Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sumner's Perfectly Obtuse Sympathy for Dennis Hastert

     Only someone as lacking in irony as Sumner actually feels that Dennis Hastert  of all people is the unfair victim of American Puritanism run amok! 

     "Poor Dennis Hastert.  He picked the wrong country to get born into."

     "1.  He picked a Puritan state in a Puritan country with a higher age of consent than any European country, save Ireland, Cyprus and Turkey."

    "2.  He picked a country where (according to Politico) the GOP cares so little for the lives of blacks and gays that it won’t lift a finger to stop a needle/HIV epidemic until it starts hitting Red State voters."

      "3.  He picked a country where the Dems think it’s a crime to frequently withdraw $5000 in cash from your own bank account, and use the cash for perfectly legal activities."

      "4.  He picked a country where voters have so much faith in law enforcement that they make it a crime to lie to police, even to cover up an embarrassing personal scandal."

    "5.  He picked a country where people are obsessed over any sex where there is a “power imbalance.”

      "PS.  Attention commenters; I’m offering no editorial comment, just describing things as they are.  If you don’t like the post, don’t blame me, change America."

      Yes, poor Hastert who led the impeachment furor against Clinton in the 90s for:

    Lying about an embarrassing affair with Monica Lewinsky that all the GOPers said had an egregious power imbalance. 

      How exactly would Hastert change America when he and his GOP friends led this Puritan coup? I mean, Hastert isn't a victim of Puritan America, he is Puritan America; of course part of being a Puritan this is that hypocrites like him eventually turn out to be those 'who are most with sin.'

    That was the point of Christ when he said 'He who is without sin, cast the first stone.'

    Puritans always turn out to be even more 'with sin'' than those they castigate and it's certainly  proven to be true with all Clinton's Republican accusers. Think about it:

    Hastert was the 3rd GOP Speaker of the House to lead the impeachment fiasco against Clinton. Newt Gingrich, then Bob Livingston, finally Hastert. All of them turned out to have worse personal peccadilloes in their own closet than what they accused Clinton of. 

    Is Sumner unaware that Hastert was the GOP leader during Clinton's impeachment? He certainly sounds like it. 

     By the way, Sumner tries to make 2 and 3 symmetrical, but they aren't. What he said about the GOP is true; but it's not 'the Democrats' who say that what he did with his bank transactions was a crime, but a federal grand jury. 

     Sumner may think what Hastert did was legal  but that's because he apparently is as ignorant of federal bank laws as he is of the fact that Hastert is the greatest Puritan phony of them all-I mean is there any greater cliche than a phony going on moral crusades in public and then turning out to live in a bigger glass house than anyone? Here he is leading the American Values brigade and secretly he's a homosexual who took advantage of a male student. Again, he's a classic cliche. 

     "J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the U.S. House, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed person to cover up “past misconduct.”

     "Hastert, who has been a high-paid lobbyist in Washington since his 2007 retirement from Congress, schemed to mask more than $950,000 in withdrawals from various ac­counts in violation of federal banking laws that require the disclosure of large cash transactions, according to a seven-page indictment delivered by a grand jury in Chicago."
     So it wasn't 'the Democrats' it was something called banking laws. I know he says he doesn't know much about the financial system-which he seems to help him better understand the monetary system to hear him tell it-but to not even understand that there are banking laws-talk about a bridge too far?
   As usual he shows himself to be a transparent conservative phony-I'm sure he wasn't saying 'Poor Bill Clinton' in the 90s. 
   P.S. Even Sumner's last line that he's 'offering no editorial comment' is a lie-if it isn't a lie he doesn't know what an editorial comment is. The very suggestion that it's necessary to 'change America'  is an editorial comment-by it's a nature, of course, an editorial comment may be true or false.
   While I'm not a fan of American Puritianism, Hastert is not going to be the one to 'change it other than to offer up an example of how repugnant it is. Sumner himself, is not part of the solution but the problem. It's like when he talks about immigration reform or drug legalization-which are good things in my view-but then act as if there is no difference between the parties on these issues: if you want either done you should vote for the Democrats. 
   It's like someone voting for Jeb Bush because he sounds more liberal or reasonable on immigration reform: as everyone from Krugman to Greg Sargent point out, these days it's about the party not the man. 
  While I do believe that Jeb's talk about immigration reform is sincere-as both his brother and father were-it doesn't make any difference in today's GOP party: they did not let W have immigration reform even though he wanted it-indeed, within the W. Bush White House, 'amnesty' itself was not a dirty word-but it didn't matter; today's party is reflexively anti immigration. 
  So to speak for immigration reform but not against the GOP as Sumner does is ineffectual and pointless. It shows he's either a hypocrite or hasn't thought it through properly.

