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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Revenge -- a dish best eaten cold ?

In comments on their blogs I accuse Brad DeLong and Matthew Yglesias, because I think they blame the wrong senators for the fact that the stimulus was too small. I don't have much confidence in my understanding of the Senate and they might be right.

My argument was based on the idea that it is useful to punish legislators who make bad decisions long after they make the decision. One advantage is that hindsight is useful in determining which decisions were bad decisions. Another advantage, and one which I think is key, is that this is unusual.

Legislators are flooded with e-mails letters and calls asking them to vote this or that way. Many people try to influence them with threats and promises. A legislator doesn't have to care if a constituent is so mad today that he won't vote for the legislator today. There is no election today. A legislator sure does have to care about constituents who hold grudges.

I think an e-mail about how a vote 6 months ago was a terrible mistake or was an excellent decision might get some attention. Several in a row probably would. The bored junior legislative aid handling the correspondence might notice something out of the ordinary. In any case, evidence that people are still mad now and might still be mad on election day is very useful to legislators who are trying to get re-elected.

Another way of putting it is that lobby's are powerful, because they demonstrate that they keep score, that they will remember votes and remind potential voters and contributors. Bloggers can do that too.


Anonymous said...

The stimulus was too small because supposed Democratic analysts like Brad DeLong had no idea what was actually happening beyond the Berkeley economics department:

November 10, 2007

Recession? What Recession?

If it looks like a recession and feels like a recession ...

Anonymous said...

November 10, 2007

Can We Retire Bob Herbert?
By Brad DeLong

Yes, it is yet another edition of why oh why can't we have a better press corps. This time it is Bob Herbert who should be retired and sent to doing something socially useful.

Anonymous said...

October 2, 2009

Jobs Vanish
By Floyd Norris

The recession took a much larger toll on employment than was previously reported, the government said today.

The Labor Department said that it planned to revise the job figures by subtracting more than 800,000 jobs that it had wrongly estimated were filled by workers.

The planned revision indicates that this has been by far the worst recession since World War II, causing a 5.8 percent reduction in the number of jobs in this country since employment peaked at the end of 2007....

Anonymous said...

No matter, the Berkeley pretend Democrat is now shilling for phony health care reform and will pretend otherwise a few years from now.

Robert said...

Dear Anonymous

Your anti Brad campaign is getting weird. I mainly want to note one thing. I strongly suspect that I am the only person in the whole world who reads comments on this blog. Why don't you set up your own blog. You might not get much traffic but it's hard to believe that you would get less than my comment threads.

Brad argued for a larger stimulus package and has been arguing for a second stimulus pretty much since the first stimulus passed. Blaming him is like blaming Krugman -- that is silly.

You present a bit of a column by Herbert and Brad's criticism of Herbert. Was Brad criticizing that column ? I can't tell from your comments. If he was, then you should present the evidence (it would just be cutting a pasting a few more pixels).

Since you are anonymous, I feel free to ask you a personal question. Did Brad do something to you personally ? I mean is it personal, or do you really believe the crazy things you write about him here ?

You can e-mail your answer to me or post it as a comment and ask me not to make it public (I have to approve comments for them to appear here for almost none to see).

Anonymous said...

No; Krugman was right from the beginning, but beyond being right Krugman is sensitive to the needs of people beyond a faculty community. However you are right; there is no reason for me to be angry with the Berkeley wonder beyond the continual myopic arrogance and insensitivity of the writing, and that is merely a taste issue.