Fast food: bad mistakes, deleted

I really screwed up my numbers on the fast food post (now deleted). Like Rogoff and Reinhart, I made a basic Excel mistake, and produced exaggerated nonsense. A doubling of wages would require a 20% price increase, not 67%. (Thanks to Seth Ackerman for pointing this out.) I still have lots of political doubts about this stuff, but I’ll keep quiet for now and do nothing but apologize.

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archives: August 22, 2013 Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights on the NYPD’s odious stop & frisk strategy • Philip Mirowski, author of Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste, on the durable ideology of neoliberalism

Socialize housing finance! [by Michael Pollak]

This lbo-news guest post is written by Michael Pollak, a writer living in New York. Some kinds of socialism make simple financial sense. We start with something we all need, like housing, or health care, or old age pensions. Then we all pool our money and pay for it. We all know how this works for single-payer health insurance. How would it work for housing? The original Fannie Mae (full name: Federal National Mortgage Association), as set up under FDR in 1938, was a pretty good equivalent of a single-payer housing system…. Read More

Fresh audio product

First there was a vacation, then some fundraising at KPFA, and then some delay on my part—but finally some fresh material posted to my radio archives. But first, a word to our sponsors. If you like these shows and want to keep them coming, then please support KPFA. I doubt I’d continue doing them if it weren’t for KPFA, and KPFA does a lot of great broadcasting for the other 167 hours of the week: Support KPFA… Online! Ok, now the shows: August 15, 2013 Thomas Sugrue, author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race… Read More

The decline & fall of WBAI

My piece on the decline and fall of WBAI (“The Excruciating Demise of WBAI”) is up at the New York Observer. I wouldn’t choose the word “demise” myself, since it’s not over yet.

Rasmus: my last word

The previous post is Jack Rasmus’ return of fire. Here’s my last word. Rasmus: “YOU REFERENCE ‘IP PRODUCT’ (COPYRIGHTS, MOVIES, ETC.) AS “THE MAJOR CONCEPTUAL CHANGE” IN THE REVISIONS, PROVIDING ONLY MINOR BOOSTS TO GDP.  BUT THAT’S NOT CORRECT.  IP PRODUCT RELATED CHANGES ONLY ADDED 0.5% OF THE 3.6% IN 2012 UPWARD REVISIONS.  AGAIN, THE BIGGEST FACTOR WAS ‘R&D EXPENSING’, NOT IP PRODUCT INCLUSION.” R&D is part of the new category, “IP Product.” Is it really too much to expect a self-identified “professor of political economy” (though I hear he’s actually nothing of… Read More

Rasmus returns fire

This just in from Jack Rasmus, responding to my response to his critique. This is about to get too meta for me, so after this, and a very brief response, I’m declaring hostilities over. Here it is, without a lick of editing.   In our continuing debate on the significance of the recent revisions to US GDP, Doug Henwood has published on his blog his second reply to my counter to his critique of my original piece.  The following is my second reply to his more rational (less personalized and polemical tone)… Read More

Response to Rasmus

Here’s my response to Jack Rasmus’ complaint about my fact-checking him (“GDP revisions: not a conspiracy, Jack”). His words are in purple italics; mine, in normal type. GDP for 2012, as I pointed out in my prior article, ‘Economic Recovery by Statistical Manipulation’, was raised by almost 33% as a result of the BEA revisions–from the 2.1% annual growth to 2.8%. GDP wasn’t revised up by almost 33%—it was more like a tenth that. Rasmus means that the growth rate was revised up by 33% (no almost about it). It’s a minor error, but… Read More

Rasmus responds

Jack Rasmus has filed this remarkable response to my post yesterday criticizing his criticism of the GDP revisions. I’m posting this unedited (including leaving his Twitter handle, which he’s coded as a hashtag). I’ll respond shortly in the next post. TO Doug Henwood: Here’s my reply to your personalized polemic to my recent article on GDP revisions, which is published on my blog and elsewhere. Jack Rasmus “On Wednesday, July 31, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, undertook a major revision of GDP statistics. The result was a major upward revision of GDP… Read More

GDP revisions: not a conspiracy, Jack

The irrepressible Jack Rasmus, who never tires of displaying his ignorance, has a piece up on Counterpunch (“Economic Recovery by Statistical Manipulation”) on the recent revisions to the U.S. national income and product accounts (NIPAs). No doubt speaking for legions of paranoids, left and otherwise, Rasmus describes the revisions as yet another politically driven scheme to make the economy look better than it is—“rewrit[ing] the numbers to make the failure ‘go away.‘” They’re not, and they don’t. Like almost all economic stats, the national income numbers—GDP and its supporting cast—are revised frequently… Read More