By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“‘No, the evidence is that tax cuts do not pay for themselves,’ [Keith Hall, CBO director and appointed by GOP lawmakers] said. ‘And our models that we’re doing, our macroeconomic effects, show that'” [The Hill]. Oopsie. Time to find a new grift, I guess.
Clinton to pander to ethanol interests in her “Plan for a Vibrant Rural America” [Bloomberg]. Granted, it’s Iowa, but putting oil into the ground in the form of fertilizer and then taking it out of the ground in the form of corn to be processed into fuel is just a smidge meta, amiright?
“Nearly Every Presidential Candidate Is Skipping An Immigration Forum In Iowa This Weekend” [HuffPo]. Including Clinton and Sanders.
” Jim Chanos, the hedge fund manager known for betting against companies, said he would back Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering seeking the Democratic nomination for president” [Bloomberg]. Has anybody sighted a story that gives a reason for Biden to run? Other than “because he can”?
“Eight groups representing the U.S. Democratic Party’s progressive wing planned to call on Hillary Clinton on Wednesday to disavow the controversial practice of Wall Street firms paying bonuses to executives who leave for government jobs” [Reuters].
UPDATE “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign has received commitments from four Democratic state parties, including in the crucial proving ground of New Hampshire [as well as Mississippi, Virginia and Wisconsin], to enter joint fund-raising agreements with the campaign just as the nomination battle is beginning” [New York Times]. Awesome! Now people can not only buy a piece of Clinton, they can get a deal on the party in “their own” state!
“The secret of Trump’s appeal to white lower/middle class is really no secret at all” [@Billmon]. “It seems the 2 realities elite MSM can’t/won’t directly address are sheer scale of white xenophobia & the utter corruption of power at top.” And: “In Empire 2.0, special status of white working class — based on subaltern relationship with imperial elites — is no longer assured.”
More from Luntz focus group: “‘[Trump has] voiced what everyone else is saying,’ one male participant said, ‘America is a brand and the brand has been hurting a very long time, and it takes somebody like Trump to bring that brand back'” [The Atlantic].
“Trump is an early season fling for many people, fun while it lasts but doomed to breakup somewhere along the path to the nomination” [Larry Sabato, Center for American Politics]. “If Trump is nominated, then everything we think we know about presidential nominations is wrong.” I think it depends on how ticked-off voters are, and whether that disturbs Sabato’s equilibrium. So far, mighty ticked-off. Enough? We don’t know. Also too, “Events, dear boy, events.” Obama pulled away from McCain only after Lehman, let us remember.
“Trump seemed to go out of his way after the debate to ensure that he’d remain the center of attention…That tended to drown out most of the coverage of whether, say, Fiorina or Kasich had gained momentum after the debate, perhaps preventing them from having the sort of feedback loop of favorable attention that can sometimes trigger surges in the polls” [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight]. “I don’t know whether this was a deliberate strategy on Trump’s behalf. But if so, it’s pretty brilliant. Trump is perhaps the world’s greatest troll, someone who is amazingly skilled at disrupting the conversation by any means necessary… In the current, “free-for-all” phase of the campaign — when there are 17 candidates and you need only 20 percent or so of the vote to have the plurality in GOP polls — this may be a smart approach…. Is it sustainable? In the long run, probably not.” And in the long run…
“A chairwoman of Mr. Trump’s Iowa campaign, Tana Goertz, who has no political experience, picks the campaign’s county leaders ‘The Apprentice’-style — in head-to-head tests of public speaking, organizing and salesmanship. A stopwatch is involved” [New York Times].
In Ms. Goertz, a motivational speaker, Mr. Trump has a political newcomer helping to lead his organizing in Iowa, but his state director, Mr. Laudner, is a 30-year veteran of Iowa campaigns. He has built one of the largest field teams of any Republican candidate this year: 10 paid staff members.
“Donald Trump’s Jorge Ramos news conference, annotated” [WaPo]. Kicking the press and a Hispanic: It’s a two-fer! And a dominance display: Trifecta!
The Sanders 404 page [berniesanders.com]. I think it’s cool. More importantly, the kidz at YCombinator think it’s cool.
“[C]urrent polling data show that former Secretary of State Clinton has substantial favorable ratings among Democrats and leads every GOP presidential candidate” [Lanny Davis, The Hill]. Lanny Davis? Say no more! Say no more!
“Had Biden announced his candidacy many months ago and articulated a powerful progressive rationale for his candidacy, I might have supported him. He didn’t, and the sole premise driving talk of a Biden campaign today is a negative premise that is unlikely to happen, i.e. that the campaign of Clinton will implode” [The Hill]. So there are insiders who believe that premise. Why?
“”I like Joe Biden very much, but it’s time to line up for Hillary and we are lining up,” said Karin Birkeland, a top Democratic bundler for President Barack Obama in 2012 who recently committed to Clinton. “She has by far the best resume, she’s ready, she’s younger and she’s a woman” [Reuters].
