Aggregate Wisconsin Employment Stabilizes, High Contact Services Decline

DWD data released yesterday indicates nonfarm payroll employment broke their two month decline. Private employment rose as well, while manufacturing versus accommodation/food services trend diverged. State and local government employment continued their decline.

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment from December release (black), forecast from June 2020 Economic Outlook (teal), from November 2020 Economic Outlook (red), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, DWD, and Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Employment is already undershooting the forecast from early November (discussed in this post). To some extent, this is not surprising as national employment growth has flattened out.

Finally, the divergent paths for goods producing and high-contact services providing employment is illustrated in figure 3, using manufacturing employment (blue) and accommodation and food services employment (red).

Figure 2: Wisconsin manufacturing employment release (blue), and accommodation and food services employment (red, right log scale), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, and DWD.

Government employment at the state and local levels continues to decline, illustrating the importance of Federal assistance to state and local governments.

Figure 3: Wisconsin government employment, all levels (blue), and state and local (red), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, and DWD.

Finally, employment, including self-employed and farm workers, was substantially higher, at least as measured/estimated:

Figure 4: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment (black), and civilian employment over 16 (red), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, and DWD.

However, this series is subject to much larger measurement error, as it is based on a household survey that — at the state level particularly — does not have a particularly large sample. Hence, one should be particularly wary of this series. That being said, the trend for this series is downward, while nonfarm payroll is essentially trending sideways.

169 thoughts on “Aggregate Wisconsin Employment Stabilizes, High Contact Services Decline

    1. dilbert dogbert

      Makes me want to just scan by your comment like I sometimes do with some of the frequent commenters.
      got my first Moderna shot today. 2nd coming in 4 weeks. WhoRaw!

  1. ltr

    December 24, 2020

    350 km/h high-speed freight train launched in N China

    A brand new 350 km/h high-speed freight electric multiple units (EMU) train, independently developed by China, rolled off the assembly line on Wednesday in Tangshan City of north China’s Hebei Province.

    The development of the train was led by CRRC Tangshan Company and supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology’s key project “Advanced Rail Transport.”

    Based on the 350 km/h high-speed EMU platforms in China, the train can meet the demands for 600 to 1,500 km medium- and long-distance fast freight services. It can operate in all weather conditions with prominent advantages of high efficiency and frequency as well as low costs….

  2. Moses Herzog

    More closely related to the post, I’m hopeful the economy gains ground under Evers. You don’t attract industry by offering up tax breaks and tax rebates like candy that a dozen other states are offering at the sacrifice of their own state and municipal budget revenue. You attract businesses longterm through quality public education, well funded and well-resourced public education, offered in a universal fashion (whether your home address is Madison, the suburbs of Milwaukee, or Whitewater Wisconsin) which creates a knowledgable high-skills workforce which many states cannot offer. If you have a high capability workforce you don’t have to have tax rebates candy—because the efficiency and productivity of the workforce (and a low crime rate) outweighs tax candy goodies.

    What do you get when you offer up tax candy goodies?? Corporations looking for free handouts from local politicians, like FOXCONN, who will tuck tail and run on short notice when the next state offers them more tax candy. That’s not the way you build jobs longterm.

  3. Moses Herzog

    It’s interesting to note, Representative Ocasio-Cortez attended a produce market workers’ strike on January 20. Can anyone tell me the last time premium ice cream lover Nancy Pelosi attended a workers’ strike?? They were asking for a $1 raise.

    AOC was wearing gloves, not mittens. : )

  4. Moses Herzog

    Just while I’m thinking about it, our state’s 7-day moving average death count, is very near to 35 deaths per day, and today’s count, which I highly suspect is being intentionally undercounted by state officials was 47. 47 deaths, 12 deaths over the moving average while at the same time they are claiming case count has dropped/lowered over 400 people. Yes, I know towards the end of weekdays, Thursday–Friday, the “count” number tends to raise vs Sunday–Monday drop~~but it’s not adding up logically and none of it makes sense, and it always ends up when you look at it the numbers are being undercounted in some form or fashion. While the state’s Republican Governor enforces no rules, no accountability, and no real encouragement on wearing masks. Both the Republican Governor Kevin Stitt and Republican legislature of this state still thinks it’s all a big practical joke. But their kids attend private school, so he doesn’t have to worry about the blacks or white trash attending rural schools with no enforcement of masks or public health protocol 101.

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ Bruce Hall
        I can’t keep all the fruitcake commenters on this blog straight in my mind. Weren’t you the one telling us about thousands of documents that were going to be released “any day”and grand juries or something?? Probably connected to a pizza parlor with no backroom or basement and open to the public at all hours of the day. You can’t expect me to take your QAnon links serious can you??

        What do you think of the “truthfulness” of Ezra Levant when he has had to make multiple retractions of his “news stories” after being faced with legal repercussions for printing LIES??

        How many QAnon stories not happening is it going to take for a metaphorical lightbulb to finally pop up above your head Bruce Baby?? You know “Rebel News” is basically the Canadian version of NewsMax and/or OANN yes??

        Laura Loomer is an A1 fruitcake BTW, the kind that brings to mind Glen Beck when he was sobbing buckets of tears on live TV for a reason no one could make out.

          1. Moses Herzog

            OK, thanks for the correction, I think it’s the similar acronym that throws me off. I do appreciate the correction though because I sincerely don’t want to misattribute things said.

          2. noneconomist

            Lest we forget: we were duly warned of courts churning out hundreds of indictments daily. 92,000 when Menzie pulled the plug on ol’ J. Blowhard Hambone.
            Feverish construction proceeding at Guantanamo. Arrests imminent with the traitors to be routed from their beds in the middle of the night and shipped to detention in the Caribbean where they would face charges of treason.
            Also not to forget: JBH was advisor (according to JBH) to million dollar clients. What are the odds he joined those clients in storming the Capitol before returning home to to Duluth armed with plenty of selfies and a paper clip (or two) from Speaker Pelosi’s desk?
            Sadly for these patriots the hammers in Cuba have been silenced and the revolution temporarily halted. Surely there’s a pizza parlor—somewhere—that needs liberating.

        1. pgl

          It seems Brucie just wants to ignore the deaths from this virus especially for minorities who do not count in his MAGA book.

      2. pgl

        Moses was talking about undercounting of deaths and you come back with questions about the counting of cases? After all your rants why cases and deaths are not the same thing, you make this glaring error. Bruce Hall – STUPIDEST MAN ALIVE!

  5. Moses Herzog

    It will be interesting to see what Neal Katyal has to say about this on his Youtube Vlog (I am hoping Katyal will go ahead and post about this, at least by the 24th, I like his intelligence and kindly demeanor). I’m guessing he will be shocked, and yet at the same time, considering the perpetrator of the crime, not shocked. This also could work out in a strange way on the impeachment, because although I am strongly against the delay in the impeachment proceedings, maybe more things like this bubbling up to the surface could make the case for impeachment even stronger than they already are, and give ADDED cause to making it legally impossible for the orange abomination to run for any kind of public office.

    1. pgl

      “maybe more things like this bubbling up to the surface could make the case for impeachment even stronger than they already are”

      Maybe – let’s hope so. But the downside is that it gives Lindsey Graham to explain why treason is not impeachable but getting a blow job is.

  6. ltr

    January 22, 2021



    Cases   ( 25,390,042)
    Deaths   ( 424,177)


    Cases   ( 10,640,544)
    Deaths   ( 153,221)


    Cases   ( 3,583,907)
    Deaths   ( 95,981)


    Cases   ( 3,011,257)
    Deaths   ( 72,647)


    Cases   ( 2,125,261)
    Deaths   ( 52,020)


    Cases   ( 1,711,283)
    Deaths   ( 146,174)


    Cases   ( 737,407)
    Deaths   ( 18,828)


    Cases   ( 88,804)
    Deaths   ( 4,635)

  7. ltr

    January 22, 2021

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 1,410)
    US   ( 1,277)
    Mexico   ( 1,127)
    France   ( 1,112)

    Germany   ( 620)
    Canada   ( 496)
    India   ( 110)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 8.5%, 2.7% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  8. ltr

    January 23, 2021

    Chinese mainland reports 107 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland on Friday recorded 107 new COVID-19 cases – 90 local transmissions and 17 from overseas, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.

    Of the locally transmitted cases, 56 were reported in Heilongjiang Province, 15 in Hebei Province, 13 in Jilin Province and 3 in Shanghai and Beijing each, the Commission said in its daily report.

    A total of 99 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 961 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No deaths related to COVID-19 were registered on Friday, and 31 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland has reached 88,911, and the death toll stands at 4,635.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

  9. ltr

    January 22, 2021

    Coronavirus (Deaths per million)

    Belgium ( 1,775)
    UK ( 1,410)
    Italy ( 1,402)
    US ( 1,277)

    Spain ( 1,186)
    Mexico ( 1,127)
    France ( 1,112)
    Sweden ( 1,086)

    Switzerland ( 1,040)
    Portugal ( 974)
    Luxembourg ( 890)
    Austria ( 811)

    Netherlands ( 782)
    Germany ( 620)
    Ireland ( 578)
    Greece ( 539)

    Canada ( 496)
    Denmark ( 334)
    Finland ( 116)
    India ( 110)

    Norway ( 100)
    Japan ( 38)
    Australia ( 35)
    Korea ( 26)

    New Zealand ( 5)
    China ( 3)

    1. Barkley Rosser

      And Taiwan has had a grand total of 7 dead from Covid-19 out of a population of 23 million. That is about .3 per million, a whole order of magnitude fewer than in the Peoples’ Republic of China.

  10. pgl

    Kevin Drum reads a WSJ story on how China addresses dissent”

    ‘A citizen journalist who covered the pandemic in Wuhan, Zhang Zhan, was sentenced to four years in prison in December after being accused of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”’

    Kevin’s reaction?

    ‘Welp, that would be one way to handle our Twitter and Facebook problem. Half the people who use them would be in prison.’

    Now if economist bloggers could do the same per people who provoke trouble in the comment section …

  11. Bruce Hall

    Say, speaking of employment, Uncle Joe just killed off a bunch of jobs related to the Keystone pipeline. Oh, sure, not in Wisconsin, so that’s not a big deal.

    No one in the U.S. enjoys the low cost of gasoline or the abundance of products made from petroleum (such as plastic). No one likes jobs related to supplying those petroleum products or manufacturing products from materials made with petroleum.

    For example, we’d all appreciate have COVID-19 vaccinations done with good old reusable glass and steel syringes rather than those mass-produced plastic ones. Sharing syringes is a good, environmentally-friendly way of getting our injections.

    So, it comes as no surprise that Uncle Joe is trying to kill off petroleum supplies to the U.S. We’ll just use windmills and solar panels manufactured in China where we don’t worry about the coal and oil they use because that doesn’t harm the environment like our coal and oil. We’ll also get the lithium batteries for our electric cars manufactured in China as well. China is our ally and closest friend so no problem there.

    He just signed an order that magically stops 830,000 barrels of oil per day coming from Canada. Of course, Canada intends to sue the U.S. for “damages under international free trade agreements if the pipeline is effectively killed by presidential fiat.” Canada is no close friend of the U.S. like China is.

    But, hey, that’s only 4-5% of the oil the U.S. uses, so no big deal. Besides, Uncle Joe will make sure those people who lose their jobs, directly and indirectly, because of his shaky pen will get unemployment benefits.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Bruce Hall: If we compare the number of person-years eliminated by way of Keystone XL vs. those Trump killed off Trump’s tariffs and resulting retaliation, what do you think we will find? If you *really* want, I’ll put up an entire post on the subject.

      I do wonder if on a benefit cost comparison, with oil at $53/bbl the pipeline makes sense at all.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Menzie A couple of days ago poor Bruce Hall was talking about Soviet-style central planning. One of the hallmarks of Soviet-style central planning was a complete disregard for the economic costs of environmental damage all in the name of maximizing output of targeted commodities. Bruce is too clueless to understand this, but he’s repeating exactly that same Soviet-style brand of thinking when he makes a comment like:

        No one in the U.S. enjoys the low cost of gasoline or the abundance of products made from petroleum (such as plastic). No one likes jobs related to supplying those petroleum products or manufacturing products from materials made with petroleum.

