Thursday, January 21, 2010
Here's the Facebook page for her fans. We want people to vote for her to get CBS, after nine years, to finally get Deb onto the show. Thanks for watching the video and joining up.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We don't have everything in place just yet to make this work, but part of my philosophy is to get out there quickly, find the problems with any new venture and work them out. So join in an audio beta-testing on Saturday, 9am, on Business 1570, Twin Cities Business Radio.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
- Due to a technical glitch, I am covering for Don again on the KNSI Morning Show, 6-8am tomorrow.
- If you are in St. Cloud, you have a great opportunity to hear an alumnus of my department who has made quite a name for himself. Jim Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, will be speaking at Atwood Little Theater tomorrow at 1pm on the economy. There will be a brief Q&A at the end of the hour. Admission is free. Here are directions to Atwood.
- As to the status of Final Word, please check back tomorrow for news. I'm 98% sure of what happens next and need time to get the details. But it's going to be a different and I think an exciting opportunity.
Friday, October 02, 2009
I apologize for how sketchy this note is, but there are many details that are TBD at this point and probably will be for another five days or so.
If you're really desperate to hear me, besides needing to get your head examined you could hear me on KNSI next Thursday 6-8am on its Morning Show, filling in for Don Lyons.
UPDATE: Forgot it was first Saturday, so I'll take my usual turn on the David Strom Show at 10am.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
out: Sparklehorse, Sad And Beautiful World
in: U2, Elevation
out:Better Than Ezra, Pull
in: Chevelle, Sleep Apnea
out: Gomez, How we Operate
in: Coldplay, Voilet Hill
out: Radiohead, Paranoid Android
out: Foo Fighters, Long Road To Ruin
in: Muse, Super Massive Blackhole
out: Arctic Monkeys, Brainstorm
in: Audioslave, Cochise
out: Killers, Mr Brightside
in: Soundgarden, Spoonman
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
out/in: Pink Floyd, Brick in the Wall
out: Motley Crue, Smokin in the boys room
in: Lupe Fiasco, Superstar
out: Chicago, Saturday in the Park
in: Green Jelly, Three Little Pigs
out: Better Than Ezra, Our Last Night
out: AC/DC, Big Gun
In: Yul Brenner, A Puzzlement (because the night before while with Mitch I said something about playing The King and I.)
out: Prodigy, Breathe
in: Meatloaf, I would do anything for love
out: Ted Nugent, Great White Buffalo
in: Bob Marley, Buffalo Soldier
out: Counting Crows, Mrs Potters Lullaby
in: Kid Rock, All Summer Long
out: The Black Crows
In: AC/DC, Runaway Train
out: Foo Fighters, Learning to Fly
in: Coldplay, Politik
out: Gomez, How We Operate
out: Van Halen, You Really Got Me
in: Free, Alright Now
out: The Refreshments, Banditos
in: Radiohead, Just
out: Marvelous 3 (Butch Walker), Freak of the Week
in: Gorillaz, Feel Good Inc
out: ZZ Top, Tush (at which point I wondered where was my normal outro!)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Our podcast always appears with the rest of NARN at Townhall. For the most recent Saturday, they normally don't go up before Monday night (and please don't ask why -- there's always some damn reason or another for slow posting even though we're the only live Salem/Townhall show going on a weekend and could kick some Monday morning butt.)
UPDATE: Well what do you know? Hour 1, Hour 2.
We'll use Final Word and Tommy's Playlists in the labels for those wanting to follow along, and I'll link to a YouTube each week of one song I like.
out: Seether, Remedy
in: AC/DC, Runaway Train
out: Prodigy, Breathe
In: Counting Crows, Los Angeles
out: Len, Steal My Sunshine
in: Weezer, Hashpipe
out: Tom Petty, Mary Jane's Last Dance
out: Gomez, How We Operate (I showed him a Gomez CD in my car months ago, and he went to my favorite Gomez song without bidding.)
in: Coldplay, Yellow
out: Radiohead, Iron Lung
in: Better Than Ezra, Pull
out: Muse, Starlight
in: Greenday, Holiday
Out first break: Rock You Like a Hurricane, Scorpions
In: Black Hole Sun, Soundgarden http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Out: Rain in the Summertime, The Alarm http://www.youtube.com/watch?
