Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for January 3, 2018 – O.M.G. it’s 2018! It is the Crimson Crystal Ball edition of the show with your hosts fortune-teller Todd Feinburg and Swami Mike Stopa. We will peer into the future, part the enveloping mists of chaos and tell you what you can expect in the coming year and perhaps beyond! Here are, yes, our much-awaited predictions for 2018! Can you afford *not* to listen?

We will also discuss a column from the New York Times which, gasp, gives begrudging credit to Trump’s deregulation efforts for the economic revival we are enjoying, including the optimism and investment by the business community even before the tax breaks became a reality (or even before they had moved very far along).

We will have, as you, gentle listener, have come to expect, our shower thoughts and we will have, naturally, our hidden gem. The latter of which, this week, is by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Midnight Train to Georgia. Enjoy!

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There are 9 comments.

  1. Member

    Regarding the NYT story about deregulation and the economy, even if the reporters were correct that deregulation will not spur growth, nevertheless the perception that it will is enough to spur growth via increased investment and hiring. These NYT guys don’t understand, or don’t want to understand one of the lessons of behavioral economics: perception often is reality.

    In addition, their claim that there’s no connection between regulation and growth, or that regulation leads to growth is based on what… talking to a couple of academic economists (e.g., Krugman)? Yeah, because those guys are so adept at economic projection. Remember that Krugman predicted the stock market would collapse if Trump were elected? Yeah, those guys. The thesis is that somehow these economists, who have no skin in the game, know better the effect of regulations on business than tens or hundreds of thousands of company owners and executives. Turns out these businessmen are clueless idiots who don’t understand business and do things against their own self-interest.

    Hey, NYT, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Any takers?

    • #1
    • January 3, 2018 at 11:56 am
    • 1 like
  2. Coolidge

    Couldn’t help but comment on how you guys absolutely dropped the ball in your interpretation of Midnight Train to Georgia.

    The man’s showbiz dreams are crushed, he’s tired of struggling. His girlfriend decides to give up her life to join him.

    The opening line eats at me because I’ve thought of leaving almost every day since year 2.

    I’ve lived in the minor leagues of entertainment for 22 years in Los Angeles. This is the story of friends of mine. People who find it complicated here because this city has no empathy, it wants new money of those who have dreams. People who were the funniest or most talented or most beautiful in their home who get here and are broken by the competitiveness or the shallowness of relationships here. Significant others who have to struggle between love and career.

    She boards, for love…gotta go. Her world, her man and his girl. He’s defeated, and she’s his rock.

    • #2
    • January 3, 2018 at 1:02 pm
    • 2 likes
  3. Podcaster

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Regarding the NYT story about deregulation and the economy, even if the reporters were correct that deregulation will not spur growth, nevertheless the perception that it will is enough to spur growth via increased investment and hiring. These NYT guys don’t understand, or don’t want to understand one of the lessons of behavioral economics: perception often is reality.

    In addition, their claim that there’s no connection between regulation and growth, or that regulation leads to growth is based on what… talking to a couple of academic economists (e.g., Krugman)? Yeah, because those guys are so adept at economic projection. Remember that Krugman predicted the stock market would collapse if Trump were elected? Yeah, those guys. The thesis is that somehow these economists, who have no skin in the game, know better the effect of regulations on business than tens or hundreds of thousands of company owners and executives. Turns out these businessmen are clueless idiots who don’t understand business and do things against their own self-interest.

    Hey, NYT, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Any takers?

    I’m amazed (heaven knows I shouldn’t be) that they go so far as to claim that more regulation is (might be) good for the economy. Somehow we wise bureaucrats can foresee what the market can’t. They are better off sticking with their main point that we know we are hobbling the economy but we are obtaining some other social good in exchange for the compromise to growth. At least that makes sense.

    • #3
    • January 4, 2018 at 8:02 am
    • Like
  4. Podcaster

    By the way, drlorentz, I am remiss for not responding to your Wittgensteinian point a couple weeks ago. I think the argument goes something like this:

    fetus has heartbeat

    heartbeat implies (in this case human) life

    taking life (except in self-defense, war etc) is murder

    murder is punishable by death (or life imprisonment)

    Ergo, abortion should be punished by death (or life imprisonment).

