Trump hilariously accuses AOC of being a poor student

Trump seems never to have come across that famous proverb about people who live in glass houses. One of his professors, long before Trump entered politics, called him, “the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”

AOC’s response was to the point:

The alleged Trump report card pictured above is a ridiculously bad forgery. Donald and I were both students at Fordham University in calendar year 1966. Here is what the grade reports looked like in that era.

And here is what the grading system looked like in the late 60s. (It was identical in 1966, except without the “P”

So the problems with the forgery are:

1) It is anachronistic. Nothing looked that sophisticated in 1964-66.
2) Many of the grades on that report did not exist at Fordham then. In that era, there was no A-, B-, C-, D+, D- or F+. Many of the old-time teachers didn’t even like the new-fangled “plusses” and awarded only A, B, C, D, F.
3) The course numbering is wrong. In that era, the second semester of an intro course at Fordham would be numbered 12, not 102. That changed in the 67-68 year, but Trump was gone by then.
4) All real grade reports from Fordham in that era are clearly dated “Jan” or “June” of the appropriate year, marking the month after the conclusion of the semester, as shown above. The fall semester of 1966 would be dated “Jan 67,” as shown above. The spring semester would be dated “June 66.”

Feel free to share this in any way you like.


I will certainly be happy to compare grade reports with The Donald for that 1966 year, and will be pleased to add a large side-bet to the winner (me).

In fairness, Trump was not a D student at Fordham (as pictured by the fake grade report). Two people who saw his grade reports said they were in the C+ to B range. That’s not bad, but Mary Trump points out in her book that Trump’s sister did all his home assignments for him, so I suppose he would have not done that well on his own.

112 thoughts on “Trump hilariously accuses AOC of being a poor student

  1. Adam, 1. Trading places may be my favorite film of all time.

    2. Why do you think anyone disagrees with the idea of “fair and square”? I couldn’t agree with you more that all should be “fair and square”. Why aren’t we enforcing the regulations that are on the books?

    One of the worst policy shifts over the last 40 years is the perspective of monopolies. The old short form rule was that you can’t control production, distribution, and retail. But they shifted to believe that so long as the consumer pays less, it’s beyond reproach. I wanted to see GM fail. I wanted to see their assets be divided up amongst new endeavors. I wanted to see the banks collapse. Community banks and online innovation would’ve created massive opportunity. Instead we put liquidity in the pockets of those who broke the system and they bought the toxic assets they created at 10 cents on the dollar. And then, they and their clients rode the gains to exponential wealth. Let’s fix what’s really broken. A 2% adjustment to tax and an assault against those who make less than a million dollars is a waste of time.

    Break up the monopolies and go after those who make 25m, 50m, 1b…….. nobody should starve so someone can buy a 7th home.

    1. So who wants to legislate economic equality and put weights on the best swimmers, Steverino?

      1. I am no socialist. I don’t want to limit the success of those who achieve. I have to admit, however, that I wish there was a solution to the inequity of inherited wealth. It seems wrong to me that there are children starving while Trump’s idiot sons gallivant around the globe living sybaritic lives and slaughtering animals.

        It really makes one understand why the French revolutionaries sent so many of those aristocrats to the guillotine.

        1. I read that before he became a rigid Republican, even Herbert Hoover favored “disintegrative inheritance taxes” for breaking up large fortunes. Getting RID of inheritance taxes was a high priority for 21st century Republican politicians, who, in my opinion, are the servants of the wealthy.

          (I believe the mention of Hoover’s opinion was in “The Great Depression: America 1929-1941” by Robert S. McElvaine.)

  2. Economics, like law and sociology, depends on a foundation of man-made regulations. Change those regulations, and the “science” of economics and law changes. Relative truth depends on where you live.

    Science (e.g., math, physics, chemistry, and biology) are based on absolute truths which, despite the best efforts of Republicans, do not depend on political beliefs. We may not yet know or understand those truths, but they exist.

    Medicine is an amalgam of biology and socioeconomic factors, and unfortunately the latter is often underappreciated.

    1. I agree with you, but Republicans/right wingers even claim otherwise. They believe that if everybody had their wealth zeroed out, people would ultimately end up right back where they were.

      1. Adam, nobody believes that. The belief is that we are dealt the hand we are dealt and make the best of it. We all have advantages and disadvantages. We all have shortcomings and weaknesses. Conservatives don’t believe in legislated economic equality. It’s as simple as that. You don’t put weights on the most successful swimmers simply because they are winning races. You end up with mediocrity for all.

        1. Who does believe in legislated economic equality, Steverino? Or putting weights on the most successful swimmers (metaphorically speaking)? Nobody I know, and nobody here, as far as I can see.

        2. Oh, I hear a lot of Republican talk about how people who do work are takers while people who sit on their asses getting richer by having their money hump other money are makers.
          If you don’t believe that fine, great. But don’t pretend no one does, try watching fucking Fox, they’ll straighten you out.

          1. Didn’t Mitt Romney give a talk which unfortunately (for his presidential election chances) became public, where he said 47% of the US populations were parasites on the government dole, or words to that effect?

