Year in Review, 2018: Readers’ Suggestions?

Last year’s review was subtitled “Fighting against the Normalization of Lying”, with entries on Stephen Moore’s estrangement from the truth, Ironman’s misunderstanding of consumer surplus, and Donald Trump’s confusion over debt vs deficits, among others.

Put in suggestions for this year (preferably from the Econbrowser archives or comments); some candidates: the oil embargo of 1967 , recession in California , the miracle of Wisconsin’s manufacturing revival since the tax credit (hint: there is no miracle) , or how we won the trade war with China before the leaves fell .

29 thoughts on “Year in Review, 2018: Readers’ Suggestions?

    1. pgl

      Trump accomplished his goal – he got on the TV again. Oh you meant goals for our nation. Do you know you Trump is?!

      1. Moses Herzog

        That is, wait for it……. wait for it……. wait for it……. YUGE news. And who will replace Mattis?? There are many very capable military guys to replace Mattis. The question is, do any intelligent people think donald trump will choose a capable leader??—and even if he does, who the hell wants the job NOW!?!?!?!. Orange Excrement has now made it clear, he’s not listening to the military generals, so who wants to sit there and argue with the bastard??

        Also this Syria decision strikes me as a type of baby-fit. donald trump now sees even Republicans are starting to turn against him and so he does something destructive to his own nation. He’s encouraging terrorism to flourish in the region, and handing over (what little is left) the rest of Syria to Russia. This also hurts our European allies, as they had zero “heads up”.

        1. ilsm

          If you call “capable” being a neoconservative, leaning toward the Atlantic council “gospel” then no Trump won’t satisfy you!

          Mattis’ resignation could have been written by Bill Krystol.

    2. ilsm

      Trump has raised the US moral standing immeasurably over the Clinton regime which scammed Obama in to Syria……

      What Trump just did is the same as England staying out of our 1861 War Between the States.

      Raising the US’ moral standing up to the abyss that was the British Empire in 1862!

      A vast improvement over the “liberal” neoconservative imperialism of the democrats.

      The US has been to Kurds in Syria as the Soviets were to VC in southern areas of Vietnam. To immensely less effect.

      1. pgl

        You are clueless as usual:

        ‘Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arranged the Dec. 14 call a day after he had unsuccessfully sought clarity from Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu about Erdogan’s threats to launch a military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish rebels in northeast Syria, where American forces are based. Pompeo, Mattis and other members of the national security team prepared a list of talking points for Trump to tell Erdogan to back off, the officials said. But the officials said Trump, who had previously accepted such advice and convinced the Turkish leader not to attack the Kurds and put U.S. troops at risk, ignored the script. Instead, the president sided with Erdogan.’

        Erdogan saber rattled and Trump ran like the chicken hawk he is!

        1. ilsm


          Give me a clue to how a pro growth liberal is favorable to endless war? How do you get there? How does Erdogan push Trump to limit industrial age violence good? Should US forces engage in artillery duels with a NATO ally?

          Do you want US forces deployed forever keeping the al Nusra, Turks, Quds, and/or Syrians at bay for a bunch of insurgents with democrat in their nom du guerre? How do you decide which country to break up? To snub Putin or Erdogan? Because some humbug factory linked to war profiteers says so?

          Last report I saw, today, Turk actions on hold, how does that fit?

          1. pgl

            “Give me a clue to how a pro growth liberal is favorable to endless war?”

            That is not my position and has never been. Listen – you are a liar when you write such garbage. I refuse to have any discussion with pathetic liars like you.

  1. Moses Herzog

    These things generally should focus on the negative, because it is the negative that needs to be FIXED. But I also think if we have 10-12 items we need to find at least one bright spot, where somebody “got it right” or maybe a politician went against the grain, knowing he/she would lose votes, and went ahead and did the right thing. Someone who acted like a hero. It could be a random hero picked out from the masses or someone of semi-celebrity status. You can’t pick me as the biggest hero this year because my agent says I have to many irons in the fire, and I can only spin so many plates. But I appreciate the thought. I’m hoping we have maybe 48 hours to gnaw on this?? Nothing is hitting me right at the moment but it’s a good bet I’ll think of 1 or 2 that stick out.

    Random advice for today: Don’t listen to Clint Eastwood’s version of “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive”. Many small children died listening to it, so you wouldn’t have to.

  2. noneconomist

    Those who ignore history do so because they want to. That makes their expertise much more palatable. To them.
    After all, reading and studying are hard and should be reserved for the young.