        Replace the word “petroleum” with “metric tons of steel” and we could have called him Kommissar Bruce Hallski. If you do write a post for him, you might want to explain why he sounds like an old Soviet apparatchik.

        1. noneconomist

          How well did the Soviets and their satellites plan? Not well.
          I remember a National; Geographic issue from the early 90’s that pictured the mess(es) that had to be addressed in the old Soviet Bloc. Stunning to say the least.
          Even today, a casual glance at reports from that era should not be missed.
          “East Germany disputes its status as the most polluted country in Europe…East Germany finally admits it is choking in pollution. But it is too poor to clean it up…” As I recall, they were supposed to the MOST successful of communist countries and a model for the future.
          “Bitterfield, 110 miles south of Berlin is the dirtiest place in the most polluted country in the world…a place where smokestacks release plumes of bright yellow, jet black, and hazy brown smoke…”
          “Forests badly damaged by sulphur dioxide, and coal dust…almost a third of reservoirs so polluted they were beyond rescue…”
          There’s, of course, plenty more.
          The idea that Soviet-style planning would have rejected a Keystone Pipeline in laughable. “The industrial planners of the time would have whole heartedly welcomed it.
          If anything, they were more closely allied environmentally with the old Ronald Reagan comment on protecting redwood forests (which Reagan disputed): i.e. once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

          1. Steven Kopits

            A socialist system is generally biased against capex.

            First, selling prices are kept too low. These are enough to cover marginal cost, but typically not enough to cover average cost. The difference is capex. Similarly, socialist enterprises tend to look to maximize employment, which generates excess costs, and again, reduces funds for capex. This is the history of Puerto Rico’s utility, PREPA, for example. But it’s largely true of SOE’s in general.

            Further, any institution will take on the objective function of its owners. This is a very important point and one I learned from experience in Hungary. It was never mentioned in either my undergraduate or graduate economics classes.

            Thus, when consulting for SOE’s in Hungary, I first assumed that they would be profit-maximizers. This is not true. They follow a political objective function: maximize political acceptability subject to a budget constraint. Therefore, efficiency or enhanced capex is not an objective of an SOE. To the extent that is it, capex requirements will tend to show up on the government budget, because both suppressed (fixed) prices and higher operating costs rob the enterprise of free cash flow for capex.

            Over time, the result is a hollowed out, ancient capital stock which will tend to produce more pollution. In addition, because spares are low quality and material inputs, say, lubricants, are also of low quality, pollution is high.

            And it’s worse than that. SOE’s are allowed to pollute. Holding them to account would require, in effect, the government to hold itself to account. Further, because capex associated with pollution control is unavailable from operating cash flows, such expenses will tend to find their way back to the national budget, which already has many capex calls on it from all sorts of industries. Thus, because pollution control typically does not result in a greater supply of goods in a supply-constrained economy, pollution investments are largely deferred.

            Given this, it is easy to see why I call for the pay of politicians to be tied to GDP growth less debt. This would impose a kind of shadow market discipline on government expenditures which now average about 38% of GDP. That 38% is only subject to political acceptability, not rate of return considerations.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Steven Kopits: Wow. You know nothing about the history of command economies (which you seem to be mixing up with your definition of socialist).
            You should also look at the literature on the Averch-Johnson effect. Also, you are on the side of believing the “reverse Averch-Johnson effect” applies in all cases. One exponent of the view of a pervasie Reverse AJ effect was (maybe still is) Peter Navarro.

            As you keep on writing as if you know economics, could you please please please read a MSc level micro textbook and macro textbook (I learned about AJ effect as an undergraduate).

          3. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Steven Kopits: If you want an example of high capital intensity in SOEs, you might want to consider the oft-ignored country of China…(See Table 2, this paper, subsequently published in REStat).

          4. Steven Kopits

            I consulted for years for SOE’s in Hungary, here are a few industries

            – steel
            – airlines
            – coal
            – wine
            – power
            – refining
            – petrochemicals
            – banking
            – insurance
            – printing
            – publishing
            – municipal services
            – chemicals distribution
            – broadcasting
            – porcelain manufacture
            – hospitals
            – telecomms
            – steel fabrication
            – wholesaling and distribution
            – agriculture and food processing

            I have taken an SOE private and overseen its conversion into a market-based company.

            That’s just the ones off the top of my head. How many have you gotten to know in detail?

          5. Steven Kopits

            The paper says exactly what I do:

            “Following the enactment of reforms in the mid-1990s Chinaís state owned enterprises (SOEs) became more profitable. Using theoretical insights from Azmat, Manning and Van Reenen (2012) and Karabarbounis and Neiman (2014) and econometric methods in De Loecker and
            Warzynski (2012) this paper Önds that SOE restructuring was nevertheless limited. SOEs became more profitable because their cost of capital fell and their capital-labor elasticity of substitution generally exceeded unity, and also because they were under less political pressure to hire excess labor. Moreover, SOE productivity lagged foreign and private firms.”

            So after reforms, some Chinese SOEs saw better performance because they were under less political pressure to hire excess labor, a typical issue with SOEs. But the authors write “SOE productivity lagged foreign and private firms,” and this is either because their capital equipment was less efficient or because their employment per fixed asset dollar was too high. They are saying the same as I did, except those guys did not consult to all those companies, to appearances. There’s considerably more to it than the point they are making.

          6. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Steven Kopits: Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t you write that SOEs had lower capital to labor ratios because of tendency to delay capex investment? My point is that the situation of SOEs differs depending on the incentives faced by their management. Productivity could lag for other reasons besides capital-labor ratios, by the way, if you thought about x-inefficiency, etc.

          7. Steven Kopits

            I could write extensively about SOEs. A number of factors influence their functioning, for example, whether they are operating in a command or mixed market economy (with competition), whether they are politically visible or not, whether they are deemed strategic (that’s the kiss of death) or politically visible employers (eg, mines and steel mills). Both national and commercial culture can also matter. I think China’s SOEs have done somewhat better, but I am not an expert in that topic. Further, a state-owned railroad in, say, the former West Germany might operate better than a railroad in East Germany, because the employees and management in West Germany arrive to the job with more market-based expectations. For example, we are not accustomed to asking or taking bribes and blithely stealing company property. This was routine in communist Hungary; ie, social expectations were set that way. But it also meant that SOE management tended to treat their employees like shiftless thieves, and these beliefs — for those SOE managers who survived the transition to a market economy — infected their views of their employees many years later. I had some ripping arguments over these issues with Hungarian (indeed, Austrian-owned) clients as late as 2005 — fifteen years after the collapse of communism!

            So let’s take a template client, the Borsod Wheel Industry Enterprise. I valued this company in the early 1990s. It made two-part wheels for Hungary’s Ikarus buses, which we the principal bus used in much of the Soviet bloc at the time. They were the only wheel supplier; there was no competition. But selling prices were well below market, and that meant that demand always outstripped supply. By extension, therefore, they could sell any crap that they made. And this will also true of their suppliers: the wheel enterprise had to buy any crap their suppliers sent them — which was often not enough. Further, employment levels were dictated to be high (it was the major employer in a valley somewhere in eastern Hungary). As a consequence, the Wheel Enterprise made out-dated, poor quality products using old machinery with too much labor, and absolutely no controls on pollution, which again would have required financial resources or at least some legal liability to clean up.

            I stayed overnight at their guest cottage and made the mistake of taking a bath. When I arrived back in Budapest, holes appeared in my skin like those a burning cigarette makes in a paper napkin.

            When the market opened up, the Borsod Wheel Enterprise was wholly unprepared to compete. It was making two-part tires (two halves which fit together like Legos) which I doubt anyone had manufactured in a market economy since the 1950s. Its capital equipment was entirely outdated. It management practices were execrable. Its efficiency was nil. It did not even know how to set prices. And the factory real estate property, the water table, and the local community was polluted beyond words.

            I valued it at zero, assuming the government retained plant’s formidable environmental liabilities.

            This was a fairly typical situation with a not-too prominent manufacturing enterprise.

            I arrived in Hungary with a pretty complete tool kit. I was well versed in accounting, finance, market analysis, statistics and economics. And they did not help a bit.

            The most important take-away, and this was never mentioned in any course I ever took, is that any organization will assume the objective function of its owner. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this insight. I saw these enterprises and assumed they strove to maximize profits. It was simply not true. They tried the maximize political acceptability subject to a budget constraint.

            This is all history for the most part. However, it explains quite clearly how Hartford, Ct and Baltimore City can be spending more than $17,000 per student and achieving something like 30% of the student body at grade level proficiency. These schools will operate to political acceptability subject to a budget constraint. They are monopoly providers in the inner city (in practical terms) with no incentive to maximize efficiency. They are pretty much the same as Hungarian SOEs, with the exception that many of the staff come from an economy where habits are established by market interactions.

            Finally, I’d note that both the Three Ideology Model and Market-based Visas derive directly from my SOE experience in Hungary. Hungary in the 1990s was a perturbed system, increasingly freed from the constraints of a command economy, but not yet an established market economy. It was an incredible time to unearth some of the assumptions which informs your work and the work of economists of the era. It will go down as a lost opportunity, really.

      2. pgl

        If we go back to those excellent discussions by James Hamilton when Brent oil prices were $120 a barrel and WTI prices were just under $100 a barrel, one might appreciate back then why getting more sand oil to the world market (the driving force behind this pipeline).

        Of course the economics behind this would escape Bruce no relationship to Robert Hall so let’s check current market prices. WTI $53 and Brent $55.68. In other words – no big deal right now. But of course checking market data and understanding good economics is something Bruce Hall never does.

      3. Dr. Dysmalist

        I understood that Keystone XL was intended to send that shale oil to US Gulf ports for export. Am I mistaken?

        1. pgl

          You are correct. That was basically the point of Dr. Hamilton’s discussions a few years back. Of course Bruce Hall never read those either. With oil prices back below $55 a barrel, the rest of the world is not clamoring to buy North Dakota oil.

        2. 2slugbaits

          Dr. Dysmalist My understanding as well. Also, it’s not even American oil; it’s Canadian oil. Actually, that’s not quite correct. It’s Canadian tar sands oil and has to be processed to become crude oil for export. That’s kind of important as it shows up another error by Bruce Hall. He referred to 830,000 barrels of oil per day coming from Canada. In fact, it was supposed to transport 830K of tar sands oil, not 830K of crude oil. There’s a big difference. As to jobs, construction of the pipeline would support about 2,000 jobs, but once completed it would only support around 35 jobs. Unless there’s a big leak. Then there would be a lot of jobs cleaning up the mess.

          1. pgl

            It is Canadian oil but the company (Husky Oil) has its corporate headquarters in the US. Bruce Hall – lobbying for more corporate suite employment! Maybe his guys will teach this fool how to one day read a 10-K filing.

    2. 2slugbaits

      Bruce Hall Still can’t get your facts straight. The Phase IV Keystone XL pipeline that Biden cancelled was already on hold because of a SCOTUS injunction last summer. So your comment about stopping “830,000 barrels of oil per day coming from Canada” is just plain wrong. The order does not stop the flow of oil coming from Phases I thru III; it only stops the construction of the uncompleted Phase IV pipeline. Currently there are zero barrels flowing through the pipeline that Biden stopped. Seriously, how is it possible for someone to be so badly misinformed? Oh wait…Fox Noise.

      As an economics lesson you might want to look at the estimated present value of the water reservoir sitting below the proposed pipeline. Hint: there’s an NBER study that calculates the value. It accounts for most of the water consumed between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. The ecological concern wasn’t just the carbon from the dirty oil, it was the risk to the water supply below that pipeline. TC Energy always had the option to reroute the pipeline away from the aquifer, but they chose not to do that and counted on gullible politicians and uninformed voters like you to carry the day. You might want to learn about externalities.

      1. pgl

        Have you noticed how Brucie is referring to our President as Uncle Joe? Yes going after the fact that President Biden is 78 years old. But wait isn’t Brucie in his 70’s or more. Maybe Brucie’s mom had him when she was 14 years old so his uncles was just a few years older than our favorite really dumb troll!