  Bottom line: if anyone's going to 'change America' it sure want be Scott. His entire Market Monetarism project is just old wine, new bottles. 

   UPDATE: Sumner is really taking what happened to Hastert to heart-again where was he in the 90s when Hastert was leading the Puritans with Ptichforks through Congress?

    "If we care so much about people who choose to conduct their affairs in currency, then why was Dennis Hastert arrested?"

    Again, Scott because he broke federal banking laws-that's why he was arrested. If you want to change the banking laws just to get your buddy off, write your Congressman. 

   We could debate the wisdom of these particular banking laws, but in this case they proved quite effective as Hastert was engaged in a crime-paying a blackmailer. 

    Sumner is so bent out of shape here-does he know Dennis Hastert personally?-that he seems ready to do away with not just all banking laws but all perjury laws as well-all to save the disgraced Puritan Speaker. 

    I can't think of any better way to change American society for the better can you?

Friday, May 29, 2015

On Domestic Violence the NFL Can't Win

     If you read me regularly you know how critical of sports commissioners in general and Goodell in particular-for throwing the book at Tom Brady with no direct evidence on a charge that is the equivalent of jaywalking or changing lanes without signaling. 

     Sure it may be 'breaking the rules' but not quite like attempted murder is 'breaking the rules.'

     Brady has been treated as if he committed attempted murder. 

     However, on the question of Ray Rice, here is someone who has done something much worse than jaywalking, indeed much closer to attempted murder. 

     Now the NFL is being accused of 'blackballing' Rice as he hasn't gotten a contract:

     "NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith thinks it doesn’t speak well for the NFL that no team is willing to give Ray Rice another chance."

     "Smith told Sal Paolantonio of ESPN that Rice, who is not suspended and is eligible to play as soon as a team signs him, would be back in the NFL if teams were willing to give him a fair chance."
   “This, unfortunately, is a league that has a history of blackballing players. I find it hard to believe that a player of Mr. Rice’s caliber hasn’t at least gotten one offer from a team to come work out,” Smith said
     I have a high regard for the work for Smith and the work he's doing for the players' union but I think this is erroneous to claim that the owners are somehow committing a crime in not giving Rice a contract-there's the suggestion that the league is basically engaging in collusion. 
    I find this ironic as after the video became public Goodell and the league was savaged or initially giving Rice only 2 games. The NFL was being accused of basically condoning domestic violence. 
    Feminist groups ripped the NFL; Gloria Steinem made it sound as if it was the personal responsibility of Goodell to see to it that the intractable social problem of domestic violence be ended ASAP. 
     Now that the NFL has come down hard on Rice they're being accused of collusion. Stephen A. Smith got it right today on First Take got it right today-'black list' is the wrong word for what's happening to Rice. 
     Collusion is where it doesn't' matter what you do, you are targeted in a discriminatory manner without reference to the market, etc. 
     In this case, who wants the poster boy of domestic violence on their team? Then they get picketed. So I can't buy the idea that Rice is a victim:
     "The term “blackballing” suggests something underhanded, but the reality is that NFL teams aren’t hiding the fact that they simply don’t want to do business with the man who last year became the poster boy for domestic violence in America. That’s the prerogative of each team, and while the union is free to advocate on Rice’s behalf, there’s not much the union can do about it."
    "If all 32 NFL teams have decided that they’re never going to give Rice another chance, then Rice has only himself to blame for that."
    As much as I believe in the union standing by players, I don't buy guys like Rice-or Adrian Peterson-as victims of the owners. 

