Risks of a Double Dip Rising? [updated]

[Original post, 12/3 5pm Pacific – updates graph for NFP, text in green]

That’s the message all around: The Hill “Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession” (see also this), a CNN article has subheading “Double-dip recession fears”, Fortune  has “TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson thinks we could be headed for a ‘double-dip recession'”, while CNBC “Virus surge is leading to a double-dip recession and dollar crash, economist Stephen Roach warns”.

We’ll We now have a bit more evidence one way or the other respecting the imminence of a relapse with tomorrow’s November employment release.

Figure 1:  [Updated 12/4 11:40am] Nonfarm payroll employment (dark blue), Bloomberg consensus for employment as of 11/25 (light blue +), industrial production (red),  personal income excluding transfers in Ch.2012$ (green), manufacturing and trade sales in Ch.2012$ (black), and monthly GDP in Ch.2012$ (pink), all log normalized to 2020M02=0. Source: BLS, Federal Reserve, BEA, via FRED, IHS Markit (nee Macroeconomic Advisers) (12/1 release), NBER, Bloomberg (as of 12/3), and author’s calculations.

I’ve included Bloomberg’s consensus as of today for tomorrow’s  yesterday for today’s release (assuming no revision to October numbers). As I noted a couple days ago with respect to the employment series, “The November expected growth rate keeps on getting marked down; it was 4.5% about a week ago, that itself down from about 5% from a couple weeks ago.” It’s now 3.9% vs 4% a couple days ago.

High frequency indicators show a distinct softening in the labor market such that one shouldn’t be too surprised if the job growth number comes in essentially at zero; from The Hill.

Homebase also reported that declines in the number of businesses open, employees working and hours worked showed an economy just as weak as it was before summer’s jobs rebound, a foreboding sign for Friday’s employment report from the Labor Department.

From Deutsche Bank today yesterday:

Source: DB Covid Impact Tracker, 3 December 2020.

Even if growth is positive in November, most of the concern is centered on Q1, in the wake of  lapsing fiscal support (under current law).

Here is a more detailed picture of the deceleration in NFP:

Figure 2: Nonfarm payroll employment from November release (dark blue), October release (brown), Bloomberg consensus as of 12/3 for November release assuming no revision to October figure (light blue +). Source: BLS, various releases, Bloomberg, and author’s calculations.

There is some reason to be concerned with the interpretation of the level of employment, given (among other things) the difficulty of properly accounting for seasonality when there are big non-recurring changes in the time series. This point can be illustrated by looking at the 12 month change in (log) NFP, using the seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted series.

Figure 3: Year-on-year growth rate in nonfarm payroll employment from November release, seasonally adjusted (dark blue), not seasonally adjusted (brown). Growth rates calculated using log differences. Source: BLS via FRED,  and author’s calculations.

While a difference in growth rates is apparent, if you zoom out to the last year, it hardly matters (-6.17% vs. -6.24%). Hence, the seasonal adjustment concern is of second order importance in the context of the overall story. Growth is decelerating on a m/m basis.

Calculated Risk summarizes this release thusly: “Overall this was a disappointing report”.

Update, 12/4 2PM Pacific:

Reader The Rage asserts that the unemployment rate did not primarily change because of exit from the labor market. He exhorts one to:

“…excensus the data. Unemployment corrected as did precipitation”

I did as encouraged, and here are the pictures:

I continue to wonder why, in this age of freely available macro data including FRED, some individuals exhibit no shame or embarrassment in writing easily demonstrably incorrect things over and over and over again…



219 thoughts on “Risks of a Double Dip Rising? [updated]

  1. JohnH

    “ Why Democrats Keep Losing Rural Counties…

    Why did Trump do so well with rural voters? From my experience, it’s not because local Democrats failed to organize in rural areas. Instead, after conversations with dozens of voters, neighbors, friends and family members in Dunn County [Wisconsin], I’ve come to believe it is because the national Democratic Party has not offered rural voters a clear vision that speaks to their lived experiences. The pain and struggle in my community is real, yet rural people do not feel it is taken seriously by the Democratic Party.“

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      JohnH: Also doesn’t hurt to more than replace income lost from the trade war by use of ag subsidies. Net farm income rose in 2019 from 2018…

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ Menzie
        Menzie, you may not agree with everything JohnH says. I don’t either, OK. But if you think it’s just a Bernie Sanders fan or Representative Gabbard fan “with an Axe to grind” I’m telling you (in a friendly way) you’re going to be putting blinders over your eyes and miss part of the picture here—and some people like Nate Silver are finding that out the hard way right now—-and this is the 2nd time Nate Silvers and “they” have had to “get it”. Totally extracting the stuff about Bernie etc. Democrats are failing in COMMUNICATION to rural area voters. And I’m telling you, there’s gonna be a high cost 2024 if Democrats don’t learn this on the fly and learn it right NOW there’s things here that have to be addressed in communicating Democrats message to rural voters. I’m gonna keep beating this horse Menzie—because a lot of “sharp” people, Nate Silver etc, aren’t getting this. and it’s almost like a purposeful “suspension of disbelief”. Like Democrats feel like they’re not going to enjoy watching this Hollywood movie if they keep living in fantasy land that they don’t NEED rural voters for a Presidential election. I’m just TELLING you man. Urban snobbery pgl style (and that is what it is) is going to get you where you’re looking up from taking a short snooze and you’re right back to January 2017.

        1. pgl

          Urban snobbery? Simply because I live in Brooklyn. Lay off the booze Moses and try to make an actual point someday.

      2. JohnH

        Yeah, Trump took care of his base, some of it at least. But which farmers got the subsidies? The article talks about rural voters’ wanting ant-trust enforcement, , which managed to garner only 35th place on Biden’s plan for rural America.

        When I attended UW, there were still a lot of rural, LaFollette Democrats, which helped make it a vibrant place. From what I hear, they are a dying breed due in large part to Democrats’ aloofness and general benign neglect, while Big Ag gets coddled.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          So, you have this pet list of things that the the Biden campaign in particular and Dems more generally should be communicating more loudly about. One has been minimum wage and now we have anti-trust policy regarding ag business. I note that while now you are all worked up about rural issues and declaring this second to be the the big item for rural voters, it is thought by many that min wage is an urban issue more than a rural one, with many arguing that the much lower cost of living in rural areas means that a %15 per hour min wage may be too high for some rural areas, threatening small businesses in rural areas.

          So, which is it? Should the focus be more on min wage that you went on and on and on about earlier or more about ag anti-trust issues? And if you say both, well, we do need to realize that there is only so much time and money available to campaigns, so ultimately pushing some issues will end up crowding out others. Which should have been (or be) downgraded to make way for these two? The pandemic? Police violcence against African Americans? The Trump admin tearing families apart at the border? Climate change? Surely you can enlighten us on what should go or be downgraded to make way for these two much more important issues.

          I am also wondering if you welcome the yelling and screaming support you are getting from Moses Herzog with all his capitalized and emboldened words, dripping with self-righteousness. Do you think this is the way to go, especially in addressing Menzie in particular?

          So when were you at UW-Madison?

          1. pgl

            Being all over the map is JohnH’s idea of effective communication. Too bad he does not get coverage in his “regular press”!

          2. JohnH

            Rosser: you’re asking the wrong questions.

            The right question is: if there is a popular issue, such as minimum wage or anti-trust, why not hitch your star to it and flog the issue? How could Democrats in AK, AR, FL, SD, NE all fail when minimum wage initiatives passed and Republicans were staunchly opposed?

            If you answered that Democratic candidates pulled their punches for “fear of donors,” which I believe to be the case, then you have to conclude that they would rather ignore immensely popular issues and lose elections than risk donor disfavor. In Florida they seem to have been so risk averse that they were willing to risk losing the legislature for the whole next decade to gerrymandering rather than embrace the minimum wage and risk donor wrath. I mean, how sick is that?

          3. Moses Herzog

            Who signed the bill with no safeguards against misuse Barkley?? Surely even an idiot like you can figure that out. Along with who is very likely to sign a bill soon that protects school districts and companies from liability for putting teachers and workers at risk of getting the virus, with permanent health damage and/or dying?? If Nancy Pelosi has time to get on TV and tell retard level jokes and promote premium priced ice cream during a serious economic downturn, Pelosi has time to get her sad sorry A$$ out there and discuss how Republicans are trying to take away the working man’s legal recourse to sue after family members have long-term heart damage, long-term lung damage, or death:


            Oh wait, I forgot Pelosi only likes to stand behind a lectern that she can walk away from at any moment of her choosing, pointing rudely at journalists, and using snob tones when they ask her why she’s in Barkley Junior Cloud Universe 24/7/365. Not actually answering real questions or discussing what crimes she enables the Republicans to do perennially to American workers because she’s afraid she might get one sweat bead on her forehead writing good legislation.

          4. pgl

            December 4, 2020 at 9:24 am
            Rosser: you’re asking the wrong questions.”

            He really thinks he is the brilliant one – doesn’t he? I have a new theory – JohnH is one and the same as Donald Trump. BTW – did you notice the tone that what is popular at the moment is the way to go even if makes no economic sense.

            In our day – 90% of the public thought balancing the budget was always good economics. Those of us who endured this troll’s insanity over at EV had to endure his applauding austerity in the UK. But now that the cool kids have decided this is not popular, we see JohnH changing his mind entirely.

            It must be nice not to be burdened with either internal consistency or economic competency.

          5. JohnH

            “ Election Day proved there is one policy area where Americans are increasingly not divided: raising the minimum wage.

            The election results in Florida illustrate this shift in public opinion. A ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage from $8.56 to $15 per hour by 2026 passed with the support of more than 60% of voters. Its success is noteworthy in Florida—a red state with two Republican Senators, a Republican-controlled state legislature, and a Republican governor who opposed the minimum wage hike. Trump secured more than half of the votes in the state, which means that upwards of 1 million Florida voters cast a ballot for the president and for the minimum wage increase.

            While Florida’s split vote may seem counterintuitive, in fact, recent polls suggest it is consistent with widespread public opinion. Two-thirds (67%) of Americans surveyed last year by the Pew Research Center expressed support for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.”

            Republicans oppose the minimum wage. Democrats supposedly “support” it (maybe, kinda.)

            Why couldn’t (wouldn’t) Democrats take advantage of the 50%of Republicans who support $15 minimum wage so as to peel off enough votes to win at all levels? Poor messaging? Or deference to Big Money?

        2. gc

          The Politico article that you link was authored by Bill H(ogseth), and I do not know if you are connected, but your comments seem to adopt entirely his talking points. Retail politics is not a rational undertaking, even less so than economics. At the same time, we can try to communicate with each other. I do not know what would change the minds of your neighbors when they vote, but your pointing at the lack of anti-trust does not strike me as the hook.
          First, rural and middle class poor share the pain of Big Money, Ag or non-Ag. Let me suggest that in rural Dunn County, $6,000 an acre is not a bad price. If a local farmer had a square mile (640 acres), that would be $3.84M of capital. A small farm for the plains states, but historically sizeable in WI. The farmer that owns this square mile is already moving to an upper level of middle class. But compared to Jeff Bezos with recent estimates of net worth at $200B, Jeff Bezos wealth would represent $6,000 an acre for the entire State of Wisconsin (give or take a little as an estimate to the nearest $1,000.) My experience is that your friends and neighbors who vote R do not think of Jeff Bezos as a poster child for the market gone wrong. Their thought is roughly: how could I get a small piece of what he has? Well, so what is my point? My point is that a lot of people do not see the picture clearly and fully. BillH’s idea that Biden’s lack of focus on Ag anti-trust as the reason Biden didn’t do better in rural Dunn County does strike me as persuasive. If Biden appoints Marcia Fudge as Ag Sec rather than Heidi Heitkemp, all for the good, but I do not expect a mass conversion in rural america as a result.
          With a “first,” I should have a “second,” but this is already too long for just a blog comment. Good luck to you in Dunn County, and work on turnout at Stout.

          1. baffling

            “but your pointing at the lack of anti-trust does not strike me as the hook.”
            you beat me to the punch. i really do not see how biden starting to talk tough on antitrust with bigag would change the mind of any maga farmer. as was pointed out by Johnh, those farmers already know trump policies are not going to help him, and yet they still voted for trump. i see no evidence that an antitrust policy would suddenly have them see the light. biden did not cater to them, because he believed, rightfully, that there was nothing he could do to change their minds. trump has burned them REPEATEDLY, and they still come back for more.

    2. The Rage

      Why did Romney do well in rural communities??? Break up agribusiness companies and bring back family farms. Boy something tells me 15-30% vote swing in differing counties. Democrats try the diversity nonsense way too much. Even Obama admits this. Politics are local. Campaign and legislate like it.

      1. Walter

        “Bring back family farms”??? Seriously?
        I was born and raised in Iowa – got out of a small town and left the state because, well, I wanted to have a good job, earn a living and raise a family. Those were not options where I lived.
        “Family farms” have been going away for over 120 years at a steady state and for good reasons. The notion that such a thing still exists in the cute Americana sense is pure fiction. If you want to survive in that business today you had better go big and go corporate. A lot of the businesses now advertising themselves as ‘family farms’ are corporations that happen to have some family members running things. And yes, ‘advertise’… they have websites, Facebook pages – these are multi-million dollar businesses.
        It hasn’t been the Democrats that caused this; it is the march of history for over a century. It is technology, mechanization, marketing, distribution,efficiency, food safety, the demands of financing. It’s the same thing that changes the coal industry, the oil industry, the buggy-manufacturing business. All businesses.
        There is absolutely nothing sacred about ‘family farms’. Cute notion, though.

        1. Moses Herzog

          @ Walter
          A lot of the killing of family farms was related to tax breaks they got that small farmers did not, along with subsidies/ corporate welfare. It wasn’t all just economies of scale, and most small farms also made the technological changes, so that was not the difference. You’re talking like a MAGA voter who watches 3 videos on FOX and thinks he’s an expert. You’re far from it. And no one is necessarily against medium or large farms, but the ones that are basically corporate run are a problem. For the same reasons already stated, they start to become “interest groups” for politicians where they bilk the country out of billions to subsidize crops that aren’t even selling or dump milk and other products completely unused.