In: Iron Lung, Radiohead
Out: Diesel Power, Prodigy
In: Viva La Vida, Coldplay
Out: I Wish it Would Rain, Phil Collins
Out: Dust in the Wind, Kansas
In: Cold as Ice, Foreigner
Out: Earth Song, Micheal Jackson
In: Super massive Black Hole, Muse
Out: Turn, Turn, Turn, the Byrds
In: Holiday, Green Day
Be sure to hear Hour 1 with John Coleman and Hour 2 with Prof. Al Pekarek, both on climate change, which appears to be the most popular topic on this blog. Your choice, folks, not mine.
Monday, June 15, 2009
There are only two systems of economic order: Planned systems (which we call "socialism") and spontaneous systems ("capitalism"). He says, in this classic reprinted by the Joint Economic Committee back in 1994,
Production can either be directed by the prices fixed on the market by the buying and by the abstention from buying on the part of the public. Or it can be directed by the government's central board of production management. There is no third solution available. There is no third social system feasible which would be neither market economy nor socialism. Government control of only a part of prices must result in a state of affairs which -- without any exception -- everybody considers as absurd and contrary to purpose. Its inevitable result is chaos and social unrest.Mises argued that socialism takes two forms. Many of you who wrote to me after the show pointed out that socialism did not require direct bureaucratic control of the economy. That, as Mises argued, is one form. The other he characterizes by the German word Zwangswirtschaft, or "economic compulsion". While there are still private owners hiring workers, buying goods and making profits, they are directed by the state:
The government tells these seeming entrepreneurs what and how to produce, at what prices and from whom to buy, at what prices and to whom to sell. The government decrees at what wages laborers should work and to whom and under what terms the capitalists should entrust their funds. Market exchange is but a sham. As all prices, wages, and interest rates are fixed by the authority, they are prices, wages, and interest rates in appearance only; in fact they are merely quantitative terms in the authoritarian orders determining each citizen's income, consumption, and standard of living. The authority, not the consumers, directs production. The central board of production management is supreme; all citizens are nothing else but civil servants.There is a fair amount of this beginning in the economy today, I agree. GM and Chrysler are but two examples. The directed lending from the Federal Reserve is another. What may happen in health care may be a third. (We don't know yet; they won't show their cards.)
But it is important to be taken seriously: We cannot argue for turning back this policy unless we properly identify it. And what we identify as socialism, in either the bureaucratic or compulsory forms, will demand proof that we don't yet have. And I don't think it helps to create a new term like "liberal fascism" or "fascism with a happy face" to do battle with those who we want to persuade. It's like comedy, as Johnny Carson used to say: Buy the premise, buy the bit. The word is value-laden and perjorative, putting people off before I can even start an argument. I need something different. So...
The interventionists emphasize that they plan to retain private ownership of the means of production, entrepreneurship and market exchange. But, they go on to say, it is peremptory to prevent these capitalist institutions from spreading havoc and unfairly exploiting the majority of people. It is the duty of government to restrain, by orders and prohibitions, the greed of the propertied classes lest their acquisitiveness harm the poorer classes. Unhampered or laissez-faire capitalism is an evil. But in order to eliminate its evils, there is no need to abolish capitalism entirely. It is possible to improve the capitalist system by government interference with the actions of the capitalists and entrepreneurs. Such government regulation and regimentation of business is the only method to keep off totalitarian socialism and to salvage those features of capitalism which are worth preserving.There is an area in-between which is an unstable equilibrium. Its character is the black line between the two poles:
Many countries find themselves on the black line, including ours. But what do you call it? It's that area that Mises called "interventionism." It's worth noting that Mises did not think we would move inexorably towards Socialism; it's the lie that socialists use to defeat those who advocate market order to call their preference "progressive." Mises was not optimistic that the battle would be won, but he thought it could be.