Denny Hastert: This is the Man Who Voted to Impeach Bill Clinton

      Remember how morally outraged all those GOPers were back then. Hastert would be the eventual replacement for Newt Gingrich. 

       At the nadir of all those who 'Were with sin throwing big stones' rather than doing as Christ asked

     the feminist writer Erica Jong made the point that what must really have grated on Clinton was all those phonies in the Republican party who all ran around on their wives and did all kinds of improper things, were waxing so indignant about Lewinsky. 

     Larry Flynt ended up showing this in spades as all the accusers of Clinton had all kinds of skeletons in their closets. Newt had left his first wife and served her divorce papers while she was on her death bed with cancer then left his second wife in a similarly callous way. 

     Bob Livingston took over for Newt but he lasted about a day in the half as Speaker in the House before all his many affairs and out of wedlock children were revealed. 

     Hastert was the 2nd Newt replacement and he served until 2007 as Spekaer of the House-he was Ws ally during the wonderful Bush years. 

      Now we are learning that he too lived in a very big and glassy house:

      "Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert paid a man to conceal a sexual relationship they had while the man was a student at the high school where Hastert taught, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News on Friday."

      "The official spoke on condition of anonymity. Tribune reported earlier in the day that two unnamed federal officials said that Hastert paid a man from his past to conceal sexual misconduct."
     "Hastert was indicted Thursday on charges that he structured bank withdrawals to avoid federal reporting requirements and later lied about it to the FBI."
     "The indictment said that Hastert was paying an unidentified person from his past to conceal Hastert's "prior misconduct." The indictment did not specify the alleged misconduct or name the person"
     Wow those were a fine bunch of people who impeached Clinton. That's GOP family values for you-'Do what I preach not what I do.
      Yes, in a sense this might seem to be incidental as Hastert has been gone for years. But to me its symptomatic of something that runs through the entire modern conservative Republican movement: gross hypocrisy. 
      It's amazing how those who 'are the most with sin' are always the ones who want to 'cast the first stone.'



Adrian Peterson on Twitter: Right Words From the Wrong Man

     If you've read my sports analysis you know that no one is more sympathetic as normal fans go than I am to players regarding money and contracts. I totally support their unions. 

     The NFL players union has a reputation as a kind of weak sister that's not necessarily unearned. So normally I'd be with Peterson front and center based on what he's been saying in his Twitter rants. 

    "I love people who think they know it all!," Peterson wrote. "Smh, Research how many NFL teams hasn't honored a player's contract & learn something. Question for the people, is a contract two sided or one? Ok great two sided! Well why when one party decides ... Mr. ? we wan't you to take a pay cut now or better yet flat out release you! There's never no talk about honoring a contract!"

     "I know hundreds of player's that wished their team would've HONORED the contract! But instead got threw to the side like like trash," Peterson went on. "A lill crazy how one side has so much power that they can do as they please when it come to the contract!"

     Here, here. I totally feel him here:

    "This is not against the Vikings. I am just frustrated that our union did not get guaranteed contracts for its players."

But the question still begs: where was he in 2011 when the union made this bad CBA with the owners?

Meanwhile. nothing turns me off more than seeing great athletes who gave everything in themselves to the game being thrown to the side like trash. However, this is hardly the case for Peterson. He hasn't been thrown aside like trash. To the contrary, his team wants him back-and won't let him go elsewhere.

    "The Vikings have every intention of paying Peterson the $12.75 million he's due in 2015. A.P.'s concern is 2016, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. With no guaranteed money left in his deal, the six-time Pro Bowlerwants financial assurances beyond this season."

    Peterson is unhappy because he wants a contract beyond 2015, Again, I'm normally sympathetic to a player in this position but keep in mind the fact that he really left his team in the lurch last year. 

    That scandal where he stood accused of beating his 4 year old son with a switch led to him only playing 1 game all year. 

     That's part of why I say he''s the wrong guy to make the argument-it's hard to stand besides an accused child abuser on anything. 

     But he played only 1 game while collecting $7 million. So it's hard to feel like he rather than the Vikings is who got ripped off here. 