        2. baffling

          “Bring back family farms”
          this is a conservative notion. it implies a return to better days. life in the 50’s and such down on the farm. it cries “i am a conservative, and i am against change”. this is why it is popular in conservative circles. as a business proposition, it is an absolute failure. but it resonates with folks who resist change-rural conservatives. they do not accept the world they were born into will be different than they world they leave. blue collar conservatives have a similar mentality. the steel mill was good enough for my grandpa, so it should be good enough for me and my son and grandson…

          1. macroduck

            That implication includes traditional family structure, religiosity, lots of non-urban voters, white privilege (Norman Rockwell painted few – no? – non-whites), little baby ducks, old pickup trucks…

      2. pgl

        Romney for the small farmers? Seriously? Farm price supports have always been for big agri. Which is why a lot of left leaning think tanks agree with right leaning think tanks opposing them in general.

        Look – JohnH pretends he is the only one who gets this which is standard faire for the most uninformed fool ever. But you do not know this? I think you took the lead for the most uninformed fool ever.

        Now had the stupid Trump trade war never started all US farmers would have been better off. But shhhh – don’t tell JohnH as actual economics pisses him off.

    3. noneconomist

      Many rural voters also yearn for life as it was, not as it is, certainly in non-rural (urban and suburban) areas. Not in any way as it will be in the future.
      Broadband? Updated internet? Who needs it?
      Better to concentrate on the old, reliable staples: ranching, farming, logging/lumber mills, mining, tourism. Trump wins these voters (as Republicans before him did) with promises of a return to the good old days, including maintaining the subsidy trains that dole out cash to supposedly rugged individualists and real deal conservatives.
      My congressman has collected well over $5 million in government cash for BEING a rice grower.He was a plus 10 winner in November. Four years ago he was on board with Mexico paying for that beautiful wall.He’s a deficit hawk who didn’t object to borrowing a couple trillion to finance a tax cut that largely rewarded those with higher incomes. And he’s horrified by the prospect of a $15/hr. minimum wage which goes into effect in 2022. He’s a big believer in tax cuts paying for themselves.
      Meanwhile these areas lose population–the more educated seek opportunity elsewhere– and see hospitals close, and basic infrastructure languish and deteriorate. That’s acceptable as long as rural voters can continue to rely on God, guns, Trump and the Republican Party.

  2. macroduck


    I have at last realized the implication of your Tandem Venn diagram. Can’t believe I missed your point till now.

    Kamala Harris. Kamala Harris is a non-white female born of immigrant parents. She can also have a sharp tongue, which is the thing Republicans are willing to say when they mean “uppity brown immigrant woman”. So the GOP is warming up to give Harris the Hillary treatment, with an Obama twist.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Her tongue is not nearly as sharp as those of Neera Tanden, Tulsi Gabbard, or Susan Rice. Or maybe you disagree with that. Of course, none of them are about to become VP. But then, maybe if the problem is Dems not appealing sufficiently to largely white rural places like Dunn County, Wisconsin, maybe none of these WOCs should be considered for anything.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Or even as sharp as Ms. Tanden’s fists apparently. I wonder if it was an ethnic minority member Ms.Tanden hit with her fist for asking Hillary Clinton the “wrong” question?? Well, if the minority Ms. Tanden punched was male, I think that “cross cancels” somehow, and it’s almost like it never happened. Get back to us when you find out Junior, ok??

        This one should be easy for you Barkley, nowhere do the NYT authors use the words uniformly distributed (like they did in the study you quoted about Native American admixture in North American whites). It happened during Hillary’s illustrious and FAILED 2008 presidential run. This is before Hillary took your advice to go with the brilliant “I’m With Me” slogan, which I have to admit, because of its empathizing spirit, still makes my eyes water up to this very day.

    2. pgl

      It is going from Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi to KamalaKamalaKamala. And yea- Michelle had some decent biceps. Like being in shape is a bad thing?

    1. Barkley Rosser

      It’s OK, md, MH will not declare you to be suffering from “earlystage dementiia” like he has pgl and me.

  3. formereconomist

    i’ve seen many people warn of a double dip lately! it is nice that they are implicitly acknowledging that the economy returned to expansion and that the recession that struck in the spring has ended, and that any new downturn should be viewed as a discrete event. i haven’t seen many calls to this effect about the first dip, but it seems patently obvious in the data.

    if we do get a double dip, it will be unique in that the argument for further stimulus is weaker when you know the vaccine and an end to the weakness is just a few months away. there’s a very strong argument for reducing bankruptcies and layoffs via PPP, but not necessarily for a return to any of the other forms of support provided earlier in the year.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      formereconomist: Bet you wouldn’t view the prospect with such equanimity if you were about to get evicted, or you didn’t have any more savings to keep your business going until mid-2021, or if you are one of the people who has a job but already has to go to a food bank.

      1. formereconomist

        if you have a job but still have to go to a food bank, odds are your problems are orthogonal to a covid recession. there’s evidence (like in the Chetty et al paper on stimulus programs) that all decreased labor utilization is on the extensive margin in this recession. re: business in danger of shutting down, i did say i support more PPP!

        business cycles are normal, but we typically think large-scale fiscal programs are not the appropriate way of dealing with them, except in extraordinary recessions. the output gap has morphed from extraordinary to ordinary. large-scale fiscal programs are no longer appropriate, though small-scale fiscal programs still are, if only because monetary policy is somewhat constrained.

        i’m angry at you (really, me, but taking it out on you) for making me sound like a currenteconomist!

        1. baffling

          “if you have a job but still have to go to a food bank, odds are your problems are orthogonal to a covid recession.”
          you really need to back this up better. households in today’s world require two incomes to succeed. from a probability perspective, there are now far more households where one of the incomes has been significantly impacted. this is what you are seeing in the food bank lines. yes, they still have a house and car. but with only one income, food is becoming a luxury. and the car will be next to go. we are no longer living in the 70’s, where dad is a sufficient breadwinner.
          “the argument for further stimulus is weaker when you know the vaccine and an end to the weakness is just a few months away.”
          the smart thing to do is everything possible until that time has come. we do not know if there will be delays. pfizer just showed they have supply chain problems. that few months may easily turn into 6 months or a year. the cost will be far greater if you are wrong and spend too little, than not spend enough. the damage will be long lasting.

    2. Walter

      There is a huge difference between the situation last February and now. Then, it was a plunge into the unknown, a leap off the cliff of certainty. Now, we see how people will work during distancing, we see what business will flourish… and we see the end game.
      We may have a double dip to some degree but if we do it will not be as scary or extreme and it will be brief. It will probably be followed by a snap-back that will be pretty wild.
      Average the two – a slowdown and snap-back – over a year’s time and it will look like steady growth.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Wow, Menzie really IS getting the Thoma commenter waste water run-off. Or maybe we should ask pgl he “would know”. Hahahahahaha!!!!!

        1. pgl

          Moses – try exercising your research skills by going to EconomistView which is still there. It has a neat Google devise. Type in Cameron and fiscal austerity and JohnH and we will see your new BFF telling us how fiscal austerity during a recession is good for real wages by keeping inflation down.

          Yes your new BFF is both that stupid and is lying to us when he denies the crap he wrote. But defend the troll if you wish. Cheers!

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ pgl
            I tell you as much as I “like” hunting things down on the internet (and I’m here to tell you I can be pretty damned “dogged” when the spirit moves me, on internet hunts among other obsessive compulsive type pursuits). I’m gonna take what you’re saying here as true. But I tell you what, If I put good faith belief in what you’re saying about JohnH, then you have to return me one favor. Ms. Tanden made comments she was for cutting Social Security benefits as recently as 2012, but you’re upset at something that Cameron was supporting around roughly 2013?? So, where is our “cutoff point” for the things we are “allowed” to criticize people for and not allowed to criticize people for??

            I might add, especially since Ms. Tanden’s “changes in stances” (that haven’t REALLY changed) are politically convenient “changes” in public stance. Almost makes a person cynical on how Center for American Progress got money from Saudi Arabia and money from Bain Capital, doesn’t it?? But, I’m certain after violently punching someone for asking Hillary Clinton a simple question , Ms.Tanden was not chosen because she is a Hillary crony, DNC lapdog, or a friend to the corrupt. Nope. Saudi Arabia and Bain Capital gave Ms. Tanden’s “Center for American Progress” that money because Ms. Tanden is “fighting for women everywhere”.

          2. Barkley Rosser


            She punched some guy in the chest? Sorry, that was not remotely likely to put him in the hospital or even have to put on a bandaid. Not remotely as bad as showing up with a dictator in a city where he has just killed many thousands in horrific bombing. Yeah, she not only has sharp elbows, Tanden has hard fist, boo hoo.

            It is true that in 2012 she supported implementing a chained CPI COLA, something I have not supported, and she also was a deficit hawk. A lot of people have changed their minds since then, including her. Not a deficit hawk anymore, and on Jan. 22 she said no Dem admin would propose any cuts to Social Security. This is now ancient history. Sorry, Moses, no big score on this one either.

            So what color are your toy soldiers and what was your forecast for the second quarter GDP pattern? You have not put up, so should have shut up some time ago and gotten the heck out of here.

          3. Moses Herzog

            You know what keeps me with a wry grin on my face while reading your comments Barkley?? I been around this world long enough, to know paybacks are a B—-

            How bad do you think Wasserman Schultz wanted that Junior?? You better bet I’m going to be watching C-SPAN when the Senate confirmation hearing puts middle weight boxer Ms. Tanden on the large pipe grill. And when the area immediately surrounding Ms. Tanden’s seat starts to smell like something’s burning, it’s going to be a Utopian feeling for me, like when the 2020 2nd Quarter GDP numbers came out [edited MDC]

          4. Barkley Rosser

            You have become completely incoherent yet again, Moses. Time to shut up and get lost.

            If you going to get so drunk you write totally senseless stuff here, at least do it with come decent wine, please.

  4. macroduck

    Getting back to the subject at hand – which JohnH apparently wants to avoid? – the change between the week of October 12 and November 12 is what will be reported. That may look better than the most recent weekly data.

  5. The Rage

    5.8& unemployment in January 2021. Yeah, it may slowdown in term of gains over the first half of 2021, but savings are too high. Restrictions and business self imposed restrictions will be toast by April as vaccinations on the most vulnerable and virus burn out unclog hospitals and spread collapses.

    This buffers what I have heard from colleagues, who are planning a large increase in business investment during the 2nd quarter. Consumer spending will correct next year, absolutely and this winter will feature a contraction, but not large enough to anything more than a typical correction before growing again.

    1. pgl

      I was reading this interview pretty much agreeing with the Senator until this:

      “Sen. Mitt Romney:

      Well, I think the Republican side, not just the leader, but the Republicans generally are very concerned about sending a bunch of money to states and localities that might use that money ineffectively, inefficiently.”

      Let me speak for every resident of New York City and say eff off Mitt.

  6. Moses Herzog

    Krugman was quoting someone else, and he said that Larry Kudlow “turns flamboyant wrongness into a form of performance art”. I thought that was one of the better lines I heard recently, I almost halfway wondered if it wasn’t Menzie. Or it sounds a little like James Kwak’s style humor when he loosens his tie a little.

    I found it, Krugman called it, not “stimulus”, he called it “making things tolerable” or “life support”.

    Krugman also compared the “shutdown” or “state level shutdowns” to a “medically induced coma” Which means you shut down certain parts of the human brain, to let the body heal. You don’t “want” a coma, but a medically induced coma is good in the sense it gives people time to heal. I thought it was a pretty great analogy.

    1. Walter

      Or another analogy from a medical professional:
      A shutdown now is equivalent to a medical decision to have an amputation today so you don’t die tomorrow.

      1. baffling

        just as a reminder, even during the spring, a shutdown was not a complete shutdown. in fact, i did not stop working even once. it shut down segments of society, but most of society still worked and profited. and we have the ability to use stimulus to protect those that are shut down-think restaurants-but for some reason trump and McConnell were not interested in protecting those folks. so walter, amputation is a really poor analogy. it was not that significant.

    2. Dr. Dysmalist

      IIRC from my courses in ag policy and farm structure, Walter is basically correct. Tax policy wrt corporate organization is part of the picture, yes, but was more of an ancillary rather than a driving force. Technology was far and away the primary impetus, with technological change in implements and in crop varieties supplementing and amplifying each other. The Green Revolution was not only a developing world phenomenon. It started with technological change in developed economies. Ag schools at land grant universities have played a fundamental role. The entire infrastructure supporting agriculture was set up to bring about changes such as these.

      The mythological family farm was mostly gone by the late 1970s. By 1990 any remaining small farms likely either produced specialty products or were basically hobby farms for people who liked the rural way of life. Those families needed, and still need, to derive most of the household income off-farm, from working in a factory or (more recently) retail or wholesale trade in the nearest “large” town, for varying values of “large.” For these families, the structure and vibrancy of the economy of the surrounding area is much more determinative of their incomes than the structure of the ag economy, and it always will be.

      Most so-called “family farms” are more accurately described as closely-held ag corporations, working a very large number of acres or a very large number of livestock. The “family farm” of yesteryear is not coming back and cannot come back because most economic activity is far, far less decentralized than it was then, even ag. That’s just the way it is.

      Most income in the US comes from metropolitan areas, which includes small cities and many towns/cities where universities are located. Agglomeration economies are a thing, and result in what some have called centers of theory and practice. These are the hubs of economic activity now.

      The Golden Age of Yesteryear will not be revived by returning to a dependence on extractive and/or crude processing industries. There’s not enough income there to be sustainable. The economy has changed too much.

      In order to boost economic activity, and thereby increase incomes, in rural areas, we need more and better infrastructure. This includes power, water, and sewage infrastructure to support industry as well as smaller businesses, transportation to facilitate movement of goods and people, a broad, wide, and robust information infrastructure that can be easily upgraded to keep pace with technological change, and a strong education infrastructure that prepares students for higher ed if they want it but also prepares them for career and technical fields that don’t require higher ed. Above all, it needs to prepare all students for lifelong learning because, as some wise man once said, the only constant is change.

      I apologize for the length of this comment.

    3. Dr. Dysmalist

      Krugman has also called it “disaster relief” in several columns. Of course, equating it with hurricane relief means that Mango Mussolini will want it to go to only white people.