        3. 1.I don’t know why you would argue that since it’s people with your ideology who believe that. It certainly is not the case that ‘nobody believes it’, although just a fictional film from nearly 40 years ago, the movie Trading Places is a comedic exploration of this concept.

          2.Nobody as a problem with the most successful swimmers if they’ve succeeded fair and square, but many of them, especially in the United States these days either pollute the pool at the expense of all the other swimmers or gamed the system in order to keep their lead.

          As seems to be evident to all but those blinded by ideology, this leads to far worse than mediocrity for all except those who have gamed the race to keep winning,

  3. According to mentalfloss:

    “By all accounts, Biden wasn’t the world’s greatest student, but he made up for his academic shortcomings with sheer likability. Biden ranked 506th out of 688 students in the University of Deleware’s class of 1965, but a professor still recommended him for law school “on grounds of personality and genuine promise.” The future VP didn’t exactly turn on the jets once he got into law school, either. He finished 76th in his class of 85 students at Syracuse, and admitted to plagiarism in his first year of law school. But again, a dean recommended him for a job on the basis of his “confidence,” “general physical appearance,” and “general speaking ability.”

    Fun fact: Biden was held back in 3rd grade.

    1. So what you’re saying is that professor seemed to be right on the money with his “genuine promise” compliment.

      Biden being a likable dumbass is quite a bit better than being a racist dimwit like Trump.

      Has Trump owned up to AOC’s challenge yet or did he back off like a whiny little cuck?

    2. “Great” source you have there…but you really need to go to Infowars…where you belong.

    3. Biden is probably no smarter than Trump. If we could accurately measure their IQs, I’ll bet this would be the dumbest match-up in the history of presidential elections.

      But Biden has two intellectual advantages over DJT: (1) he’s able to absorb new information; (2) he’s willing to admit that the expertise of others is necessary in complex matters.

      I’m not sure I believe the third grade assertion. I guess it might be true, but he graduated from high school at 18, which seems pretty standard.

      And then of course, on another subject, there’s that whole matter of Biden being a decent and compassionate human being.

      1. I’ve observed this as well. Biden is odd in that he clearly has a massive ego, but, at the same time, recognizes his limits and seeks out people much more intelligent than him for advice.

        In regards to his cognitive abilities, CNN mentioned this that I wasn’t previously aware of: Biden had two brain aneurysms in 1988. For people who think Biden is presently suffering a decline in cognitive abilities, he’s been about the same for 32 years.

        If you see his 1992 full speech where the supposed ‘Biden rule’ on Supreme Court nominations comes from, not only is there no ‘Biden rule’ (he mentions something about it but then contradicts himself later in the speech) but the full speech is incoherent. Those who believe he’s presently suffering a cognitive decline would likely think he delivered it recently.

  4. MMT in a nutshell. Right, a govt that prints money can borrow freely as it can always increase money supply & devalue existing currency. On a circular clock, it’s as correct to say 12 o’clock comes 11 hrs after 1 o’clock as that it comes 1 hr before.

    In MMT, gov’t creates money out of thin air. Any kind of gov’t spending has this effect. They give this new money to banks for free. It goes into circulation increasing “money supply”. Money heats up the economy. If it overheats, that can trigger inflation. Taxes take money back out of the economy. Spending & taxation go hand-in-hand letting gov’t heat up & cool down the economy as it sees fit.

    Thing is, MMT can often be an effective way of looking at how the economy & tax policies dovetail. Even though everything looks upside-down as compared to the usual economic perspective. In particular, it suggests govt should spend like crazy when the economy is slow, to heat it up. That’s the best time for govt to borrow since low inflation “makes money cheap” for the govt.

    The problem with MMT is the real causal links in an economy are added in as outside forces, not in the model. So if it works in practice, it’s mostly by sleight-of-hand. IOW, it’s economic theory by accounting identities. That is, a balance sheet’s job is to balance. To do that, the last item in every column just has to be whatever it takes to get the bottom line. It’s circular. A theory that really doesn’t explain anything.

    1. Modern Monetary Theory does not seem to have anything to do with the “Laffer Curve”, which is the think I thought Laffer was famous (or notorious) for. The Laffer Curve seeks to demonstrate that lowering tax rates can increase total tax revenue. I think Laffer provided Ronald Reagan with a justification for lowering taxes on rich people. I think Bush the Younger found a new shill.

      MikeP, thanks for your explanation of MMT. Inflating the currency used to be the way small, unstable, poor countries, like Greece, used to get out from under their burden of domestic debt. They didn’t have much foreign debt, because no foreigner would lend them very much money. This all blew up when they went on the Euro, a currency that A) they could not inflate, and B) encouraged foreigners to lend them lots of money. Hence the Greek euro crisis people talked about back in the Time Before Trump.

      Just as a digression, inflation is a sort of tax that takes money from people, in a way, by making the money they possess worth less. By increasing the money supply, the government can pay its debts without raising explicit taxes.

      People who are in debt benefit from inflation if they have invested in something whose value rises faster than inflation. This was of great benefit to the US middle class from about 1960 to about 1985.

      I am just pointing things out at random here, and I may be wrong, or badly out of date, about any of it.

