Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Casey B. Mulligan vs. Paul Krugman

Casey B. Mulligan, the (maybe a Koch brothers bought-and-paid-for) economist at the New York Times, is at it again - Demoralization Is Not a Policy Achievement:

"Ever since the 2008 crisis, the federal government has been creating policies that eliminate the reward to working for millions of households by giving so many benefits to people who work part time or spent a greater fraction of the year out of work that family decisions to work more result in less money for them to spend [such as] the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, under which about four million people could earn more by remaining unemployed longer, because going back to work would erase federal health assistance and multiple sources of cash benefits...The latest is the Affordable Care Act....(I stopped reading here)

Paul Krugman - Inequality and Indignity:

"It’s all very well to talk vaguely about the dignity of work; but the idea that all workers can regard themselves as equal in dignity despite huge disparities in income is just foolish. When you’re in a world where 40 money managers make as much as 300,000 high school teachers, it’s just silly to imagine that there will be any sense, on either side, of equal dignity in work. ... Now, one way to enhance the dignity of ordinary workers is through, yes, entitlements: make it part of their birthright, as American citizens, that they get certain basics such as a minimal income in retirement, support in times of unemployment, and essential health care. But the Republican position is that none of these things should be provided, and that if somehow they do get provided, they should come only at the price of massive government intrusion into the recipient’s personal lives — making sure that you don’t take advantage of health reform to work less, requiring that you undergo drug tests to receive unemployment benefits or food stamps, and so on. In short, while conservatives may preach the dignity of work, their actual agenda is to deny lower-income workers as much dignity — and personal freedom — as possible.

Mark Thoma - How Keynes Would Handle an Abnormally Slow Recovery:

In theory, Keynesian stabilization policy should “shave the peaks and fill the valleys.” That is, when the economy falls into a recession the government should use deficit spending to lift the economy back towards the full employment level. It should then pay for the policy – increase revenues or reduce spending – during boom periods when the economy is overheated and needs to be slowed down. But what if, like now, there is no boom following the bust? How should we pay for the programs that were put into place during the recession in that case?

Martin Wolf - Enslave the Robots and Free the Poor:

The prospect of far better lives depends on how the gains are produced and distributed ... we must reconsider leisure. For a long time the wealthiest lived a life of leisure at the expense of the toiling masses. The rise of intelligent machines makes it possible for many more people to live such lives without exploiting others. Today’s triumphant puritanism finds such idleness abhorrent. Well, then, let people enjoy themselves busily. What else is the true goal of the vast increases in prosperity we have created? ...we will need to redistribute income and wealth. ... The revenue could come from taxes on bads (pollution, for example) or on rents (including land and, above all, intellectual property). Property rights are a social creation. The idea that a small minority should overwhelming benefit from new technologies should be reconsidered.

Employers can fire at will because there's lots of expendable and disposable unemployed and desperate people eager to take their place....A Snow Day Cost This Woman Her Job at Whole Foods

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