  3. The Rage

    My favorite reading is how the 21st century oil markets have flipped. The US needs higher prices to sustain manufacturing and KSA/Russia need lower prices to sustain supply chains. Funny people still think like 20th century beings.

  4. Moses Herzog

    I’m making a list, but some of it kind of “tracks off” of things just specific to the blog. But as I was doing this, the thought occurred to me we nearly have to mention the tabulation of the Puerto Rico death count, do we not?? It’s pretty offensive to act like human beings didn’t die, and act like human beings weren’t given the support they needed. And also the ICE border prisons where children were abused and died. Many of the employees at these ICE prisons did not even have to get a background check and at least one of them was a prior sex offender (it’s a very high probability there was more than one sex offender working as an employee at the ICE border camps when there is no background check and any job supervising children is a MAGNET for pedos. Now, the ICE thing, not sure if that directly relates to a blog post, but it’s very important in my book, as again, we’re talking about the loss of human life and severe suffering—a large part of it completely unnecessary.

  5. Moses Herzog

    Here are some little ones I had. I guess they’re more random thoughts than anything.

    Ron Helus—Thousand Oaks California bar shooting cop— “2018 greatest American hero”

    “Best foreign friend” French President Emmanuel Macron

    “Most tolerant nation to a bad ally” —Canada, for putting up with 2017–2018 USA, and not kicking America to the curb, even though we deserved it.

    “Best California inoculent to Trump”—Jerry Brown

    “Best beacon for the continuation of Democracy”— co-winners Washington Post and New York Times (honorary mentions “Reveal” and ProPublica)

    “Most facts based, most empirical evidenced based, most prolific poster, most tolerant blog host to vulgar and non-PC comments Menzie Chinn” (Honorary mention coolest super-hero “sidekick” james Hamilton) (Menzie will take the tolerant category as insult but it’s not an insult)

    “BEST guest blog posters 2018”: co-winners Xu Zhang and Saiah Lee

    “Biggest poitical upset and most awesome campaign team”: Kendra Horn

  6. sammy

    I would say the protests and capitulation of Macron in France. This was the supposed leader of globalism, now with an approval rating of 18%. It started with a nonsensical tax on gas, which would in no way affect global temperatures, at the expense of the middle/lower class, to feed the vanities and delusion of the elites. Not gonna fly anymore. Take your vanity and shove it.

  7. joseph

    I would nominate 2slugbaits for the assertion that in the 1980s violent sexual assault “would have been considered horseplay back then.”

    1. 2slugbaits

      joseph I’m flattered that you want to nominate one of my contributions, but couldn’t you at least do me the courtesy of correctly quoting what I wrote, especially since you surrounded it by quotation marks? In a college term paper that would earn you an F. Here’s what I actually said:

      And while today we probably would call it attempted rape, I suspect that two generations ago most people would have called it drunken horseplay. We need to be careful about applying today’s standards of conduct to previous generations.

      Hopefully the difference between what I actually wrote and what you misremembered is clear enough. Mine was a lengthy and rather nuanced comment, so if you want to capture the full context, here is the link. I think you’ll find that I was hardly supporting Kavanaugh.

      It’s interesting to note that this Xmas season several radio stations are choosing not to play several old Xmas classics by such noted male predators as Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Ricardo Montalban because their Xmas songs could be interpreted as supporting date rape. And even Rudolph is under fire by one anti-bullying league. The point I’m making isn’t whether or not those songs are offensive to modern ears, but rather to drive home the point that attitudes change across time.

      One last thing, while it’s pretty clear that Kavanaugh lied about his drinking and the meaning of certain words on his calendar, he might have been truthful about what happened or didn’t happen with Dr. Blasey Ford that night. Since the Senate hearing testimony two men told Senate staffers that they believe they were the ones to whom Blasey Ford was referring rather than Kavanaugh and Judge. Time has a way of changing both attitudes and memories…and remembrances of things said.

  8. Bruce Hall

    Menzie, I’m all for the 1967 oil embargo. 😉

    By the way:
    1967 Oil Embargo
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The 1967 Oil Embargo began on June 6, 1967, the second day of the Six-Day War, with a joint Arab decision to deter any countries from supporting Israel militarily. Several Middle Eastern countries eventually limited their oil shipments, some embargoing only the United States and the United Kingdom, while others placed a total ban on oil exports. The Oil Embargo did not significantly decrease the amount of oil available in the United States or any affected European countries, due mainly to a lack of solidarity and uniformity in embargoing specific countries. The embargo was effectively ended on September 1 with the issuance of the Khartoum Resolution..