        1. Barkley Rosser


          Actually I think that BH is trying to sneakily accuse Biden of socialism and even communism with this, rather than pointing at his age. After all, “Uncle Joe” was a moniker frequently applied to Joseph Stalin. Oh how witty our Bruce is.

          1. 2slugbaits

            My recollection is that the “Uncle Joe” reference to Stalin came about after businessman Armand Hammer described Stalin as “avuncular.”

          2. pgl

            I hear some of Trump’s crazies are trying to murder AOC. Yes they are still trying to impose their White Power dictatorship via the gun.

    3. pgl

      Oh gee Brucie – where you hoping that this pipeline would deliver wine to your basement. Oil as wine – only a loser like you would appreciate that!

    4. baffling

      “We’ll just use windmills and solar panels manufactured in China ”
      if the usa had intelligent leaders over the past 4 years, they would have sunk more capital into the production of wind and solar energy here in the usa, and worked hard to produce those components here in the usa as well. that would have led to a decade of job growth in energy. the future is electric, and it will be provided by renewable resources. because people like you, bruce hall, are too incompetent and ideological to accept this paradigm change in energy production, you have helped us to fall behind in the industries we should be leading. your comment is simply an indictment that you have absolutely no tactical or strategic gameplan for the future. you and steven kopits are living in the past wasteland of fossil fuels. even in texas, the growth industry has become renewable energy. it is silly that you still deny this bruce.

  12. ltr

    Latin American countries have recorded 4 of the 13 highest and 6 of the 24 highest number of coronavirus cases among all countries.  Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Chile.

    Mexico, with more than 1.7 million cases recorded, has the 4th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 13th highest number of cases among all countries.  Peru, with more than 1 million cases, has the 5th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 18th highest number among all countries.  Mexico was the 4th among all countries to have recorded more than 100,000 and 145,000 coronavirus deaths.

    January 22, 2021

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    US   ( 1,277) *

    Brazil   ( 1,009)
    Colombia   ( 988)
    Argentina   ( 1,025)
    Mexico   ( 1,127)
    Peru   ( 1,187)

    Chile   ( 926)
    Ecuador   ( 818)
    Bolivia   ( 835)
    Panama   ( 1,144)
    Costa Rica   ( 492)

    * Descending number of cases

  13. ltr

    January 22, 2021



    Cases   ( 491,452)
    Deaths   ( 13,987)

    Deaths per million   ( 2,029)


    January 22, 2021


    New York

    Cases   ( 1,344,365)
    Deaths   ( 42,074)

    Deaths per million   ( 2,163)

    [ Public health failings needing close study and explanation leading to reform. ]

  14. pgl

    Yesterday I was saddened that my childhood sports hero Henry Aaron died. ESPN has been great covering his incredible life and showing the duel coverages of the day his 715. Usatoday has both including the shorter clip ala Milo Hamilton (the one I heard live). But it was the Dodgers visiting Atlanta that day so enjoy the incredible account from the great Vince Skully.

    1. Moses Herzog

      I was thinking I could find something related to Hank Aaron and Ted Turner online, because I think they had a kind of “mutual admiration society” thing going on, but no luck there really other than an old article from a Savannah paper. But here is a compendium of all of Hank Aaron’s appearances on Letterman:

      It’s network television, so I doubt there’s anything too “over the line” vulgarity wise there.

      1. pgl

        That was a great interview. I did not know that about Nixon wanting to have Aaron at the White House.

      1. pgl

        I live just over a mile from the Barkley Center so I’m hoping this virus subsides so I can go watch KD play ball. Go Nets!

    2. Barkley Rosser

      Over the weekend I read a story in WaPo that apparently Aaron always preferred being called “Henry,” and his rookie year Topps baseball card called him that. But some people at the Braves thought he would be more accepted by racist white fans if he was known as “Han,” which then began to be used, although he never really accepted it. This was the first time I ever saw that reported.

      Of course there is a now old and I think emeritus expert on taxes at Brookings named Henry Aaron, very sharp guy and occasionally posting on some social media sites. He may know more about the US tax system than anybody else there is.

  15. ltr

    January 23, 2021



    Cases   ( 25,566,789)
    Deaths   ( 427,635)


    Cases   ( 10,655,435)
    Deaths   ( 153,376)


    Cases   ( 3,617,459)
    Deaths   ( 97,329)


    Cases   ( 3,035,181)
    Deaths   ( 72,877)


    Cases   ( 2,137,689)
    Deaths   ( 52,536)


    Cases   ( 1,732,290)
    Deaths   ( 147,614)


    Cases   ( 742,531)
    Deaths   ( 18,974)


    Cases   ( 88,911)
    Deaths   ( 4,635)

  16. ltr

    January 23, 2021

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 1,429)
    US   ( 1,288)
    Mexico   ( 1,138)
    France   ( 1,115)

    Germany   ( 626)
    Canada   ( 500)
    India   ( 111)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 8.5%, 2.7% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  17. ltr–XiUuA8VhhC/index.html

    January 24, 2021

    Chinese mainland reports 80 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland on Saturday recorded 80 new COVID-19 cases – 65 local transmissions and 15 from overseas, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.

    Of the locally transmitted cases, 29 were reported in Heilongjiang Province, 19 in Hebei Province, 12 in Jilin Province and 3 in Shanghai and 2 in Beijing, the Commission said in its daily report.

    A total of 92 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 1,017 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No deaths related to COVID-19 were registered on Saturday, and 30 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland has reached 88,991, and the death toll stands at 4,635.–XiUuA8VhhC/img/f1bf3152b43645b882fbc7a54db28eac/f1bf3152b43645b882fbc7a54db28eac.jpeg

    Chinese mainland new imported cases–XiUuA8VhhC/img/066beb3da2834531bbb629b405179d8f/066beb3da2834531bbb629b405179d8f.jpeg

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases–XiUuA8VhhC/img/2a8a16a0b63a4dc19881274d653b822e/2a8a16a0b63a4dc19881274d653b822e.jpeg

  18. Steven Kopits

    Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the ‘China Virus’. From the Toronto Star:

    One year after the pandemic started, World Health Organization advisor Jamie Metzl wants China to come clean about the origins of the COVID-19 virus.

    The Kansas City-born, New York-based Metzl, who served as Deputy Staff Director of the Foreign Relations Committee under then Senator Joe Biden (2001-2003) and before that on the National Security Council (1997-99) and the State Department (1999-01) under President Bill Clinton), theorizes it was most likely an accidental lab leak in Wuhan.

    “There’s no irrefutable evidence,” said Metzl, who was appointed to the WHO’s expert advisory committee on human genome editing in 2019 and is also the author of Hacking Darwin. “There’s just more evidence and as more evidence arrives, the case for accidental lab leak, in my view, increases.”

    We caught up with Metzl down the line from San Miguel de Allende:

    What about the original theory that this all started in a wet market in Wuhan?

    That was a lie. And the Chinese government knew very early on that that was a lie. And so in the face of overwhelming evidence in May of last year, the Chinese government shifted its position.

    Do you get the idea of scary viruses being created in a lab may seem a little sci-fi?

    It may feel like sci-fi to people but what’s happening is sci. There is a field of study called “gain of function” research, which is highly controversial in which some scientists amplify the virility of viruses. We know that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was involved in gain of function research on bat coronaviruses.

    Is it because this specifically started in China that we still don’t know how COVID-19 started?

    If there had been an outbreak in Congo or some country in Africa and that country, in the earliest days of the pandemic, prevented World Health Organization investigators from going onto the scene of the outbreak, for nearly a month, the world would have gone berserk.

    Will a change of the U.S. administration help find an answer?

    Biden will be tougher on China than President Trump because President Biden is very smart and strategic and he understands that American power and American strength doesn’t rest on bluster, it rests on principles, it rests on partnerships, and alliances and accountability. And the Trump administration unfortunately gave China a pass by over politicizing the question of the origin of the virus by alienating America’s partners and allies.

      1. Steven Kopits

        We don’t know that the virus actually started in Wuhan, only that the evidence increasingly points in that direction. If we’re using Ockham’s razor, an escaped virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology would seem to be the most plausible explanation.

        1. baffling

          that was my first, gut reaction. and it may be true. but if you want to follow occams razor, then the simplest and most logical explanation is that it was a naturally occurring variant in wildlife, that jumped to humans. just like ALL viruses humans have suffered from in the past. a natural path is the simplest and most logical answer. a virus modified by humans and released into the population is NOT what experience would say the simplest and most logical explanation. this would be the first time for such an occurrence to cause a pandemic.

          1. Barkley Rosser


            This would not be the first time that a disease escaped from a lab in China. An article by Dennis Normile in Science, April 30, 2004, “Mounting Lab Accidents Raise SARS Fears” reports that an outbreak of SARS came out of a Chinese lab by accident. So in fact this is not sci fi and has happened and has been documented in one of the two most prestigious scientific journals in the world, although a certain commentator here thinks he is being very witty when he suggests that people trying to publish about this in an academic journal would be making fools of themselves.

          2. baffling

            “This would not be the first time that a disease escaped from a lab in China.”
            barkley,i was referring to the fact that a virus was modified in the lab to become dangerous, then released to the public through lab actions. that is the argument being made about the current coronavirus and wuhan labs. the sars case was an example of an already virulent vaccine under study. neither situation is good. however, i am unaware of an agency creating the virulent product and then releasing it. it is possible it has occurred during biological warfare studies that we will never know about, both here and abroad. in the case of the sars release in beijing, i think this is something the world needs to get used to. the more research we conduct on these viruses, the greater chance of an accident occurring. the question becomes, do we gain more from the research than we lose to an accident. i have no answer there.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Maybe Mr. Metzi, Barkley Junior, and Peter Navarro can unite into a trio and write a paper about a supposed Wuhan “lab leak” that no academic journal on Earth would want to publish. I’m sure Barkley is up to sign on. Oh wait, I think Barkley’s been wanting to get on “Princeton”Kopits blog for awhile now. Wouldn’t that be adorable to see old man Barkley’s eyes light up when he sees his name on Kopits’ blog???? We might see a “market” improvement in Barkley Junior’s mood. At least that’s how Junior spells it:

      Metzi, Junior, and Navarro all have an inflated self-view, so there’s very apt to be some big arguments writing the paper, even though they agree on the base hypothesis, so if things get rough, they can ask Mike Lindell to referee the paper. Then the “brain trust” will truly be complete.

      1. Barkley Rosser


        This is from a story in the Toronto Star, a paper I am not aware of having some sort of racist or special anti-China bias, although perhaps I am wrong. Metzi happens to be an official adviser to the WHO, as well as a former aide to Biden back when he was in the Senate, not obviously some Trumpist racist ignorant dingbat.

        I have said we shall not know what the origin is because too much data has been destroyed, but the behavior of the Chinese right now is not exactly what one would expect if they had nothing to hide, blocking WHO figures from visiting Wuhan, as well as pushing this “It came from the US Army” story that absolutely nobody outside of China believes. Hard fact is that it remains quite possibley that however it originated, Covid-19 got into the general human population due to an almost certainly accidental leak from a lab in Wuhan, which is indeed what Metzi is now saying looks like the most likelyi origin much to your ranting disapproval, although that most certainly cannot be proven to the point of having an academic article that would end up on something we know you do not have, a Google Scholar page.

        It may still be possible that what you have on more than one occasion declared was definitely the case, that it come from some animal in the long-closed wet market in Wuhan is true. But it now seems the Chinese themselves are no longer pushing that theory you have espoused with so much certainty here. A major problem with it is that they did not sell bats there, and while another species sold there might possibly have been the source, most experts think it came from bats.

        Really, Moses, you are once again just losing it in a fit of bullying attempted sadism. Sorry, just pathetic, although maybe your snowflake flunky “Ockham says…” Macroduck will be impressed.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          See my comment on baffling comments. In fact SARS was let out of a Chinese lab by accident in 2004, with this being reported in Science, one of the two most prestigious scientific journals in the world. You have really made a complete fool of yourself with this particular ranting.

          Again, I must note that we will probably not discover definitively the source of this one, given that so much original data no longer exists, some of it clearly destroyed on purpose.

