1. Ha-Joon Chang: Economics Is A Political Argument →

    I am seeking to debunk this widespread view, propagated by the current generation of economists, that somehow you can neatly separate economics from politics.

    I don’t agree with everything he says, but he makes some amazing points. I agree with his main point. Worth a read.

  2. Apple and Google’s wage-fixing cartel involved dozens more companies, over one million employees →

    My libertarian friends keep telling me that in a free market this type of thing simply can not happen. That companies will bid-up the wages of in-demand workers and could never take action to suppress those wages without state involvement. After all, in a free market everything is voluntary.

    Those million tech workers must have voluntary agreed to the wage suppression agreement somehow. In some way I just can not see.

  3. Work Like a German →

    Germany suffered a more precipitous drop in gross domestic product than the United States, but it experienced almost no change in unemployment. Here, it doubled. Today, unemployment in Germany is actually lower than it was pre-crisis, and long-term unemployment is negligible.

    Rather than enforce austerity on the population, German reformed and improved its social safety net during the crisis and is better for it.

    We have a growing problem with disability insurance. But because its whiter, more southern and more male than the nation as a whole, no one dare call it welfare. When white southern men get paid to not work it’s not welfare.

  4. MtGox knowingly traded non-existent bitcoins for two weeks, filing shows →

    Every Bitcoin devotee claims this simply could not happen. you can’t buy and sell bitcoins that don’t exist. Fractional reserve isn’t possible.

    So how did it happen?

  5. Bitcoin Wound Up Being Just As Broken as the Corrupt Banking System It Was Trying to Kill →

    Bitcoin became a thing based largely on the enthusiasm of the same types of people who pushed gold to $1,921 an ounce in 2011 — not surprisingly, this was shortly after Congress’ Big Red Shoes performance in the debt-ceiling crisis that August. Both were based on the notion that Congress, the Fed and the European Union were running traditional currency into the ground. This was always a crazy idea. It was a reaction to emergency monetary policy rooted in a mix of a misunderstanding of what former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke was doing and cultural-political alienation that dates back to the right’s reaction to the sixties, if not the dawn of time. … But the real point is that if you have to even ask what Bitcoin is, Bitcoin really isn’t much

    The value of bitcoins stolen seems to be greater than the value of bitcoins traded for goods and services not related to bitcoin speculation. When you point this out you are branded a hater.

  6. The Real Poverty Trap →

    the evidence suggests that welfare-state programs enhance social mobility, thanks to little things like children of the poor having adequate nutrition and medical care. And conversely,of course, when such programs are absent or inadequate, the poor find themselves in a trap they often can’t escape, not because they lack the incentive, but because they lack the resources.

    The stats make the article worth a read. Basically, if you make it easier for people to be less poor, people will be less likely to be poor. No surprise there.

  7. “Bank” that claimed to solve Bitcoin’s security problem robbed, shuts down | Ars Technica →

    I wonder if any of the people who dismissed the gox theft victims as idiots lost bitcoins at flexcoin.

  8. Krugman: Envy Versus Anger →

    But the polling data don’t say anything about envy: when people say that they have lost their belief that hard work will be rewarded, they aren’t saying that they are envious of the rich; they’re saying that they have lost their belief that hard work will be rewarded. To the extent that people have negative feelings about the one percent, the emotion involved isn’t envy — it’s anger, which isn’t at all the same thing. Envy is when you have negative feelings about rich because of what they have; anger is when you have negative feelings about the rich because of what they do.

    The standard defense is to dismiss criticism of 1% by the 99% as envy and criticism of the 1% by the 1% as hypocrisy. How convenient that literally no one is able to criticize the 1% without that being proof that there is something wrong with them.

  9. Federal Budget Deficit Falls to Smallest Level Since 2008 →

    In nominal terms, that is the smallest deficit since 2008, and signals the end of a five-year stretch beginning with the onset of the recession when the country’s fiscal gap came in at more than $1 trillion each year. As a share of the nation’s economy, the budget deficit fell to about 4.1 percent, from a high of more than 10 percent during the depths of the Great Recession.

    So can we talk about issues other than cutting social programs now? At what point can we start talking about policy that does’t involve cutting taxes for the wealthy and gutting programs for the poor?

  10. The nation’s budget wars have reduced the deficit by $3.3 trillion →

    The endless rounds of deficit reduction in Washington in recent years have significantly improved the nation’s budget outlook, reducing projected borrowing by $3.3 trillion through 2024, according to new estimates by Senate Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.)…As this chart from Murray shows, the discretionary budget, which funds the Pentagon and other agencies, will absorb nearly half of the cuts, or $1.6 trillion…A quarter of the impact comes from the higher taxes on the wealthy that were adopted during the fiscal cliff fight. And another 20 percent comes from not borrowing as much and not having to pay more than $700 billion in interest that otherwise would have accrued. Mandatory programs, which include Social Security and Medicare, were barely nicked, meanwhile, accounting for just 7 percent of overall savings.

    Was that 7% worth it? Were cuts to programs that help the people who need help the most really worth it? Considering how much more we can cut defense programs the pentagon doesn’t even want.