  7. ltr

    December 3, 2020



    Cases   ( 14,535,196)
    Deaths   ( 282,829)


    Cases   ( 9,571,780)
    Deaths   ( 139,227)


    Cases   ( 2,257,331)
    Deaths   ( 54,140)


    Cases   ( 1,674,134)
    Deaths   ( 60,113)


    Cases   ( 1,133,613)
    Deaths   ( 107,565)


    Cases   ( 1,128,742)
    Deaths   ( 18,260)


    Cases   ( 396,270)
    Deaths   ( 12,407)


    Cases   ( 86,567)
    Deaths   ( 4,634)

  8. ltr

    December 3, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 884)
    US   ( 852)
    Mexico   ( 831)
    France   ( 829)

    Canada   ( 328)
    Germany   ( 218)
    India   ( 100)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 9.5%, 3.6% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  9. ltr


    December 4, 2020

    Chinese mainland reports 17 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland on Thursday registered 17 new COVID-19 cases, including 2 locally transmitted cases in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and 15 from overseas, announced the National Health Commission on Friday.

    A total of 12 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 249 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No COVID-19-related deaths were reported on Thursday, and 12 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    As of Thursday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 86,584, with 4,634 fatalities.

    Chinese mainland new imported cases


    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases


    [ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since the beginning of May.  Since the beginning of June there have been 7 limited community clusters of infections, each of which was an immediate focus of mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, with each outbreak having been contained.  Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases are all contact traced and quarantined.

    Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine.  Cold-chain imported food products are all checked and tracked through distribution.  The flow of imported cases to China is low, but has been persistent.

    There are now 271 active coronavirus cases in all on the Chinese mainland, 5 of which cases are classed as serious or critical. ]

  10. ltr


    December 4, 2020

    Chinese scientists achieve quantum computational advantage

    A research team, including renowned Chinese quantum physicist Pan Jianwei, announced Friday a significant computing breakthrough, achieving a quantum computational advantage.

    Pan is a professor of physics at the University of Science and Technology of China, focusing on quantum information and quantum foundations. As one of the pioneers in experimental quantum information science, he has accomplished a series of profound achievements, which has brought him worldwide fame. Due to his numerous progresses on quantum communication and multi-photon entanglement manipulation, quantum information science has become one of the most rapidly developing fields of physical science in China in recent years.

    The team established a quantum computer prototype, named “Jiuzhang,” via which up to 76 photons were detected. The study was published * in Science magazine online.

    With this achievement, China has reached the first milestone on the path to full-scale quantum computing – a quantum computational advantage, also known as “quantum supremacy,” which indicates an overwhelming quantum computational speedup.

    No traditional computer can perform the same task in a reasonable amount of time, and the speedup is unlikely to be overturned by classical algorithmic or hardware improvements, according to the team.

    In the study, Gaussian boson sampling (GBS), a classical simulation algorithm, was used to provide a highly efficient way of demonstrating quantum computational speedup in solving some well-defined tasks.

    The average detected photon number by the prototype is 43, while up to 76 output photon-clicks were observed.

    Jiuzhang’s quantum computing system can implement large-scale GBS 100 trillion times faster than the world’s fastest existing supercomputer.

    The team also said the new prototype processes 10 billion times faster than the 53-qubit quantum computer developed by Google.

    “Quantum computational advantage is like a threshold,” said Lu Chaoyang, professor of the University of Science and Technology of China. “It means that, when a new quantum computer prototype’s capacity surpasses that of the strongest traditional computer in handling a particular task, it proves that it will possibly make breakthroughs in multiple other areas.”

    The breakthrough is the result of 20 years of effort by Pan’s team, which conquered several major technological stumbling blocks, including a high-quality photon source.

    “For example, it is easy for us to have one sip of water each time, but it is difficult to drink just a water molecule each time,” Pan said. “A high-quality photon source needs to ‘release’ just one photon each time, and each photon needs to be exactly the same, which is quite a challenge.” …

    * https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/12/02/science.abe8770

  11. ltr


    December 4, 2020

    U.S. employers added 245,000 jobs in November amid a coronavirus surge.

    The American economic recovery continues to slow, stranding millions who have yet to find a new job after being thrown out of work by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The latest evidence came Friday when the Labor Department reported that employers added 245,000 jobs in November, the fifth month in a row that the pace of hiring has tapered off. The figure for October was revised downward to 610,000, from the initially stated 638,000.

    The unemployment rate in November was 6.7 percent, down from the previous month’s rate of 6.9 percent. But that figure does not fully capture the extent of the joblessness because it doesn’t include people who have dropped out of the labor force and are not actively searching for work.

    November’s job totals were dragged down in part by the loss of tens of thousands of temporary census workers who are no longer needed now that the official counting has wound down.

    More than half those knocked out of a job early in the pandemic have been rehired, but there are still roughly 10 million more people out of work than there were in February. Many in that group are weeks away from losing their unemployment benefits, as the emergency assistance approved by Congress last spring is set to expire at the end of the year.

    “We’re in an unusual position right now in the economy,” said Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at the accounting firm Evercore ISI. “Far off in the distance there is sunlight” because of progress on a vaccine, he said, but until then, “we’re going to have a few of the toughest months of this pandemic, and there will be a lot of scars left to heal.”

    Covid-19 caseloads have doubled in the past month, leading to new restrictions and tamping down shopping and other commerce. In much of the country, colder weather is likely to discourage outdoor dining, which many restaurants have depended on. And Congress has been unable to agree on a new spending package to help struggling businesses and households.

    — Patricia Cohen

    1. pgl

      “The unemployment rate in November was 6.7 percent, down from the previous month’s rate of 6.9 percent. But that figure does not fully capture the extent of the joblessness because it doesn’t include people who have dropped out of the labor force and are not actively searching for work.”

      Shorter version – the employment to population ratio fell. See – clear writing can be simple.

  12. ltr

    December 3, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    Belgium   ( 1,456)
    Spain   ( 985)
    Italy   ( 961)
    UK   ( 884)

    US   ( 852)
    Mexico   ( 831)
    France   ( 829)
    Sweden   ( 692)

    Switzerland   ( 597)
    Netherlands   ( 558)
    Luxembourg   ( 538)
    Portugal   ( 464)

    Ireland   ( 419)
    Austria   ( 392)
    Canada   ( 328)
    Greece   ( 260)

    Germany   ( 218)
    Denmark   ( 148)
    India   ( 100)
    Finland   ( 74)

    Norway   ( 65)
    Australia   ( 35)
    Japan   ( 18)
    Korea   ( 10)

    China   ( 3)

    1. 2slugbaits

      pgl from a rise in the labor force participation rate.

      A typo. Pretty sure you meant to say and drop in the labor force participation rate. From the BLS report:

      The labor force participation rate edged down to 61.5 percent in November; this is 1.9
      percentage points below its February level.

      The civilian labor force fell by 400k. And employment numbers from the Household Survey also showed a 74K drop in the number employed, which contrasts with the Establishment data showing a (disappointing) increase. I’m guessing that the much of the discrepancy between the Establishment Nonfarm Payroll and Household Survey numbers of people employed can be explained by the fact that the Household Survey includes small proprietorships that likely failed in November.

      1. pgl

        Thanks for correcting my typo. This employment report was bad news – even if it confirmed what we suspected.

  13. ltr


    December 4, 2020

    Economy Adds 245,000 Jobs in November, Unemployment Falls to 6.7 Percent

    Contrary to normal patterns, the workweek has actually gotten longer in the pandemic recession.

    The rebound slowed sharply in November, with the economy adding just 245,000 jobs. This would ordinarily be a very respectable gain, but with the economy still down almost 10 million jobs from the pre-pandemic level, it is not a pace that gets us back to full employment any time soon. If we need 100,000 jobs a month to keep pace with the growth of the labor market, it would take us more than five and half years to get back to full employment at this rate of job growth.

    The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.7 percent in November, however this was entirely due to people leaving the labor force, as employment dropped slightly. The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) fell by 0.1 percentage points to 57.3 percent.

    The decline was entirely among men, who had a drop in labor force participation rates of 0.4 percentage points. Employment rates for men have actually fallen somewhat more over the course of the downturn than for women, with the EPOP for prime age men down by 4.8 percentage points from their year-ago level, compared to a 3.9 percentage points drop among women.

    The unemployment rate for Black workers fell by 0.5 percentage points to 10.3 percent, while the EPOP rose by 0.4 percentage points to 54.1 percent. The unemployment rate is 4.7 percentage points higher and the EPOP is 4.7 percentage points lower than the year-ago level. The unemployment rate for Asian Americans fell by 0.9 percentage points, but at 6.7 percent, it is still 0.8 percentage points above the rate for whites, reversing the normal pattern.

    Voluntary part-time employment fell by 786,000 in November. It is now 13.5 percent below year-ago levels. This reflects in large part the sharp hit to restaurants and hotels, sectors that employ large numbers of part-time workers.

    However, we are also seeing the length of the average workweek increase across sectors. For example, in retail trade the average workweek is 2.0 percent longer than it was a year ago; in education and health services it is 1.2 percent longer. This reverses the normal pattern in recessions as employers typically cut hours as a way to adjust to reduced labor demand rather than laying off workers. In 2009, the length of the average workweek was 1.5 percent shorter (0.5 hours) than it had been in 2007.

    Consistent with this pattern of rising hours, we again saw a large increase in the number of long-term unemployed (more than 26 weeks) to 3,941,000, the highest level since November of 2013. This indicates that many of the people who lost their jobs during the spring shutdown still have not gotten them back.


    The share of unemployment due to voluntary quits dropped by 0.3 percentage points to 6.7 percent, while this is above the lows hit in the shutdown months, the worst figure in the Great Recession was 5.5 percent. By contrast, 25.9 percent of the unemployed report being on temporary layoffs, a higher level than any pre-pandemic figure….

    1. pgl

      Bears repeating:

      The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.7 percent in November, however this was entirely due to people leaving the labor force, as employment dropped slightly. The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) fell by 0.1 percentage points to 57.3 percent.

          1. pgl

            “I continue to wonder why, in this age of freely available macro data including FRED, some individuals exhibit no shame or embarrassment in writing easily demonstrably incorrect things over and over and over again”

            Good question but remember The Rage is a Russian bot with faulty wiring.

          2. Barkley Rosser


            I fear The Rage is just too dumb to be a Russian bot. I think the Russians have higher standards than that.

            After all, consider ltr. He is clearly a Chinese bot, but he is reasonably intelligent and most of his posts are fairly reasonable, if excessive (way too many of them, ltr). He only goes off the rails occasionally with silly stuff, whereas TR is usually off the rails with silly stuff.

  14. baffling

    just replace santelli with stryker, corev or bruce hall. old white man who simply hates to be told what to do, no matter who he hurts or how wrong he is.
    cnbc would be much better if guys like santelli were fired. i follow the web site, but quit watching the network because of idiots like santelli and kernan. they are both simply public health threats. and assaults on human decency. selfish ba$t@rd$.

    1. pgl

      I have not been in a restaurant, retailer, or church for most of 2020. And I don’t miss any of them except of course when I was to try on some new jeans or running shoes. Ugh I’m sort of getting used to Amazon.com. Can’t wait til normal life again.

    2. Moses Herzog

      @ Baffling
      One of your better comments. I used to watch CNBC religiously, back in the days of Dean Shepherd and Herrera. They used to have a young bookish looking brunette there, and I’m sad to say I forgot her name, but she used to do stock market ticker profiles in a kind of WSJ’s “Heard on the Street” vibe. Then Santeelli, Kernen, Ross Sorkin and the douchebag wave took over. I went over to Bloomberg, Yahoo, and other sources. Mostly blogs actually, which CNBC douches like to make fun of because they’re afraid their viewers will figure out they’ve been scammed by the CNBC sell-side douche crew. Every once in awhile I like to check back in with CNBC 5 minutes for laughs. If you want a good one, type in “Jeff Macke loses it” on google or youtube. I have watched that video upwards of 40 times, and every time I watch it I involuntarily start laughing. Just make sure you’re not a drinking a soda pop near your keyboard or it’s certain to come out of your nose.

      1. baffling

        sorkin saved santelli’s life. one more comment from sorkin, and i am certain santelli would have had a stroke. kind of like watching another howard dean melddown!

        1. Moses Herzog

          Santelli’s ego is out of the stratosphere. For what?? The only real job the man has had in his life is selling bonds and debt instruments—while he sits around and waves the naughty finger at America~~for what???~~~too much debt. Santelli would have been selling used cars the last 30 years if corporate America didn’t love debt. That, or Santelli would have been selling Amway products to the most white trash portion of his own family or in-laws. He should thank God every night before sleeping corporate America and TBTF banks love debt. Santelli thinks because he’s the slightly modernized version of the door-to-door vacuum salesman it gives him the right to lecture America about politics. Racist octogenarian Pat Buchanan probably has more claim to profess he has the right to lecture America than this red-faced carnival shyster.

  15. ltr

    Latin American countries have recorded 4 of the 11 and 6 of the 22 highest number of coronavirus cases among all countries.  Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile.  Mexico, with more than 1 million cases recorded, has the 4th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 11th highest number of cases among all countries.  Mexico is now the 4th among all countries to have recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths.

    December 3, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    US   ( 852) *

    Brazil   ( 822)
    Argentina   ( 866)
    Colombia   ( 730)

    Mexico   ( 831)
    Peru   ( 1,089)
    Chile   ( 809)

    Ecuador   ( 767)
    Bolivia   ( 764)

    * Descending number of cases

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Bur at least my green plastic soldiers do not lead me to make ridiculously false and utterly immoral remarks about Tulsi Gabbard’s behavior in Syria.

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ Barkley Junior
        Did you want to share with the class how much time you spent in combat zones in Iraq or other times you were stationed near the Mid-east like Tulsi Gabbard was?? I’m assuming you went to Officer Candidate School like Representative Gabbard because that’s where the sharp ones go that join the military. You are sharp aren’t you Barkley?? I bet you’d even carry Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s water pale for her if she asked you with a veiled threat from Hillary’s 2016 DNC, wouldn’t you?? You’re a good little tenured boy that way. Not sure how you’d react to Ms. Tanden punching you after asking a simple question related to American soldiers dying on the other side of the world though. But I might pay a quarter to watch it.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          What is it with you and Wasswrman-Schultz on all this? She is irrelevant.

          No, I have not been to OCS, but just because somebody has been does not mean they have good judgment. Gabbard did not serve in Syria, and that she went to OCS does not remoteliy forgive her truly abominable conduct vis a vis Assad and their visit to Aleppo.

          As it is, Moses, I have spent serious time in the Middle East dealing with serious matters, but I am not gong to talk about any of that here. You are in over your head and making a worse fool of yourself with all this than usual.

