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Barkley Rosser

Barkley Rosser

I remember how loud it was. I was a young Economics undergraduate, and most professors didn’t really slam points home the way Dr. Rosser did. He would bang on the table and throw things around the classroom. Not for the faint of heart, but he definitely kept my attention and made me smile. It is hard to not smile around J. Barkley Rosser, especially when he gets going on economic theory. The passion comes through and encourages you to come along with it in a truly contagious way. After meeting him, it is as if you can just tell that anybody who knows that much and has that much to say deserves your attention.

Articles by Barkley Rosser

So, Whatever Happened To The Arizona Fraudit?

3 days ago

So, Whatever Happened To The Arizona Fraudit?

 Even though these “audits” are now apparently spreading to other states, notably Pennsylvania and maybe Wisconsin, efforts to somehow find election fraud in the presidential elections in those states in 2020, there is an odd thing that has happened that has basically dropped off the media radar screen. That is what the outcome of the initial one of these is, the “fraudit” in Arizona, authorized and financed partly with taxpayer funds by the AZ Senate.  It has dropped out of sight.

Well, after months of attention to it, with lots of money getting raised by those pushing it, and the similar folks in these other states also raising money off the fools who believe their lies, the question is what has

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Debt Ceiling Nonsense Yet Again – A Catch 22?

4 days ago

Debt Ceiling Nonsense Yet Again – A Catch 22?

 Of course, there should be no debt ceiling.  The US is the only nation to have one for absolute amounts of money (some other nations have ones tied to percents of budgets, and so forth). Even though it is nonsensical and absurd, it has been around for over a century, a recrudescence of a deal to get funding approved by Congress for WW I in the wake of the passage in 1913 of the new amendment allowing a federal income tax. Somehow nobody in Congress or any White House has the guts to push for the ending of this thing, so it hangs on like some stinking zombie. 

Of course, for most of the time since it was passed, Congresses have been “responsible” and raised the ceiling without too much fuss, although

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So, Whatever Happened To The Arizona Fraudit?

5 days ago

Even though these "audits" are now apparently spreading to other states, notably Pennsylvania and maybe Wisconsin, efforts to somehow find election fraud in the presidential elections in those states in 2020, there is an odd thing that has happened that has basically dropped off the media radar screen. That is what the outcome of the initial one of these is, the "fraudit" in Arizona, authorized and financed partly with taxpayer funds by the AZ Senate.  It has dropped out of sight.Well, after months of attention to it, with lots of money getting raised by those pushing it, and the similar folks in these other states also raising money off the fools who believe their lies, the question is what has happened?  The results were supposed to be done and available months ago.  The release date

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RIP William John McGuire

5 days ago

Aka "Bill" McGuire.  He started at the same time as I did in Fall 1977 as a tenure track Assistant Professor where I still am, James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, VA. We also started with Robin Grieves.  An odd coincidence was that when we were taken to the first full faculty meeting by our Depaertment Head, Howard Wilhelm, who died in January at age 94 of old age, it somehow came out that al four of us were Eagle Scouts.  I would become a good friend of both Bill’s and Robin’s.  I note that Bill was a Vietnam War veteran and was a macroeconomist with a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill.As it was, both of them would leave the department during the 1980s for different reasons.  Unfortunately, Bill had a major personal conflict with another member of the department (not me) that ended

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Debt Ceiling Nonsense Yet Again – A Catch 22?

5 days ago

Of course there should be no debt ceiling.  The US is the only nation to have one for absolute amounts of money (some other nations have ones tied to percents of budgets, and so forth). Even thought it is nonsensical and absurd, it has been around for over a century, a recrudescence of a deal to get funding approved by Congress for WW I in the wake of the passage in 1913 of the new amendment allowing a federal income tax. Somehow nobody in Congress or any White House has the guts to push for the ending of this thing, so it hangs on like some stinking zombie. Of course, for most of the time since it was passed, Congresses have been "responsible" and raised the ceiling without too much fuss, although it has been normal when different parties occupy the White House and the Congress for

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Portland Not Burned To The Ground

12 days ago

Portland Not Burned To The Ground

 Over this past weekend, I was in Portland visiting for the first time family who gathered for a reunion, with my second daughter, Caitlin, with two of my grandsons, having moved there in January from San Francisco (she is a psychiatrist with the VA system). I had been through a few times in a car but never stopped.  So curious to check it out.  I generally liked the place and had a good time.