      As for a long term contract-I can understand why players want them-and why clubs don't. I mean how many teams have had that Herschel Walker where they've pledge millions of dollars to someone who later doesn't play well or at all? 

      If not for the child abuse charges and the missed 15 games you could make the case for a long term deal based on his body of work-though the league at this point in time seems to feel-rightly or wrongly-that running backs are a dime a dozen if you have the offensive live-after all, Demarco Murray set records for the Cowboys last year and finished with close to 2000 yards and they didn't bother to resign him. 

     At this point, then, if Peterson wants a long term deal he needs to prove himself this year. Then he's in a stronger position to make this demand. 

     So it's probably in his interests to clear his head of all this agitation at some point and be ready for the season as he's playing for that long term contract he wants. 

     For him to be so demanding of a long term deal is a little surreal considering that Eli Manning at this point doesn't have one. 


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bud Selig, Marvin Miller and the Politics of the Baseball Hall of Fame

     It's amazing how much dishonest poor mouthing Miami Marlins owner Jeff Loria has done over the years. He conned Miami into the classic Bud Selig illusion that all you have to do is give him his stadium and the franchise would spring back to life like Christ on Easter Sunday.

     For years and years he claimed that he was losing his shirt, making no money and the city of Miami just had to swoop in and pay for a hugely expensive stadium for him or he'd just have to take the team and leave. Then came that piece in Deadspin that showed that he's actually been making a profit by pocketing the revenue sharing and luxury tax revenue.

    Not only did he rip off players but off all the Marlins fans in the state of Florida. 

   Why should we be surprised that he got away with this when you consider that this was under the long reign of Bud Selig who wrote the book on crying poverty as a tactic to extract hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars from your community of baseball fans while at the same time demanding that the more successful baseball teams give you their money?

   Yet Selig-and the unctuous Bowie Kuhn-is in the Hall of Fame and Marivn Miller-or for that matter Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens-aren't. It just goes to show you that the alleged morality tale that phonies like Bill Madden and Mike Lupica are quite skewed. 

   I mean they gave Selig a statue in Milwaukee for the great gift of Miller Park!! Why thank him-he didn't pay for it. Nor did he in anyway deliver on his part of the bargain to field a winning Brewers team-any more than Loria has.

   The Brewers actually set an MLB record in consecutive seasons during all these years Selig and his daughter Wendy were crusading for a salary cap and reveunue sharing. 

   Here's a great quote:

   "Three years ago, Deadspin, in a terrific piece of investigative journalism, confirmed what many had thought all along. The Marlins were using the rich stream of cash flowing in from Major League Baseball—their cut of the national television contract and licensing money as well as their share of the "luxury tax," the penalty money divvied up after teams like the Yankees go over the salary threshold—not to do what they were supposed to be doing, namely providing their fans with a better baseball team. Instead, the cash flow was simply treated as profit by Loria and team president David Samson. Loria and Samson had, for years, been poor-mouthing, insisting that they were barely breaking even financially (though in 2007 Forbes reported that the Marlins actually had the highest operating income in baseball), and they needed the help of local government to pay $645 million for the new stadium (and accompanying parking facilities) that they said they needed to be competitive."

      Yeah right 'Teams like the Yankees'-you might as well rename the luxury tax the Yankees tax as in the whole existence of this tax going back to 1998, the Yanks have paid over 90% of it in those 18 years. 
      P.S. If any thread or underlying strand runs through all this it's that if you are pro management in baseball you go far and if you're not you don't at least as far as being honored or having a positive legacy in the sport. 

      As for the fact that Miller is still not in the Hall, of course I beat up on pious writers like Bill Madden but consider that Reggie Jackson-of all people with his salary history-chose not to vote for Miller as he said Miller was an executive not a player; this didn't stop anyone for voting in Kuhn and Selig. 


What Makes Bernie Sanders a Socialist?

