Tim Price

Deputy Editor

Recent Posts by Tim Price

  • Daily Digest - April 22: Economists Are Only as Good as Their Data

    Apr 22, 2013Tim Price

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    Reinhart/Rogoff-gate isn't the first time austerians have used bad data (WaPo)

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    Reinhart/Rogoff-gate isn't the first time austerians have used bad data (WaPo)

    Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal notes an odd contradiction: Keynesians who favor more government intervention rely on market data, while austerians favor data from government sources they otherwise wouldn't trust to tell them the time of day.

    Meet the 28-Year-Old Grad Student Who Just Shook the Global Austerity Movement (NY Mag)

    Kevin Roose interviews Thomas Herndon, who co-authored a paper that undermined one of the key arguments for austerity and toppled two of the biggest names in economics, setting a high bar for the rest of the papers he has due in the spring semester.

    The Rogoff-Reinhart data scandal reminds us economists aren't gods (Guardian)

    Heidi Moore writes that while we might wish economists were offering us the secret wisdom of the ages, the truth is they're mortals prone to mistakes and often have almost as little idea what they're talking about as the policymakers who flog their research.

    The Jobless Trap (NYT)

    Paul Krugman argues that in contrast to FDR's declaration that we had nothing to fear but fear itself, a little more fear about the consequences of long-term mass unemployment would make for a nice change of pace from the current devil-may-care approach.

    Only the Apocalypse Will Stop Simpson and Bowles (Businessweek)

    The sun is shining, the tulips are blooming, and there's another Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan to help us mark the passing of the seasons. Joshua Green writes that this version is a lot like the others, especially insofar as Congress is likely to ignore it.

    Fitch Downgrades Britain. No One Cares. (Bloomberg View)

    Joshua Barro notes that the U.K.'s credit rating downgrade is an easy target for critics of its austerity policies, but like the U.S. downgrade, it's having little effect on investors, who already have firm opinions about whether the country will continue to exist.

    This Week in Poverty: Ignoring Homeless Families (The Nation)

    Greg Kaufmann looks at The American Almanac of Family Homelessness, which shows that while single adult homelessness is down, family homelessness is rising, and the policy response has been to treat them like single adults with a slightly bigger appetite.

    The Underground Recovery (New Yorker)

    James Surowiecki notes that a recent study shows as much as $2 trillion may be changing hands under the table due to factors ranging from the changing nature of work to old-fashioned anti-government paranoia, offsetting some pain from the weak economy.

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  • Daily Digest - April 19: Austerity's Excel-lent Excuse

    Apr 19, 2013Tim Price

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    The Excel Depression (NYT)

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    The Excel Depression (NYT)

    Paul Krugman writes that Reinhart-Rogoff became the sacred text of the austerity movement, but they've been exposed as false prophets. Now policymakers will need to find some other thinly veiled excuse to keep doing what they were going to do anyway.

    Let Cities Build Better Internet-Access Networks (Bloomberg)

    Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford notes that Georgia voted down a bill that would have blocked cities from investing in access, and it could be a turning point in the effort to stop state legislators from acting as paid freelancers for AT&T and Time Warner.

    The Debt We Shouldn't Pay (NYRB)

    Robert Kuttner argues that debates over public debt have become a sideshow distracting from the privately held debt that actually triggered the Great Recession, as if someone shouted, "Hey, look over there!" and we all proceeded to stare at nothing for four years.

    Did underwater mortgages kill the economy? (WaPo)

    Housing may finally be bouncing back (though if you had a dime for every time someone's said that, you could buy a house), but Zachary Goldfarb highlights research that shows the biggest problem may have been household debt, not just falling home prices.

    The Fed's Foreclosure-Relief Fail (Prospect)

    David Dayen explores the strange odyssey of Debbie Marler, a woman who was kicked out of her home, foreclosed on twice more for good measure, asked to pay upkeep on the property she no longer lived in, and received a whopping $800 for her troubles.

    This Is the Reality of Austerity: Greek Children Are Starving (The Atlantic)

    When critics say austerity is taking food out of people's mouths, they're not speaking metaphorically. Derek Thompson flags a report of children going hungry and families burning furniture for warmth as Greece pays the price for being a member of the EU.

