Data Paranoia Watch

Reader Anonymous (Oct 25, 7:34AM) cites approvingly a ZeroHedge “analysis” that asserts the BLS tweaked the data to make it look like there was a big shift in employment from part time to full time. Here’s the ZeroHedge graph:


Figure from ZeroHedge.

Is this the smoking gun for a conspiracy so vast that it has penetrated the upper echelons of the BLS, straight from the Oval Office?

In order to answer this question, one has only to go to the BLS data, easily accessible on the FRED website. To convince people how easy it is to get the data, here are the two URLs: Part Time and Full Time employment.

If one plots the series over a longer time span (Figure 1), say 2001M01-2013M09, one sees that in fact the shift is quite unremarkable (the ZeroHedge sample is indicated by the tan portion).


Figure 1: First difference of employment, mostly part time (blue), and full time (red), seasonally adjusted, from CPS. Tan shading denotes sample examined by ZeroHedge. Source: BLS via FRED.

Since the civilian employment and the labor force have tended up over time, it makes sense to look at percent changes; here I measure the growth rates as the first difference of log levels.


Figure 2: Log first difference of employment, mostly part time (blue), and full time (red), seasonally adjusted, from CPS. Tan shading denotes sample examined by ZeroHedge. Source: BLS via FRED, and author’s calculations.

The September m/m percent decline in part time employment is 1.94 standard deviations from the mean (over the 2001M01-2013M09 period), while the m/m percent increase in full time employment is 1.63 standard deviations from the mean. Given the variability the series, one would not reject the null hypothesis of the September outcome occurring by random chance at the 5% msl, even for the part time series.

So, no, no vast conspiracy to distort the data to make the Administration look good.

My question: Why do these right-wing paranoid fantasies persist in an era where everybody has access to a calculator, excel, and the internet? For another excursion into the paranoid delusional world of data-conspiracies, see here. (Actually, another question: why does anybody valuing their brain cells read ZeroHedge?)

For another paranoic episode, see here.

85 thoughts on “Data Paranoia Watch

  1. RB

    In a 2012 study of anonymity in computer interactions, researchers found that, while anonymous comments were more likely to be contrarian and extreme than non-anonymous ones, they were also far less likely to change a subject’s opinion on an ethical issue
    See here .

  2. rjs

    why does anybody valuing their brain cells read ZeroHedge?
    because, in their paranoid drive to prove their conspiracies, they often uncover information that most cursory analysis misses…

  3. baffling

    people read zerohedge for the same reason they watch faux news-those sites will reinforce their worldview and make them feel good. but alas, oreily, hannity and company are laughing all the way to the bank because they have a captive audience (suckers) who will buy their books. those guys get rich off the extreme right and love it!

  4. Bruce

    Is not the entirety of “history” (or “herstory” today) a revision of “facts” by the “winners” and thus favors a “conspiracy” by the “winners” to make themselves appear meritorious, enlightened, courageous, and worthy of being “winners”?
    Does not the same “conspiratorial” process of constructing an historical metanarrative relegate the rest of us to being “losers” because of our lack of merit (or “choice” of parents, geography, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, etc.) and thus our worthiness to be “losers”?
    What evidence have we that the Obummer administration, or any preceding Dumbya or subsequent Hillbillary adminstration owned by the bankster and Wall St. “winners” won’t “manage” economic data over which they currently have a monopoly so as to make themselves appear capable, legitimate, and worthy of our conferring singular power upon them to influence, i.e., dominate, our lives, for better or worse?
    The biggest “conspiracy” is the wildly successful attempts by the conspirator “winners” to convince us “losers” that there is no “conspiracy” to keep the rest of us as “losers”.
    The bourgeois professional middle-class managerial and intellectual castes are socialized, credentialed, allocated, and paid very well to enable and reinforce the “conspiracy” to keep the rest of us as daft, unenlightened, maladjusted, “losers” and “conspiracy theorists”. How convenient.
    However, don’t turn your back for too long on your fellows, and keep your lanterns well oiled, as the “conspirators” are everywhere, lurking in the shadows and in broad daylight (but be advised that Diogenese never encountered an honest man by all accounts, by day nor night); and one cannot know (rather, it’s a secret) from whence they will spring, or whether they are friend or foe.
    Ironic “conspirators” of the world unite!
    P.S. baffling, Inane Insanity, Rash Limburger, and Oh’Really? are well-paid, exploitative, mass-media clowns and charlatans who are used by the same “conspirators” who use so-called “Liberal” media outlets and personalities to keep us uninformed, misinformed, titillated, confused, bemused, and too often fearful and angry so as to divide and conquer the bottom 90-99% against ourselves, ensuring that no fundamentally radical change occurs for the benefit of the bottom 90-99%; it’s a brilliant strategy, admittedly, and it works because we permit it in plain sight with our eyes wide shut.

  5. Rick Stryker

    I’m not sure why some post on data from “Zero Hedge” merits this kind of attention. Why does this matter?
    Why don’t we look at some relevant data? Menzie may be interested to learn how Obamacare is working in his own stomping ground of Madison Wi.
    While the Administration is toiling away trying to fix its $400 million website, consumers can already use a website that works: ehealthinsurance.
    It’s instructive to check plans and prices for Madison, WI. If we use the zipcode 53706 and look for a 27 year old non-smoking male in 2013, we find 101 plans available. You can get a decent plan for around $100 per month. In 2014, when only ACA plans are available, we find that there are now 31 plans available. A catastrophic plan will run you $205 per month. But if you want to get a silver plan which would have been comparable to what you could have gotten in 2013, it will run you about 240/month or 2,880 per year. If the 27 year old makes 35,000 per year, the maximum he can pay is 9.5% X 35,000 = 3,325. Thus, there will be no federal subsidy.
    So, Obamacare has worked as expected in Madison, WI. Higher prices. Fewer choices.

  6. Rick Stryker

    So, since Vice President Biden claimed in 2010 that the economy would soon be be creating 500,000 jobs per month, will you also denounce that statement as stupid?
    Keep in mind that Romney said “should” while Biden said “would.”
    If I were your psychiatrist, I would think that my point about insurance in Madison is like an ink blot the caused you to free associate to thinking about stupidity. Indeed, your Id is trying to tell you something. Obamacare does indeed rely on stupidity to function. The Administration expects its 27-year old supporters to pay double their old premiums without question, rather than pay a $350 fine that will not bind unless their tax refund is at least $350.

  7. Joseph

    Rich Stryker: I’m afraid you don’t know what you are talking about. ehealthinsurance is not a reliable source for insurance information.
    That pre-ACA $100 plan (actually $108) you point out has:
    No prescription coverage
    No maternity coverage
    No preventative care
    No pre-existing condition coverage
    No guaranteed issue, you might not even be able to purchase this plan.
    You can get a plan on the Wisconsin exchange that includes all of the above for — wait for it, $109.

  8. Andrew

    Rick Stryker,
    You’re engaging in a classic disingenuous debating technique called “the red herring.”
    Since you cannot really answer Prof. Chinn’s post in any meaningful way, you turn to an irrelevant issue which Prof. Chinn rarely if ever talks about since it is outside of his blogging interests and/or possibly his professional expertise.
    You try to score political points by talking about how badly the ACA has supposedly been for Wisconsin (I don’t know whether it’s true or not, to be honest). Since you feel as though you’ve “hurt” the other side – Democrats, I assume – you feel satisfied that you do not need to address Prof. Chinn’s larger point about the rampant fraud in the Republican/conservative/libertarian analyst/wonk community, as exemplified by the popular Zero Hedge website

  9. Andrew

    @Rick Stryker.
    You also have one of the most dishonest analyses I’ve seen in the past few weeks. Your sin is that you compare apples to iguanas and make questionable – if not plain silly assumptions – and expect us to be swayed.
    First, you make the assumption that “more choice is better” when it comes to healthcare plans by pointing out how the number of plans on offer in WI goes from 101 in 2013 to 31 in 2014. This assumption is not only questionable but has been discredited by psychological and economic research, which shows that consumers’ ability to make informed choices breaks down if they have too many choices.
    Second of all, you compare a “decent” healthcare plan for a young man in 2013 to a “catastrophic care” plan in 2014. So the “catastrophic care” plan costs more than the “decent/regular” one? No shit!!!
    It’s also instructive that you focus on the one cohort that Republican talking points have focused on, healthy young men, while ignoring the effect of the ACA on people like women, children, the elderly, minorities, etc. In other words, everyone besides young healthy white men.