      1. 1.You might be right that Arthur Laffer was not the right wing hack economist involved in coming up with the original MMT.

        2.1.I’d say inflation was about from 1966 to 1983. And then again for a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

        3.I’m not sure on inflation. What matters are real interest rates: the difference between the inflation rate and interest rates.

        It may be possible for the U.S government for a short period of time to inflate its way out of debt, but rising inflation leads to rising interest rates, and people who lend to a government that tries to inflate its way out of debt will start insisting on having their lending financed using variable interest rates. So, as inflation rises, the interest rates will rise with them and offset each other.

        From an article in 2010:
        Inflation would also make future U.S. debt more expensive, because inflation tends to push up interest rates. And the Treasury will have to refinance $5 trillion worth of short-term debt between now and 2015.

        “[The debt’s] value could go down for a couple of years because of surprise inflation. But then … the market’s going to charge you a premium interest rate and say ‘you fooled us once but this time we’re going to charge you a much higher rate on your three-year bonds,'” Marron said.

        1. A few random points myself.

          I realized on the surface there might seem to be a contradiction with my first post and my second post. My first post, a basic primer of neo-classical economics, was mostly certitude, while my second post was much more conditional.

          The way I put it is ‘just because we don’t know everything, it doesn’t follow that we don’t know anything.’

          Economics is not like physics for several reasons. One of those is that economic circumstances change. I mentioned two of them:

          1.Over the last 40 years or so, wealthy and powerful right wing interests have gamed the political system to engage in rent seeking. 50-60 years ago private sector unions were a fairly powerful counterweight to corporations, at least to defend worker’s interests. However, through so-called right to work laws and anti union demagoguing, private sector unions hardly exist any more.

          I also mentioned the rise of China, especially as a manufacturing powerhouse over the last 30 year. This, and globalization in general (at least until Trump and then Covid), alter the economic situation that economists examine.

          So, economists have been trying to explain why there has been so little inflation. The decline of worker bargaining power and globalization are very likely two factors, but because economists can’t definitively state that, when a new theory comes along that has a completely different explanation, like Modern Monetary Theory/Chartalism, even though most mainstream economists regard this as quackery, we can’t completely rule it out.

          2.Unlike physics, because there are multiple factors involved that can’t be separated and analyzed separately, no economist can state with absolute certainty the effects of a new government policy. In fact, that is the best way to tell when a person is a ‘television economist.’ If they say with absolute certainty “this government policy will result in $500 billion in total economic activity” they’re an economic quack and should be dismissed.

          What economists can do though is define a range of likely outcomes and state ‘this policy will likely result in X due to the following things that we expect to happen. If this happens instead, or along with those other things, it will likely result in a somewhat different X or a Y’ This is much more like epidemiology.

          3.The biggest complaint against economists is that we didn’t predict the financial collapse of 2008. There are several points here but there is some validity to it.

          A.Economics is a broad discipline. Most academic economists don’t follow day to day macro financial matters any more than anybody else does. It seems a fair number of industry employed economists predicted the collapse but had their own reasons to stay silent.

          B.A number of economists did predict economic problems, if not collapse, due to the irrational housing market, but did not predict the exact cause. I have 2 economic textbooks for a Money, Banking and Financial Institutions course from printed around 2005 and they both expressed concern.

          Their concern was not related to banking fraud, however, but due to the concept of the ‘wealth effect’ that was an issue at the time. Psychologically the wealth effect led many to believe they could spend a lot more due to the increased and increasing value of their homes, and tangibly many people were getting loans largely backed up by the value of their homes to either renovate their homes or to buy larger homes.

          Both of these textbooks predicted serious economic problems once the housing bubble burst and the ‘wealth effect’ went into reverse.

          C.This does leave one genuine issue here though: why were academic economists who study banking not all that aware of the fraud that was occurring. The answer, I think, is that economics is a discipline that until the development of behavioral economics did not really engage in any field research. The data used by economists, unlike pretty much any other discipline, is not collected by economists. So, essentially academic economists weren’t aware of the fraud because they trusted the rating agencies that were supposed to be analyzing the bundled mortgages that the banks were selling.

          1. Boy, are you ever right that economics is not like physics. There is an old saying that if all the economists in the world were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion. (Dorothy Parker also remarked that if all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, she wouldn’t be a bit surprised.)

            I did not know that economists were criticized for predicting the collapse of the mortgage bubble in 2008. That was an event like the stock market bubble and crash of 1929. They were both irrational events.

            One of the basic flaws of economics, at least as it was taught to me back around the dawn of time, was it’s reliance on the “rational actor” idea. People are not always very rational, even on a national scale. For an example, look up “Trump, Donald, United States, President of,” somewhere. Free trade, as a concept, particularly suffers from this, IMO.

            Thanks very much for taking the time to educate us in general, and me in particular.

          2. PS – I mean criticized for FAILING to predict the mortgage collapse. And I apologize for the apostrophe in “it’s reliance”, especially to Bob the Angry Flower.

          1. 3 points
            1.I disagree that economists can’t reach a conclusion. There was a survey of academic economists done about a decade ago that showed broad consensus on the consequences of various policy actions.

