2:00PM Water Cooler 9/8/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


The Voters

“Dear Democrats: Populism Will Not Save You” [National Journal]. A Third Way critique of identity politics.

“The state of grassroots social movements in Syracuse” [ABC].


“Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s squabble with the conservative Club for Growth advocacy group escalated on Sunday when he produced a letter purportedly showing the organization asking him for a $1 million donation” [Raw Story].


“Trump Is Right on Economics” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. Maybe I missed the Krugman column where he says Sanders is right on economics?

Bush to unveil tax plan [Bloomberg].

The Trail

“Hillary Clinton to Show More Humor and Heart, Aides Say” [New York Times]. If you’ve got to say it…

“Trumpfellas” [Mark Ames, Pando]. Unlocked!

Trump gets a big boost from his own air fleet [Wall Street Journal].

Ex-Trump University student sues [Daily Mail].

The Hill

Ted Cruz is planning to shut down the government again over Planned Parenthood [Bloomberg]. McConnell: “We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like.” Kayfabe, then, except for the government shutdown part, which makes me feel like we’re living in a Third World country.

“President Obama has clinched the 41 votes he needs to block a resolution disapproving of the Iran nuclear deal, sealing an important political victory over Republicans” [The Hill]. Bibi’s not gonna be happy. Maybe Boehner should invite him back so he can explain to us what our foreign policy should be again?

The usual talk of Boehner’s demise [Politico]. Boehner’s personal network “uniformly sympathized with his plight.” If you want a friend in Washington… ….

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, August 2015: Rose modestly, unaffected by global markets [Reuters]. “Pessimistic about business conditions over the next six months and were noncommittal regarding capital and inventory investment.” And: “Three percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied, historically low. Thirty-three percent reported all credit needs met, and 49 percent explicitly said they did not want a loan. For most of the recovery, record numbers of firms have been on the “credit sidelines”, seeing no good reason to borrow” [Econintersect]. For these guys, then, QE is pushing on a string. And: “A whopping 48% found few or no qualified applicants for job openings, unchanged from July but the high for the cycle. Notwithstanding the smaller payroll gain in August, it is increasingly evident that labor markets are getting tight” [Across the Curve].

Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure, August 2015: “Little movement” [Gallup]. “Regular declines in spending from August to September are understandable given the end of the vacation season and the end of back-to-school shopping, one of the busiest times of the year for retailers.”

“August 2015 Conference Board Employment Index Suggests Improving Jobs Growth In the Future” [Econintersect].

The Fed: In an interview, San Francisco Fed President “Williams refused to give any indication of which way he leans heading into next week’s meeting. In fact, he was so insistent about not giving any signal that I am left to wonder if either he does not know which way Chair Yellen is likely to come down and he is very afraid of crossing her or that an edict came down from Washington to Yellen’s more loyal disciples on the FOMC (of which, Williams is certainly one) to avoid sending an explicit signal” [Across the Curve].

The Fed: “Fed officials in the past have tried to prepare investors for impending actions by telegraphing moves. Right now, they are simply trying to keep their options open. The result is that investors aren’t expecting a move” [Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ]. “The act of sending no signal, Wall Street is concluding, is a signal in itself of no action.”

“Not Everyone Is Buying 3.7% U.S. GDP in 2Q; ‘Only the Chinese Numbers Are More Suspect'” [Wall Street on Parade].

Mr. Market

“Something strange happened last month as stocks around the world went haywire: the $8 trillion U.S. corporate-bond market worked just fine” [Bloomberg]. “Company bonds are governed by thousands of deal documents and traded in phone calls and emails. Some trade rarely; others not at all. That’s not an easy recipe for high-frequency trading. So the nanosecond set doesn’t really bother with this market, allowing it to retain its oh-so-human inefficiency. … In another bout of topsy-turvy trading, investors would be wise to check out credit markets. They’re more likely to offer a valid assessment of investor sentiment, not just a reflection of computers gone wild.” Gentlemen prefer bonds.

“Growth is set to slow across a number of the world’s largest economies, including China, the U.S. and the U.K., according to leading indicators released Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development” [Wall Street Journal, “OECD Leading Indicators Point to Further Slowdowns”]. Also too, Canada, Russia, and Brazil.