      I'm not asking the question in a snarky way-just really am curious. Listen to how he answers this question:

     " Later Sanders was asked for his take on the “pivot” of the Reagan presidency in favor of the idea “that we need less government and more market forces.” Sanders’s response:

“I think there is obviously an enormously important role for the free market and for entrepreneurial activity. I worry how free the free market is. In sector after sector, you have a small number of companies controlling a large part of the sector.
“Certainly, in my view, the major banks should be broken up. We want entrepreneurs and private businesses to create wealth. No problem. But what we’re living in now is what I would call — what Pope Francis calls — a casino-type capitalism, which is out of control, where the people on top have lost any sense of responsibility for the rest of the society. Where it’s just ‘It’s all me. It’s all me. And to heck with anybody else.’ I want to see the result of that wealth go to the broad middle class of this country and not just to a handful of people.” 

     So he's a 'socialist' but he believes in the free market and entrepreneurial activity? What makes him a socialist then? He seems if anything to want the free market to be 'more free' based on his words. 

    Just curious is all as he is from a party that calls itself the Socialist party. Ralph Nader calls himself a socialist and at one time at least called for the nationalization of the Fortune 500. 

    Yet, I find him curious too as much time as he on CNBC.

     The great baseball union leader Marvin Miller was not a socialist but the most capitalistic one in baseball-most of the owners wanted socialism-Bud Selig was such a believer that he's entitled to other people's money he's have made Stalin blush. 

      How is Sanders going to win the Democratic nomination though-as he's not even in the party? Again, he's in the Socialist party. 

     I think what's going on is what Harry Enton over at Nate Silver's blog noted: Democrats want Hillary to have a primary but they want her to win. Sanders is basically obliging. Think about it-if he were serious why would he not be running in the Socialist party primary?

     Greg Sargent of course wants to believe that this might make a difference on what Hillary runs on-but even he admits this will be at the margin-that there aren't enormous differences between what Sanders is advocating and what Hillary is:

     "The differences among Democrats on economic issues tend to be exaggerated; in the wake of the economic crisis there may be more agreement among them on these issues than there has been in a long time. But some philosophical differences remain, and Sanders’ quotes get at them."

      "This narrative tends to place more emphasis on the idea that inequality is the result of active policy choices — or policy failures — that have resulted in decades of upward wealth redistribution. In this diagnosis, what is required is a robust policy response designed to reverse what those choices have wrought, and to prevent them from doing more of the same again. This agenda includes things like a financial transactions tax to incentivize more stable, longer-term investments; breaking up the big banks; major campaign finance reform; and much tougher financial regulation and enforcement as part of what Warren calls a “structural” overhaul of Wall Street oversight. These are the sorts of policies Sanders is talking about."

     "To be sure, there is plenty of overlap between these two agendas; Clinton will probably end up supporting prescriptions from both. Clinton has embraced workplace flexibility policies, but she has also spoken out against the influence of big money in politics, and appears to favor calls for doing away with some high-end tax loopholes. But we don’t know how far she’ll go in terms of calling for higher taxes on the wealthy or more Wall Street oversight and accountability; or more generally, how directly she’ll embrace redistributive goals (which Sanders has now done with extreme forthrightness)."
     "I don’t really know how much this will matter politically. For all the talk about the supposed problems Clinton has with the left, it’s not even clear that Democratic primary voters will clamor for the more robust Sanders/Warren inequality agenda."
     I don't think it's anything to make heavy weather over-Sargent is not really doing that either. Again how does Sanders get votes in the primary if he isn't even a member of the party?
    If he really wanted to do something wouldn't he go third party? This tells me that he himself isn't trying to do a Nader-back in 2000 Nader hurt Gore just enough in the general election to give the election to W. 
     So Bernie in a sense is maybe even being a loyal foot solider for the party-there's a desire for a primary but one she will win. Sanders is basically obliging. 
    P.S. As Enten puts it 'We're Americans, we like choices.' Even if  we've already made up our mind...
    Of course, I personally was born in Britain-I grew up in America and am an American citizen-while retaining my British citizenship. 
   Perhaps this is why I'd be happy with a straight coronation without even the pretense of a primary challenge. 