  19. Steven Kopits

    And this gem from Reuters:

    Taiwan reports second day of incursions by Chinese air force

    TAIPEI, Jan 24 (Reuters) – A total of 15 Chinese aircraft including 12 fighter jets entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Sunday, the island’s defence ministry said, the second day of incursions by China.

    A map provided by the ministry showed the Chinese aircraft again flew in between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea.

    Tell me, what is the charitable interpretation of this news? Where does this lead us in any positive sense? Is not the plain vanilla interpretation that China is contemplating war?

  20. joseph

    pgl: “Have you noticed how Brucie is referring to our President as Uncle Joe? Yes going after the fact that President Biden is 78 years old. But wait isn’t Brucie in his 70’s or more.”

    Perhaps you are too young but Bruce certainly isn’t. Uncle Joe was a pejorative nickname attached to communist Joseph Stalin. That’s what Bruce is alluding to, which is kind of wasted on anyone not old enough to collect social security.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      joseph (Are you “Cousin Joe”?),

      Ah, you posted on this. I just put the same comment on above. Gosh, maybe you really are one of the more intelligent people here despite having the temerity to occasionally question things put here by our resident Supreme Bully, :-).

      1. pgl

        Actually is was Trump that wanted to be the American version of Putin who in truth is very Stalin like. Bruce Hall should know as it is his Michigan buddies who are the militia men behind the Jan. 6 assault on Congress.

  21. Steven Kopits

    And then this, also from Reuters

    China authorises coast guard to fire on foreign vessels if needed

    BEIJING (Reuters) – China passed a law on Friday that for the first time explicitly allows its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels, a move that could make the contested waters around China more choppy.

    China has maritime sovereignty disputes with Japan in the East China Sea and with several Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea. It has sent its coast guard to chase away fishing vessels from other countries, sometimes resulting in the sinking of these vessels.

    China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress standing committee, passed the Coast Guard Law on Friday, according to state media reports.

    According to draft wording in the bill published earlier, the coast guard is allowed to use “all necessary means” to stop or prevent threats from foreign vessels.

    The bill specifies the circumstances under which different kind of weapons – hand-held, ship borne or airborne – can be used.

    The bill allows coast guard personnel to demolish other countries’ structures built on Chinese-claimed reefs and to board and inspect foreign vessels in waters claimed by China.

    The bill also empowers the coastguard to create temporary exclusion zones “as needed” to stop other vessels and personnel from entering.

    Responding to concerns, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday that the law is in line with international practices.

    The first article of the bill explains that the law is needed to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and maritime rights.

    This law comes seven years after China merged several civilian maritime law-enforcement agencies to form a coast guard bureau.

    After the bureau came under the command of the People’s Armed Police in 2018, it became a proper branch of the military forces.

    What’s the charitable interpretation of this? The simple read is that Beijing is contemplating going hot in the South China Sea.

    1. pgl

      Hey Stevie pooh – rather than your racist attacks on China, do some good and sign up for the Taiwanese army. Your presence here will not be missed.

    2. Barkley Rosser


      It does look that PRC is upping its ante on several fronts, taking advantage of distraction in Washington with the actual transition between presidents. They are certainly testing Biden, who will probably be getting some sort of unpleasantness out of North Korea in awhile, with Putin being awfully unpleasant on several fronts, although reportedly willing to go along with extending the nuclear START on Biden’s suggestion, although that was something Putin said he wanted.

      The situation with China is especially complicated because in contrast with Russia, many observers have claimed that Biden would be taking a softer line with China, with harder line Trumpists claiming that he is outright beholden to or even under the control of Xi, with this latter supposedly due to all the money they supposedly funneled through Hunter Biden to him, which Sean Hannity appears to be about to go on an extended Benghazi’like bender over, the most important story in the world, according to him. That all looks like nonsense, but certainly Biden in the past under Obama was associated with a muvh friendlier policy towards China than is now going on.

      Well, we do not know what Biden will do, and I regret that China seems to be pushing all this stuff, although I am not surprised. But I do not expect Biden to just be some pushover either. US public opinion has changed, driven by several things, including what has been going on in Hong Kong as well as in Xinjiang. As it is it seems that Biden will be carrying over at least some of the more hostile policies Trump put in place, with an example being about the declaration as Pompeo went out the door that what is going on in Xinjiang with the Uighurs is “genocide,” something that the Chinese of course strongly reacted to, and which several commentators said was an act of damage by Pompeo complicating things. But most word is that the Biden people agree with this judgment and will not undo that declaration.

      I think the hardest issue will be Taiwan, and by most accounts lots of people in Taiwan are worried that Biden will not support them if things get seriously bad. We shall have to see, but it is clear that also US public opinon on that is more favorable towards Taiwan than it may have been several years ago. After all, Taiwan is a very well behaved and successful democratically run place that has actually been ruled by the mainland for only four years (1945-49) during the last 126, and which had Portuguese rule prior to anybody from the mainland ever even being there, much less being in charge of it. But we may be in for some rough times on all this.

      Regarding the virus, I am not surprised by the Toronto Star reports, and I made similar noises last year to some perfervid criticism by several people here. I shut up noting that it would be impossible to really resolve this. I have not heard that the Chinese are no longer saying the virus came from the wet market in Wuhan, although it continues to appear that whatever the ultimate origina, that market was an initial superspreader point. Apparently along with blocking WHO people from visiiing Wuhan, the Chinese have reverted to charging the US military with being the origin of the virus, although near as I can tell this is not supported by anybody else anywhere. As for the lab origin, which strikes me as quite likely, it remains extremely unlikely that it was consciously cooked up, and even this theoty of it coming from research activities is not all that strong, with a highly likely alternative being simply either a natural mutation among bats in the lab or it having happened in the wild and then being brought into the lab by some bats who had it being brought in. But again, I doubt we shall ever pin down its origin. Just too much data gone permanently missing.

      Oh, of course the other big issue Biden faces vis a vis China that is a matter of much attention here is what to do with the remnants of the trade war, including such matters as all those subidies for US farmers, especially those favored soybean farmers. I do not know what he will do, but all the talk is that changes to that will go slowly and carefully, presumably in conjunction with talks with China. However, if China triggers a military crisi or war, all that will certainly get put aside for some time.

      1. Steven Kopits

        So, I believe Beijing believes Biden will be tougher on China than Trump was, not because in terms of rhetoric, but because Biden does and will have a professional teams who reads their daily security briefings, to cite just one example.

        Therefore, Beijing may judge that its best near term opportunity in Taiwan is before the Biden administration collects itself. As for belief about abandoning Taiwan, well, that’s how wars start. Just ask Galtieri or Saddam Hussein, or Hitler or the Kaiser, now that I think about it.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          Biden and his people will be more careful with their rhetoric. They will probably avoid racist formulations like “Chinese virus” and more general blaming and carrying on. Whatever their policy ends up being, it will probably be much clearer and more consistent than Trump’s, who veered from praising Xi and claiming they were great friends to labeling China to be an awful country and the worst enemy of the US in the world.

          I confess to being worried especially about a war over Taiwan. Of course China has been claiming Taiwan for a long time, with most of the world, even the US at a technical level, officially recognizing that claim, even though the mainland has only ruled Taiwan for 4 out of the last 126 years, and only had Han Chinese people arriving their during the Ming dynasty. As it is, I cannot think of a single measure, political, economic, social, on which the PRC performs better than the ROC, not even status of women. There is nothing. At least with Hong Kong PRC has more income equality, but not in comparison with Taiwan.

  22. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    Horrid racism, that is entirely unforgivable. Horrid, horrid, horrid.

  23. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    Imagine having had a president who fostered such racism. Imagine a president who would leave such a legacy of such racism. Understand how destructive such racism is. Racism threatens us all, is an assault on us all, if only we are able to understand.

  24. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    A European people were assaulted in just such a way; a way that should be unthinkable. Racism is destructively unforgivable.

  25. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    The legacy of racism fostered by the president through these last years must be understood and forever turned away from.

  26. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    Imagine having had a president who fostered just the sort of prejudice that so many have had to overcome; then continuing and deepening such prejudice. Such prejudice would undo us all and has to be forever turned away from.

  27. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    Imagine, the president who would encourage an assault on the people of this very country spoke such words before the United Nations.

  28. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    This is just the sort of racism that made the unthinkable happen in the 1930s, not just in Europe but in Nanjing as well. Terrifying and awful.

  29. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    The very language of the racism of the 1930s, let alone historical racism.

    1. Steven Kopits

      What are you, ltr, some Chinese troll?

      Let me be entirely specific about what I mean by a “China virus”. I believe the Toronto Star piece reinforces what others have said. We know bat viruses were used in the Wuhan lab, where they were working on ‘gain of function’ exercises. We know that the area around the lab was closed down in October. We know that the Wuhan wet market was not the source of the virus. I believe the Chinese have offered no other plausible source, and here’s the killer, they actively suppressed their own scientists in raising the alarm and spreading the word about the outbreak, and they have consistently lied and obfuscated since, and that as of last month, they had not yet allowed the WHO into the Wuhan lab.

      Now, what picture does this paint for you? Of an honest nation surprised by a natural outbreak? Or the clumsy and destructive attempt to cover up a colossal screw up? The Chinese government’s own actions speak to the latter possibility.

      Now, perhaps all this was an innocent mistake, and maybe things will turn out that way. But that’s not the plain vanilla interpretation the Chinese government’s actions.

      So do I blame the Chinese people in what you appalling call some ‘racist’ attack? Do you really think that if the Germans, Mexicans, Canadians or Brits screwed up like this, I wouldn’t call it, say, the Oxford Flu, or the Alberta virus? You bet I would. The proper analogy is, to my mind, the Macondo disaster. Was BP responsible? Absolutely. Were some of the service companies at least partially culpable? I think so. If I call BP management to account, am I anti-British, anti-oil, or anti-offshore drilling (part of my profession for many years)? Of course not.

      I referred to it as the ‘China Virus’ specifically because Menzie has banned PeakTrader over this term. And yet, looks like Peak may have been right and Menzie was acting to censor not only an opposing view, but one which appears like it might have right. I said I thought that was a really, really bad idea, and I still do.

      But it would not seem inappropriate to call it the Wuhan virus, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) virus, of the Xi virus, if you prefer. Perhaps a natural origin may yet be found, but the Chinese government is not acting as though they believed that, are they?

      So whom do I hold culpable? We’ll first, it is not some peasant growing rice in the Yellow River valley. It is not the Chinese worker making auto parts in Shanghai, or an administrative assistant working in an office tower in Beijing.

      Rather, the blame would seem to fall on:

      1. The idiot scientist who proposed gain of function work at Wuhan
      2. The idiot bureaucrat — possibly in the military — who thought this was a grand idea
      3. The management of the Wuhan lab
      4. The idiot scientist who probably got himself infected and was ‘Patient Zero’
      5. The health authorities who were completely incapable of containing the outbreak locally
      6. The local authorities who did their most to suppress the news about the outbreak
      7. The idiot national authorities who did their utmost to suppress news about the outbreak
      8. The Chinese authorities who withheld crucial information about the virus from the WHO and other health authorities
      9. President Xi, who is ultimately responsible for all of the above

      That specific enough for you? Tell me, what part of that is racist?

      But it also fair to say that this virus has killed two million people, and probably 500,000 in the US alone by the time the dust settles. This is twice as many Americans as died in World War II. And it has trashed both the US and global economy.

      This is a very, very big deal. In all likelihood, one guy — just one person — with a bit of carelessness or hubris, killed two million people and trashed the global economy. It may have come to that one single person, operating in a high-tech but low governance context. If you think China — and by this I means Chinese political, military, and scientific leadership gets a pass on this — ‘Oops, sorry about that!’ — the answer is no. Not in my book. This is exactly like the BP Macondo disaster, where one guy caused nearly $100 billion in damage. What is that tab here? $10 trillion? Who is responsible for this? The evidence suggests that it is the Chinese government and its agencies. I believe they should be held to account.

      And there’s more. This same set of jokers is sending fighter jets into Taiwan airspace. You think they’re smarter now? Or are we going to see yet another colossal screw up?