Even in this country which owes to a century of "rugged individualism" the highest standard of living ever attained by any nation, public opinion condemns laissez-faire. In the last fifty years thousands of books have been published to indict capitalism and to advocate radical interventionism, the welfare state and socialism. The few books which tried to explain adequately the working of the free market economy were hardly noticed by the public. Their authors remained obscure, ... It is a well-known fact that the legitimate stage as well as the Hollywood industry are no less radically critical of free enterprise than are many novels. There are in this country many periodicals which in every issue furiously attack economic freedom. There is hardly any magazine of opinion that would plead for the system that [has made America better off].I've used several times this almost offhand comment from Milton Friedman in 1975 as well:
...What we need is neither anti-socialism nor anti-communism but an open positive endorsement of that system to which we owe all the wealth that distinguishes our age from the comparatively straitened conditions of ages gone by.
"There's a strong argument to be made that a free society is a fundamentally unstable equilibrium, in the language of the natural sciences....There's a great deal of basis for believing that a free society is fundamentally unstable--we may regret this but we've got to face up to the facts....How often and for how long have we had free societies? For short periods of time. There was an essentially free society in 5th-century Greece. Was it able to survive? It disappeared. Every other time when there's been a free society, it has tended to disappear."That period in the U.S. was 1789-1929, he later said. Nobody said an unstable equilibrium couldn't last for a long time. But its death began in earnest with FDR, and continues to this day. Once Republicans accepted that you could intervene even on a limited basis, the gravitational pull on my graphic above is all to the left.
It will not do, I argue, to just toss the label "socialist" towards Obama, Pelosi, et al. Et al. includes a LOT of people, not all of whom wear the scarlet D, if you confuse interventionism with socialism. It will do better to argue the positive position that ending intervention will result in a more prosperous and more free society. To do so will win you no friends, now and forever. Daniel Hannan, recalling Margaret Thatcher and the Left's hatred of her:
Anti-Thatcherites tell you that it's because she closed down the old industries. (She didn't, of course: she simply stopped obliging everyone else to support them.) Yet it must surely be obvious by now that nothing would have kept the dockyards and coalmines and steel mills open. A similar process of deindustrialisation has unfolded in every other Western European country [and the U.S. --kb], ...Will it do for supporters of free markets to battle rage with rage, epithet with epithet, or shall we instead build a better argument for why our world will be better than theirs? A free society may be unstable, but it isn't accidental.
No, what Lefties (with honourable exceptions) find so hard to forgive is the lady's very success: the fact that she rescued a country that they had dishonoured and impoverished; that she inherited a Britain that was sclerotic, indebted and declining and left it proud, wealthy and free; that she never lost an election to them. Their rage, in truth, can never be assuaged; for it is the rage of Caliban.
Friday, April 03, 2009
On the Final Word this week (beginning at 3pm) you will hear The Nihilist In Golf Pants, who has wanted for some time to get an hour to grill me on economics; he'll get to do the questioning and I will try to answer. Chime in via Twitter. Both shows are as always on AM 1280 the Patriot, and between those two times you'll get John and Brian, the First Team, and then Ed and Mitch, the Headliners. (NARN podcasts are always available here, usually posted 24-48 hours after the show. We also replay on Sunday nights on the Patriot beginning at 7pm.)
Friday, March 06, 2009
I'll be on the David Strom Show tomorrow at 10am CT on the Patriot (in addition to my usual NARN turn at 3pm); since they always have me the first Saturday of the month, it's almost always the case that the employment numbers are the first thing we discuss. So keep this graph handy; I'll discuss it then.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Dan has been an officer of professional radio organizations through the AP and held credentials for many years. His biography includes being past president, Minnesota Associated Press Broadcasters (2000-01) and a news or program director since 1999 in Detroit Lakes and St. Cloud.
It was not the Ox's first visit to St. Paul this year. He broadcast, it appears, from the Minnesota House on January 7. At that time nobody had informed him that his credentials to the senate were being pulled. He had, as usual gone to do a show at the opening of the legislature (as Gary reported) and had, among other things, discussed the amount of per diem money received by Senator Tarryl Clark.
Did this have anything to do with Ochsner's credentials being pulled? He reported on the air that he was told that the Senate had decided to focus their floor privileges to reporters who were more often at the capitol (Dan's show makes a monthly appearance, though he says he visits the capitol more often than that.) He was informed that this came from Clark and DFL Senate leader Larry Pogemiller. When Sen. Clark subsequently was interviewed on Ox's show, she was questioned about this. At one point she is reported to have said that she thought his listeners were not interested in this subject and that Ox should move on. Ox's response was that he knew his listeners, and that they were interested.