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ben Rothlisberger Shows He's a Real Competitor

     I love his answer about Tom Brady:

     "The Patriots-Steelers matchup in Week 1 would be better off with Tom Brady involved, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said at Tuesday's session of organized team activities.
Roethlisberger, whose Steelers have faced New England eight times since he was drafted in 2004, jokingly asked if everyone's sure Brady won't be in the lineup, a nod to Brady's looming appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate controversy."
      "He's a guy, I've said for a long time, he's the best in the business, and he proved it again last year winning his fourth [Super Bowl]," Roethlisberger said. "If he's not out there, it's not the same. I have a lot of respect for him on the football field and some of the unbelievable things that he's done. I guess we'll wait and see what's finally going to happen."
      He's right, it won't be the same which makes me wonder why exactly Goodell is doing this based on no direct evidence. 
      As I've written previously, I was disappointed that Bob Kraft backed off in contesting the punishment-I agree with Skip Bayless that this is throwing Brady under the bus.
      Though there is an argument that Kraft's backing off was in exchange for Goodell going easier on Brady. 
     P.S. People who say that Brady is a cheater don't cut any mustard with me as they use the word 'cheater' way too categorically. I think when talking of cheating you have to make some distinctions; for instance, while jaywalking and attempted murder are both 'breaking the law' we don't treat someone guilty of the first and the second anywhere near the same. 
    The people saying that Brady's record is tarnished are acting like it's attempted murder, even though this is clearly jaywalking-and that all teams engage in some version of jaywalking-not all deflate footballs but then some QBs like Aaron Rogers prefer the ball slightly over inflated. 
    To 'cut mustard with me' you have to do one of 2 things
    1. Persaude me that deflating the ball is not jaywalking but attempted murder. 
    2.  Convince me that no other teams in the NFL jaywalk. 
    Unless you can, then I think this is much ado about nothing and Brady doesn't deserve his record tarnished in any way. 

Imigration Reform: Why the Future Will be Trouble for Conservative Republicans

     So the GOP is at it again: they're celebrating the injunction against Obama's executive action to shield many Latinos from deportation.

     A couple of years ago, everyone from Karl Rove to Reince Priebus-who was the RNC Chairman-were warning that the GOP had to do something about immigration reform or face real problems down the line. 

    Two years later, this advice has clearly been rebuked and even Rove and others who support immigration reform seem nonplussed now. It's as if they are buying into the idea that the GOP had a 'wave election' in 2014 so clearly there is no electoral pain in kicking Latinos in the teeth. 

    Maybe, the Heritage Foundation is right after all: forget Latinos, just find more White people to vote GOP. 

    At the time Rove had shown the fallacious-ness of this argument and all conservative thinkers with any understanding of economics urged reform.

   Yet you don't hear conservatives worrying about this now-they see this injunction as a cause for rejoicing. It's awful short-sighted:

   "In the wake of yesterday’s ruling upholding an injunction on Obama’s executive actions shielding millions of people from deportation, Bloomberg reports that immigration advocates are vowing to extract a steep price from Republicans in next year’s elections."

     So why can't the GOP ever learn? I think the trouble with conservative Republicans is-they're conservative. Being a conservative means you believe you are in possession of some timeless verities-you essentially deny that societal evolution is taking place.

    Liberals like Bill and Hillary Clinton have had no problem talking about issues that they have changed their minds about since the 90s, but conservatives believe their Truth is unchanging. If society goes in directions they don't like they assume that society is suffering from Godless decadence that it's their job to rescue us from.

    Think about the conservative judicial philosophy of Originalism. My guess is that this is the basic philosophy that conservatives take to all  political and social issues-deny that change is ever legitimate.

    I've felt all along that the GOP will not learn or change anything substantive in its policies-it might try to have a few more women or black and brown faces among its members but the views won't change one iota. For this reason it's going to suffer a bloodbath over things like immigration reform over the next 20 years.



What is the Case for the TPP Trade Deal?

     It's not a rhetorical question. I feel like those who oppose the deal have been very vocal-they say it will kill jobs and lead us to another race to the bottom in regulations and wages. I share these concerns. 

    What's more critics charge that the deal is being done in secret-even some who supported NAFTA claim that there has been unprecedented secrecy regarding TPP. 

