Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reuters — U.S. Announces New Tariffs on Canadian Lumber After Trade Spat Over Dairy Farmers


U.S. Announces New Tariffs on Canadian Lumber After Trade Spat Over Dairy Farmers

JP Koning — Leaving a monetary union is difficult, but Hawaii pulled it off

I'll bet you didn't know about this. I didn't either.

Leaving a monetary union is difficult, but Hawaii pulled it off
JP Koning

Alexander Dugin — Fourth Political Theory: Shortest Presentation

This is a bit wonkish, since Dugin covers a lot of ground in a few words and graphs. But take my word for it as someone who has studied this stuff, Alexander Dugin is a brilliant thinker that is is capable of thinking outside the box. Whether one agrees with his conclusions, his range and depth of analysis is impressive.

He argues in this "shortest presentation" that the Modern period that began philosophically with Descartes putting subjectivity at the center. Modernity spawned three social and political philosophies to replace both medieval Scholastic philosophy and also the revival of the classics in the Renaissance, as well as feudalism as the dominant social, political and economic institution. These three were 18th century liberalism, 19th century communism, and 20th century fascism. As Modernity winds down in the 21st century, liberalism has emerged victorious over communism and fascism and there is no returning to either of those vanquished contenders. 

The result is that either liberalism will remain dominant or an alternative will emerge. Dugin argues that liberalism, being a product of Modernity, is condemned by time. It must either change into a new form of liberalism or be replaced by an alternative yet to emerge as the Modern period transitions into the Post Modern (which should not be confused with Post Modernism). 

As focus shifts away from subjectivity as central, which is the basis of individualism as the core of liberalism, a new historical moment is emerging. Individualism is running up against its limits in the liberal West, which has been the center of Modernity. Paradoxes of liberalism are rising, for example, as modern liberalism seeks to impose itself illiberally through forced conversion.

Dugin speculates that the alternative that is emerging is a Post Modernity that harkens to Pre-Modernity and the Great Chain of Being that was replaced by the rise of modern science and the enormous success of technology. But this does not meaning returning to the past either, which is not possible anyway.

He appeals to Heidegger's analysis of Dasein, literally being there, that is, being present, without going into the specifics of Heidegger's thought in this "shortest presentation." But those familiar with Heidegger will understand that Dugin is implying his Heidegger's critique of the ontological (existence) versus the ontic (essence), the challenge of "technicity," and the distinction between the authentic person and the conformist personality. The challenge is being chained to matter (determinism with illusion of freedom) or rising above in spirit (realizing genuine freedom). Modernity has confused an illusion of freedom with actual freedom.

I admit some confirmation bias here, but I had come some similar conclusions before encountering Dugin. While his view differs from mine, since our vantage points are quite different, it seems to me that he is on the right track. Modernity was something of a historical aberration and the course of history is likely to revert to its historical trajectory instead of Modernity being the end of history as many in the West either believe or would like to believe. 

Liberalism will be incorporated into Post Modernity, but its extremes will be tempered and its extravagances will be modulated as absorption in the subjective characteristic of Modernity is transcended, and a more holistic view emerges to temper radical individualism.

Fourth Political Theory: Shortest Presentation
Alexander Dugin

Monday, April 24, 2017

Daria Dugina — France: Globalism Vs Patriotism

Professional analysis of French politics from the POV of geopolitics and geostrategy.

France: Globalism Vs Patriotism
Daria Dugina (daughter of Alexander Dugin)

Suzanne Venker — Campus Free Speech Is The Least Of It: What I Learned From My Visit To Bard

This short post says a lot about reality construction. The author is a controversial speaker who was invited to speak at Bard College. She was received politely and delivered her presentation. Her complaint is that the students were so brainwashed that they did not agree with her.

Parallel realities.

Both the speaker and the student think that the other has been blue-pilled, and they have popped the red pill.

This is normal wherever ideology is prevalent, and this includes economics.

