Posts by Nick Cassella

Daily Clips: October 3rd, 2016

Daily Clips: October 3rd, 2016

Short-term thinking in corporate America is strangling the economy:   Surveys of chief financial officers reveal that firms frequently forgo profitable investments in order to make short-term earnings targets. A crippled SCOTUS’ new term:  Today, the Supreme Court begins a new term with a vacancy. Corporate-tax reform is coming:   Clinton has been specific only when it comes to stopping companies from inverting: She would impose a stiff exit tax — by tapping the earnings companies have stashed overseas — in hopes they’ll decide against taking a foreign address. Trump’s most recent plan would end many deductions and slash the top corporate rate to 15 percent. He would cut corporations’ tax burden (and government revenue) by almost $2 trillion over a decade, by one estimate . Ryan would lower the top rate to 20 percent and move the U.S. toward a tax on consumption with something called a destination-based cash-flow tax, developed by Alan Auerbach of the University of California at Berkeley. Obama calls for paid sick leave:  Again. Tweet of the day: All Net Operating Losses in 1995: $49.331 billion.NOL taken by @realDonaldTrump in 1995: $916 million. Trump was 1.9% of the US total. — Alan Cole (@AlanMCole) October 3, 2016

Daily Clips: September 30th, 2016

Daily Clips: September 30th, 2016

Suburban woman wield election power:  Now vote for Hillary Clinton. Ok? Thanks. A liberal Supreme Court: “Any American under the age of 50 has no memory of living with a liberal Supreme Court.” Politics and the stock market: Eddy Elfenbein has a great blog, Crossing Wall Street, that focuses on stocks and the economy in general. Today, he has a great bit on keeping politics out of your portfolio: Let me be clear that government policy does impact the economy, and by extension, the stock market. But those policy decisions are usually well removed from the standard partisan debate. The government shutdown is a good example of a partisan effort that riled investors, but even that didn’t last long. Of course, what the Federal Reserve does is important, but that’s rarely an election issue. Plus, there’s no reason to think that a change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will have a great impact on monetary policy.   Consumer confidence jumps to highest level since 2007 Tweet of the day: The stock market knows that Trump would be very bad news for the economy. (source: https://t.co/922YcprdZe ) pic.twitter.com/ardPVH1V6S — Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) September 30, 2016

Daily Clips: September 29th, 2016

Daily Clips: September 29th, 2016

Donald Trump’s experts are basing his trade policy on a remarkably silly mistake:  Yglesias proves once again that he is the King of Vox. Because political life is full of dreary reductive binaries, many left-of-center people who are generally strongly critical of Trump have been inclined to praise his criticisms of US trade policy. It is important, however, to understand that Trump is not in any way offering any version of the most sophisticated criticisms of America’s approach to global trade. Not just in his rallies and off-the-cuff remarks but in his policy papers prepared by PhD economists, he is appealing to the idea that arbitrary restrictions on the sale of foreign-made goods will mechanically boost the American economy. US economy less sluggish in second quarter; companies investing more:  Also, consumer spending (which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity) “was robust in the second quarter, rising at a 4.3 percent annual rate.” Underemployment among 20-somethings:  A great piece in the Atlantic looks at how the underemployment rate for recent college grads “is still higher today than it was in 2010.” Progressive politics after Bernie: If the Sanders revolution is to realize its transformative potential, its adherents will have to recognize that its radical program can advance only if it wins the backing of the broader progressive universe—not just the Sanders-faithful arrayed in the rearview mirror. Its ability to move forward depends on its own strategic decisions and on the political space that a Clinton victory would create for the left, or, conversely, that a Trump victory would close off. Tweet of the day: I get that the forecast moves with the polls, but I don’t understand the metaphysical status of a “forecast” that’s this unstable. pic.twitter.com/8zDquGp5Lc — Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 29, 2016

