Caligula Trump Asks Who Will Rid Me of These Troublesome Economists

I have been remiss in not bringing people’s attention to this purge. From Politico:

Economists in the Agriculture Department’s research branch say the Trump administration is retaliating against them for publishing reports that shed negative light on White House policies, spurring an exodus that included six of them quitting the department on a single day in late April.

If you do not see a pattern in the bullying of Census, the extreme nontransparency of rules at BIS (Bureau of Industry and Security), and the attempt at Board-stuffing at the Fed, then you are blind.

141 thoughts on “Caligula Trump Asks Who Will Rid Me of These Troublesome Economists

  1. Barkley Rosser

    Probably they unwisely predicted that Trump’s trade policies would accelerate the closing of dairy farms in Wisconsin and soybean farms in Iowa, how silly of them.

  2. pgl

    Gee maybe Trump will appoint CoRev to be his economist at the Agriculture Department!

  3. pgl

    The title is disturbing enough:

    “Economists flee Agriculture Dept. after feeling punished under Trump – Reports showing farmers hurt by the president’s policies have drawn the ire of top officials.”

    Sonny Purdue is mad that his economists tell the truth? Figures!

    “The reports highlight the continued decline under Trump’s watch in farm income, which has dropped about 50 percent since 2013.”

    Who said this? Oh yea!

    “Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to increase $6.3 billion (10.0 percent) from 2018 levels to $69.4 billion in 2019. This follows a $12.0-billion (16.0 percent) decline forecast for 2018. In inflation-adjusted 2019 dollars, net farm income is forecast to increase $5.2 billion (8.1 percent) from 2018 after the forecast decrease of $13.9 billion (17.8 percent) in 2018. If realized, inflation-adjusted net farm income in 2019 would be 49.0 percent below its highest level of $136.1 billion in 2013 and below its historical average across 2000-17 ($90.0 billion). Net cash farm income is forecast to increase $4.3 billion (4.7 percent) to $95.7 billion. Inflation-adjusted net cash farm income is forecast to increase $2.7 billion (2.9 percent) from 2018, which nonetheless would be the second lowest real-dollar level since 2009. Net cash farm income encompasses cash receipts from farming as well as farm-related income, including government payments, minus cash expenses. Net farm income is the more comprehensive measure of the two, in that it incorporates noncash items, including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross imputed rental income of operator dwellings.”

    Oh gee – this needed serious editing by CoRev before it was released. First of all it should have only shown the projected increase from 2018 to 2019. Who cares about looking at these over the long-run!

    And of course CoRev will quibble about that definition of net farm income. It is what he does!

  4. pgl

    The last honest conservative – Bruce Bartlett – noted over 7 sevens ago that this was a Newt Gingrich trick:

    Gingrich and the Destruction of Congressional Expertise

    Bruce begins with how Newt tried to undermine the CBO and then noted:

    ‘This is typical of Mr. Gingrich’s modus operandi. He has always considered himself to be the smartest guy in the room and long chaffed at being corrected by experts when he cooked up some new plan, over which he may have expended 30 seconds of thought, to completely upend and remake the health, tax or education systems. Because Mr. Gingrich does know more than most politicians, the main obstacles to his grandiose schemes have always been Congress’s professional staff members, many among the leading authorities anywhere in their areas of expertise. To remove this obstacle, Mr. Gingrich did everything in his power to dismantle Congressional institutions that employed people with the knowledge, training and experience to know a harebrained idea when they saw it. When he became speaker in 1995, Mr. Gingrich moved quickly to slash the budgets and staff of the House committees, which employed thousands of professionals with long and deep institutional memories.’

    Doesn’t Newt sound a lot like Trump? Oh wait – Newt is working for Trump!

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ pgl
      Great recall and points to be highlighted, I take a metaphorical step back as a gesture of respect and applaud you.

      May I add Phil Gramm (with Republican friends) destruction of the SEC and CFTC. This was one of the things at the crux of the 2007–2008 crisis that many people seem to have amnesia on. And let’s not let our Democrats off the hook, like Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin making phone calls and trying to intimidate Brooksley Born. Brooksley Born was one of the first people to sound the alarm bells and wave the red flag on the derivatives and swaps crisis. I wish all of our “SJW” “heroes” on this blog who like to tag me as sexist knew who the F”k Brooksley Born is, much less remember her clearly, as this “sexist” does. A Jewish woman, hyper-educated, a mind as sharp as a master samurai blade who I greatly admire but none of our self-appointed carriers of the gender equity torch on this blog could possibly care less about.

      Lawrence Summers has multiple times proven himself an ASS and a believer in revisionist history when it shields his gargantuan ego, i.e when anyone dares tell Summers he’s WRONG. Brooksley Born dared to. BTW, Brooksley Born is 78 years old now, and UNLIKE Nancy Pelosi, still has quite a lot of active marbles rolling around in her head.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Yes, Moses, I at least know who she is, and I agree with you on her versus Summers and Rubin. Your only problem is your continuing idiocy vis a vis Pelosi.

    2. ilsm


      “The last honest conservative” how do you define honest? If by DNC/Obama standards of russiagate (longest weakest conspiracy theory since 1607) you oughta apologize to Bartlett.

      “many among the leading authorities anywhere in their areas of expertise.” This statement was not my observation of “staffers” making sure things like C-5, F-22, C-17, MV 22, F-35, KC 46…. a list old, long and growing were bought whether they worked or were needed. Expert staffers! Indeed.

      Years ago I was on the same airplane going to Atlanta from DC as Newt! He looked like himself, and he worked the economy aisle!

      1. pgl

        Bruce Bartlett is honest. Of course you would have no idea why almost everyone thinks so given you are compelled to spew worthless Russian bot gibberish at a faster pace than those Trump tweets. Any more incredibly dumb comments before Putin pulls your plug?

      2. Barkley Rosser


        “longest weakest conspiracy theory since 1607”? Really?

        Are you aware that while the Mueller Report does not say that the interactions between the Trump campaign and various Russians did not amount to a provable criminal conspiracy (while specifically avoiding any judgment on the matter of “collusion” as a non-legal term), it nevertheless documented in well over 100 pages massive amounts of efforts by Russian agencies, including the GRU, to influence the US election in 2016, with the Trump campaign openly welcoming this effort and providing information to the Russians to support it. Indeed, Mueller indicted a substantial number of Russians for their efforts, although none of them will ever be prosecuted, and many of them did come from official agencies such as the GRU. Furthermore, we have several members of the Trump campaign and administration indicted for lying about their interactions with various Russians.

        It may well be that Trump would have won the election even if the Russians had done nothing. That cannot be determined. But claiming that “russiagate” is the “longest ,weakest conspiracy theory since 1607” is just absurd. Would you say that the conspiracy theories that the US moon landing is a fake or that 9/11 was not really carried out by al Qaeda are more “stronger” theories than one supported by over 100 pages in a carefully done report that resulted in substantial numbers of people being indicted for their participation in said “weakest” conspiracy? Where are the people being indicted for faking the US moon landing?

        1. Barkley Rosser


          Correciont: the “not” in the first line of my post above should be deleted. The MR does day that the interactions did not amount to a provable criminal conspiracy, while also explicitly making it clear that nothing was being said about “collusion.” It is also the case that the MR made it clear it was not making a recommendation on the obstruction of justice matter because of the OLC ruling that a sitting president cannot be indicted. However, at least 730 current or former federal prosecutors representing both parties have clearly stated that if Trump ere not POTUS, he would be indicted for obstruction of justice and prosecuted, even as Trump clearly engages in more obstruction of justice by trying to illegally block all subpoenas for anything out of his administration, literally anything. This is absolutely unprecedented in US history.

          Some “weakest” conspiracy.

        2. ilsm

          Barkley Rosser

          There are no indictments. Mueller, the prosecutor or politically directed inquisition in the opinion of some had no authority to lament the fact that he did not achieve indictments. Mueller’s letter to Barr coming out the evening before Barr went to the House is suspicious!

          My observation includes: the democrats in the House are using supposed law enforcement and the institution of the hoiuse to drive a political agenda that has no connection to support and defend the US constitution. The vote on sensor was on party line.

          I suspect that whatever investigations to yield evidence for the Russia interference shibboleth were politically motivated, and therefore need to be exposed and prosecuted.