Rand Paul on #BlackLivesMatter: “You know things cost money, and they need to learn that things cost money [!!], and really all lives matter” [International Business Times].
The Fed: “[R]eal borrowing costs are up sharply for many private borrowers. This is a significant headwind for the U.S. economy, which was hardly growing like gangbusters in any case” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. “A Fed hike now looks like an even worse idea than it did a few days ago.” Eventheliberal Krugamn gives cover to J-Yel. But there will never be a good reason to stop giving free money to the 1%.
The Fed: “In travelling around his district, Dudley said he has identified two issues. First, he said, “employers often have difficulty finding potential employees with the specific skills they need, and workers often lack the specific skills employers are looking for” [Market News]. Ah, “skills mismatch.” Idea: Pay workers more money! And support union training programs.
The Fed: “As the Fed considers when to start raising rates, officials are getting pressure from several sides. While many free-market advocates would like the central bank to move, liberal activists plan to press the Fed this week to hold rates near zero to promote economic growth and more hiring.” [Wall Street Journal, “Central Bankers to Confront Stock-Market Turmoil at Fed’s Annual Jackson Hole Retreat”]. So the free-market advocates call for central planning, and the liberal activists push the loanable funds theory [head, desk].
“The Treasury curve is in the midst of a rather dramatic steepening event. When I first marked levels this morning at 630AM ish 5s 10s was 65.4. As I compose this electronic missive that spread rests at 68” [Across the Curve]. “The steepening of the curve has been a multi day phenomenon as turmoil in overseas markets and collapsing commodity prices have challenged the notion of a rate hike.”
Durable Goods Orders, July 2015: “Durable orders, for a second straight month, are strong, and strong nearly across the board” [Bloomberg]. “Capital goods data show special strength with nondefense ex-aircraft orders up 2.2 percent.”
MBA Mortgage Applications, week of August 21: “Purchase applications, which have been flat in recent weeks, rose 2 percent in the latest week and are up a very strong 18 percent year on year” [Bloomberg].
“The number of U.S. building permits issued in July was revised up to a decrease of 15.5% from a decrease of 16.3% [Market News]
“Consumer confidence bounced up with lower gas prices, as it’s one man one vote, not one dollar one vote, and so hasn’t been a reliable indicator of retail sales” [Mosler Economics].
“As earnings and revenues slide, the corporate balance sheets bloated with debt taken on to buy back the company’s own shares will provide an unwelcome headwind to grow earnings” [Wall Street on Parade]. “Further angst on Wall Street stems from worries about just how the U.S. mega banks might fare in a market meltdown.” OK, it’s bearish. But readers know I am a Maine bear!
“Nor will financial contagion be likely, at least for the U.S. Although U.K. banks are heavily exposed to China, those in the U.S. are relatively safe and there probably is little risk of anything approaching a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis” [Noah Smith, Bloomberg]. If you must worry, worry about the credit markets, not the stock markets.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“Katrina Washed Away New Orleans’s Black Middle Class” [FiveThirtyEight]. That’s not a bug…
“Hurricane Katrina proved that if black lives matter, so must climate justice” [Guardian]. As with, for example, lead.
“[Pauli Murray]’s argument constituted what legal historian Serena Mayeri termed ‘reasoning from race,’ in which race analogies were used to make clear the subordinate status of women. Though today we speak of these matters in the language of intersections, a term gleaned from legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, it is Pauli Murray’s initial invocation of the race-sex analogy for black women’s positionality within the law that is the most direct precursor to Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality” [Salon]. I would think that intersectionality, considered as a data structure, would apply to all persons…
“A new study finds that 75% of California’s Obamacare health plans have narrow physician networks — more limited choices than all but three other states” [Los Angeles Times]. As NC readers were warned, in 2013, often.
“One in four companies are likely to be impacted by the ‘Cadillac tax’ on high-cost health plans when it begins in 2018–and that could almost double in ten years, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation” [Wall Street Journal, “More than a Quarter of Employers Expected to Face ‘Cadillac Tax’”].
In order to avoid the tax in the future, companies are taking steps to reduce costs in their plans today, the foundation said. The most common reactions are increasing employee deductibles and cost sharing, eliminating covered services, capping flexible spending accounts, eliminating higher-cost health insurance options, using less expensive provider networks, and offering benefits through a private exchange, the foundation said.
In other words, ObamaCare encourages crapified health insurance policies, by design. I’m shocked.
Dear Old Blighty
“Jeremy Corbyn says he doesn’t believe the ‘nonsense’ about Tories infiltrating the voting process. Speaking on Tuesday during Labour party leadership hustings on BBC Radio 5 Live, the frontrunner says the party should be pleased about the increase in supporters, rather than treating them with suspicion or turning them away without giving them a right of appeal” [Guardian]. Yep. Labour set membership fees £3. People joined, just the wrong sort. Hilarity ensues! (I try to avoid videos, but the British press seems to have panicked about Corbyn across the board, and its hard to find links that aren’t just frothing and stamping, or stirring the pot, or outright propaganda. Readers?)