Readers are probably aware that in her successful special election campaign in December 2005, Senator Clark's opponent was none other than Ox. It's noteworthy that she continued to do his show even after the credential was pulled. The ostensible reason -- that there's too much traffic on the Senate floor, flies in the face of the evidence, insofar as a new organization that is not a radio, TV, or print outlet, The Uptake, holds five credentials. Is access for that group more important than for out-state news organizations? Does the Senate not respect the journalism of people who are outside the Twin Cities? (Notable silence from the one remaining St. Cloud journalist with full access.)
There is a particular issue, perhaps, between Ox and Clark. Perhaps; I'm not as interested in that. Later in the show Marty Owings, who probably agrees with nothing I blog here, called in to say his work as a journalist was equally hampered in the House. (Chris Stellar reports on this in MnIndy.) His story, that Rep. Tony Sertich had used a procedural trick to restrict access to online media, was the point where I decided this has to be discussed. (h/t on Marty goes to Mitch.) He appears in Hour 2 of the Final Word broadcast of 2/28.
The Society of Professional Journalists has spoken out in favor of online journalists, but not yet, as far as I can tell, for Ox.
Indeed. Dear SPJ, let me take you to a page that I would say summarizes the problem here. This is the temporary rules of the Senate. Lines 10.8-10.16 state:
If the Legislature is concerned about the conduct of individual reporters, existing rules and procedures can be utilized. If the problem is one of space, then the criteria for distributing media passes should be equitable for all journalists, not arbitrarily discriminatory based on an outlet�s medium.
The Minnesota Independent quotes House Rules Committee Chair Tony Sertich as saying a rule change to allow online media would open access to anybody. In fact, the change gives open access to everybody, which is the best and most credible means of government accountability in a democracy.
16.1 The Secretary shall provide space for news reporters on the Senate floor in limited numbers, and in the Senate gallery. Because of limited space on the floor, permanent space is limited to those news agencies that regularly cover the legislature, namely: The Associated Press, St. Paul Pioneer Press, St. Paul Legal Ledger, Star Tribune, Duluth News-Tribune, The Forum, Rochester Post-Bulletin, St. Cloud Times, WCCO radio, KSTP radio, Minnesota Public Radio, and Minnesota News Network. The Secretary shall provide an additional two spaces to other reporters if space is available. One person from each named agency and one person from the Senate Publications Office may be present at the press table on the Senate floor at any time. Other news media personnel may occupy seats provided in the Senate gallery.The italics are mine. By what right does the Senate get to restrict access to this oligarchic structure of media? Why are certain groups privileged? (And indeed, why are these called "press privileges"? A freedom is not a privilege.) Where are the First Amendment advocates? Who decides which of these agencies are named and which are not? If you favor open access for everybody, dear SPJ, strike this list.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I know Mom will ask why not the King Banaian Show? Well, while for now it's a solo act, it may not be forever, and all the NARN shows have had some catchy subtitle, which an unspellable last name kind of inhibits. (If this was Mitch, I could see Ice Ice Bergie. Or not.)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
There's streaming audio from the KNSI link; please listen in, and call 320-251-1990 to participate!
Monday, January 12, 2009
He won't go away entirely -- he will be filling in for me when I'm away at conferences if he's available. NARN is about to turn five (in March). I've been happy to make that drive each week I can to feed my radio jones, but some days it's harder than others. The 28 months we've been doing NARN 3: FW has been great fun but it's a grind.
For the time being, the format will be NARN's first solo show. (It's never really solo as I always have a producer; I anticipate Matt being across the glass.) Readers of this blog know my preference for economics to politics by and large, and I'll talk more of it in the show in its new form. But state politics will still be part of FW's coverage. More on this in the next two weeks as I prepare to fly the plane myself.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
For those of you following the Final Word today, you can use Twitter to follow the conversation. �I'll monitor the hashtag #finalword to track what you're saying about the show. �Streaming starts for NARN 2 in a minute, and Final Word begins at 3, all at am1280thepatriot.com
Monday, October 06, 2008
My thanks to bleak and Captain Capitalism for appearing on the Final Word this weekend. �You will want to listen to the podcast if you missed it, as the discussion of the housing crisis was as interesting as I hope my morning talk with David Strom and Margaret Martin was. �Different, though, as Aaron (CC) is certainly more opposed to the bailout bill than I and, it turned out, bleak were. � (I disagree with that last link, but I'll save that for another time.)
