✯✯✯ Paul Krugman Confronting Inequality Summary

Saturday, December 04, 2021 7:25:15 PM

Paul Krugman Confronting Inequality Summary



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Paul Krugman \u0026 Tony Atkinson in Conversation - Inequality and Economic Growth

He got covid, and it killed him. Most of the deaths the nation has suffered during the current delta-variant wave of the disease — deaths of the unvaccinated — have been similarly needless and senseless. Covid is a bipartisan killer. In the tribal-political sense, the safe and effective vaccines are a bipartisan miracle, developed under the Republican Trump administration and largely distributed under the Democratic Biden administration. People in most of the rest of the world realize, however, that vaccination is not political at all; it is a matter of life and death, and also a matter of how soon — if ever — we get to resume our normal lives.

Why would people not protect their own health and save their own lives? How is this anything but just plain stupid? We are having other fights that are, unlike vaccination, partisan and political — but equally divorced from demonstrable fact. I put the term in quotes because genuine critical race theory, a dry and esoteric set of ideas debated in obscure academic journals, is not actually being taught in those schools at all. I get it. The GOP has become the party of White racial grievance, and this battle against an imaginary enemy stirs the base. So far, the bet is paying off. Every recount, every court case, every verifiable fact proves that Joe Biden fairly defeated Donald Trump.

How dumb can a nation get and still survive? Idiotically, we seem determined to find out. McConnell wants Democrats to raise the ceiling using the reconciliation process, and says the short delay will give them time to do that. He could then tell voters that Republicans tried to stop the Democrats, but failed to curb their spending. It would be a lie, but that's what he wants. But Democrats are not interested in playing his silly game. They have no intention of using reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling. They will dare the GOP to repeat its obstruction in December. And the position held by McConnell and the Republicans is untenable. They cannot force Democrats to use reconciliation -- and if they block raising the debt ceiling and cause a default, they will be the ones to blame.

The public will see it was the Republicans who voted for default, and the Democrats who voted against it. McConnell will have to "blink" again in December. The normally Republican business community will force him to do so. Here's the official statement from the Labor Department:. In the week ending October 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was ,, a decrease of 38, from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2, from , to , The 4-week moving average was ,, an increase of 3, from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by from , to , We hear about presidents like Trump and members of Congress that own stocks, and make regulations or laws that affect those stocks making themselves richer.

It's not supposed to happen, but the laws governing it are too weak to effectively prevent it. There is a bill in Congress the protecting Democracy Act that would help curb these abuses. But there is a branch of our federal government that won't be covered in that law -- the judiciary. And they are also sometimes doing the same thing -- making decisions that affect stocks they own. This needs to be stopped.

In fact, all federal judges and Supreme Court justices should be required to divest themselves of any individual stocks before being allowed to assume office. Here is part of what Richard W. In recent years, the United States has experienced an unprecedented number of financial conflicts of interest in its executive and legislative branches. Thanks to recent reporting by The Wall Street Journal, we now know how bad financial conflicts of interest are in the federal judiciary.

This is a violation of the disqualification statute for United States judges prohibiting them from deciding cases in which they have a financial interest. We have an ethical crisis across all three branches of government because those holding high office have been unwilling to divest from assets that conflict with their official duties. The federal judges mentioned in the Wall Street Journal report, judges holding stocks in companies affected by cases before them are required to recuse themselves.

Other judges simply may not care about complying with a statute that requires recusal. It is unlikely that a single case would affect the value of an entire fund. For whatever reason — perhaps the belief that they can beat the market because they have more information than professional fund managers — some judges, like some members of Congress, insist on owning, and sometimes actively trading, individual stocks. Some judges may think that, when the occasion arises, they can sell a stock so they can participate in a case. Not so fast. If the judge has any inside information from the court about how the case might come out, selling the stock while in possession of that information could expose the judge to prosecution under federal criminal insider trading laws.

The judge who has a conflict of interest in a case may be stuck with a stock by the time the conflict is noticeable. Matters get worse on the Supreme Court. At least three justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito — own individual stocks , and all three have recused themselves from cases because of their stock holdings.

The problem is, unlike on the lower federal courts, there are no replacement justices to take their place. A case could be decided by eight justices or seven justices because of recusals. This is problematic for the Supreme Court, which often grants review in certain cases not just to resolve a particular dispute but to clearly state what the law is going forward. A Supreme Court decision that does not have the support of at least five justices has little value as a precedent because the ruling could be reversed in a future case in which none of the justices recuse themselves. This is also a problem that could be easily solved if justices were to invest the same way most Americans invest their retirement funds — in broadly diversified mutual funds.