  10. Anonymous

    On Zero Hedge the starting assumption is that there is a great big conspiracy fudging and making up data. All work goes to prove that presumption, so no other explanation needs to be evaluated.
    The people following ZH are addicted to conspiracies and get a daily confirmation of their “truth” by reading it. That site is to the paranoid what Faux “News” is to the right wingers – a daily “feel good” reaffirmation fix of their alternative universe.

  11. randomworker

    Joseph and Andrew, I have been fighting the same fight over at NRO. I’m giving it up. It’s like holding the line against zombies – eventually they overwhelm you. Cynic, I am becoming. It is amazing how fact free the comment threads are over there. But to the point of this post, bring up a fact and they simply call the fact wrong – a conspiracy by an illegitimate President.
    Bruce, I worry about you! I’m sure you could care less about that but I will worry anyway! So I would be more sympathetic towards your arguments except when I go try to book a flight all the flights are full and I sit in the middle seat on a flight to Cleveland of all places for $700. I go to a restaurant there are lines and we wait an hour to sit down. I try to find a parking spot on Saturday by the REI store and I have to walk a mile. Kids everywhere running around with IPhones and IPads. My nephews are at the University and their mother is a worker like myself. In short, for a very great number of people, life is pretty good. Yes, we can do better for those less fortunate. You might argue there is cataclysm just over the horizon but life is always like that. In the meantime, people are interacting economically with each other and providing for their families. I don’t get all the doom.

  12. Owe Jessen

    I thought I might refute your result, but I can only confirm it – what we saw happens about every 8 years, where a theoretical distribution would let us expect it about every 10 years. Some pretty graphs and numbers at the link.

  13. AS

    Professor Chinn,
    Regarding your question about the lack of use of statistical analysis by readers of web and hard copy “news” to analyze data, do you think that perhaps statistics classes are not emphasized enough in high school or college?

  14. 2slugbaits

    Menzie If the GOP talking points about part-time work replacing full-time work were true, then we should expect to find evidence of an error correcting relationship. Since this is a bye week for Wisconsin football, any chance that you would be able to post an update to this post showing the results of a simple error correction model relationship between full and part time employment?

  15. stryker is baffling

    a young healthy male may have that cheap rate, but the problem is that young healthy male was not buying the plan in 2013-a perfect example was your son whom you so dutifully described. remember him, the deadbeat?
    but what if that young male had a previous health condition. perhaps diabetic, high blood pressure? a genetic predisposition to those problems was not of his own doing. what was his rate in Wisconsin in 2013? he could not even get insurance, or if so, at a price that effectively says “we won’t insure you”. now that person can obtain affordable insurance.
    the reason some young policies will rise in price is because the insurance companies were allowed to cherry pick only healthy people, and turn away the rest. that is not how insurance is to work-it is meant to spread the risk pool.
    now if you want to move to a model which is not health insurance, that is another discussion. but today, the ballgame is insurance.

  16. Rick Stryker

    It’s you that doesn’t know what he is talking about. The plan that you mention, Unity UW Health Catastrophic C, is a catastrophic plan available for $109.29 at That’s the very cheapest catastrophic available. It has a deductible of $6,350 and you must be under 30 to purchase it. You can’t compare that to a silver level plan.
    Let’s compare like to like. In 2013 in Madison, you could get the equivalent of a catastrophic, the Dean 5000 HSA, a catastrophic with a $5000 deductible for $40.37 per month. In 2014, the Dean Safety Net Catastrophic is $132.46 with a $6350 deductible on
    It’s not surprising that it’s that much more expensive, given that it includes the additional features that you mention, most of which are not needed by the typical 27-year old. But the new plan also needs to be more highly priced to achieve the policy goal of Obamacare, which is to subsidize the system.

  17. Rick Stryker

    I did answer Menzie’s post by questioning its relevance. You seem to think that some random post on unemployment statistics on some web site is evidence of rampant fraud of the Republican/conservative/libertarian community. That’s a ridiculous generalization. I for one do not believe government statistics are fraudulent and I don’t know anyone who believes that. This may surprise you, but I don’t believe ACA will induce employers to shift from full time to part time employment either.
    My point was that if you want to talk about rampant fraud on an issue that really matters, we need to focus on the dishonesty of the Administration and its allies in Congress in selling Obamacare to the American people. That’s what I’m pointing out. This is an issue that really matters.
    Just to take a stroll down memory lane. Here is the President demonstrating how easy it will be to use And here is the President solemly promising that “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
    These were promises that could not be kept, given the economics and policy goals of Obamacare. And they knew that at the time.

  18. Rick Stryker

    In your second comment, you reveal your left wing point of view by suggesting that more choice isn’t better, since consumers are just too foolish to make choices for themselves. I guess we need the experts to decide for us. Maybe the Dear Leader should make our choices for us, so we don’t get too confused.
    You are also wrong in your second point. I was comparing like to like. I was pointing to the silver plan in 2014. However, you seem to think that I was talking about a catastrophic plan, which you think should have been more expensive. It’s just the opposite. The catastrophic plans are the least expensive, because they have a very high deductible. The silver plan is the typical plan that people might get.

  19. 2slugbaits

    stryker is baffling I had considered reminding the Stryker family about the parable of the ant and the grasshopper; but I thought better of it when I recognized that Rick Stryker‘s likely takeaway from that parable would be that I was claiming insects could talk to one another.

  20. Rick Stryker

    Stryker is baffling,
    You are right about the reason that Obamacare policies have to be more expensive for the young. But you have missed the point. Rick Stryker Jr. was illustrating the typical reasoning a 27-year old might go through in considering whether the purchase an Obamacare plan. He doesn’t make much money and the insurance is expensive. He knows he doesn’t need it. He also knows that he can always buy it if he does need it. And the penalty is not very severe not to buy it.
    Even if he is a supporter of the Administration (much to my mortification), he has pretty strong incentives to go to Best Buy rather than purchase the plan. But Obamacare depends critically on young people subsidizing the system; otherwise, it will death spiral. The need for premiums for young healthy people to be much higher was never really explained when the plan was being sold.
    Maybe enough young people will purchase the insurance. We’ll see.

  21. Doctor Bob

    You are doing a good job, Menzie, keep it up. Speaking only for myself, I wish that you would not allow any person to post more than one comment or even eliminate all comments. I find comments by Anonymous and Rick Stryker annoying. They are not muzzled, they have lots of opportunities to get their opinions out on the Internet.

  22. 2slugbaits

    Rick Stryker He knows he doesn’t need it. He also knows that he can always buy it if he does need it. And the penalty is not very severe not to buy it.
    Hmmmm…so your point is that the penalty should be steeper, right? I’m inclined to agree.