The Daily Caller
Campus Free Speech Is The Least Of It: What I Learned From My Visit To Bard
Suzanne Venker | Fox News Contributor

Mitch Horowitz — Believe It or Not: The New Age and Occult Underpinnings of Trump and Bannon's Ideology

This is not about Trump and Bannon as the title suggests but about the American psyche and "pop mysticism." Many Americans probably know at least something this already, since it has been reported in the media. But most people abroad may not, and it is important to realize as a key factor in American behavior, as well as a contributor to the formulation of US policy. It is a short post and there is much more to the story.

Regardless of one's prior knowledge of this, the beliefs that Horowitz identifies make an important contribution toward explaining the prevalence and power of "American exceptionalism" as a cornerstone of the American mindset. 

This is also explains the longstanding policies of liberal internationalism and liberal interventionism as Americans seek to bring "the blessings of liberty" to the entire world, regardless of whether others want to be "liberated."

Believe It or Not: The New Age and Occult Underpinnings of Trump and Bannon's Ideology
Mitch Horowitz, Salon

Pepe Escobar — Emmanuel Clinton vs Marine LeTrump

I have argued on Asia Times that Macron is nothing but an artificial product, a meticulously packaged hologram designed to sell an illusion.
Only the terminally naïve may believe Macron incarnates change when he’s the candidate of the EU, NATO, the financial markets, the Clinton-Obama machine, the French establishment, assorted business oligarchs and the top six French media groups....
Everyone in Brussels “voted” Macron as he proposes a budget for the eurozone, a dedicated Parliament, and a dedicated Minister of Finance. In short; Brussels on steroids....
Then illusion and the reality:
If the coming, epic clash could be defined by just one issue that would be the unlimited power of the Wall of Cash.
Macron subscribes to the view that public debt and expenses on public service are the only factors responsible for French debt, so one must have “political courage” to promote reforms.
Sociologist [not economist] Benjamin Lemoine is one of the few who’s publicly debating what’s really behind it — the interest of financiers to preserve the value of the debt they hold and their aversion to any negotiation.
Because they control the narrative, they are able to equate “political risk” — be it Marine or Mélenchon — with the risk to their own privileged positions.
The real issue at stake in France — and across most of the West — revolves around the conflicting interests of financial masters and citizens attached to public service and social justice....
Asia Times
Emmanuel Clinton vs Marine LeTrump
Pepe Escobar

Bloomberg — Jack Ma Sees Decades of Pain as Internet Upends Old Economy

Change is not the issue, since change is inevitable. Rather, the accelerating pace of change is overwhelming many and leaving a lot of people behind. Unless this is modulated, social disruption will result from disruptive technology.

Jack Ma Sees Decades of Pain as Internet Upends Old Economy
ht Automatic Earth

Bill Mitchell — German trade surpluses demonstrate the failure of the Euro

The election of Donald Trump has stirred up the IMF and Germany, in particular.|Trump’s trade advisor has claimed that Germany is manipulating the currency to maintain its competitiveness. A more general view is that the massive German external surplus is a reflection of a dysfunctional Eurozone, particularly the failed monetary policy stance of the ECB and the lack of a European-level (federal) fiscal policy capacity and willingness to expand domestic demand in the Member States. In fact, both views have credibility as I will explain. Last week (April 19, 2017), Eurostat released the latest trade data for the Eurozone – Euro area international trade in goods surplus €17.8 bn. It showed that Germany’s trade surplus continues to grow (it was 35.4 billion euros in January-February 2017, up 1.4 billion over the 12 months) in total. In 2016, Germany’s current account surplus was 8.6 per cent of GDP, which is obviously an outlier. What is required to redress this on-going dysfunction within the Eurozone would appear to be beyond the political mentality of the establishment polity in the Eurozone. And with Macron’s elevation to an almost certain Presidential victory in France, it is hard to see any dynamic for now emerging that will create change for the better. So as usual, the Eurozone muddles on – with a dysfunctional design architecture and an even more dysfunctional attitude to policy flexibility held by the powers to be. Germany is seriously responsible for a lot of this dysfunction.
Germany is operating with the euro as a discounted DM. All the other nations using the euro are operating with a currency premium. 

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Andrew Batson — What is the real driver of the Russian revanche?

Important. Another paradox of liberalism. Liberalism creates its own enemies.

Andrew Batson's Blog
What is the real driver of the Russian revanche?

Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven — 200 Years of Ricardian Trade Theory: How Is This Still A Thing?

On Saturday, April 19th 1817, David Ricardo published The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, where he laid out the theory of comparative advantage, which since has become the foundation of neoclassical, ‘mainstream’ international trade theory. 200 years – and lots of theoretical and empirical criticism later – it’s appropriate to ask, how is this still a thing?

This week we saw lots of praise of Ricardo, by the likes of The Economist, CNN, Forbes and Vox. Mainstream economists today tend to see the rejections of free trade implicit in Trump and Brexit as populist nonsense by people who don’t understand the complicated theory of comparative advantage (“Ricardo’s Difficult Idea”, as Paul Krugman once called it in his explanation of why non-economists seem to not understand comparative advantage). However, there are fundamental problems with the assumptions embedded in Ricardo’s theory and there’s little evidence, if any, to back up the Ricardian claim that free trade leads to benefits for all. On this bicentenary, I therefore think it’s timely to revisit some of the fundamental assumptions behind Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage, that should have led us to consider alternative trade theories a long time ago....
Good summary backgrounder. "It's more complicated than that," the "that" being what is assumed.

The following quote contains an important lesson about logic and epistemology.
Rather than accept that there is something wrong with the exchange rate theory itself, empirical discrepancies are explained by measurement problems and/or imperfections in the market because of currency ‘manipulation’ (see for example Eichengreen 2013 or Gagnon 2012). In fact, neoclassical trade theory is so highly regarded that economists, almost across the board, cannot imagine any reason for China’s trade surplus with the US other than the Chinese manipulating their exchange rate in order to stimulate their exports.
What has happened here is that the theoretical model become the criterion for assessing truth rather than a model to be compared with observation in measurement.

Take probability theory. Probability theory shows the outcome of a long run roll of a coin toss, regardless of whether it is an ensemble of 1000 coins tossed at once or a single coin tossed a 1000 times. If the outcome does not converge on 0.50, then the fairness of the coin becomes suspect and not the theory.

This is not necessarily the case with a scientific theory. In the case of an anomaly scientists check the experiment but after checking and finding no errors, the theory becomes suspect. Repeated failures result in re-thinking the theory.

Because it is difficult to impossible to run controlled experiments in economics in many cases, trade being one of them, the dominant theory is never questioned. It serves as a criterion of truth whose truth is privileged from question.

Developing Economics
200 Years of Ricardian Trade Theory: How Is This Still A Thing?
Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven | PhD student in Economics at the New School for Social Research

Brian Romanchuk — SFC Models And Introductory MMT-Style Fiscal Analysis

The usefulness of Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) models is that they allow us to illustrate concepts in economics without relying solely on verbal descriptions.
In this article, I will discuss my interpretation of some of the ideas floating around in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). I will note that these are my interpretations of statements made by others, illustrated by an extremely simple model. The key is that even simple models can be used to clarify our thinking.
This article is only a partial response to an article by Gerard MacDonell. He is unhappy about some of the writings of Professor Bill Mitchell, one of the leading MMT economists.
I am not going to argue on Mitchell's behalf, rather I just want to offer some analysis that touches on some of the technical issues Gerard made. He noted that Federal taxation and spending are roughly similar, so how does that square with MMT pronouncements about the independence of taxation and spending? This outcome is not surprising, as it is exactly the sort of thing that is predicted by SFC models -- and MMT mathematical analysis of the economy uses SFC models.
For those if you who are not fully up-to-date on post-Keynesian factionalism, please note that SFC models were meant to be a mathematical lingua franca for post-Keynesian economics. In other words, MMT economists use SFC models, but they are not exclusive to MMT.
Since I want to work with my Python modelling framework here, and it currently cannot support full business cycle analysis (extensions will be added later), I cannot do complete justice to Functional Finance. Therefore, I have to just focus on a couple of more basic ideas about fiscal polict
  1. there is little relationship between taxes and spending; and
  2. governments cannot control the budget deficit.
I will address these here in turn....
Bond Economics
SFC Models And Introductory MMT-Style Fiscal Analysis
Brian Romanchuk

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jason Smith — Economics to physics phrasebook


Information Transfer Economics
Economics to physics phrasebook
Jason Smith

See also

Good ideas do not need lots of invalid arguments in order to gain public acceptance

Branko Milanovic — A theory of the rise and fall of economic leadership: review of Bas van Bavel’s “The Invisible Hand?”