    Kansas Passes Law to Drug-Test Welfare and Unemployment Recipients (Think Progress)

    What's the matter with Kansas? If you believe Republican Governor Sam Brownback, it's that everyone's been getting high instead of working. Nicole Flatow notes that Kansas just became the ninth state to require drug tests for recipients of public benefits. 

    Costly and Wrong: Background Checks for Social Services in North Carolina (Policy Shop)

    Ilana Novick writes that North Carolina's legislature approved background checks for recipients of food stamps, but there's no such scrutiny for richer citizens who receive government grants. ("Are you now or have you ever been a member of a yacht club?")

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  • Daily Digest - April 18: United We Stand, Except When We Don't

    Apr 18, 2013Tim Price

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    The Dis-Uniting of America (Robert Reich)

    Reich writes that while Americans still demonstrate their ability to come together and help one another when a sudden tragedy strikes, as it did in Boston, prolonged economic misery and soaring childhood poverty don't seem to set off the same alarm bells for us.

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    The Dis-Uniting of America (Robert Reich)

    Reich writes that while Americans still demonstrate their ability to come together and help one another when a sudden tragedy strikes, as it did in Boston, prolonged economic misery and soaring childhood poverty don't seem to set off the same alarm bells for us.

    Are the Good Jobs Gone? (NYT)

    Thomas Edsall reviews the debate about whether government policy can bring back disappearing middle-class jobs and argues that while President Obama may not have a New Deal in him, he might at least be able get the wheels of progress unstuck from the mud.

    Is the successor to manufacturing jobs... manufacturing? (WaPo)

    Jim Tankersley notes that the Obama administration is launching a small pilot program to provide grants to communities that develop a strategy for creating a local manufacturing renaissance. Suggested program title: the We've Got Nothing, But Maybe You Do? Fund.

    Republicans Accuse Labor Nominee of Fighting for Civil Rights (CAF)

    Dave Johnson looks at the GOP's effort to sink Thomas Perez's nomination by exposing the dark secrets of his time with the Justice Department, like how he tried to avoid giving the Roberts Court an excuse to strike down civil rights laws with a Slumlords United case.

    Why Republicans Suddenly Became Afraid of Their Own Budget Shadow (TPM)

    Brian Beutler notes that Republicans spent four years demanding that Senate Democrats produce a budget, but now that they got what they asked for, they're reluctant to move forward with the process until they're sure they won't have to accept anything in it.

    Regulatory Rockstar (TNR)

    Elizabeth Warren may be new to the Senate, but she's not your typical back-bencher. Jeff Connaughton writes that by using her seat on the Senate Banking Committee to subject hapless regulators to ritual flaying, she may just scare them into doing their jobs.

    Foreclosure Settlement Checks Bounce in Latest Setback for Troubled Program (HuffPo)

    As if it weren't embarrassing enough that the average payout for a wrongful foreclosure is roughly $20 and a coupon for half off your next purchase at Target, Ben Hallman notes that some of the first recipients weren't even able to cash the checks they received.

    Forever Blowing Bubbles (ProPublica)

    Jesse Eisinger writes that despite the Fed's efforts to jumpstart the economy with extraordinary monetary policy, those efforts don't seem to be helping the average American as much as they're encouraging speculators to drop some money on the roulette wheel.

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  • Daily Digest - April 17: The World's Most Dangerous Spreadsheet

    Apr 17, 2013Tim Price

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    The Great Debt Delusion: How Math Keeps Proving Austerity Wrong (The Atlantic)

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    The Great Debt Delusion: How Math Keeps Proving Austerity Wrong (The Atlantic)

    When will deficit hawks learn to Konczal-proof their research? First there was the Alesina-Ardagna paper. Roosevelt Fellows Mike Konczal and Arjun Jayadev poked holes in that one. Then Reinhart-Rogoff became the new holy grail. See how well that worked out?

    How influential was the Rogoff-Reinhart study warning that high debt kills growth? (Quartz)

    Tim Fernholz notes that Reinhart-Rogoff was the little Excel error that could. Cited by everyone from Paul Ryan to Tim Geithner, it's shaped the economic debate in the U.S. and Europe. With a result that useful, who has time to worry about "data" or "methods"?