  23. Bruce

    randomworker: “Bruce, I worry about you! I’m sure you could care less about that but I will worry anyway! So I would be more sympathetic towards your arguments except when I go try to book a flight all the flights are full and I sit in the middle seat on a flight to Cleveland of all places for $700. I go to a restaurant there are lines and we wait an hour to sit down. I try to find a parking spot on Saturday by the REI store and I have to walk a mile. Kids everywhere running around with IPhones and IPads. My nephews are at the University and their mother is a worker like myself. In short, for a very great number of people, life is pretty good. Yes, we can do better for those less fortunate. You might argue there is cataclysm just over the horizon but life is always like that. In the meantime, people are interacting economically with each other and providing for their families. I don’t get all the doom.”
    Annual change of real final sales per capita and real non-residential private investment less growth of private employment:
    Price of oil and real final sales per capita (2007 = 100):
    Real wages for production and non-supervisory employees (bottom 80-90% of the work force):
    Real wages and salaries per capita:
    Real personal income per capita less debt service:
    Annual change of real final sales per capita and imports less petroleum:
    Current conditions and prospects for Millennials:
    randomworker, thanks for the concern, sincerely. You’re correct to be worried about me, or the archetypal “me”, which is not too terribly unlike the bottom 90%+ of the US population.
    You could have made the precise same description of conditions in the winter-summer of 2008 and winter-summer 2001 when the US economy had already fallen into recession but few realized or acknowledged it, most especially economists, politicians, and stock market speculators.
    The banks have printed themselves $3 trillion in bank reserves via the Fed to liquefy their balance sheets, and the US gov’t borrowed and spent over $6 trillion, yet bank loans, deposits, and money supply less bank cash assets and US real GDP per capita are no higher than in ’08.
    Despite the reported decline in the U rate from 10% to 7%, 5-6 million Americans have left the labor force or fallen off the unemployment rolls since 2000 and 2007; otherwise, the U rate would be 11% and the U-6 rate would be 17%.
    The constant-US$ price of oil is three times the average before the onset of Peak Oil in 2005 and over five times the average from the 1970s to 2002.
    Auto sales and mfg. employment per capita:
    Consequently, the real purchasing power of wages to gasoline is 40-50% of what it was in 1990 and 2000, and 25% less than in 2008. It should be no surprise why fewer Millennials are driving or own autos: they and their parents cannot afford it.
    Finally, the purchasing power of wages (before taxes or price inflation) to the growth of debt-money (M2 in the narrow case here) has fallen 25% since 2007, 33% since 2000, and nearly 20% from 40 years ago.
    Given the facts, yes, please worry about “me”, i.e., most of us, as the US is no longer a wealthy, prosperous country for the bottom 90%+. Rather, the US has become a rentier, militarist-imperialist, one-party corporate-state that serves increasingly the top 1-10%. If history and human nature are guides, the US is evolving such that the economy and political system will serve exclusively only the top 0.1-1% at the expense of the bottom 99%.
    And these conditions are not the fault of one faction or the other of the elite political country club whose members own the plantation; it’s the consequence of the imperatives of the system and its inherent tendency to concentration resources, income, wealth, and associated economic and political power to the plantation owners. The system is an unqualified success . . . for its owners; everyone else and the planet’s ecosystem, not so much.
    Worriers of the world unite. We will have plenty of company in the years ahead.

  24. menzie chinn

    Doctor Bob: There will always be people who believe that there was no racial motive involved in the Vincent Chin killing, that the onus of the blame for WMD-based case for the invasion of Iraq does not fall on the Bush Administration, that Representative Ryan’s fear of imminent high inflation is still not disproved four years after the fact, that Asian-American flight from the Republican party has nothing to do with that party’s flight from science and its adherence to nativist views, and that arming teachers in grade schools is the way to go to prevent future Sandy Hook massacres. Rick Stryker is merely one person manifesting these ideas around and banning him would do nothing to stop other crazies from coming in under different names and different IP addresses. On the other hand, I do sometimes think about banning all comments, because such views are so reprehensible, but that is a decision that is not up to me.

    In the end, for me, Rick Stryker deserves our pity, not annoyance.

  25. Stryker is baffling

    Jr can only buy during open enrollment and life changing events. Not just anytime he needs it. Exactly how you buy insurance from your employer. Strike one.
    Obama has been very clear the need for the young to buy. That is how insurance works-spread the risk. The young still have health care needs as well, so they should have insurance. Strike two.
    And the vast majority of people can keep their doctor and plan. In particular if you have employer based insurance. It is possible individual plans may change, but most people aren’t on them anyway. And last year those plans could drop you at any time, not because of ACA. Strike three, take a seat with tj, corev, Ricardo et al.

  26. Joseph

    Rick Stryker: We already caught you in several mistatements (lies) so now you try to move the goalposts in an attempt at further obfuscuation.
    You said that an ACA catastrophic plan cost $205. It turns out that the truth is that it costs $109, an error (lie) of almost 100%. You complained about lack of choice, saying that the exchange only has 31 plans. The truth is that it has 85 plans, an error (lie) of almost 170%.
    Your first comparison didn’t work out so well for you, so now you want to change the ages. Previously it was a 27-year-old. Now it is someone older than 30? The catastropic plan comparison didn’t work so now it is catastropic to silver or siver to catastrophic of silver to silver or who knows what. It is just more obfuscution.
    Finally you concede that your previous “decent” healthcare plan doesn’t cover prescriptions, doesn’t cover maternity, doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, and has no guaranteed issue, all things that are covered by the new ACA plans that are similarly priced. Then you argue that the typical 27-year-old (back from 30-plus to the 27-year-old, I’m getting whiplash trying to keep up) doesn’t need any of those things.
    Really! How about guaranteed issue. Without that, many people can’t even buy your pre-ACA plan. That would seem to pretty important. How about pre-existing conditions? You think few 27-year-olds have any pre-existing conditions? Insurance companies are wonderful detectives of pre-existing conditions, even ones you didn’t know that you had. How about materity coverage, probably the most likely expensive medical cost for younger families and could easily cost $100,000 out of pocket with complications. How about prescription coverage, the second most likely high cost item for younger people?
    Really, Rick, as Big Daddy said “There is the powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room.”

  27. benamery21

    “Life-changing events”. If you need to game this badly enough, you could move across a state line.
    Honestly, this “Obama said I could keep my doctor/plan” nonsense is revealing in its literal-mindedness. Presumably these are the same folks who think that the earth is 6000 years old.
    “My Doctor retired, so Obama lied. My employer coverage changed before ACA — changing doctor network, so Obama lied.” Whatever.
    Menzie-I hope you have seen enough of my comments to understand that my Vincent Chin comments were neither ideologically nor racially motivated. As I was the only one here who pushed back on the racial narrative surrounding that watershed case, I would note that I did not deny the possibility that racial animus played a role in his death, I simply find sufficient (reasonable) doubt as to whether it did. I won’t re-hash my reasons here, and I apologize if you find my opinions reprehensible.

  28. rjs

    back to the ZH post; i’m guessing the seasonal adjustment threw the numbers off; from table 8A:
    the number of us employed part time “for economic reasons” in September rose by 15,000 to 7,926,000, while those who were working part time who didn’t indicate that they wanted full time work fell by a seasonally adjusted 372,000 to 18,967,000; oddly, the unadjusted data shows the opposite; that those who are working part time voluntarily rose by 1,472,000 to 18,848,000…

    ZeroHedge appears to have got their numbers from table A-9, which has different totals than A-8:

    now, i have a question, which i’ve been looking at since the August report:
    the unadjusted payroll data showed a gain of 411,000 jobs in August; the seasonal adjustment lowered that to 193,000 jobs gained, while this month’s unadjusted establishment survey data showed an increase of 602,000 jobs, which was lowered by the seasonal adjustment to the headline 148,000 job gain…conversely, the household survey showed a 604,000 drop in the count of the employed in August, which was raised to a loss of just 115,000 in the employed, while in this September household survey, unadjusted employment rose 142,000 to 144,651,000, and the seasonally adjustment lowered that to an increase of 133,000 employed…so, over the course of the past two months, the seasonal adjustment subtracted 672,000 from the payroll jobs recorded by the establishment survey, while the adjustment on the household survey added 480,000 to the count of those employed…

    why such a great divergence between the sessonal adjustments in the two surveys?