            For instance, something like 91% of economists who answered the survey agreed that rent control limit the incentive for builders to construct rental housing and, over time, decrease the stock of rental housing.

            The disagreement with economists, as it is with everybody, is that economists have different values. Of those 91% who agreed that rent controls eventually limit the stock of rental housing, some of them are still going to believe that the positive of limiting rent increases outweighs the negative of limiting rental housing.

            In this case, whether the costs outweigh the benefits or not is a subjective opinion for which there is no right or wrong answer. Why should economists be less likely to have differing opinions and differing values than anybody else?

            2.The problem we get back to here is the liars and other hacks. Back in the early 1980s when selling tax cuts for the wealthy that were ultimately supposed to both pay for themselves and to benefit everybody (trickle down), the people who argued in favor of this, and who may even have believed what they were saying, argued that wealthy people made better economic decisions than anybody else and so by cutting their taxes, they would be making more economic decisions, and that by allowing the best economic deciders to make the most economic decisions, the most efficient economy would result and that would ultimately benefit everybody.

            The problem is, after reality showed this was based on faulty assumptions (or was bullshit, your choice) rather than behave in an intellectually honest manner and concede they were wrong, most of them showed that having the most efficient economy that would ultimately benefit everybody wasn’t what they were really concerned about, but that all they really wanted was for the wealthiest to pay much less in tax.

            As far as I’m concerned, that is a subjective opinion and it’s perfectly fine to have that opinion if that’s what you believe. It becomes a problem when, rather than simply stating their opinion, they started to lie that the reality was ‘fake news’ and continued to falsely claim that tax cuts and deregulation do ultimately benefit everybody.

            As I argued in my first post, people having different opinions based on different subjective values isn’t a problem, the problem is when people lie to argue on behalf of their opinions.

            3.Economists always knew there were irrational people. The mistake we collectively made was to assume that the irrational behavior evened out. Some people were irrational one way but they were cancelled out by people who were irrational the other way was the assumption. Psychology professor (now behavioral economics professor, even though he’s never taken an economics course, which he finds amusing) Dan Ariely thought to himself that that wasn’t his experience as a psychologist, that irrational people tended to be irrational nearly all in the same direction. He wrote a book on this called “Rational Irrationality” not ‘rational’ in the sense that the irrational behavior makes sense, but that the direction in which irrational people tend to behave can be predicted.

            Once this false assumption that there were no consequences
            to irrational behavior was removed, especially micro economists have started to revise all sorts of previous assumptions about the rationality of various markets, and have even engaged in some field testing to determine how big a problem irrational behavior might be in various areas.

            So, one of the areas that was assumed to be rational in the long run anyway, was labor markets. That is, that ultimately supply and demand would adjust to find an equilibrium the same for everybody in a given labor market. In reality, most labor markets tend to be inefficient in the long run. That is, that the supposed corrective action of market forces don’t lead to an equilibrium.

            Although it was known, for instance, that women are paid less than men, even for the same work, it was assumed that there were rational reasons for this. However, to use a hypothetical example: let’s say in a large city there are 5 advertising agencies that a woman can work for. In doing this, we’ve first eliminated the false assumption that labor markets are broad, i.e that this woman can seek employment in any advertising agency all over the United States. We’ve said ‘most likely she’s in no position to move.’ Which is much more often the reality.

            So, we have a very limited number of employers to start with (where there is just one employer in a market, that’s known as a monopsony.)

            Second, when we have just five employers, it is entirely possible that every single one of those handful of firms will exhibit sexist behavior to this woman. That is, that every advertising agency will behave irrationally in the same direction. So, in the long run, there is no corrective market force to override the sexist behavior of these firms, hypothetical as they may be.

          2. Adam

            Science lets us observe and draw conclusions that allow us to predict future behavior reliably. On a scale where math=100, the pure sciences are almost there, allowing us to get a craft to Pluto and communicate with it. Medicine is slightly lower because of unpredictable chaotic elements like unexpected exposure to a new form of bacteria or unforeseen side-effects (a patient does not live in a vacuum). As additional chaotic elements are introduced, other disciplines like meteorology, bookmaking and the behavioral sciences are less reliable. Where does economics fall on that continuum?

            I do remember back in the 1980s when some wise guys polled some third graders (in multiple-choice tests) to make predictions parallel to those made by the president’s council of economic advisors about the upcoming year (inflation, GDP growth, unemployment, etc). As I guess you can tell from my build-up, the third graders did better. In fact, FAR better. I am assuming that the third graders’ answers were purely random, uninfluenced by any real knowledge, so that any random selection method, like Paul the psychic octopus, would also have done better than the economists. That doesn’t seem like an extremely useful discipline to me.

          3. He did?! Wow. Well, so did a lot of prominent people in 1929. I guess the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.

          4. Scoopy,

            I certainly accept that as far as it goes. I think a lot of the perception of economic forecasting is negatively colored to some extent by the ‘television economists.’

            There are two problems with that example though:
            1.The President’s economic council has an ideological bent, so their failure to forecast accurately might say more about their ideological assumptions than about economics in general.

            2.If the Council of Economic Advisors knew that the results were going to be made public, especially to the President, they might have seen their job as being ‘yes men’ to the President in a public forum and therefore gave responses that were much rosier than they actually believed.