I also decided to check up on some of the hyperbolic claims I have heard over the past year-plus or so regularly on Fox News, especially the Hannity show that I keep an eye on.  When for example denying that the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington was anything anybody should be upset about, Hannity has regularly invoked

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Portland Not Burned To The Ground

13 days ago

Over this past weekend I was in Portland visiting for the first time family who gathered for a reunion, with my second daughter, Caitlin, with two of my grandsons, having moved there in January from San Francisco (she is a psychiatrist with the VA system). I had been through a few times in a car, but never stopped.  So curious to check it out.  I generally liked the place and had a good time.I also decided to check up on some of the hyperbolic claims I have heard over the past year plus or so regularly on Fox News, especially the Hannity show that I keep an eye on.  When for example denying that the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington was anything anybody should be upset about, Hannity has regularly invoked Portland in particular as a place that was "burning to the ground" in supposed

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Are Former Professors As National Leaders More Prone To Black Swan Events That Overthrow Their Governments?

21 days ago

Are Former Professors As National Leaders More Prone To Black Swan Events That Overthrow Their Governments?

 Probably not, but recent events in Afghanistan suggest an example.  This would be the sudden departure just over two weeks ago on Aug. 15 from Kabul of then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which triggered the sudden collapse of his government and the unexpectedly sudden takeover of Kabul by the Taliban. Even they did not see this coming.  What was the black swan event involved?  It was reported in the Aug. 29 Washington Post that Ghani was told early in the afternoon that Taliban were in his palace searching room by room for him, which led him to leave almost immediately with his family and a few aides off the roof in military helicopters for

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Are Former Professors As National Leaders More Prone To Black Swan Events That Overthrow Their Governments?

22 days ago

Probably not, but recent events in Afghanistan suggest an example.  This would be the sudden departure just over two weeks ago on Aug. 15 from Kabul of then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which triggered the sudden collapse of his government and the unexpectedly sudden takeover of Kabul by the Taliban. Even they did not see this coming.  What was the black swan event involved?  It was reported in the Aug. 29 Washington Post that Ghani was told early in the afternoon that Taliban were in his palace searching room by room for him, which led him to leave almost immediately with his family and a few aides off the roof in military helicopters for Uzbekistan where they took a plane to the UAE.  He basically informed nobody of his exit.  In fact the Taliban were not even in Kabul at the time

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A Half-Century Since The Beginning Of The End Of The Post WW II Economic Order

August 19, 2021

A Half Century Since The Beginning Of The End Of The Post WW II Economic Order

 It was also on a Sunday, with financial markets closed, that August 15, 1971, when US President Richard Nixon gave a surprise address to the nation on economic policy.  He made three announcements:

1) a 90-day wage-price freeze,

2) a10 percent across the board tariff on all imports, and most importantly,

3) the closing of the gold window meaning the US Treasury would no longer pay gold to somebody bringing US dollars to it, the final end of the gold standard. 

It was not quite the end of the post-WW II Bretton Woods system, established in 1944 at a conference at that New Hampshire town as the mostly fixed exchange rate system was maintained, but that

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A Half Century Since The Beginning Of The End Of The Post WW II Economic Order

August 15, 2021

It was also on a Sunday, with financial markets closed, that August 15, 1971, when US President Richard Nixon gave a surprise address to the nation on economic policy.  He made three announcements: 1) a 90-day wage-price freeze, 2) a10 percent across the board tariff on all imports, and most importantly 3) the closing of the gold window meaning the US Treasury would no longer pay gold to somebody bringing US dollars to it, the final end of the gold standard.  It was not quite the end of the post-WW II Bretton Woods system, established in 1944 at a conference at that New Hampshire town as the mostly fixed exchange rate system was maintained, but that would end in early 1973 when the US dollar was set to float against other major currencies according to market forces, which is what it has

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Biden Follows Trump On Foreign Policy

August 15, 2021

Biden Follows Trump On Foreign Policy

 We are now looking at a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan.  It looks like the Taliban will probably take control of Kabul and thus Afghanistan in the near future. Reports already show that where they control women cannot go to school and appear in public without a veil in public and much more. Many women there are unfortunately going to suffer greatly as a result of this. I am so very deeply sorry.