          What I do not understand: “what was Obama thinking”? First thought he expected to never need the results of the spying. Then I do not understand how the democrat thinktheir bluster machine can keep Barr form getting to the bottom?

          Nixon at least used GOP operatives, the deep state did not exist in 1972!

          1. pgl

            Deep State? Mueller as a political operative of the Democrats? Complete and utter horse droppings.

            ILSM – you have no integrity, no honor, and no real case. This is nothing more than Trumpian lies. Or were they commissioned by your boss – Putin? But hey – you do need to pay the rent so TROLL ON!

          2. Dave

            Barkley Rosser says:

            “There are no indictments.”

            Well that is just categorically false.

            Berkeley Rosser says:
            ” Mueller’s letter to Barr coming out the evening before Barr went to the House is suspicious!”

            There is nothing suspicious at all about it. It was on purpose. Mueller wanted his letter to be public before the House hearing. Why wouldn’t he? He strongly believes Barr mis-characterized the principle findings of the report. Don’t you think that is important?

            Berkeley Rosser says:
            “I suspect that whatever investigations to yield evidence for the Russia interference shibboleth were politically motivated, and therefore need to be exposed and prosecuted.”

            Berkely Rosser is either a Russian or a moron. Why not both? The Mueller investigation was instituted by Rod Rosenstein.

          3. Barkley Rosser

            Thanks, Menzie, for correcting Dave. He seems to have misread to whom the message was addressed as being the person who sent the message (to me), which was indeed ilsm.

            Adding to what pgl and Dave said, Mueller handed out the indictments as his group did their work. It included ones of something like 15 Russians, several of them identified as GRU agents. It is true that when his group finished they did not make any further indictments beyond the 30+ they had already made, which is plenty, with several of those indicted for lying about their interactions with various Russians. Collusion is just all over the place.

            I have no idea what you mean when you talk about “the vote on sensor.” Is this more overconsuming vodka again?

            Finally you seem to think that Obama ordered “spying.” By this you mean the FBI checking on Carter Page as a result of Papadopolous reporting on his links to Russian efforts to interfere with the election, which came before the Steele dossier showed up, a majority of whose contents have in fact been confirmed, although you would never know that from watching RT or Fox News all the time. As it is, all this “spying” seems to have been done by the FBI on its own without any orders by Obama, although it appears he was made aware of what was being found, which the FBI considered to be very disturbing.

            In any case, Obama obeyed the demand of Mitch McConnell not to make public the findings about Russian interference prior to the election out of not wishing to appear to be trying to sway it, even as McConnell himself has since accused Obama of not adequately responding to the FBI’s findings. Of course, McConnell would like to have “case closed” since he himself is guilty of part of the coverup of all this that happened, although with even the GOP-chaired Senate intel comm now subpoenaing Donald Trump, Jr., well, case is not closed.

            More generally ilsm, you are making less and less sense here with your continued off-the-wall posts on this matter. It has long since gone beyond being seriously embarrassing.

          4. Barkley Rosser

            To Dave, an apology from you is in order, although I am married to a Russian whose former student now runs the Russian central bank. But there I go again, name dropping. I also know people who have left Russia because somebody showed up in their office threatening them if they continued to criticize policies of V.V. Putin. But then, I also know people Bone Saw MBS arrested. I just know too many people.

          5. Moses Herzog

            Barker Junior’s a descendant of slaveowners, a descendant of confederate soldiers who he incorrectly remembers the rank of, and a friend of a friend of Russian central planners. Folks, you can’r beat that pedigree, so don’t even try it. That’s heady stuff kids.

            Hey Barker, listen to this, it’s your theme song. I think the guy in the video is a little young to represent you, but his facial expression and attitude seems to nail it.

          6. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Moses Herzog: Seriously, none of us want to look too far back into one’s history and be assessed on the basis of our ancestors. We should applaud people who face up to their ancestors’ past. For instance, Trump keeps on mentioning his father was born in Germany (wrong) while omitting the fact he was arrested for participating in a KKK march, and the fact that his grandfather was kicked out of Germany (or was it refused re-entry?). And we all have “friends of friends” we might not be proud of. So let’s stick with the views we do not agree with, as opposed to their affiliations (as they say, you can’t pick your family; and I hear one can’t pick who you fall in love with.)

          7. Barkley Rosser


            It was Custer whose rank after the Civil War I did not have right, not T.L. Rosser, who is not my direct ancestor, btw. That would be James Barkley Rosser, who was adjutant of the Crescent Regiment in New Orleans, also a Confederate officer.

            As it is, as I have also reported I was actively involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s to the point of getting an FBI file for it. But, I guess, that makes no difference.

          8. Barkley Rosser

            BTW, Moses, I am not just a “friend of a friend of central planners,” I have known most of the top Soviet and Russian economists of the last several decades personally. But then, as you have heard, I know a lot of people. I have been around, having given professional lectures in 33 nations on this planet.

          9. Barkley Rosser

            Oh, and Moses. You will have to forgive Menzie for trying to defend me. I mean, even though he is not descended from slaveowners to the best of my knowledge, he does live in Madison, WI, which is named for the same slaveowner my uni is named for. Heck, Jim H. had the right idea. He was working at UVa, which is not named for a slaveowner but was founded by one, Thomas Jefferson. So he moved to UC-San Diego, which is named for a non-slaveowning saint, although he was involved in converting the Guanche on the Canary Islands after the Spanish conquered them, so a colonialist imperialist, sad to say. At least Herbert Hoover was not a slaveowner, :-).

          10. Barkley Rosser

            Oh, and one more thing, Moses, on how you just have failed to characterize how bad I am. Not only have I been a friend of a friend of central planners, I am married to one. My wife, Marina, was involved with long run 25 year planning for the USSR at the time we got engaged in 1984, which was one of the reasons that government blocked us from getting married for three years, and her arrival at Dulles Airport on April 4, 1987 was the top story on CNN, a moment that showed that the perestroikaizing Soviet Union was going to finally honor commitments it made at Helsinki in 1975 to let people marry whom they want to.

  5. pgl

    Trump may need to shut down NBER too. Over at Angrybear, we see two reports that show

    “U.S. Consumers Have Borne the Brunt of the Current Trade War”

    In The Impact of the 2018 Trade War on U.S. Prices and Welfare (NBER Working Paper No. 25672), Mary Amiti, Stephen J. Redding, and David Weinstein find that the costs of the new tariff structure were largely passed through as increases in U.S. prices, affecting domestic consumers and producers who buy imported goods rather than foreign exporters.

    Pablo D. Fajgelbaum, Pinelopi K. Goldberg,Patrick J. Kennedy, and Amit K. Khandelwal adopt a different methodological approach to address the welfare effect of recent tariffs. They also find complete pass-through of U.S. tariffs to import prices. In The Return to Protectionism (NBER Working Paper No. 25638), they estimate that the new tariff regime reduced U.S. imports by 32 percent, and that retaliatory tariffs from other countries resulted in an 11 percent decline of U.S. exports.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      He will have trouble doing that as the NBER is not a government agency, fortunately.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Um, no, ilsm. You are really beginning to los it

        NBER is a private nonprofit entity in existence since 1920. The majority of its funding comes from private foundations, with Olin, Bradley, Scaife, and Smith Richardson prominent among those. It also gets money from people downloading papers from it, not exactly your average “US citizen getting the bill.”

        There is a small amount of fed govt funding coming from the Commerce Dept. This is for the NBER doing its official dating of recessions and business cycles, but this is a minority of its funding. So, your “US citizen” does pay for it a little bit. But mostly this is just a silly comment.

        Hey, your poor aggrieved average “US citizen” also pays for most of the hamburgers consumed in the nation. Should we make a big whoop about that?

          1. pgl

            Are you really this incredibly stupid or what? How many times do we need to remind you that NBER is a private organization?

      2. Menzie Chinn Post author

        ilsm: FYI, from NBER:

        Founded in 1920, the NBER is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to conducting economic research and to disseminating research findings among academics, public policy makers, and business professionals. NBER-affiliated researchers study a wide range of topics and they employ many different methods in their work. Key focus areas include developing new statistical measurements, estimating quantitative models of economic behavior, and analyzing the effects of public policies.

        1. ilsm

          The “developing new statistical measurements” reminds me of every year or so new statistics are “keyed” on for baseball teams outcomes……

          or more worthy of a smile the number of times we sat around looking at unit performance reports and trying new “measures”………

          “not for profit” funded by grants, and how work for DoC.

