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Un-doubting Thoma

By Owen Paine on Wednesday November 25, 2009 11:43 PM

The gaunt Aunt Sadie of a gent diddling his second penis above, one Mark Thoma, has an aggregator-type econ-con web site I've frequented like a barfly for many many moons, with great profit.

Alas, now he's gone and taken up a second gig as a penny-a-word pundit over at CBS's money watch, and in no time at all, through a self-indulgent beaverish flood of pompous high-minded idiotically conventional postings worthy of Woodrow Wilson himself, Mark has shown a side I doubt even his own shaving mirror could stand.

Here's a recent specimen, on a topic that invariably zaps a real raw nerve in my neck: the independence of the Fed from our great and terrible Congress. In this piece of foolishness, a quote from Barney Frank to the effect that Fed regional presidents "too often vote in favor of higher interest rates", triggers this magisterial response from the brand-new bigfoot:

"That... sentence means he believes the Fed has favored low inflation over low unemployment as it has set interest rate policy. That may or may not be true, but do we really want members of the House setting interest rate policy or changing the structure of the Fed whenever they disagree? I don’t."
The technocrat as Wall Street water spaniel.

The House -- the only organ of American governement with any resemblance to a democratic institution -- setting interest rates? God forbid! Imagine if the people out there in their benighted millions, those ignorant TV-watching log-bumps, actually got a crack every two years at hiring or firing the folks that control the headwaters of our credit system?!?!

Mark is not alone, of course. There's a chorus out there bellowing the same sort of thing every day. Here's famed Princeton academe and former Fed board member, the bulb-like Alan Blinder....

... in the Washpost the other day:

"An independent monetary policy, designed and executed by the Federal Reserve, is one of the great and enduring achievements of the Progressive Era. It has enabled the long time-horizons of technocrats to triumph over the short-term perspectives of politicians, bringing us low inflation over the decades. Because of this, and because technocratic monetary policy seems to be more skillful than political monetary policy, the Fed's independence has been admired and imitated by country after country."
With that fruity blast I'll leave you to screech alone -- especially you, super Al -- and retire to my coffin. The dawn breaks soon here in Hingham. Day is aborning, another day of getting and spending. Horrors horrors horrors!

Comments (6)


I love it that Blinder correctly tagged the "progressives" as technocrats. If you want a straight answer, ask a reactionary.


Thoma has really been bothering me lately. I guess he means well, but really, he's just stupid and gullible.

cake or death:

Here's the acid test: if you, OP, were suddenly given a spot on a CNBC news show, on the 37th floor of a glass-walled skyscraper overlooking the Charles, entrance to your corner office flanked by ranks of bright-eyed svelte assistants of the opposite sex, might your pov and tone of voice subtly change to blend in better with your new surroundings?


"might your pov and tone of voice subtly change to blend in better with your new surroundings?"

prolly ...but who cares
there's plenty more ME's out here
many better by far then moi
to keep up
the righteous class clamor


"That... sentence means he believes the Fed has favored low inflation over low unemployment as it has set interest rate policy."

no the fed doesn't give two craps about inflation. They have just redefined it to mean making sure workers don't see any increase in pay. meanwhile they pretend away inflation in goods and especially necessities by various methods, (big screen tv's are cheaper!) to make it seem that stagnant wages are okie dokie.



the index jiggers like the social security
tax jiggers fall into a category
of the new turn of the screw
type social engineering

alan greenspan loved these villainies
these thousand tiny cuts one per quarter
inch by inch step by step

one ends up with a moment of paranoid chill
can any of these numbers be unjiggered ??
can i use data produced by state bureaus
to discover "social reality " ??

i took the switch back option here
and returned to abstract models

wading thru data sets and with the latest torture techniques of statistical method
in hand ...

was not my notion of a keen self portrait

ah yes indexes the careful metamorphic gremlins

a cook book
to lie with numbers

indexes indeed
reduced to log form and put thru a least squares filter

okay primitive saw the lady in two tricks

but hey it's often enough
all it takes after all
is a simple drawing between viewer
and scene of the crime

one nice velvet curtain of occlusion

sacerdotes only may pass thru here

fuck u time eh ???

to lie with numbers

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