  29. Rick Stryker

    Well, I guess I’ve hit a nerve on Obamacare. I don’t blame you for feeling defensive about it.
    Dr. Bob wants me to just be quiet. Like so many on the Left I’ve known, he has swaddled himself in the warm blanket of intellectual and moral superiority. He apparently wants to chortle along with Menzie about alleged “right wing paranoia” while not being distracted by someone who is challenging them. He sure doesn’t want to hear about the fraud of Obamacare. In the echo chamber in which he lives, chicanery on the Left does not and cannot exist.
    Menzie is trying a different tack to shut me up. One tried and true tactic of the Left is to attribute to opponents positions they’ve never advanced, especially racially charged positions. For example, when did I ever deny that Vincent Chen’s murder was racially motivated? As I recall, my comment was to object to Menzie connecting Vincent Chen’s murder to Republicans and Romney in particular. In fact, I pointed out that it was Democratic politicians, working with the unions and a left-wing Democratic judge, who all made sure that Vincent Chen’s murderers were not properly punished.
    It is very typical of the Left wing point of view to make up some false views, mix them in with some real ones, and then label all of them “reprehensible” and the person who holds the views “crazy.” It’s much easier to discredit someone than to show that he is wrong. That will certainly work on some, but in my world the evidence rather than emotional reaction or opinion decides whether views are true or false.
    There is a surefire way to shut me up however. Prove that I’m wrong using data, arguments, and analysis. That will shut me up. Unless you can do that, I will continue to skewer the fallacies, pretensions, and misconceptions of the Left.

  30. randomworker

    Bruce, thank you for your reply.
    I looked at all of your graphs. I admit some I do not understand. The ones I do understand are the ones that are generally supportive of the thesis of a middle class in decline. I completely agree with you. This is a horrific failure of policy that we need to take steps to reverse immediately.
    One America is doing quite well. Perhaps that is the America I see when I leave my house. It is a big America! And it is rich and prosperous and upwardly mobile. We don’t need to document that this America exists – we read about it all day on this blog, Brad Delongs blog, Marginal Revolution, etc.
    But there is a new divergence. I think mainly caused by a failure of tax policy. The rich get richer and tax policy is one way we used to be able to make adjustments but that is impossible now.
    I came of age during Reagan’s “trickle down” years. I had 3 part time jobs. No insurance. I got sick and had to pay cash and work at the same time…the same sickness that now, 30 years later, prevents me from getting health insurance on the open market. Eventually things turned around but what is different today is that we have had 30 years of Reaganomics.
    I had a CETA job – remember those? They don’t have stuff like that anymore. I took college classes and worked at the same time and could pay as I went. That is a crazy dream now.
    Thing is, I don’t believe in the inevitability of decline. I believe we can avoid making the disparity in wealth worse, we can avoid declining median wages. But it takes political will, which we don’t have right now.
    Have a nice weekend.

  31. menzie chinn

    Rick Stryker: You are right — you didn’t deny the racist element in the Vincent Chin case, so I stand corrected; you just implied there were no racist elements in the other cited Republican-related events, including the infamous Hoekstra ad (you are free to defend now, if you like — I will be interested to see you interpret that as just a plain good ol’ boy view of the world). So, what about all those other issues I mentioned — arming teachers, and waiting and waiting for high inflation. So, I’ll continue to pity you. On the other hand, your continued participation on this blog is welcome to the extent that it drives traffic.

  32. Rick Stryker

    Yes, the penalty likely isn’t big enough. That’s a consequence of the fact that, despite the Administration’s efforts, will still live in a relatively free country. To contrast with other countries that imposed mandates, in Switzerland, for example, you can be fined 130-150% of the premium for failing to get insurance. You can also be jailed for misrepresenting insurance coverage. In the Netherlands, you can be fined 130% of the premium. In order to get even Democratic support for the ACA (much less Republican support), the bill’s supporters had to remove any real enforcement mechanism. We also have the Constitution standing in the way.
    Stryker is baffling,
    Rick Jr. can drive 20 minutes from his apartment in Northern Va and move to either DC or Maryland. He will then qualify to buy insurance in the new market without having to worry about his preexisting condition. That’s a hit, not a strike for me.

  33. Bruce
    Perhaps the BIG prosperous America you see is the one in which 40-85% of the $48 trillion in US financial wealth and 20-45% of $12 trillion in US income is received by the top 1-10% of US households (who also pay 70% of all federal income taxes).
    It’s possible that you don’t know that income inequality implies that the income and spending of the top 10% accounts for about one-third of GDP; but increasingly the spending is on foreign luxury goods and travel, as well as low-multiplier services, a growing share of which is associated with “managing” financial assets and avoiding taxation. If the income and spending of the top 10% does not grow at least 5-6%, the US economy will not grow.
    What you might not see is that the average wealth of the bottom 80% is $35,000, and their income is $45,000 (before taxes and debt service, i.e., “rentier taxes”).
    Perhaps you have not noticed that the US has not created a net new full-time private sector job per capita in 30-35 years.
    It’s possible, moreover, that you are not aware that 80%+ of US households live paycheck to paycheck, with an increasing tens of millions reliant on food stamps, even though they are employed.
    It’s conceivable that you also are not aware that US household formation has collapsed to the lowest rate on record at 335,000, a decline from near 2 million in ’11-’12, which simply does not happen in an expanding economy.
    If you’re in the top 1-10%, congratulations, you’ve made it; you’ve won; it’s all good.
    But in a zero-sum situation we have had since the late ’90s (and since the ’70s in real terms for the bottom 80-90%), the gains to the top 1-10% come at the expense of the bottom 90%.
    With the cost of energy, tuition, medical care, and food rising with no real, after-tax income and employment gains for the bottom 90% in 15-35 to 40 years, the country is poorer, even as the top 1-10% are demonstrably materially and financially wealthier.

  34. Rick Stryker

    No, I made no misstatements. You did not understand the argument I made.
    I was very clear that I was using the ehealthinsurance site, not I provided a link and told you what zipcode to type in, the zipcode of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was using the ehealthinsurance site because it allows us to make an apples to apples comparison of the same insurance companies in 2013 and 2104.
    If you go to that ehealthinsurance site, you will see that indeed the catastrophic plan offered in 2014 was the Physicians Plus MyMeriter Basic Plan for $205.22 per month, just as I asserted. The Dean Health Plan, Inc. Classic 2000 is a silver plan priced at $240.52 per month, just as I asserted.
    If you go to 2013, you will see that there are 101 health plans offered, as I asserted. These plans are offered by Dean, Anthem Blue Cross, United Health One, WPS, Physicians Plus, and Humana. And if you go to 2014, you will see that there are 31 plans, offered by Physicians plus and Dean. The reason for the discrepancy is that a number of insurance companies that had previously offered plans have declined to offer plans under Obamacare.
    That’s an apples to apples comparison. Cross checking against, there are 82 plans offered by Dean, Physicians Plus, Group Health Cooperative, and Unity. The latter 2 companies were not included in either 2013 or 2014 on the ehealthinsurance site.
    You are very confused about everything else. I was not changing the ages but merely pointing out that you can’t get a catastrophic plan if you are 30 or over under ACA.
    You are not telling me anything new by mentioning all the new mandated coverage. I have known for some time that the ACA plans would have to be more expensive because of the mandates, despite the Administration’s claims to the contrary. I was using the ehealthinsurance site to demonstrate that the plans are in fact more expensive and less prevalent, just as I predicted they would be. Higher prices, fewer choices.

  35. Robert Hurley

    As someone who does not pretend to be an economists, but who is interested in learning about the data that backs up theories, I like allowing the Strikers of the world to post here. I think their responses makes it clear that their ideology or personality prevents them from changing their views based on evidence. My question is is there any amount of evidence that would change their minds. I suspect not. Does this rigidity appear in other areas of their lives.