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            ilsm: It’s not quite the same. NBER figures out what metrics to use in determining a recession, but won’t make money off off of it.

            Sorry, you truly are writing on something you don’t know about.

            a NBER RA

          2. Barkley Rosser


            Yikes! You are still trying to score some points on this, ilsm? This is just a sinkhole for you, and Menzie is the person to put you deep in it.

            Just to give a few further shoves, I note that the “nonpartisan” in the description is for real, with it always having plenty of economists from conservative to liberal, Republican to Democcrat, and in between, associated with it. if anything, the criticism would be that it is too establishment, heavily weighted to respectable types from top schools but no heterodox weirdos, whether pushing MMT or a gold standard or something else unpublishable in a top 5 econ journal.

            And indeed, as for its orientation, if anything over the long haul since its founding, its top leadership has if anything tended to be more Republican than Dem, with both Arthur Burns and Martin Feldstein in charge of it for very long periods of time. Burns would be appointed Fed Chair by Nixon, and Feldstein was on the CEA under Reagan.

  6. joseph

    Speaking of “economists,” today Stephen Moore, who has spent an entire career saying stupid things, whined that there should be a “statue of limitations on saying stupid things” after which you have to give him a pass.

    You could generously grant him a limit of 24 hours and he would still be on shaky ground.

    1. pgl

      A statue of limitations would not be enough. He needs a full Presidential pardon!

  7. Not Trampis

    You yanks. It was Henry 11 who said who will rid me of this troublesome priest. The person was Thomas Beckett.

    If only the USA had an education system

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Not Trampis: Yes, I hope you’ll excuse me for mixing-and-matching references. I would’ve had a hint anyway, since no Catholic priests back in Caligula’s time. Just doesn’t sound as good to strike-out “Henry II”. Caligula is much more evocative. Apologies.

    2. Moses Herzog

      @ Not Trampis
      Vicious…… At least specify in more recent years. American education hasn’t always been that bad. I knew there was some porn film with Caligula in the title, does that count for anything??

      If we pick do we not bleed??

        1. Moses Herzog

          I don’t care what any of you say, Emperor Laurence Olivier was a real sicko. Some don’t know him because he came long after the others. Sometime after what classically educated Romans call “the Chuckwagon Period” but before “the Bell-bottom Dynasty”. But honestly, snails?? I mean REALLY!?!?!?!? I feel sick now.

          I can educate you people about many things–especially modern history. Not many people know this, but a very similar conversation to the one above between Emperor Laurence and Pool Boy Tony occurred very recently between donald trump and AG William Barr.

          If you have any more questions about world history put them in this thread. I have a very open door policy. But not to Pool Boy Tony. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  8. Not Trampis

    Come on fellahs. I was having a friendly joke.

    I have to say I am worried about the current administration.

    The President’s cognitive skills have declined significantly. Whether this is age or it has always been the case is stil a good question.
    His cabinet and advisors are not of a high standard.

    I am clearly worried by this. More so if the economy slows as is likely.

    This ( ) is the best description of Trump I have heard although to be honest .

    they were describing Kaiser Willhem 11!

    If I was a yank I would be worried , very worried

    1. Moses Herzog

      donald trump press release 11pm Tuesday 7th: “Fake news…… Fake news…… Fake news from ‘Not Trampis’…… our new economists in the Agriculture Dept came to my room tonight, and have confirmed GDP has moved up from 5 cheeseburgers to 6 cheeseburgers. And KFC drumsticks GDP has gone from 6 to 12. One of the economists made a mistake and earlier had said only 8 drumsticks, but I told him we’d send him back to his old job as Stormfront’s senior bookkeeper and he stopped saying the Fake news. This is something no other U.S. President has ever achieved. Also I just made a phone call to Betsy Devos, she has confirmed she is having a baby with Satan (Lord of Darkness as we call him at Mar-a-Lago) and she is taking U.S. war veterans’ education loan money to pay for her new chalice for babies’ blood. MAGA is proceeding as planned”.

      1. ilsm

        apropos to nothing…….. I have a red ball cap same color as the MAGA, but it is an Air Force “unit hat” worn with utilities in my olden day. I got a new one from a current airman.

        I wear it on occasion. I wWill get it out for tomorrow!

        Let them wonder!

    2. Willie

      I think we should all be concerned about what he might try to do. The saving grace that we must all hope for is that the institutions of this country are such that Trump’s mindless whims will not be carried out with mindless faithfulness to a man who is not worthy of any kind of faith. He doesn’t seem to have the ability to understand cause and effect. I disagree with you, however, that he’s much different now than he always was. I lived in New York in the 1980s, and he was a standing joke even then. He was a known fraud who should have been selling three packs of tube socks of hustling three card monte games on the Bowery. He was not a successful businessman, but he sure was a huckster and tawdry showman. Like George W. Bush, his multiple failures didn’t sink him because family wealth bailed him out. Unlike George W. Bush, he really is a racist swine, and demonstrated it regularly all along the way, including a public campaign to sentence some unfortunate boys to death for a crime they were ultimately proven innocent of.

      1. ilsm

        “Trump’s mindless whims”……. are so much less dangerous to US constitution and Bill of Rights than Obama’s “institutions of this country”.

        “Obama’s institutions of this country” ran politically directed “surveillance” and stings [money, booze and women] on the campaign of the other party.

        Who want to keep those “institutions of this country”?

        Hence ILO “deep state” I will use “Obama’s institutions of this country”

        What did Obama know and when did he authorize that?

  9. CoRev

    Man! I guess I have to add to the list of those heads in which I live rent free.

    I must remind everyone what I/we have been saying all along. From June 2018: “As a reminder, we have been saying soybean prices, especially annually, are affected by production amounts (harvest yields) and weather also affecting yields, as well as short term events such as tariffs.
    Or this one: ”
    June 15, 2018 at 4:59 am

    Menzie, as a scientist you are failing. You have shown a clear bias as Trumps Tariff threats and implementations as the MAJOR cause and a tendency to select only data and periods for it that support that bias. A longer look at the data shows USDA harvest projections have a higher and quicker price impact than trade barrier impacts. Don’t get me wrong trade barriers do impact pricing in the long run, but quick drop like this in recent history are influenced more often by harvest projections. Steep price drops occurred in 2013 and again in 2015 after USDA projected increased harvests….
    Menzie, you are letting your bias drive your research and not keeping an open mind to other causes. And, its getting worse! ”
    And this one from the same article: ”
    June 15, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Menzie, yes I saw that the drop started before the USDA projection. There is no question that the Tariff talk has/had an effect. Your point in these several articles has been that it is entirely due to Trump’s tariff threats/implementations. Some of the drop is due to Trump’s negotiations, but not ALL of the drop is due to them. That was my point, especially when we have seen similar drops after USDA projections of increases harvest yields. In one of my references was a projection that more corn would be used this year for ethanol.

    My main point was that objectivity was either missing or diminished in your analysis because similar price fluctuations are evident in recent history without tariff issues.”

    Menzie’s previous article showed how China’s soybean demand was being influenced by African Swine Flu in China and my response highlighted how weather and farmers’ planting decisions played major roles in the current Brazilian 2nd highest estimated harvest, supply.

    For an economics blog ignoring these fundamentals and solely blaming Trump’s trade policies confirms how easy it is to live in your heads. We are approaching a year now, since I entered these new living quarters. I must admit a couple are predictably untidy. 😉

    1. pgl

      And we thought ILSM was a babbling Russian bot? I guess there is a substantive point buried in your usual long winded babbling but to be frank – your babbling comments make me sleepy.

    2. 2slugbaits

      CoRev we have been saying soybean prices, especially annually, are affected by production amounts (harvest yields) and weather also affecting yields, as well as short term events such as tariffs.

      First off, the effect on prices of harvest yields and weather are idiosyncratic risks, which are insurable risks. And by “insurable” I mean that we can describe the statistical moments and adopt risk minimizing strategies. Soybean prices had been fairly stable for the last several years before Trump announced his trade war with China. Yes, we all understand that harvest yields, carryover and weather all affect prices; but those risks are true every year, not just the last year. And if anything, the harvest forecasts from mid-summer of last year should have put upward pressure on soybean futures because the concern was lower than normal yields due to a very wet spring in Iowa and Illinois. What we saw was a sharp drop that was exactly timed with Trump’s trade war threats. That’s why economists do event studies. For another thing, I don’t know what your definition of a “short term” event is, but soybean prices have been depressed for almost a full year. So I don’t think you can call the Chinese tariffs a “short term” event.