If you liked Aaron's radio appearance, do pick up a copy of his new book, Behind the Housing Crash. �The book blends anecdotes of his work in the financial industry with a very libertarian view of economics and finance. �Why did financial firms continue to lend money when their valuation methods told them the riskiness was high? �Because, quite simply, they stopped believing the models and believed that prices always go up. �Once you decide that, it is only a matter of time before new financial firms or new financial instruments pop up to provide fuel for the mania. �Aaron provides several stories from within the financial sector of how the mania spread, and for this the book is highly useful.
While giving thanks, you would perhaps also enjoy The First Team's handiwork in creating attack ads. �Credit goes to the Fraters, who did this for both the other two shows. �These are obviously having a very negative effect on my re-election chances for MOB mayor. �Just desserts will be served.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
Two of the three of us are on the Northern Alliance Radio Network tomorrow. I have an extra appearance in my usual first-of-the-month visit to the David Strom Show at 10am. John and the Fraters at 11-1 (guys, more hockey!); Mitch and Ed 1-3; and then the Final Word with Michael and me at 3-5pm. I believe we'll talk about the honesty of Larry Pogemiller, the bonding bill, and this curious article about malt liquor and murder.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
We'll be taking the week off on Final Word, and we'll instead replay the interview with Governor Pawlenty. You can get the podcast if you can't wait.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Please join us and share your thoughts.
Friday, February 15, 2008
At 4:15 we will be joined by Erick Kaardal, lawyer for , whose group Citizens for the Rule of Law (and also Neopopulism) are suing the legislature and various over the abuse of per diems. I'm shocked, shocked! to hear that we would have groups wishing to deny per diems to our state legislators. I mean, how are they supposed to live on less than $96 a day? Readers will recall that we provided several dining tips for state senators struggling to make ends meet. (Just take the March 2007 archive and search for "per diem".) I would like to find out from Kaardal how we could simply limit the number of days legislators get to take per diem, as done in New Hampshire. It might keep a certain farmer home more. Sarah Janacek suggested last fall that the per diem issue never seems to work for challenging incumbents in elections ... but a lawsuit might get their attention.
Don't forget that there are eight total hours of local programming Saturdays on AM 1280 the Patriot. The David Strom Show 9-11, then NARN's Opening Act of John Hinderaker, Chad the Elder and Brian Ward 11-1, and Mitch Berg and Captain Ed as the Headliners from 1-3.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Catch us 3-5pm tomorrow on AM 1280 the Patriot. Indeed, join the Patriot all day starting at 9am for the David Strom Show, then 11-1am will have me sitting in with Chad the Elder, followed by the Headliners Mitch and Ed at 1-3pm -- I want to hear Mitch give this idea the beating it deserves.
UPDATE: Derek from Freedom Dogs and True North has given us a meter to use to gauge your McCain support. I would have gone for McCainuum, but McCaintinuum it is:
Call us tomorrow, and tell us where you are on the scale.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
Is it possible to change minds still? Four spokespeople will try, and so will the callers. Join us please at 651-289-4488. Listen on the stream if you wish; the podcast will be available later.
Also, we plan a Tuesday night broadcast beginning at 8pm on the Patriot, with updates from party headquarters, call-ins from caucuses, national results, and expert analysis from as many people as will take a phone call from us. More details to appear on Monday, but we hope you go to the caucuses, then flip on AM 1280 the Patriot on your way home.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Listen in on AM1280 the Patriot live, or pick up the podcast later next week (we seem to be back to a good pattern with coverage there.)
Friday, January 18, 2008
It is about time an economist was crowned for messing with our consumer confidence!
If you can take the pressure, I'll be messing with David Strom's confidence when I appear on the his show on AM 1280 the Patriot at 9am, to talk about recession, stimulus, Huckapessimism, etc. Should be a good hour.
Did you forget to read this until Monday? Get a podcast.