     This is something as most liberals regard NAFTA as an albatross. That's what my intuition tells me too-though I guess the point of economists is that intuition can be a bad gauge. What I do believe is that we've seen a sharp degradation in the labor market over the last 16 years. While we have seen some job creation since 2001-though pretty meager job creation during the Bush years; while there has been some pretty good job creation in the Obama years these jobs have mostly been crummy. 

    It certainly seems to me and many Americans that we have indeed become as Ross Perot warned, 'a nation of burger flippers.'

   Still this is our sense of things-what does the data say? There is the complaint that TPP opponents present no evidence that it will be as harmful as they say. 

   "Senate leaders appear to have reached an agreement to revive fast-track authority. It deserves another chance. And Iowans should press presidential candidates for evidence when they argue that trade deals are a bad deal."

    That's the problem: there isn't much evidence about recent trade deals either way: I mean what does the evidence say about the last 16 years? I'd be happy to be corrected. No one-either proponent or critic-has given us much evidence of the effect of NAFTA as far as I'm aware. If you know of any I'm happy to see it. 

    Regarding TPP it's opponents argue that they can't provide any evidence-as the whole thing is being done in secret. .Krugman cites this as a reason he is a-rather mild-opponent.

  Yet the Des Moines Register piece I link to above claims that this is normal-most international treaties are drafted initially in secret. 

    The TPP is a classified document while it is being negotiated (as most international treaties are). But members of Congress have been able to see the text of the negotiations since 2012, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. In addition, the trade representative consults with labor unions, environmental groups and others on details of the deal.

    Once the deal is concluded, the full text is made public. All Americans will have months to analyze the details before a president could sign a trade deal or Congress could vote on it."

     This is something that critics seem to ignore-they don't seem to think it's legitimate to allow the President to negotiate the deal and then put it up to an up or down vote later. It's as if they see the deal as a genie and by then it will already be out of its bottle. 

     As I noted above, while Krugman is an opponent, he's hardly a fiery one:

     I was in DC yesterday, giving a talk to the National Association of Business Economists. The subject was the Trans-Pacific Partnership; slides for my talk are here.
Not to keep you in suspense, I’m thumbs down. I don’t think the proposal is likely to be the terrible, worker-destroying pact some progressives assert, but it doesn’t look like a good thing either for the world or for the United States, and you have to wonder why the Obama administration, in particular, would consider devoting any political capital to getting this through.

     So he disagrees that this is a 'terrible, worker-destroying pact.'

      As to why Obama is devoting such capital to it-I tried to answer that yesterday. A large part of it, I believe, is less simply about the specifics of TPP but a more general desire for fast track authority that all Presidents, Democrat or Republican, want.

      American Presidents are already at a disadvantage vis a vis foreign leaders as they need Congress' permission to even pursue trade treaties; Democratic Presidents have the further disadvantage that their party is more skeptical of trade and their is always a decent slice of the GOP that will vote against giving a Democratic President FTA for simple partisanship. 

     Ok, so that's at least a big part of why the President is for it-he's a President. Is their a positive case for the deal on its own merits?

     There have been lots of bad arguments for it-like the generic 'trade is good' arguments that Krugman says aren't really applicable today-for the most part there is open trade today; tariffs aren't a significant headwind. 

     Again, though Krugman doesn''t think that the deal will do terrible harm to the labor market; overall he doesn't expect it to have much impact on GDP either way. 

     "What about TPP? There are still important barriers in agriculture, but advocates are pinning most of their case on services, where we’re talking about more diffuse issues of access. How much could that be worth? I try to put some upper bounds on the gains (slide 6).

     "I’ve estimated that “hyperglobalization” – the expansion of world trade to unprecedented levels since 1990 – has added about 5 percent to world incomes; but that’s the combination of everything: containerization, drastic trade liberalization in developing countries, the internet. A better model might be Europe’s Single Market Act, which the European Commission now estimates added 1.8 percent to real incomes; but Eichengreen and Boltho suggest that about half of that reflects policy changes that would have happened anyway."

     "And Europe, which has a compact geography and the kind of shared institutions and culture (and transparency) that make access doable, is surely a better case than the diverse, sprawling group of countries involved in TPP. I’d argue that it’s implausible to claim that TPP could add more than a fraction of one percent to the incomes of the nations involved; even the 0.5 percent suggested by Petri et al looks high to me."

