This is Jonas Feit's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Jonas Feit's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Jonas Feit
Recent Activity
You left Ferguson off of your dog-whistle list of 'places where the real bad people are.' It's common knowledge that the vast majority of the guns that litter Chicago come directly from their irresponsible neighbor to the east. Alright, that aside, I agree that common ground is hard to find on this issue. I'd posit that this is chiefly because gun people have shut down discussion of any reasonable policy that might reduce the number of guns out there, except, of course, the policies that take guns out of nonwhite hands. So we can't register the guns; we can't keep guns from the violently mentally ill; we can't differentiate sport and assault guns in order to limit the assault ones; we can't have any database of gun owners; we can't have waiting periods; we can't have meaningful background checks. The rest of us have bent over backward to accommodate you gun people; eventually Occam's razor leads us to throw our hands up and say 'Fine, let's just stop new sales and start taking them all away.' It's like Noonan's specious argument you cited. While I agree that violent films and videogames are probably a contributing factor here, I'm not with her on all the other stuff. The easy answer for gun violence has to be the proliferation of guns. It's not, as they say, rocket surgery.
Bastiat's line that 'when goods do not cross borders, armies will' may be apocryphal, but the notion broadly holds.
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2018 on Trade Wars at Economics and Ethics
The headline of this post makes a claim entirely unsupported by the body. I thought, in something headlined 'Why...', that I'd ready actual arguments, as opposed to whatever this is. Screeds of this sort always bring me back to the same notion. I don't doubt that there are Americans in the 21st century for whom government is their biggest problem. I'm sure this is so. Keep in mind, however, that those people are the envy of the rest of us. I get that the end of the Soviet Union and the 2008 financial crisis have left a lot of professional market fundamentalists a bit adrift. It's a bit ironic, really, since the difficulty of adapting one's skills is a classic labor market failure...
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2017 on Why I Fear Government at Economics and Ethics
While there is 'no immediate economic crisis,' there certainly was an immediate /political/ crisis. Crises, really, between the acceleration of the Mueller probe and the sheer lack of accomplishment to date. It's the politician's fallacy in a nutshell: 'Something must be done; this is something; therefore it must be done.' It's actually a caricature of the fallacy, because usually 'something must be done' in response to a real problem, rather than an invented one, as is the case now.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2017 on Tax Reform at Economics and Ethics
"Most people would agree that the federal budget is bloated and expenses can be cut." I think this might be begging the question. Many (perhaps a share lesser than "most") may agree with the first part of your statement. As to the second part, this is trickier. You might be on to something if you were to phrase it as "... and expenses which do not benefit them directly can be cut." Most sentiment in favor of some variant of "small government," in my experience is more an expression of horror at the notion of "those people" getting something from government, whoever "those people" happen to be to the speaker. While I know there are some true, genuinely principled "small government" people, they're slightly more common than hen's teeth, and considerably less common than the blue moon.
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2017 on Hypocrisy at the Top at Economics and Ethics
Good point. I'm not as familiar with it, but I know the conventional wisdom is that these programs generate revenue than they expend. Regardless, to your original point, that is irrelevant if that revenue is generated unethically, or, at least, in an ethically questionable manner.
I agree with you, Jonathan, that publicly funded sports facilities are ridiculous (and the notion that they somehow serve as investments is risible). I'm not sure I'm with you on the funds expended on major college sports, though. For many of these schools, the sports are cash-flow-positive, as the green-shades say. This is wholly separate, however, from the point you make (with which I agree) that 'student'-athletes are basically indentured servants. Whether a school like Ohio State can still turn a profit after paying a fair wage to its football players is another matter entirely.
Bacon sounds scared, and he probably should be. Conservatism has harbored this stuff for a long time, and the emergence of Trump is making it hard to keep pretending that pseudo-ideas like "states' rights" and "small government" are about something more than bigotry. All of his crude false equivalency aside, the Right invented identity politics, and has mastered it in a way that the Left cannot imagine.
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2017 on Charlottesville at Economics and Ethics
I don't know. As a recovering victim of a market fundamentalist economics program, I think that the greatest damage to the image of capitalism has been inflicted by blind ideologues who try and insist, in contradiction of the experiences of most people, that some sort of paleo-capitalism is superior to normal, human-style mixed economies. It's a neat story, and it sells a lot of books (Just ask Professor Friedman's publishers.), but that dog, as they say, don't hunt. In other words, the market fundamentalists are no better, and no more right, than Marxists. Extremism is funny that way.