“Chinese imports from the rest of the world fell nearly 14 percent in August, compared to a year ago” [Reuters].

“China logged its biggest-ever fall in foreign exchange reserves in August, down $93.9 billion last month to $3.557 trillion as it battled a slide in the yuan prompted by capital flight, People’s Bank of China data showed on Monday” [Reuters]. I guess it’s time for me to put that Picasso on the market….

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Baltimore reaches $6.4 million settlement with Freddie Gray family” [WaPo].

Juan Williams: “#BlackLivesMatter is fast becoming its own worst enemy. It lacks an agenda” [The Hill]. Williams is either ignorant or lying. Campaign Zero is a perfectly reasonable, well-thought-out agenda for minimizing police violence, and mainstream enough to be supported by Donna Brazile, Democrat insider’s insider.

Ta-Nehesi Coates: “[I]n my stripe of atheism, it’s very hard to see beyond the body. There is a tendency to adopt euphemism when confronted with the very real violence that comes with having a foot on your neck” [Interview with Roxane Guy, Barnes & Noble].

“Economic isolation is actually growing worse across the country, as more and more minority families find themselves trapped in high-poverty neighborhoods without decent housing, schools or jobs, and with few avenues of escape” [New York Times]. “This did not happen by accident. It is a direct consequence of federal, state and local housing policies that encourage — indeed, subsidize — racial and economic segregation.”

“Burning Man founder: ‘Black folks don’t like to camp as much as white folks'” [Guardian].

Police State

“Police officers in Clatskanie, Oregon, have filed a lawsuit against their (now former) chief, Marvin Hoover, saying he discriminated against an Afro-American woman who had been arrested earlier. The incident happened in August, but the details were leaked to the press on Sunday” [RT]. So there are good cops.


“Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and Patriots apart” [ESPN]. ESPN does solid reporting here. On a postcard, “Deflategate” was a “make good” call for “Spygate,” about which the NFL was still internally seething, after many years. However, this is an important article if you view it as epitomizing elite behavior generally, from the owners all the way down to ball boys like Goodell. I’m reminded of Harry Frankfurt’s distinction in On Bullshit; the liar knows what the truth is, but the bullshit artist doesn’t even care. I would like to make a similar distinction between criminals, who know what the law is, and _____s — I don’t have the word, here — who don’t even care (with, at least according the story, the ironically named Patriot management team falling into this category. The various glibertarian enterprises in the “sharing economy” would fall under the _____ heading, too).

“St. Louis cops seized 2006 World Series tickets from scalpers and then used them to go to games” [NBC].

“New York Gov. Cuomo Silent On Effort To Force General Electric To Clean Up Its Pollution From Hudson” [International Business Times].

“Rebekah Brooks’ ex-security boss vows to ‘blow whistle'” [Guardian (RS)]. Pass the popcorn.

“Publicly-filed campaign disclosure forms show that Sheriff Greg Ahern, whose office is directly responsible for administering Corizon Correctional Health’s contract and overseeing its performance, has accepted more than $110,000 from the private company for his political campaigns” [KTVU].

Wretched Excess

“[Christy Wyatt] Wyatt made one big concession to her business life. She took a scant 10 days off on maternity leave and then headed to the office with baby and nanny in tow” [Business Insider]. Isn’t that sweet? Take your servant to work day! “And everybody knew him as a baby in the hallways.” Mandatory cooing a part of the job description, I guess.

Class Warfare

“With Dem. Defections, Billionaire IL Gov. Bruce Rauner Wins Key Vote Against Unionized State Workers” [In These Times]. Democratic betrayal. Now that’s a shocker.

Hagiography servicing Travis Kalanick, interesting primarily for the intersection of the political economy of startups and brogrammer culture. [Fast Company]. Kalanick: “I didn’t even know what a libertarian was.” And now we all know!

A majority of millenials don’t think they are millenials [WaPo]. So we need more stories convincing them they are, obviously.

News of the Wired

“Why Security Experts Are Using an Ancient Email Format in 2015” [Motherboard]. Mutt, out of elm, out of pine. I loved pine!

