Posts by Nick Cassella

Daily Clips: January 28th, 2016

Daily Clips: January 28th, 2016

Economics might be very wrong about growth: Our team here has often spoken about the need for some serious conceptual change when it comes to conceiving of economic growth (see here  &  here ). In this article, the author tackles the long-held assumptions of economic growth: the idea of exponential growth rests at the core of essentially all modern theories of growth – theories purporting to explain how capital, labor and technology combine to increase productivity. How valuable can such concepts be if they don’t even get the basic observed pattern of growth right?Perhaps Summers and Gordon are correct that the fast growth seen over the past couple centuries was a unique, unparalleled episode, and that future growth will be much slower about standard economies: Elizabeth Warren: Anyone Who Says ‘Change Is Just Too Hard’ Is in ‘Bed With the Billionaires’  She’s certainly got a point. Will Washington Pass nation’s First State-Level Carbon Tax?  There will be a ballot initiative in 2016 where Washingtonians can decide whether or not they want to attach a $15-per-ton tax on carbon emissions (which adds up to about 25 cents on a gallon of gas). The levy would gradually rise over the next 40 years. Tweet of the day: A student tells Sanders that the case for climate change seems fake to her. "Thank you for the question," he says. "You're wrong." — daveweigel (@daveweigel) January 28, 2016

Daily Clips: January 27th, 2016

Daily Clips: January 27th, 2016

Nick Hanauer joins Iowa public radio:  Iowa has much lower rates of income inequality compared to the nation as a whole, but in the last fifteen years they’ve been slowly catching up to national levels. Unfortunately. In this interview, Nick Hanauer ridicules trickle-down economics and highlights the necessity for middle-out economics, which puts the middle class at the heart of economic growth and not the rich. As he says, You don’t pour money into rich people and have prosperity pop out the other end like donuts. Never thought of it that way. Jobs are under attack, but not by robots:  There are a lot of people that are techno-pessimists. We here at Civic Skunk Works are not apart of this group. And a new article follows our line of thinking, arguing that robots and automation are not holding back our economy, that in fact: Slower productivity growth and low-wage jobs are leading to the unequal distribution of productivity gains. Those are the real headwinds that America faces. Tweet of the day: Elizabeth Warren: “Right now i’m hearing a lot of ideas on our side to try to make college affordable for hardworking people and i don’t hear anything from Republicans except ‘no’.”

Daily Clips: January 26th, 2016

Daily Clips: January 26th, 2016

The most recognizable faces of the campaign:  Vox put together an online poll where they reached a sample of about 2,000 registered voters and asked them to identify faces from the campaign trail. The results, in large part, were very predictable. See here: The most surprising result to me is the high recognition of Jeb! I guess the millions of dollars he spent on advertising hasn’t been a complete waste. Headline of the day: This makes me feel warm inside. Obama bans solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons: Change I can believe in. Stay sane America, says David Brooks: He says that there are crazies on both parties, likening Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. That’s where I stopped reading the article.

Daily Clips: January 25th, 2016

Daily Clips: January 25th, 2016

The price Americans pay for slow growth:  Here’s a very interesting read on economic growth and its impact upon Americans. As Noah Smith claims, To increase prosperity for the vast majority of Americans, the U.S. doesn’t just need growth — it needs a way to funnel that growth to the masses instead of just to the people at the top. That may prove to be an even trickier task than boosting growth itself. Someone has been reading Nick Hanauer’s writing on middle-out economics . Ta-Nehisi Coates opines about Bernie Sanders: Prepare yourself Bern-ers, you’re most likely going to hate this article, even though Coates does a brilliant job of walking you through his critique. The byline hints at such displeasure, stating, “What is doable and what is morally correct are not always the same things.” Let’s examine what Coates is talking about. Coates’ previously had written an article which criticized Bernie “for dismissing reparations specifically, and for offering up a series of moderate anti-racist solutions, in general.” He received a lot of flack for this, mostly for not focusing on other candidates that are doing even less to help African Americans. So in his most recent piece, Coates immediately tried to outline why he had solely focused on Bernie (even though he already did a good job of that in his first article). When a candidate points to high unemployment among black youth, as well as high incarceration rates, and then dubs himself a radical, it seems prudent to ask what radical anti-racist policies that candidate actually embraces. Hillary Clinton has no interest in being labeled radical, left-wing, or even liberal. Coates goes onto question Bernie’s “rising tide lifts all boats” approach to addressing racism in America: Across Europe, the kind of robust welfare state Sanders supports—higher minimum wage, single-payer health-care, low-cost higher education—has been embraced. Have these policies vanquished racism? Perhaps the most powerful paragraph comes here,
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Daily Clips: January 22nd, 2016