      My recollection is that you and PeakTrader were fairly confident that trade wars were easy to win and that Trump’s strategy would win out fairly quickly. Well, that didn’t happen, as many of us warned. Trump is a crappy businessman who loses over $100M each year and an even worse trade negotiator with the Chinese. He’s way out of his league. His success depends on his ability to sucker people. The problem is that President Xi isn’t a sucker, unlike the rubes who voted for Trump.

      1. pgl

        “Trump is a crappy businessman who loses over $100M each year”

        In some years, he lost a lot more than that. The man has been a fraud all of his life but at least he gets daddy’s money to back him up!

        1. Barkley Rosser


          Yes, he had daddy to back him up, but then daddy died. it would seem that this was what led him to start relying on all those Russian oligarchs. This may explain his obsequiousness towards V.V. Putin. The man is his replacement daddy.

          1. ilsm

            Barkley Rosser,

            You can do better.

            While Brad DeLong posts a report about US “soft power” declining. Reading the link and links “soft power” is influence directed to the nation’s other people, like what Goebbels did..


            My feel is “soft power” for the US is an issue because US is selling an arcane definition of a “Post WW II world order”, that was sold by Churchill.

            Whatever is alleged the Russians did, despite how no connection to effects is established, DeLong and crew think US should do better!

          2. Barkley Rosser


            My, you really are thoroughly soaked in vodka. I suggest getting back to drinking nice Arab cardamom coffee, or at least shai with lots of sugar in those nice little clear glasses they favor.

            “no connection”? Well, apparently Mueller obeyed Trump’s demand that a “red line” be set about his personal finances. But this looks pretty important given that his sons were bragging back in 2009 when Trump went bankrupt again and no US bank would lend him any money about how the Trump Org was getting lots of money from Russians, with it now looking like a lot of that was probably illegal money laundering, although that has not been fully investigated.

            And then we have the very late in the day revelation coming from Michael Cohen, apparently not investigated either by Mueller, about Trump’s efforts to get a building built in Moscow that would have a penthouse especially for Daddy Putin, with Trump openly lying about the details of this, not that him lying is anything surprising given that he has done it more than 10,000 times publicly since he took office.

            But, hey, we know that for you the DNC tilting to Hillary over Bernie and Victoria Nuland handing out cookies on Maidan Square are far more important than any of this, much less Trump rushing us to a war with Iran as fast and hard as he can. Hey, even your pals in Moscow are not too keen on that particular move.

      2. CoRev

        This 10 year SPOT (just for pgl) chart: is what 2slugs calls: ” Soybean prices had been fairly stable for the last several years before Trump announced his trade war with China. ” Notice the right % change range of 35-40% in the past 10 years.

        When 2slugs quibbles about his “past several years”, we can see how Trump both raised and stabilized the prices after his election. ~1/2 of Obama’s administration had prices near or below Trump’s prices. It was China’s DEMAND, not Obama’s trade policies that raised prices, even at its end prices dropped.

        2slugs also can not understand agriculture timing by asking what is a “short term” event for a product that is produced only ANNUALLY. Short term is multiples of these annual harvest.

        Furthermore, relying on your memory and you obvious confusion over farmers’ decisions (as shown above) and harvest cycles: “My recollection is that you and PeakTrader were fairly confident that trade wars were easy to win and that Trump’s strategy would win out fairly quickly. Well, that didn’t happen, as many of us warned.” Your definition of success is just as bad ad your understanding of politics. You are one of those political rubes who believes Trump needed Russia to win the election, when it was in fact a very, very poor candidate that you preferred.

        The next round of investigations will show us political rubes how unethically run, the illegal actions, and the actual coverup of HIllary and the democrats in the past election. I expect to see the dem-leadership perp walks as we near 2020 voting.

        1. pgl

          Wow – CoRev finally figures out how to find spot rates for soybean prices! Progress! But seriously – all he knows is that prices today are lower than they were 10 years ago? A two year old could do better interpreting this graph. Yes, soybean prices fell during the Great Recession and then they soared during the Obama recovery. Yea they started falling a few years ago from that incredible 2014 high. But the stabilization CoRev falsely gives credit for occurred during Obama’s last year.

          Now the operative data that Menzie has been noting is when the Trump trade war began. And since then soybean prices have plummeted. Of course CoRev keeps telling us that they will recover. Of course even a two year old looking at this chart has to be pee’ing in his diaper laughing so hard at CoRev’s utter stupidity!

        2. pgl

          Just posted a link to some Trump BS from July 20, 2018 on soybean prices. You know – you really need to stop defending this Liar in Chief as you will be amazed at his utter stupidity on this issue. But I’ll bet the ranch that you will never actually admit Trump is a lying idiot.

        3. noneconomist

          So, CoRev, you’re officially joining J. Blowhard Hambone in predicting many, , many thousands of indictments and ensuing military tribunals at Gitmo?

          1. CoRev

            Noneconomist, nope. I am predicting that the ongoing investigations on how and why the whole spying/surveillance/unethical political operation started will have interesting results. We already know several senior FBI and DOJ officials have been involved and some fired. Are indictments to follow? Yes! They will almost surely be for Democrat operatives and may point to how Dem party leaders assisted them.

            That is what I am predicting and I already mentioned when I think it may happen.

            IIRC Barr mentioned that there were 14 ongoing investigations.

          2. noneconomist

            So, CoRev, your “several” does not approach J. Blowhard Hambone’s near 100,000 indictments nor his firm belief that all those pending proceedings will result in military trials at Guantanamo, where massive construction is now taking place to handle the incoming traitorous hordes? (J. Blowhard is, after all, one of few to know this)
            At some point, perhaps you and/or J. Blowhard Hambone—strict constitutionalists that you are—might explain how federal court indictments could result in the accused citizen civilians being tried in military courts. Or if you believe the current FBI director is lying re: FBI spying.

          3. 2slugbaits

            CoRev We already know several senior FBI and DOJ officials have been involved and some fired.

            Only the ones who trash talked Trump. The FBI agents who trash talked Clinton still have jobs. And the two FBI agents who trashed Trump didn’t restrict their comments to just Trump. They also blasted Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton; however, you never get that side of the story from Fox News…only that they said mean things about Trump.

            They will almost surely be for Democrat operatives and may point to how Dem party leaders assisted them.

            Well, we already know who two of the fourteen are and they aren’t Democrats. We do know that Don, Jr is not one of the unknown twelve. How do we know that? Because the Mueller report said that he would have indicted Don, Jr except for the fact that he was so stupid that he probably didn’t realize that what he was doing was illegal. So with the Trump family stupidity is a valid defense.

          4. Barkley Rosser


            Actually you are too low by almost an order of magnitude. JBH has informed us that the omniscient Q is reporting that the number of sealed indictments is around 950,000, quite a bit more than the 100,000 you credited him with. And all these people will be sent to Gitmo! So cool.

            Also, unfortunately it is not the case that JBH is part of a small group following these fantasies. Apparently the followers of QAnon are quite numerous.

            Anyway, it seems that CoRev’s fantasy involves a much smaller number of indictments than Q and JBH. Heck, who knows, maybe Barr will actually come out with a few, although I forecast back at him that if Barr does, he will fail to get a single conviction, in contrast to what has come out of the indictments coming out of the Mueller investigation.

        4. 2slugbaits

          CoRev Ten years is probably a bit more than what most folks would consider “several” years. If you look at the 42 monthly averages from Jan 2015 thru Jun 2018 (when Trump’s trade war started), you’ll find that there was no statistically significant trend…just noise around a mean value. But beginning in Jul 2018 thru Mar 2019 there is a statistically significant downward trend in soybean prices.

          we can see how Trump both raised and stabilized the prices after his election.

          The discussion is about what Trump did post-Jun 2018, not what he did between Jan 2017 thru Jun 2018. And since Jun 2018 soybean prices have been steadily falling.

          a “short term” event for a product that is produced only ANNUALLY. Short term is multiples of these annual harvest.

          That’s true for planting decisions, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the effect of Trump’s trade war on soybean prices. Your comment about production decisions being annual is true but completely irrelevant to what we’re talking about.