      1. baffling

        the wuhan lab was supported financially and scientifically by the us government. in fact, they used scientific techniques developed to functionalize viruses from our own us labs. i sent you a link about this already steven, apparently you did not read. if you want to blame china, then you better acknowledge our own culpability in this scenario.
        and if you want to call it the “china virus” in an accusing and derogatory manner, you better have some solid evidence. you have nothing but pure speculation sprinkled with a good bit of ignorance. if you had real evidence, i would have more sympathy. but you are using this as a propaganda excuse. its all emotion and no analysis. if i were menzie, i would ban you for the use of the term. menzie already warned the readership of the situation regarding this term. you are simply trying to push the envelope, like a toddler who deserves a spanking. time for an attitude adjustment.

        1. Steven Kopits

          Is this what you’re referring to?

          You’re saying the US government knowing funded ‘gain of function’ research and was aware of or complicit in safety procedures at the lab. I will need more evidence of that.

          The Wuhan institute is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which is in turn governed by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

          “The State Council of the People’s Republic of China, namely the Central People’s Government, is the highest executive organ of State power, as well as the highest organ of State administration. The State Council is composed of a premier, vice-premiers, State councilors, ministers in charge of ministries and commissions, the auditor-general and the secretary-general. The premier of the State Council is nominated by the president, reviewed by the NPC, and appointed and removed by the president. Other members of the State Council are nominated by the premier, reviewed by the NPC or its Standing Committee, and appointed and removed by the president. In the State Council, a single term of each office is five years, and incumbents cannot be reappointed after two successive terms.

          The State Council is responsible for carrying out the principles and policies of the Communist Party of China as well as the regulations and laws adopted by the NPC, and dealing with such affairs as China’s internal politics, diplomacy, national defense, finance, economy, culture and education.”

          That is, the Wuhan Institute is state-owned and answers to the Communist Party at the highest levels, ie, it is ultimately under Xi.

          1. baffling

            “Is this what you’re referring to?”
            steven, no. i will give you the link again. you should read it before commenting on the topic again.
            as i said when originally posted, the article is actually providing more support in favor of lab release than natural. i disagree, but i think it is a fair article nevertheless. the evidence in favor of lab release is actually not as strong as the article implies. but it gives you a pretty good overview of past virus issues. and it clearly shows evidence that IF the virus was lab released, the usa bears a bit of responsibility on the matter as well.

          2. Steven Kopits

            Yes, thank you, Baffs. Excellent analysis.

            I think the piece largely comes out where I do. The smoking gun would appear to point towards the Wuhan Institute. The author opens:

            What happened was fairly simple, I’ve come to believe. It was an accident. A virus spent some time in a laboratory, and eventually it got out. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft, and then it was made more infectious in one or more laboratories, perhaps as part of a scientist’s well-intentioned but risky effort to create a broad-spectrum vaccine. SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed.

            And it looks increasingly like a classic screw up and clumsy subsequent cover-up. The article highlights some relevant points.

            For example, the US had a number of virus escapes from labs in the 1950s. So that’s pretty much where China is now I think in terms of institutional governance, I think. The Wuhan lab was only constructed in 2015 and, according to the piece

            In January 2015, the brand-new BSL-4 lab in Wuhan, built by a French contractor, celebrated its opening, but full safety certification came slowly. According to State Department cables from 2018 leaked to the Washington Post, the new BSL-4 lab had some start-up problems, including “a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”

            Second, the US put these sorts of facilities into remote areas, thereby limiting the impact of any escape. Clearly, either political considerations or outright corruption dictated the location of the Wuhan facility right in the middle of a city of 11 million, about the equivalent of putting a high security bio research lab in, say, Yankee Stadium. That’s again what I mean by an immature administrative culture. In the US, the scientists prevailed and our labs were put in remote Nevada, or somewhere like that. In China, by contrast, some political or pecuniary interest plonked the Institute down in the middle of a city.

            I think I would give pretty good odds that the Institute will quietly be moved to some remote corner of China in the next five years. Bottom line: most likely is came from the Wuhan lab.

            I would consider this piece essential reading for anyone interested in the topic.


          3. baffling

            glad you liked the article steven. i thought it was the best piece i have read yet. what was a revelation to me, after reading the article, is that if you want to blame china for the virus, then the usa had a significant hand in the process as well. china could not have completed their enhancement of the virus without support and expertise from the usa. so if people want to continue with this “china virus” argument, they should really call it the “china-usa virus” based on culpability. as i said, i still think there is a higher probability that is was naturally occurring. there does seem to be some evidence that wuhan was not the original source city, but simply the one that allowed it to propagate first. if so, your entire argument falls apart steven. occams razor leans toward a natural release, not the complexity required to artificially reprogram the virus. but i have absolutely nothing against an investigation to find out the truth.

        2. Barkley Rosser


          Apparently there are two labs working studying these sorts of diseases. The one that some think is more likely to be the source is not the one that had US funding. So all the assurances by those in the US involved in that may be right about that lab, but are irrelevant to the other lab, which is the one that supposedly had the bats.


          While Metzi raises the issue of the gain of function research, it is not clear that was being done in the most suspicious lab. This could have been simply a mutation among the bats in that labor even one that happened in the wild and was brought into the lab.

          It is true that the outbreak of SARS that came from a lab in I think Beijing in 2004 was connected with gain of function research, with this reported in an April 30, 2004 article in Science, pretty definitive.

          Also, baffling is right that people in the US have worked jointly with Chinese scientists on these matters in some of these labs, although not on gain of function research But again, there are two research labs in Wuhan.

          Also, on the matter of using the term “Chinese virus” I think this has been compromised by the way Trump used it. Sure, we called it the “Spanish flu” even though it did not come from Spain, and other diseases have sometimes been named for their reputed locations of origin. But the fixation and tone of voice and broader attitude that came with Trump’s use of the term was clearly racist. I think this is what is bringing the reaction by ltr and others here.

          As it is, the virus has several other widely used and well-known names not tied to any location or nation that can be used, and while the probability is substantial that Metzi may be right, we do not know and probably will never know for sure, as I have argued, what or where the ultimate origin of it was. Heck, while we are certain the Spanish flu did not come from Spain, there are ongoing debates about where it did originate.

      2. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Steve Kopits: To be complete, Peak Trader was banned not only for “China virus” but also various anti-Semitic remarks that were too gruesome to repeat.

        1. Moses Herzog

          I’m a showing my extreme naiveness in my optimism for humanity when I say I am mildly surprised?? I guess at rock bottom I kind of suspected. Although even by PeakTrader “standards” this has to be viewed as “jumping the shark” (no disrespect to Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli).

          Peak and the KKK have never read the Bible which specifies Jews are God’s Chosen People. But KKK are not known for their literacy. Whatever your personal leanings are on the Bible, how do we interpret people who label themselves “Christian” who haven’t gotten that memo from the Bible, and still haven’t figured out that Jesus and ALL 12 Apostles were Jewish, not just Judas. Not to mention like 90% plus of all the major characters of the Bible. I guess that’s a real kind of rocket science if you were born south of the Mason Dixon line—or natives of rural sh*t-holes anywhere.

        2. Moses Herzog

          Here’s one goes out to banned PeakTrader. We know the REAL reason you think America needs to be “great” again/

          The only thing that song is missing is Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz to “break it down”. They should have asked him to “break one off” in the middle of the tune.

        3. Steven Kopits

          So, Menzie, you banned a guy for calling the coronavirus the ‘China virus’, which it appears to be. Here’s the problem with that. As soon as you start curating the comments, you are taking legal responsibility for their contents. This is the Facebook problem, right? So if pgl calls me a KKK member, and you re-print that — and you are curating comments — then you are by extension endorsing that view. You’re saying’ “Yeah, I looked at that and thought it was OK to re-print, even though it was obviously libelous on the face of it.”

          And it matters whether one uses their own names or not. You can write whatever you want about pgl, but no one knows who he is. An unidentified person cannot be damaged. But a named person searchable on the internet, well, that’s a whole different matter.

          So, my advice is either un-ban Peak and state you’re not going to curate, or curate, and then censor out the libelous stuff. Otherwise, the Dominion lawsuits show that, after a point, someone is going to get sued. And you do not want to be in the middle of that.

          That’s part of what I meant by a ‘really, really bad idea.’

          1. baffling

            “As soon as you start curating the comments, you are taking legal responsibility for their contents. This is the Facebook problem, right?”
            i think you are alluding to the section 230 issue, and as i understand the legislation that is not correct. there does seem to be the ability to monitor and remove content if done in good faith.
            “An unidentified person cannot be damaged. But a named person searchable on the internet, well, that’s a whole different matter.”
            you are also given a choice whether to provide your name or not provide your name. your argument is not a strong as you think it is, steven. we have sites that require personal identifiable information, and verify through credit card checks etc. this site does not make that requirement. you post your name at your own risk under those conditions. if you want to get into heated and controversial discussions on boards that permit anonymity, you should NOT post using your real name. people get fired from their jobs every day for doing so.

          2. baffling

            barkley, it is really poor form for an old man with tenure to challenge others to take on risks you have no experience in. menzie does not abuse his tenure protections. you should follow his lead on this matter. tenure is under assault around the country because people abuse its protections. you should respect that protection, it is a privilege few people share.

          3. Barkley Rosser


            Excuse me, but how have I “abused” my tenure protections? Our hate-filled sadistic bully here rummages through all sorts of weird stuff to make snarky remarks here. I have had people in fact attempt to have me fired on more than one occasion for things I have said on the internet, although indeed I have been protected by my tenure. As it is, my bosses are proud of the fact that I blog at Econospeak and understand that it can get to be a rough business.

            I am OK with people who have sensitive jobs where indeed they might get fired for something they say on the internet. But it is my observation that a lot of people here are retired or unemployed. I shall stick with my comment about chicken scheiss, even if you find it offensive. Do you have one of those jobs where some meanie boss will fire you if somebody sends them nasty things said about you on the internet?

            BTW, given the example provided here by our resident bully, who clearly spends yuge amounts of time dredging through not only old comments here but all sorts of biizarre things only peripherally connected to people posting here under their names in order to indulge in all kinds of personal insults, I get it that “smart” people do not post under their own names. So, no, it is being smart, not a chicken schiess, although maybe it is both.

          4. baffling

            “Excuse me, but how have I “abused” my tenure protections?”
            when you egg on people with comments like “Yeah, baffs, all of you posting under fake names are chicken scheiss.”, you are abusing your protections. tenure is a very useful tool, it allows unpopular ideas to be pursued with less concern for employment status. and i applaud you for using your protections to stand up for your beliefs-that is why tenure exists. however, when you call others “chicken scheiss” when they may not have those same protections, you become irresponsible and abuse your protections. you should know better than to act like that barkley. tenure protections are eroding throughout the country, and that type of behavior is not helpful in keeping it for the next generation.

          5. Barkley Rosser

            Fair enough, baffs, so instead of using a bad word I shall simply note that you are effectively agreeing that all of you, or most of you, are a bunch of cowards. Is that more polite and less “abusive”? Or must I and Menzie and those of us tenured elite pretend to respect the cowardice of the lot of you?

            As noted below, I have not hesitated to stand up to bullies at the risk of losing my tenure. I have also stood up for a lot of other things in the face of people who could do me damage personally, which, in case you do not know, you can get an idea from my public record on Wikipedia.

      3. pgl

        If ltr is the Chinese troll then you must be our KKK troll. If you do not want be to called a racist then do not put up comments that come across as racist.

        1. Steven Kopits

          Let’s let LTR speak for himself.

          And as for you, Rudy Giuliani is demonstrating, there are libel laws. And I would note that Menzie is abetting that.

          As for China, if you are asking whether I believe the Chinese government is liable for the coronavirus, I think that’s what the preponderance of evidence says. And I think they are going to get creamed in court.

          1. Barkley Rosser


            I held off mentioning in this thread the monikers that the person pgl and I think ltr posts under elsewhere. But since you are referring to ltr as “himself” and also since those monikers have been mentioned on this blog previously without any comment yea or nay by ltr, I shall note them again.

            On Econospeak, the person wo posts in a way similar to how ltr posts here does so a “Anonymous.” On Angry Bear and previously on Economists View the person who does/did so goes/went by “anne.” If indeed the latter is actually the first name of ltr, then it is inaccurate to refer to ltr as “himself.” But, frankly, I know no more than that about this person, or if even “anne” accruately suggests the gender of this person.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Menzie I swear this is NOT a video link.

