Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Is "The Curve" a Useful Model for Policy?

As Covid-19 has spread through the United States and the UK, so too has the meme of "flattening the curve" to reduce the strain on healthcare system capacity. The logic of flattening the curve is simple, by taking precautions to reduce the chance of contracting the virus, you reduce the number of new patients. This gives medical facilities the opportunity to let patients recover fully under their care without having to discharge early or restrict admission on the basis of medical priority.

Unfortunately, this model requires fairly extreme measures that have come under the rubric of "social distancing." The will to social distancing has varied across the country with some places offering widely-ignored health recommendations and others putting their jurisdictions on lock down enforced by the police.

At the furthest extreme, we are looking at the macroeconomic equivalent of a general strike in order to flatten the curve. With some projections claiming that social distancing may be required for a year or more, it's unclear what exactly the virus response is saving us from. What is clear, is that relying on the natural spread of the virus is not a viable option.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

"Pay For" Questions Don't Make Sense on Fed Policy. Do Any?

The Fed announced further measures today designed to stave off the continued plummeting of prices in financial markets. Overall, the Fed has announced over $1.5 trillion in market operations so far. In response, numerous commentators who support robust free public services questioned the apparent hypocrisy of the lack of scrutiny over how such spending is to be financed when it comes to the financial sector. The question doesn't make a whole lot of sense, however, when you consider the difference between when the Fed spends money and when the federal government does it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

On Patriot Front and Protesting in DC

When I went to my first protest in New York City, I was shocked and rather bewildered at the tactics of the NYPD. I had cut my teeth protesting in DC, and couldn't understand why the police aggressively pushed marchers to take the sidewalk, left crossing intersections up to the normal flow of traffic, and ended the march by fanning out for and conducting what were apparently routine arrests. Saturday's march by neo-Fascist men's organization Patriot Front showed the world what everyone who came up in DC protest culture, whether activist or law enforcement, knows which is that aggressively policing protest marches makes no sense.

Friday, January 3, 2020

War Is Dead

Last night, "World War 3" started trending on Twitter in response to a US airstrike near a Baghdad airport that killed the commander of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani among other top Iranian and Iraqi military officials. I'm not convinced this will start a war. Rather, I think this is a continuation of the global shift away from formal declarations of war and toward discretionary uses of military force to punctuate foreign policy.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Science Demands a Sacrifice!

So I've been pretty focused on the literature about fascists that I almost feel like I'm not an economist anymore. To combat that, I've decided to read more of the economic literature. Obviously, I'm still going to read what I'm interested in, but my research interests have gotten...weird. I combed through the American Economic Review until I found a title that interested me. It's about scientists dying. I picked the one about scientists dying.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Right Doesn't Like It When You Correctly Identify Racism

I guess feelings don't care about facts either. Since writing a report about the very true presence of VDare and Red Ice TV on Facebook, Guardian tech reporter Julia Carrie Wong has received a bunch of attention from right wing outlets, angrily stating that she correctly identifies racists online.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Nazis Still Have No Concept of Security Culture

This week has certainly been one for Nazi leaks. First with Richard Spencer ranting about kikes and octoroons, then his right hand man being doxxed by other nazis, now the entirety of the Iron March forums awaiting doxxes. It totally makes sense that Nazis would have zero concept of security culture since their ideology is predicated on caring about nothing but yourself.