The recently published “The invisible hand?: How market economies have emerged and declined since AD 500” (Oxford University Press, 2016, 330 pages) by Bas van Bavel has, like all important books, a relatively simple core theory which Van Bavel, a well-known economic historian teaching at the University of Utrecht, illustrates on five historical examples: Iraq between 500 and 1100, Central and Northern Italy 1000-1500, the Low Countries 1100-1800, England 1800-1900, and the United States 1800-today. (The first three cases are discussed in detailed separate chapters, each running to 50-60 pages, while the last two, to which Western Europe may be appended, are discussed in a single chapter called “Epilogue”)....
Global Inequality
A theory of the rise and fall of economic leadership: review of Bas van Bavel’s “The Invisible Hand?”
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

JW Mason — At Dissent: A Cautious Case for Economic Nationalism

I have an article in the new issue of Dissent, arguing that “As long as democratic politics operates through nation-states, any left program will require some degree of delinking from the global economy.”…
One thing that’s probably not as clear as it should be in the Dissent piece, is that the case for delinking is much stronger for most other countries than for the United States. For most countries, free trade and, even more, free capital mobility, drastically reduce the choices available to national governments. (This “disciplining” of the state by foreign investment is sometimes acknowledged as its real function.) For the US, I don’t think this is true – I don’t think the threat of capital flight meaningfully constrains policy here. And in particular I don’t think it makes sense to see a more positive trade balance as necessary or even particularly desirable to boost demand, for reasons laid out here and here.
The US is a special case in many respects and American leaders, media and much of the public project the American case on the world either as the general case or the general case to be achieved, and often this is not even the actual case but the dominant narrative.

J. W. Mason's Blog
At Dissent: A Cautious Case for Economic Nationalism
JW Mason | Assistant Professor of Economics, John Jay College, City University of New York

The Mélenchon Economy

Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s senior economic advisor explains his proposals to grow the economy and carry out an ecological transition.
Regardless of whether Mélenchon wins, he is having a similar effect in France to that of Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK:  People are realizing that there is an alternative.

Vive le populisme de gauche!

The Mélenchon Economy
Liêm Hoang-Ngoc is an economic advisor to Jean-Luc Mélenchon and a lecturer in economics at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University. He is also the President of the New Socialist Left Party and a regional councillor in Occitan

Also at Jacobin:
Two hundred French educators explain why they’re supporting Jean-Luc Mélenchon in tomorrow’s presidential election.
Another World Is Possible With Jean-Luc Mélenchon

David F. Ruccio — Science and socialism

"It's doesn't take an Einstein," although Einstein did put his finger on it.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Science and socialism
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Friday, April 21, 2017

James Kwak — How Ideologues Use Grade-School Economics to Distort Minimum Wage Debates

Economism may not accurately describe reality, but its reduction of complex phenomena to simple concepts was a major asset in the battle of ideas. The political landscape of the United States after World War II was dominated by the shadow of the New Deal and the idea that the government could and should pay a major role in managing the economy. Businesses that opposed intrusive regulations and wealthy individuals who feared higher taxes needed an intellectual counterweight to the New Deal, a conceptual framework that explained why an activist government was bad not just for their profits and their pocketbooks, but for society as a whole. Economism filled that need.…
In short, conventional economics is propaganda for an ideology rather than being a science as advertised. "Simplify and conquer" was added to "divide and conquer."

How Ideologues Use Grade-School Economics to Distort Minimum Wage Debates
James Kwak | Associate Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law

Lynn Parramore — America is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most People

A new book by economist Peter Temin finds that the U.S. is no longer one country, but dividing into two separate economic and political worlds.
You’ve probably heard the news that the celebrated post-WW II beating heart of America known as the middle class has gone from “burdened,” to “squeezed” to “dying.” But you might have heard less about what exactly is emerging in its place.