Yes, as an American who supported the original invasion of Afghanistan 20 years ago to overturn the Taliban and end support for al Qaeda who did the 9/11 attack two decades ago, I am also frustrated that we did not get the heck out once the Taliban were overthrown. But it remains unclear why we did stay then,

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Biden Follows Trump On Foreign Policy

August 14, 2021

We are now looking at a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan.  It looks like the Taliban will probably take control of Kabul and thus Afghanistan in the near future. Reports already show that where they control women cannot go to school and appear in public without a veil in public and much more. Many women there are unfortunately going to suffer greatly as a result of this. I am so very deeply sorry.Yes, as an American who supported the original invasion of Afghanistan 20 years ago to overturn the Taliban and end support for al Qaeda who did the 9/11 attack two decades ago, I am also frustrated that we did not get the heck out once the Taliban were overthrown. But it remains unclear why we did stay then, especially given that the W. Bush admin turned to invading Iraq. Latest I have

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Israel Pays For Bibi’s Successful Campaign Against The JCPOA Iran Nuclear Agreement

August 7, 2021

Israel Pays For Bibi’s Successful Campaign Against The JCPOA Iran Nuclear Agreement

 In the last few days for the first time in many years, northern Israel has been on the receiving end of rockets fired out of southern Lebanon, the territory under the control of the Shia Hezbollah group long supported by Iranian interests, although apparently, some think that it was Palestinians living in this area who fired the rockets. Even if it was, clearly this would not have happened without approval from Iran.

Also in the last few days, an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf controlled by the Israelis has been attacked by drones apparently from Iran.  Israel has been suddenly on the receiving end of attacks either approved by Iran or actually from Iran. Why

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The American Right Schmoozes Hungary’s Orban

August 6, 2021

The American Right Schmoozes Hungary’s Orban

 Fox News’s biggest star, Tucker Carlson, is broadcasting this week from Budapest where a political festival is happening under the aegis of Hungarian leader, Victor Orban.  As observers have noted, Orban has engaged in a gradual process of turning Hungary from a functioning EU democracy into an authoritarian state that maintains a veneer of democracy. Crucial to this is control over most of the media as well as the judiciary. His actions have put him in a running conflict with the EU’s leaders, but he avoids pushing them too hard as EU financial aid to Hungary amounts to about 4% of its GDP, a lot.

Carlson claims that Orban is admirable and apparently a role model for the US for three reasons: his

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Israel Pays For Bibi’s Successful Campaign Against The JCPOA Iran Nuclear Agreement

August 6, 2021

In the last few days for the first time in many years northern Israel has been on the receiving end of rockets fired out of southern Lebanon, territory under the control of the Shia Hezbollah group long supported by Iranian interests, although apparently some think that it was Palestinians living in this area who fired the rockets. Even if it was, clearly this would not have happened without approval from Iran.Also in the last few days an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf controlled by the Israelis has been attacked by drones apparently from Iran.  Israel has been suddenly on the receiving end of attacks either approved by Iran or actually from Iran. Why now?The obvious reason is that Iran got a new hardline president, al Raisi, on Tuesday.  He is ahowing his hardline credentials, and the

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The American Right Schmoozes Hungary’s Orban

August 6, 2021

Fox News’s biggest star, Tucker Carlson, is broadcasting this week from Budapest where a political festival is happening under the aegis of Hungarian leader, Victor Orban.  As observers have noted, Orban has engaged in a gradual process of turning Hungary from a functioning EU democracy into an authoritarian state that maintains a veneer of democracy. Crucial to this is control over most of the media as well as the judiciary. His actions have put him in a running conflict with the EU’s leaders, but he avoids pushing them too hard as EU financial aid to Hungary amounts to about 4% of its GDP, a lot.Carlson claims that Orban is admirable and apparently a role model for the US for three reasons: his defense of western civilization, his defense of the family, and his innovations that improve

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K-12 Schools Opening In July

August 3, 2021

EconoSpeak: K-12 Schools Opening In July, Econospeak, Barkley Rosser, July 31, 2021

I long knew it was coming, but it has arrived.  I learned of this because some have closed due to heat and or the pandemic surging, K-12 schools.  This happened in Arizona.  They opened in July.  Really.  People in those districts may think this is fine, but I am horrified.  I view this as a situation where a frog has been in a pot of increasingly hot water that has now boiled, almost literatlly given some of these schools having to close temporarily due to extreme summer heat. What were they thinking?