          1. Moses Herzog

            Secret spy work aye Junior??? Do you introduce yourself, “My name is Barkley……. Junior Barkley. The girls call me, ‘Agent Big Zero’ ” ?? You are hilarious. But I agree Wasserman Schultz is irrelevant, and I want you to send a “thank you” letter to Hillary for making her irrelevant. If you’re not busy in the MidEast this week fighting Taliban from your secret lair. You rube.

          2. Barkley Rosser

            For what it is worth, Moses, I have published papers and material in books on Middle East economies.

            Beyond that, from my time there I know a number of things that are known by few people. I personally know some people who get into the news from there. even now

            Again, you are in over your head on this, and have made an utter fool of yourself by claiming that Gabbard was visiting with insurgents when she was in Aleppo with Assad. And then we have her being one of a whopping three members of Congress who refused to sign a condemnation of Assad’s treatment of his own citizens. That resolution did not involve starting some fresh war. You really do not have a leg to stand on with this garbage, Moses.

            Tanden looks far more moral and reasonable than the truly vile Gabbard, which is the issue here.

            Oh, and again, what color are the toy soldiers you play with that have misled you so badly on all this?

          3. Moses Herzog

            While Tulsi Gabbard was responsible for checking and reading the list of the dead and injured from her unit everyday and vulnerable to be killed from artillery fire on her base you “have published papers” and you “know some people there that get into the news”.

            Cool Barkley.

            So you’re kinda like George Plimpton when he was with the Detroit Lions, if Plimpton had NEVER actually played for the Detroit Lions, right Barkley?? Or is your “serious time in the Middle East dealing with serious matters, but I am not gong to talk about any of that here.” more like you’re the famous baseball pitcher Siddhartha Finch?? Let us know when you take out Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob with one of your published papers. I’m sure the soldiers at Gabbard’s former base view you as a great American hero compared to her.

          4. Barkley Rosser


            That Tulsi Gabbard served well in Iraq does not make her an expert on Syria and does not absolve her of engaging in immoral conduct there. Marechal Vichy was the great French military hero of WW I but then was convicted of treason against France after WW II.

            As for me, Moses, I have never been a “spy,” but I have been around. Among the more public matters is that in November, 1986 I held a press conference in front of the US State Department HQ in Washington in which I denounced both the US and Soviet governments. On April 4, 1987, that I defeated both of them was the top story on CNN (not the headline, but that was what it amounted to). Nothing I have done regarding the MIddle East has resulted in press conferences. but indeed I do know things there that are not widely known, and sure as hell a lot more than you do.

            You were spouting rank nonsense here about Gabbard and Syria, that she met with insurgents in Aleppo which she did not, which you seem unwilling to admit, just as you continue to refuse to tell anybody what your forecast for the GDP pattern in second quarter was.

  16. ltr

    Harvard’s https://tracktherecovery.org/ records a – 20.3% employment decline for low income workers as of November 19 compared to January. Consumer spending in high income neighborhoods as of November 22 is – 5.7%. Small business revenue in high income neighborhoods as of November 16 is – 38.5%. Shopping by my neighbors or myself is decidedly online, and we think that will continue. Then too, though Paul Krugman argues that employment in this recession can naturally recover in the manner of recessions through the beginning of the 1980s, I think employment will need to be an express policy objective. or we will repeat the difficult employment experience of the last 3 recessions.

  17. pgl

    The Trumpian fools have a new internet place to lie and spread hate – it is called Parler:


    After years of standing idly by, companies like Facebook and Twitter are, to varying degrees, calling bullshit on some of President Donald Trump’s lies — most prominently, his false claim that he didn’t lose the election.
    These social media platforms are still awash with misinformation and hate — and many critics of Big Tech on the left say the platforms still aren’t doing enough about it — but to Trump’s supporters, the steps Big Tech has taken to slow the spread of misinformation amounts to censorship. And some have begun seeking alternative homes online.
    “I can write anything on Facebook and it’s taken down, fact-checked,” Kim Ashworth, a Trump supporter who I met at a “Stop the Steal” event protesting the result of the election in Atlanta two weeks ago, told me. “Anything about the election, about Donald Trump, they take down.”
    She was talking about Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers who label misinformation as false on the platform.
    Two of Facebook’s fact-checkers who spoke to CNN said they call out misinformation on both sides, but at the moment there is just more misinformation on the right.
    “Stop the Steal,” a movement which baselessly claims the election was stolen, is itself based on online misinformation and is being pushed by known peddlers of conspiracy theories, including former Trump aides Roger Stone and Steve Bannon.
    Kari Tingley, who was also at the protest in Atlanta, told me Twitter put a restriction on her account after she shared a post claiming masks were not effective in combating the spread of Covid-19. That claim is false, but she believes it.
    Twitter most likely took action against her account because it has rules against dangerous Covid-19 misinformation.
    Both women told me they now use Parler — a platform that touts itself as a “free speech social network.”
    In the days after the election, Parler topped the charts of the Apple and Android app stores, and the platform has become a hub of Trump-backed conspiracy theories casting doubt on the election of President-elect Biden. Among the top trending topics on the platform this week are #TrumpWon, #VoterFraud and #NeverQuit.

  18. Moses Herzog

    Interesting times we live in. I’ll let readers come to their own conclusions.

    The way she explains it in the Twitter thread is interesting. Just imagine it taking place exactly as she describes and imagine the realism there involved. Somehow reminds me of Menzie’s 4-minute mile, but hey I’m sure my mind works different than others. Imagine even if it happened the way Ms. Gibru describes how ANY boss would react. It didn’t “go down” like in all the Disney movies Ms. Gibru has watched I guess……. The poor poor thing. Maybe Ellen Pao can hire her. Don’t you think it’s a perfect match and imagine all the great things they will do together with no men to obstruct them and inhibit them and limit them??? Ms. Pao, are you listening, or are you busy with divorce court again?? Don’t let any married men’s wives limit you Ms. Pao. Please don’t.

    1. Baffling

      It was very unfortunate what happened to ms gibru. Google should be held to task for its unethical behavior. As a google shareholder, I certainly intend to look for ways to use my (quite limited) ownership stake as a means to improve the behavior of the company. I found googles behavior vile in this case. Management owes shareholders an explanation.

  19. ltr

    December 4, 2020



    Cases   ( 14,772,535)
    Deaths   ( 285,550)


    Cases   ( 9,608,418)
    Deaths   ( 139,736)


    Cases   ( 2,268,552)
    Deaths   ( 54,767)


    Cases   ( 1,690,432)
    Deaths   ( 60,617)


    Cases   ( 1,152,283)
    Deaths   ( 18,691)


    Cases   ( 1,144,643)
    Deaths   ( 108,173)


    Cases   ( 402,569)
    Deaths   ( 12,496)


    Cases   ( 86,584)
    Deaths   ( 4,634)

  20. ltr

    December 4, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 891)
    US   ( 861)
    France   ( 838)
    Mexico   ( 835)

    Canada   ( 330)
    Germany   ( 223)
    India   ( 101)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 9.5%, 3.6% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  21. ltr


    December 5, 2020

    Chinese mainland reports 17 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland on Friday registered 17 new COVID-19 cases, including 2 locally transmitted cases in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and 15 from overseas, announced the National Health Commission on Saturday.

    A total of 12 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 249 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No COVID-19-related deaths were reported on Friday, and 15 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    As of Friday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 86,601, with 4,634 fatalities.

    Chinese mainland new imported cases


    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases


    [ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since the beginning of May.  Since the beginning of June there have been 7 limited community clusters of infections, each of which was an immediate focus of mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, with each outbreak having been contained.  Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases are all contact traced and quarantined.

    Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine.  Cold-chain imported food products are all checked and tracked through distribution.  The flow of imported cases to China is low, but has been persistent.

    There are now 273 active coronavirus cases in all on the Chinese mainland, 6 of which cases are classed as serious or critical. ]

  22. ltr

    December 4, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    Belgium   ( 1,467)
    Spain   ( 989)
    Italy   ( 974)
    UK   ( 891)

    US   ( 861)
    France   ( 838)
    Mexico   ( 835)
    Sweden   ( 698)

    Switzerland   ( 610)
    Netherlands   ( 561)
    Luxembourg   ( 547)
    Portugal   ( 472)

    Ireland   ( 420)
    Austria   ( 404)
    Canada   ( 330)
    Greece   ( 270)

    Germany   ( 223)
    Denmark   ( 149)
    India   ( 101)
    Finland   ( 74)

    Norway   ( 65)
    Australia   ( 35)
    Japan   ( 18)
    Korea   ( 10)

    China   ( 3)

  23. pgl

    Here is one way for the Biden government to collect more taxes from rich people – hire the smart guys in Australia:

    ‘An Australian task force established to combat tax avoidance and responsible for auditing Australia’s largest taxpayers generated about AUD 2.7 billion (approx. USD 2 billion) in additional tax liabilities during the 2019–20 financial year, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) today announced.’

    The Australian Tax Office is investigating the transfer pricing practices of affiliates of multinationals such as Chevron (where they won in court) and Glencore (where the courts punted so the taxpayer got away with transfer pricing abuse). Not perfect but they are trying.

    Of course the economist in me would first kill all the damn lawyers and get to the facts of each case. But alas we are not allowed to do that.

  24. pgl

    “Ms. Tanden made comments she was for cutting Social Security benefits as recently as 2012, but you’re upset at something that Cameron was supporting around roughly 2013??”

    I guess Uncle Moses does not realize that Cameron was more than advocating fiscal austerity – he implemented it big time. And real wages plummeted. Of course JohnH kept tell people over and over that real wages were rising and the UK economy was doing great – even though all data said the opposite. That was my problem with your new BFF. He kept lying about the data to support a terrible policy that was put into place.

    Now maybe there was talk about Social Security DEFORM back in 2012 but earth to Uncles Moses. It did not happen. And if you read the actual analysis I put up over at Angrybear and Econospeak on this issue, you would see I consistently opposed the idea of cutting benefits. But JohnH claims I endorsed Social Security deform. Again – this troll lies more than Trump.

    And yet Uncle Moses is too stoooopid to get this? OK!

    1. JohnH

      How quickly [and conveniently] pgl forgets. pgl repeatedly tried to deny that Obama ever put Social Security on the table. I’d love to see him deny it now.We have quotes from Pelosi, Biden and other leading Democrats who wanted to put it on the table. Nonetheless, pgl was incessant about his refusal to cast Democrats in a bad light.

      As a self-announced Democratic partisan hack, pgl has to oppose or coverup or deny anything that shows that corporate Democrats ever engage in undermining the social safety net.

      And, of course, that stuff about Cameron is pure hogwash, routine BS from pgl’s conveyor belt of misinformation.

      1. Barkley Rosser


        Actually the Dem who really wanted to deform SS was Bill Clinton. It has been said not unreasonably that Social Security was saved thanks to Monica Lewinsky and Clinton getting distracted by his impeachment.

        Periodically various Dems since have made noises about this or that regarding SS, but nothing was ever actually put forward during the Obama admin. It simply went nowhere, too much oppo to it.

        BTW, did you take Harvey Goldberg’s course at UW-Madison?

        1. JohnH

          No, I didn’t take any history courses, except to attend some teach-ins where a graduate assistant explained Vietnamese nationalism and their right to self-determination. It sounds like Goldberg would have been right up my ally for a number of reasons, including my affinity for France.

          Back then there was a lot of excitement in the Econ department about the new Institute for Poverty Research, a subject rarely discussed by politicians today. But at the time LBJ had launched his War on Poverty. It’s sad how the war crowded out some of his other initiatives.

          The UW history Professor I have read most is Alfred McCoy, whose well documented research would inflame the ire of most establishment politicians and many commenters here if they ever became aware of its existence.

          1. Barkley Rosser

            I don’t know McCoy’s work, but that of William Appleman Williams, whom I knew personally, did a lot to explain US economic interests in Southeast Asia at the time, with him another UW history prof from back then.

            The Poverty Institute is still around, as Menzie can attest, although it has seen better days. My major prof, Gene Smolensky, was its director for awhile.

          2. JohnH

            McCoy carefully documents a century of American torture and the CIA’s correlations and tolerance of worldwide drug trafficking.

            The political establishment would be horrified if that became common knowledge, because it would fly in the face of the government’s War on Drugs and it’s highly suspicious promotion of wars based on human rights. Besides the ongoing cover-up of questionable government policy and its widespread operations, it also suggests long term ‘psychological operations’ AKA PR and officials lies directed at the American public.

            The books are very eye opening. McCoy held the Fred Harrington chair at UW, so some ver respected people valued his work.

      2. Moses Herzog

        @ JohnH
        It is interesting, that on pgl’s more bizarre and outlandish claims of things you have said (gold standard, austerity) he has Barkley Junior’s same strange inability to provide a link. I think 3 links showing her claims would be enough—at the very least to show someone with your same pseudonym had said those things. The more I think about how pgl seems to thrive in restatingother people’s arguments to sometimes take people’s “eye off the ball” (rather than direct quoting), I’m starting to rethink how reliable pgl’s claims are on you being pro-austerity. Speaking honestly~~I really can’t be definitive in my own mind on it, but I have to think 75% I trust you more on this until I see links. It’s also interesting that pgl definitely defends the more corporate loving thread of the Democratic Party, and one has to at least wonder how the personal mathematics work out there.

        1. JohnH

          Yeah, my experience is that if you say something that is not totally conventional wisdom or Democratic talking point…if you exhibit any skepticism or intellectual curiosity whatsoever…pgl will pounce: if so-and-so said THIS, then he must be THAT. He loves to distort, misrepresent, and lie.

          My sin regarding the gold standard was questioning why we need inflation at all, which the Fed was arguing for most of the past decade. Pikettty noted that inflation is a 20th century phenomenon. There was basically none in the 19th century, yet the economy had some of its fastest periods growth ever. I never got a satisfactory response from anyone. But pgl leaped to the conclusion that somehow, by asking these questions and pointing out these facts, I had to be a gold bug!!! I fail to see the logical connection!!! I was not advocating for anything.

          BTW I do understand the Fed’s desire to have some inflation, so it can raise rates, and then lower them in a recession. I’m still not convinced that that is enough to claim, as economists often do, that some inflation is necessary for economic growth. I wonder if that claim is not just a projection of the 20th century experience—a curious logic that goes as follows: we had chronic inflation and we had growth, therefore chronic inflation is necessary for growth.

