They both seem to follow a mathematical relationship called a “power law” where you have lots of small events trailing off into infrequent but much bigger events, according to a McKinsey study. (So don’t assume stability, look into the deep past not recent history, look for early warning signs and study complex systems. ) Now this is a great chart from the McKinsey study:
Politics and policy from inside Washington
Personally I wouldn’t be upset if the human race perished, it’s the plant and animal life that doesn’t have a say in all this that I feel sorry for. Hopefully they’ll fight back before it’s too late.
Me: This sounded so familiar. I searched my mental memory and eventually recalled a Space: 1999 episode based on this very premise.
This gem from author and former investment banker William Cohan (via PBS NewsHour):
But I think we do need to restructure the entire architecture of the financial system while we have the opportunity. And letting these banks get out of the TARP and slither away from the grasp of the government at just the moment when we need to restructure the banking system is not wise.
Me: Does Cohan realize there are plenty of Treasury Department openings? Circulate that CV!
My pal Nick Schulz comments on the political divisions between Christian Greens and Secular Greens. This bit really caught my eye:
For example, while secular greens and Christian greens both want prudent stewardship of the environment … they will likely part ways on issues such as the importance of economic and population growth. … Benjamin Friedman and others such as Deidre McCloskey have argued persuasively that there are profound moral consequences to economic growth and that stagnation is hazardous to the moral health of a nation. This understandably prompts Christian greens to place more value on economic growth than secular greens, leading to differing views on regulation and other curbs on the free market. … And secular greens have never much cared for the injunction to “be fruitful and multiply” at least if the zero- andnegative-population-growth crowds are any indicator.
Me: This is a key political division. Should standards of living continue be raised in the US and the West, at least in material terms? A big thrust of current policymaking here would seem to say “No.”
Instead of running $800 billion budget surpluses — as was predicted back in the 1990s — America is running trillion dollar deficits. How did that $2 trillion swing happen? The blame breakdown, according to the NYTImes: recession, 37 percent, Bush policies (particularly tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit), 33 percent; Obama continuing Bush policies (Iraq, tax cuts) 20 percent, the Obama stimulus bill, 7 percent; and the rest of the Obama “investment agenda, 3 percent.
Me: So 30 percent is Obama’s fault? He’s only been in office for less than five months and he’s almost as much to blame as Bush who was in office for eight years. Personally, I think not fixing a problem means you get 100 percent of the blame. Buck stops in the Oval Office and all that. The NYTImes makes the common flawed assuption that without the Bush tax cuts, the economy would have performed just as well as it did (and generated the same revenue) from November 2001 through December 2007 when the deficit collapsed.