Brad DeLong gets on my bandwagon with his take on the latest Iowa poll:
Fun figuring out who's who. Steve Benen helps with the analysis:
- Says Anything 24%
- Newsletter 22%
- Man on Dog 15%
- Three Wives 12%
The results, however, come with a very important caveat: the Iowa Poll was conducted Tuesday through Friday, and the results from the first two days were quite different from the last two days.
[T]he four-day results don’t reflect just how quickly momentum is shifting in a race that has remained highly fluid for months. If the final two days of polling are considered separately, Santorum rises to second place, with 21 percent, pushing Paul to third, at 18 percent. Romney remains the same, at 24 percent.
(h/t Paul Krugman)“Momentum’s name is Rick Santorum,” said the Register’s pollster, J. Ann Selzer.
Matthew Yglesias, now over at Slate, predicts a vibrant economy for 2012. I'm a natural-born optimist, so I want to believe his take:
This increase in economic activity will boost state and local tax revenue and end the already slowing cycle of public sector layoffs. Re-employment in the construction, durable goods, and related transportation and warehousing functions will bolster income and push up spending on nondurables, restaurants, leisure and hospitality, and all the rest. Happy days, in other words, will be here again.
None of that means we’ll remember 2012 as the best of times. What we’re talking about is a spurt of rapid employment growth from a low base, not a tight labor market and rapidly rising wages like we had in the late ’90s. But compared with the past four years, it’ll look like a magnificent boom.
Would be nice, wouldn't it? Then again, who would want to screw up our economic policy at this point?Unless, that is, policymakers screw it up. If you imagine a world in which several million people go from unemployed to daily commuting, and large numbers of people abandon their roommates and get a place of their own, then there are likely going to be spikes in the prices of gasoline, rent, and other commodities. This will temporarily push inflation above normal levels and increase pressure on the Fed to tighten money and nip the boom in the bud. The central bank’s recent statements indicate that they won’t do this, but they haven’t been as clear as they should be. Betting against policymaker screw-ups is a risky proposition—the Eurozone elite managed to spend the entire fall acting in bizarre and counterproductive ways—but barring a trade-destroying natural disaster, we’re looking at a recovery, if we want one.
A commenter at David Andolfatto's blog -- where he once again appears to distort models to prove that Paul Krugman's attack on Robert Lucas was unjustified -- named Jefferson Smith explains what is really going on in the econ blogosphere wars (it's in a comment that I don't know how to link to, so here it is in its entirety because it's spot on and absolutely hilarious; kudos!):
The debate continues here and here. Fun stuff! Happy New Year indeed.