          And sure, rapid growth can result in inflation, which in no way makes it a necessary precondition for growth. Nor does it in any way suggest that prices must return to their previous level.

          If you have seen proofs that inflation is a necessary precondition for growth, I would love to know about them, since no one over at EV, much less pgl, could ever begin to address the question. And I doubt that Piketty would agree.

          The basis for his claims of my support for austerity are equally crazy.

          pgl will probably come back with some off the wall BS.

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            JohnH: I think you missed the entire collateral-constraint issue from the debt-deflation cycle thesis. I don’t think this is outside-of-mainstream view (although not hegemonic) as it is in many macro and money/banking textbooks.

          2. Baffling

            “ My sin regarding the gold standard was questioning why we need inflation at all, which the Fed was arguing for most of the past decade. ”
            Johnh, without some inflation the entire residential real estate market would implode. $300k+ homes only maintain their value because if the promise of inflation and capital appreciation. This is why the fed fought against deflation so much a decade ago. We saw the ramifications of a nationwide deflation of housing prices. Fed learned a valuable lesson.

          3. JohnH

            Baffling: “ homes only maintain their value because if the promise of inflation and capital appreciation.” Yes, I know. I personally profited enormously from deflation in the real value of mortgages.” But you are making a value judgement—-that homeowners deserve special privileges. Unfortunately, this hurts renters, because the same dynamics that inflate rental properties and increase rentals rates also erode the purchasing power of worker incomes, particularly for those earning minimum wage.

          4. JohnH

            Menzie: thanks for you constructive response, the first I think I have ever gotten regarding this issue.

            Can you recommend an article that analyses the long period of very low inflation during the last decade in terms of the collateral constraint?

          5. baffling

            “But you are making a value judgement—-that homeowners deserve special privileges.”
            Johnh, i am not making a value judgement. i am pointing out the decision made by the fed. and it probably is correct. given the situation, you either protect the homeowner class or the rental class, but not both. from a long term economics perspective, it is probably better to protect the homeowners and encourage renters to reach for that dream. but when you consider the decision makers for the economy (and think beyond just the fed), almost all of them are homeowners. it would not be reasonable to think they would prioritize renters. they key is to keep the policy stable over time, otherwise people do not know how to invest, buy, etc over the long term. i think you do understand why the fed works for some inflation, you just don’t want to admit it.

          6. Barkley Rosser


            Actually the move to foscusing on a positive target rate of inflation of about 2% was something largely due to George Akerlof and Janet Yellen from the 90s. Previously the target had been zero percent. The early sign was in the mid-90s was Yellen backing up Greenspan in ignoring the generally accepted NAIRU to keep stimulus going, and this was a first sign that NAIRU was not quite what it was cut out to be.

            Then there came an argument from a Brookings paper by Akerlof, Dickens, and Perry that argued that there needed to be a low positive rate of inflation. The argument came from the empirical observation that nominal wages are downwardly sticky, which they are, something explained by behavioral arguments that Akerlof and Yellen put forward. Ultimately it was a micro efficiency argument, that labor markets need to have changing relative real wages across sectors to faciliatate efficient allocation of labor. But given the downward stickiness of nominal wages, well, there is a productivity margin, but if the higher nominal wages in some sectors with none going down are high enough, what is implied is that there needs to be some positive rate of inflation, not too high though, to allow for these wage adjustments needed for micro efficiency reasons.

            They did not pick the specific 2% target. That came out of New Zealand, just something they put in place, but it got picked up, backed by this Akerlof, Dickens, Perry argument, with Yellen pushing it at the Fed and elsewhere.

            How all this affects real estate was not part of the discussion though, for better or worse, although I note that Yellen was he first person associated with the Fed, then prez of the SF Fed, who saw in the early noughts that there was a real estate bubble that was going to lead to trouble.

          7. JohnH

            Roster: Thanks for the explanation. I wonder how their assumptions worked out 25 years later, given stagnant real wages and capital sucking up most of the productivity gains. It seems to me that if businesses had shared productivity gains, a real, eventually significant differences would have emerged between real wages of workers with higher productivity vs. those with lower productivity. And in my experience individual businesses regularly cull lower productivity workers and replace them with lower paid new hires.

            In any case, I don’t think that my questions in any way suggested that I am a gold bug, one of pgl’s favourite mischaracterisations.

          8. Barkley Rosser


            Well, nominal wages remain largely downwardly sticky, with the Great Recession a brief period when some got cut. This reflects strong social effects with workers really disliking such cuts and with their bosses perceiving cutting nominal wages to be extremely damaging to morale and work effort. This is tied to a behavioral phenomenon known as the endowment effect, which basically amounts to people really disliking losing things.

            On inflation the inflation rate in US has been between 1 and 2 percent pretty much for quite a long time and looks to continue there.

            Difficult to pin down income distribution effects of all this, but an increase in the minimum wage would help on that front.

          9. baffling

            “How all this affects real estate was not part of the discussion though, for better or worse”
            the average American buys a home because economically, over their lifetime, it is cheaper than renting. when you buy a home with a 30 year mortgage, it is really not cheaper than renting today. but over time, as the house appreciates along with rent, due to inflation, the 30 year mortgage is fixed. so it gets cheaper over time, acting like a hedge against inflation. this was a fair argument prior to the housing bubble and real estate bust. but peoples habits have changed. nobody stays in a home for 30 years. i would argue the 15 year mortgage should become the new barometer for what is expensive versus cheap in purchasing versus renting. but it also serves as a hedge against inflation. in either case, the lack of inflation would be extremely detrimental for residential real estate.

          10. Barkley Rosser


            Your argument about whether it is better to buy or rent over the long run depends on where one is, as well as further details such as when precisely one buys, details of the mortgage, and at what age one buys. Answer here is not nearly as definite as you make it sound.

          11. Moses Herzog

            @ JohnH
            I’m not sure if Menzie would approve of my choice, but maybe this is somewhere in the vicinity of what you’re looking for. If you find it expedient to learning, you can skip the math portions and concentrate on the text parts:

            BTW, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you asking these questions related to inflation and economic growth. Asking questions is not a sin. Quite the reverse. And anyone who tells you otherwise is intolerant, and or attempting to keep knowledge restricted to their own little click. Which are not the actions/views of a truly educated person. Truly educated people enjoy sharing knowledge with those who have a genuine thirst for it. The people who deride those who ask questions—show themselves for what they are, and nothing need be said about them.

          12. Barkley Rosser


            I generally avoid clicking on links provided by Moses, but since he declared this one to be his preferred explanation of all this I checked it out. So I shall simply note that this generally reasonable 2010 AER article discussing the Sudden Stops theory is about emerging economies. It is not relevant to the US or more advanced economies, so useless and irrelevant to the discussion that has been going on in this part of this thread.

          13. Moses Herzog

            Barkley Junior says: “So I shall simply note that this generally reasonable 2010 AER article discussing the Sudden Stops theory is about emerging economies. It is not relevant to the US or more advanced economies, so useless and irrelevant to the discussion that has been going on in this part of this thread.”

            I would LOVE to hear Menzie referee that statement. Come on Menzie!!!!! PhD holders across America are waiting for you to carry their banner and stomp on my head. According to Junior, this, among many other statements in the paper “is irrelevant to” the conversation.

            “The collateral constraint introduces two sets of distortions on financial markets. One is in the form of external financing premia affecting the cost of borrowing in one-period debt and work- ing capital loans, and the return on equity. The second is Fisher’s debt-deflation mechanism: When the leverage ratio is high enough, shocks of standard magnitudes, which would cause typical RBC-like responses without the credit friction, lead agents to fire sell capital, causing a fall in investment and equity prices. This tightens further the constraint and leads to a spiral- ing collapse of credit, asset prices, and investment, a decline in consumption, and a surge in net exports. Moreover, since the constraint also hampers access to working capital, it causes a contemporaneous drop in output and factor allocations.”

          14. baffling

            “Answer here is not nearly as definite as you make it sound.”
            barkley, the comments are reasonably correct for most situations. you can always find outliers. but overall i don’t think the argument is refuted. to honor your comment, i would exclude this analysis from rural settings and small towns. but that leaves a lot of real estate, and valuable real estate at that, in line with those comments. that is what the fed is protecting.

          15. Barkley Rosser


            I do not think you provided any evidence for your claim that you are mostly right in what you wrote for real estate in large cities, although it has been the case often. I would note one correction: the average length of a mortgage is 7 years, which means that it is the 10 year bond rate that drives mortgage rates predominantly, although this is a fairly minor point.

            Oh, Moses, there you go again. It says it right up front in the first sentence in the Abstract of the paper. It is about emerging economies. The part of the model that really makes this clear is the central role played by foreign capital flows in and out. The sudden stops are triggered by sudden outflows of financial capital. This used to happen to some of the European nations prior to the formation of the euro, but it is now only relevant for smaller ones not in the euro. One has not seen anything like this in the larger developed economies for some time, although it used to happen to UK occasionally and might still. But US or Japan or China or Germany? Not at all.

          16. Moses Herzog

            @ Barkley Junior
            Coming from the man who doesn’t know that headline numbers for GDP are always SAAR, and also apparently doesn’t know the difference between GDP and GNP (shall I pull up the comment for those assembled?? ) I’ll give your comment the weight it deserves.

            Menzie has the right to stay neutral and not consuming inordinate amounts of his own unremunerated time getting involved in every quarrel here on the blog. However, I repeat that if Menzie wants to referee this, he’s very welcome.

          17. baffling

            “you are mostly right in what you wrote for real estate in large cities, although it has been the case often.”
            barkley, no i did not provide evidence. but you agree with my point.

            “I would note one correction: the average length of a mortgage is 7 years, which means that it is the 10 year bond rate that drives mortgage rates predominantly, although this is a fairly minor point.”
            that is not what i said. i said the 15 year mortgage should be a better barometer of cheap vs expensive. you are right about the rate. but the monthly payment of a 15 year mortgage should be the measure of whether a property is cheap or expensive compared to renting, not a 30 year mortgage. again, this is the point if interest is very low, the condition under discussion. 7 or 10 year mortgages are not that common, but a 15 year mortgage is. in fact, my first home was bought with a 15 year mortgage. it was the smart move, and illustrated we paid too much for the house. lesson learned.

          18. Barkley Rosser


            Won’t give up, will you, so drag in all sorts of irrelevant half baked stuff.

            For starters, clearly you have not figured it out. Menzie already referred this. See his comment above about how the model you linked to and that I noted was only relevant for emerging economies is only relevant for small open economies. That is more precisely accurate than my statement in that the model is not relevant for large emerging ecomnomies such as India and China or even Russia, if you want to count it as one of those, while it is still relevant to some smaller open high income econmomies, such as Sweden, although these rarely what goes on in the model. What it is com[pletely irrelevant for is the latger high income economies such as US, Japan, Germany, whisch is what most of this discussion has been aboutr. Again, as I pointed out, the key mechanism for the Sudden Stops is a sudden outflow of foreign capital.

            I misreasd what Menzie wrote, Yes, young man, I have known the difference between GDP and GNP since before you were born.

            As for your obsession with SAAR, which several observers have critixized you for, sorry but no, not all headlines involve those numbers, especially for sources not based in the US. This is something used by official US government sources only, with some media using those numbers and some shifting them to shorter time period comparisons, even in US media. The problem arises, which was what I remarked on accurately when this first came up and you went hog wild making a fool of yourself, was that there were media reports coming out using one and then the other without clarifying which they were using. I continue to think media sources need to be clear what their numbers mean when they print them.

    2. Moses Herzog

      Making insults isn’t going to change the fact Ms. Tanden was advocating for cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. What may really annoy the holy hell out of the both you and Menzie is, Ms. Tanden is plainly on the record with her views to make cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

      Apparently Ms. Tanden is also worried about Social Security’s solvency~~making her sound more like technocrat fraud Paul Ryan then a Democrat:

      Now, pgl if you are DUMB enough to believe Ms. Tanden has “changed” her views on cutting Social Security, the same as pgl is DUMB enough to believe laughable statements put out by John McCain’s office about how he “didn’t know about ‘XYZ’ “, that’s not Uncle Moses’ problem. Uncle Moses might find your personal problem of naivety humorous, but still not Uncle Moses’ problem.

      1. Barkley Rosser


        Oh gag. Once again I made the mistake of actually clicking on one links that you put up here. Neither showed what you claimed they showed.

        As has already been note here, although you have not acknowledged it, continuing to repeat drivel you have already said, Tanden did at one point support a chain-linked COLA, that would have led to benefit cuts in SS over time. She is no longer pushing any of that and on Jan. 22 clearly said there should be no cuts to any of the social safety net programs.

        Sorry, but people do change their positions over time, Moses.

        1. Moses Herzog

          OK, let me take notes here from Barkley’ Junior’s “Five Steps To a Great Bureaucratic Utopia” pamphlet he’s been passing out to people: ” prior stances on cutting Social Security means nothing now” “prior stances on cutting Medicare means nothing now” “prior stances on cutting Medicaid means nothing now” “Punching brown man violently for asking question to Hillary about soldiers dying in Iraq means nothing now” “throwing non-HIllary cronies out of the DNC means nothing now”.

          OK, did I miss anything on how we analyze candidates for important government jobs?? Did Tanden get her 2nd quarter GDP forecast closer than you Barkley?? At least closer than 30% wrong?? I’d almost settle for that now.

      2. pgl

        I keep asking the same question – what actual cuts to Social Security benefits were enacted? None. But I guess Moses has to emulate the boring BS of his new BFF. Both of you are totally wastes of space.

        1. Moses Herzog

          Another thing the pea-brain of pgl doesn’t recognize is, if “Democrat stooge X” (read hear Neera Tanden) proposes that we round up New York-based labor economists and put them all in a cage with duck tape over their mouths, that just because that idea is never “enacted” doesn’t “clear” them from the crime of a horrific idea. And I’m wondering which journal or textbook our reactionist peabrain pgl got the idea that if you openly propose on national TV and in largely attended speaking engagements ideas that hurt the poor, elderly and disadvantaged~~that if those ideas are not “enacted” it clears you of attempting to hurt and irreparably damage those large sectors of society?? Or is that one a tough one to grasp for our DNC stooge pgl????