    How the IMF became the friend who wants us to work less and drink more (WaPo)

    Neil Irwin writes that while the International Monetary Fund has traditionally played the heavy when it comes to advocating "tough" fiscal measures, policy's gone so far off the rails that it's been forced to step in and suggest countries ease up on the self-flagellation.

    At Least the Big Banks Are Kickin' It... (On the Economy)

    Jared Bernstein notes that banks like Goldman Sachs are adjusting well to increased regulation, as their multibillion-dollar quarterly profits would attest. But Main Street's not getting totally left behind: weekly earnings for middle-wage workers jumped 0.1 percent!

    Big Corporations Won't Be Sweating the IRS This Year (MoJo)

    Stephanie Mencimer writes that although corporations have faced increased public scrutiny for their tax-dodging, cutbacks at the IRS mean there will be 18 percent less effort devoted to auditing them. Time to get those creative juices flowing, accounting teams.

    Taking the 'service' out of the service sector (WaPo)

    Harold Meyerson writes that the experience of companies like J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart, and McDonalds, which have tried to boost profits by cutting staff and holding down wages, suggests that miserable workers don't leave customers whistling a happy tune.

    How student debt is holding back the housing market (Think Progress)

    Bryce Covert writes that college grads who might have once dreamed of setting out and buying their own homes have been forced to scale back their ambitions to perhaps buying their own futons, decreasing demand for construction of single-family homes.

    The Hell of American Day Care (TNR)

    Jonathan Cohn looks at the state of America's formal child care system, such as it is: unsafe, unregulated, unavailable or prohibitively expensive to many, but also the only option many working parents have until policymakers notice that it's no longer 1953.

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  • Daily Digest - April 16: Taxes? None for Me, Thanks

    Apr 16, 2013Tim Price

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    A Tax System Stacked Against the 99 Percent (NYT)

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    A Tax System Stacked Against the 99 Percent (NYT)

    Lots of Americans view filing their taxes as a hassle, but as Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joe Stiglitz writes, the wealthiest Americans approach Tax Day like seasoned escape artists donning their straitjackets and stepping into the water tank.

    Can Dodd-Frank fix mortgage servicing if we don't know what went wrong? (WaPo)

    Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes that even as the rules for curbing mortgage abuses are being written, regulators are refusing to divulge the evidence they've gathered about those abuses. It's filed away in the warehouse next to the Ark of the Covenant.

    America Doesn't Need Google Fiber Everywhere -- But We Do Need Its Buzz (Wired)

    Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford argues that as Google Fiber expands to Austin, more Americans will start to look at their own access choices and ask why telecoms are selling them candlesticks when the next town over is running on electricity.

    More Cracks Undermine the Citadel of TV Profits (NYT)

    David Carr writes that while the TV industry has thrived by bundling what its customers want with a ton of stuff they don't, there's a shift toward consumer choice -- but Susan Crawford warns providers will try to ensure you either go for the Triple Play or get benched.

    The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment (The Atlantic)

    Matthew O'Brien notes that being out of work for more than six months has become an inescapable trap for many workers, trumping experience or job churn in the eyes of potential employers. When you get laid off, you also get stamped with an expiration date.

    Why This is the Worst Recovery on Record (Robert Reich)

    Reich argues that what we're seeing unfold around us is what happens when all the economic gains go to the top and the rest are left with nothing, but austerity advocates insist that it's all just swamp gas and weather balloons and there's no need to be alarmed.

    Everything We Know About What's Happened Under Sequestration (ProPublica)

    Theodoric Meyer offers a comprehensive guide to what's been cut and what's been spared so far, with vital government functions like the White House Easter Egg Hunt being preserved while frivolities like energy research or airport control towers get shut down.

    This Week in Poverty: Banks Got Nowhere to Run to, Baby (The Nation)

    Greg Kaufmann looks at a grassroots effort to make working Americans' voices heard at US Bank's shareholder meetings -- and if the bank can't escape progressive criticism in Idaho, it may need to hold its next meeting on the International Space Station.

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