Daily Clips: September 28th, 2016

Daily Clips: September 28th, 2016

Complexity theory and evolutionary economics: Complexity economics has a profound influence on the economic theory we espouse here at Civic Skunk Works (seriously – if you ever see Goldy around, ask him about it). What exactly is complexity economics? Here’s a good primer: In an evolutionary view, an economy is an “organism” that is constantly developing new industries, technologies, organizations, occupations, and capabilities while at the same time shedding older ones that new technologies and other evolutionary changes make redundant. Obama nominates first Cuban ambassador in 55 years Is this the year Arizona turns blue?  Great headline, but I say no. For what it’s worth,  The Upshot says Trump has a 77% chance of winning AZ. Thomas Friedman asks great questions: How do we put in the Oval Office a man who boasts that he tries to pay zero federal taxes but then complains that our airports and roads are falling apart and there is not enough money for our veterans? Tweet of the day: I didn't pay taxes because you would have squandered it. pic.twitter.com/bMcyXlnHcC — David Waldman (@KagroX) September 27, 2016

Daily Clips: September 27th, 2016

Daily Clips: September 27th, 2016

Solar power cost down 25% in five months – “There’s no reason why the cost of solar will ever increase again” Gun responsibility took center stage in last night’s debate:  Hillary Clinton displayed a nuanced understanding of gun violence that compared favorably to Donald Trump’s mumblings about the “hell” of inner cities. Early polls and focus groups suggest Hillary Clinton won the first debate: This initial evidence will confirm those spot judgments, and that could matter. As I wrote earlier this month , political science research indicates that media judgments about who “won” a debate could help influence voters’ perceptions of who won. Great graphic: Tweet of the day: So presidential. Such a great temperament. Trump, off balance & on the defensive, attacks … former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Story: https://t.co/cWw2m08Vwl — Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) September 27, 2016

Daily Clips: September 26th, 2016

Daily Clips: September 26th, 2016

Progressive family values:  A strong column from Mr. Krugman. You can see that he is wrestling with the absurdity of this election quite openly. Here, he is frustrated that there is no discussion about policies that will aid the average American. Join the queue. US new home sales fall in August: The trend is still positive, however. Economics has a major blind spot: Not all economists need to take politics into account, but the ones who give policy advice definitely do. All policy is political as well as technocratic, so econ and political science aren’t really the separate fields you might think from looking at academic departments. The income gap began to narrow under Obama: The CEA report argues that Obama has fought inequality in three main ways . First, the administration’s actions during the recession — extending unemployment benefits, temporarily cutting payroll taxes to stimulate growth and bailing out the auto industry, among others — kept unemployment lower than it would otherwise have been. Since recessions tend to hit the lowest-earning workers hardest, policies that mitigate their impact will tend to reduce inequality. Second, the CEA argues that the Affordable Care Act, by making health insurance more affordable for and accessible to low-income workers, has greatly reduced disparities in health care. And third, the CEA argues that the administration’s tax policies — which raised taxes on the rich, cut them for the middle class and expanded programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit that help poor families — made the tax code more progressive. All told, the CEA estimates that the poorest fifth of American households will earn 18 percent more in 2017 than they would have without the administration’s policies. How to watch the first presidential debate online: Democracy! Yay! Tweet of the day: US not on track to meet 2025 carbon pollution cutting goal https://t.co/4J2DxqnyIu pic.twitter.com/hH044z413h — Talking Points Memo (@TPM) September 26, 2016

Daily Clips: September 23rd, 2016

Daily Clips: September 23rd, 2016

Can a modest proposal to keep guns from troubled family members pass? An initiative aims to find out: Initiative 1491 will be on the ballot in Washington State this November and it concerns Extreme Risk Protection Orders. As this well-written piece from Spokane points out, “Might extreme risk protection orders be on more hurdle between the plotting and the shooting? it’s hard to see a reason – a real one, anyway – that we wouldn’t try.” Why isn’t the growth of the top 1% helping everyone else? It’s probably not surprising, then, that the 10 states with the biggest jumps in the top 1 percent share from 1979 to 2007 were the states with the largest financial service sectors, according to the Economic Policy Institute analysis. David Brooks should, once again, be ashamed of his column: He bitches about Clinton (again), making the point that she is not in-tune with today’s world. He claims, “Trump is egregious, but at least he’s living in the 21st century…” Try telling that to African Americans or women or immigrants, David. Companies that discriminate eventually fail: Conclusion: Discrimination doesn’t pay. Although Becker wasn’t right when he claimed that competition would quickly drive all discrimination out of the market, he was right that bigotry represents an albatross around a company’s neck. Businesses can’t afford to let their gender and racial prejudices get in the way of rational economic decisions. Tweet of the day: If tax cuts were the magic potion for wage and income growth would we not remember George W. Bush as the prosperity president? — Larry Mishel (@LarryMishel) September 23, 2016