      Who cares about BIrx??? All the cool people hang out with Killer Mike and the guy with the gloves:

      [ For those “not in the know”, Killer Mike endorsed Bernie during his campaigns and it gave Bernie a lot of credibility and lift with Black voters, Especially in the Georgia/Atlanta area ]

      If you love Bernie and “RunTheJewels” as much as I do you can’t help but smile big when you look at that.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          It’ OK, Moses. We all make typos and misspellings and incorrect words from time to time.. Certainly I do, as you like to point out repeatedly.

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ Professor Barkley Rosser
            MY own spelling, errors, incorrect word choices aside……… The subtext of what I was saying is, Birx knows what she was doing was/is morally wrong, Just like Rod Rosenstein knew what HE was doing was morally wrong~~~that’s the DEEEEEEEP sadness of the situation~~~~that’s what the orange abomination does to people~~~he twists them and jades them until they don’t know what they are doing, uh-ther then a kind of self-survival. I hate Birx and Rosenstein, but I see them for a thread of humaniity that they are, and everyone has in them.

  30. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    As I learned reading European history when I was in middle school, “never again.” Then I taught myself Chinese history, and I knew “never again” applied as surely as taught by the European lesson. Racism is terrifying, harmful and beyond forgiving.

  31. ltr

    “Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the…”

    These are the racist words used historically to threaten, drive away and assault a people of Europe. The response would necessarily become, “never again.” The response to these racist words now will assuredly be, “never again.” Interestingly, the Chinese just built a museum in Shanghai to honor Jews who were driven from Europe in the 1930s and found refuge in Shanghai. A sheltered refugee in turn began a Chinese medical school, and a statue honors the refugee doctor.

    Racism is intolerable and will be undone.

    1. ltr

      Fostering racism and an assault on the Constitution will be the legacies of the former president. Racism was fostered against several peoples, but with a special persistent vehemence against the people of China. What is so tragic is readily the racism of the president against the people of China has been echoed. I do not now understand the echoes, the readiness of those who would echo such a president, but I will read on prejudice through history and try to understand. As for China, the prejudice will not be as the past. “Never again” will in effect be the Chinese protecting guide, and the hope of China will not in any way be dimmed.

      1. Steven Kopits

        Ah, you are a China troll.

        I am a great Sinophile. I love China, love the Chinese. Great country, great people.

        Of course, I am no fan of Xi, but on the plus side, I like him more than I like Trump.

        China has three options over the medium term (next 5-10 years):

        1. Withdraw from the world, as China has without fail for millennia.

        2. Conquer the world. But why conquer it when you can buy it? Makes no sense to me, and boy, if you think coronavirus was bad, just you wait until the missiles start to fly over the Taiwan Strait.

        3. Become a democracy. This is, of course, China’s destiny. Pro forma, this happens around 2025 by my numbers. But maybe in the wake of Item 2 above.

        Right now, China is under bad management. We are already paying a historic price for that. It could get worse.

          1. Moses Herzog

            I was pondering and very near to an attempt to make a morbid joke here (aimed at Kopits) as a person who spent 7 years there, and thinks he can lay claim to knowing China better than 85% plus of the white “experts” flapping their jaws on TV and other media. And I can tell you I honestly have an peculiar love/hate of the place (a portion of hate probably due to my own failures than I am currently willing to emotionally rectify).

            All that being said, in reference to Kopits, some people are amazingly good at believing their own lies in their own head. Which is about as far (if even there) you can take it in the film viewing sense of “suspension of disbelief”. The things he openly articulates on this blog make that one a “tall order” in the believability dept that he can even fool himself, as it really qualifies many times as “baiting” and also the literal patronizing (and solicitation of) racists. I could even make a strong argument he’s the worst one in that measure on this blog.

          2. Steven Kopits

            Really? Why don’t you search my name and Sinophile in the comments and see what I’ve written about the Chinese. I am full of admiration for the country and the people. I have been there several times, and I loved it. The Chinese I know here are accomplished, cultured, educated and kind. I have hired Chinese nationals on H-1Bs and lectured to a Chinese audience at Columbia University. The notion that I dislike China or its people is unfounded and I sincerely doubt you will find evidence to the contrary. Why don’t you look and see if you don’t owe me an apology.

            On the other hand, I think the evidence plausibly suggests that President Xi is already a disaster for China, both internally and externally. If the escaped virus narrative is correct, the entire pandemic lands right at his feet. This guy is responsible for twice as many American deaths as Hitler was and it’s still all la-di-da.

            And now there are Chinese military drills in the South China Sea. You think things are headed in a good direction there? You want to endorse this guy?

            As I have written, here’s China’s dilemma today as I see it. The country’s technical and economic capabilities have out-stripped its political culture. China has the technical capacity to enhance coronaviruses with gain of function expertise, but its institutional culture is still inadequate to contain the risk; and its political culture is too immature to understand institutional limits and thereafter recognize a need to come clean and act quickly to minimize the damage.

            If China were a democracy, the opposition would be calling for Xi’s head and he would have resigned a year ago. But without accountability, it’s on the the next thing, to all appearances, Taiwan.

            So the question is how fast — or perhaps if — China’s political culture advances. I think the next two weeks in Taiwan are touch-and-go. Beijing is signaling military intent, and if they are going to do it, their best near-term opportunity is in the the next couple of weeks. If that happens, the world is going to change, and not for the better.

            Equating Xi with the Chinese people is like equating Trump with Americans. I think we’d both agree those are not the same thing.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          I do not think these are the only three alternatives for the Peoples’ Republic of China, certainly not by just 2025, which will arrive quite soon. The most likely fourth is that it continues to look like it does now, although a bit more so. It looks extrremely unlikely that it will withdraw from the world, at least anytime soon. Maybe some decades from now, but at this moment its involvement with the world in increasing, and even if it becomes blocked in some areas, such as perhaps Aftrica, it is unlikely to withdraw.

          I do not think it will “conquer the world.” This has never been a goal of The Middle Kingdom of Zhongguo. It has liked to have its immediate neighbors subordinate to it, places like Korea and Tibet and Vietnam, and it has occssionally thrust itself out into Central Asia. But the whole world? Never. As it is, in a way it is already Top Dog. As Dean Baker regularly notes, in real PPP terms it has had the world’s largest aggregate GDP for a number of years now, indeed has gotten as much as 30% ahead of the US on that measure already, even though the US is still ahead in nominal terms for some more years, which is not unimportant. Clearly it rivals the US closely, with the two of them well ahead of any other nation on that measure. But while it might push back US power and influence in various places, especially in its nearby neighborhood, it is not going to “conquer” the US, much less Europe or Russia, which is partly European, or probably even Japan, even if it might like to do that.

          I am also skeptical that it will become a democracy in the near term, although this is probably more likely than your “withdraw or conquer the world” in the relatively near term. But the CCP seems to be firmly in power, despite ongoing complaints and opposition in various parts of the nation. But as ltr likes to point out too frequently, it has had a long period now of substantial economic growth that its people are proud of, indeed apparently achieving the ending of deep poverty in a nation that had millions of people starve to death a few decades ago, and even though in per capita terms it is far behind Taiwan, which, as I noted above, does better than it on almost all terms except those that involve great size such as having more patents than anybody else or a major space program.

          It does seem that it is asserting itself in its neighborhood. That has been seen both in its peripheral western internal regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as extending its influence once again into Central Asia, as well as crushing political opponents in Hong Kong and now apparently seriously threatening Taiwan. It is also being seen in assertions of authority and plans to try to more directly control the South China Sea and other nearby maritime areas it claims, which claims are rejected by the rest of the world as seen by the International Court in the Hague that as recently as 2018 ruled in favor of the Philippines that brought a suit against the PRC in regard to waters disputed between them. In this regard, the world is probably more willing legally to recognize PRC rule over Taiwan, even though it would be an immoral tragedy if the PRC were to forcibly “reunite” the ROC and PRC against the will of the Taiwanese people, who very clearly are strongly opposed to such an outcome.

          1. Steven Kopits

            The numbers say that China cannot progress beyond a certain point without accountable government. That point pro forma occurs between 2025 and 2030.

            Often, autocratic governments fall after wars. Galtieri in Argentina is the classic example, but of course, Germany and Japan became democracies after WWII. Nevertheless, we can see in East Asia that democracy came relatively easily in places like Korea and Taiwan. On paper, I have Xi going down after a financial crisis in the mid-2020s.

            I am often amazed that I seem to be the only one with confidence in the Chinese people, the only one who thinks they are capable of both attaining and operating a self-governing country.

          2. Steven Kopits

            I think it’s an interesting question whether China can maintain a balance under Xi. I think not.

            As China becomes more powerful, it will want to enforce its own version of the Monroe Doctrine. I think we are seeing that already. How this is implemented may make all the difference in whether we end up with World War III or not.

            The signs are not comforting. China had no reason to crack down on Hong Kong. It was a completely gratuitous initiative. Similarly, in no way does China need a military confrontation with Taiwan. All it needs to do is show up every day for work and let Taiwan come to Beijing. Time is on Beijing’s side. Similarly, what exactly is China doing in the Himalayas? Why are there repeated clashes with Indian forces? Why is Xi forcing issues unnecessarily, when the simple passage of time favors the outcomes Beijing desires?

            Xi is not a peaceful guy, and he is continually seeking to expand his empire. This is normal for a dictator who can be assumed to have a liberal objective function, that is, the maximization of personal utility. This in turn manifests in a few difference ways:

            1. maximize domestic (internal) power
            2. maximize external (foreign) influence and power
            3. maximize wealth and income
            4. maximize longevity (time in office)

            Dictators and monarchs can be assumed to have this objective function, I believe. And we can see Xi working on all these. (As are Putin, Erdogan, Orban and Iranian leadership, to mention just a few). Xi will only restrain himself internationally if he believes the risk/reward ratio is unfavorable, that is, if maximizing international power is best served by a measure of restraint, rather than outright confrontation.

            Nevertheless, Xi’s history is not one of compromise, but of being quick to wield the cudgel, and there is no reason to believe this motivation will not prevail in the South China Sea over time. Moreover, we also know he has a tendency to overestimate his skill, to wit, the blow-up at the Wuhan lab.

            So, yes, muddling through would not be a bad thing, but it is not in Xi’s character.

          3. Barkley Rosser


            It is not obvious to me that maximizing his own or his family’s own personal income and wealth is a major motive of either Xi or of Iranian leader, Khamenei, although certainly there is a lot of corruption in both regimes with many high officials working to increase their income and wealthy illegally or at least inappropriately.

            I do not rule out that the PRC might eventually become democratic, or at least more democratic than it is now. But I think such a possibility is further off than you suggest. I think you are too certain about something dramatic happening or giving in PRC by 2025. As it is, they are currently on a roll, with several major wins happening recently, such as the new economic deal they have with the EU. Crisis might well happen, but not obvious it will in the next four yesrs.

            In that regard I am way too much a fan of Keynes-Knight uncertainty that says there are lots of totally unpredictable Talebian black swans floating around out there to make such definite forecasts, no matter how hard you have studied “the numbers,” much less the fact that there are plenty of those fat-tailed grey swans also floating around out there that can make any forecast over the next several years rather shakey.

  32. ltr

    Latin American countries have recorded 4 of the 13 highest and 6 of the 24 highest number of coronavirus cases among all countries.  Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Chile.

    Mexico, with more than 1.7 million cases recorded, has the 4th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 13th highest number of cases among all countries.  Peru, with more than 1 million cases, has the 5th highest number of cases among Latin American countries and the 18th highest number among all countries.

    Mexico was the 4th among all countries to have recorded more than 100,000 and now 145,000 coronavirus deaths.