“Number of US babies being named after guns on the increase” [Independent]. “Also on the rise in the US for baby boys are Trigger, Shooter, Caliber, Magnum and Pistol. There has also been a rise in the use of gun manufacturers such as Barrett, Remington, Kimber, Ruger, Wesson, Browning, Benelli and Beretta.” A small price to pay for the exercise of your Second Amendment rights!

“Arizona Man Shoots Himself in the Head While Trying to Demonstrate Gun Safety Feature” [Phoenix New Times].

“Doctor’s attempt to bring lower-price diabetes drug to market thwarted” [Los Angeles Times].

“Cave DNA unravels riddle of the Basque people” [Telegraph].

“Clash of the Titans: Noam Chomsky & Michel Foucault Debate Human Nature & Power on Dutch TV, 1971” [Open Culture]. And what came of it all…

“How to Make Yogurt in Manila” [The Toast]. The real topic: Expatriation.

* * *

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 (Kurt):



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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Eric Patton

    Maybe I missed the Krugman column where he says Sanders is right on economics?

    No, you have not missed it.

    St. Louis cops seized 2006 World Series tickets from scalpers and then used them to go to games.

    Lambert, what the hell is your problem? This is a police officer’s god given right.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yep. I didn’t say it was correct. But this is, well, the best an important Democratic faction can come up with. It’s like what the Blairites are saying, but a lot more genteel.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Well the Blairites only started going outhouse rat when it became clear Corbyn was going to lead the party. If Sanders ever looks like actually winning, the Clintonistas and the DNC will become equally unhinged. I for one would love nothing better than to see it. I don’t think people realize how crazy it will suddenly get if Hillary falls behind.

        1. James Levy

          We’re going to find out if election results are predetermined or not over the next 14 months, although we may find out sooner if Trump and Sanders are both destroyed before they can in any way menace the powers that be. My guess is that they will be gotten to or destroyed by June. However, they may at some point “allow” Sanders to push through to victory in the primaries only to sabotage him in the general election as a warning that no “radical” need apply for the job of President. The Democratic Party apparat will then point to Sanders and McGovern as all the proof anyone ever will need that “leftists” are losers. If America’s trajectory was stable or upwards, that would work for a generation. Nowadays, if things continue to get worse, it may not even work for a single election cycle (although the MSM will do its damnedest to drive home the message and ridicule anyone left of Gore who dares run in 2020).

          1. different clue

            I will mention yet again Hunter S. Thompson’s book about Campaign ’72 and the General Election aftermath, called Fear And Loathing: On The Campaign Trail ’72. I will again mention Thompson’s never-addressed theory that much of McGovern’s loss was due to McGovern’s trying to restore “co-operation” with the same Mainstream Democrats he had revealed himself as being able to defeat for the nomination. The Eagleton Vice-Presidential nomination was part of that effort to co-operate and “win back” those Mainstream Democrats.

            I will say yet again that I hope Sanders and/or his people have read that book. I will say yet again that Sanders and his people choose to offer the Mainstream Democrats zero co-operation and zero-presence in his General Election campaign if he should win the nomination. He has already promised not to run Third Party against Clinton if she wins the nomination. He should state his expectation that the Mainstream Democrats not run against him either if he wins the nomination. He should in-effect dare the Democrats before God AND C-SPAN to go ahead and support the Republicans against him in the general. If they do that, they will stand exposed as the enemies of a nominating-majority of the Democratic rank-and-filers in a way that they were never forced to expose themselves for their betrayal against McGovern, because McGovern never laid down against them that challenge and that dare.

            If Sanders wins the nomination and the DLC Third Way Clintonite Obamacrats support the Republicans in revenge, it will be plain for all to see. And Sanders and all his supporters will then be in a position to wage a one-side-exterminates-the-other-side war of total annihilation for the control of the DemParty by one side or the other. In this scenario (speculative I know), if the Sandersites fight to the death, they will end up respected, not despised the way McGovern ended up being. And they will have the strength to be able to quit the DemParty en bloc and form a genuine legitimate political party of their own.

            1. ambrit

              Agreed. I remember McGovern and ‘Clean Gene’ McCarthy, and the real hope that was floating around then. Unlike the changeling in the White House today, those politicos forced the establishment to take off the velvet gloves and reveal the naked steel heart of the Masters of the Universe.
              Sanders had better be ready to fight hard for what he believes in.

