I want to thank all my readers, commenters, people who link, email, tweet and otherwise engaged with this blog in 2011. It’s been a good year, and I’m looking forward to an even better 2012. There will be more posts, more papers, some longer-form writing and a lot more graphs. I hope you stick around!
What posts here were the most read in 2011? They actually group pretty well.
Discussing Movements as They Happen
The two most read posts were posts trying to make sense of what was going on with the two biggest activities on the left – the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Wisconsin protests. I got lucky in that I was trying to investigate them and make sense of both movements to myself at a time when the movements and everyone else in the country were trying to do that as well. In turn I was able to understand some part of it that helped explain it to others, as well as the movement itself. I think that’s a healthy role for a policy blogger.
The most read was Parsing the Data and Ideology of the We Are 99% Tumblr which dropped right when people were trying to figure out what to make of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The second most read was a short post The Less Discussed Part of Walker’s Wisconsin Plan: No-Bid Energy Assets Firesales - which amplified a post from my friend Ed at ginandtacos.
People understood that Governor Walker wanted to bust unions, but pointing out that his bill also allowed no-bid sales of energy assets – the kind the Koch brothers and other GOP energy donors are always looking to pick up – made people understand that these new GOP Governors were looking to radically change state governments beyond what original saw. Privatization became a major issue – Amanda Terkel on Wisconsin privatization is my favorite take. I still love Ed’s phrase: “If this isn’t the best summary of the goals of modern conservatism, I don’t know what is. It’s like a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism.”
That post circulated in Madison, and I’m happy to note that it was reported that “the proposed no-bid sale of the power plants became one of the favorite targets of protesters at the Capitol” and the language was ultimately removed from the bill.
I wrote other things about both Madison and OWS that tried to understand what was going on as it unfolded to explain it to myself, others and the movements. I tried to create a three-part map for Walker’s plans for the state. For OWS, I enjoyed discussing what occupiers thought about freedom and their diversity of concerns over inequality, as well as mapping out solution to student loans and explaining how bad unemployment really is for young people.
We spent a lot of time fighting economic zombies this past year, and sometimes it felt more effective than throwing Prince soundtracks and Dire Straits albums at them.
The rest of the biggest posts were all trying to dismember some type of economic zombie. The third and fourth most read posts were about The Big Lie surrounding the government creating the housing bubble and financial crisis - Peter Wallison Discusses Fannie and Freddie for the American Spectator, or: Where are the Fact Checkers? and Bloomberg’s Awful Comment; What Can We Say For Certain Regarding the GSEs? This is a zombie that will certainly stumble forward into 2012.
I noted that Ron Paul’s first witness on his monetary policy hearings was a neo-confederate gold bug who thought that Lincoln was modernity’s first dictator in Monetary Policy Hearing Today, or: Ron Paul Versus the Kochtopus (which has new relevance given Ron Paul’s newsletters against the Koch brothers) – showing that monetary policy discussions were going to drift even more rightward without a countering flank. I tried to understand why people had such a variety of weird morality on monetary issues in Kristol, Kalecki, and a 19th Century Economist Defending Patriarchy all on Political Macroeconomics - the more Kalecki gets discussed, the better.
And during the summer of the debt ceiling debate, I asked why Why is the Obama Team Embracing Hooverism? - noting that Obama’s Treasury team was starting to sound exactly like the far right with the idea that they needed to get the confidence of the bond market (while real interest rates are negative for years out).
Finishing out the top posts, I also pointed out that, by their own accounts, the ratings agencies are terrible with public debt in The Activist Ratings Agencies and Their Poor Public Sector Predictions right before they downgraded the United States.
Things that I was particularly happy with: I used the movie Bridesmaids to discuss Keynesian economics, I tried to build a liberal critique of left-neoliberal policy during the big summer discussion (which I hope to develop further in 2012), I mapped out with Venn Diagrams what the debate over the economy looks like, Bryce Covert and I contributed to the discussion over the gendered recovery, I pointed out how “gut” reactions were dominating FOMC dissents in Minneapolis and Dallas (not sure if related, but the Minneapolis Fed put out a 500 word clarification of the dissent the next day), as well as talked about monetary policy for liberals here and at TNR. And I also was able to use JOLTS revisions to point out how elites wasted 2010 arguing about “structural unemployment” with numbers that were wrong. I wrote about foreclosure fraud for the American Prospect and how it deals with Hayek-style market information. And though it was at the end of 2010, I thought that my Obama is bad at losing post was a useful contribution to the whole Obama debate.
In non-blogging news, I also got married to a lovely woman (picture from ceremony), and three months in married life is pretty fantastic.
Thanks again to everyone – see you in 2012!