    January 23, 2021

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    US   ( 1,288) *

    Brazil   ( 1,014)
    Colombia   ( 996)
    Argentina   ( 1,029)
    Mexico   ( 1,138)
    Peru   ( 1,192)

    Chile   ( 929)
    Ecuador   ( 820)
    Bolivia   ( 839)
    Panama   ( 1,156)
    Costa Rica   ( 492)

    * Descending number of cases

  33. ltr

    January 23, 2021



    Cases   ( 496,093)
    Deaths   ( 14,064)

    Deaths per million   ( 2,040)


    January 23, 2021


    New York

    Cases   ( 1,357,440)
    Deaths   ( 42,212)

    Deaths per million   ( 2,170)

  34. ltr

    January 23, 2021



    Cases   ( 593,961)
    Deaths   ( 4,341)

    Deaths per million   ( 472)


    July 4, 2020



    Cases   ( 29,170)
    Deaths   ( 330)

    Deaths per million   ( 36)

    [ Having apparently approached a containment of the coronavirus in June, the Israeli government incautiously opened schools and businesses, and the result has been a persistent community infection spread contributing to what are now 597,403 cases in the small country as compared to 88,991 in all through all of mainland China.  Israel unfortunately now has more than 6 and a half times the number of coronavirus cases in mainland China.  Paul Krugman noticed the Israeli “disaster” on September 14 when there were 160,000 coronavirus cases. ]

    1. ltr

      Richard Wolff is of course correct, but we need to consider just how carefully the prejudice against China was composed and directed and how maniacally persistent the prejudice was. Imagine a Secretary of State travelling about the world to the final days of the presidency, everywhere and always vilifying the people of China. As though any prejudice, any falseness, so persistently repeated had to take at least some hold. How long will it take for truth to prevail?

      All through my neighborhood, and I am told through neighborhoods through the country, before the election a cult newspaper assaulting the people of China was set on doorsteps. A newspaper of a cult, set on doorsteps. Since then, once and again, writers for this very cult newspaper have been given column space in the New York Times to assault the people of China.

      Nonetheless, the prejudice will be overcome.

  35. ltr

    January 24, 2021



    Cases   ( 25,702,125)
    Deaths   ( 429,490)


    Cases   ( 10,668,356)
    Deaths   ( 153,503)


    Cases   ( 3,647,463)
    Deaths   ( 97,939)


    Cases   ( 3,053,617)
    Deaths   ( 73,049)


    Cases   ( 2,147,740)
    Deaths   ( 52,777)


    Cases   ( 1,752,347)
    Deaths   ( 149,084)


    Cases   ( 747,383)
    Deaths   ( 19,094)


    Cases   ( 88,991)
    Deaths   ( 4,635)

  36. ltr

    January 24, 2021

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 1,438)
    US   ( 1,293)
    Mexico   ( 1,149)
    France   ( 1,118)

    Germany   ( 629)
    Canada   ( 503)
    India   ( 111)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 8.5%, 2.7% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  37. ltr

    January 25, 2021

    Chinese mainland reports 124 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland on Sunday recorded 124 new COVID-19 cases – 117 local transmissions and 7 from overseas, the National Health Commission said on Monday.

    Of the locally transmitted cases, 67 were reported in Jilin Province, 35 in Heilongjiang Province, 11 in Hebei Province, 3 in Beijing and 1 in Shanghai, the Commission said in its daily report.

    A total of 45 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 959 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation. No deaths related to COVID-19 were registered on Sunday, and 75 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

  38. ltr

    Richard D. Wolff @profwolff

    Cuba is first Latin American country to develop, test its own Covid-19 vaccine. Cuba’s globally praised medical services successfully prepared for and contained Covid-19. And that despite US embargo and hostility.

    Cuba aims to immunise its population this year with its own vaccine
    Cuba wants to produce 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine this year, which would be the first developed in Latin America.

    12:23 PM · Jan 25, 2021

  39. ltr

    January 24, 2021


    Dominican Republic

    Cases   ( 203,946)
    Deaths   ( 2,531)

    Deaths per million   ( 232)


    Cases   ( 21,261)
    Deaths   ( 194)

    Deaths per million   ( 17)

    [ Dominican Republic has been the fastest growing country in per capita GDP in Latin American these 50 years. Cuba for all the American sanctions, however, has a healthcare system that could be a Latin American model. ]

  40. ltr

    Jamie Frederic Metzl (born around 1968) is an American technology futurist, geopolitical expert, and writer, a former partner in the global investment company Cranemere LLC, and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He was formerly the Asia Society’s Executive Vice President. He developed and led the Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative, the organization’s Pan-Asia-Pacific leadership development program. He is the author of five books, including the science fiction novels Genesis Code and Eternal Sonata and the non-fiction work, Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity.

    Metzl served the Clinton Administration, serving as Director for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs for the National Security Council, working for the Clinton Administration in the United States Department of State as Senior Advisor to the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs and Information Technology and Senior Coordinator for International Public Information, and was also Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under then Senator Joe Biden.

  41. ltr

    Technology Futurist, Geopolitics Expert, Social Entrepreneur, Sci-Fi Novelist, Keynote Speaker

    Jamie Metzl is a technology and healthcare futurist, geopolitical expert, novelist, social entrepreneur, media commentator, Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, Singularity University faculty member, and the Founder and Chair of the global social movement OneShared.World. In 2019, he was appointed to the World Health Organization expert advisory committee on human genome editing. Jamie previously served in the U.S. National Security Council, State Department, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as a Human Rights Officer for the United Nations in Cambodia. He serves on the Advisory Council to Walmart’s Future of Retail Policy Lab and has been an election monitor in Afghanistan and the Philippines and advised the government of North Korea on the establishment of Special Economic Zones.

  42. ltr

    Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the …

    What are you, —, some Chinese troll?

    Ah, you are a China troll.

    [ Such is horrid inexcusable racism. Notice the way in which racism was and is used as a threat.

    Racism devolves to violence. ]

    1. Steven Kopits

      Tell us about yourself, ltr. Who are you? Where do you live? What do you do? Where’s your Facebook page?

      Lots of accusations from a faceless, nameless person who seems an unvarnished apologist for Beijing. Tell us, ltr, should China be a democracy? Should Xi be booted from office? Tell us what you think.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Along with Menzie I would prefer if more people here and more generally in the blogosphere posted under their real names. But that is not the case.
        Regarding ltr, you may have missed discussion of identity of this individual, which ultimately remains unknown. However, several of us believe that
        “ltr” posts regularly on Econospeak and Angry Bear under different labels, and also used to post regularly on the now defunct Economists View. A commonality is a propensity to data wonkery, regularly posting data on certain things, more usually economic data in the past, but here more recently on Covid-19. There is also a tendency to repetition, and there has also been a long history of tending to defend China.. Obviously as US-Chinese relations have deteriorated, this defense has become more controversial.
        There has also been a tendency to take offense at comments thought to be inappropriate somehow, whether due to perceived racism or sometimes some other matter. In such cases “ltr” has reacted with outrage and repetition. I have triggered this response in the past in debates with “ltr” elsewhere under a different moniker. One example was that the ltr person got very angry with me on Economists View over my criticisms of professional conduct of Paul Krugman, curiously the same matter that our Moses Herzog has taken me to task for sometimes here. “ltr” does argue vigorously when getting going.
        All that said, my experience is that ltr is ultimately reasonable, even though I maintain some ongoing disagreements with “ltr.” On several occasions when we have gone at it quite vigorously, I have been able to get an acknowledgement of a change of view after making careful arguments properly backed up with clear facts, with this more often the case than with most posters on the econoblogosphere, where many are simply stuck in their views and not open to any change or budging no matter what.
        A sign of it here is that clearly ltr has checked on Metzi and reported on him in a way that seems to accept that he has solid credentials and is somebody to be taken seriously. Contrast that with the inappropriate ridicule that Moses Herzog heaped on him above, which looks pretty silly when on reads what ltr has posted about him.
        So it is pretty clear to me that ltr may well be open to some of your substantive arguments that indeed the virus may have come out of Wuhan and possibly even out of a lab there one way or another. Clearly what has ltr upset has been your use of “China virus,” which indeed has come to be viewed as a racist formulation due to the way Trump used it repeatedly. Maybe it should be viewed as something neutral like “Spanish flu,” but it is not anymore.
        I so not know if this helps clear the air or not. Clearly for whatever reason, ltr has a strongly pro-China position and long has, and this will probably lead to more arguments with various people here. But I think it is possible to argue in a reasonable way with ltr, who while open to taking offense at certain formulations is also willing to consider serious matters in a substantial and more objective way than many here do.

      2. Barkley Rosser


        I wrote a fairly long comment on this late last night not still up. This is now the next afternoon, and I think I shall add a bit more.

        It is my view that even if one does not like some of the things that ltr posts, the vast majority of them are factual or at least from serious public sources, even if they turn out to be inaccurate. I think ltr plays it straight regarding facts and indeed that is strongly manifested by the data wonkery ltr regularely exhibits and has elsewhere, assuming ltr is the same individual pgl and I think ltr is. This fits with my own experience of debating with ltr, or people posting in a simliar manner elsewhere, that ltr is willing to consider factual arguments and change positions. Not many in the blogosphere do that.

        I would also say, Steven, that I think you have made unnecessary trouble for yourself by using phrases and monikers that you know will get some people upset and simply distract from whatever substantive point you may be trying to make so that discussion gets off into long bouts of what a bad guy you are for saying these things, which you really should know are just going to rile people up. You may well not be what people accuse you of, but you seem to go out of your way sometimes to provide them with evidence to support their accusations. I am sympathetic about personalistic attacks on you based on you posting under your own name, but all the more reason to avoid giving people grounds for dumping on you personally.

        1. Steven Kopits

          Let’s see the evidence, Barkley.

          As for trolls, I have had a number of lively debates with Russian trolls. My sense is that trolls are typically young people who have some English skills. It is a job, I would guess typically one for a reasonably skilled entry level employee. Ltr is bringing about the skill set I might anticipate from a Chinese troll. Being a troll doesn’t make you a bad person, per se. It’s a job. Perhaps not a very honorable or morally comfortable job in my opinion, but it’s a job. There are plenty of iffy jobs in the US, too.

          Ltr has not stepped up to defend himself or clarify his person. And as Baffs points out below, ltr seems to be promoting notions looking much like propaganda without supporting interpretation. I would say ltr’s actions are consistent with that I would expect of a troll, but that’s not proof of itself, is it? But that is my working hypothesis.

          Meanwhile, Menzie has banned Peak for anti-semitic remarks, except he didn’t do that when Peak made anti-semitic remarks, he did it when he called into question the origin of the coronavirus, which based on Baffs linked article (must read) looks just like it escaped from a Chinese lab.

          Meanwhile, China is threatening Taiwan.

          China sharpens language, warns Taiwan that independence ‘means war’

          I think the simplest read is that missiles are going to start flying there in the next week or so, maybe the next few days. Now look at the optics of the above for Menzie. He censored someone holding China accountable and gave volumes of space to an apparent Chinese troll calling those critical of China ‘racists’. I don’t know if any of you appreciate how bad things will get for the Chinese and Chinese-American community here if war breaks out with Taiwan, but we will all be living in a completely different universe if it does. Today, Peak v ltr may not matter that much. Next week, it could prove decisive.

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Steven Kopits: Wow.

            By using a term that is clearly incendiary when perfectly acceptable widely understood terms are available, at a time when Mr. Trump was using that term to incite anti-Chinese (ethnicity – if you knew anything of Mr. Trump’s record with respect to *all* minority groups you’d understand), that counts as something that in my judgment violates our terms of use.

            Now, please go back to asserting that–without a doubt– no more than 400 people died in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

          2. Barkley Rosser


            Guess you did not read a comment of mine further above. It is highly likely that ltr is a “she” not a “he” and also has been posting in a similar manner on other blogs for a long time, so not all that young a person if not necessarily some decrepit retiree. I am pretty certain ltr is not a troll.

            I also note again, while you may not have figured it out, that ltr does respond to carefully stated factual comments. Note the reasonable and factual remarks made about Metzi above, a sharp contrast with the blithering silliness Moses Herzog spouted above at one point about him. I mean, dumping him in a hole with the likes of me and Peter Navarro? Shameful. No way he is that bad.

            Also, ltr has had a long history of reacting as she did here to things she finds offensive, with a bunch of shocked repetitions. Menzie has made it clear, I think, why the phrase you used will set various people off, even if you think those folks should view it as just the same as referring to the “Spanish flu.” It is not, not since Trump went off on his bender.

