I’ve been out for the last week helping National Review reduce its deficit (and adding marginally to my own). What have I missed?
Josh Barro is still a lot more persuasive than the guys at Americans for Tax Reform. ATR’s Ryan Ellis is still relying on a variant of the Appeal to Authority without being a very credible authority, basically saying: “If you disagree with me, you’re not really a conservative,” and pleading for National Review to stop publishing stuff that makes his poor head hurt.
The commodities markets are still going nuts trying to figure out which currency is crashing fastest and which economy is in the most trouble.
Sarah Palin is still more persuasive than some of the guys at The New Republic. Noam Scheiber writes: “Don’t get me wrong: I think criticizing the Fed is an entirely healthy thing,” but also calls Palin’s criticizing the fed “sinister.” Scheiber, falling into that weird Obama diction (Make no mistake, Let me be perfectly clear, etc.) writes:
Let’s be clear: Even with the help of what was presumably a pricey speechwriting team, Palin’s ignorance of monetary policy is difficult to repress. The recent path of food prices was hardly the only curious claim in her Phoenix speech. There was, for example, her discussion of quantitative easing as though it were sorcery. “And where, you may ask, are we getting the money to pay for all this? We’re printing it out of thin air,” she complained. True-ish. But, as Ben Bernanke explained shortly after the Fed announcement, that’s pretty much how all of monetary policy works.
Scheiber is kind of funny here: He treats Palin as though she’s a big doofus for arguing that food prices have risen, and he cites as evidence the fact that consumer prices for food haven’t risen all that much as of the last survey. But consumer prices are the end of the chain, and lots of farm commodities have been hitting record highs of late, or coming close to them. I’m no convicted insider-trading scofflaw George Soros, but I suspect that there is a directional connection between the price of food on the commodities markets and the price of food at the grocery store. Just a hunch.
And that last bit — “that’s pretty much how all of monetary policy works” — is not much of a defense; exnihilating money is the problem, particularly on a scale of nearly $1 trillion.
Nihil novi sub sole, in other words.