              1. different clue

                I believe that Hunter S. Thompson’s book offers some advice to Sanders on addressing that very problem. The great failure of McGovern was that he pre-emptively surrendered and sought appeasement of the very forces he had defeated to win the nomination to begin with. Thompson opines that it was that pre-emptive appeasement-based surrender on McGovern’s part which foredoomed McGovern to the hugeness of the defeat he suffered. If he had brusquely refused any compromise with the DemParty enemies he had just crushed, he would have kept and leveraged the respect he earned among many by beating those people. He might have even won the election . . . we will never know.

                If Sanders wins the nomination, it would be a perfectly set-up Political Science Test-Case Experiment waiting for Sanders and his people to perform. If Sanders were to do the opposite of what McGovern had done, and if he ends up losing By LESS Than what McGovern lost by, then that would validate the approach that Thompson had wished for at the time.

                If Sanders wins the nomination, I want to see him act like Donald Trump, not like Mister Rogers.

  2. Jim Haygood

    “Something strange happened last month as stocks around the world went haywire: the $8 trillion U.S. corporate-bond market worked just fine.” — Bloomberg

    Oh really? In a 13-paragraph article, Bloomberg’s financial stenographer doesn’t even mention the basic barometer of corporate bonds’ health, namely their yield spread over Treasuries. When the so-called credit spread increases, bond holders are more worried about corporate credit quality and the risk of default.

    And that’s exactly what’s been happening. Credit spreads have been rising since April 2014 on lower-ranked Baa investment-grade bonds. The spread took a fresh leap higher during August, indicating rising financial stress:


    This article is pure hubris from an uninformed (or perhaps ‘compensated’) observer. Watch for corporate bonds to get whacked hard later this year, since the press is infallibly wrong.

  3. Carolinian

    Re Burning Man: I hate to say it but he’s right. As a lifelong camper I’ve hardly ever seen black people camping. Perhaps it’s something about being out in the woods with a bunch of rednecks.

    1. neo-realist

      I’m wondering if there are factors of lack of free time off work to invest time in getting to the woods for blacks vs. whites? Suburbanized white people feeling closer physically (and possibly psychologically) to the rural camping woods than predominantly urbanized blacks?

      My parents never did any camping, but I went to sleep away summer camp and did my share of camping out w/ mostly white people–It was the 70’s so there were mostly hippie counselors and kids rather than rednecks. Ok experience except for waking up with dirt in your mouth, too small a sleeping bag, and rain w/ mud. Other than that, I have no strong aversions to camping, but this city kid who prefers urban culture/arts to the woods has no compelling desire either to do it.

      But I am so totally down for white water rafting:)

      1. optimader

        I’m wondering if there are factors of lack of free time off work to invest time in getting to the woods for blacks vs. whites?

        no, dont think so

        It’s just apparently an unpopular form of recreation for Blacks, and I don’t think it has anything to do w/ “rednecks”.
        RE: free time/budget Camping is popular for some of my most modestly budgeted friends (white–not “rednecks”).
        In my unscientific observations at National Parks, I usually visit one every year, demographic popularity as observed is: Whites, (east) Indians, Asians and waaay infrequently Blacks. (camping or lodging –not sure) It is what it is, not good or bad.

        Another observation.. White people in the parks by far the largest demographic of morbidly obese.

        I am going to ask a black friend of mine why they don’t camp! Never thought about it before..

      2. RW Tucker

        I’m wondering if there are factors of

        Here’s my bugaboo with finding factors: it implies there’s a problem.

        If there are black people clamoring to get into Burning Man, but are prevented because they don’t feel welcome, awesome, let’s figure out why.

        If there are Asian people who get to campsites and feel out of place, let’s talk.

        But if we’re just trying to unlock diversity achievements like we’re playing Xbox, let’s skip that and let people enjoy their activities.

    2. vidimi

      burning man, skiing, surfing, base jumping…

      all these things are very popular with white people but very few people of colour take part. why?

      it takes a certain level of economic wellbeing to be able to afford them, that’s why.

      there were some blacks at burning man: diddy and other squillionnaire pop stars.