  36. stryker is baffling

    rick stryker, you were thoroughly refuted on your obamacare hysteronics. and we’ll beat you down again when you speak lies and half truths. i can go all day.

  37. Rick Stryker

    Menzie, it sounds like you want me to confess my sins. OK, then, I’ll confess my 12 major sins. I should warn those with a left wing disposition that they may not want to continue reading–this is crazy, reprehensible stuff coming. Don’t be annoyed if you do keep reading. Just remember to pity me.
    Forgive me Professor Chin for I have sinned. It has been 4 years and 9 months since my last confession. I confess to the following trangressions:
    1)I confess to having linked to youtube videos showing that all the major Democratic politicians fully bought in to and supported invading Iraq.
    2)I confess to defending Ryan’s points on inflation, which are the same points that Professor John Taylor of Stanford University and others have been making. I confess to pointing out that Professor Martin Feldstein of Harvard University holds similar if not stronger views.
    3)I confess to asserting that Asian-American students are discriminated against in admissions at universities and to pointing to a study by a Princeton University sociologist to support my claim.
    4)I confess to providing evidence that school shootings also happen in countries with very tough gun control laws. I confess to arguing that the average citizen should be armed if he or she wants to be. I confess to advocating that teachers be armed with the appropriate training if they want to be. I confess to linking to newspaper articles documenting the many crimes that are prevented by armed citizens. I confess to the view that crazies like to attack people that they know are unarmed.
    5)I confess to having argued that the stimulus was ineffective, on empirical grounds since government spending didn’t go up much and on theoretical grounds, since modern new keynesian models would require expected inflation to rise, which we have no evidence for.
    6) I confess to defending Romney against unfair attacks, such as the suggestion that expecting 500K jobs is somehow silly, especially when VP Biden has gone even farther without censure. I confess to having scaled the BLS employment data to the size of the labor force to show that 500K increases given the size of the current labor force are not so unusual historically if you use all the available data.
    7)I confess to documenting Krugman’s poor forecasting record and to linking to Ferguson’s articles on the same.
    8)I confess to pointing out Obamacare’s many flaws, and to having backed up those arguments with calculations and evidence.
    9)I confess to accusing left-wing UMASS economists Ash and Pollin of unfairly attacking Reinhart and Rogoff. I confess to suggesting that they do not understand panel data econometrics. I confess to suggesting in the Deaton controversy that Ash misunderstood the Stata manual and that he does not seem to know what a weighted regression is. I am ashamed to have written down the econometrics to buttress my claims.
    10)I confess to having denied that man-made global warming is a problem, based on the forcing evidence.
    11)I confess to having supported the school voucher program in Lousiana and to linking to videos, a Facebook page, and articles showing how valuable the program has been to the parents.
    12) I confess to the view that the Administration’s very bad policies have been responsible for making the recovery weaker than it otherwise would have been.

  38. Rick Stryker

    stryker is baffling,
    Well you have a lot of spunk, I’ll give you that. After what just happened, you are going to beat me down if I try it again? You remind me of that great scene in Monty Python’s “In Search of the Holy Grail.” The video is available here. To properly interpret this scene, think of me as King Arthur and yourself as the Black Night.
    By the way, some correct spelling would be nice. Hysteronics?

  39. Joseph

    Rich Stryker: So your excuse for your misleading and incoherent tirade about the ACA is that you used an unreliable website as your data source? I’m eagerly awaiting your tirade about raging inflation based on data from the Shadowstats website. It should be equally informative.

  40. Hans

    I agree with, Professor Chinn, that ZeroHedge suffers from a lot of lack of credibility…
    Good advice, Ottnott, on Short’s website.
    Doctor Bob, ( aka Dr Dick? ) today’s censor, tomorrow’s executioner?

  41. 2slugbaits

    Rick Stryker You forgot to confess your most serious sin: shockingly bad judgment. Regarding the RR/HAP debate you mistakenly think that the argument was over whether or not economists sometimes apply fixed effects weights to pooled data. That was never the issue. The issue was whether or not it made any sense in a particular context. That’s a judgment issue. You argued (preposterously) that Lazear and Yellen were saying pretty much the same thing. That was another case of misunderstanding the English language, which suggests some deficiency with that part of the brain that controls judgment. You argued that Krugman was supported the Iraq war because of some crude military Keynesianism. Again, more evidence of not connecting with the English language because of impaired judgment. And while what V-P Joe Biden said was indeed stupid, he didn’t actually say what you claimed. What he said was:
    “All in all we’re going to be creating somewhere between 100[,000] and 200,000 jobs next month, I predict,”
    (It was actually 229,000)
    Biden then went on to say:
    I’m here to tell you, some time in the next couple of months, we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month.”
    There is a big difference between saying the economy will produce between 250K and 500K jobs a month and saying the economy will create 500K jobs a month. The only way those two statements are equivalent is if you also believe Yellen and Lazear were saying the same things. BTW, that next month after Biden’s statement the economy added 521K jobs. So this is yet another example of badly misunderstanding the English language because of your impaired judgmental faculties.
    You and other members of the Stryker family also seem confused about the idea of liberty. You confuse liberty and libertinism. Your son and brother are libertines and free riders. Accepting penalties to discourage free riders is not a limitation of freedom in any adult understanding of the word “freedom.” Your idea of freedom resembles a teenager’s understanding of the word. That’s probably why people eventually grow out of Ayn Rand and Robert Nozick. It’s just a phase that people get beyond. And we feel a sense of pity for those who do not grow out of this stage.

  42. stryker is baffling

    stryker, a few responses to your chucklingly funny list:
    2. Ryan, Taylor and Feldstein on inflation. so you invoke names to support your belief. show me the inflation over the past five years? you can’t keep saying “it will come”. at some point we will have higher inflation, but obviously not from the causes you have claimed. five plus years is a very long time to be wrong. even a broken clock is more accurate.
    5. ineffective stimulus because government spending did not go up much? then why is the conservative base griping about out of control stimulus spending? as many have argued, the stimulus was not enough. you can’t put out a house fire with a cup of water. and contrary to what occurred during reagan and bush recessions, our state, local and federal employee numbers shrank during the recession-this had an adverse effect on the stimulus and gdp. unless you believe in expansionary austerity-just take a look at the periphery of europe to see how that worked out. and no inflation was expected in the liquidity trap-that was right wing talk-see your point 2.
    7. Krugman’s predictions have been rather robust-unless you deny the existence of the liquidity trap. ferguson, on the other hand, has had a pretty poor forecasting effort. do not confuse his writings on the economy, which were just reporting in real time what was happening, with his inflation predictions-which were plain wrong.
    8. your criticism of ACA has been half truths and outright lies. like your brother and son getting insurance only when they need it-but ignoring the open enrollment requirement. fictitiously moving out of state is a cop out argument. i’ll simply report them to the irs 🙂
    10. can you show me definitive evidence against man made warming?
    12. the administration is at fault for the slow recovery? i guess the teabaggers continued threat to shut down government wasn’t a problem. or the constant obstructionist behavior of the GOP to resist any effort by obama to improve the economy under his watch? let’s continue with the obstruction of the yellen nomination.
    come on ricky, leave lala land and return to reality! truth denial is just bad medicine.