          5. My wife, an MD, PhD considers medicine to be a trade and not a science. She puts it considerably lower.

          6. Economics is also ripe for Texas Sharpshooter fallacy – no matter WHAT happens, some economist will have predicted it. This easily gets misconscrewed as “economics predicted it”. Not that different from astrology, really.

    2. Yes, this is the left wing form of MMT known as Chartalism.

      You’ve explained it better than I can and understand it better than I do.

      1. I’m happy my MMT splainer helped set off a good blog post’s worth of econ info chat. Glad we have a resident Econ to flesh out for us, as I’m far from being one. Adam’s bit on self-cancelling fluctuations & outliers as basis for rational actor premise is a notably good splain of both its pervasive influence & how it fails. I did, tho, have a spot of trouble not seeing ‘charlatan’ every time Adam said ‘Chartalism’.

        Scoops, harder sciences all have the benefit of oversimplifying by writing off a raft of messy complications inherent in the real world. Stainless steel was discovered, not invented, stumbled on by one happy accident. You raised medicine, nitroglycerine as a cardiac counteragent was found by an off-the-wall hunch. Our immersion in pandemic is showing us how rife the subjects of epidemiology & immunology are with confounding factors & how hard it is to tease out key facts. We’ve barely begun to get any remotely clean understanding of nutrition as studies in humans are limited in scale & control.

        Econ is important in the same way as nutrition. Equally crucial to keep improving & keep doing. We must learn from our missteps. Economics has made some great strides to fix its failings over the past decade or two.

        Many econs lean heavily in the libertarian direction. You don’t take to econ too well without it. As was I at say, 30. The recent tip toward what I call “enlightened neoliberal” is a big advance. This change of heart brought about thanks bigly to shame at the aftermath of ’08. It’s a kind of breakthru in political theory. They’re fabricating bedrock to put hard ground where people like you & I have chosen to stand.

        In particular, the powerful Chicago School led by the ingenious Uncle Milty has been exposed as largely fraud. Now most of us can see how the fortified castles of Friedman disciples left them nowhere to retreat, they’re forced to double down, their position on the board is in disarray, their center cannot hold.

        Lastly, there are for us, Scoops & me, half a dozen or a dozen wunnaful econ blogs asplainin these lessons & progresses to us dweebs. In the same spirit I’d like to clear up a thing or 2 in my own lil splainer. One, the conventional rightside-up view of govt is that taxes enable spending. MMT’s idea that spending drives the economy, taxes are the brakes, that’s where that analogy of turning the whole clock backwards an hour comes in & why the MMT picture is upside-down. Roger, inflation is also a brake, like a kind of tax as you put it, but a bad effect on policy as it can spiral out of control & spin us into a nosedive. For policy, it’s destabilizing. In econ terms, it’s an externality. Doesn’t fit in any simple model. If not for externalities, every transaction balances, even if there’s a clear win/lose & the game overall stays zero-sum. As physicists learned over the past half century, we must come to grips with symmetry breaking as well as symmetries. Or as Keynes famously said, sure, today’s storm will pass, but we may not live that long.

        Two, we’ve learned the flipside to our loss of control under the instability of inflation. In a Japan trap, we’re also powerless as no matter how much money we pump in, we’re pushing on a string. Contra our intuition, even negative interest rates aren’t destabilizing absent strong expectation that they won’t sunset any time soon. What we need & have needed for some time is fiscal action. But that’s precisely the power that libertarian absolutism robs us of. I mean, the abuse of freedom naively conceived to impose plutocracy. As opposed to some subtler, tricky, hi-wire act, trying to balance opposing principles to keep the gear teeth from shearing off. If there’s 1 takeaway from the past century, the US-led era, there’s no skirting the jungle. The only passage will be the road we cut thru the heart of the wilderness. If we can’t close our gaps in equity, we’ll learn, if we should live so long, that the US bubble popped in ’08 & all we are right now was the walking dead.

        1. In terms of forecasting, that is what U.S Federal Reserve does, in order to shift its interest rate to prevent inflation from going above 2%. Since the early 1990s, they’ve done a very good job at it, even with hacks like Alan Greenspan as its head.

          Of course, the Federal Reserve has some of the best economic minds and a large amount of resources, but that recessions have been less frequent and that there hasn’t been a ‘normal’ recession caused by rising input prices shows the ability of economists to learn from past mistakes and that intellectually honest economic forecasters can do a pretty good job.

          1. 1, the Fed’s inflation target is half what it could be without any real danger of runaway. Running hot lifts all boats better than tax cuts. The latter funnels the fuel (money supply) to the rich. Siphons it away from consumers who need it to the wealthy who don’t. The low savings rate of the poor & now the middle class is a sure sign consumers lack buying power. We know how much of US growth is driven by consumer spending.

            Under present circumstances, we’re penned into a liquidity trap. Nothing the Fed does & has done even gets us up to their too-low inflation target. Despite taking a fire hose & spraying an unending jet of quantitative easing at the financial sector. Which by the way is very profitable for investment banks.

