Saturday, July 02, 2016

Bee Wilson hits the BREXIT rock bottom

OK people. This has got to be the absolute worst of all apocalyptic BREXIT punditry.

Here is the line that set my toes on fire:


"For the first time since the Second World War, Britain’s ability to feed itself is in question."


WTFF???!!!?????

First of all, exiting the EU doesn't force the UK to put tariffs on EU imports to the UK. They can just leave them at zero.

Second, I'm pretty sure that obesity, not food insecurity is the bigger problem in the contemporary UK.

There are plenty of countries with no FTA with the EU and they can all "feed themselves". If not, the EU FTA would not be the magic bullet to full bellies.

Here's some more rank stupidity:


"As a country that produces only around fifty-four per cent of what it eats, Britain starts to look vulnerable to fluctuating markets."

An FTA with the EU does NOT "protect" any country from "fluctuating markets". If the global coffee crop fails, prices will rise dramatically everything, trade agreements not withstanding. If a government does not let the price rise, then a shortage will arise instead.

And let's just finish off this dumpster fire with this gem:

Food is one of the unequivocal successes of the European Union.

Sweet Fancy Moses.

Actually I might partly agree with this one. Compared to the mess the EU has made of monetary policy, fiscal policy, dealing with its southern members' issues and dealing with the refugee crisis, the hideous CAP of the EU is not as bad as it otherwise might seem. After all, its cost has fallen from over 70% of the EU budget in 1984 to only 39% in 2013!

Zapatero, a tus zapatos!












Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit THIS!

People, I am really getting tired of all the hand-wringing, apocalyptic post-Brexit posts.  Please try to take a deep breath and chill.

It's not that big of a deal. Yes I know stock markets are down. They will come back up.

Yes the pound is down. Who give a $%#$%#$? So what?

If the UK actually exits (for me this is p = .75), economically it will be fine. The US doesn't have zero tariffs with the EU, but we still manage to survive.

This whole thing is much closer to a non-event than the earth-shaking mistake it's taken to be.

Some specific things that really bug me.

1. Claiming that the result was not democratic. Rogoff and Gowder, you both know better.  This is just ludicrous.  There is nothing more democratic than a referendum. Full stop. This was pure democracy in action. Many people who claim to love democracy but dislike this outcome are tying themselves in knots trying to avoid the implication that in this instance at least they are anti-democracy ( welcome to the club, let me show you the secret handshake).

People, the US is not a democracy! We are a Republic. We have tons of checks on democracy. Deciding everything by a simple majority referendum would be a disaster in the US. But it would be a decidedly democratic disaster.


2. Claiming that some voters have a greater right to decide than others and shouting that they were "robbed". It turns out that the youngest voters went for remain while older voters chose leave. And of course this means that the old are robbing the young and the vote is somehow illegitimate because..... old people suck? Because 18-24 year olds have so much more economic and political savvy than do 60 year olds?

I do like the idea that the shorter is your remaining life span, the less your vote should count. I wonder if the folks who are screaming about the pernicious old voters in Brexit would be willing to apply this principle to US elections?


3. Blaming Reagan. Oh Neoliberalism, is there nothing bad that you didn't do? This one is a howler of the highest order. Brexit has nothing to do with what the people who decided it said was important and was caused by Ronnie and Margie Thatcher!  Whatever you are mad about, just trot out the old shibboleths and invoke the ritual incantations. Why hasn't Naomi Klein pinned Brexit on Milton Friedman yet?

Did something happen you don't like? Look back in history,  find the first other thing that you really don't like. There's your cause.

Brexit apocalypse punditry has been some of the stupidest and laziest punditry I've had the misfortune to endure.

We will all survive Brexit with little lasting damage. This will be clear within 6 months.