Sunday, March 01, 2009

Open Letter to Dr. Mark Thoma.

Dear Dr. Thoma:

Again, I must praise your abilities and knowledge of banking and monetary policy. You truly show devotion to your chosen profession and have a very good blog that you keep active with lots of excellent posts while still helping people understand many of the economic theories that underlie events in the news. I again must thank you for posting your lectures on-line. I thoroughly enjoyed the one on econometrics and hope to watch through the history one.

But you seem to not appreciate my input to your exclusive club. Now I could use a 100 socks to post, but do you really want anonymous posters? To review our dialogue so far:
RE: Nope...‏
From: Mark Thoma
Sent: Fri 9/12/08 10:29 AM
To: 'Ronald Rutherford'

I actually do use the same criteria, and have, many, many times.

You implied that I was presenting false and misleading data. I wasn’t – I would delete any comment that mischaracterized what I’ve done, and I do, so you are not special no matter how much you want to convince yourself that you are. You don’t see the other comments that are deleted – that’s the whole point of deleting them.

But again, anyone insinuating that I am presenting things to mislead people will get the axe. I simply don’t do that. I’m not Greg Mankiw.
From: Ronald Rutherford
Sent: Friday, September 12, 2008 10:18 AM
To: Mark Thoma;
Subject: Nope...

Thank you very much Dr. Thoma for responding and providing such an delightful blog that links to and presents a lot of important and interesting information. The information on Core Inflation and general discussions on inflation is very important information that gets confused by so many people. Again thanks for having your lectures on-line.

BUT, I did say the "graph you posted" not your graph. Do you use the same criteria {false and misleading} to block other comments when they confirm your bias? I imagine not. You should have noted the difference in data sets and how conclusions could be drawn that are not necessarily the truth. And provided the link you provided me and explained it further.

Ronald Rutherford
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 16:56:42 -0700

By the way, it’s not my graph – but I did check it out and I was confident of the source. Two minutes of your time – just click through – shows this (another reason your assertion is incorrect):
So please quit saying I was misleading. In any case, the links and full sourcing were there.
From: Mark Thoma
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2008 4:50 PM

I don’t remember what you said, but it either lacked respect, or I thought it was wrong.

Dissension is fine, but crossing certain lines of discourse, or making false and misleading claims, is not.

I removed your comment again (the implication that it was removed to stifle dissent is false). If you want to try again without the complaint about the previous moderation, go ahead.
I could care less what Greg Mankiw does or does not do. I have found your blog interesting enough to respond to and would like the honor to post there.

But, when I find you as nothing more than partisan hack, I wonder about your ability to divide politics from economics. For example in the post: "John Stewart Explains Economics to John Sununu". You compare a comedian that just throws shit against the wall until something sounds funny. If you really paid attention, Stewart would have ignored a lot of things you consider the truth. It is just a matter that you have ideological blinders when evaluating the actions or statements of Republicans. As in:
One last note. It's pretty sad that John Stewart clearly has a better understanding of economics - much better - than a former senator who has been a member of the Committee on Finance and the Joint Economic Committee. No wonder the Republicans screwed the economy up so much - they can recite the ideological talking points that "tax cuts make it better, government makes it worse," but most of them don't seem to have a clue what makes the economy tick.
Do you even even listen to Democrats and their so called "economic concepts"? Hell some do not even know what supply and demand curves are.

The most funny thing about that post is that supply and demand is not market share but in absolute terms. It is more important what the "quantity supplied" to the market from the GSEs and not their relative terms. Also, the question should be whether they took on more bad debt during the two preceding years not even absolute terms of loans. So, I see no a priori reason to accept this analysis.

In the post "The Depression Narrative as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy", you not only deleted my posts but fail to acknowledge that incentive matter. The funny thing is that in other posts you note that sentiment has not changed on Wall Street or Main Street.
The attention paid to the Depression story may seem a logical consequence of our economic situation. But the retelling, in fact, is a cause of the current situation — because the Great Depression serves as a model for our expectations, damping what John Maynard Keynes called our “animal spirits,” reducing consumers’ willingness to spend and businesses’ willingness to hire and expand. The Depression narrative could easily end up as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I would hope that you could see the incentives and risks in changing people's expectations.

In the post "[url=]The Employee Free Choice Act[/url]", all I can say is that I am disappointed that you would sign such garbage. I will assume that you like monopolies even if it has the title of Union.

But hey keep up posts like: Did China Help to Create the Financial Crisis?" That was truly a good analysis of important issues. I would also point out that since developing countries have shied away from depending on the IMF and have increased their excess reserves that this may have confirmed what you are saying. It was unfortunate that the propaganda about "Neoliberalism" and the Washington Consensus have warped sound economic policies.

Anyway, thanks for being there.
Ronald Rutherford

PS: Just to clear the air, I do tend to call people dweebs even if they are much smarter than me. As in:
Dr Mark Thoma is a Dweeb!
Dr. Thoma shows his compassion and not necessarily his Economics...
Mark Thoma is a Dweeb-Still



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