          If Ms. Tanden went on live TV and said “All of you people diagnosed with bi-polar need to jump off a tall building right now, because HIllary and I think it’s a great idea”. If no one “enacted” or followed through on that action, would New York intellectual pgl tell us that “Democrat stooge X’s” suggestion on people killing themselves “means nothing” and have no bearing on the judgement of that person??

          I think I’ve figured out from the above kookball rationale why pgl still burns incense and worships his Hillary Clinton bobblehead every night before bed.

        2. JohnH

          What a stupid question—“were any Social Security cuts actually enacted?”

          The point here is that Social Security is symbolically important. Once the party that has traditionally been its great defender signals that it’s OK to cut benefits (its ultimate red line,) then Republicans understand that any cuts will have a bi-partisan stamp of approval. When Democrats surrender, then Republicans can cut and then say “and Democrats agree.” That was the whole point of Obama’s Simpson-Bowles task force—making cuts to entitlements bi-partisan.

          Worse, if Social Security can be cut then anything and everything is fair game. Evidently pgl thinks that the frayed social safety net has not been damaged enough already, and that it’s perfectly OK to cut even more.

          Boy, if that doesn’t sound like a Republican falsely advertising himself as a progressive liberal, I don’t know what is.

          1. Barkley Rosser

            The issue is what is the Biden team supporting and proposing now. If anything they are talking about increases in Social Security benefits, not cuts. That is simply not remotely on the table and will not be, despite some playing footsie with such ideas in the past by some people in the incoming admin. Those continuing to get worked up about this are almost as out of touch with reality as all those Trumpers insisting he really won the election.

          2. JohnH

            Agreed. Past performance in no way indicates future results.

            The real question is whether Biden is posturing or being sincere, which will require real commitment and effort.

            Personally, I am worried about the reaction of the Left. In 2009, they basically said, “thank God for Obama,” and went to sleep for eight years. With no pressure from the Left, aided and abetted by faux progressives like pgl, Obama was free to move as far Right as he wanted, and blame it all on Republicans.

            2020 is not 2009…and we need to make sure that Biden and Pelosi know that those who voted Democratic are watching…not just his words, but his actions and effort.

          3. baffling

            “and we need to make sure that Biden and Pelosi know that those who voted Democratic are watching…not just his words, but his actions and effort.”
            Johnh, most democrats are not progressives. you seem to be goading people to take a position they really do not believe in. obama did not move to the right. he is really a centrist. that is why he was elected, twice. trump failed to win, precisely because he refused to embrace the centrists. which is funny, since he really does not have an ideological bone in his body. but he backed himself into a maga corner, and could not change because it would have implied weakness and wrongness. it had nothing to do with political beliefs.

  25. ltr


    December 5, 2020

    China commissions new-generation ‘artificial sun’

    The HL-2M Tokamak, China’s new-generation “artificial sun,” went into operation on Friday and has achieved its first plasma discharge, according to the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

    Designed to replicate the natural reactions that occur in the sun using hydrogen and deuterium gases as fuels, the apparatus in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, will provide clean energy through controlled nuclear fusion, said the CNNC.

    The self-developed device is the country’s largest in scale and highest in parameters, with a more advanced structure and control mode than its predecessor, the HL-2A Tokamak.

    It is able to generate plasma hotter than 150 million degrees Celsius and is expected to greatly enhance the research and development of key technologies in plasma physics research in China.

    “The energy confinement time of international tokamak devices is less than one second. The shot discharge duration of the HL-2M is around 10 seconds, with an energy confinement time of a few hundred milliseconds,” said Yang Qingwei, chief engineer of the HL-2M at the Southwestern Institute of Physics under the CNNC.

    The artificial sun will provide key technical support for China’s participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project and frontier research fields including flow instability and magnetic phenomena of ultra-high temperature plasma, according to Yang.

  26. ltr

    The Trump administration is being remarkably active in foreign affairs in these final days; active in ways that will be difficult to undo. With regard to China, President Trump from the beginning sought to undermine Chinese development by attacking Chinese technology advance. This was what the “trade war” with China was actually about. Now there are repeated actions taken against China from severely restricting visas for hundreds of millions of Chinese, to stopping Chinese cultural exchange programs, to sanctioning Chinese companies and prominent Chinese citizens.

    The continual fostering of prejudice against the Chinese, will make reversal of Trump policy by the Biden administration difficult.

    1. Baffling

      Biden will fix the egregious things done by trump. But china needs to get over it. They are not innocent bystanders either. You dont think china coerces foreign tech companies? Really?

  27. pgl

    Now who said no one was addressing tax avoidance of the well to do? Check out this announcement from a team that has hired Gabriel Zucman:


    there will be a European Tax Observatory headed by the renowned progressive tax economist Gabriel Zucman! This will implement an idea of us Greens, which we launched in October 2019 together with Social Democrats and Liberals in the European Parliament. That is great news! Because just like when we founded FinanceWatch a few years ago, we have succeeded in financing a new institution which will increase the chances of a stronger EU policy against tax dumping and financial crime in the medium term…The European observatory on tax policy will have several tasks: Firstly, Zucman and his team will compile a public register containing data and analyses on tax avoidance and evasion. On the basis of their research, they will also make recommendations on how to prevent the shifting of profits and assets to tax havens as well as aggressive tax avoidance. The Tax Observatory will also maintain important contacts with international organisations and national administrations to promote the development of common EU rules in the field of taxation and to advance the fight against money laundering.

    If they set up a North American branch, I would definitely join!

    1. JohnH

      Maybe pgl should let Frankel know it’s important.

      Oh, and while pgl is at it, maybe he could ask his handlers at the DNC why they didn’t bloody the Tax Cheat in Chief with issue. Too many tax cheats of their own?

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ JohnH
        This is why we need more leaders like Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. They are getting out on the media and being aggressive and “taking the attack to” Republicans. Not bragging about their favorite ice cream and thinking a snobby hand-wave during a state of the nation address is speaking to anyone. All of these morons like pgl wet themselves when Pelosi did the hand-wave. Who in rural America was impressed by that?? Even if you believe the statistics for the percent of the American people who live in rural areas, 23%, do you want to toss 1/4 of the voting public in the trash to impress the folks that pay $4.50 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks in the morning?? A hand-motion during the SOTN might impress morons like pgl and Barkley, it does not impress the working class of America.

        If you think a hand motion impresses a soybean farmer or corn farmer who just went bankrupt or watched 3/4 of his crop rot in giant white storage bags, you can officially categorize yourself as disconnected from reality.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Moses Herzog: I really do not understand why you need to resort to allusions to incontinence when commenting on an individuals policy positions and/or assessment.

          1. Barkley Rosser

            Now now now, Menzie, it is all your fault. When you banned Moses from using the s word this reallyi frustrated him since it had been such a standard part of his regular attacks on Pelosi and her ice cream. He gets so excited when he goes after her that he just gets all inspired to be dramatic, and, well, without the s word available he just cannot help himself.

          2. Moses Herzog

            I promise you Menzie, I have never used vulgarity any worse than say, Rahm Emanuel, my personal idol on language usage.

            : )

          3. Moses Herzog

            Menzie, I am aware I sometimes aggravate you, but I was trying to get you to smile, or at least half-chuckle. Did I ever tell you the semi-famous quote football broadcaster Al Michaels made about NFL head coach Marv Levy?? This is the part where you’re supposed to go “No, what…….. ??”

          4. Moses Herzog

            @ Menzie
            I appreciate you sharing the paper you use to teach debt deflation, and obviously defer to your judgement, that it is the best choice.

            When Al Michaels (on the minuscule chance you were indeed curious) was discussing Marv Levy, many years ago during a live Monday Night Game (when it was still on ABC) Michaels mentioned how Levy (well-known for cursing on the sidelines at referees throughout the league) could “turn the air blue”. After a short foray into Coach Levy’s background of a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, a Master’s degree in English History from Harvard and quitting law school for a football coaching job, Michaels made a short chuckle and said “Don’t worry folks, when Marv Levy curses, he curses polysyllabically”.

          5. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Moses Herzog: Not necessarily the best choice – I use the term “canonical” for a reason (look at the date of publication). If we are talking about a small open economy highly dependent on financial capital inflows, then Mendoza’s papers are (rightly) definitional.

          6. Moses Herzog

            @ Menzie
            Menzie, I appreciate you giving the paper (there is zero sarcasm there, I like to think you already know that, but I lay on the sarcasm thick sometimes, so I want to be definitive on that). Also, I appreciate you taking the time to point out the difference between “best” and “canonical”. (no sarcasm there either) I think it is an important difference, and it’s important to know the difference. If I am wrong about something I want to know~~that is how I learn, and Menzie I have been the beneficiary of much knowledge because of you, Prof Hamilton and some of the better commenters here.

            What I do get tired of (and I know you can’t “police” that, and I am not asking you to “police that) is certain people putting words in others mouth, then attacking the fiction they themselves create. Barkley Junior says: “Moses declared this one to be his preferred explanation”. I thought the paper to be a good one, and worded well to get the concept of debt deflation/collateral constraint. I thought the wording of the paper was very conducive to understanding the basic concept. And Frankly I don’t think the basic concept on collateral constraint is that different, just different style economies might act differently, under the “condition” of collateral constraint/debt deflation. But I think JohnH (or whoever) is probably intelligent enough he can probably figure out on his own that collateral constraint/debt deflation may “process” differently in China than the USA etc. ad nauseam. Maybe Barkley Junior thinks you need a PhD to discern that?? I don’t know. Now if someone who is a very sad/damaged person I must say, that even with a PhD the only way they can feel good about themselves is going on different blogs and attempting to bully people or “score points”, then what was the point in getting a PhD to begin with?? They can go down to the local greasy spoon and find people to misquote and then go in for the kill on the misquote, you don’t need a PhD for that.

            I thought, and still DO think, the Mendoza paper is edifying to those not familiar with collateral constraint. But the Bernanke paper and others I am sure are better. And in my very original comment I so much as deferred to you, because I knew, unlike me you would know the most applicable papers to deliver the concept. Which is why I read this blog~~~I am not afraid to admit I do not have all the answers~~and I never attempt to con myself in my own mind that I do. Some people could learn from that, say for example before they mixed up GDP and GNP. Which is another thing I never would have brought up, but some people in Virginia must have things done their way, and so we will.

          7. Barkley Rosser

            Yes, Moses, the Bernanke paper is much better. You still do not get it. The Mendoza paper way overemphasizes the role of international financial flows, which makes it completely irrelevant for talking about the economies we are mostly talking about here. Menzie made that clear, if perhaps a bit more gently than I did. But you simply cannot take any correction from me even when you are wrong, either ignoring it or dragging in all sorts of ancient history in an effort to score points, with this leading at least half the time to you just scoring points against yourself by dragging up something where you were wrong or seriously misguided but somehow continue not to realize it.

  28. Sebastian

    Re: Potential for double-dip recession.

    We know that the yield-curve inverted about June 2019, signaling a credit-based recession long before the corona virus was a thing.

    So, a little thought experiment.:)

    What if , instead of a 100-year natural disaster of one kind (corona virus), we had two back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes making U.S. landfall. (Insert your preferred equivalent disaster here.)

    Would the rebound (“recovery”) from the natural disaster be just that, with the original, underlying credit-based recession being a separate (and still dangerous) issue?

    We’ve seen things sort of like this before (back-to-back hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, for example), but as far as the credit conditions/location in the business cycle were concerned they were still solid.

    The Twin Towers event occurred almost at the end of a recession, with the yield-curve positive by about +180bp and rising.

    Anyway, just kicking it around.:)


    1. 2slugbaits

      Sebastian Things like hurricanes and 9/11 tend to be short-lived and relatively local in their immediate effects. And to some extent there’s a “broken windows” kind of follow-on demand to replace lost demand during the event. My sense is that much of today’s discussion reflects a category error. Recessions and recoveries are terms we use to describe what are primarily endogenous shocks to the business cycle; e.g., credit bubbles, inventory imbalances, currency crises, deliberate Fed tightening of interest rates, etc. We have the tools to manage those kinds of macroeconomic problems even if we don’t always have the will or the wisdom. This pandemic is really sui generis in that it is a truly exogenous global shock made worse by braindead political leadership. We have an ongoing economic crisis and it’s natural that macroeconomists will tend to view it through familiar macroeconomic categories; but I believe the economic crisis is second order. The success of solving the second order problem depends on first solving the first order problem, which is keeping people alive and financially afloat until a vaccine is widely available. So I kind of wince a little bit when I read about this or that “stimulus” package being discussed. Another category error. What we really need right now isn’t something to stimulate aggregate demand, which would likely make the pandemic even worse, but a financial bridging package. Once we get the pandemic under control, then it may well be the time to think about the need for a traditional stimulus package. Or maybe we won’t need one. It’s possible that there will be enough pent up demand for stuff like vacations, restaurant dining, theaters, salons, etc. that those sectors won’t need a stimulus. In fact, it’s possible that we might have a temporary supply side problem as those sectors try to reclaim lost workers. Or maybe the sectoral shifts over the last year will be sticky and we will need fiscal stimulus. I have no idea how it will go. We just don’t know how it’s going to go once we’re on the other side of this pandemic. This is uncharted territory and I am reluctant to view the problem in old categorical terms that might not apply right now. The only sure thing is that we need a financial bridge that gets us to the other side.

  29. ltr

    Latin American countries have recorded 4 of the 12 and 6 of the 22 highest number of coronavirus cases among all countries.  Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile.  Mexico, with more than 1 million cases recorded, has the 4th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 12th highest number of cases among all countries.  Mexico is now the 4th among all countries to have recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths.

    December 4, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    US   ( 861) *

    Brazil   ( 825)
    Argentina   ( 871)
    Colombia   ( 733)

    Mexico   ( 835)
    Peru   ( 1,091)
    Chile   ( 811)

    Ecuador   ( 771)
    Bolivia   ( 765)

    * Descending number of cases

  30. ltr

    China has a 5,000 year history of cheating and stealing….

    [ As with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, that only was repealed in December 1943, my understanding is not about what China must “get over.” Changing the policy of the Trump administration, should President Biden want to do so, may prove difficult because of the attitudes fostered through this administration. I prefer to be hopeful, however. ]

    1. Barkley Rosser

      That is a genuine achievement, ltr. Will you also recognize the achievement by the Japanese of retrieving rocks from an asteroid? At least as outstanding.