Toggle Commented Jun 27, 2017 on Enjoy Capitalism at Economics and Ethics
A basic income guarantee may possibly be more efficient than, say, SNAP benefits or Section 8 vouchers, which are designed to solve a basic problem: people don't have enough income to survive. I fail to see what bearing it would have in the health insurance and healthcare markets, where there is an actual market failure due to, among other things, incomplete information and individuals' behavioral biases. As a thought experiment, try and imagine how a basic income guarantee would solve Akerlof's Market for Lemons problem.
I just meant that it couldn't by definition be a first amendment violation to rescind an offer of admission to a private school. To the PS, I may take you up on that...
I broadly agree with your sentiments, Jonathan, but do not be hyperbolic! Until we nationalize Harvard, no one's free speech rights are at risk!
Don't discount also the summary dismissals of young talent that we're bearing at DOL, the primary purpose of which can only be judged, in the cowardly absence of communication from upper management, as the intentional infliction of maximum pain, primarily of course on those let go, but also as a signal to the survivors.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2017 on The Brain Drain at Economics and Ethics
Excellent, Jonathan! This reminds me of my first week in undergraduate labor economics. When my instructor (Chicago PhD, 1976) drew a conventional demand-and-supply graph and said it would describe the market for labor, I knew we were in for a long semester. I wonder if he'd have done so if he'd ever participated in a real-world labor market...
Toggle Commented Dec 28, 2016 on Lesson in Freedom at Economics and Ethics
...and the /employment/ data, too! ; )
Just a small correction, Jonathan: The game in which the Patriots were accused of tampering with the balls was last year's AFC Championship, not the Super Bowl.
One could argue, Jonathan, that the root "Adam Smith said 'greed is good'" notion lies at the feet of the Adam-Smith-tie crowd in the 70s and 80s (mainly the sort of easily-caricatured corporate dunderheads and a particular brand of hacks impersonating economists). See, for example:
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2015 on The Invisible Hand Man at Economics and Ethics
Excellent points, all around, Jonathan. I do think you're cutting Trump too much slack. Sure, lots of business deals fail, but 'four' is the count of the number of his companies that have gone bankrupt, not simply the count of 'bad deals.' No one gets 100 chances to go bankrupt; the better academic analogy is whether you can think of anyone who has been thrown out of four different schools.
Toggle Commented Aug 8, 2015 on Debate Blustering at Economics and Ethics
I have a hard time wrapping my head around the dichotomy between 'heritage' and 'hate' in these discussions. Why exactly are these two ideas supposed to be mutually exclusive? I guess it's mainly because we've never really tried to reckon with slavery since the mid 1870s, and the effects of our collective head in the sand explain pretty much all of the so-called 'problems with race' since. We've got dozens of Holocaust memorials and museums in the United States, which I think is a reflection both of the long history of Jewish culture in the US and of the role the US played in ending the Holocaust. On the other hand, we've got very few memorials to slaves, and virtually no museums to teach this important, painful, and essential part of our nation's history. Germany has also got some Holocaust memorials and museums to help them sort out what that period means in their history. Eric Foner pointed out that if Germany had built a big bunch of memorials and museums to American slavery before they built any for the Holocaust, it might look as if they were trying to hide something.
I very much appreciate your nuanced take on the complex identity that is the "American patriot," Jonathan. I think I share the complicated love for America that you ascribe to the president. I'd like to add also that this multifaceted set of views is tied up inextricably with the sentiments expressed by Frederick Douglass in his famous "fifth of July" speech:
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2015 on First and Fourth of July at Economics and Ethics
This reinforces the maxim that the most important career-enhancing decision one can make is to choose one's parent(s) and country of birth wisely.
I think it'd be entirely worthwhile to have a debate over whether to expand the first amendment to include and individual right to government-backed advancement of personal views, but until we do such a redefinition, folks like these poor kids will have to use their own ample resources to construct their figurative soapboxes.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2015 on Free Speech is Not Free at Economics and Ethics
I'd agree, but for the lack of a state-guaranteed right to education. Students at public universities can be expelled for all manner of non-academic and non-criminal reasons.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2015 on Free Speech is Not Free at Economics and Ethics
Well, they weren't just threatened, we they? Two of them were, in fact, expelled. Regardless of whether one approves of this outcome, their right to free-speech, as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, was not violated.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2015 on Free Speech is Not Free at Economics and Ethics
At the risk of accusing Mr Williams (and Professor Wight, by proxy) of invoking a straw-man argument, I think it bears remembering that at no time did the young men in Oklahoma face the peril of criminal charges. In other words, the next challenge to their first-amendment rights will be the first. In yet other words, freedom of speech does not free the bigot, the monster, the fool, and their fellow iconoclasts from the social consequences of their respective expressions.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2015 on Free Speech is Not Free at Economics and Ethics