Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Humm...where have I heard the name N. Gregory Mankiw ?
N. Gregory Mankiw (1998), Principles of Economics (New York: Dryden: 0030982383).
Thinking Like an Economist: Why Economists Disagree: Charlatans and Cranks:
pp. 29-30: An example of fad economics occurred in 1980, when a small group fo economists advised presidential candidate Ronald Reagan that an across-the-board cut in income tax rates would raise tax revenue. They argued that if people could keep a higher fraction of their income, people would work harder to earn more income. Even though tax rates would be lower, income would raise by so much, they claimed, that tax revenue would rise. Almost all professional economists, including most of those who supported Reagan's proposal to cut taxes, viewed this outcome as too optimistic. Lower tax rates might encourage people to work harder, and this extra effort would offset the direct effects of lower tax rates to some extent. But there was no credible evidence that work effort would rise by enough to caues tax revenues to rise in the face of lower tax rates. George Bush, also a presidential candidate in 1980, agreed with most of the professional economists: He called this idea "voodoo economics." Nonetheless, the argument was appealing to Reagan, and it shaped the 1980 presidential campaign and the economic policies of the 1980s....
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
More 0n Korea, Nicholas Kristof in the NYT . Other than his “...Mr. Bush's refusal to reward North Korean bad behavior is perfectly admirable, but it's also entirely impractical...” line it is a pretty good op-ed. There is nothing admirable about stupidity and if Bush misses this opportunity the blood of the world will be on his hands.
From the New York Times :
“Workers in other industries could only dream about the rules of everyday conduct established by agreements between the major airlines and their unions over the last few decades. Pilots worked 80 hours or less during an entire month. Mechanics were paid for waving planes away from gates. Flight attendants got to stay in luxury hotels on the road...”
Such a short paragraph, so much Bull Shit.
Pilots are paid by the hour flown and they bid airline established “lines” that usually run from 70 hours to 100 hours per month. That doesn’t sound like much until you add in the fact that most “lines” are for 4 day trips and the duty days are usually over 10 hours each. On most lines the duty day will be close to fourteen hours, the maximum allowed by FAA regulation. Do the math; a 4 day line at an average of 12 hours on duty per day is 48 hours per week or 192 per month and that doesn’t include the 3 nights spent away from home. Airline management is getting away with only paying for 80 hours when their pilots are working at least twice as many hours. Some dream work rules.
Mechanics “waving” planes away from gates gives the image of a high paid mechanic doing a “Queen Elizabeth” wave as the plane pulls away. The mechanic waving she so airily dismisses is using very specific hand signals to guide the pilot and the aircraft out of a crowded ramp area. During the “push back” phase the pilot can’t see where he is going. Yep real feather bedding there. Airline management wants to turn the job over to baggage handlers? Like I say fish stinks from the head.
Those damn Flight Attendants and “luxury “ hotels, she may have a point if you think any hotel nicer than a Motel 6 is a “luxury” hotel.
Flying the line is a tough job and the only thing that makes it bearable is the airline workers unions have fought very hard for pay and work rules over the years. It pisses me off to read management’s mau-mauing of their workers repeated by reporters. It makes for a nice catchy opening paragraph but doesn’t serve the public. I expect more from the Newspaper of Record.
What am I missing on North Korea? They are signaling by almost every means at their disposal except standing on the street corner with a “I will give up nukes for food" sign that they will exchange their nuke program for security and economic help. If that isn’t a no brainer I don’t know what is. How can Shrub blow this one?
(On Korea) “...the real question is this: it seems likely to a lot of people now that Colin Powell, Armitage and Kelly could give President Bush a very big diplomatic victory in Northeast Asia over the next year or so. The price, however, would be going back to the basic model that was pursued by the previous administration. Tougher, more comprehensive, to be sure. But the same basic idea: aid and security guarentees in exchange for getting out of the nuclear biz. Can the White House swallow its pride? And will the AEI Fedayeen ever sit still for it?
Monday, April 21, 2003
The Guardian on Israel’s pipeline.
I first posted about the Israeli pipeline April 5. Today I’m seeing posts on the Mosul to Haifa pipeline in TPM and the Daily KOS.
The Rs started us on this road to becoming Mexico in the 80’s. If Shrub has his way we could be there in a couple of generations.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
From TPM :
“Here is a key part of America's strategic vision for Iraq coming into focus. According to this article in The New York Times, the Pentagon is expecting to secure long-term access to four key Iraqi military bases...”
In its perverted way this is one of the few things that make sense of the Iraq Turkey Shoot. The question is will the gain be worth the cost.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
It is reported that more than half of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein is responsible for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. This means that the U.S. media have utterly, spectacularly, shamefully and pathetically failed...More
Monday, April 07, 2003
I’m reminded why I voted for him.
Sunday, April 06, 2003
From the New York Times:
“Shortly after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a stark warning to Iran and Syria last week, declaring that any "hostile acts" they committed on behalf of Iraq might prompt severe consequences, one of President Bush's closest aides stepped into the Oval Office to warn him that his unpredictable defense secretary had just raised the specter of a broader confrontation.
Mr. Bush smiled a moment at the latest example of Mr. Rumsfeld's brazenness, recalled the aide. Then he said one word — "Good" — and went back to work...”
If this doesn’t give you the night sweats you have been drinking the neo-con Koolaid.
Saturday, April 05, 2003
Does this have the sound of truth?
“An Israeli daily, Ha'aretz, has reported that Israel is seriously considering restarting a strategically important oil pipeline that once transferred oil from the Iraqi city of Mosul to Israel's northern port of Haifa. Given the Israeli claim of a positive US approach to the plan, the Israeli project provides grounds for a theory that the ongoing war against Iraq is in part a joint US, British and Israeli design for reshaping the Middle East to serve their particular interests, including their oil requirements...” More.
Friday, April 04, 2003
This one is large but worth the time it takes to load.