          Your definition of success is just as bad ad your understanding of politics

          So you think Trump’s trade policies have been a success? Really?

          You are one of those political rubes who believes Trump needed Russia to win the election

          No, Trump needed clueless Rubes and Fox Noise, not Ruskies. The Ruskies probably helped in a few key precincts, but the statistical evidence tells us that it was the dozen or so rogue FBI agents in NYC who forced Comey into an unwise press conference that probably had the most effect. The polling data shows a clear and statistically significant effect coinciding with Comey’s initial press conference.

          1. pgl

            Not fair! How dare you interrupt CoRev’s devotion to Herr Trump with actual facts? AG Barr is going to investigate this!

    3. noneconomist

      Not sure why you need heads to live in rent free, CR. You own has been vacant for some time.

  10. AS

    What is the opinion of last night’s PBS Frontline program on President Trump, China, tariffs, and economic war with China?

      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Barkley Rosser: I saw it Thursday night. Actually, made an effort to look it up on the schedule. Pretty good at showing the fault lines in US policymaker circles. Little light on analysis (as expected for TV), but broader than just trade.

        1. 2slugbaits

          I think the main takeaway was the ambivalence from US companies regarding protection of intellectual property rights. US companies liked to whine and complain to the government, but didn’t want the US government to actually take any actions that might cause some adverse consequences if the Chinese found out which companies didn’t want to play ball.

  11. Moses Herzog

    Some really great journalism being done over at Politico in the last few months. I know Politico hasn’t quite mastered TPM’s ability to take video highlights from other media outlets and write a story about it. Maybe the folks at Politico figured they’ve moved past doing grade school essays on what they saw on TV this week. But some people still think journalism is about digging for facts that aren’t already widely known. What a strange concept:

  12. Moses Herzog

    Energy drink inflation report for early May 2017: “Reign” energy drink: $1.58. “bang” energy drink $1.67. Taste is nearly the same. Our team of experts recommend “Reign” for this month, due to 9 cents price differential, and comparable taste. Although it’s important to note the “bang” mango drink tastes more “mango-ie” and the “Reign” is more “peachy-ie”. The authors (or single author, as the case may be) of this deep diving study have no commercial connection to the energy drink producers, other than their regular role as consumers. Best drank with Wisconsin cheese and off-brand crackers. Thanks for reading.

    Special satirical note: The above nonprofessional advice is based on the assumption you have no drinks in the domestic realm (your abode) composed of high alcohol content—in which case, just drink those instead.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Oops, May 2019. Our authors (or single author, as the case may be) are extremely embarrassed by this flub-up, but since this is a free advisement, no refunds will be given.

  13. Moses Herzog

    10 years in the red. The “VSG” is almost as much of a laughable business failure as “W” Bush:

    Eventually the rest of these tax forms will be coming out (after the year 2000 and on up I mean). The above article discusses his ’85–’94 returns. Now, ask yourself a simple question “What could be worse embarrassments in the years that we haven’t seen yet??” There’s lots of interesting answers to this question–but one obvious answer is donald trump most likely deferred his loses into the future, so that in years where he made money (assuming he did) he could use those deferred losses so that he paid ZERO taxes in sequential years. Of course rich bastards like donald trump and Mitt Romney never want anyone to know when they skate by paying zero taxes at the same time they are waving the naughty finger at welfare recipients.

    1. Barkley Rosser


      But there is this minor difference between Donald Trump and Mitt Romney. The latter publicly released his tax returns when he ran for president. Trump not only has yet to release his, but is actively blocking a legal request of the IRS from the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee to turn over his tax returns.

      1. Moses Herzog

        As much as I dislike Mitt Romney, that’s a fair point and one worth mentioning. So you do well to differentiate the two men’s actions, and I agree.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          This is terribly shameful, Moses. We are being civilized to the point of boring. Probably you should get back to giving me a hard time for working at a university named for a slaveowner, not to mention my numerous other high crimes and misdemeanors, :-).

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ Barkley Junior
            I wasn’t asking you to put your insignificant stamp of approval on my eminently unqualified uncle for a Fed Res board job. And therein lies a major difference. But if you like embarrassing yourself that way, have at it.

          2. Barkley Rosser

            Gosh, no you didn’t, Moses. Is he as qualified as Steven Kopits’s uncle? Heck, after giving him sort of a hard time about that, we ended up having a way too boring civilized exchange. I am drenched in shame for that…

    2. 2slugbaits

      Moses Herzog Don’t forget that in addition to the 85-94 tax information, we also have some of his 2005 tax return that was (somehow) released during the 2016 campaign. According to the NYT, Trump reported a massive $916M loss in 1995, which he carried over to future years. So we know that he lost about $1.2B between 1985 thru 1994, another $916M in 1995 and in 2005 he reported income of $153M with $105M in write downs and taxes of $38M.

      And here is his 2005 1040 Form:

      All of this tells us that while he might be wealthy, he certainly is not the multi-billionaire he claims. And keep in mind, 2005 was a pretty good year in the NYC real estate market, and was before the Great Recession. I read where the Stanford Business School estimated his net worth at something like $250M, or less than 10% of what Forbes believes and one fortieth of what Trump claimed he was worth.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Solid point and great links. I’m still trying to hold out hope this is all going to come out in the laundry somewhere, but Republicans keep playing hide and seek with the detergent.

  14. Moses Herzog

    @ Menzie
    Menzie, I have one of my infamous dum-dum questions for you. One which will no doubt have you lowering wherever you had previously perceived my intelligence level to be to roughly 30 IQ points lower.

    If you don’t wanna answer I understand, but sometimes it makes me feel psychologically feel better when I get the answer from you. I am reading Mr. Sims book lately. So far I find it very helpful. I got to a part where he discusses logs in a very basic way (which I am thankful for). For the record I did some Google searches which also are helpful. I noticed that some economists will say “logs” when they often mean “ln” or natural log. My question is really almost two questions that amount to the same question. Am I correct that in 90% of the time when economists use logs they are using natural logs, and not base logs?? And is it true that a professional economist might say “logs” when in fact they mean natural log and not base log, and are just assuming their audience or listeners already know economists mean natural logs whenever they say logs?? Or 9 times out of 10 would the economist be sure to specify that to their listeners/audience??

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Moses Herzog: In my 27 years as a PhD economist, I don’t recall any economist using anything other than log base e (ln to everybody else in the world).

      1. Moses Herzog

        A succinct answer, and appreciated much more than you probably imagine. Thank you Sir.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          As someone who has been at it longer than Menzie and has published in journals in physics, mathematics, computer science, biology, psychology, and about half a dozen other disciplines outside of economics, I would modify Menzi’e comment a bit. While “ln” is indeed the textbook term for base e logs, pretty much everywhere in the hard sciences in journal article level publications one does see authors regularly simply referring to “logs” like the economists do, and you can be sure they are referring to them as being base e logs, unless somehow otherwise specified. But the hard fact is that it is almost always the case that at least hard scientists (and the harder of the softer sciences like econ) just about never use logs of any other base in their research. There are important math reasons why that is the case, but I think getting into that is a bit more technical than most people here would care to bother reading about.

  15. Moses Herzog

    Look everyone, a Republican who doesn’t mind deficit spending when it goes to pork barrel projects in his own state. I’m in “total shock”.

    Never mind that there are natural disaster victims suffering while Dick Shelby holds victims suffering for months hostage to his own pork projects. If the coast of Alabama is hit with a hurricane in the next 5–10 years I wonder if other Senators would like to return the favor to Dick?? If I was a U.S. Senator I would be phoning Dick Shelby up right now to ask him how he likes that idea—that the longer natural disaster victims suffer now, the longer Alabamans are going to have to suffer waiting for federal aid when the next Hurricane hits Alabama. Something tells me Dick Shelby wouldn’t have his thumb up his rectum on that one like he does now. One thing we do know—-Dick Shelby is a real D*** and his parents chose the perfect name for him.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Sen. Shelby is the King of Pork when it comes to Alabama. You can’t hardly turn around without finding some pork barrel project with his name on it…bridges, airport expansions, highways, government buildings, university buildings, Redstone Arsenal projects. He never saw an Alabama project that he didn’t like. Sen. Shelby’s fondness for pork would have made Sen. Ted Stevens blush.