“Canada will not sign a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that would allow Japanese vehicles into North America with fewer parts manufactured here, says Ed Fast, the federal minister of international trade” [The Record]. Significant, if meant seriously, since it’s a new obstacle, and Mexico is also concerned about auto parts.
“As Cuomo has offered the company subsidies, GE has delivered more than $466,000 in campaign donations to Cuomo-affiliated political groups since the 2010 election cycle when Cuomo mounted his first successful run for governor” [International Business Times]. And Cuomo is subsidizing GE’s return to New York, without pressuring them to finish the Hudson River cleanup; people still can’t eat fish from the Hudson because of the PCBs GE dumped into it.
“The worst corruption in Pennsylvania — the kind of moral rot that wastes or misuses millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars, usually to the benefit of those who finance political campaigns — is the kind that’s perfectly legal” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. “! Pennsylvania is the only major drilling state in America without a severance tax on energy production…. [T]he legislature is led by people like Sen. Joe Scarnati, [who accepted] more than $500,000 in campaign contributions from oil-and-gas interests between 2007 and 2014 — nearly twice the next highest lawmaker in energy donations — all so [he] could run in his rural district with minimal opposition. Big Gas could give as much as it wanted, legally, since Pennsylvania is one of just a few states in the nation with no contribution limits.” Awesome.
Despite the strong El Niño, “California would need 1½ times its normal rainfall to get out of the extended drought, which is unlikely, according to Mike Halpert” of NOAA [AP].
“A quarter of Delhi’s households live without a piped-water connection; most of the rest receive water for only a few hours each day. So residents have come to rely on private truck owners—the most visible strands of a dispersed web of city councilors, farmers, real estate agents, and fixers who source millions of gallons of water each day from illicit boreholes, as well as the city’s leaky pipe network, and sell the liquid for profit” [Foreign Policy]. It’s a libertarian paradise!
“Compared with those who had remained in employment, unemployed men and women experienced significant patterns of change in their mean levels of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness, whereas reemployed individuals experienced limited change. The results indicate that unemployment has wider psychological implications than previously thought. In addition, the results are consistent with the view that personality changes as a function of contextual and environmental factors.” (abstract) [American Psychological Association]. “Results showed that agreeableness, which is similar to friendliness, decreased among both men and women during long-term unemployment (one to four years). But during the first two years of unemployment, men experienced increases in agreeableness” [Business Insider]. Not me. I was disagreeable the whole time!
“H&R Block’s latest lobbying effort is even more loathsome than its opposition to automatic filing. At the company’s instigation, the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed a funding bill covering the IRS whose accompanying report instructs the agency to at least quadruple the length of the form that taxpayers fill out to get the Earned Income Tax Credit” [Vox]. “It is hard to adequately express how despicable this is.” Strong words for Vox…
“Post Office can’t even meet its own lower standards as late mail soars” [WaPo]. Engineered denial of services so privatizers can plunder the the institution. It would be better to create a Post Office bank. Democrats?
“I Had a Baby and Cancer When I Worked at Amazon. This Is My Story” [Medium]. Be sure to read down to where she returns to work; the Amazon corporate culture is feral even by American standards.
Sound like “innovation zones” is the new “creative class” [Fast Company]. Whenever you hear the word “innovation,” put your hand on your wallet. Here’s an example of health care innovation in Tony Hsieh’s innovation zone in Vegas [USA Today].
News of the Wired
“Suspected gunman shoots self after journalists killed on air, official says” [CNN]. Ugly.
“Slender Man Is Watching” [New York Magazine]. Well, this is creepy.
Origins of Linux (Linux’s birthday was yesterday) [Ars Technica]. Many of the factors that fell into place were social, not technical, which the article calls “a happy combination of personal circumstances.”
“Origins of ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Begin to Emerge” [Live Science]. Biblical scholars don’t mess around!
“Some experts think that the very first cell-like organisms on Earth channeled electricity from the seafloor using bubbling, chimney-shaped structures, also known as chemical gardens. [NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory]. “In a new study, researchers report growing their own tiny chimneys in a laboratory and using them to power a light bulb. The findings demonstrate that the underwater structures may have indeed given an electrical boost to Earth’s very first life forms.” Better cut their funding….
“[T]he three zip codes in America that have zero Ashley Madison users” [Gawker]. Fascinating to watch big data techniques become normalized. Any number can play!
“La Tomatina, the world’s largest tomato-throwing festival, begins Wednesday as up to 22,000 revelers are expected to meet up in the tiny Valencian town of Buñol on the east coast of Spain” [International Business Times]. Will Trump attend? In his white shoes?
Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Mike):
Mike writes from about 100 miles north of Rome (Italy): Possibly of the Sedum family?
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