            I note that this is not the first time PRC has said it would go to war if Taiwan declares independence. This is a longstanding official position. In any case, let us hope that is what is going on now with all these overflights while a US aircraft carrier is entering the region is just a bunch of muscle flexing for the new adminstration coming in. I think that although PRC would almost certainly win if they did invade Taiwan, it would be a very big mistake in the longer run to do so, and I hope that Xi is smart enough to realize this. He does not seem to be a dumbie. But he has also become quite assertive, and this Taiwan business is very worrisome and dangerous for sure.

          3. Steven Kopits

            Menzie –

            I think China is likely to follow the path of BP. Two very similar accidents. I have little doubt that any jury outside China (and frankly inside China) would find the Wuhan lab and the Chinese government guilty of gross negligence and willful misconduct, The awards could run easily into the trillions.

          4. Barkley Rosser


            I am now thinking this warning from the PRC is a good sign that war will not happen, despite all the military displays, at least not now. As I noted, this is an old position of the PRC, not something just cooked up now. It is an old red line in the sand or whatever. So this may be PRC just loudly reemphasizing that red line, which the Taiwanese are fullyi aware of. Aware of it, neither party there openly advocated declaring independence, although some there want it. Taiwan will not declare independence, yet again, and hopefully this will all settle down, if with some higher background tension attached.

  43. ltr

    Forgive me, but it is indeed looking increasingly like the …

    What are you, —, some ——- troll?

    Ah, you are a —– troll.

    [ Racism, an inexcusable assault on a people. The racism that our former president fostered to be sure, but ultimately we are still each responsible for turning away or rather condemning racism. ]

  44. ltr

    What are you, —, some ——- troll?

    Ah, you are a —– troll.

    [ Racism; however racism will always be overcome. ]

  45. Moses Herzog

    I’m drinking now and a good mood, but one thing is missing to make a temporary Utopia, I need my Menzie Chinn, James Hamilton post “fix” right now. I mean right now, I don’t care if software version 2021 James Hamilton is walking funny now because his prostate gland is a little enlarged (OK sick joke, don’t post that Menzie). We need a our Hamilton and/or Chinn post “fix” now!!! “NOW!!!” [ he said in a typical American-ish baby-ish way ]

  46. Moses Herzog

    Another thing I was wondering today in my own thoughts. Do you think Fauci ever “pulled aside” Deborah Birx in a “private moment” and said “Don’t do it!! You’re making a big mistake you can never walk away from!!! Don’t do it!!!” That’s the saddest part of this. But if Fauci is as classy as I imagine he might be, he would never say it, in public, that he tried to help Birx from something that would lose her a lot of professional respect.

  47. ltr

    January 25, 2021



    Cases   ( 25,861,597)
    Deaths   ( 431,392)


    Cases   ( 10,677,710)
    Deaths   ( 153,624)


    Cases   ( 3,669,658)
    Deaths   ( 98,531)


    Cases   ( 3,057,857)
    Deaths   ( 73,494)


    Cases   ( 2,154,656)
    Deaths   ( 53,402)


    Cases   ( 1,763,219)
    Deaths   ( 149,614)


    Cases   ( 753,011)
    Deaths   ( 19,238)


    Cases   ( 89,115)
    Deaths   ( 4,635)

  48. ltr

    January 25, 2021

    Coronavirus   (Deaths per million)

    UK   ( 1,447)
    US   ( 1,299)
    Mexico   ( 1,154)
    France   ( 1,125)

    Germany   ( 636)
    Canada   ( 507)
    India   ( 111)
    China   ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 8.5%, 2.7% and 2.4% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively.

  49. ltr

    January 26, 2021

    Chinese mainland reports 82 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland on Monday recorded 82 new COVID-19 cases – 69 local transmissions and 13 from overseas – the National Health Commission said on Tuesday.

    Of the locally transmitted cases, 53 were reported in Heilongjiang Province, 7 in Jilin Province, 5 in Hebei Province, 2 in Beijing and 2 in Shanghai, the Commission said in its daily report.

    One new death related to COVID-19 was registered on Monday, and 46 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    A total of 57 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 956 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation.

    The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland has reached 89,197, and the death toll stands at 4,636.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

  50. ltr

    January 26, 2021

    A Scientist Is Arrested, and Academics Push Back
    Gang Chen, an M.I.T. professor, faces federal charges of hiding affiliations with China. His colleagues, and M.I.T., are publicly challenging the allegations.
    By Ellen Barry

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — It was Donald J. Trump’s last full week in office, so Andrew E. Lelling, the federal prosecutor in Boston, knew he had limited time left in his job. But there was one more important arrest to announce, one that would burnish his record on a key initiative for President Trump’s administration.

    Police that morning had arrested Gang Chen, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on suspicion of hiding affiliations with Chinese government institutions in order to secure $19 million in U.S. federal grants.

    Dr. Chen’s prosecution was the latest in the Justice Department’s two-year-old China Initiative, which aims to root out research scientists passing sensitive technology to China.

    At a news conference that morning, Mr. Lelling said he believed that Dr. Chen, 56, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen two decades ago, had remained loyal to the country of his birth.

    “The allegations of the complaint imply that this was not just about greed, but about loyalty to China,” he said….

    1. baffling

      curious ltr, do you think prof. chen has been treated unfairly? you present this material, like the overload of other material you provide, with absolutely no commentary in a blog in which the topic is irrelevant. what is the point? you may not mean to do so, but your proliferation of links and data on this site appears to be more of a propaganda move than a discussion. this is why people question your motives.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Good thing ltr is posting under a fake name. Otherwise you could go to her boss and complain about her, although maybe she has tenure somewhere and is just abusing it like some here do.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          I understand that probably when you declared that I have “abused” my tenure in contrast to Menzie who has somehow not done so, you were probably just reacting to my comment about “chicken scheiss,” a not very nice comment. But I am curious if there was something more than just a gut reaction to that comment behind this comment of yours.

          Presumably part of this is an idea that professors with tenure have a level of job security that others do not that allows them to actually engage in free speech on the internet under our own names in a way that the rest of you poor folks cannot. Yes, we do have a high level of job security. But it is not unilmited.

          So indeed I have had people make efforts to actually get me fired for things I have said on the internet, although they failed in that effort. But I shall note that there was an effort to get me fired that was very serious involving public actions of mine. Tenure can be revoked for “Unprofessional conduct” involving ethics and so forth. I was accused of such conduct by a fake entity that had “Ethical” in its name, an effort that involved a demand I be fired that was sent very widely, not just to my superiors. This had a single individual behind it who had in fact damaged the career of a junior academic economist and who was threatening several others at various institutions, one of them very well known. None of these people had been able to counter the inaccurate and vile efforts of this individual. As it was I figured out how to deal with this and not only got this individual off my back but off the backs of several other people who were being wrongly accused of unethical conduct.

          If you or anybody else here is curious about this, I wrote a paper whose final half discussed this matter, which was published as a book chapter, although that publication was heavily redacted to avoid potential legal problems associated with this, even though I used no names in my account. Indeed one person had wanted to go to the New York Times with all this mess, but I quashed it at the request of others involved who just wanted it to end. However, the unredacted version is on my website under a title that begins “Tales from the Editor’s Crypt” that any of you can read.

          Anyway, baffs, there are limits to the job security that tenure offers.

        2. Barkley Rosser

          I am going to add a bit more to this, which may not get read by anybody.

          So in that matter of the Tales from the Editot’s Crypt, I had been rhreatened by the person with the fake group that had “Ethical” in its name not to help out people he was attacking. I did so anyway, which is what brought stuff on my head. I was standing up to a bully.

          I am going to make another peace offering to Moses Herzog, but not before noting that the origin of his and my long bout of fighting here, which has had several peace offerings from me to him, none of them accepted, began with me standing up to him because I saw him unfairly attacking somebody a lot, although not somebody posting here. It was Elizabeth Warren and it involved the matter of her Native American Indian ancestry. Back in the 1980s she got into that and went around making various claims and doing some unwise things, such as participating in a Cherokee cookbook with a fake recipe. However, she basically stopped doing that at the end of the decade and just quietly dropped the whole thing.

          However when she ran for political office sometime later, her GOP opponents dredged this stuff up and began falsely charging that she did it all to enhance her career and that was why Harvard hired her, although there was plenty of evidence that they were impressed with her highly influential articles appearing in top law journals. This continued after Trump came into office, with him and his allies really getting into it after she was clearly heading to run for president. Trump kept challenging her to take a DNA test. She finally did that, establishing indeed that she had about the amount of Indian ancestry she had claimed to have (not much). But this was met with ridicule by the Trumpists,, with this being the point where Moses Herzog here really went nuts, Basically just plain out challenging every lie and insult coming out of Trump and the GOP at her on this matter .I then began defending her and challenging him to cut it out. He reacted badly to these actions by me, and got himself going with his longrunning and self-described campaign of hate-filled sadism against me, again his own words.

          Anyway, I am again getting tired of this. I make another peace offering. As a gesture I shall stop calling Macroduck “Ockham says…” Macroduck, even though he never responded to the repeated request to explain what William of Occam’Ockham had to do with his post. But I see he has just completely disappeared, apparently a highly sensitive person who feels all bullied and hurt. So, Macroduck, I am not going to poke at you anymore (unless, of course, you come charging out with another inappropriate imitation of Moses on his worst days of bullying and ranting, as you did). You are forgiven. I shall remind you that I have on numerous occasions said you are both smarter and better informed than your Master, the vast majority of the time making reasonable, well-informed, and appropriate posts. Do come back. Time for at least you to be peaceful with various of us aware that we need to avoid poking at you or making fun of you, given your apparent inability to handle any of that. It is OK; you are a good guy, even if sometimes you fall under the spell of the dark side of Moses Herzog.

          And, really, Moses, I am offering peace, although I am not all that optimistic you will take me up on it, given your past lack of interest in doing so when it has been offered.

          Oh, and baffs, was there anymore to your whine about me “abusing” my tenure other than annoyance with my not-very-nice-although-totally-accurate comment about people who do not post here under their real names being “chicken scheiss”?

          1. Barkley Rosser

            Oh, Moses “channeled” every lie and insult coming out of Trump et al about Warren, not “challenged.” I would have had no problem if he had challenged what they were saying instead of channeling it. It has been noted by many that Moses has on many occasions acted a lot like Trump.

            I also note that Warren eventually apologized for her behavior in the 80s, which seems to have been accepted by various Native American Indian tribal leaders and activists who had criticized her. I also note that indeed after that Moses mostly stopped his criticisms of her on this issue, although he has occasionally referenced or repeated them, as well as periodically mentioning various related disputed he and I had back then where he made wildly erroneous claims that he somehow never did accept were erroneous.

            But the peace offering is out there, Mose, if you want to take it. Is it not time to liberate this blog from our bs?

        3. Barkley Rosser


          I do not want to pick on you personally. You are being reasonably straightforward here. But teally, do you think that anything you have ever posted here would lead some professional superior of yours to fire you? Really? I doubt it. Generally speaking you make highly reasonable and intelligent remarks here that a professional superior would probably find reasonably impressive. Maybe I am wrong, and you work for a narrow-minded idiotic a-hole, and I am sure there are some people here for whom that is the case.

          But I shall stand by my slightly less impolite comment on this. Rather than calling all of you posting under fake names being “chicken scheiss,” I shall simply say you all are cowards, although I realize that it has become cool to have a funky moniker. But some of us, including Menzie if you read what he wrote here but is not making a big deal about it,, do not respect it or like it. Bottom line.

          1. Barkley Rosser


            Oh, I will grant some exceptions for people to hide their identities. I am aware that in some jobs one is outright forbidden to participate in blogs at all. I do also recognize that there are some jerk bosses who actually might fire somebody over something they post on the internet, although usually when this happens it is not over something somebody says about economics on an econ blog. It is usually some racist or violence-promoting thing, although it is true that we have had some comments that at least border on racism here.

            However, it seems that a non-trivial percent of posters here are retired, and at least one very noisy one (who I have made a peace offer to, still unanswered) who appears to be unemployed although younger than rertirement age. So I do not think those, or at least the retired ones have any need for this “I might lose my job!” defense as an excuse for not using their own names.

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