They were not thinking.  It just crept up on them, and I know of districts near me that will open in just over a week, early in August, while others will open

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K-12 Schools Opening In July

August 1, 2021

I long knew it was coming, but it has arrived.  I learned of this because some have closed due to heat and or the pandemic surging, K-12 schools.  This happened in Arizona.  They opened in July.  Really.  People in those districts may think this is fine, but I am horrified.  I view this as a situation where a frog has been in a pot of increasingly hot water that has now boiled, almost literatlly given some of these schools having to close temporarily due to extreme summer heat. What were they thinking?They were not thinking.  It just crept up on them, and I know of districts near me that will open in just over a week, early in August, while others will open later. How did this come about?It has come on gradually. Control over timing of school schedules has always been locally controlled,

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Has The Arab Spring Finally Come To A Full End?

July 28, 2021

Has The Arab Spring Finally Come To A Full End?

 Arguably the Arab Spring ended a long time ago.  It was, after all, Spring 2011, to be precise in terms of when the spring was.  It had arguably started a bit earlier, in December 2010 when an informal street vendor in Tunisia set fire to himself and died as a result of unhappiness over corrupt authorities demanding bribes from him he could not pay.  This led to massive demonstrations against the super corrupt and dictatorial regime of Tunisian President Ben Ali. This led soon after to him fleeing to Saudi Arabia where he died some years later.  A more or less democratic regime came to power then there.

As I am sure pretty much all readers here know, the demonstrations in Tunisia were soon

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Has The Arab Spring Finally Come To A Full End?

July 28, 2021

Arguably the Arab Spring ended a long time ago.  It was after all, Spring 2011, to be precise in terms of when the spring was.  It had arguably started a bit earlier, in December 2010 when an informal street vendor in Tunisia set fire to himself and died as a result of unhappiness over corrupt authorities demanding bribes from him he could not pay.  This led to massive demonstrations against the super corrupt and dictatorial regime of Tunisian President Ben Ali. This led soon after to him fleeing to Saudi Arabia where he died some years later.  A more or less democratic regime came to power then there.As I am sure pretty much all readers here know, the demonstrations in Tunisia were soon followed that spring by demonstrations in numerous other Arab nations, with some of those also

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Why Did Trump Initially Support The Saudi-UAE Effort To Overthrow Qatar’s Government?

July 24, 2021

Why Did Trump Initially Support The Saudi-UAE Effort To Overthrow Qatar’s Government?

 One of the more curious things in 2017 in the first year of the Trump presidency was how when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) placed a boycott on Qatar and more directly attempted to overthrow the government of Qatar, President Trump openly supported this effort initially.  He would later be pulled back from this position as his first Secretary of Defense and that of State also after they noted that Qatar hosts the largest US airbase in the Middle East, al-Udeid, from which many operations are carried out, including much of the drone warfare by the US. Less well publicized is that these secretaries also attempted later to get Trump to host a

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Why Did Trump Initially Support The Saudi-UAE Effort To Overthrow Qatar’s Government?

July 22, 2021

One of the more curious things in 2017 in the first year of the Trump presidency was how when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) placed a boycott on Qatar and more directly attempted to overthrow the government of Qatar, President Trump openly supported this effort initiallly.  He would later be pulled back from this position his first Secretary of Defense and that of State also after they noted that Qatar hosts the largest US air base in the Middle East, al-Udeid, from which many operations are carried out, including much of the drone warfare by the US. Less well publicized is that these secretaries also attempted later to get Trump to host a peace-making summit between the leaders of those three nations and some others in an effort to bring an end to the boycott campaign

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The Vaccination/Infection/Political Divergence Where I Am

July 21, 2021

The Vaccination/Infection/Political Divergence Where I Am

 In Virginia, cities and counties are separate, not one containing the other as in most of the US. So I live in the City of Harrisonburg, population about 53,000, which is surrounded by Rockingham County, population about 82,000, both in the Shenandoah Valley about 120 miles southwest of Washington.