Friday, January 11, 2008
As always, the Final Word is heard 3-5pm on AM1280 the Patriot (click that link and then the Listen Now in the upper lefthand corner) or later via podcast when the podcasts gods choose to post our shows. Like monetary policy, shows are posted with long and variable lags.
Back to IRV. Let me help people think about it by a couple of simple thoughts. Why would IRV be bad? After all, we had three viable candidates in the 1998 gubernatorial race won by Jesse Ventura over Norm Coleman and Skip Humphrey. Humphrey came in third. Suppose we had IRV in the state. How would Humphrey's vote been distributed? Would Coleman have gained enough of those votes to overcome Ventura's three percent plurality. At least in one study, the answer is no. So plurality voting -- the system we use most everywhere in the US -- gave us the same result. (My apologies if you can't read that study -- it's good to work at a university.)
We would say that Ventura was a Condorcet winner -- he would have won in a pairwise vote against either Coleman or Humphrey. And perhaps one reason why Ventura would have won is that he turned out people that would not have voted otherwise; 7% more voters participated in 1998 than 1994, and the study cited above indicates that the Ventura presence could account for just about that size effect. An exit poll taken that day indicates that of those who did vote, Ventura voters preferred Coleman over Humphrey, 56-44.
So IRV would not have made a difference there. Where would it? It could if you ended up with cycling, where in a pairwise contest between each of the three candidates you wouldn't find one that beats the other two in heads-up. And it would be perilous if we found instead that Coleman would beat Ventura and Humphrey would beat Ventura in pairwise voting, but Ventura wins in a three-way, plurality-voting contest. That would seem to be something we would want to avoid and could be a case for IRV. And yet, as we joke a bit about voting for bacon, there is a very serious question whether we might end up with a Condorcet loser in the primaries with some states using winner-take-all allocation of delegates. On the Democratic ticket, let's suppose Sen. Clinton is the plurality leader. She would be a Condorcet loser if she would lose a two-person race against either Sens. Obama or Edwards. (I make no claim that this is so.) I'll let others think about how that applies on the GOP side, but I think it fair to say IRV would make the GOP primary different.
I find it interesting that the claim made by MVA is that IRV is too complex. Indeed, the best case one can make for plurality voting is its simplicity. (Try reading the rules for the DFL's walking caucus sometime. They aren't easy.) There are other good reasons to oppose IRV, though they are a bit harder to explain, having to do with lack of single-peaked preferences and the number of parties in play. I've not worked on electoral theory for awhile so I am not going to try to say I understand every bit of this; I don't. Suffice to say, for example, that it can be shown that you can get different electoral outcomes by changing IRV rules only slightly to drop the candidate with the most last-place votes rather than the fewest first-place votes. This is known as the Coombs rule. You could argue Coombs is a better rule, but it would be no less confusing.
A last thought, and a question I'll ask Andy tomorrow: Suppose we could show empirically that IRV increased voter turnout, since one could vote his preference first and then between the two major party candidates later. Would increased turnout be a good thing, and wouldn't you want to support IRV then if so? I know they argue that it hasn't, but would finding enough counter-examples to theirs be persuasive?
Thursday, December 27, 2007
- Today with Captain Ed on Heading Right Radio, 2pm. Scott Swett of "To Set the Record Straight" will be on for the first half hour, then I suspect we'll swing into talking about holiday sales.
- Tomorrow, 7-9am as co-host of Hot Talk on KNSI in St. Cloud. (Streaming occasionally works here.) Tony Garcia will be with me. Our usual nuttery will commence, though from time to time we steer into serious things like the Bhutto assassination, the funding of the St. Cloud schools and Northboonstardoggle.
- Saturday, 3-5pm as usual on The Final Word on AM 1280 the Patriot. We will be live with a wrapup of the year in Minnesota politics. Winners? Losers? Best piece of political art drawn by Freedom Dogs? (You know how I love "put your fork down!")
- Monday, 6-9am, back to Hot Talk, sans Tony. Last day of the year, what happened that affected lives of local St. Cloudians? The local paper has a list of difference makers. I have something to say about that. And of course there will be gloating as my Giants defeat the Patriots.
