DO NOT READ this blog post

PostLibertarian’s great post on the claim that (R)s are empirically more fiscally irresponsible than (D)s.

Bryan Caplan’s ongoing claims about what worldwide open immigration would accomplish (“double world GDP“) are totally credible. After all, marginal effects you think you’ve measured can then be added up linearly, indefinitely. Also, as a general rule of thumb, everything else would stay the same. I think I could totally be an economist.

Is Per Kurowski actually getting through?

The most amazing thing to me about the worst trader of all time is that the $1.1 billion and 11 years’ worth of coverup trades supposedly started with the guy trying to cover up a $200k loss. Why even bother?

My nagging feeling is always that whenever Yglesias takes a truly liberal (i.e. libertarian) stance, it’s because some statist policy is personally impinging on his lifestyle in some way. The fun parlor game one derives from this observation is to guess/imagine how. By filling in between these outlines you can build up what (I wouldn’t be surprised to learn) is actually a fairly accurate biography of one Mr. Matthew Yglesias. I mean, I guess I could be totally wrong in saying that but what’s tantalizing is that I might actually not be.

A totally weird thing I just figured out is that the first album by Fun, Aim And Ignite, was actually awesome. I’d never considered this possibility because their second album has that one song that’s everywhere, making me just assume they always sounded like that. Looking into it, I think I see what went wrong: ““I started falling in love with the Drake album and the Kanye album, and I thought, that’s really theatrical, and it’s hip-hop music, and I make really theatrical music,” Mr. Ruess said. “Why can’t I add a hip-hop element?”” Um, because that would make you sound like overproduced American Idol crap? The article continues: “Musically, [producer] Mr. Bhasker pushed Mr. Ruess and his band mates — the guitarist Jack Antonoff and the keyboardist Andrew Dost — to use a more lush sonic palette with heavier rhythmic underpinnings than they had on their previous album, which was produced by Steven McDonald.” If by ‘more lush’ and ‘heavier rhythmic underpinnings’ the author means Autotuned overdubbing and drum machines, I totally agree. I can’t think of any other cases where a band has a brilliant first album, takes an obnoxious 180 degree wrong turn for their second, but the second is the one that blows up and makes them megastars. I find the whole thing sad to think about.

I still see the wrong kind of argument everywhere re: government participation/role in subprime lending. The basic idea is to focus on this fraction: [subprime loans issued by Fannie/Freddie]/[all subprime loans]. I still have no idea what this fraction being ‘small’ (compared to what? by what standard?) is supposed to prove. Let me use a different example: As far as I know, European governments own no carbon credits nor do they sponsor any ‘government-sponsored enterprise’ that own/trade carbon credits per se. So for carbon credits the equivalent Fraction is 0. But so what? Does this mean those governments ‘have nothing to do with’ the creation and blossoming of the carbon credit market? Please stop looking solely at that Fraction, it’s nonsense to do so.

More importantly I suppose, there’s something very strange about this approach to Financial Crisis archaeology. The claim is that the government ‘didn’t trigger’ the Financial Crisis because GSEs didn’t make the bulk of subprime loans. Fine. From this we infer that the speaker thinks/assumes the Financial Crisis was, like, ‘triggered’ specifically by lenders deciding to make a lot of subprime loans. It goes without saying (I guess) that the Financial Crisis was a bad thing™ and so ‘triggering’ it was a bad thing™ and therefore…what’s the final diagnosis? Why, it’s this: All those lenders shouldn’t have made all those loans. And that’s the speaker’s only answer for how the Financial Crisis could have been avoided. But without all those loans, history would have been much different. It’s not like everything would have been the same, just, with no Crisis. (For example, what would the Case-Shiller index have looked like in that universe?) But so unless the person saying this delves further to the recognition that under this ‘solution to the Crisis’ there are lots of things that would have actually been bad in a different way, what’s the point of this postgame analysis? Why should I want to trade our Crisis for yours? If you can answer that you might be saying something worth reading.

Finally, Ritholtz revives a fascinating idea: the blacklist.

I have my own lists of people who try to obscure factual reality. The confabulators and flat earthers are too costly to allow into my universe. They go on my DO NOT READ list. I suggest you do the same.

A bold suggestion and well said sir! I’ll be starting a .doc file for my DO NOT READ list posthaste. I already inadvertently or out of laziness/ignorance DON’T READ plenty of folks so it’s gratifying to learn that I have a head start and am apparently on the right track in so doing. But as a public service, and in the interest of making sure we’re all only exposed to appropriate information and arguments, shouldn’t he get the ball rolling by sharing his ‘lists of people’ with the world? He can’t put forth such a good and valuable idea but withhold the truly beneficial content can he? Show us your blacklist man! The world needs you!

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7 Responses to DO NOT READ this blog post

  1. Sonic-

    Re The Fraction. The question those who appeal to The Fraction never answer is: if Fannie and Freddie aren’t culpable, how did they lose so much money? The losses (on the order of $200 billion) are substantial, and indicate that F&F did indeed wear a lot of the credit risk.

    • Good point. I think you just made “The List”. If you weren’t already on it, that is :)

  2. Thanks, Sonic. F&F are the Biggest Losers in subprime. That’s all that really matters. All these shell games their defenders play annoy me no end. The losses reveal the risk. The risk reveals the blame. But the F&F pom-pom squad never, ever address that point.

    Go figure.

    Gladly on The List. Just keep me off The View :-P

  3. Pastorius says:

    Isn’t today supposed to be Take It Down a Notch Friday?

  4. Matt says:

    I think if the world were made up of 6.x billion Bryan Caplans, his immigration thesis might be plausible.

  5. Simon Grey says:

    ” I can’t think of any other cases where a band has a brilliant first album, takes an obnoxious 180 degree wrong turn for their second, but the second is the one that blows up and makes them megastars. I find the whole thing sad to think about.”

    I agree. I first heard of fun. last year when I saw Panic! at the Disco in concert, and I pretty much became infatuated with fun. I loved Aim and Ignite, and kept asking myself why they weren’t popular yet. I don’t like Some Nights nearly as much because I don’t think it sounds quite like “their sound” (I think the AutoTune is completely unnecessary, and the drum machines are overused, but then that’s what you get for hiring a hip-hop producer). Anyhow, I find it interesting that they became so popular on what is clearly their lower-quality album.

    As someone who generally like hip-hop, though, I wouldn’t qualify their second album as “obnoxious” as much I would say that it waters down their sound. Nate’s lyricism is still in place, and about half the tracks are quite similar to the sound of the first album.

  6. Pingback: DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » Sonic Charmer Unleased

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