      1. noneconomist

        Hard to remember the days when Republicans detested West Virginia and its senior Senator Robert Byrd for all the “pork” he brought to his home state. Funds for a cancer center, pharmacy school, college science labs, highways and river transportation , various federal facilities, et. al.
        Byrd, of course, was unapologetic, and—unlike the current former budget balancers—not a hypocrite. That made him a favorite Republican punching bag. No surprise that what once horrified supposed fiscal conservatives now doesn’t bother them at all.

        1. Moses Herzog

          I’m not supposed to admit this because I’m dating myself, but I remember Senator Bird quite well (I even remember him pre-wheelchair). But then I was listening to NPR and watching C-Span regular in my mid to late teenage years, so….. yes that’s right, saddest social life in existence.

          I also just spent 25 minutes late Friday afternoon hand-washing the car and now I’m waiting for moderate rain that’s supposed to arrive in 2 hours to rinse the soap off. Any guesses on how that social life is going??

          1. Moses Herzog

            Byrd, yeah. You ever think not to make a mistake and then make a mistake at the same time you’re thinking not to make that mistake?? It’s like a weird mixture between mild autism and when Aykroyd’s character thought about the Stay Puft Marshmallow guy.

  16. pgl

    CoRev is a staunch defender of all things Trump says but has he followed Trump’s own BS on soybean prices?

    “Donald Trump falsely blames trade deals for lower soybean prices”

    The headline of a July 2018 story on something Trump said in defense of his current trade policies!

    “Farmers have been on a downward trend for 15 years,” he wrote July 20. “The price of soybeans has fallen 50% since 5 years before the Election. A big reason is bad (terrible) Trade Deals with other countries. They put on massive Tariffs and Barriers. Canada charges 275% on Dairy. Farmers will WIN!”

    On the history of soybean prices:

    “The ups and downs of soybeans

    Trump looked back to “five years before the election.” We asked the White House to clarify and didn’t hear back. 2012 was the highwater mark for soybean prices. They topped out at $17.70 a bushel in early September 2012. At the end of 2017, the price was $9.55. Corrected for inflation, prices dropped over 50 percent. Here’s how the futures market for soybeans has performed since 2000.”

    Take a look at the inflation adjusted spot prices. Soybean prices in 2012 were much higher than they were in 2003. So this alleged downward trend for 15 years is another Trumpian lie!

  17. Dave

    Yes Menzie, I did mean “ILSM”. Sincere apologies to eminent economist (and smart person) Barkley Rosser.

    1. pgl

      We have to realize that such confusion is the mission of ILSM. After all – he is Putin’s favorite Russian bot.

    2. Barkley Rosser

      Accepted, Dave. Just posted above a request for this before seeing this post. Thanks.

  18. pgl

    Trump told a lot of blatant lies today about his tariffs on Chinese goods. One lie was his assertion that all of the incidence of these tariffs has been on Chinese producers. NBER published a timely paper on this:

    The Impact of the 2018 Trade War on U.S. Prices and Welfare by Mary Amiti, Stephen J. Redding, David Weinstein

    “This paper explores the impacts of the Trump administration’s trade policy on prices and welfare. Over the course of 2018, the U.S. experienced substantial increases in the prices of intermediates and final goods, dramatic changes to its supply-chain network, reductions in availability of imported varieties, and completepassthrough of the tariffs into domestic prices of imported goods. Overall, using standard economic methods, we find that the full incidence of the tariff falls on domestic consumers, with a reduction in U.S. real income of $1.4 billion per month by the end of 2018.”

    Of course Russian bot ILSM thinks that the Federal government funds NBER and has proposed that Trump use tariff revenues to fund the research he wants (of course NBER is privately funded).

    Trump is also making this bizarre claim:

    “It’s an alternative I’ve spoken about for years. We’ll take in well over a hundred billion dollars a year. We never took in 10 cents from China,” Trump said, referring to additional tariffs he promised to impose. “And I think it’ll be a very strong day, frankly. But we’ll see.” Fact-checkers have said Trump’s claim that tariffs on China will yield $100 billion annually — a claim he had tweeted a day earlier

    Even CNBC call this a lie and provided this link:

    “On the eve of the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that the U.S. collects “over $100 Billion a year in Tariffs.” The U.S. collected $41 billion in fiscal year 2018, and has collected $34.7 billion through the first six months of this fiscal year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the U.S. will collect $74 billion in fiscal year 2019, and won’t reach $100 billion a year until 2027. Trump made his claim about tariff revenue in a tweet on May 8 — a day before Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to arrive in the U.S. for trade talks.”
    Kudlow and Hassett need to huddle and cook up some right wing studies to help their boss out here before the CBO and NBER are allowed to do any more honest research!

  19. Moses Herzog

    Well, I really thought Bill Mitchell “would be game” to post my MMT question and even respond. My comment/question was never posted, and enough time has gone by now. I almost wish I had copy/pasted my question and saved it, because I can assure everyone here I used very soft and diplomatic wording for the question. I don’t have any hard feelings to Professor Mitchell, just some “aw shucks” disappointment. I wouldn’t have asked Professor Mitchell if I didn’t respect him and have some affinity to the MMT theory. It appears, like many other a rabbit hole I’ve gone down adventuring in my life, that one is empty.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Sorry about that, Moses, really. I was curious to see what he might have said. I am sure you were sufficiently diplomatic, more so than you are here sometimes anyway, :-).

  20. pgl

    May 9, 2019 at 1:45 pm
    Noneconomist, nope. I am predicting that the ongoing investigations on how and why the whole spying/surveillance/unethical political operation started will have interesting results”.

    The Russian bots are working over time these days!

    Wow – ILSM (Putin’s pet poodle) has his minnie me. It’s good to know that CoRev hates our Constitution and our normal rule of law. Herr Trump as King Donald I!

    Actually – Trump is not the King just a Prince as the real king lives in Moscow.

    1. ilsm


      Trashing the Bill of Rights for Clinton and there was no collusion!

      What did Obama know and when?

      The poll among non democrats 90+% say Obama knew everything and should be indicted.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Wow, this is stupid. Maybe GOPsters listening to Hannity go on and on about how all sorts of Dems should prosecuted because, wow, clearly case is closed on Trump and his thousands od lies about Russia.

        But the hard fact is that Obama did not in any way intervene in the election to tilt it to Hillary on this matter. He does seem to have been informed about the Russian interference, and he wanted to inform state election officials to be alert to any attempts to hack or disrupt their voting (and we now know the Russians did hack into some of the state and local systems, although as near as we can tell did not actually alter any votes). But it was GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who urged him not to go public with it so as not to taint the election, and he did not do so. He did what McConnell asked, who now is running around declaring “case closed” while criticizing Obama for not doing enough. The hypocrisy of this is quite beyond belief.

        Also, again, and I have pointed this out several times, Obama did engage in some punishing actions after the election against the Russians, who whined mightily about it, the consulate closings and all that. One can argue that either this was not enough or maybe it was too much. GOPsters seem to lean to the former, while Daddy Putin leans to the latter as he is completely denying as of now that the Russians did any interfering in the 2016 election.

        As it is, Mueller indicted a slew of Russians for doing exactly that, whatever the ultimate impact of it was, which we will never know. Whom do you believe, ilsm, V.V. “Daddy” Putin, or Robert Mueller and his team of investigators.

        A real bottom line here, regarding this “what did Obama know and when did he know it?” is so what? There is even less to this than there was to the whole Hillary/Benghaxzi thing that GOP ran 8 different investigations of, spending many millions of dollars, only to find out that the biggest problem was the GOP itself in Congress voting to cut the budget for diplomatic security. Really.

        And, do you not care at all about what Trump is doing to Iran? You think investigating Obama is more important than stopping Trump from going to war against Iran? How far out of your mind have you gone?

        1. pgl

          Trying to point out reality to the Russian bot ILSM? I guess someone has to do it but guess what. He is not programmed to even listen to the real world.

          1. Barkley Rosser


            Ilsm has in the past claimed to be a vet of one of the US Gulf wars, do not remember if it was the first one back in 91 or the more recent one done by W. invading Iraq. But he has at times seemed to show real knowledge of the situation in that region and made some fairly reasonable remarks about it.

            Now, reconsidering those remarks It occurs to me that they generally did agree with positions of the Russians. But some of those positions have not been unreasonable, such as defending the awful Assad regime against Sunni fundamentalists who would probably be worse, and on Iran and the Iran nuclear deal against criticism and threats by Trump and others.

