Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now THIS is Interesting

I have no idea if Stefan is right in this assertion:

The weird thing - the really, really weird thing - about the 1992 presidential campaign was the tracking poll published in Newsweek shortly after the election.

Throughout the entire campaign, from February to November, Bush's support in the electorate did not drop below 30% nor exceed 40%. This was through Perot's lead in the polls, through his dropping out on the eve of the Democratic convention, through his reentry in September, and all the way to Election Day - 60 to 70 percent of the nation was going to vote against the incumbent.

There was no evidence from that tracking poll that Perot had anything at all to do with the result - in that the election was going to be a defeat for Bush regardles. Indeed, Bush's only hope was for Perot and Clinton to split the electorate so evenly that Bush's loyal 35-38% could squeak him through to victory.

Perot did, however, have everything to do with the legitimacy of the eventual winner.

This is a side note to your main thesis, but nevertheless something that has bugged me at a low level for 16 years. It seemed obvious to me that Perot was from the beginning out to prevent a Democratic landslide, not to take up any sort of arms against Bush. (His actions in 1996 could have no other strategy -- save serving his megalomania, something that could also explain his effort in 1992, of course.)

But it does cast an interesting light on the Clinton Presidency, and the Perot candidacy.

Taken from the comments to DeLong's post on why health care reform couldn't pass on Clinton's watch.

Sad stories, both, and in every possible way.


J said...
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J said...

One of DeLong's better rants. BdL might do better sticking with econ. history and political issues (like health care), instead of yield curves on t-bonds or whatnot.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hmmm -

So it's dangerous for economists to tread into the dangerous waters of finance?

I guess I can see that.


J said...
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J said...

Health care seems important in a way the t-bond market isn't (though that may sound too humanist for pro. economists).

The modern economist tends to work for finance either way--though when it comes to like laying bets (say in stocks, bonds, futures, etc), he doesn't have any special insights above ordinary schmoes, really. I would want to see his score card (ie accurate forecasting of some type) before I listen to him over some trader in KC.

Economics, even theyhigh-powered statistical sort, consists mainly of rules of thumb and helpful generalizations. At times they apply. Other times they don't. Really, I think it's sort of fancy sociology, with all sorts of built-in assumptions.

--even Keynes questioned the Rational Man Standard,did he not.

Maybe base Econ. 101 on the Irrational Man Standard

J said...

'scuzi f-ed up editing. No caffiene yet.

(I opted for history over econ., though have read a fair amount, and now realize how flimsy it is as a discipline...Even Galbraith had his doubts about Macro-Econ)

Jazzbumpa said...

Actually, I think Keynes utterly destroyed the rational man theory - something the Chicago school forgot to remember. But they are just a bunch of tools, anyway.

Here is an interesting article by Krugman that I've only read part of, so far.



J said...
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J said...

Uni. of Chicago serves as the headquarters for American finance capitalism, or somethin' like that. Usury, Inc.

Having read a bit in the history of economics, I am convinced it was a WASP racket from its inception with Smith--a palsie of that scoundrel David Hume. (Hume himself wrote on economic issues, following in the Edward Teach school, for the most part).

Actually Smith-o-nomics might work in villages, or small cities. It means little or nothing in the age of Walmart.

I find Keynes-speak fairly nauseating as well, especially when he starts insisting that po' folks and workers save up their shekels for a rainy day, more or less.

Veblen actually seems sort of relevant. He perceives (I think correctly) a certain anthropological aspect to "economics"--even Darwinian at times, which is not too rational. He Veblen vs Marx.