      1. optimader

        I know plenty of black people with economic means well beyond that required for said activities. Is there something wrong with their just not being interested in them?

        Of your list the only one appeals to me and it has nothing to do with economics.

        Here’s my bugaboo with finding factors: it implies there’s a problem

        +100, ..
        I don’t hear any clamoring from Blacks the feel they cannot afford/or feel welcome to go to Burningman. Could it be that allocating free time/resources to go walk around in a hot dusty place dressed in costumes is just an unappealing prospect?

  4. lyman alpha blob

    I’m loathe to comment on the Deflategate scandal but I think you have it backwards. The Patriots are not the type who are oblivious to the rules and feel they don’t apply, quite the opposite IMO.

    You could argue that this whole thing started when the Ravens were complaining about a play the Pats ran in the playoffs that they thought was illegal at which point Brady told the Ravens that they needed to study the rule book more thoroughly. Arrogant, yes, but definitely not ignorant of the rules. The play was completely legal at the time but has since been made illegal. That prompted the Ravens to tip off the Colts about possibly deflated balls which set the whole thing in motion. That wasn’t the first time either that the Pats have run a perfectly legal play that took advantage of loopholes in the rulebook. If anybody knows the nuances of the rulebook it’s Belicek.

    Also the NFL’s own Wells report says that Brady complained after a Jets game last year that the balls were too hard and OVERinflated. He went to an attendant and had them show the NFL’s rule on ball pressure to the officials so that balls would be inflated to the proper level in the future. Why point out the rule if you are planning on subsequently breaking it?

    If any party falls into the _____s category in this case, it’s the NFL by ignoring its own rules and precedents and handing out arbitrary penalties.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’ll leave this here.

      Brady v. NFL (2011) The date is correct.

      Brady was the first named player to join the concussion law suit and badgered the other stars most notably Brees who became the public voice against the NFL. Bounty gate turned out to be an NFL clown show too.

    2. David

      The Patriots are not the type who are oblivious to the rules and feel they don’t apply, quite the opposite IMO….
      That wasn’t the first time either that the Pats have run a perfectly legal play that took advantage of loopholes in the rulebook. If anybody knows the nuances of the rulebook it’s Belicek.

      If loopholes are good enough for the Pats, it’s good enough for the Bankers, Government Officials, Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, etc.

      If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem with this argument is the League Competition Committee writes the rules they really do have equal representation among the 32 teams or close to it. Green Bay is an unwanted step child. Denver, New England, Dallas, formerly the team from Washington, Pittsburgh, and the Giants have more sway, but even little old Indy gets changes to rules when they complain because Payton Manning needs to have the rules changed to win which were then changed back after he won.

        In the Washington arena, corporate lobbyists have undue control over the process because of scale, complexity, and money sneaking in loopholes which are rarely understood. Football on the other hand is so popular because it’s compartmentalized and not that complicated. Superior line play almost always wins 99% of the time.

        Players aren’t on the competition committee. Unless the hooded one snuck a rule change in during the 11th hour it’s not really a loop hole, just a rule. Some don’t make sense such as PSI because they don’t specify whether they are game environmental conditions specific or the process for checking.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Perhaps ‘loophole’ wasn’t the best term to use in this case. When I hear the word ‘loophole’ it brings to mind lobbyists or lawyers deliberately including wording into a law or regulation so that the party who employs them can later evade said law or regulation. That wasn’t what was done here, in fact again it was more or less the opposite The Patriots didn’t write the rule regarding which receivers are eligible or ineligible. They used a completely legal play and switched around their eligible receivers, the Ravens couldn’t keep up and got burned. The rule was then changed for the slow kids in the class. Much like, as NotTimothyGeithner mentions, the rule which was changed at Peyton Manning’s request regarding when it’s legal for d-backs to contact receivers after the Pats d-backs shut him down in the playoffs several years back. Now you can’t look at a WR crosseyed without the ref throwing a flag.

        I liken this situation more to that in the article recently linked to here where the standardized test people decided to dumb down the SAT to make it easier to pass.