Daily Clips: January 22nd, 2016

The National Review takes on Trump:  Fox News couldn’t take down Trump, Jeb! couldn’t land a punch, so where does the Republican establishment turn at a moment of crisis? A dying magazine! There, a range of conservative thinkers published a series of essays ridiculing Trump. Got ya, Donald! Seriously, though. Is this the best they’ve got? Is this the “ Republican conspiracy ” David Brooks was calling for earlier this week? If so, the Republicans are in deep, deep trouble. Speaking of David Brooks …His latest column is just as insane as the last. Read this paragraph: In the Palestinian territories, for example, young people don’t organize or work with their government to improve their prospects. They wander into Israel, try to stab a soldier or a pregnant woman and get shot or arrested — every single time. They throw away their lives for a pointless and usually botched moment of terrorism. I have no idea how someone can honestly make such a vulgar generalization about Palestinian youth. It’s paragraphs like that which reminds me why David Brooks is a Republican after all. Tweet of the day: Voters beware: When you vote in right-wingers who believe government is the problem, what you get is–ta-da–Flint, Michigan. — Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 21, 2016 Gif of the day: Sorry Tim Eyman. View post on imgur.com  

Daily Clips: January 21st, 2016

Daily Clips: January 21st, 2016

What *don’t* we know about gun violence because of the restrictions on federal research? Clare Foran takes a look at this question and the answers (or lack thereof) are extremely depressing. “It’s actually kind of appalling,” said Sherry Towers, a professor at Arizona State University who has done research on mass shootings. “We’re one of the richest nations in the world, and we aren’t exactly forbidding scientists to look at this, but the federal government is strongly discouraging it.” When a government is actively discouraging information that could help save American lives, you know there is something terribly corrupt going on. And we know why – because if the government can’t research gun violence then it becomes extremely difficult to pinpoint the precise impact of gun laws. Many basic questions remain largely unanswered as a result…Do open-carry laws make gun violence worse, or do they cut down on firearm injuries and deaths? Researchers can’t say with certainty. They also don’t know much about the path that guns take in order to fall into the hands of criminals, or how gun laws impact firearm sales on the black market. For that matter, the psychology of gun violence is not well understood. What motivates people to use guns to commit a crime or suicide, and what are the most effective ways to stop mass shootings, gun-related homicide, and suicide? Limited research makes it challenging to reach well-supported conclusions. Just today, Senator Ed Markey called for the ban on gun violence research to be overturned . Eventually, reason and research will prevail in this bloody topic. Republicans ignore a poisoned city:  The author, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, writes about the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water supply and laments how Republicans have given up on the city. He doesn’t think his party has completely ignored the situation because the majority of the population just happens to be black or poor. No, he says they haven’t touched on this subject at all because: The party is accustomed to talking
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Daily Clips: January 20th, 2016

Daily Clips: January 20th, 2016

Tweet of the day: The woman whom the GOP said in 2008 would save the party just endorsed the guy who is destroying the party. What does that tell you? — Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) January 20, 2016 Sarah Palin may have lost her mind: Seriously. 2015 was the hottest year in recored history, NASA and NOAA say : That’s not good news. The New York Times reports, Scientists started predicting a global temperature record months ago, in part because an El Niño weather pattern, one of the largest in a century, is dumping an immense amount of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere. But the bulk of the record-setting heat, they say, is a consequence of the long-term planetary warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases. Electric vehicle sales fall short of Obama’s goal:  In 2008, Barack Obama set a goal of having “one million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads by 2015,” yet today we only have about 400,000 electrics cars on the road.

