allows us to exploit the differential timing of retaliatory measures when estimating the impact of retaliationt…

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I do not know if this is right, but it is certainly interesting. Mitch McConnell enforced party unity on Republican senators starting at the beginning of 2009. Perhaps the moderates among them have finally recognized that it has led them to a very bad place indeed:

Cheryl RoferPresident Biden Restores Strategy To Politics: ‘President Joe Biden was a senator for 36 years. He has seen horse-trading. He has seen comity with segregationists. He has seen deadlock and filibusters. He has seen bipartisanship. He has seen Newt Gingrich’s power grab. He has seen Mitch McConnell’s obstructionism. He knows how the Senate and the House work… quiet talks and promises, agreement and respect. Some of these things may even be feigned. But feigning respect, for example, is itself a way of showing respect…. The old ways decayed… under Gingrich’s and his successors’ scorched-earth politics. Reporters who grew up since Gingrich do not recognize that other tactics exist. They do not recognize that relationships are built and doubts sowed behind the scenes. They are accustomed to tantrums and sudden shows of power. They do not have the tools to describe the wide array of tactics Biden brings with him…. I think we are beginning to see results of Biden’s tactics. It’s early, but there is a premium on being the first to point things out. Thirty-five House Republicans voted to form a commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol…. A math-minded person could chart it! 1 yes (Romney in Impeachment #1; next time ten House members+7 Senators; now 35 House members. Paul Ryan, former Republican Speaker of the House, is holding a fundraiser for Adam Kinzinger, one of the 35. That is how to move the Senate too. A few at a time. As one senator moves (Mitt Romney), it becomes easier for others…. Biden is redefining bipartisanship to mean the will of the people…. It’s early, and we are seeing small indicators. Things can still go bad… 

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Does Schumer mean it when he says “failure is not an option”? Do Manchin and Sinema agree? Certainly they are willing to pretend that they believe that failure is not an option while Schumer negotiates. But will they need to make the jump in the end, and if they need to, will they?

John StoehrNearly Everyone Missed Chuck Schumer Implying This Week that the Filibuster’s Death Is Coming: ‘Something triggered the prevailing discourse…. Perhaps it was the GOP doing the most unbecoming thing of all in Washington: sticking with the loser. Whatever the reason, this week’s punditry seems to finally recognize the nightmare for what it is…. There are many examples of the conventional wisdom in Washington getting triggered now for some reason instead of, I dunno, after an attempted coup d’etat. All of them, however, focus on the United States Senate, especially Joe Manchin…. Even as I was writing the piece, something was happening to give us even more hope…. Nearly everyone missed it…. Schumer said what he’s been saying for months, which is the filibuster is not going to get in the way of democracy, because democracy is too important. Here’s the quote…. “These kinds of things just are abhorrent to our democracy and we must change them, and we will… failure is not an option and everything will be on the table…” When not if. The question, therefore, is timing. And timing is going to be determined primarily by how the Republicans are willing to behave…. Are the Republicans going to act less fascist than they have been since January 6? If the answer is yes, then the Democrats are in a pickle. They won’t feel the pressure necessary for enacting sweeping democracy reforms. If the answer is no, then… they are going to need the conventional wisdom in Washington to be on their side, which is to say, conventional wisdom saying that it’s OK to act nakedly partisan. I think this past week saw the beginning of that process… 

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Hunkering down like cowards in your trenches, whimpering and crying, and hoping Trump dies soon is neither a dignified nor a smart strategy. But it is the strategy of the overwhelming bulk of elected Republicans:

Kilgore Trout, Junky Horse’[The Republicans’] strategy is “hope he dies”, which makes for some really strange bedfellows: Allahpundit: "Trump’s going to force them to rehash 2020 anyway when he’s out on the trail campaigning in primaries, so what does it matter?: Haley Byrd Wilt: ‘Thune is very upfront here about some of the concerns behind GOP opposition to the January 6 commission: John Thune: "[Findings] could be weaponized politically and drug into next year. I want our midterm message to be on the kinds of things that the American people are dealing with: That’s jobs and wages and the economy and national security, safe streets and strong borders—not relitigating the 2020 elections. A lot of our members, and I think this is true of a lot of House Republicans, want to be moving forward and not looking backward. Anything that gets us rehashing the 2020 elections I think is a day lost on being able to draw a contrast between us and the Democrats’ very radical left-wing agenda…

LINK: <https://twitter. com/KT_So_It_Goes/status/1395058882897137664?>

On the one hand, this is obviously right. On the other hand, Facebook and Fox—and Twitter—are working very hard to try to ensure that the audience we select for ourselves is a highly-toxic one. We could break out of it. But that would require intelligence, energy, and effort—and, meanwhile, Facebook, Fox, and Twitter will keep spending money trying to block us from doing so. So this is also obviously wrong:

Charlie WarzelYou (Yes, You!) Are Trapped in an Audience - Galaxy Brain: ‘Most of us are conditioned not to see these dynamics in our own online experiences. I fall victim to this shallow thinking all the time, especially on a platform like Twitter. I often take my (algorithmically filtered) timeline for granted as some kind of standard Twitter experience, despite the fact that it is curated by, uh, me. Sure, I think a number of people are having somewhat similar experiences to me on a day-to-day basis (because of overlap in followers or topics of conversation) but there’s also a lot more people who are experiencing a completely different internet. The “hellsite” I complain about is usually a prison of my own design…

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