            2, your point that the Fed has done its job, AKA monetary policy has been fully engaged, shows how indispensable fiscal policy working in concert really is. In an economy where so much money sits in the bank & interest rates are already hydroplaning along at the zero lower bound.

            Even Ben Bernanke, scholar of the Great Depression, was too slow off the mark. The big reason for this is, a Fed chief is head banker on a committee of bankers. Banks profit from high interest rates. So tight money always looks delicious to them.

          2. Also, 3, the labor market’s broken. Employers hold all the high cards. They can withold the punch bowl as workers grin & bear it. There’s nothing the Fed can do about this as it has little to do with monetary policy. The relevant action all takes place outside their bailiwick. That’s why nothing they do helps. They just can’t get any traction.

          3. MikeP

            You seem to be more of a Post-Keynesian.

            I’m a down the line mainstream neo classical economist. I agree the poor and middle class are increasingly squeezed, but I look at that in terms of the consequences for the supply side.

            Poorer people are much less likely to be able to afford education or start up businesses (no access to capital.)

            These are two reasons why supply-side neo classicists are increasingly liberal rather than conservative: there is a growing appreciation that concentration of wealth limits future potential economic output.

            There are things that governments can do to combat income and wealth inequality, such as looking at some form of UBI and free(r) university education, but the main things I think are policies that encourage unions and that discourage if not outlaw non-compete agreements.

          4. The commitment to universal free education requires a log-term view. I don’t see Americans willing to make that commitment.

            But it works eventually.

            I can remember back in the 80s and 90s when Ireland was one of the three weak sisters of the EU, together with Greece and Portugal. People scoffed at the disproportionate investment the Irish made in free university educations. Today Ireland has the highest per capita GDP of any (real) country in the EU (I’m excluding Luxembourg with the word “real”). They are not only the best educated Europeans, but also the most prosperous. Ireland’s Gross Domestic Product per capita (PPP) today is double that of Italy. In 1980, it was about 2/3 of Italy’s. In 1980 Ireland had a lower per capita GDP-PPP than even Greece. Today Ireland has nearly tripled Greece in this category. Greece and Portugal are still weak sisters. Even some of the Eastern Europeans have passed them. Meanwhile, Ireland has soared past the big boys like Norway, Switzerland and the USA.

            I can’t tell you that giving every citizen as much free education as they are capable of absorbing would work for everyone, but it sure as hell didn’t do Ireland any harm.

            But I just can’t see the USA making a commitment to something that takes three to four decades to produce tangible results.

          5. Don’t do that. I can’t even claim to be in a school. I’m a reader of econ & econ history blogs. The latter because unlike most textbook examples, the real world comes with warts & all so we see not only “natural experiments” in the wild but competing influences & confounding. But we can learn a lot from similar experiences in the past with their different outcomes.

            The heart of what I’m saying is the Fed bankers just call policy that isn’t monetary, “fiscal”. But there’s a lot of externalities on the not-just-nice-clean-money policy side. Ie not just taxes & spending but who & what gets taxed & how much, who & what the spending goes to. In particular, what’s regulated & what isn’t. When fiscal policy leans toward low taxes & deregulation, the rich, meaning not just big businesses but the financial sector too, accrue market power. Their money gets to dictate the rules of the road so to speak even without the legislative & regulatory capture that also favor the money. I understand I’m just in effect parroting fwald.

            What I mean by “enlightened neoliberal” is that I blame libs as much as cons for taking the bait & only chasing the easy policy wins. That’s tarnished both libs & “the experts” in the eyes of many Americans as it’s all too clear in hindsight who won & who lost. Easy policy is so because cheap or narrow or not too sensitive to details of how we do it. Or broadly a lot of visible gains as with free trade. Jobs lost to trade or automation are easy to play down by averaging over space & time. The other way to get easy policy wins has been co-opting the other side’s policies that “everyone can agree on”. No one was against that. Everyone was against the loss of blue collar middle-class jobs throughout the heartland, but only little & ineffectual mitigation measures ever undertaken as no agreement on what would work & little respect by college-educated for the value of “low-skill” labor. Large swaths of the country saw the toothless govt “programs” sent their way for what they were: scraps.

            So what’s the answer? Like fwald, I believe it starts with the admission that markets are affected by the rules we set for them. Inescapably. The solutions to the equations never are the homogeneous general solution but the particular inhomogeneous solution that satisfies whatever initial or boundary or auxiliary conditions we impose on top. In short it’s a fantasy to think we don’t have to in some way favor the eventual winners & by the same token the losers will be among those we disfavored.

            Given that, we have to pick our principles in a political way, a more difficult way & not just the toy kind of rules the Fed is able to play by. Details matter. Bankers on the ground playing by their own rules blindsided the regulators, the ratings agencies & economists alike. A total systemic failure.

            So you tell me, does any of the above still suggest to you whether I’m a Post-Keynesian or not?

            FWIW, I’m heavily in favor of markets & property, heavily anti-marxist. But I might be talked into drastic actions of one kind or another if that’s what it takes to clamber out of such a deep rift as we’ve fallen into.

          6. In this I’d say you’re one of the many dissatisfied on both the left and the right who don’t benefit from the status quo.