            This latter in particular is what has me really wondering what is up with him. He seemed to be most focused on and caring about the Middle East, which is clearly a very important and serious place to worry about, where US policy has led to many people pointlessly dying, with the current push against Iran raising the spectre of this happening yet again. But somehow all this has just dropped off ilsm’s radar screen, and he is all gonzo on how we need to drop sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea, while investigating Obama for knowing about the mostly true Steele dossier early on, and a lot of other just completely silly stuff.

          2. Moses Herzog

            @ Menzie
            That was the one that really shocked me—and rest assured there is zero sarcasm on my part in this comment. I assumed at first ilsm was most likely a foreign troll (was leaning towards Chinese, but it was kind of a coin toss on Russian or Chinese troll). Now I could even buy ex-Army or ex-Marines. There are a magnificent number of dolts and knuckleheads in the Army and Marines, but when he said Air Force, I really did not believe, and it’s STILL a hard swallow. Air Force tends to attract the very sharpest of all the armed forces, with the possible exception of some of the “engineering types” in the Navy. So to buy ilsm getting entrance into the Air Force is a tough sell for me.

            Maybe a head injury somewhere after admission into the AF?? Or a bad GF-breakup ?? Something not adding up in the equation there on ilsm.

          3. Moses Herzog

            @ 2slugbaits
            Interesting. I guess if I had to put some Reno Nevada poker chips on it, after what Menzie said about his “sign in” from the AF network then I would have to believe ilsm now. Just saying in some aspects it’s difficult to believe. It would be like if you told me donald trump is signing in from the “Mensa” International network and he had a membership card. OK, yeah, I guess I have to believe it, but it would have me scratching my head quite a bit. Kind of like Barkley Junior calling a uniformly distributed population “skewed”. “Hmmmm, and we are a professor??” It feels off somehow you could get past a bachelor’s and make such statements. I could go on, but…..

      2. pgl

        You are now protecting the rights conveyed under the 1st ten amendments for our Traitor in Chief? Lord ILSM – I doubt you even know what the U.S. Bill of Rights even are. Now as far as Putin’s KGB play book, I’m sure you have that mastered.

        “What did Obama know and when?” So know you are Senator Howard Baker? Snicker – I doubt you have no clue what I am even talking about.

      3. noneconomist

        But both J. Blowhard Hambone and CoRev advised not to pay attention to polls. Unless it’s one they approve of.
        Of course, the number of Democrats favoring impeachment of Trump is now hovering at 80%. That’s with dimwit DJT Jr. returning to the Senate to bridge some information gaps. Stay tuned.

  21. Not Trampis


    It could just be Trump is non-compus- mentis and lives in bizaaro world.

    He certainly is not the smartest person ever to be in office. ( highly euphemistic)

  22. Moses Herzog

    This is what happens when you have private industry regulating itself. Remember this when Executives at Fortune 500 companies are manipulating people into believing “such and such” bad result wouldn’t happen if it was run by a private corporation.

    I guess if I was a cold person, I would feel nearly celebratory over this, as it’s wealthy people who want government regulations rolled back, and it’s mostly wealthy people who will die in these commercial plane death dives into the ground. Enjoy it folks.

    1. ilsm



      Lion Air…….. B737 Max,

      Two crashes two common observations: Max 8 and foreign carrier.

      The two incidents suggest avoiding a non US carrier!

      1. Moses Herzog

        Canada, Australia, Germany and nearly every half-civilized nation of the world seems to disagree with you.

        Elaine Chao may have gotten bored with a job she knows ZERO about carrying out the duties of. ilsm, you seem to have the personal traits the airline industry loves. You might check into it. She walks around and smiles to everyone, and defends her frogman husband whenever college students protest his abuse of immigrants to America. I bet you can’t smile as good as Chao could some years past, but if you can lie good the FAA job is yours for the taking.

  23. Moses Herzog

    Well folks, I saw this advertisement online. With Betsy Devos watching the chicken coop, you don’t think this is going have a bad ending for a bunch of white trash morons, do you??

    If you wanna waste money and take years off your life you can never get back, not to mention take out loans you will probably never repay and ruin your credit rating for roughly half your lifetime—sign up NOW kids!!!!

    And what does this say about the “personal character” of Dan Patrick and how he “respects” his admirers/fans who fund his salary??? I let you be the judge.

  24. Moses Herzog

    From Wiki (references to respected media sites can be found on the Wiki page)
    According to The New York Times, Full Sail has many of the same problems as other institutions in the for-profit college industry.[9] They reported that some of the university’s academic programs have high loan burdens and low graduation rates. The $81,000 video game art program graduated 38 percent of its students, who carried a median debt load of nearly $59,000 in federal and private loans in 2008.[9] The New York Times cited other Full Sail degree programs as having higher graduation rates, noting that the masters in entertainment business, “a yearlong program with a $36,245 tuition, graduated 80 percent of its students, nearly 63 percent of them on time”.[9] According to Inside Higher Ed, “a closer look at the numbers reveals that graduation rates are not a major problem at Full Sail: the overall graduation rate is a fairly high 78 percent, according to federal data”.[10] In the same article, however, The New York Times noted that Full Sail’s students have posted criticisms of the school, including some that call Full Sail a “scam” because of its high costs, low placement, and difficulties with credit transfer.[9]

    In another portion of the same Wiki entry on “Full Sail”:
    On April 14, 2019, Full Sail was featured in an NBC News Investigates report on for-profit colleges that target veterans. The Iraq war veteran interviewed for the investigation stated ““It was a waste of time, waste of money and I don’t even tell anybody that I went there. I feel duped,” [33]

    Well, Dan Patrick wouldn’t lie to his adoring white trash fans would he??—Especially if they were U.S. military veterans. And Dan Patrick would never participate in a scam on U.S. military veterans now—would he??? I’m sure any FUTURE stories about this—in addition to the evidence already out there that this “university” is a SCAM will be a “big shock” to Dan Patrick, and something Danny was “totally unaware of” and “had he known” “he wouldn’t have lent his name to the ‘institution'”

    It’s only U.S. military veterans’ lives largely ruined–or a huge portion of their lives ruined—don’t you “worry” about it Danny. You were very “diligent” taking those checks from Full Sail “university”, I’m certain. Don’t you worry about it Danny, anymore than donald trump worried about the lives he ruined at trump “university”. You’re an American after all Danny Patrick, it’s your God-given right to squat and relieve yourself on top of the lower classes if necessary to get that paycheck.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Moses Herzog I’ve mentioned this before, but if anyone has any doubts about for profit schools targeting veterans, all they have to do is visit a Morale, Welfare and Recreation office at any US Army base. As soon as you walk through the door you’ll have to navigate around tables with for profit brochures and flyers, pens, refrigerator magnets, etc. all spread out and piled high. All scams. Although they target NCOs and warrant officers, they also target officers’ clubs with scam graduate programs. It’s disgusting.

      1. Moses Herzog

        I didn’t actually know that. At the same time, I wish I could say I was terribly surprised. America the beautiful. Americans “love” our veterans and Americans “love” our military men. When it’s convenient…… When it’s convenient to say we “love” and “appreciate” our military men we sure as hell damned will flap our lips that we do. That’s why our “president” goes the the Naval Academy (that has some of the sharpest guys in all of the Armed Services) looks them straight in the eye and lies to them about “record” pay raises they were already getting before he ever showed up. If being LIED to straight to your face about your salary by the “Executive Chief” isn’t “love” then what is??

  25. ilsm

    Barkley Rosser,

    My choice is Irish Whiskey. Single Malt Scotch on occasion. Neat {establishments near college campuses do not serve neat] is the only way with whiskey. The standard in 1700L or later.

    As to Mueller, the standards of evidence and so forth will be discovered by Barr, despite the slander and rage from the democrat House. Charging foreign nationals, indeed! They will never go to due process to expose the problematic investigations.

    With Trump campaign the ill of Rights” was tossed.

    Were there the tiniest basis for Russian collusion the top Trump officials should have been called in…… the reason it was not done is,….. why don’t you explain!

    The Caligula analogy is useful, the disloyal opposition would have Trump end the way Caligula ended through the propaganda machine.

      1. ilsm

        My “Caligula analogy” has nothing to do with judging Caligula, nor the praetorians who knifed him in the corridor.

