From Pine View Farm

Political Economy category archive

The Mess with Texas, Electric Boogaloo Bamboozle Dept. 0

Paul Krugman explains the flawed reasoning behind the failure of the electricity industry in Texas. A snippet:

Texas energy policy was based on the idea that you can treat electricity like avocados. Do people remember the great avocado shortage of 2019? Surging demand and a bad crop in California led to spiking prices, but nobody called for a special inquest and new regulations on avocado producers.

In fact, some people see nothing wrong with what happened in Texas in the past week. William Hogan, the Harvard professor widely considered the architect of the Texas system, asserted that drastic price increases, while “not convenient,” were how the system was supposed to work.

But kilowatt-hours aren’t avocados, and there are at least three big reasons why pretending that they are is a recipe for disaster.

Follow the link for those three big reassons.


The Courage of Their Conniptions 0

Gwynne Dyer is an optimist thinks that there’s hope for the Republican Party.

Here’s a bit of the straw at which she grasps. Follow the link for the rest of the broom.

Last Wednesday, the Republican members of the House, voting in closed caucus, confirmed U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney as the third most senior Republican in the lower chamber even though she had “betrayed” Donald Trump by voting for his impeachment. The vote wasn’t even close: 145 in favor of keeping her in post, only 61 against.

The following day, in an open vote on whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a fanatical Trump loyalist, should keep her seat on several congressional committees despite her ugly and certifiably crazy views, the very same Republican members of the House voted to keep her in place by 199 to 11.


The Republican members of Congress may be weak and cowardly, but most are not wicked. In an open vote, they felt they had to back Greene, because otherwise Trump’s loyalists back in their home districts would ensure that they never got elected again. But they’d love to dump him if they could do it safely.


The Stock Market Is Not the Economy, Crooked Wheel Dept. 0

Drew Magary took a flyer on the Robinhood app and ended up with very little john, which led him to form a theory about how the stock market works is worked. (Warning: Language.)

From stem to stern, the American economic system is corrupted to boost the market as a collective entity. And THAT is where you put your money.

Individual stocks may go way up or way down, but the market itself only knows one trajectory. They’ll never let the whole market sink even if certain stocks eat curb. When the pandemic hit, what was the first thing legislators worried about? It wasn’t you. It wasn’t your favorite mom-and-pop pad Thai joint. It was the market. Who’d the legislators bail out in 2008 when the banks collapsed? Not you. The banks. Why? To keep the market up. They’ll never let it fail. All of their interests, regardless of party, coalesce within it. Hence, the average American’s best way to survive the vagaries of the market is to invest in ALL the corruption, not in bits and pieces of it.

That means index funds.


An Alternative to Trickle-On Economics 0

Rat:  Instead of giving a tax cut to all your big corporations and hoping it trickles donw, why not give that exact same cut to the midddle class instead and hope it floats up to all your big corporations?  We'll call it

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An Antisocial Contract 0

Bus Stop Guy says,

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Rosy-Colored Glasses 0

Paul Krugman is an optimist.

Even though what he says is true, the falsehoods have become too deeply ingrained to be dislodged by something as trivial as evidence.


An Accidental Truth 0

David Farmer has a Pence-ive thought.


Drop. Bucket. 0

Frame One, captioned

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I wish people would get their terms correct. These are not “stimulus” checks. They are relief checks.


An Authority on Authoritarianism 0

Thom and his guest discuss the workings of authorianism.


Republican Family Values 0

Family standing before Mitch McConnell holding a sign reading

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Courting Disasters 0

In denying Pennsylvania Republicans’ efforts to retroactively exclude mail-in (aka, “absentee”) ballots from the tally of the recent election, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court went so far as to use the word “farcical” in their ruling.


The Stock Market Is Not the Economy, One More Time 0

The editorial board of the Bangor Daily News explains. A nugget:

“How have stocks remained so resilient in the face of such a severe shock? In part, it’s because of inequality. Stocks are overwhelmingly owned by the top 1 percent, which means speculation has been able to continue even as more people have lost their jobs than at any time since the Great Depression,” Boushey* wrote.

More at the link.

*Heather Boushey, president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.


The Stock Market Is Not the Economy, Part Tertillion 0

Bob Peckman explains at The Roanoke Times. Here are some of his main points; follow the link for an exploration of each.

Why are we among the world losers? Do not say that Trump was sabotaging our country. . . .

From Trump’s recently revealed comments, I think we can assume that he was telling reassuring lies to avoid upsetting the economy.


Trump knows nothing about the economy of a society, only how a business can take money FROM society.


Notice that the author said “take money,” not “make money.” Methinks that choice of wording was quite deliberate.


Graham Cracker 0

Title:  Lindsey Graham fist bump.  Image:  Lindsey Graham giving half-hearted fist bump to Kamala Harris while hugging a giant uniformed figure labeled

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Tales of the Trumpling: Snapshots of Trickle-Down Trumpery 0

Trumpling text messages tempt terrorist tactics.


The Whitelash 0

Darcia F. Narvaez explores the human cost of what she refers to as “movement conservatism,” which is defined in detail in the opening of her article. She cites several specific examples from the research of Jonathan Metzl (citation at the link), arguing that the policies are rooted in racism, but ultimately rebounded to harm the white voters who supported them.

Metzl writes that he “repeatedly found examples of policies, politics, or products that claimed to restore white authority but silently delivered lethality” . . . .

Follow the link for very specific examples, and, as you do, remember the words of Lyndon Johnson.

(Broken link fixed.)


“Magic Beans” 0

Werner Herzog’s Bear is stretched to the limit.

And I’m sure he’s not much of an exception.


It’s All about the Algorithm 0


The Case of the Base 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Vinita Mehta points out that the conventional wisdom as to the roots of Donald Trump’s support are not born out by facts (emphasis added).

It turns out that Trump supporters actually weren’t affected by foreign trade or immigration to a greater degree than his non-supporters. And, on average, they didn’t suffer from lower incomes and unemployment more than anyone else. Also remember that in 2016, overall economic conditions were improving.

So, why did Trump amass a larger following than expected?

She goes on to cite an article by Professor Thomas Pettigrew and to explore the five factors that he identifies as characterizing Trump’s core supporters, which include

      1. Social Dominance Orientation
      2. Authoritarianism
      3. Relative (i. e., perceived–ed.) deprivation
      4. Prejudice
      5. Intergroup contact (or lack thereof–ed.)

I commend the entire piece to your attention.


Truth Is Stranger . . . . 0

It's 2019.  A script-writer is pitching a script to a studio executive says,

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