    It looks as if you’ve (not “you,” but “one has”) proved something. But all you’ve done is bury the complex moral issues of when a fetus should have moral standing behind words. What about immediately after conception? Isn’t that “life?”

    I think you can make the argument that it is wrong to abort a fetus – even immediately after conception. But to say that the dictionary says that life = x,y and z and therefore a fetus is alive and think you have solved the issue is fatuous.

    Also, Wittgenstein recanted on everything he said in the Tractatus.

    • #4
    • January 4, 2018 at 8:22 am
    • Like
  5. Coolidge

    3o minutes into this I have to give you some facts you clearly over looked:

    1) there is already a massive body of proof that deregulation causes growth. The break up of Bell Telephones, and the airline industry. Both where deregulated in the 1980s and both have seen massive cost cutting. Did you know that cell phones where invented in 1947? and the first models where produced in 1973? If not for the break up of Bell you would not have modern cell phones. Because a monopoly lacks the imagination to integrate non phone features into a phone. Also on airline deregulation, compare air fares on routes like NY-LA, I bet that air fares are well below inflation adjusted dollars. (say 1977 – 2017).

    These examples are powerful, because they give industry specific examples of how deregulation sparked investment, which provided jobs, while at the same time developed new products and lowered the costs of existing services, benefiting consumers. Bigly, as some would say.

    2) Your example of building codes being a pain the butt, is true, but you gave the worst possible example. Mixing aluminum and copper wires can cause a fire. Aluminum wires should be fazed out, as it was primarily used between 1965-1973.

    32 minutes! had to stop again… Your 100 year old house is not still standing because of building codes. Your house is still standing because 100 years ago, a well educated and well motivated work force assembled your home properly. Homes in England are still standing even after 1000 years. (Provided the Germans didnt bomb them) Ironically these homes are built with techniques that are banned by most building codes today. Wood reinforced masonry or stone.

    • #5
    • January 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm
    • Like
  6. Podcaster

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    3o minutes into this I have to give you some facts you clearly over looked:

    1) there is already a massive body of proof that deregulation causes growth. The break up of Bell Telephones, and the airline industry. Both where deregulated in the 1980s and both have seen massive cost cutting. Did you know that cell phones where invented in 1947? and the first models where produced in 1973? If not for the break up of Bell you would not have modern cell phones. Because a monopoly lacks the imagination to integrate non phone features into a phone. Also on airline deregulation, compare air fares on routes like NY-LA, I bet that air fares are well below inflation adjusted dollars. (say 1977 – 2017).

    These examples are powerful, because they give industry specific examples of how deregulation sparked investment, which provided jobs, while at the same time developed new products and lowered the costs of existing services, benefiting consumers. Bigly, as some would say.

    2) Your example of building codes being a pain the butt, is true, but you gave the worst possible example. Mixing aluminum and copper wires can cause a fire. Aluminum wires should be fazed out, as it was primarily used between 1965-1973.

    32 minutes! had to stop again… Your 100 year old house is not still standing because of building codes. Your house is still standing because 100 years ago, a well educated and well motivated work force assembled your home properly. Homes in England are still standing even after 1000 years. (Provided the Germans didnt bomb them) Ironically these homes are built with techniques that are banned by most building codes today. Wood reinforced masonry or stone.

    I agree that regulation stifles growth (and I agree that Todd’s house is not standing because of regulations – and if you listened a few minutes more you would have heard me tell him so). I agree that deregulation promotes growth and innovation. And I like both of your examples – the telephone and airline industries – but they are a bit dated.

    I really think the best example is the energy industry and the fight against fossil fuels. The CO2 based regulations have so blatantly raised the price of energy – have done so deliberately – that I can’t imagine how you could even claim that you are promoting growth with them.