In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates....
The US begins to resemble Latin America as the American Dream fades into memory for many Americans.
Along with Thomas Piketty, whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century examines historical and modern inequality, Temin’s book has provided a giant red flag, illustrating a trajectory that will continue to accelerate as long as the 20 percent in the FTE sector are permitted to operate a country within America’s borders solely for themselves at the expense of the majority. Without a robust middle class, America is not only reverting to developing-country status, it is increasingly ripe for serious social turmoil that has not been seen in generations....
Expect increased sales of The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.

America is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most People
Lynn Parramore 

Warren Mosler — Credit check

See any reason not to panic?

The Center of the Universe
Credit check
Warren Mosler

Darius Shahtahmasebi — Journalist Who Blew Lid off War Crimes: CIA Fighting ‘Parallel’ War in Afghanistan

The first thing to note is that the dropping of a large bomb in Afghanistan and publicizing it to the world with its malignant title “the mother of all bombs” – that bomb was not aimed at ISIS fighters. It was aimed at the new administration in Washington. It was bringing them into line. It was conditioning them – to turn them from being anti-interventionists into being routine overseers of a huge military which goes its own way to a large extent. We shouldn’t misunderstand what went on there; that was a political gesture in my strong opinion....
The Anti-Media
Journalist Who Blew Lid off War Crimes: CIA Fighting ‘Parallel’ War in Afghanistan — Exclusive
Darius Shahtahmasebi

Fred Nagel — It’s “Deep State” Time Again

Whenever there are obvious conflicts within the ruling class, the concept of a Deep State is brought out to explain why our government seems to be coming apart at the seams. When the tired rhetoric of our two party system can’t bring us to a satisfying catharsis, there is always the deus ex machina of grand conspiracies and hidden rulers.
The actual nature of our oppression, however, has been in plain sight for decades, although assiduously avoided by much of our media. The criminality of the CIA and the FBI is a case in point. Both agencies have long been well beyond Congressional oversight. The dirty tricks, political harassment, and illegal spying carried out by the FBI, as well as the foreign assassinations, political coups, and massive surveillance of the CIA have only been thoroughly investigated once, and that was during the Church Committee hearings of 1975. The hearings exposed the lawlessness of FBI and CIA, but made little difference in either agencies’ long term accountability, despite the creation of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Thirty-two years later, Senator Jay Rockefeller, then Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked what progress his organization had made in finding out about the secret operations of the nation’s intelligence agencies. In exasperation, he told a young freelance reporter, “Don’t you understand the way intelligence works? Do you think that because I’m chairman of the Intelligence Committee that I just say ‘I want it, give it to me’? They control it. All of it. All of it. All the time.”…
Who's in charge around here anyway?

Fred Nagel

Diana Johnstone — The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty

The confusion is due to the fact that most of what calls itself “the left” in the West has been totally won over to the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”. It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment. The left has been won over to this new imperialism because it advances under the banner of “human rights” and “antiracism” – abstractions which a whole generation has been indoctrinated to consider the central, if not the only, political issues of our times.
The fact that “sovereignism” is growing in Europe is interpreted by mainstream globalist media as proof that “Europe is moving to the right”– no doubt because Europeans are “racist”. This interpretation is biased and dangerous. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back.
That is why the British voted to leave the European Union. Not because they are “racist”, but primarily because they cherish their historic tradition of self-rule.…
The Trotskyites so-called "leftists" aka have blown themselves up by self-identifying with the neo-imperialists globalists. Charles De Gaulle is laughing in his grave.

Another illustration of the paradox of liberalism involving social, political and economic liberalism in which social liberalism is being used as tool to target economic liberalism at the expense of political liberalism. This is another instance illustrating how difficult it is to integrate social, political and economic liberalism. As result, many are losing confidence in liberalism as a viable social, political and economic theory and are looking for alternatives. This is freaking out the liberal establishment, which views the only alternatives to liberalism as being either fascism or communism. As a result debate has become irrational.

Good backgrounder on French politics going to the presidential election, too.

Peter Radford — Nailed to Its Perch

Economics, in its majority form, is simply dumb and wrongheaded. It is a dangerous technology based on a severely anti-social premiss. It seeks to contort the world to match itself rather than to describe the world as it is....
The project of the economic liberalism that dominates the economics profession is to model an idealized world based on highly restrictive assumptions based on ideology, chiefly methodological individualism that assumes ontological individualism, and then recommend policy that attempts to conform the real world to the model.