        But yes I agree on the bankers, govt officials, etc. who most certainly are writing the rules in their favor and/or pretending they don’t exist when not convenient to follow them. And it should go without saying that these infractions are orders of magnitude more egregious than anything that happens in any sport based on the real harm they cause to so many others. So now back to more important subjects :)

  5. allan

    “Rebekah Brooks’ ex-security boss vows to ‘blow whistle’”

    Among Place Holder’s many crimes of omission was his failure to prosecute News Corp. under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. After what had already been established in the UK, it would have been an open and shut case.

    Not to mention that what a corrupt organization does in one jurisdiction it often does in others …

    1. Chris in Paris

      That was exactly what was on the minds of a lot of compliance people when it broke, especially with the payments to the Met. Another great day for the DOJ!

    2. Optimader

      Just because it wasnt prosecuted doesnt mean it wasnt a crime. Thats what the HRC media cheerleaders dont get. They now have the bravado to say ” blah blah she didnt do anything illegal”. What they dont get is that if , say Snowden behaved similarly, you can be sure the behaviour would be interpreted as indictable.

    3. different clue

      Since that ex-security boss has said ahead of time that he is GOing to blow the whistle, he should watch out for attempts to assassinate him before he gets that whistle blown.

      1. low_integer

        My thoughts exactly. Hopefully he is good at his job and understands what a dangerous position he is currently in.

          1. different clue

            And muggings-gone-wrong and “the burglar caught in the act” and other plausibly believable methods. And don’t accept tea from strangers. Or even from friends in strange restaurants.

  6. PQS

    “A whopping 48% found few or no qualified applicants for job openings, unchanged from July but the high for the cycle”

    Hmmm. I know the market for construction pro-fessionalz like myself is hotter than a Hades right now up here in the Pacific Northwest. And finding skilled labor is very, very difficult. Many of my subcontractors are turning down work not only because they are just too busy, but they don’t have the people or access to people for anything upcoming and don’t want to get overstretched by borrowing (also noted in the article). (And been there, done that, for many of them during past booms.)

    I actually fielded a call recently from a desperate GC from another state looking for trades for a jobs in the Seattle area. But these are skilled trades. I wonder, really, how much skill many of these small businesses really require versus “No way I’m paying $20/Hour for that”-ism. Or are many of these businesses too busy to train?

    1. Optimader

      Its acase as well that the labor pool has to be trainable. I dont buy the premise that businesses will decline work based on some marginal hourly wage spread. My business has a difficult time finding suitable candidates and we rely on employees bringing in candidates. As an example (in Chicago) a vendor friend that has a highly technical fabrication business has one heck of a time hiring qualified code welders and is working the requirement through the local JC. In his business failed welds/substandard fabrication is the issue, not trying to parse the salary by a few bucks an hour. Interestingly one of their best welders from the JC program is a petite young lady (who is 4′ and change). She can go wiggle into places no one else can go, and she does beautiful work. On the merits of her work they hired a gfriend of hers.

      So maybe its regional and there are always exceptions to be trotted out, but there are reasonable paying jobs for people that want to go after them

      1. ambrit

        Things are different here ‘Down South’ pardner!
        I personally know a crew chief in the Mechanical Trades who has been directly told by management to hire majority Latino crews because “we can get them cheaper.” Here, Latino generally means Mexicanos. I’ve met some of them, and have no problem with poor people trying to better their lives. They make good money for where they come from, work a season or two, and send most of the money home. Good for them. They displace locals who are used to getting more for their labour. The only ones getting rich are the company owners and or investors.
        From my own trade, Plumbing, I have observed a wage spread of as much as $10 per hour between locals and imports. On any decently sized job, that wage gap ‘ain’t chump change pardner.’
        As for welding versus other kinds of skilled work, well, welders are sort of top of the heap on many jobs. I’ve tried it and can attest that it isn’t a skill just anyone can pick up. Hand eye coordination is very important in its’ execution. A facility is required that is partly innate.
        Another factor in pay scales, at least here in the Deep South is the practice of rewarding job foreman and women with a base salary plus sliding scale, pegged to how much of the initial budget they can save. One old trick of job shopping is to wait till a job is nearly ready to begin before going in and applying. If you possess any in demand skill, your odds are good that there are several unfilled skilled positions left. More practiced job managers will take this into account and play hardball with the later applicants. It can become a real ‘pissing’ contest. I’ve seen some job managers try to bull their way through a small scale skilled worker deficiency by ‘sweating it out.’ Once the first months figures are in, the home office generally lets him or her know their opinions of any shortfalls. As long as you’re not “hungry,” this wait em out strategy can be of benefit.
        In general, if you can build up a cushion, it is best to walk away from those jobs run by D—heads. Not only will you be happier, but you will have escaped that terrible self loathing that comes from having agreed to onerous terms.
        One major subject that I have wondered about is the absence of any general strike in America. If that could ever be organized, watch out!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There’s a print-on-demand version of P. G. M. Dickson’s The Financial Revolution in England: A Study in the Development of Public Credit, 1688-1756 available — for $200!

