The Mystery of the Current State of the Economy reminds me of the Air France Flight 447 crash. When your instruments are giving you confusing messages and not responding the way you expect to your control inputs, doubling down those inputs is probably not going to fix the situation.

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Just for info: here in the Netherlands we will be adopting a variation of the "tiered tariff", where the price for gas will be limited to €1,45 per cubic meter for the first 1,200 cubic meters, and for electricity to €0,40 per KWh for the first 2,900 KWh, with standard market prices above these limits.

As Sandbu suggests, this seems a reasonable compromise. Yes, it means that some people will receive the benefit even if they don't need it, but there are instances - and this temporary measure seems to me to be one of them - where the costs of means testing exceed the benefits. But it also lets "the market" do its job above the minimum, thus discouraging excessive consumption.

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"CONDITION: I Do Not Understand the Current State of the Macroeconomy:

Charles Steindel: “The Philly Fed manufacturing numbers were pretty much like NY. Things are terrible, they are going to stay terrible, but we are boosting employment and want to keep on doing so…”"

Oil is expensiver, the corporations are getting while the getting is good, various Silicon Valley types are trying to save their slice of Chinese serf labor, some part of the Fed is trying get back to that good old neo-gold standard, because without it workers might get unions and demand pay raises and how are rich guys supposed to pay for their giant, ugly capsizing yachts now?, and the Republicans want to do some austerity because they always want to do some austerity.

At any rate, remember the US getting trapped behind the monetary blue event horizon in late September-October 2008? (I looked through your blog posts from then, couldn't find much) Lehmann collapsed, all the money started flowing back home from the BRICs and the like to make good on various loans as the financial system collapsed, the dollar hardened, so even more money followed the called-in money and the dollar took a trip to the moon. So much for exporting anything. We seem to be doing a slow-motion version of that - the system isn't currently imploding, and the Fed has yet to force a recession (so the financial system isn't imploding yet).

The money would prefer to be here, which is nice, if you want to travel/purchase real estate overseas, and is otherwise terrible for exports. Nonetheless the demand is still present because normal people are trying to have a normal economy, and post-2000 Fed kind of hates a normal economy. ('The money is supposed to be for the DESERVING! STOP SPENDING!')

Its kind of screwy that the right-wing econ dudes are all asspuppets of zombie Ludwig von Mises (or Andrew Carnegie Mellon) but here we are.'

It's weird, but it's not an incomprehensible kind of weird, I don't think. A stupid kind of weird, but not incomprehensible.


at the mountains of the madness of the masters of the universe

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"Dr. Johnson now said, a certain eminent political friend of ours [Burke] was wrong, in his maxim of sticking to a certain set of men on all occasions. "I can see that a man may do right to stick to a party," said he; "that is to say, he is a Whig, or he is a Tory, and he thinks one of those parties upon the whole the best, and that to make it prevail, it must be generally supported, though, in particulars, it may be wrong. He takes its faggot of principles, in which there are fewer rotten sticks than in the other, though some rotten sticks to be sure; and they cannot be well separated. But, to blind one's self to one man, or one set of men (who may be right to-day and wrong to-morrow), without any general preference of system, I must disapprove."

Boswell: Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

Plug in Trump.

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Nicole Barbaro: Review of THE PARENT TRAP: ‘The Parent Trap: How to Stop Overloading Parent and Fix Our Inequality Crisis,

Seems to be a good reason for a child tax credit that would permit quality child care/earl childhood education, but not necessarily outside the home/informal arrangements and even more not publicly owned.

We were so close but let including a (could be made) harmless work requirement stump us.

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National Conservatism has no coherent, workable plan for America:

Nor does any other kind of "conservatism." Its all just resentment at different parts of (or what they imagine to be parts of) Liberalism.

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Everyone should read Tyler Cowen and Noah Smith on the Grifter, oops and excuse me, the National Conservative movement here in America. If the good professor can write about Slouching to Utopia certainly someone else can write about Slouching to Despair (I wanted to invoke the 'F' word, no not the four letter one that describes intimate relations but the seven letter one that describes what happened after WW-1.

Oh yes, good to see a Richard Powers quote make it into the newsletter. Since I've taken up so many of the good Professor's reading suggestions, he can take one from me and read either of my two favorites: "The Gold Bug Variations" or "Galatea 2.2"

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