  31. joseph

    Peter Navarro today: “Everything that I am seeing tells me that this election was stolen; everything I’m seeing across six states.”

    And when this is all over, all will be forgotten and Navarro will be welcomed back into fraternity of respected economists. No wonder economists are held in such low esteem by the public. The public has higher standards.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Wouldn’t you like to know the moment Navarro “sold out”?? Bitterness over the speed of career advancement?? A bad break up with some girl?? Becoming jaded seeing how some people do well by telling lies?? Watching “Rashomon” once and thinking “there is no one truth, so I might as well make it up as I go along”?? When, where, and what actually did it?? I suspect we’ll never know, but it would be FUN to know.

        Here’s the deal, I don’t think he actually believes what he himself is saying, and Navarro reminds of the quality some narcissists have (not saying he is one, just he has that one quality narcissists have) that if you catch him in a lie, even though Navarro knows himself he’s lying, he gets greatly offended if you speak it out, that he is lying~~~the old “I’m offended you had the nerve to say something negative about me out-loud that I in fact already knew about myself” thing.

      2. joseph

        But then again, we’ve had people here argue that Hoover is a distinguished institution of scholarship respected by economists. Why, even Judy Shelton came from there.

        1. Moses Herzog

          I realize I am in a very tiny minority on this, but in my opinion, it would be more aptly named “The Coolidge Institute” as that fits them better and the ideas they represent.

          Although since Hoover is the one who bequeathed the money, it’s kinda hard to argue the name, however inaccurate. But I think if Hoover saw what they are today he’d rue the day he gave Stanford that money, or would have given strict orders it wasn’t to morph into anything beyond a student/research library and wasn’t to employ elitist jerkwads of the Peter J Wallison ilk.

          1. Moses Herzog

            I might add while I’m on this topic, that Biden’s team really needs to be conscious of this blame throwing relationship between Coolidge/Hoover (also “W” Bush/Obama??). Because the blame game model between Coolidge/Hoover could very well be unintentionally mimicked by the Trump/Biden hand-off. This is why I don’t think Pelosi or the Fed need get in a hurry about this. This nation has become so dumb and illiterate, it wouldn’t hurt for them to get a couple more economic bludgeons to the head, so they are FULLY aware which President bright on these problems.

            Although one could make a very strong argument the time”lag” between initiating policies and their positive effects rationalizes steps being made now.

    1. pgl

      Navarro is an economist? I guess Kudlow, Moore, and even Donald Luskin qualify. Does every nutcase qualify as an economist?

  32. Moses Herzog

    Do any other readers here ever listen to Robert Conrad’s “Weekend Radio” out of Cleveland?? Where I live it airs Saturday nights (semi-unfortunately around the same time SNL is on, because of course DVR can solve this small problem). This show is a godsend, similar to New York Times, NPR, a good chuck eye steak, alcohol…. whatever , YOU fill in the blank, the Weekend Radio show with Robert Conrad can give you that sense like there’s still sanity in the world. Do yourself a favor, look for the time of broadcast where you are and give it a go. It is one of the things I treasure in general media consumption:


    If you don’t get it, that’s very sad and I feel sorry for you, demand they start carrying it at your local public radio station.

  33. ltr

    December 5, 2020



    Cases   ( 14,983,425)
    Deaths   ( 287,825)


    Cases   ( 9,644,529)
    Deaths   ( 140,216)


    Cases   ( 2,281,475)
    Deaths   ( 54,981)


    Cases   ( 1,705,971)
    Deaths   ( 61,014)


    Cases   ( 1,170,095)
    Deaths   ( 18,975)


    Cases   ( 1,156,770)
    Deaths   ( 108,863)


    Cases   ( 408,921)
    Deaths   ( 12,589)


    Cases   ( 86,601)
    Deaths   ( 4,634)

  34. ltr

    December 5, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 897)
    US   ( 867)
    France   ( 842)
    Mexico   ( 841)

    Canada   ( 332)
    Germany   ( 226)
    India   ( 101)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 9.4%, 3.6% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  35. ltr


    December 6, 2020

    Chinese mainland reports 18 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland on Saturday registered 18 new COVID-19 cases, including 1 locally transmitted case in Tianjin and 17 from overseas, the National Health Commission announced on Sunday.

    Two new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 234 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No COVID-19-related deaths were reported on Saturday, and 12 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 86,619, with 4,634 fatalities as of Saturday.

    Chinese mainland new imported cases


    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases


    [ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since the beginning of May.  Since the beginning of June there have been 7 limited community clusters of infections, each of which was an immediate focus of mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, with each outbreak having been contained.  Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases are all contact traced and quarantined.

    Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine.  Cold-chain imported food products are all checked and tracked through distribution.  The flow of imported cases to China is low, but has been persistent.

    There are now 279 active coronavirus cases in all on the Chinese mainland, 6 of which cases are classed as serious or critical. ]

  36. Walter

    One of every 800 North Dakota residents has now died of Covid 19… and they are NOT the worst state. (so far)

  37. ltr

    December 5, 2020



    Cases   ( 252,017)
    Deaths   ( 10,953)

    Deaths per million   ( 1,589)


    December 5, 2020


    New York

    Cases   ( 734,600)
    Deaths   ( 34,940)

    Deaths per million   ( 1,796)

  38. pgl

    I just heard those fake news MSNBC socialists declare that Trump did not even bother to discuss the recent BLS report. Now we know our man Larry Kudlow (the Klown) would find something to cheer about and he did not let us down:


    Notice how he kept talking about how the unemployment rate fell. Yes Kudlow does not trust the BLS data that noted this was because the labor force participation fell. Kudlow cannot be bothered to note how the employment to population ratio also fell.

    Of course he has to mock “the geniuses” at CBO etc. and their forecasts for the economy. Yes – who needs actual economists when we have Larry Kudlow and his cheerleading miniskirt!

    1. Dr. Dysmalist

      Kudlow in a miniskirt?! What have I ever done to you to deserve that image? I need brain bleach ASAP!

  39. ltr


    November 25, 2020

    Sicily asks Cuba to send medics as Italy fights second Covid wave
    Request made to embassy in Cuba as island struggles with shortage of doctors and nurses
    By Lorenzo Tondo – Guardian

    Palermo — Authorities in Sicily have asked Cuba’s government to send about 60 healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, to the region as hospitals in the Italian island struggle with a shortage of medical personnel during the second coronavirus wave.

    The request was filed this week to the Italian embassy in Cuba and refers to intensive care specialists, nurses, anaesthetists, resuscitators, virologists and pneumologists, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported.

    Between March and April this year, Cuban medical teams landed in some of Italy’s worst-hit regions, including Lombardy and Piedmont, to replace overworked Italian professionals.

    Other medical brigades have fanned out across the world to fight Covid-19 in 20 other countries, from South Africa to Suriname….

  40. ltr

    December 6, 2020


    Dominican Republic

    Cases   ( 148,453)
    Deaths   ( 2,345)

    Deaths per million   ( 215)


    Cases   ( 8,782)
    Deaths   ( 136)

    Deaths per million   ( 12)

    [ The Dominican Republic has had the fastest per capita growth rate in Latin America these last 50 years, Cuba has been beset by United States sanctions. Cuba however has an important advantage in public health system, as reflected by life expectancy and infant mortality and containing the spread of the coronavirus. ]

    1. noneconomist

      Kate McKinnon’s Giuliani is an instant classic. The entire sketch is both side splitting and frightening.
      That those nitwits actually were called to testify at a legislative hearing is a stunning realization of exactly how far Republicans have devolved into looniness.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Did McKinnon include the part in Sasha Baron Cohen’s work where Giuliani chokes his chicken in front of the girl in the hotel bed?? I’d link up a still photo if I though Menzie would clear it. That was actually much worse than the hair dye thing, and Maria Bakalova (an actress) has made no equivocations about what she thought it was, although she often leaves the question open to interviewers when they initially ask in a kind of David Lynchian “I’m not going to interpret my own work for you” kind of a deal.

  41. ltr

    Latin American countries have recorded 4 of the 12 and 6 of the 22 highest number of coronavirus cases among all countries.  Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile.  Mexico, with more than 1 million cases recorded, has the 4th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 12th highest number of cases among all countries.  Mexico is now the 4th among all countries to have recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths.

    December 5, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    US   ( 867) *

    Brazil   ( 829)
    Argentina   ( 873)
    Colombia   ( 736)

    Mexico   ( 841)
    Peru   ( 1,091)
    Chile   ( 813)

    Ecuador   ( 775)
    Bolivia   ( 765)

    * Descending number of cases

  42. Baffling

    Apparently we are short of vaccines. Perhaps they should be rationed with more going to states with lockdowns and face masks. The other states apparently do not have a covid problem.

  43. ltr

    December 6, 2020



    Cases   ( 15,159,529)
    Deaths   ( 288,906)


    Cases   ( 9,676,801)
    Deaths   ( 140,590)


    Cases   ( 2,292,497)
    Deaths   ( 55,155)


    Cases   ( 1,723,242)
    Deaths   ( 61,245)


    Cases   ( 1,184,845)
    Deaths   ( 19,159)


    Cases   ( 1,168,395)
    Deaths   ( 109,456)


    Cases   ( 415,182)
    Deaths   ( 12,665)


    Cases   ( 86,619)
    Deaths   ( 4,634)

  44. ltr

    December 6, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 900)
    US   ( 871)
    Mexico   ( 845)
    France   ( 844)

    Canada   ( 334)
    Germany   ( 228)
    India   ( 101)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 9.4%, 3.6% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  45. ltr


    December 7, 2020

    Chinese mainland reports 15 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland recorded 15 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 3 locally transmitted cases in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and 12 from overseas, the National Health Commission announced on Monday.

    Six new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 231 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No COVID-19 deaths were reported on Sunday, while 13 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 86,634, with 4,634 deaths as of Sunday.

    Chinese mainland new imported cases


    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases


    [ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since the beginning of May.  Since the beginning of June there have been 7 limited community clusters of infections, each of which was an immediate focus of mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, with each outbreak having been contained.  Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases are all contact traced and quarantined.

    Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine.  Cold-chain imported food products are all checked and tracked through distribution.  The flow of imported cases to China is low, but has been persistent.

    There are now 281 active coronavirus cases in all on the Chinese mainland, 6 of which cases are classed as serious or critical. ]

  46. ltr


    December 7, 2020

    Want Vaccines Fast? Suspend Intellectual Property Rights
    Otherwise, there won’t be enough shots to go around, even in rich countries.
    By Achal Prabhala, Arjun Jayadev and Dean Baker

    As some reports would have it, this is the beginning of the end. Three coronavirus vaccines have posted excellent results, with more expected to come.

    But this is not the beginning of the end; it is only the beginning of an endless wait: There aren’t enough vaccines to go around in the richest countries on earth, let alone the poorest ones.

    That’s why it makes little sense that the United States, Britain and the European Union, among others, are blocking a proposal at the World Trade Organization that would allow them, and the rest of the world, to get more of the vaccines and treatments we all need.

    The proposal, put forward by India and South Africa in October, calls on the W.T.O. to exempt member countries from enforcing some patents, trade secrets or pharmaceutical monopolies under the organization’s agreement on trade-related intellectual property rights, known as TRIPs.

    It cites the “exceptional circumstances” created by the pandemic and argues that intellectual property protections are currently “hindering or potentially hindering timely provisioning of affordable medical products”; the waiver would allow W.T.O. member countries to change their laws so that companies there could produce generic versions of any coronavirus vaccines and Covid-19 treatments.

    The idea was immediately opposed by the United States, the European Union, Britain, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, Australia and Brazil. It was opposed again at another meeting in November, and again last week.

    By our count, nearly 100 countries favor the proposal, and yet because almost all decisions at the W.T.O. are made by consensus, a small number of countries can thwart the will of the majority, even a super majority. (The organization has 164 members.)

    The U.S. trade representative is reported to have said that protecting intellectual property rights and otherwise “facilitating incentives for innovation and competition” was the best way to ensure the “swift delivery” of any vaccines and treatments. The European Union has argued that there was “no indication that intellectual property rights issues have been a genuine barrier in relation to Covid-19-related medicines and technologies.” The British mission to the W.T.O. agrees, characterizing the waiver proposal as “an extreme measure to address an unproven problem.”

    In fact, the novel technology at the heart of the Moderna vaccine, for example, was developed partly by the National Institutes of Health using U.S. federal funds. Moderna then received a total of some $2.5 billion in taxpayer money for research support and as preorders for vaccines; by the company’s own admission, the $1 billion contribution it received for research covered 100 percent of those costs….

    1. baffling

      i do not see how any wto suspension of patent rights will increase the output of the vaccine. the companies who make the product exist in countries that would not actually suspend patent rights. and the countries who want a patent suspension do not have the capability to produce the vaccine. this argument simply appears to be a waste of time, and probably promoted by individuals or nations as propaganda.

      1. pgl

        If every capable manufacturer is allowed to make these vaccines we would get a lot more produced even if governments choose not to pay premium prices. But if there are fewer producers – those who hold these rights can hold out on governments until they agree to pay big time. I would think this is the basic issue of cartels extorting governments by limiting supply. OPEC tried it with petroleum and not Big Pharma might be tempted to do the same.

        1. dilbert dogbert

          I was thinking that maybe life saving drugs should be like all the tanks, warships, bombers, fighters that the government buys. Only one buyer and multiple makers. The War Dept is very inefficient but what the hell. We keep throwing money at it without any review of the needs. The only review of the needs is reviewing how to keep the suppliers up and going.

        2. baffling

          “If every capable manufacturer is allowed to make these vaccines we would get a lot more produced even if governments choose not to pay premium prices..”
          my comment was limited to the current covid pandemic. even if you did allow some of the countries to produce, i do not think they are capable of producing the vaccine. that said, i am not against it if they restrict their distribution to the poorer, third world countries. but if it simply gives a poor nation the opportunity to export the vaccine to wealthy nations, rather than provide supply to the poor nations, then it creates an incentive problem. and those poor third world nations would still end up without the vaccine, defeating the purpose of the waiver to begin with.

  47. pgl

    Fauci and Cuomo are jointly addressing our COVID19 situation. Cuomo was happy that NYC had only a 4% positivity rate which does seem low relative to most parts of the nation.

    To be it is too damn high. We got our positivity rate down to 1% at one point. But now it is 4% and this is supposed to be good news?

