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July 12, 2010

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Remember that youtube video of the prisoners remaking Thriller? What if we hired all of the unemployed to do a 9,500,000 person version of that? Then we could use all of the face paint and solve unemployment!

But Repuiblicabns really, really care deeply about the deficit! It's the principle of the thing! And they are the party of principled conservatives who have al those conservative principles! So screw New Yorkers anyway; they're all a bunch of big city elists, almost as bad as people from San Francisco if you know what I mean.

It doesn't matter how serious a problem is, it's still important to find a solution which doesn't make things worse. Even if it's only in the long run. Whether it's zombies or a financial crisis. You don't solve your hangover by going on a bigger bender, even if it might make your headache go away for a little while...

But Brett, this isn't a social program we're talking about. It's a WAR against Zombie extremists. Surely a patriot like yourself wouldn't want to be known as soft on Zombies?

You don't solve your hangover by going on a bigger bender, even if it might make your headache go away for a little while...

Try this homely platitude instead: you shouldn't worry about going thirsty tomorrow when your house is on fire today.

Water, like money, is a renewable resource. Your house, like the next few years of 10 miilion people's time, is not.

--TP

You don't solve your hangover by going on a bigger bender, even if it might make your headache go away for a little while...

Im trying to put this analogy together, but it's not working for me. There's the financial crisis- I guess that's our bender. And a bigger bender would be eg spending money on improving our transit systems.
But those are two completely different things. In order for the analogy to make sense, they have to be similar things.

Unless you think that the 2008-09 financial crisis was caused by government borrowing. Which would be an interesting theory.

I'm pretty sure that most of you are derailing what is supposed to be a discussion of zombie outbreak as analogy for unemployment, with your fires and financial collapses and boozing analogies.

That said, I think the analogy is a poor one. Leaving aside the fact that 3% unemployment would lead to significant wage inflation, zombie outbreaks spread much more quickly than the cycle of unemployment->reduced production->more unemployment, which makes them a much more serious threat, requiring immediate action. Also, people are afraid of zombies, while they are mainly contemptuous of the unemployed.

I'm not sure what percentage of unemployment will actually throw fear into the establishment these days, but I'm thinking we just might get a chance to find out.

Here's a bender for you:

Seemed to work out okay for them. We can go on a much smaller bender, cause we have a much smaller problem. For now. To me that sort of argues for tackling it before it gets bigger, but I'm weird like that.

I'd put solid money on unemployment being significantly higher by Christmas. I'd love to be wrong. I don't think I am.

"whatever else it is that people in New York do."

"$3.76 billion (with a “B”) is what New York’s grape, grape juice and wine industry contributed to the state’s economy in 2008, according to a new study by Napa-based Stonebridge Research Group LLC."

"NYC (not state, just city) tourism revenue 2008: $30B."

From a couple of sources.

Meh. If the zombies can make it there, they can make it anywhere, right? Oh. Maybe we shouldn't let them do that.

Zombies were designed for menial labor that does not require brains (except maybe as food for non-voodoo zombies). Voodoo zombies would be the capitalist's wet dream, non-voodoo zombies would require a bit more handling expertise though. Dropping a few in the border regions of Pakistan could keep pressure from the troops and maybe one day zombie bin Laden would shamble right into an US outpost. Securing the border to Mexico would be another possible use.
Using the military against zombie infested New York would lead to another http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Yonkers>Battle of Yonkers. The important thing would be to keep the spread to the blue states since that would be the (almost) ideal way to deal with the liberals. Then the US would become the 2 zombie nation. Literal braindeads on the coast and metaphorical braindeads in the heartland. But will Limbaugh be able to keep on broadcasting after being infected?

JD, I notice two things about that graph: (Aside from the fact that it ends before I was born.)

1. It shows deficit spending initiated from a state of nearly balanced budgets or surplus. Not a situation we've been in during my lifetime.

2. That first big spike of deficit, starting in 1941? It trails the decline in unemployment. By several years. Unemployment was already heading down when the deficit spending began.

That said, a zombie invasion might be a good analogy for a defensive war. It's a terrible analogy for a financial crisis.