The Radford Free Press
Nailed to Its Perch
Peter Radford

Asia Unhedged — China just established seven new FTZs—here’s what they’re all about

The new batch of free trade zones includes five inland provinces, and gives clues regarding China’s long-term strategy.
Asia Times
China just established seven new FTZs—here’s what they’re all about
Asia Unhedged

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Jeff Spross — You’re Hired!

The Democrats are looking for a big idea? Here’s one: a guaranteed job for anyone who wants one. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Democracy — A Journal of Ideas
You’re Hired!
Jeff Spross

Robert Parry — Why Not a Probe of ‘Israel-gate’?

The question that must not be asked.
As Official Washington fumes about Russia-gate, Israel’s far more significant political-influence-and-propaganda campaigns are ignored. No one dares suggest a probe of Israel-gate, says Robert Parry.
An exploration of the heart of the snake pit.

Consortiums News
Why Not a Probe of ‘Israel-gate’?
Robert Parry

Todd Royal — Geopolitics is becoming the main driver of global oil prices

The first summit earlier this month between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, focused on the North Korean nuclear threat and trade accords between the two global superpowers. The impact of the two-day meeting will also affect fossil-fuel and related energy policy for Asia and the world more than any action by Opec or the prices set by major oil producers.
China is now the largest buyer of US oil exports, accordingto Bloomberg. And since Beijing has blocked North Korean coal imports to sanction Pyongyang for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, China is buying US coal instead. The coal blockade indirectly helps Trump fulfill a continued pledge of “putting US coal miners back to work.” China’s economy is still dependent on the country’s coal-fired power plants, and the move to buy more US coal in support of UN sanctions against North Korea illustrates how geopolitics will drive energy policy....

Martin S. Feldstein — Why the U.S. Is Still Richer Than Every Other Large Country

Will America maintain these advantages? In his 1942 book, Socialism, Capitalism, and Democracy, Joseph Schumpeter warned that capitalism would decline and fail because the political and intellectual environment needed for capitalism to flourish would be undermined by the success of capitalism and by the critique of intellectuals. He argued that popularly elected social democratic parties would create a welfare state that would restrict entrepreneurship.
Although Schumpeter’s book was published more than 20 years after he had moved from Europe to the United States, his warning seems more appropriate to Europe today than to the United States. The welfare state has grown in the United States, but much less than it has grown in Europe. And the intellectual climate in the United States is much more supportive of capitalism.
If Schumpeter were with us today, he might point to the growth of the social democratic parties in Europe and the resulting expansion of the welfare state as reasons why the industrial countries of Europe have not enjoyed the same robust economic growth that has prevailed in the United States.
What's wrong with Martin Feldstein's argument?

First, he defines national wealth based on real GDP per capita regardless of distributional effects. Biased and skewed away from distributed prosperity.

Secondly, he proposes no rigorous method for identifying causal factors, determining their relationships and priority of importance, and isolating confounding factors. Methodologically unsound.

Thirdly,  it is blatantly political. A view of economics is used to promote a political viewpoint. Ideology rather than science.

He knows better. Fail. A grade for persuasion based on ideology though. It even appeals to authority (Schumpeter). And Feldstein is also using his own authority to persuade.

Harvard Business Review
Why the U.S. Is Still Richer Than Every Other Large Country
Martin S. Feldstein | George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and the president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research

CNBC — Republicans have a new plan to repeal Obamacare — and here it is

Republican lawmakers have a new plan to repeal and replace Obamacare in a bid to bridge the gap between the House Freedom Caucus and moderates, according to a document obtained by CNBC....
A Freedom Caucus source told CNBC the changes to the health bill would secure 25 to 30 "yes" votes from the Freedom Caucus, and the new bill would get "very close" to 216 votes. The source said that 18 to 20 of those "yes" votes would be new.

Two senior GOP aides told CNBC no vote is scheduled for next week, but a discussion is expected via conference call on Saturday....
Republicans have a new plan to repeal Obamacare — and here it is
Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Kayla Tausche