  43. Rick Stryker

    Thanks for your comments, but I wasn’t putting all that stuff out for debate. I thought it would be amusing and instructive to write down a list of views that Menzie thinks are reprehensible, crazy, and deserving of pity. I wasn’t going to comment again but thought I’d reply to you one last time.
    Menzie has told us that there’s no point banning me since the technology can’t prevent me or people like me from getting our views back in. He also sometimes thinks it might be worth it to close all comments just to suppress views that he finds reprehensible. But it’s not up to him he says.
    I can’t tell you how much I despise these sorts of authoritarian, anti-intellectual attitudes. I find Menzie’s hostility to free and open discussion appalling. I liked to comment on this blog since it seemed like a place where people with very different views could contend with each other. But I don’t want to comment on a blog in which the host calls views he disagrees with “crazy,” “reprehensible,” and “deserving of pity.” And I certainly don’t want to comment on a blog that tolerates views to the extent that they “drive traffic.”
    Dr. Bob is right–there are other outlets.
    2slugbaits, thanks for your comments. I’ve enjoyed them. Keep up the fight on your side–I know you will.

  44. john jansen

    Professor Chin,
    This could be the only time I ve ever agreed with you. ZH is the blogspheric equivalent of the World Wrestling Association.

  45. wilson I nelson

    For all the bashing of right wing conspiracy fools
    Look at this clip and tell me why people should be laughing and being smug to alternate thinkers.
    From 29 minutes on….
    There is more here than a Wharton mba degree.
    Zh is for people that want to save their capital that’s it.
    Mainstream economics has never ever shown me a trend change is coming.
    So what’s it’s value?

  46. menzie chinn

    Rick Stryker: Point by point:

    • (1) It’s not the voting, it’s the distortion of intelligence, including “aluminum tubes” and “curveball”.
    • (2) Inflation is falling. Wrong is wrong.
    • (3) I take it from your silence that you thought that Pete Hoekstra (R) ad was just peachy-keen.
    • (4) So average citizen should be armed — up to what level? TacNukes?
    • (5) If government spending didn’t go up much why do you argue for bigger reductions in government spending and employment — and are NK models the only models in town?
    • (6) Look at the data over the past two decades and do a histogram — how often do you see the 500,000 m/m job creation (expressed in percentage terms)?

    On (7)-(12) I don’t recall weighing in. But on (10), I’m just going to leave it stand for all to consider.

  47. CoRev

    Menzie takes on Stryker and then leaves this pile: “But on (10), I’m just going to leave it stand for all to consider.” This was 10: “10. can you show me definitive evidence against man made warming?”
    I see definitive evidence of man made warming every time I drive into the small town where I live. I can measure 1-2 degrees of warming nearly every day, and when I drive into the megalopolis near by I can measure 2-4 degrees. All of it is Urban Heat Island heating, and clearly man caused.
    What you will not find is a measured amount for anthropogenic Green House Gases. This is what I interpreted R Stryker to mean. I also interpret your comment to ignore UHI heating. Am I wrong?
    What you will not find is any measurement for

  48. corev is baffling

    your quote of 10 was my response to strikers questioning of man made global warming. and the statement still stands:
    “can you show me definitive evidence against man made warming?”
    yes we know the earth has natural, although not well defined periodic, cycles of hot and cold. we have had ice ages with ocean level drops and hot ages with much higher ocean levels. so we absolutely know this variation exists-but not exactly the causes.
    but we also know that there has been a measurable increase in land and water temperatures over the past couple of hundred years. drastic, no, but an increase nevertheless. and this has coincided with the industrial revolution and resulting increases in greenhouse gases. cause and effect? still working on that, but right now the data indicates that an increase in greenhouse gases has occured in conjunction with increased worldwide temperatures.
    now you can argue we are not causing this rise to occur, but the data favors those arguments which include man made effects on global temperatures. and the mathematical models do favor the idea of increasing greenhouse gases result in increased global temperature. we have seen historical data which correlated high levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases with higher global temperature levels in past hot ages. irregardless of source, the data indicates high levels of greenhouse gases correspond to higher temperatures. perhaps we superimpose man made warming on a natural cycle-this still does not change the position.
    so once again, show me definite evidence against man made global warming. right now that is not what the data indicates.

  49. CoRev

    Baffled, on this subject you truly are baffled. Do you not read well, too? I gave a clear cut example of measured man caused warming. All global temperatures are calculated form these local readings, so clearly there is man caused warming.
    Since you want to believe the data, are you aware we are approaching nearly 17 years without any? Are you aware that we have multiples data sets that show this: Beware pf the source the data is from Dr Richard Alley. His data is verified with this even longer Vostok look at the interglacials:
    I believe that there is some man caused warming. I do not believe that all warming is from CO2, let alone ACO2. The data is far from supportive on that. If that is what you believe then you need to study more, because few climatologists will make such a claim.

  50. benamery21

    Baffling, you may want to google corev on this subject and site. He’s a climate change troll. There’s no point in responding to anything he says on the subject. It’s like an etch-a-sketch.

  51. gofx

    I wonder if we should look at the JOINT distribution of these outcomes to assess the “rarity” of the September 2013 result. I downloaded the data and tried to replicate the chart for d[log (full)] and d[log(part)] and I get the same looking chart as you do, but my numbers seem different. For example I get , for September 2013, +.003 and -.009 for dlogfull and dlogpart respectively. I only see 7 occurrences where dlogpart, rounded to three decimals, is -.009 or less (more negative). And of these 7 instances, the .003 dlogfull increase is the fourth highest. Over your time period the correlation between the two is -.47. No time to do confidence ellipse. A scatter plot shows the September outcome as somewhat rare, but not unprecedented. I don’t know how to upload graphs. Maybe you can see better with your data. Also, I am not sure on the labeling of your second chart “log first difference in employment” in the text box and the caption, since it’s the difference in the logs.

  52. menzie chinn

    gofx: Well no time to do the analysis now, but “log first difference” means “first difference of logged values”, in econometric circles I travel in.

  53. CoRev

    Benamery, do you have something specific in what I wrote to which you object? The science is changing. Here’s just one example. In 2007 Dl Lockwood wrote: “ — “…Instead the findings put the blame for climate change squarely on human-created carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases—reinforcing the beliefs of most climate scientists. ”
    He now says this. Real risk of a Maunder minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ says leading scientist — “Based on his findings he’s raised the risk of a new Maunder minimum from less than 10% just a few years ago to 25-30%.
    And a repeat of the Dalton solar minimum which occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and poor summers, is, according to him, ‘more likely than not’ to happen.
    He believes that we are already beginning to see a change in our climate – witness the colder winters and poor summers of recent years – and that over the next few decades there could be a slide to a new Maunder minimum.
    Please keep up with the science. He is far from alone in making these statements/conclusions. Your personal attack shows your lack of knowledge.

  54. corev is baffling

    i already acknowledged there is a natural variation which does affect global temperatures. but you must acknowledge that a man made effect may be superimposed on this variation. at times these two effects will cancel each other out, and at other times they will reinforce each other.
    a slide into a new maunder minimum is possible-i don’t dispute that. but it would have the effect of masking man made warming to deniers like you. and when you emerge from that minimum, the effects of those green house gases built up over the years are no longer countered by the minimum-and then you see the effects of the warming, possibly quite strongly. the effects were there all along, just countered for a few years by a stronger natural cycle.
    corev, you need to think in the bigger picture. once you understand the two (or more) possible sources of temperature variation, you have a much better understanding of the possible outcomes. just requires that you think about the situation.

  55. CoRev

    Baffled? I’m: “deniers like you.”????? Denier of what specifically? What part of: “I believe that there is some man caused warming. I do not believe that all warming is from CO2, let alone ACO2.” How does that differ from your own views?
    Furthermore you claim there are “… two (or more) possible sources of temperature variation…” Two or more? We know that the two main causes are the Sun and ocean multi-decadal oscillations, care to add a couple of more easy ones to show the depth of your understanding? Care to list the GHGs, explaining which is the most prevalent? (Hint, it isn’t CO2.)
    Just what is frightening about an ~0.8C rise in temperatures since the LIA. Of that 0.8C how mush is from mankind? Certainly not all, since you admit that are natural variations.
    Did you even look at the graphs I provided earlier?