There area actually scientific papers on zombie epidemies.
e.g. http://www.mathstat.uottawa.ca/~rsmith/Zombies.pdf>this from the University of Ottawa

You don't solve your hangover by going on a bigger bender, even if it might make your headache go away for a little while...

Which is precisely what Herbert Hoover said just prior to preventing the Great Depression and saving the coun...what? What's that?

Oh, nevermind.

Which is precisely what Herbert Hoover said just prior to preventing the Great Depression and saving the coun...what? What's that?

It's almost as if we didn't have any clear historical examples of both approaches to fighting an economic downturn from which to evaluate their likely effectiveness.

BB: That first big spike of deficit, starting in 1941? It trails the decline in unemployment.

Among numerous other programs, the WPA started in 1935 and employed 3.3 million people by 1938, which made a dent but wasn't enough to kick things out of the rut. (Sounds familiar, actually.)

It's true baseline deficits now are higher, but what's the mechanism by which that is supposed to make government spending ineffective as a creator of jobs? Generally that mechanism is through crowding out, which is clearly not in operation right now.

The idea is that spending the money properly, even if it results in deficits and increases debt, it results in lower deficits and debt increases than NOT spending the money. If you don't spend it, the economy slows, aggregate demand drops, lots of people attempt to save at the same time, tax revenues drop and welfare spending goes up, resulting in even bigger (or just comparable - for what?) deficits with a much worse economy and nothing in place to facilitate future growth (i.e. a better educated and healthier populace, improved public infrastructure.)

Leaving aside the fact that 3% unemployment would lead to significant wage inflation

I could use a little wage inflation right now. It would also help demand. Since wages haven't kept up with increased in productivity and our economic gains keep getting funnelled more and more tightly to the top earners, I'd say some wage inflation is overdue.

But we could discuss what "significant" means. We could also question the models that predict that 5% unemployment is the right target for a healthy national economy, since we're discussing a "fact."

Brett: "ou don't solve your hangover by going on a bigger bender, even if it might make your headache go away for a little while..."

I'm sure Brett won't read this, but allow me to take his metaphor and run with it. So, we have a hangover, which we'll equate to the recession. Now, why do we have a hangover? Which kind of booze were we drinking? Well, there was a glass of 2006 vintage DLC at the end of our binge, but it's really a pretty weak metaphorical wine, and we had a can of Stimulus energy drink mixed with about a third Tax Cut liquor this morning, but we felt like crap before we drank that, anyway. Looking further back, we sure had a wild time with that guy from Texas and his friends, started a fight with a little guy, then got bored and started a fight with another little guy before we made sure the first little guy wasn't just creeping off to get a chair leg and wait for us to be distracted. There were a couple mixed drinks in there, and we started that party off with a big shot of that Tax Cut liquor, the kind that goes straight to your head. Before that party, we were kinda more restrained, but that party with the Texan guy wasn't a one-time thing, we'd been hitting the sauce pretty hard before then, first with that Deregulation stuff, which sure tasted good, and gave quite a high, for a while. I think the same guy introduced us to the Tax Cut booze too, it's all kind of hazy now. We'd been hanging around and starting fights with little guys every so often too, especially once the big guy down the block had that breakdown.

And of course today, Brett and others like him say what we need is to stay home and do nothing, maybe try just a little bit of that Tax Cut stuff again, it always feels great, but under no conditions should we start doing repairs around the house or exercising, that stuff'll kill you, especially when you feel as awful as we do right now.

Nate, nice extended metaphor but I have to take issue with the description of how we started the fight with the first little guy because the way I remember it, the little guy’s roomie was a psycho and even though the Texas party boy had been warned about him, party boy still let the psycho get close enough to sucker punch us, knocking out our front teeth and then while we went ape on the psycho’s roomie, the psycho hightailed it and then we turned on the other little guy because the Texan and his buddies had been looking for any excuse to pound him as well. I also vaguely remember a dirty frickin’ hippie telling us to cool it and get a grip and I am pretty sure that the hippie was tossed out of the bar on his keister.

Other than that, I remember it pretty much the way you do.

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