Ted Cruz To Working Mother: Don’t Push It On Paid Family Leave

Ted Cruz To Working Mother: Don’t Push It On Paid Family Leave

Here at Civic Skunk Works, we’ve spent a quite a bit of time pointing out that trickle-down economics has never been anything more than an intimidation tactic masquerading as an economic theory. For decades, politicians (from both parties) and businesses have been employing this tactic in order to scare workers into paralysis. Think about the claims which trickle-down proponents have repeated over and over again: “If you raise the minimum wage, jobs will be lost.” “If you tax the wealthy, jobs will be lost.” “If regulation of the powerful goes up, jobs will be lost. In short, don’t push it, buddy. And this Monday, Ted Cruz provided a perfect illustration of this bullying tactic . The Texas senator was asked by a mother of four “what he would do about the current lack of federally mandated paid family leave.” A very good question on a very important subject which affects all working Americans. According to Think Progress , Cruz callously replied: Giving away free stuff is very easy for politicians to do, but the simplest rule of economics is TANSTAAFL — there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Anything a politician gives you, he must first take from you. And so if you have the federal government mandate paid medical leave, what that ends up doing is driving up the cost of labor for low-income workers. What he’s saying is: don’t ask for too much or you’ll be priced out of a job. And just in case this mother of four missed the veiled threat, he hammers the point home when he adds, “And by the way, if you get fired or laid off, not only do you not get paid family leave but you don’t get a paycheck either.” Do you see how slimy this strategy is? Do you see how strong-handed this approach is? Do you see how they are striking fear and doubt into the minds of American
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Daily Clips: January 19th, 2016

Daily Clips: January 19th, 2016

Barack Obama was the winner of Sunday’s Democratic debate: Did you tune in to watch Bernie, Hillary, and the other guy debate after Sunday football? Probably not, and that brings a smile to the face of Debbie Wasserman Schultz! If you by any chance did watch the extremely well-moderated debate, you would have noticed that Barack Obama’s name and legacy were enthusiastically embraced by all candidates on stage – especially Hillary Clinton. As Vox’s Dylan Matthews noted, [Hillary] also cited Sanders’s past criticisms of the president and flirtation with supporting a primary challenge against him in 2011/2012…Clinton’s message is clear: I am the true defender of Obama’s legacy, I will preserve his gains, while Sanders dismissed them. This may seem like a strange strategy, especially if you watched the Republican debate earlier in the week. There, Obama was portrayed as nothing short of evil. Yet within Democratic circles, the current president is seen in a very positive light. Consider this: Why is Hillary hugging Obama? 87% of Dem primary voters and 81% of all Dems approve of his job, per new NBC/WSJ poll https://t.co/pJhnqzqddS — Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) January 19, 2016 To put these numbers in perspective, George W. Bush’s approval among Republicans in 2007 sat at 70 percent – 17 points lower than Obama’s standing with Democrats today. For this reason, expect the Democratic nominee to not distance themselves from the president like John McCain did with Bush. Weekly bashing of David Brooks:  As most reader(s) of Daily Clips will know, I have a habit of rebutting columns written by the New York Times columnist David Brooks. Why specifically him? Because he’s a “middle-of-the-road Republican” that asks all the right questions, but then ends up with the wrong answers. He’s so close to being politically sane. Unlike Breitbart or Fox News, Brooks lives an examined life, yet he all too often
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Lindsey Graham endorses Jeb! for president

Lindsey Graham endorses Jeb! for president

It is extremely fitting that Lindsey Graham, a painfully slow talker, endorsed “low energy” Jeb Bush for president. The two are both establishment figures that are peddling the type of banal conservatism which doesn’t fit well with the angry conservatism which grips the Republican base. During his endorsement speech, Graham described Jeb! as “thoughtful and quietly resolved” and applauded him for not trying “to get ahead in a contested primary by embracing demagoguery.” But that is exactly why he will not win the Republican nomination. As he stood next to Jeb behind a group of old white people, Graham focused almost exclusively on national security and ISIS, barely mentioning the economy and completely evading issues like gay marriage, marijuana, and poverty. What did you expect though? After all, Republicans are trying to make this election about fear and terrorism (as per usual). But is Jeb Bush the candidate which can stoke those fears most effectively? Absolutely not. He has shown over and over again that his personality and disposition don’t lend themselves to fear-mongering. He’s a technician, a wonk. He’s not made for angry rants or drastic policy proposals. In short, 2016 is not Jeb’s time. Below, you can watch the full endorsement speech.