Month: November 2009


The_outlaw_josey_walesThe Mainstream Economist

Well, the holidays are here. How’s the economic recovery going? I’m curious because a prominent economist assured us last year that late 2008 would be a distant memory come late 2009: “The S&P will be over 1,000 at the end of the year, and we’ll be happily sitting around the Christmas tree. It won’t be like last Christmas.”

That’s from early 2009. It’s a quote by Robert Gordon, a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s business-cycle dating committee. He is, in other words, part of the economics profession that has completely betrayed the public trust for the past ten years and has repeatedly misled us.

In Gordon’s defense, the S&P is over 1,100, but groceries have apparently climbed even more (have you priced a bag of potato chips lately?). Unemployment is over 10%, and that’s using the rosy statistics put out from D.C. If we use the same measures that were used in the 1930s, unemployment is near 20% (which is greater than rates in 1931, but lower than rates in 1933). Are those people happily sitting around the Christmas tree?

They should be. The recession ended in June, according to Gordon. Back then, unemployment was at 9.5%. Now it’s nearing 10.5%. Those dang fools without jobs aren’t smart enough to see that the recession is over. You need an expert economist to explain it to them. And those guys who are complaining about the economy because, though employed, they only get 32 hours a week? Well, they’re fools, too. They need to stop all that worrying, spend more of their money, and sit happily around the Christmas tree.

After all, a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s business-cycle dating committee has ordained it. Who are we to disagree?

Speaking of Read the rest


thanksgiving-dayThe Lions play the Thanksgiving Game again today, for the 76th time (if my notes are accurate). There’s talk about taking the game away from Detroit, and I fear it’ll happen: “The Lions’ Bill Ford, Jr. once expertly fought a measure at one owners meeting that would have taken the game away from Detroit while rotating the game around the NFL. It’s basically an argument between traditions — the Lions have hosted this game since 1934 — and the new-style NFL that believes the Lions, based on their recent history, don’t deserve such a national telecast.”

The whole thing infuriates me. It’s the Lions’ tradition, they started it, let them keep it. Fair is fair. If you don’t want to watch the Lions, don’t. For the sake of getting a better game in that time slot, you’re willing to rip out a tradition that for many people in Michigan stretches back four generations. That’s mean (in every sense).

But what’s even more mean: The NFL. There’s a perfect answer to the whole dilemma, but I don’t think it’s even getting discussed (because it’d affect ratings): Put another game on during the same slot. The Lions on Thanksgiving is a tradition for people all across the United States, but if you’re not a Lions fan, it admittedly sucks to have a crappy game (heck, it sucks for Lions fans, too). Our tradition doesn’t need to be everyone else’s bane. Put a different game on the other network (if Fox carries the Lions game, CBS would carry the other game, and vice-versa). The Lions still have their tradition. When I’m watching the game, it doesn’t matter to me whether people in Nebraska are watching, too, and people in Nebraska shouldn’t care what I’m watching.

Give people a choice. I don’t want … Read the rest