Daily Clips: September 22nd, 2016

Daily Clips: September 22nd, 2016

UW researcher has some conflict of interests: Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant raised concerns about research surrounding Seattle’s “landmark minimum-wage-law and about public comments by one of the University of Washington professors leading the effort.” Between two ferns with Hillary Clinton:  Very clever. Yellen decides to keep the interest rates steady:   Yellen pushed back hard on the criticism on Wednesday. “The Federal Reserve is not politically compromised,” she said. “I can’t recall any meeting that I have ever attended where politics has been a matter of discussion. I think the public if they had been watching our meeting on TV today would have felt that we had a rich, deep, serious, intellectual debate about the risks and the forecasts for the economy.” No revolving door in Clinton administration, says Warren:  Wouldn’t that be something?! “When we talk about personnel, we don’t mean advisers who just pay lip service to Hillary’s bold agenda, coupled with a sigh, a knowing glance, and a twiddling of thumbs until it’s time for the next swing through the revolving door,” she said. “We don’t mean Citigroup or Morgan Stanley or Blackrock getting to choose who runs the economy in this country so they can capture our government.” Tweet of the day: It's a weird coincidence how open carry laws don't seem to afford any protection to black men who cops say were holding guns. — Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 22, 2016

Daily Clips: September 21st, 2016

Daily Clips: September 21st, 2016

How to protect workers from job-stealing robots:  Economists and politicians have been talking about robotics and their potential to displace jobs. Jason Furman, Obama’s Chief Economist, does not believe that is an inevitability: Of course, advanced economies have seen vast amounts of innovation in the last three centuries without rendering human labor obsolete. Most of the types of jobs that existed in the 1700s do not exist today, but new types of jobs that no one could have imagined then have taken their place—all because of technological advances. A different trajectory is unlikely to emerge this time around because even though AI has the potential to replace certain human tasks, it will likely also create entirely new fields of jobs. Are firms that discriminate more likely to go out of business?  The short answer: yes. “Results suggest that employers who engage in hiring discrimination are less likely to remain in business six years later.” Inclusion>exclusion. Ross Douthat complains about how society is moving to the left:  Conservatives are a remarkably…reactive bunch. They very rarely push society in new ways of thinking. They are almost always complaining about how a society is moving away from what it used to be. Donald Trump says it’s worse than ‘ever, ever, ever’ for black people in the United States : The man is clearly not a historian. Tweet of the day: Remember how Republicans like Trump said minimum wage increases hurt the economy and cost jobs? https://t.co/Tdt5xYc0T4 — Daily Kos (@dailykos) September 18, 2016    

Daily Clips: September 20th, 2016

Daily Clips: September 20th, 2016

Seattle City Council approves worker-scheduling law:  A big win for Seattle workers! If you have no idea what secure scheduling entails, listen to our podcast episode on the subject. David Brooks tells us about meeting a working-class person: There’s really no other way you could summarize Brooks’ latest  piece. He comes off as a snob desperately trying to understand the “sad, noncumulative pattern to working-class lives.” (Tip to David: maybe don’t use those phrases when speaking to the working class.) As you can tell, he has a thing for buzz phrases with no inherent meaning: my favorites in this column were “nurture webs of mutual dependence” and “stochastic, episodic nature”. US companies are ‘hoarding’ a record $2.5 trillion in cash overseas House GOP’s ‘Better Way’ Tax Plan A Much Better Way For Richest 1% Clinton hasn’t won over millennials. And no sexism isn’t to blame:  Excellent article which accurately identifies my generation’s feelings towards Clinton. Here’s a particularly strong point: Since the Democratic national convention, Clinton and Trump have peddled their own politics of fear. Hers: of an ascendant far-right. His: of immigrants and the prospect of a truly multi-racial democracy. If Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign showed anything, though, it’s that young Americans are eager to vote for something – not against it. Tweet of the day: Pretty spot-on headline from the Seattle Times on secure scheduling. #ourtimecounts pic.twitter.com/Yeslw7eouW — Working Washington (@workingwa) September 20, 2016