    • #6
    • January 4, 2018 at 2:57 pm
    • Like
  7. Coolidge

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):
    I agree that regulation stifles growth (and I agree that Todd’s house is not standing because of regulations – and if you listened a few minutes more you would have heard me tell him so). I agree that deregulation promotes growth and innovation. And I like both of your examples – the telephone and airline industries – but they are a bit dated.

    I really think the best example is the energy industry and the fight against fossil fuels. The CO2 based regulations have so blatantly raised the price of energy – have done so deliberately – that I can’t imagine how you could even claim that you are promoting growth with them.

    I did listen, but I dont go back to modify posts – it just seems dishonest to write something – then re-write it later.

    I also agree that the entire environmental movement is about control not health. The costs they’re imposing in order to save the few lives they claim are lost due to traffic fumes is staggering. I heard a statistic somewhere that if every road vehicle in Australia where to be converted to electric, it would only reduce their carbon emissions by about 4%.

    One point of contention where environmentalists prove your point is nuclear energy. Which they vehemently oppose in all forms. If they’re so concerned about carbon that we have to double the price of gas, and give up on flying, V8 sports cars and spas. then they should be for nuclear energy. Reducing emissions without impacting the lifestyles of citizens.

    If you look into LFTR. (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) I think you’ll find an excellent design, very safe and efficient with zero emissions. Wikipedia has an excellent explanation of it, Here.

    • #7
    • January 4, 2018 at 3:28 pm
    • Like
  8. Member

    Another GREAT podcast! Both @michaelstopa Stopa and @toddfeinburg Feinburg were on fire discussing deregulation, especially when they got to the role of energy.

    Energy is money.

    –Michael Stopa.

    That is so overwhelmingly true, and so universally ignored. Benjamin Franklin said “time is money,” Albert Einstein said “matter is energy,” and now we are in the company of greatness, Stopa’s “energy is money. ”

    I’d love to hear @larrykudlow Larry Kudlow jam with you guys someday soon – his eternally optimistic supply side economics would mesh well with your ground level observations.

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    In addition, their claim that there’s no connection between regulation and growth, or that regulation leads to growth is based on what… talking to a couple of academic economists (e.g., Krugman)? Yeah, because those guys are so adept at economic projection. Remember that Krugman predicted the stock market would collapse if Trump were elected? Yeah, those guys.

    The quote that @michaelstopa Stopa read from the article is “the evidence is weak that regulation actually reduces economic activity or that deregulation stimulates it.” This is sophistry. The evidence is weak because there’s no control group, no baseline for comparison in order to compile data, i.e. evidence. Get someone from the Competitive Enterprise Institute on the HLC Podcast to respond punditarily, but Feinburg was entirely correct – and Larry Kudlow would surely agree – the mere knowledge that Trump isn’t anti-business the way Obama was, has unleashed the business community’s long-stifled investment and hiring and wage increasing that we’re already seeing. The evidence is weak – except for the fact that the economy is growing at rates Obama’s economic advisers said was impossible. America’s economy includes the most inventive, resourceful, adaptive, productive workers in human history. Any grade schooler – especially one whose lemonade stand has been shut down – can understand that regulation will stifle all that innovative and productive energy.

    • #8
    • January 5, 2018 at 6:39 pm
    • 2 likes
  9. Podcaster

    LibertyDefender (View Comment):
    Another GREAT podcast! Both @michaelstopa Stopa and @toddfeinburg Feinburg were on fire discussing deregulation, especially when they got to the role of energy.

    Energy is money.

    –Michael Stopa.

    That is so overwhelmingly true, and so universally ignored. Benjamin Franklin said “time is money,” Albert Einstein said “matter is energy,” and now we are in the company of greatness, Stopa’s “energy is money. ”

    I’d love to hear @larrykudlow Larry Kudlow jam with you guys someday soon – his eternally optimistic supply side economics would mesh well with your ground level observations.

    We love vibes like this, LibertyDefender! Thanks!

    We did have Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute on last week (#155 – the Exquisite Flake edition). We should try to get Kudlow for sure!

    • #9
    • January 8, 2018 at 1:02 pm
    • Like