Last month, Congress introduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act to curb abuses in the executive branch. The bill, among other things, provides for enforcement of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by the Department of Justice and Congress. Never again should concerned citizens have to wait four years, as we did in the CREW litigation, while a president openly flouts the financial conflicts of interest laws.

The Protecting Our Democracy Act also needs to include a provision requiring presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress and all federal judges to divest from individual stocks and any other investments that pose conflicts of interest with their official duties. House and Senate leadership may not like such a divestment mandate, perhaps because they also own individual stocks, but they need to do it anyway. Investments in broadly diversified mutual funds are good enough for most individual investors, and they should be good enough for federal officers at the pinnacle of all three branches of our government. Virtually every other federal employee is prohibited by criminal statutes from participating in matters in which they have a conflict of interest.

Trade really occurs because of comparative advantage. Recall from the chapter Choice in a World of Scarcity that a country has a comparative advantage when a good can be produced at a lower cost in terms of other goods. For example, if Zambia focuses its resources on producing copper, its labor, land and financial resources cannot be used to produce other goods such as corn. As a result, Zambia gives up the opportunity to produce corn. How do we quantify the cost in terms of other goods? Simplify the problem and assume that Zambia just needs labor to produce copper and corn. The companies that produce either copper or corn tell you that it takes 10 hours to mine a ton of copper and 20 hours to harvest a bushel of corn. This means the opportunity cost of producing a ton of copper is 2 bushels of corn.

The next section develops absolute and comparative advantage in greater detail and relates them to trade. Visit this website for a list of articles and podcasts pertaining to international trade topics. Consider a hypothetical world with two countries, Saudi Arabia and the United States, and two products, oil and corn. Further assume that consumers in both countries desire both these goods. There is only one resource available in both countries, labor hours.

Saudi Arabia can produce oil with fewer resources, while the United States can produce corn with fewer resources. Table 1 illustrates the advantages of the two countries, expressed in terms of how many hours it takes to produce one unit of each good. In Table 1 , Saudi Arabia has an absolute advantage in the production of oil because it only takes an hour to produce a barrel of oil compared to two hours in the United States. The United States has an absolute advantage in the production of corn. We illustrate what each country is capable of producing on its own using a production possibility frontier PPF graph, shown in Figure 1.

Recall from Choice in a World of Scarcity that the production possibilities frontier shows the maximum amount that each country can produce given its limited resources, in this case workers, and its level of technology. Arguably Saudi and U. Thus, before trade, the Saudi Arabian economy will devote 60 worker hours to produce oil, as shown in Table 3. With the remaining 40 worker hours, since it needs four hours to produce a bushel of corn, it can produce only 10 bushels.

The slope of the production possibility frontier illustrates the opportunity cost of producing oil in terms of corn. Using all its resources, the United States can produce 50 barrels of oil or bushels of corn. Thus, in the U. Saudi Arabia can produce barrels of oil or 25 bushels of corn. In terms of corn, notice that Saudi Arabia gives up the least to produce a barrel of oil. These calculations are summarized in Table 4. Again recall that comparative advantage was defined as the opportunity cost of producing goods.

The United States gives up the least to produce a bushel of corn, so it has a comparative advantage in corn production. In this example, there is symmetry between absolute and comparative advantage. Saudi Arabia needs fewer worker hours to produce oil absolute advantage, see Table 1 , and also gives up the least in terms of other goods to produce oil comparative advantage, see Table 4. Such symmetry is not always the case, as we will show after we have discussed gains from trade fully. But first, read the following Clear It Up feature to make sure you understand why the PPF line in the graphs is straight.

When you first met the production possibility frontier PPF in the chapter on Choice in a World of Scarcity it was drawn with an outward-bending shape. This shape illustrated that as inputs were transferred from producing one good to another—like from education to health services—there were increasing opportunity costs. In the examples in this chapter, the PPFs are drawn as straight lines, which means that opportunity costs are constant. When a marginal unit of labor is transferred away from growing corn and toward producing oil, the decline in the quantity of corn and the increase in the quantity of oil is always the same. In reality this is possible only if the contribution of additional workers to output did not change as the scale of production changed. The linear production possibilities frontier is a less realistic model, but a straight line simplifies calculations.

It also illustrates economic themes like absolute and comparative advantage just as clearly. Consider the trading positions of the United States and Saudi Arabia after they have specialized and traded. Given their current production levels, if the United States can trade an amount of corn fewer than 60 bushels and receives in exchange an amount of oil greater than 20 barrels, it will gain from trade. With trade, the United States can consume more of both goods than it did without specialization and trade. TrustPilot 4. Sitejabber 4. Calculate the price. Type of paper. Academic level. Free Plagiarism Report. Complete Anonymity. Papers Written From Scratch. No Hidden Fees. Qualified Writers.

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