Moe Tkacik has a piece at In These Times that is ostensibly about the tech sector and antitrust. I don’t want to pollute the beautifully curated garden of the People’s Policy Project website with a response so slapped-together as this one, which is why I’ve put it here.

At the outset, let me just say that, personally speaking, I’ve liked Tkacik’s writing for a long time. …


Hans-Hermann pretending like his entire substantive worldview is a precondition for liberalism.

The coolest thing about modernity is that nearly every college-educated person in society has performatively adopted the hegemonic notion that liberal pluralism is good, but none of them actually believes this. Instead, they much more sensibly believe that their worldviews are good and should be promoted and that clashing worldviews are bad and should be suppressed. That’s fine as far as it goes, but because people are taught that this is unenlightened, they feel the need to repackage that belief into a liberal posture.

Vox’s Zack Beauchamp has made a cottage industry out of doing this over the years, piping


Elephant deferring to the voices of oppressed peoples.

Seven years ago, I coined the term “identitarian deference” (ID) to describe the idea that “privileged individuals should defer to the opinions and views of oppressed individuals, especially on topics relevant to those individuals’ oppression.” Over the years, I have argued that ID is clearly unworkable, easily gamed, and awful for those with invisible identities and oppressed groups that are necessarily locked out of the discourse (such as the lower class).

Despite all of these fantastic blog posts, ID has almost entirely swallowed liberal discourse in the intervening years. ID has become so pervasive and so universally accepted in the…


Me trying to understand Dayen’s views.

Like a lot of journalists last week, David Dayen wrote up Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All (M4A) financing plan with the talking points she sent out about it. In his piece “Warren’s Medicare for All Plan Includes No New Taxes on the Middle Class,” he writes that:

The financing pays for a universal single-payer system without new taxes on the middle class.

What was so confusing about this claim is that Warren’s plan does, in the usual way people talk about it, implement new taxes on the middle class. Specifically, after bringing in existing government spending and applying a few…


I was slightly amused and slightly annoyed yesterday when I saw the Working Families Party endorse Elizabeth Warren for president and then subsequently refuse to release vote tallies and clearly lie about why they aren’t releasing them.

The WFP endorsement process works by tallying up party member votes and party leader votes. The member votes are given 50 percent of the vote weight while the leader votes are given the other 50 percent of the vote weight. To win the endorsement, you have to get the majority of the weighted vote.

The WFP revealed that Warren received 60.9 percent of…


Max Sawicky claimed that the US could not finance a $10,000 payment to every adult and implored everyone to “do the math,” which for him just meant comparing the $3.2 trillion aggregate sum to the current $4.4 trillion federal budget.

I pointed out that the net operating surplus, a broad measure of capital’s share, is $5 trillion, meaning that in a socialist economy where capital’s share was available to everyone rather than a small fraction of society, we absolutely could fund such a payment.

Sawicky now claims that “financing a UBI is not a matter of arithmetic, but of political…


Ryan Grim has a wonderful story at The Intercept about Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler and his nearly constant fuck ups, most of which seem to be directed towards left-wing politicians or facts favorable to left-wing critiques.

Grim provides a ton of examples in his piece, but he misses the one that is my personal favorite. This is a deep cut Kessler fuck up that only the most obsessed Kessler observers will have noticed. …


Ezra Klein has a piece at Vox about insurance churn. I put out a quick short response to it with a list of statistics on insurance churn that I had cited in prior posts of mine on the topic. But here I want to actually take some time to tackle the underlying logical structure of the piece, which is a mess.

Opponents of Medicare for All often argue that its chief problem is that it forces people to change away from their current insurance plans (Krugman, Chait, Rattner). The argument these opponents make is not that Medicare for All will…


The Board

A former Sanders campaign staffer filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against the campaign a short while ago (Bloomberg story; redacted charge). A few people have asked me my opinion of this since I used to work for the NLRB. So I figured I would write this post.

Obviously it is hard to know what has gone on without direct knowledge and without any investigation having been done. But you can read between the lines of the ULP charge to get a sense of what is going on and it mostly makes the individual filing the charge look bad.


Workfare in Hungary

One year ago, I wrote a piece that was just a series a quotes from Randy Wray’s 1997 paper titled “Government as Employer of Last Resort: Full Employment Without Inflation.” In the paper, Wray argues that it would be possible to use a job guarantee (JG) program to achieve full employment without setting off inflation.

The problem the JG aims to solve is that, when labor markets get too tight, workers’ wage demands can become too excessive, setting off a wage-price spiral. The JG solution to this problem is to use macro policy levers to induce mass layoffs and then…

Matt Bruenig

Law and welfare knower.

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