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“High Priority” – I do not think that means what you think it means August 22, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.

When asked about Afghanistan, Kamala Harris says, “We couldn’t have a higher priority right now.”

. . . and then she flies to Singapore.

It Was a Dead and Lifeless Blog… August 15, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.

It’s fun, if your life is empty and shallow and devoid of meaning, to go visit old favorites on the web. Like, say, The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

The Grand Prize this year was:

A lecherous sunrise flaunted itself over a flatulent sea, ripping the obsidian bodice of night asunder with its rapacious fingers of gold, thus exposing her dusky bosom to the dawn’s ogling stare.

Stu Duval, Auckland, New Zealand

This one from 2020 was only a Dishonorable Mention in the Science Fiction category, but it was like the author had looked into my soul:

“The quantum flux field of the post-Einsteinian hyperdrive has gone asymptotically and we are in danger of approaching singularity as described by the Schrodinger equations!” cried Captain Quirke, having no clue what he said, only knowing it sounded sciencey, secretly crossing his fingers behind his back and hoping there were no physicists reading because he didn’t want any pedantic letters saying it was nonsense.

Sue Doenim, England

The Dems Pour the Gasoline and Light the Match August 11, 2021

Posted by geoff in News.

More than 8 years ago I wrote a post about corrections made to the infamous Reinhart and Rogoff paper. What? You don’t remember the infamous Reinhart and Rogoff paper?

Let me jog your memory with an excerpt from my old post.

I’m sure you all remember the paper by a pair of Harvard University professors saying that a public debt level of 90% of GDP would significantly suppress GDP growth. Well, a team from UMass/Amherst has pointed out that Reinhart and Rogoff made mistakes in their analysis, excluding data from several countries.

UMass/Amherst made a corrected version of their key chart, which I’ve reproduced below:

As pointed out so long ago, the correlation isn’t as dramatic as first published, but it still looks menacing to me.

I took the liberty of adding some data points to the graph (Red triangles! How I missed you!): the points represent the United States’ experience from 2010 to 2019 (data obtained from the St Louis Fed). As you can see, we’re certainly not raising the curve.

But why is this relevant today?

Well, the Senate passed the $3.5 trillion mythically-funded liberal wet dream package today, which will undoubtedly push us farther to the right on that graph. We’re actually currently at 127%, BTW, so we’re going to get pushed rightward from that absurd value.. Only a handful of countries had higher levels of debt over the 53-year period considered in the studies.

As I pointed out a few months ago, we used to have the fantasy that we could retire the debt if we practiced fiscal responsibility for, say, 50 years. But at our current debt levels we will never pay off that debt. In fact, we’ll never shrink it to any appreciable degree. Especially with crippled economic growth.

We’ve chosen the form of our destructor.