    I am afraid that we have a lot of really stupid people in this nation. Wear your damn mask.

  48. ltr

    December 6, 2020


    New York

    Cases   ( 742,727)
    Deaths   ( 34,985)

    Deaths per million   ( 1,798)


    December 6, 2020



    Cases   ( 256,844)
    Deaths   ( 11,004)

    Deaths per million   ( 1,597)

  49. ltr

    Importantly, South Africa and India are generic drug producers and can manufacture equivalent drugs at a far lower cost than the drugs under patent are sold for in the United States. Low cost drugs in poorer countries often mean life itself. As for the cost of drugs in the United States, beyond manufacturing and development costs, this too is a serious problem.

    The US limiting of intellectual property rights to developing nations is a long-standing matter, and I am reminded that in December 1986 the US was the only nation to vote against the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development. There were 146 votes in favor of the declaration, 1 against and 8 abstaining.

  50. ltr

    The US vote against  the UN Declaration on the Right to Development was far-sighted, allowing for both the limiting of intellectual property rights to developing countries and excusing the use of economic sanctions which have become an increasingly important and wide-spread as a US foreign policy tool and have been used even through the pandemic. That the US would use economic sanctions against other countries, even in the midst of a pandemic troubles me.

    As for the “propaganda,” I am sympathetic enough to economists from Bangladesh not to mind.

  51. Moses Herzog

    I apologize for the advertisements, but they should be relatively easy to click around and not much wait. My father was 14 when this occurred. Most people found out by radio. The “streaming” of its day. I’m sure some by newspaper:

    When you went to the old school movie theaters, sometimes they had war footage before your “moving picture show” started.

    This was the 9/11 of its time (the only thing young people would have as a reference point), and in actuality much more weighty and threatening than 9/11.

  52. ltr


    December 7, 2020

    Want Vaccines Fast? Suspend Intellectual Property Rights
    Otherwise, there won’t be enough shots to go around, even in rich countries.
    By Achal Prabhala, Arjun Jayadev and Dean Baker

    [ A brilliant article, by 3 esteemed economists.

    Two the esteemed economists are from Bangladesh.  Demeaning esteemed economists who happen to be from Bangladesh is of course offensive in an especially sad way.

    The third esteemed economist is a product of Swarthmore and the University of Michigan, and teaches at the University of Utah.  From Paul Krugman, to Joseph Stiglitz, and on through the profession, Dean Baker is thoroughly respected.

    I am proud to have referred this column to readers. ]

    1. Ulenspiegel

      “Want Vaccines Fast? Suspend Intellectual Property Rights
      Otherwise, there won’t be enough shots to go around, even in rich countries.
      By Achal Prabhala, Arjun Jayadev and Dean Baker”

      I would like it much more if a chemist with expertise in production of vaccines also contributed.

      The bottleneck in case of DNA/RNA vaccines and some of the systems with viral vectors is production facilities and production know how,
      I am not sure whether IP is really the issue.

      Only for systems that could be produced in facilities which are used for production of animal vaccination, the argument is good.

      1. ltr

        The bottleneck in case of DNA/RNA vaccines and some of the systems with viral vectors is production facilities and production know how,
        I am not sure whether IP is really the issue….

        [ This is an important question, to which a reliable answer is needed. I appreciate the question. ]

  53. ltr

    There is a special reason South Africa is especially sensitive about the need for ready access to low cost generic medicines. South Africa coming from the promise of an end to apartheid and the presidency of Nelsen Mandela was harmed terribly by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and needed international assistance in gaining control of and treating patients with HIV/AIDS. Notice the startling, wrenching loss of life expectancy:


    January 15, 2018

    Life Expectancy at Birth for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 1980-2018

  54. pgl

    Is Lloyd Austin the right choice to be our next Sec. of Defense? Those that know him say he is highly qualified. The counter argument is expressed by Kevin Drum:


    Maybe in a normal world – Kevin’s argument should prevail. But we all know that Donald Trump has utterly destroyed everything he could. So maybe we need a strong and well respected leader if though he is not a civilian and he is a Republican.

  55. joseph

    Hey, we need to call out the econ police again.

    The Texas Attorney General files an emergency lawsuit to the Supreme Court against the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia to overturn the elections.

    In evidence is a declaration provided by distinguished economist Charles J. Cicchetti of the University of Southern California.

    He testifies: The probability of former Vice President Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—independently given President Trump’s early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion, or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000. For former Vice President Biden to win these four States collectively, the odds of that event happening decrease to less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power (i.e., 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,0004)

    Oh my god! To the fourth power, no less. That’s a lot of zeros! He couldn’t even bring himself to say it was impossible … there is a chance in there that Biden won, after all. But that is just typical two-handed economist hedging.

    1. baffling

      the cynic in me says this has more to do with AG Paxton trying to score pardon points from trump
      the man is under federal investigation for bribery and securities fraud.

      at any rate, i find it a little funny that one confederate state (texas) is challenging the vote in another confederate state (georgia). seems like the confederacy is entering their own “civil” war. for all those states rights republicans, since when could one state tell another state how to run their elections? i bet rick stryker could provide another logically inconsistent argument for this one!

      1. Barkley Rosser

        According to Sean Hannity this suit is serious and that the SCOTUS will actually hear it, not just automatically throwing it out. This is very weird as well as disturbing.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          As of today, Trump has jumped in with an effort to “intervene” in this case,, although it is unclear what that means other than him shooting off his mouth to support and call for more yet contributions to his various PACs aimed at overturning the election. It looks like what SCOTUS is doing is waiting for the four states that are being sued by Texas to respond officially, with all of their AGs having made public statements denouncing the suit in strong terms.

          As it is, AG Paxton of TX has been indicted by the FBI, although he managed to get reelected somehow. On top of that all of his Deputy AGs swore out affidavits accusing him of crimes, so he is really in deep doo doo. A widespread theory is that this lawsuit has no hope at SCOTUS, but is aimed at Trump with Paxton hoping to get a pardon from him for his various alleged crimes.

        2. Moses Herzog

          “According to Sean Hannity this suit is serious and the SCOTUS will actually hear it”

          Call the Rosser family matriarch immediately, it appears we’ve hit another serious juncture in Junior’s frontotemporal degeneration. This appears to be entering a darker stage.

          1. Barkley Rosser

            So the latest is that 17 states run by GOP have joined Texas in this suit. Trump has asked TX Sen. Cruz to argue the case if SCOTUS does hear it. Hopefully tomorrow (or shortly thereafter) SCOTUS will refuse to do so after they see the responses by the AGs of the four states being sued.

            If this had been a simple slam dunk, the SCOTUS would not have asked for these responses from the sued states. This case does look completely absurd, and probably SCOTUS will do the right thing, hopefully unanimously, after they finish making the sued states respond to this garbage. But this thing has gotten a lot more serious than it was yesterday.

            As such, Moses, looks like your personalistic comments above are simply out of line, more of your stupid sadistic hatred.

  56. ltr


    December 8, 2020

    Pfizer’s Vaccine Offers Strong Protection After First Dose
    The Food and Drug Administration’s first analysis of the clinical trial data also found that the coronavirus vaccine worked well regardless of a volunteer’s race, weight or age.
    By Noah Weiland and Carl Zimmer

    WASHINGTON — The coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech provides strong protection against Covid-19 within about 10 days of the first dose, according to documents published on Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration before a meeting of its vaccine advisory group.

    The finding is one of several significant new results featured in the briefing materials, which include more than 100 pages of data analyses from the agency and from Pfizer. Last month, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their two-dose vaccine had an efficacy rate of 95 percent after two doses administered three weeks apart. The new analyses show that the protection starts kicking in far earlier.

    What’s more, the vaccine worked well regardless of a volunteer’s race, weight or age. While the trial did not find any serious adverse events caused by the vaccine, many participants did experience aches, fevers and other side effects.

    “This is what an A+ report card looks like for a vaccine,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University.

    On Thursday, F.D.A.’s vaccine advisory panel will discuss these materials in advance of a vote on whether to recommend authorization of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine.

    Pfizer and BioNTech began a large-scale clinical trial in July, recruiting 44,000 people in the United States, Brazil and Argentina. Half of the volunteers got the vaccine, and half got the placebo….

  57. ltr


    December 7, 2020

    Trump Administration Passed on Chance to Secure More of Pfizer Vaccine
    The pharmaceutical company offered the government a chance to lock in additional supplies before its vaccine was proved effective in clinical trials.
    By Sharon LaFraniere, Katie Thomas and Noah Weiland

    WASHINGTON — Before Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was proved highly successful in clinical trials last month, the company offered the Trump administration the chance to lock in supplies beyond the 100 million doses the pharmaceutical maker agreed to sell the government as part of a $1.95 billion deal over the summer.

    But the administration, according to people familiar with the talks, never made the deal, a choice that now raises questions about whether the United States allowed other countries to take its place in line.

    While two vaccines, including Pfizer’s, have proved to be highly effective against Covid-19, and a third also appears at least moderately effective, supplies are shaping up to be scarce in the coming months as infections, hospitalizations and deaths surge to new highs. And while Pfizer is now negotiating with the administration to provide more of its vaccine, people familiar with the talks say the company cannot guarantee that it will be able to deliver more than the initial 100 million doses — enough to inoculate 50 million people since its vaccine requires two shots — before perhaps next June….

  58. joseph

    I mean, really, are their no sanctions at all for economic malpractice? Here is economist Cicchetti’s argument:

    Trump had a lead at 3 AM on election night. He then assumes that votes are a normal distribution over time and calculates that the probability of a higher percentage of votes for Biden coming in the next day are one in a quadrillion.

    Seriously, he assumes normal distribution over time. We certainly know votes are not normally distributed over space. We know that rural areas are more inclined to vote for Trump than urban areas. We also know that rural areas, since they have fewer votes to count, tend to report their results earlier than urban areas. So the assumption of normal distribution over time is absurd on its face.

    But it is much worse than that. The distribution of votes over time is not random because Republicans designed it that way. Trump strategists were very open about their strategy months ago. Their strategy was to get an early lead on election night and then declare victory. And then they explicitly executed efforts to make that happen. First of all, they had Trump actively discourage voters in key states from using mail-in ballots. Remember all those rallies where Trump said “Don’t vote by mail.”

    Then they had the Republican led legislators in those states enact laws that would cause mail-in ballots to be counted last. They did this by passing laws preventing mail-in ballots from being pre-processed, which means opening the outer envelopes and verifying the signatures before the close of polls on election day. This prevented mail-in ballots from being ready to be scanned and counted as soon as polls closed. This was a deliberate strategy to make sure Trump, in-person votes, were counted first and Biden, mail-in votes, were counted last.

    So here’s the thing. Republicans deliberately engineered the election to skew votes over time and then they get this distinguished member of the economics fraternity to declare that that there is fraud because the votes are not normally distributed over time — one in a quadrillion! To the fourth power, no less, as if state vote results are independent events.

    This is gross malpractice of statistics that would shame a college freshman. What is up with the economics profession?

    1. 2slugbaits

      It gets worse. Voting across states is not independent. Cicchetti assumed without evidence that voting in Michigan is independent of voting in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania or between Georgia and North Carolina, which in both states was quite close. Whatever his abilities as an economist, he’s a lousy amateur political scientist.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        This is very bizarre. Cicchetti used to be a liberal environmental economist. He was the first enviro economist on the UW-Madison econ faculty ever back in the early 70s. I knew him well, indeed, he was even on my committee but then left. He had Post Keynesian Paul Davidson on his thesis committee at Rutgers in 69. He has gotten involved with all sorts of corporate consulting, and he is also not a spring chicken. But this is seriously incompetent. I am quite mystified and not at all happy reading about this testimony of his.

    2. joseph

      Cicchetti computes a Z-score comparing the early and late counted votes and comes up with a number of 1891 and then uses that to get a p-value and his quadrillions. Assuming normal distribution across time.

      He does the same thing comparing the performance of Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020 in various counties and concludes that the differences could only occur one in a quadrillion. Yep, the fact that Biden outperformed Clinton in some counties is evidence of fraud.

      “I find the increase of Biden over Clinton is statistically incredible if the outcomes are based on similar populations of voters supporting the two Democratic candidates.”

      And of course the final straw, since quadrillions alone isn’t enough to impress, he raises it to the fourth power assuming each state is a completely independent event.

      It’s all rather astonishing. You could do a seminar for students on how not to do statistics. You can see it for yourself here, starting on page 20:

      1. baffling

        even george conway was saying this is simply stooooopid. if the supreme court were to take this on, i think it indicates the republic has come to an end.

  59. ltr

    December 7, 2020



    Cases   ( 15,369,046)
    Deaths   ( 290,443)


    Cases   ( 9,703,908)
    Deaths   ( 140,994)


    Cases   ( 2,295,908)
    Deaths   ( 55,521)


    Cases   ( 1,737,960)
    Deaths   ( 61,434)


    Cases   ( 1,200,006)
    Deaths   ( 19,539)


    Cases   ( 1,175,850)
    Deaths   ( 109,717)


    Cases   ( 423,054)
    Deaths   ( 12,777)


    Cases   ( 86,634)
    Deaths   ( 4,634)

  60. ltr

    December 7, 2020

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 903)
    US   ( 875)
    Mexico   ( 847)
    France   ( 850)

    Canada   ( 337)
    Germany   ( 230)
    India   ( 102)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 9.4%, 3.6% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  61. ltr


    December 8, 2020

    Chinese mainland reports 12 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland recorded 12 new COVID-19 cases on Monday – 2 locally transmitted in southwest China’s Sichuan Province and 10 from abroad, the National Health Commission announced on Tuesday.

    Five new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 219 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No COVID-19 deaths were reported on Monday, while 13 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 86,646, with 4,634 deaths, as of Monday.

    Chinese mainland new imported cases


    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases


    [ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since the beginning of May.  Since the beginning of June there have been 7 limited community clusters of infections, each of which was an immediate focus of mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, with each outbreak having been contained.  Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases are all contact traced and quarantined.

    Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine.  Cold-chain imported food products are all checked and tracked through distribution.  The flow of imported cases to China is low, but has been persistent.

    There are now 280 active coronavirus cases in all on the Chinese mainland, 6 of which cases are classed as serious or critical. ]

  62. ltr

    Correcting the order, above:

    December 7, 2020

    Coronavirus (Deaths per million)

    France ( 850)
    Mexico ( 847)

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