  7. Gabriel

    Re Mr Market and the Fed, below two paras from a recent post by Josh Mason. Bolded bit is a problem about the idea of managing the economy via “fine-tuning” central bank interest rates that I’ve somehow managed to miss despite some fairly expensive formal education on the subject:

    In short: Current prices of long bonds imply that market participants are confident that rates will not rise substantially over the next few years. Conventional wisdom, shared by policymakers at the Fed, says that they will. The Fed is looking at a two point increase over the next year and half, while bond rates imply that it will take twenty years. So either Fed won’t do what it says it will, or it won’t affect long rates, or bondholders will get a very unpleasant surprise. The only way everyone can be right is if trnasmission from policy rate to long rates is very slow — which would make the policy rate an unsuitable tool for countercyclical policy.

    This last point is something that has always puzzled me about standard accounts of monetary policy. The central bank is supposed to be offsetting cyclical fluctuations by altering the terms of loan contracts whose maturities are much longer than typical business cycle frequencies. Corporate bonds average about 10 years, home mortgages, home mortgages of course close to 30. (And housing seems to be the sector most sensitive to policy changes.) So either policy depends on systematically misleading market participants, to convince them that cyclical rate changes are permanent; or else monetary policy must work in some completely different way than the familiar interest rate channel.

    1. craazyboy

      The Master’s of the Universe are all treasury bond day traders. Bond maturity is irrelevant. Ergo, so is everything else regarding any Fed policy. But we suspected that already.The only thing that matters is zero cost of short term money to lever up for the carry trade. For stocks and commodities too, while we’re at it.

  8. Vatch

    “With Dem. Defections, Billionaire IL Gov. Bruce Rauner Wins Key Vote Against Unionized State Workers” [In These Times]. Democratic betrayal. Now that’s a shocker.

    Minor correction: Rauner is not on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, so he is probably not a billionaire. He is very wealthy, though, and if he has assets of $900 million, then he’s hardly distinguishable from a billionaire. Even if he “only” has a couple of hundred million bucks, he doesn’t think like a normal person; he’s a hardcore plutocrat.

  9. Benedict@Large

    “Baltimore reaches $6.4 million settlement with Freddie Gray family.”

    Just to put this on perspective, this is about $75 per K-12 student in Baltimore, or roughly what it would cost to outfit every public school student in the city with a new set of books this year. Bad policing doesn’t just kill people. It brings entire communities down with it.

  10. Oldeguy

    Re Lambert’s nudge to Paul Krugman’s Trump’s not all wrong column, I just remember that Dr Krugman is a Globalist Establishment Guy. He has enough conscience ( and sanity ) to be a moderately progressive, decent, certainly brilliant Globalist Establishment Guy, but Eugene V. Debs he ain’t and has never claimed to be.
    He is much a part of the Elite New Democrat wing of the Party. He was an early, vocal and consistent right up to the Convention supporter of Hillary and it would be surprising if he were to be impartial now.
    Very much to his credit, he was quite outspoken in expressing skepticism regarding Obama during the pre-Convention period. Other Hillary fans of course trumpeted her assets, but were reluctant to cast doubt on the emerging Messiah.
    Millions of us were so drunk on the Identity Politics On Steroids Hope And Change Kool Aid that we ( yes, including me ) simply ignored the evidence Dr Krugman presented that Obama was very likely to be a Wall Street puppet.
    Accept Dr. Krugman for what he is- that’s good enough.