          7. I read a book recently called Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius by Sylvia Nassar (Sylvia Nassar also wrote the book “A Beautiful Mind” about John Nash.)

            The book is a mix of biography of famous economists and their economic theories from basically 1845-1945 combined with Sylvia Nassar’s love of Victorian literature.

            So, the book starts after Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill and Thomas Malthus and ends before Prime Minister Clement Atlee’s socialism, Keynesian economic policy, Monetarism, the financial collapse of 2008 and Behavioral Economics.

            Most of the book doesn’t require any education in economics to understand, but there are a number of good quotes in the book.

            It starts off with Charles Dickens, which might seem a bit odd as he wasn’t an economist, but a number of lines in the play A Christmas Carol are direct quotes from Malthus, especially the line about ‘a surplus population.’ Essentially Dickens was calling for economists to stop following what Malthus coined ‘The Iron Law of Wages.’

            The next chapter is on Marx and Engels. There isn’t much in this section other than Nassar details how Marx was a lazy self promoter and that while Das Kapital (written by Marx based on Engel’s notes) was a thorough if unoriginal criticism of capitalism, The earlier Communist Manifesto was a vague and
            impractical description of what communism would entail with even less of a practical description of how a nation or society would transition from capitalism to communism.

            The 3rd section is on Alfred Marshall, the father of micro-economics. Marshall’s primary theory, which is maco-economics was that competition led to firms “producing and distributing more goods and services of better quality at lower cost with fewer resources.”

            In short, Marshall demolished the Iron Law of Wages by demonstrating that “over hundreds of thousands of enterprises throughout the economy, the accumulation of incremental improvements over time raised average productivity and wages.”

            “Under a system of private property and competition, business firms are under constant pressure to achieve more withe the same or fewer resources. From society’s standpoint, the corporation’s function is to raise productivity, and, hence, living standards.

            What made Marshall the father of Micro economics was he devised the ‘theory of the firm’ based on his own field research. “Marshall’s descriptions of factory and factory life are specific, nuanced and varied. He spends hours observing. He records manufacturing techniques, pay scales and layouts. He questions everyone from the owner, to the foremen to the men on the shop floor.”

            In contrast, Das Kapital lacks all details of factory life because Marx had never been inside a single one.

          8. The fourth section is on Beatrice Potter (not Beatrix Potter who wrote Peter Rabbit.) Beatrice Potter, along with her husband Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw and briefly H.G Wells turned the Fabian Socialist Society into the first think tank.

            The Fabian Socialists weren’t so much about nationalization of industry, but for greater government involvement in regulating industry and providing a safety net, i.e liberalism.

            They provided the intellectual framework of liberal ideology.
            On regulations and minimum wages: “The cost to business would be more than offset by fewer industrial accidents and a better nourished, more alert workforce.”

            On a ‘safety net’: “Seizing on Alfred Marshall’s suggestion that ‘the cause of poverty is poverty’ Beatrice Potter reasoned inequality and therefore poverty is inevitable, but destitution, ‘the condition of being without one or the other of the necessaries of life, in such a way that health and strength, and even vitality, is so impaired as to eventually imperil life itself, is not.’ Eliminating destitution would prevent the poverty of one generation from passing to the next.”

            Taking up this cause politically was Winston Churchill as President of the Board of Trade in the Liberal Asquith Government. (This position is the equivalent in the United States to the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Labor) Churchill, inspired by Potter and the other Fabians argued “I do not want to see impaired the vigor of competition, but we can do much to mitigate the consequences of failure. We want to have free competition upwards, we decline to have free competition downwards. We do not want to pull down the structure of science and civilization, but to spread a net over the abyss.”

            Although not all of Churchill’s proposed legislation passed, it provided the basis for the modern welfare state.

            He argued “Dimly across gulfs of ignorance I see the outline of a policy which I call the Minimum Standard.”

            “Churchill defined his minimum in terms of 5 elements and listed them as his legislative priorities: unemployment insurance, disability insurance, compulsory education to age 17, public works jobs in road building or state afforestation in lieu of poor relief, and nationalization of the railways.”

        2. What we see in this, is the progression of the economics with first the idea that economics isn’t a ‘zero sum game’ but that with rising productivity (Marshall) the wealth of a society isn’t static.

          After that, are the arguments form Beatrice Potter and other Fabian Socialists on the proper role of government in the modern state.

          The next section, and I’ll stop here, is the need for information on the state of the economy and, for some economists, a more mathematical foundation, for economics (even more mathematical than Alfred Marshall.) The first economist to provide and analyse data on the state of the economy was the American economist Irving Fisher. The book also details how Irving Fisher was a fascinating person in that he both worked with Kellogg on ‘the healthy life’ (or whatever it was called) and invented the Rolodex.

          1. OK, added to reading list. I’m in awe of but not overly impressed by genius. The term covers a multitude of individual traits at times including little more than parlor tricks. In general I’m less turned on by the lives & personality of heroes than by their great ideas & lasting effects on us. Eg Freud was hugely influential but as far as I’m concerned a crank. 1 tidbit that’s stuck with me of his life story is that he started as maybe the 1st neurologist but gave up on it when he realized he wasn’t going to live to see the kind of breakthrus he hoped for, working bottom-up. He took a wee shortcut to marvelous revelations that thrilled the world. There’s good & bad in anyone’s life. To know too much of their trials leads to disillusionment more often than inspiration. That’s my take. YMMV.