Friday, September 21, 2007
There is no prize for beating me, except that you may feel quite superior. I was honestly stumped on two of the three, the other a mental error I should not have made.
See you Monday. There's a show tomorrow, but I'm still so Italy'd out I have no idea what we'll do yet. I hear Michael's angling to dump me because he found better help.
P.S. When you go to church Sunday, say a prayer for Zimbabwe. It's getting worse...
Monday, August 27, 2007
First off, we are echoing the sentiments of our friends and neighbors who just watched this Legislature fritter away a $2.2 BILLION DOLLAR budget surplus on"optional" expendatures [sic] --none of which was scheduled to go toward bridges and roads. Money went to just about everything else.OK, but that was then and this is now. Priorities respond to circumstances. I agree as well with Gary that the DFL looked at transportation issues and saw only gas-tax-increase; what I don't agree with is that this is a reason to do nothing now.
I have a roof on my house. I look at it in spring and say, "it appears OK, it should be fine for another year," and I don't call the roofing company. After the tornado passes through and my roof fails because I didn't replace it (assume it would have been fine if I had replaced it in spring), do I not get to collect on my insurance to pay for a new roof? Do I not get to change priorities?
Second - the money is already there for use not only for the bridge but for the flood zones. Drew Emmer at Wright County Republican has the breakdown of the emergency funding access that the Governor has.He has the power to get the money now, certainly, but that doesn't mean there wouldn't be a tax called for to pay for it later. It is my preference to have a regular session later and have all spending and tax options available, and a little more information about the 2008-09 biennium. I would prefer to wait. But you can read the July budget forecast which says the outlook for the economy is slightly weakening, and then look at the subprime/credit crisis, and argue that at some point we might need the rainy day fund for general obligations of the budget. Yes, they may have spent too much in May, but that's a sunk cost now. The alternative, of course, is unallotment after the emergency spending; for both political and economic reasons, that's an unattractive alternative.
Lastly, as Representative Seifert stated after the bridge collapse, the latest budget forecast shows an even bigger surplus than we had previously expected. The final numbers are due in November.Tell you what, LL, let's have a bet. You can take the side that we'll have a bigger surplus in November than projected in July. I'll take the under. If the Global Insights weighted forecast (which the state uses for budget forecasting) had 20% on the pessimistic scenario in July, you don't think it'll be less in November, now, do you?
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Seeing that blogs at two newspapers are fretting over the loss of a congressional district, Michael and I will visit with the guy who started this thing. Tom Gillaspy is the state demographer, has done so for quite some time, and I'm happy to have been on a couple of panels with him at Winter Institutes here in the past. Half an hour with a demographer is a lot more fun than you'd think, and you should try it during the first hour.
Back by popular demand in the second hour is our good friend Drew Emmer, whose unique view from Wright County is not to be missed. I'll try to keep my giggling to a minimum.
So at least one of us is having fun tomorrow on the Final Word. Maybe you will too.
Did you take the weekend off and miss the frivolity? Podcasts available.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Before that, on Monday afternoon people near Victoria should get behind solid barriers as I spray golf balls around Deer Run Golf Club for the 2nd annual Patriot Golf Open. Last I checked there were a few spots left, so if you want to watch the hilarity of me and Matt the producer trying to play golf (and earn our way into MilF), step up now. Ask them to start you as far away from our foursome as possible.
Labels: Final Word
Monday, June 11, 2007
I mention this at the outset: I've know Lott for some time as someone like me interested in public choice economics, particularly as it applies to campaign contributions and elections. We share a belief that the political system actually works pretty well, in a Chicago School tradition and both ended publishing in that area. So fair to say that one part of this book on the folly of campaign finance reform is something I was predisposed to like.
