What voters like about Donald Trump

The rise of Trump should interest everybody in “the West” for two reasons. First of all, many problems faced by the United States are similar to those in Europe. Secondly because of the immense economic, political and above all cultural influence America has on the world.

The media portray Donald Trump as a sexist, a racist and an ignorant warmonger.

Is this picture correct? Why are so many voters attracted to him? This post lists the items put on the political agenda by the Trump campaign.

 

Slogan: Make America Great Again

Summary: America First

 

Domestic

Enforcing immigration law. This means that illegal immigrants – who by definition broke the law – should be deported  from the USA1. A wall at the border with Mexico should prevent future illegal immigration. Trump links illegal Mexicans to crime. His adversaries reinforce this point by burning the American flag and waving Mexican flags while harassing his supporters at one of his rallies.

Continue reading “What voters like about Donald Trump”

Manipulating Brad DeLong suffers from status anxiety. Sad!

As I know a thing or two about helicopter money, I like to help out when people have misconceptions about it. American economics professor Brad DeLong recently accused Claudio Borio, Piti Disyatat, Anna Zabai1 of manufacturing objections against helicopter money on his blog and on Twitter. I reacted to the tweet of DeLong, pointing out that Borio et al. had raised a valid point.

When I checked back to see if DeLong had replied, it turned out that he had blocked me. As I am new to Twitter, I thought that maybe I was blocked because DeLong received too many messages from me.

DeLong Twitter block

Continue reading “Manipulating Brad DeLong suffers from status anxiety. Sad!”

Helicopter money part II: politics

Helicopter money (HM) is money printed by the central bank that is given to the people. Figuratively speaking, Mario Draghi1 would fly over the Eurozone and drop new €50 bills out of a helicopter to the population below. In the first part of this series, I explored the possible sources of HM. The current post looks at the political constraints that prevent the ECB from firing up the engines of its helicopters. Continue reading “Helicopter money part II: politics”

My favorite type of model

Scientists build models that capture the essence of some observed phenomenon. The models that I like best are strongly simplified. This in contrast to very complex and non-transparent models that try to replicate every aspect of reality. Good models allow us to gain insight into something we observe by using a limited number of key concepts. I use simple models to be explicit about the underlying assumptions and to be consistent. Continue reading “My favorite type of model”

Quiz: Can you spot the economic errors of Scott Sumner?

I was doing some research for a post about how the Trump presidential candidacy exposes the political biases of economists. But then I came across the blog of Scott Sumner. Professor Sumner has been teaching economics for over 25 years. Mr. Sumner is an advocate for a monetary policy called NGDP targeting. He also hates Donald Trump.

What I found stunning while reading Dr. Sumner’s articles are not his political views, but rather how poor his understanding of financial economics really is. As an exercise, I recommend that you take a look at these three articles. Can you identify his implicit assumptions and outright false claims? Continue reading “Quiz: Can you spot the economic errors of Scott Sumner?”

The annual general meeting of KBC

I had a new KBC experience today, after being a lifelong customer and having worked for 5 years at the bank-insurance group. This time not as a client or as an employee, but as a (co-)owner of the company.  The annual general meeting of shareholders was organized in the company’s Molenbeek1 headquarters this morning. Continue reading “The annual general meeting of KBC”

Does the Islamic State employ classicists?

The recent terror attacks by Islamic State (IS) in Brussels and Paris have shown once more that the terrorists are willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause. After the suicide bombings in Brussels, IS has threatened that more attacks will follow.

By doing this, they are following a strategy that is as old as the hills. Continue reading “Does the Islamic State employ classicists?”

Latinisten onder de terroristen

De recente aanslagen door Islamitische Staat (IS) in Brussel en Parijs hebben nog eens aangetoond dat de terroristen er niet voor terugschrikken zichzelf op te offeren voor hun zaak. Na de zelfmoordaanslagen in Brussel heeft IS gedreigd met nieuwe aanslagen.

Ze volgen hiermee een strategie die zo oud is als de straat. Continue reading “Latinisten onder de terroristen”

Historische analogieën

Historische analogieën zijn nuttig omdat heel weinig politieke, sociale of economische problemen nieuw zijn. Het probleem is dat het gemakkelijk is om een gebeurtenis uit duizenden jaren geschiedenis te kiezen die in je kraam past. Daarom moet je altijd in het achterhoofd houden dat hedendaagse omstandigheden nooit 100% overeenkomen met het verleden. Het is echter interessant dat gelijkaardige verhoudingen en gevoelens tussen individuen en groepen altijd terugkomen. Hierdoor gebruiken mensen dezelfde strategieën1, onafhankelijk van waar en wanneer ze leven, welke taal ze spreken of welke kleren ze dragen. Continue reading “Historische analogieën”