          2. 1.I wouldn’t read too much into the name of the book.

            On to Irving Fisher, who made a number of advances in economic theory

            Fisher was the first to theorize the interdependence of markets:
            “Crude social Darwinists and their socialist opponents and their socialist opponents identified competition as the distinctive feature of the modern economy, but like Marshall, Fisher was more impressed by the high degree of interdependence and cooperation among economic agents – households, firms, governments – and the large number of channels through which a given cause produced its ultimate effect.”

            “In Fisher’s model, everything depends on everything else. Hose much of a commodity each consumer wants depends on how much of every other commodity he wants.”

            “For example, one could see how an internal shock to demand or supply in one market all the prices and amounts in 10 related markets, altered prices and quantities in all markets and changed the incomes and choice of products purchased by various consumers.”

            Irving Fisher then moved on to defining the modern role for central banks:

            “Irving Fisher was the first to realize how powerfully money affected the real economy and to make the case that government could increase economic stability by managing money better. By pinpointing a single common cause for the single opposite ills of inflation and deflation, he identified a potential instrument -control of the money supply – that government could use to moderate or even avoid inflationary booms or deflationary depressions.

            The book then temporarily leaves Fisher to delve into Joseph Schumpeter.

          3. 1. Nasar, apparently.
            2. Not just the title, but “mix of biography” & “fascinating person”.
            3. Take Churchill, Washington, Jefferson, Newton, Einstein. Let’s just say they all had their foibles. They were mortal. As ordinary people, they were ordinary, crass & often in the wrong. I don’t feel I’m a better person or that my opinion of slavery is any different for knowing some “heroes” kept slaves. There are no heroes. Only good ideas & bad. I gather Darwin & Euler were nice guys. Ie, boring.
            4. Kurt Andersen’s Atlantic book excerpt from Evil Geniuses changed my mind that triangulation wasn’t simply that neolibs captured the middle ground pushing cons to the right, but also that the low-hanging fruit was a kind of bait pulling the left toward the right’s positions. It’s on my list too. His TV time on Amanpour&Co, OTOH, left me unimpressed with the author personally. I have grave doubts over solutions & fear his claims of having answers to the problems he diagnoses will be as empty as anyone else’s, ie either insufficient or pipedreams.
            5. Daniel Markovits author of Meritocracy Trap did impress me on TV. It’s on the list. Similarly, haven’t read it yet, do like the idea, but will need to ponder before liking his specific idea how to fix the system. His diagnosis BTW is that “merit launders advantage”. I’m probably correct about him personally, but still, that’s beside the point once we get down to brass tacks.
            6. As for Fisher, one of Krugman’s heroes, ISTR. I, OTOH, see the insufficiency of monetary policy alone. I see Ben Bernanke as having been captured by bankers. I see the bankers as guilty of bailing out the financial sector & doing a piss poor job in precisely how. As result of which we still haven’t rooted out the system’s failings, both in terms of risks & ethics. Especially leaving the middle & lower classes in the lurch. I agree with PK that old-fashioned economists got a lot right that policy makers ignored. Instead policy followed outliers & cranks, ie austerity, AKA PK’s “confidence fairy”.
            7. Let’s clarify that I have indeed benefited from the status quo. What impressed me about Markovits making his case is his emphasis that he too has won in the merit game. He’s in effect arguing against his own story. Which he supports by noting he wasn’t as smart as some peers at a young age but far surpassed them. It was his parents who had the right kind of experience to know how to help him do well in school.
            8. I have career experience that I profited from but which left me disillusioned. I’m an engineer & startup veteran. I enjoyed IPOs at 3 firms I worked for. First, I was shocked by the heavy “bank-imposed” reverse splits on employee incentive stock options. That is, the bank is cover. But it’s upper management & their friends on the board who negotiated for & got preferred stock instead of common, no dilution & no restrictions. Meanwhile employees were locked out of exercising for at least 2yrs. If the price tanks in that time, tough.
            8. One thing working for startups did for me was I got briefed regularly (YMMV) about company operations. So I have some 1st-hand background in the business side that wage-earners typically don’t. Again, I’ve done well enough. Not rich, but secure. Still want a system where we take risks with possibility to benefit. Yet I’m jes a lil bit techy bout equality of opportunity being honored largely in the breach.
            9. Last, as you brought up UBI & college. I wish everyone went to college. Truth is only a fraction do & it isn’t just due to cost. Many people don’t like school, are sick of it & want out. As for UBI, it’s unclear it’s any kind of cure-all. Yet a big part of its appeal for many proponents is that it could render unnecessary & replace other safety-net programs. I feel existing programs are either OK or fail because of undershoot. If they’re too expensive because they didn’t scale up well, we need to scrap & replace them with one that will do the job & can scale up. Or if no alternative & can be fixed, that means we have to pony up. Such a policy is kind of rock & hard place, but magic bullets are almost always shiny distractions.

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