There's little question that the book is intended as a counterpoint to Freakonomics, and you'd have to be living in a cave not to know the backstory. But that focus is appropriate in a larger sense: Perhaps the subtitle of the book should be "Why the Free Market Works Better than the Alternatives." As Lott states at the conclusion of the book,
The free market isn't perfect, but that isn't the right standard by which to judge it. The government is hardly perfect either. (p. 194)The idea of Government Failure is a neglected concept in Levitt and Dubner, in my view. A chapter titled "Government as Nirvana?" drives home the point. But this is not to say Lott thinks government is corrupted. He says in the previous paragraph to the one above:
There will always be some duplicity in the free market. But there is also an ever-present incentive ingrained in the system for individuals and companies to behave honestly. If someone can make a buck by treating his customers better than someone else, eventually someone will try it. Political markets also have their own mechanisms to limit cheating, resulting in the election of politicians who, by and large, accurately represent their constituents. (p. 194)Not only will you get the government you deserve, you'll get something close to the one you want! This will come to some readers, I suspect, as a bit of a shock. But he uses two full chapters -- one on the incentives created by reputations and what my teacher Tom Borcherding always called "the discipline of continuous dealings" -- my term, not Lott's, and borrowing from Gordon Tullock again. Repeated plays of a prisoners' dilemma game by two people creates much different incentives than if it's a one-shot game. He also looks at the growth of government more generally, and comes to the surprising conclusion that "Granting women suffrage explains at least a third of the expansion in the size of government." (p. 5)
There is a chapter devoted to the guns, crime and punishment debate that centers much of the public discussion of Lott's earlier work. I didn't find much new in there, but it creates a nice summary of the debate as it exists. I liked that chapter less than the others because I had already followed those arguments, and because they get into the weeds much more than the others. There's almost a change of voice there.
Freedomnomics is in the genre of books used to supplement introductions to economics, as well as a stand-alone book to show economic principles to reasonably intelligent individuals (not necessarily having ever had economics in college, or even going to college.) I have continued to use Steven Landsburg The Armchair Economist for this (I haven't finished More Sex Is Safer Sex yet, will when I get a chance) when I've needed a supplement for an intro course, and I think Freedomnomics will do as well for that purpose. I think if you were to use it that way you would need a guide to help, or to cut up the chapters into smaller pieces. But even without that, students of economics inside and outside classrooms will learn some great stories to explain that markets actually work rather well.
Monday, June 04, 2007
One type of forecasting is forecasting of an event. The revenues generated by the tax code are the result of an event -- what happens in the economy -- multiplied by a vector of tax rates that collect revenue based on a matrix of flows of income and stocks of wealth or assets in the hands of economic agents. The tax rates are constant; the movement in tax bases comes from the Global Insights forecast (as I mentioned earlier). Insert the numbers from that economic forecast in the matrix, plug and chug, and there you are, a revenue forecast.
What I said on the air was that you can't forecast decisions. That's not right exactly; there's a very good example of decision-forecasting in the Taylor Rule, which is a forecast of the Federal Funds rate target set by the Federal Reserve as the basis of its monetary policy. It is a description of how monetary policy was being set under the leadership of Chairman Greenspan. (Does it describe Chairman Bernanke? Look at the graph and decide for yourself. The Taylor Rule, properly understood, is not a mechanism that predicts an economic event but a heuristic used to try to understand how the FOMC is deciding policy at that point in time. The rule is not independent of the committee whose behavior it is forecasting.
Legislatures and executives do not automatically adjust spending to inflation. The budget forecast provided, as noted by the House Fiscal Analysis Department, is the budget's structural balance, i.e., "how much more is being collected than spent before any tax or spending decisions are made." (Emphasis added.) They may do so as an element of policy; the budget forecast provides information on what additional spending would occur if all non-indexed items were to be raised by inflation as measured by CPI. But is it appropriate for an arm of the executive branch to forecast a policy decision of the legislative branch? I think it is not.
There is, by the way, a very simple solution. The Federal government has both an Office of Management and Budget (reporting to the executive branch) and a Congressional Budget Office. If the DFL wants a forecasting arm that reports budget figures the way they would like to read them, have the Senate and House Fiscal Analysis Department provide you that information. What the DFL is doing instead is censoring the information the Finance Department can provide, but not allowing it to report spending without inflation. This is a bad policy.
Friday, April 13, 2007
We're also please to have at 4:15 Evan Coyne Maloney, whose movie Indoctrinate U will be opening next week in New York. I am going to try to persuade him that his movie would make a good headline for a double-bill with the Penn and Teller episode that featured what one fellow calls "the ground zero of political correctness."
Watch the trailer below, then come listen to Mr. Maloney.
The show will be on 3-5pm on AM1280 the Patriot. The archive afterward should be up here.