Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reihan Salam Anti-saccharine Society

Remember when FLG had that autodialectic conversation in which he said, "We agree with him more than probably any other person. In fact, a lot of the time Reihan's posts are pretty much exactly what went through FLG's mind on that topic, including the references to various books and papers."

Well, FLG is starting to get sick and tired of Reihan's sugarcoating a post with compliments before disagreeing. Here are a few recent examples:

Example 1:
This is certainly an interesting story, and one can see how it resonates with Henry's priors -- and I should stress that Henry is a very sharp guy, who is deeply familiar with Irish political economy. But I wonder if Henry's ideological notions are getting in the way of sound analysis.

Example 2:
Though I understand Brad's concern, I don't think 21% is an unreasonable cap.

Example 3:
My friend Mike Konczal is pessimistic about U.S. prospects for returning to full employment in the near future.

Example 4:
Tyler Cowen, one of my favorite bloggers and thinkers,

Example 5:
Dylan Matthews, the terrific Washington Post blogger,

Example 6:
Steven Pearlstein, a great economics columnist by all accounts,

Steven Pearlstein is a great economic columnist in comparison to a goat with late stage syphilis. Sure, he won a Pulitzer, but that's just because everybody at the Post gets one sooner or later and it was his turn.

Look, FLG gets it. He's a dick and Reihan is nice. FLG's mother always said, if you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all. Advice that FLG obviously neglects. But Reihan's sugary sweet pleasantries have become cloying.


Withywindle said...

Syphilis sharpens the intellect. And all great economists have been goats.

Anonymous said...


"My friend Mike Konczal is pessimistic about U.S. prospects for returning to full employment in the near future."

Am I reading this correctly? Does this sugarcoated male member think the U.S. has had full employment? Much less, full employment in the recent past? Like when we had 4.2 unemployment under George Bush?

And does he know what full employment looks like?

I do. My dad, being a whiz kid in the corporate structure in computer world resided in Japan (Tokyo) for the better part of the 1980's. This would be before the crash of the Japanese market and things have changed -like their unemployment rates. But anyway, one day Dad and I were on a city street and a street cleaning machine -cleaning the gutter -came by driven by a man. All machines over there are so tiny by the way- you should see a garbage truck. Anyway, after the street cleaning machine slowly passed, 2 or 3 *aged* Japanese woman were right behind on hands and knees washing the street with buckets of water and sponges - and those Japanese clogs...

I looked at my Dad aghast and asked "Why?"

"Japan is a fully-employed nation. Washing the streets is a job that falls to women." was his coldhearted response. It's also common -as in daily -to see women washing the walls of the subway stations. Of course women here have a higher standing than they do in Japan so I don't know who will wash the streets and but hey, whoever it is will get a pension just like the TSA guys and gals who are groping our nation now...

Mrs. P

FLG said...

Mrs. P:

Economists would call 3-4% full employment. This frictional unemployment that cannot be eliminated.

Miss Self-Important said...

C'mon, this is hardly the worst of all blog sins. He still does criticize ideas, he just butters up the people who have them first. It's annoying to read in large quantities, but you can temper it by switching back and forth between him and, say, Leiter, or some other vitriolic asshole.

Also, I think Helen was on a crusade against Reihan's prose for a while before the Great CSPAN Debacle seemed to have forced her off the internet. You can join forces with her.

FLG said...


I didn't say it's the worse. It just bugs me.

Anonymous said...

Uhm, I think back in the 80's Japan was about just a squosh north of 2%. Then if you look at the welfare programs Japan has versus ours and well...we pay a lot of people to not be employed, don't we?

But I am absolutely delighted with this:

"Economists would call 3-4% full employment. This frictional unemployment that cannot be eliminated."

If this is true - then what was all the bellyaching about 4.3% unemployment during the Bush years?

Mrs. P

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