    1. jrs

      He’s good enough unless trade is the only issue that really matters. Bear with me because of course other issues matter you may say. And yes they do, but perhaps addressing them is basically impossible as long as we live in this neoliberal trade system. Trade agreements are the means to establish corporate dictatorship (which would doom all hope). Trade agreements are the means to undermine nation states. Trade agreements are the reason for the race to the bottom, no environmental protections, no labor protections, no protections against slavery apparently.

      Maybe token progressivism on other issues doesn’t mean much when you’ve given away the farm already.

      1. Oldeguy

        All quite true.
        I meant “good enough”as a polemicist against GOP lunacy.
        Globalization is the core disease that manifests in scores of our social problems that will defy well intentioned efforts at amelioration until the Beast is brought under firm control.
        I hope this is more clear.

        1. different clue

          His “polemicizing” against GOP lunacy is just his plausible deniability cover.
          The Latte’ Liberals use it to divert attention away from Krugman’s support for the International Free Trade Conspiracy.

  11. Jay M

    Next up on the silver screen, Donny “Montana” Trump bursts on the convention stage during the roll call vote:
    “You want to play rough, say hello to my little friend . . .”

  12. jjmaccjohnson

    I like the name Pistol because of the Shakespeare character of the same name. I think not many of those naming those kids that name know about this character. Pretty much a coward, dangerous and a violent fellow. Rather explosive described as a fool and a rogue!

  13. Jim Haygood

    One thing leads to another:

    Two top Senate investigators offered potential immunity Tuesday to Bryan Pagliano, the staffer who set up the email server in former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s home, in exchange for testimony about her activities.

    Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Ron Johnson, the chairmen of two key committees investigating the situation, said they have authority to extend immunity if Mr. Pagliano is willing to talk.

    They proposed a proffer session, where Mr. Pagliano would let them know what he knows in an off-the-record setting, and all sides could then decide what steps to take.

    Their offer raises the stakes for Mr. Pagliano and could create more peril for Mrs. Clinton, who has insisted she complied with all laws when operating the server.


    That’s an awfully harsh way to respond to Hillary’s ‘humor and heart’ charm offensive.

    *wipes away a crocodile tear*

  14. Jim Haygood

    Jobs, comrades. Apply now:

    The U.S. State Department plans to move about 50 workers into temporary jobs to bolster the office sifting through Hillary Clinton’s emails and grappling with a vast backlog of other requests for information to be declassified, officials said on Tuesday.

    In a notice to employees on Sept. 2, the State Department advertised for people with skills in coordinating and assessing FOIA requests and deciding if information may be declassified and released to the public.

    The notice, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, is entitled “Enhancing Transparency: Immediate Detail Opportunities At State” and calls for workers to apply for reassignment for 9 to 12 months. Applications are due on Thursday and the agency plans to make selections by Sept. 18.


    Is it a good career move? Well, in the unlikely event that HDR becomes president, they’d better apply for a new identity under the FOIA worker protection program.

  15. JCC

    Lambert… pine is still alive and well, and now goes by the name of alpine (Apache-Licensed Pine – a modern from-scratch re-implemented version maintained by the U. of W.), I use it daily… fast, reliable and very modifiable to suit individual styles.

    Ever since large parts of the DoD banned all but plain ascii within their email systems a couple of years ago, I’ve found it works as well as, if not better than, MS Outlook.

  16. brian

    Maybe I missed the Krugman column where he says Sanders is right on economics?

    i really don’t understand this dis on Krugman. I don’t understand the point of it at all. The article was very specifically about Trump and the fact that he’s breaking, a little bit, with Republican orthodoxy and getting away with it.

    When and if Krugman writes a column about Sanders I guess we’ll find out what he thinks about Sander’s policies.

  17. Mark Alexander

    Re mutt, elm, pine, etc.: I have been using command line (*nix-based) email programs for about 30 years now. Currently I’m in love with one written in Ruby (hence easy to hack on) called ‘sup’ (supmua.org), which I’ve been using since around 2009. I was a happy mutt user for many years before that, and mush before that. Not only are these kinds of programs more secure, but they are also lightning fast once you get the key bindings into your muscle memory.

    For a year or so I tried to do the GUI thing (gmail, claws, kmail) but they just weren’t flexible or fast enough.

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