     "These gains aren’t nothing, but we’re not talking about a world-shaking deal here."
     "o Krugman is 'midly against' it but doesn't see it as having a major impact either way.  Ezra Klein presents Adam Posen's arguments who is for the deal. Posen is a reliable liberal-as is Krugman:
    "Adam Posen is president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and a leading economist. In recent years, he's been a bit of a wonky liberal hero; as a member of the Bank of England's rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee, he fought hard against the austerity economics that took over much of Europe and seemed, at times, near to taking over the US, as well."
    "People should be reading Adam Posen," Paul Krugman wrote in 2008.
    "Now Posen is on the other side of a debate splitting liberals from many in the economics community. He's a strong supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal — the one that Elizabeth Warren and the AFL-CIO are going to war with President Obama over, and that Paul Krugman has come out as a lukewarm opponent of. Recently, I reached Posen at his office, and asked him to make the case for TPP to me, and to explain what he thinks the critics are getting wrong."
    Yet his estimates of what the benefits of deal will be aren't so different from what Krugman thinks it will be
     "The impact on US workers, in terms of the number of jobs, will be small," Posen says. He argues that the big benefits to America will come in the form of lower prices for American consumers, a stronger foundation for American foreign policy in Asia, and increases in productivity for American businesses.
    "That last bit is particularly important, Posen says, both to America and to the other countries in the TPP. "We have increasing evidence in recent years that the real gains from trade aren’t actually market access, they’re from putting pressure on individual businesses to be more productive," he says. "If you ask Chinese businessmen and officials what was behind their growth, they’ll tell you a lot of it was being exposed to foreign competition and international markets. The competition, the pressure for efficiency, is a really big deal here."
      "Posen estimates the benefit to America at a few tenths of a percentage point of GDP growth each year. "It adds up," he says.
      This estimate is in line with Krugman's estimate. Neither think the impact will be huge-though it will be something. 
      As to lower prices, I wonder how strong this effect will be. 
      Productivity gains on the other hand make me wonder if this is short hand for wage cuts-what easier way to improve productivity than through lower wages?
      Overall, in neither the mild case against it or the mild case for it is there a belief that this will be an earth shattering deal. 
      Based on what we've looked at in this post I think that there have been some wildly overstated talk about the benefits of the deal by many who speak in purely theoretical tetms 'trade is good, protectionism is bad...'
      However, opponents may be putting up a red herring with all the talk of it being done in secret-this is how these kinds of negotiations are done:
     "First, even if it’s secret now, there’s not going to be any hidden codicils or agreements," Posen says, referring to the fact that Congress will be presented with a final copy of the TPP trade deal to vote up or down. "Everything will be revealed. When the US Congress and counterparts in other countries get to look at the deal, there will be nothing hidden. And even now, people pretty much know what’s in this deal, if they want to."
     "The other thing is, just like in congressional negotiations or labor negotiations, you don’t do all the negotiating in public because you want people to be able to hold their opinions, try ideas out, speculate. That’s how negotiations get done in the real world. If you make them transparent from day one there can be no deal, for the most part, because people can’t have every position flying through the press."
     So the deal will not be earth shattering in either direction but the talk of secrecy is misconstrued. And Obama wants the deal because he's the President and any President of either party is going to want the ability to negotiate trade deals. 
     On balance-though this is hardly a position I'm solid on-I would tent to support this deal-though I'm willing to listen to the other side of the argument. 
     I still have some reservations and I wonder where the productivity gains Posen mentioned come from. 
    But if there are mild benefits and the President wants the deal then on balance I say give it to him. 
    Again, it's easy to lose sight that the current vote is not for the TPP itself, just to give him his TA. If after the negotiations are done and the deal is finished-then is the time to get into the weeds of the deal; and if necessary vote it down then. 
   Right now, the House Dems may be about to kill it now; why not at least give the President some respect-not leaving him with egg on his face-and give him his TA and then once the deal is made completely public, vote it down then if upon reading it you find it's as bad as you assume it will be?
    What is the argument for not allowing the process to go forward and holding an up or down vote then?