  56. corev is baffling

    corev, if i have a natural cycle that decreases the temperature 10, and a man made effect that increases the temperature by 5 degrees, I get a net effect of 5 degree loss in temp. now if my man made effect is cumulative, its effect will not decrease in time. my natural cycle will vary, and eventually it no longer decreases my temp but enters an increasing cycle by 5 degrees. my man made effect has not gone away, and has continued to increase. now i am up 5+5=10 degrees of warming.
    you still had man made global warming, even in the cold spell. these types of behaviors are not mutually exclusive. the temperature is higher than it would naturally have been-even if the overall temperature is dropping. but it amplifies the temperature during natural high cycles. think superposition to see first order effects. it is not rocket science.

  57. corev is baffling

    corev, the blog link you provided is quoted:
    “It is worth stressing that most scientists believe long term global warming hasn’t gone away. Any global cooling caused by this natural phenomenon would ultimately be temporary, and if projections are correct, the long term warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would eventually swamp this solar-driven cooling.”
    did you even read the link YOU provided?

  58. CoRev

    Baffled, you keep repeating the same thing. It’s not new. We are saying essentially the same thing. I believe that man is causing some warming!!!!! What’s so hard to comprehend in that statement? You say the same thing.
    Wiggle watchers get all excited over the past ~135 years of recorded measurements. But this is the actual “long term” NH view of this interglacial: I’ve already shown you the SH, Vostok, even longer record confirming the interglacial patterns.
    As for the pro-forma comment in the study, I never claimed he was totally turned. Only his views are now supporting the reality of the current ~17 year hiatus. BTW, that statement is almost de riguer even when the subject is not GW.
    Will there be another warm wiggle upward? Absolutely! Will that peak be lower than the current peak? Probably! And still you can claim an underlying man-caused component to warming. Its just all the other extreme claims that are failed/ing. You’re not wrong in your analysis, just don’t exaggerate its import.

  59. fladem

    Most people who follow economics read ZH – it is like a scandal sheet.
    It is full of people who have been nothing but wrong over the past 5 years – and it is amusing to see them double down on the same wrongheaded read of the economics.

  60. gofx

    I cannot believe the hubris of those of you who are so sure that “the science is settled” and that man-made global warming is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Don’t you remember your econometrics or statistics classes? Good grief, have some humility. Those of us who have done forecasting for a living, and have had to explain, defend, score, and revise our forecasts learn humility awfully quickly. “Forecast – Actual” is quite a humbler. Apparently not so for the warmists. You conveniently hide behind the long forecast horizon, never having to really confront “actual vs. forecasted.”. And you interpret any short term realizations as supporting warming theory regardless of what those observations are! Hockey stick not working for the mean, lets switch to a volatility forecast (“climate change”).
    Remember “measurement error”? In the dependent variable(s) (what is “global warming “?) and the independent variables? Ice cores vs. tree rings? Heat islands? Changes in measurement station locations and technology? Do you remember not having a lot of degrees of freedom, missing data, short data series, small samples, imputed data, sampled data? Do you remember left-out variable bias? Oops, where are the clouds. Do you remember issues on functional form? Do you remember overfitting a model and having it forecast poorly? Do you remember pretest estimator bias? Heck, do you remember randomness!? I could go on …… Anyone can “calibrate” a collection of linear and nonlinear models to actual observations, but this doesn’t necessarily make sense or a great forecast.
    Then finally, can you at least consider the possibility that a warmer planet (whatever the cause) is preferable over certain temperature ranges to a colder planet. That technical progress via human freedom, not coercion is much more likely to improve our ability to understand, adapt, and prosper on this planet.
    You should be humble about your projections, because you have a lot to be humble about.

  61. fladem

    Rick Stryker’s argument are typical of the complete dishonesty behind many of the attacks on Obamacare.
    For example, you can’t make an apples to apples comparison UNLESS YOU CONSIDER THE SUBSIDY. A hypothetical 27 yr olds out of pocket costs are dependent on their income, as anyone with passing familiarity with the law knows.

  62. CoRev

    gofx, this tongue in cheek comment describes the current AGW situation: ”
    Bill | October 30, 2013 at 7:46 am | Reply
    Very biased title and presentation. The proper way to ask the question is “what is the matter with the data for not matching the model output?” We know the models are correct since the people that came up with them tell us they are correct and there is some physics in the models. Why should we expect the models to change just because they don’t match the data? This is data-centric thinking, which I am sure is probably some form of discrimination and therefore should be illegal. If it wasn’t for you “darn deniers” with your negativity pointing this out all the time, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
    From here:
    That’s Dr Judith Curry for uninitiated.

  63. Anonymous

    66 comments, almost none of which relate to the OP.
    At worst, zerohedge is guilty of not showing the appropriate time frame, and I am guilty for biting on it. Krugman did this when he bashed the baltics austerity recovery.

  64. baffling

    you say i overestimate man-made effects-but you do just the opposite. and then you can take the risk compenent into effect. which incorrect has the worst long term repercussions? which incorrect can quickly be reversed?
    a parallel to that is environmental pollution. there existed deniers and opponents to the cleanup efforts. do you recall the acid rain, smog, dead great lakes, burning rivers? the cost of money and time to fix these mistakes is much greater when you wait for the undeniable proof of existence. you may not like the EPA and environmental regulations resulting from clean air and water-but the other side of the coin was disaster. and you can see a complete repeat of this in China today. it in fact occurred in the past and is occuring again today. the risk of being on the wrong side of denial is very costly and damaging.
    gofx, your comments are a perfect example. if you are wrong, how much damage is done before you acknowledge that wrongness? will you pay for your mistake? i am willing to pay for mine with the higher cost of regulating greenhouse gases. your costfor wrongess will be significantly higher.
    “Then finally, can you at least consider the possibility that a warmer planet (whatever the cause) is preferable over certain temperature ranges to a colder planet. ”
    tell that to the millions of poor people living at and below sea level in southeast asia.

  65. CoRev

    anonymous, I am forever amazed at those who do not understand the fundamental economic issues associated with AGW. Taxes, environmental rules/regulations, Govt subsidization and tampering with the power/power generation sources are fundamental to the successful functioning of the economy. Those who do not understand this are removed from the reality of its negative economic impacts.

  66. baffling

    somebody also has to pay for the cleanup of many fossile fuels. unless we should be free to pollute anywhere and anytime? no cost for this, right? the acid rain damaged forest i grew up with did not exist?
    and somebody pays for the us navy to keep our shipping lanes open for the sea transport of oil, or is that free as well? is this not subsidized? economic and environmental consequences of oil spills?
    now who is really not understanding the fundamental economics at play?

  67. CoRev

    Baffled, are you really saying we need to do away with oil/fossil fuels and all their benefits and byproducts?