    I knew I recalled an oil embargo in 1967 associated with the 1967 war, but it just wasn’t the one that caused the crisis in 1973. maybe it was just a trial run.

    Memories get a little jumbled after 50 years. Merry Christmas (no, I’m not politically correct on that one).

    1. pgl

      “Memories get a little jumbled after 50 years.”

      I guess you forgot how to do basic research. Here’s a hint – Google!

      1. Bruce Hall

        pgl, that discussion already took place.

        But I’ll take your advice because everything available on the internet is accurate. 聖誕快樂

        1. pgl

          It should be history but you keep bringing it up for some reason. Thanks for the reminders of your utter incompetence!

          BTW – some of us know when we see an unreliable source on the internet. Maybe someday you will figure it out. In the meantime, use Google/Maps to find your local library.

  9. joseph

    2slugbaits, there is no nuance at all. You are asserting that violent sexual assault was considered horseplay, which, not coincidentally, is exactly the term Jerry Sandusky used to describe his own sexual assaults.

    Maybe sick people like you considered sexual assault “horseplay” back then but I don’t believe most people did. And maybe some men do, but certainly not women. Did you even listen to Dr. Ford’s testimony? She was attacked from behind, she was pushed into a bedroom, thrown onto a bed and then Kavanaugh climbed on top of her and tried to remove her clothing. Kavanaugh pressed his hand over her mouth and nose so she could not scream and Ford thought she might die of suffocation. Kanvanaugh closed the door and turned up the music so no one could hear his crime or save Ford.

    It was the most horrifying experience of her life and you call that just horseplay? There was a person there who was a witness to these events and she most certainly did not regard it as horseplay. You have one very sicko messed up head.

    2slugbaits — apologist for violent sexual assault.

  10. Samuel

    Dear Dr. Chinn,

    First, thank you for your work. Despite commenters that criticize your analysis, you consistently state the facts and their implications.

    I would like to nominate “Trade Wars Are Good, and Easy to Win”: Soybean Edition as well as your other posts on the soybeans. Your analysis of what was happening to the soybean trade was straightforward and didn’t have the “yeoman farmer” trappings of most coverage.

    Because the first move this administration made was to drop out of TPP, the repercussions are still being felt by U.S. grain commodity producers. All the things the administration is now saying that farmers want were discussed as benefits of TPP:

    This administration continues to rework the global supply chain for ag commodities to the determent of U.S. grain producers and other ag commodity producers despite throwing billions at the problems they created to make the situation better:

    Thank you.

  11. 2slugbaits

    joseph exactly the term Jerry Sandusky used

    Check your calendar. No one since the time of ancient Sparta would consider that horseplay.

    You are asserting that violent sexual assault was considered horseplay

    The question isn’t whether or not people considered sexual assault as “horseplay”; the question is whether or not they would have considered what Kavanaugh and Judge did constituted sexual assault as it was understood at the time. Today most people would. Two generations ago, not so much. If most people would have considered it sexual assault, then you’ll have to explain why so many companies and government entities felt it necessary to spend billions of dollars over the last 20 years engaging in consciousness-raising and trying to convince us that it should be considered sexual assault. Why have courts felt it necessary to redefine sexual assault to include things that were not previously regarded as sexual assault? Forty years ago the courts put a lot of emphasis on the conscious and evil intent of the perpetrator. Today the courts put the emphasis on reasonable reaction of the victim. That’s a huge difference in how society looks at things today versus the way society looked at things two generations ago.

    Maybe sick people like you considered sexual assault “horseplay” back then but I don’t believe most people did.

    You doth protest too much, methinks.

  12. joseph

    Seriously, tackling someone from behind and throwing them on a bed is not assault? That has always been assault. Jumping on top of them and attempting to pull off their clothing is not sexual assault? That has always been sexual assault. Putting your hand on their face so that cannot scream so that she thought might be suffocated and killed? That is not violence?

    As to their belief and state of mind at the time, if it was just “horseplay” why did they feel the need to conceal their crime by closing the door so no one could see, turning up the music so no one could hear, and then covering her face so she could not scream for help?

    I can’t imagine any person at any time who thinks that was just “horseplay.”

    As to changing attitudes, you seem to under the illusion that the MeToo movement is about changing the rules. Women and most men have always known the rules. Bad behavior was always bad behavior. The only thing that is changing is that some men are realizing that they are no longer privileged to ignore the rules. Kavanaugh and his friends were rich prep school football players who knew they could get away with anything. That you think this behavior is just horseplay makes me wonder just what kind of sick environment you grew up in.

    2slugbaits — apologist for violent sexual assault.

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