        You are very generous in permitting my varying views.

      2. 2slugbaits

        Caligula was the nickname given to him by Roman soldiers when he was a little boy. It means “little boot.” In the case of Trump I would suggest the Latin “maniculae”, meaning “little hands”.

        Annoying pedagogic comment: “caligula” is the singular feminine declension, meaning “little boot”. The plural “little boots” should really be “caligulae”. But as a nickname “Caligula” for a person it takes the singular masculine declension, and obviously there is no plural form. The point I’m making is that the nickname given to him by Roman soldiers was also a kind of insult because “little boots” was feminine. And “maniculae” is also the singular feminine declension, so that should annoy Trump as well.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      This just keeps getting funnier all the time, except that none of it is funny.

      Quite a few “top Trump officials” were called in, and some of them are going to jail for their activities, including lying about their activities in connection with Russians. This includes his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his former longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Lots of collusion and perjury were found. Apparently Mueller wanted to interview both Trump and his son Donald, Jr., but they resisted to the point that Mueller gave up. If they had nothing to hide, why did they fight so hard to avoid testifying? As it is, it now looks that Donald Jr. lied to the Senate Intel Comm and is going to be in deep doo doo over that blunder. No, nothing to see here at all, case closed.

      Barr has so far openly lied about both the Mueller Report and the letter that Mueller sent to him complaining about him lying. He is not somebody to be relied on for anything, unless you are Donald Trump or one of his besotted supporters hoping for a successful coverup, which looks to be getting uncovered, uh oh.

      As for Irish and single malts, I agree that neat is the way to go.

      1. ilsm

        Barr is frightening……. what is going come out from the spying revelations is damaging.

        Why Flynn, Manafort, etc were convicted has no relevance to why Obama spied on Trump.

        Obama and Biden will likely be subpoena’ed

        What is also frightening is Pelosi being 3rd in line. If she were a republican……….

        No impeachment, let’s leave the spying on the Trump campaign to after Biden is nominated!

        1. Barkley Rosser

          If Biden and Obama are subpoened, they will not be convicted.

          This line about “Obama spying on Trump” is just ridiculous. Presidents receive daily intel briefings, although reports have it that Trump pays little attention to these daily reports, in contrast to all his predecessors. So, of course Obama was informed to a reasonable degree of the problems arising from Trump’s massive collusion with Russians in the election as they bubbled up from the FBI into his daily report. There is zero evidence that he went out of his way to order special investigations or “spying” on Trump. Indeed, as has been stated here repeatedly, he was slow to respond to the reports that came to him to the point that when the GOP Senate leader McConnell demanded he not make what was being reported to him public, he caved and went along with it, and did not reveal any of this prior to the election, although he did “punish” the Russians mildly after the election.

          As for coming all freaked out over the possibility of Pelosi becoming prez, well, she would be way superior to either Trump or Pence by several orders of magnitude. Our local Pelosi-hater is Moses H. Do you really want to be in the same intellectual category as him?


          Really, ilsm, this continued claim that Obama was somehow “spying on Trump” beyond what any president would receive in a daily intel briefing is simply not called for. You should stop pushing this line as it does not make you look like a serious commentator here.

  26. Stephen A MacDonald

    Hey everybody. Remember that whole thing about USDA economists quitting in droves? ERS was used to be one of the largest single aggregation of economists in the world. Like every part of the Federal Government, the labor share of its output has shrunk considerably over the years, but the current shocks are new. Note that ERS was abolished by Eisenhower when the GOP reclaimed the executive branch after the New Deal and Truman. History repeats itself sometimes, or at least rhymes.

    1. ilsm

      ERS was 510 in 1998, down to 430 by 2009 (wiki). :Last report I found was 280, but I cannot find the link today The 6 most likely went directly to another federal agency, or a contractors working for the US G or OPM retirement.

      It is not a bad time to be looking for work in DC!

      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        ilsm: But you have to ge a “yes” man, or had said something incredibly racist, misogynist, or both, in order to qualify for this administration. Being late on your child support and/or owe back taxes doesn’t hurt (to be considered, at least).

        1. Moses Herzog

          My lazy bones have not deemed Shelton worth the google it effort. However it will be humorous if something pops up. Much less likely with this type of candidate though. Something like plagiarism maybe?? Something not technically illegal is what I would whiff for here. Salesmanship of bogus products similar to our pre-Barr stand-in AG?? Selling “expert services” never provided?? There’s something seedy there you can bet, but maybe not anything technically “on her record”.

          I haven’t heard where her birthplace is yet. If she’s a native of Utah it would semi-imply Mormon.

  27. 2slugbaits

    More WINNING news on the soybean front:

    Des Moines, IA Fri May 10, 2019 IA Dept of Ag-USDA Market News

    IA Dept. of Ag-USDA Market News Interior Iowa Daily Grain Prices

    Closing cash grain bids offered to producers as of 1:30 p.m.
    Dollars per bushel, delivered to Interior Iowa Country Elevators.

    US 2 Yellow Corn Prices were mostly 1 cent lower for a state average of 3.25.

    US 1 Yellow Soybean Prices were mostly 3 cents lower for a state average of 7.24.

    Iowa Regions #2 Yellow Corn #1 Yellow Soybeans
    Range Avg Range Avg
    Northwest 3.25 – 3.51 3.33 7.19 – 7.29 7.22
    North Central 3.11 – 3.29 3.23 7.09 – 7.29 7.21
    Northeast 3.13 – 3.25 3.19 7.08 – 7.34 7.21
    Southwest 3.25 – 3.35 3.31 7.19 – 7.44 7.30
    South Central 3.14 – 3.41 3.24 7.18 – 7.50 7.27
    Southeast 3.07 – 3.44 3.20 7.19 – 7.45 7.32

    Corn basis to STATE AVERAGE PRICE for the CBOT JULY contract -.26
    Soybean basis to STATE AVERAGE PRICE for the CBOT JULY contract -.85

    Got that? State average of $7.24/bushel.

  28. Frank

    Professor Chinn,

    I Googled for “usda budget summary x”, where x is the fiscal year. For example, see

    The info I found shows staff years. It does not show the number of economists in ERS.

    I created a table of USDA Economic Research Service staff years.

    FY – 2 actual FY – 1 est FY budget
    FY2020 Economic Research Service 320 330 160
    FY2019 Economic Research Service 331 330 148
    FY2018 Economic Research Service 346 348 330
    FY2017 Economic Research Service 342 365 365
    FY2016 Economic Research Service 341 365 365
    FY2015 Economic Research Service 349 370 370
    FY2014 Economic Research Service 375 386 386
    FY2013 Economic Research Service 402 386 386
    FY2012 Economic Research Service 401 401 406
    FY2011 Economic Research Service 389 399 409
    FY2010 Economic Research Service 387 397 399
    FY2009 Economic Research Service 380 408 410
    FY2008 Economic Research Service 404 416 446
    FY2007 Economic Research Service 427 439 440
    FY2006 Economic Research Service 436 455 459
    FY2005 Economic Research Service 462 500 506
    FY2004 Economic Research Service 480 504 507
    FY2003 Economic Research Service 491 522 526


  29. Moses Herzog

    @ Menzie
    I am commenting here instead of replying farther up in the thread because the traffic is thick in this thread.

    I take your point to heart related to discussing others’ ancestors. It’s kind of “out of bounds”. But the guy was literally bragging about being connected to a Russian central banker. I mean really?? Is he that hard up to be taken seriously?? It’s rather pretentious. My family tree is nothing to be excited about, as I have been semi-open about here.

    Point being: This guy name drops worse than Larry King circa 1994. And name drops if he brushed their elbow while eating cotton candy at Disney World. I mean, I’m not going to call him out on that?!?!?!?

    1. Barkley Rosser


      Elvira Nabiullina is one of the most competent central bank leaders in the world, almost up there with what Janet Yellen was. She has been named “Central Banker of the Year” several times by several magazines. As it is, you have to realize that Moscow is just a big village, and I have not nearly name dropped as half as much as I could have.

      You should be aware that it is partly your fault that I got into doing it. I was not until you decided to start comparing me unfavorably to my late father that I got into this name dropping. So, what you have back is that being the son of my more-illustrious-than-I late father played a role in how it is that I happen to have ended up knowing a lot of people. As it is, it does help put some people in their place when they spout off ignorantly about people and ideas they know little about.

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