  68. gofx

    @baffling—You’re view is extremely myopic on several levels. First, what if YOU are wrong? What if your policies actually accelerate a cooling trend, even if its only short term, and we slide into a Maunder Minimum/ Little Ice Age with shorter growing seasons. Tell that to all the hungry and cold people in newly winterized lands. And that doesn’t count the opportunity costs of spending resources on renewable, the cost of compliance with AGW regulations, and higher energy and product costs. More on that soon.
    On a second level of myopia, what about the other “threats” to our existence? Is AGW the only one? Is it the most probable? Is it the most devastating? Should it be Priority One? Should we impoverish ourselves and devote massive resources against some other threat first? Because if we are wrong, you know, it could be curtains well before the AGW gets us. What about those asteroids that seem to be threatening us? I always thought that the astrophysicists knew with certainty if something was headed our way and if it would get us, but on that last one they said there was a “small” chance that we would get hit. Scary. Maybe instead of wind-turbine subsidies we need to subsidize a space-based earth defense system against asteroids. Maybe the next one will be bigger and it won’t just hit Siberia like the small one a while back. No? What if we are wrong? What about tsunamis hitting those poor people in south Asia about whom you are concerned? We always talk about nature’s catastrophic one or even one hitting New York (regardless of sea levels). And look what has happened in 2004 and 2011. Maybe instead of wind-turbine subsidies and higher AGW regulatory costs, “we” should be pouring all our resources into seawalls, relocations, and other adaptations and countermeasures to nature’s tsunamis. No? What if we are wrong? (And the bonus here, is that it helps against rising sea levels!) What about people who are starving NOW? Who are sick NOW? Should “we” take that marginal dollar that is subsidizing wind-power and use it to provide medicine and food NOW? No? What about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon and using it? No? What if we are wrong? Catastrophic volcanic eruptions and cooling? Maybe all our resources should go to predicting, and figuring out a way to mitigate that. No? What if we are wrong? Don’t go saying we should do it all—we don’t have the money or the time. I think AGW is a luxury problem.
    Finally, you “accepters” act as if the use of fossil resources is “free”. There are already tons of regulations and taxes, (and yes market prices!) heaped on the use of fossil resources. Utilities are known as “tax collectors”. There’s lots of unrelated taxes, universal service fees, energy efficiency program costs, regulatory costs; and of course, direct pollution mitigation costs that ALREADY go in your utility bills (and prices of all products we buy). The price you pay in your electric bill is already well above the marginal private cost of service, and I dare say probably above marginal social cost. Coal-fired electricity, especially under the current U.S. administration, is becoming underproduced in the U.S., not over produced. People are having trouble paying for energy and other necessities and products now in these hard economic times. Don’t make it harder.

  69. gofx

    @CoRev–Thanks for the link. Yes it reminds me of the expression or some permutation, “That might work in practice, but it will never work in theory!”.

  70. baffling

    corev, you are rambling incoherently. let the blood pressure drop a bit before any more activity.
    you are using a false argument. you want to equate natural perils to man made perils. if tsunami and asteroids hit, i have nothing to do with their cause. even if solar activitiy increases or decreases, i have no control over that outcome. but if my output of greenhouse gases influences our climate-I DO have influence over that outcome. hence i should aim resources at things i can control, not things i cannot control.
    “What if your policies actually accelerate a cooling trend, even if its only short term, and we slide into a Maunder Minimum/ Little Ice Age with shorter growing seasons.” the models and data do not suggest man made activities produce a cooling trend. if the data exists to the contrary, then you re-evaluate the situation. that is was a good scientist does. as of today it does not suggest this trend. and the maunder minimum has been associated with natural solar cycles-i cannot control that and cannot blame man made action on it either. stick to real man made problems.
    “Finally, you “accepters” act as if the use of fossil resources is “free”. ” Completely inaccurate statement. fossile fuels are not free-but they also do not price at their full cost. military to protect the oil and envirnmental cost of cleanup. add that into the equation-closer to the true cost-and all of a sudden fossil fuels are not nearly as competitive as advertised.
    “People are having trouble paying for energy and other necessities and products now in these hard economic times. Don’t make it harder.”
    but all you are doing is pushing the cleanup and security costs onto a future generation. somebody still has to pay for environmental damage and cleanup.

  71. CoRev

    Baffled, better reading skills plaease. Your response was to gofx and not CoRev. I asked you a question derived from your previous comment. For an economics blog your attack on one of the cornerstones of production, fossil fuels and its byproducts, is clearly totally out of touch with economic reality.
    Better, clearer thinking, in touch with reality trolls, please.

  72. baffling

    you are correct, my statement was intended for gofx-his statement was rambling.
    corev, i absolutely do not say we banish oil/coal/fossil fuels. but i am very clear that those industries receive significant subsidies in terms of security of transport and pollution cost. include those costs into the production, distribution and consumption costs of energy and you find fossil fuels are not nearly as cheap and beneficial as you would imply. there is absolutely nothing out of touch with reality in wanting to include these costs in an economic blog-unless you do not believe all costs should be included in an economic analysis.

  73. gofx

    @baffling. Gee I thought I had a well-organized 3 point post. You don’t appear to understand the larger decision problem or opportunity costs. Humans face threats to our existence. Some like war are manmade, some like earthquakes or asteroids are natural. It doesn’t matter if the source is man-made or natural. What matters is the probability of occurrence, the severity of consequences, and the cost of reducing the risk or damage. Just because you think a threat is manmade (AGW) doesn’t make it the automatic priority. If you live in Oklamoma should you put solar panels on your house first or build a tornado shelter first? You didn’t start the tornado nor can you control it, but you can allocate resources to reduce its impact on you.

  74. CoRev

    Baffled, I know you believe what you say, but when citing instances at least do the research to prove your case. IIRC the ratio of subsidies for fossil versus renewable energy is much higher for renewables than you imply. If you are going to troll don’t make simple mistakes.
    Smarter trolls, please.

  75. baffling

    corev, most people do not consider naval defense of sea lanes-especially for oil transport-as a subsidy. but it absolutely is a subsidy-and extremely costly. same goes for environmental costs. we spent a trillion dollars in a middle eastern war for oil protection-not nation building or wmd control. oil. that is a cost, in both dollars and lives, that somebody had to bear. maybe you need to educate yourself on some of these items.
    “What matters is the probability of occurrence, the severity of consequences, and the cost of reducing the risk or damage.”
    i cannot control any of that with an asteroid impact. and very little control for tornado strike. but i can control all of that with respect to man made global warming. unlike you, i won’t pee into the wind.

  76. CoRev

    Baffled, I can only repeat. I know you believe what you say, but when citing instances at least do the research to prove your case. So what percentage of your cited instances actually apply as a specific subsidy? Cite the researched source and amounts.
    You make the typical mistake of assigning all the costs for the (add your list of undesirable causes here), but the actual amount that could logically applied to the defense of each cause is fractional. In your world the Navy is never used offensively. It never has a humanitarian use, not a deterrent value. And, that is the most obvious list without really reviewing roles.
    Likewise for environmental costs. They are all fossil fuel based?
    Think instead of spouting the liberal talking points.
    If you are going to troll have the courtesy of applying brain power instead of just emoting, please.

  77. CoRev

    Baffled, I can only repeat. I know you believe what you say, but when citing instances at least do the research to prove your case. So what percentage of your cited instances actually apply as a specific subsidy? Cite the researched source and amounts.
    You make the typical mistake of assigning all the costs for the (add your list of undesirable causes here), but the actual amount that could logically applied to the defense of each cause is fractional. In your world the Navy is never used offensively. It never has a humanitarian use, not a deterrent value. And, that is the most obvious list without really reviewing roles.
    Likewise for environmental costs. They are all fossil fuel based?
    Think instead of spouting the liberal talking points.
    If you are going to troll have the courtesy of applying brain power instead of just emoting, please.

  78. gofx

    Battling. Of course you can mitigate asteroid impact costs—by preventing them if you would only spend resources on the defence system. Of course u can mitigate tornado impact damage by having a shelter; earthquake damage by having better buildings. BTW those shipping lanes don’t just ship oil, they allow all goods to be shipped—eveen solar panels!

  79. Baffling

    Corev, the war in Iraq was pure subsidy for oil. Not nation building, terrorism or WMD. Many costs, like environmental, are very difficult to quantify by the beancounters-so they simply don’t count them. But those costs do exist. Have the navy pull out of the shipping lanes for oil and see what the subsidy is

  80. benamery21

    Baffling: While I certainly agree that U.S. pump prices subsidize oil consumption, that is a much easier case to make than trying to include some defense costs as oil-related.
    1)In most states, gas is exempted from general sales tax
    2)Gas taxes cover only roughly 1/3rd of direct road costs in the U.S.

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