In the past Harrisonburg, which contains James Madison University, tended to politically almost perfectly mirror statewide voting outcomes.  However, since 2008 essentially it has become solidly liberal Democratic in its voting patterns and who controls the local government. We used to have GOP mayor not long ago, although they were of the moderate “mountain-valley” type who were holdovers

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The Vaccination/Infection/Political Divergence Where I Am

July 19, 2021

In Virginia, cities and counties are separate, not one containing the other as in most of the US. So I live in the City of Harrisonburg, population about 53,000, which is surrounded by Rockingham County, population about 82,000, both in the Shenandoah Valley about 120 miles southwest of Washington.In the past Harrisonburg, which contains James Madison University, tended to politically almost perfectly mirror statewide voting outcomes.  However, since 2008 essentially it has become solidly liberal Democratic in its voting patterns and who controls the local government. We used to have GOP mayor not long ago, although they were of the moderate "mountain-valley" type who were holdovers from the days of Abe Lincoln, when the valley was fairly anti-slavery, and Lincoln’s father was born in

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Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal

July 18, 2021

Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal

 In yesterday’s Washington Post it was reported that there will be no further negotiations between the US and Iran (and other parties) in Vienna over the US and Iran rejoining the JCPOA nuclear agreement that Iran had been adhering to when Donald Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018, then reimposing economic sanctions on Iran, with Iran then starting to violate the agreement in various ways starting a year later.  President Biden had promised to rejoin the agreement as part of his campaign, but negotiations on doing so had bogged down.

It was completely unsurprising that the moderate Iranian President Rouhani would be succeeded by a hardliner, Raisi, who is due to take office next month. Nevertheless, there

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Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal

July 16, 2021

In yesterday’s Washington Post it was reported that there will be no further negotiations between the US and Iran (and other parties) in Vienna over the US and Iran rejoining the JCPOA nuclear agreement that Iran had been adhering to when Donald Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018, then reimposing economic sanctions on Iran, with Iran then starting to violate the agreement in various ways starting a year later.  President Biden had promised to rejoin the agreement as part of his campaign, but negotiations on doing so had bogged down.It was completely unsurprising that the moderate Iranian President Rouhani would be succeeded by a hardliner, Raisi, who is due to take office next month. Nevertheless, there had been reports that Supreme Leader Khamenei in Iran was supporting completing

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Almost Record Heat In Death Valley

July 13, 2021

Almost Record Heat In Death Valley

 My niece, Erica Werner, is a reporter for the Washington Post.  She long covered heated debates in Congress over economic policy, getting on the front page a lot as during the passing of the Covid relief bill earlier this year. But then she moved to South Pasadena, CA a few months ago for family reasons and disappeared from the WaPo front page.

But there she is on today’s front page and above the fold with a story whose headline reads “Just short of an infernal mark” sub-headline “”; Heat tourists’ marvel even as Death Valley temperature fails to reach world record.” Above the story is a photo of a man taking a photo of a woman pointing to a digital thermometer outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center reading

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Almost Record Heat In Death Valley

July 12, 2021

My niece, Erica Werner, is a reporter for the Washington Post.  She long covered heated debates in Congress over economic policy, getting on the front page a lot as during the passing of the Covid relief bill earlier this year. But then she moved to South Pasadena, CA a few months ago for family reasons and disappeared from the WaPo  front page.But there she is on today’s front page and above the fold with a story whose headline reads "Just short of an infernal mark" sub-headline "";Heat tourists’ marvel even as Death Valley temperature fails to reach world record." Above the story is a photo of a man taking a photo of a woman pointing to a digital thermometer outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center reading 134 F 56 C," which would have indeed been an all time world record high

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The Removal of Robert E. Lee’s Statue from Charlottesville

July 11, 2021

The Removal of Robert E. Lee’s Statue from Charlottesville

Early this morning the statue of Robert E. Lee was finally removed from a park in the city of Charlottesville.  This issue had brought the awful racist riot on August 17, 2017, which led to Heather Heyer being killed by a racist in a car. A statue of Stonewall Jackson, long located on the city courthouse site, was also removed, as well as later in the day without warning a statue of Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea. The statues are going into city storage with the ultimate destination of these statues still to be determined. The statue of Lee in Richmond remains in place, more seriously in place.  It took a change in Virginia state law in 2020 to allow the City of Charlottesville to remove

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