Notes From an Accidental Economist

These are my thoughts on economics, policy and sometimes the day-to-day side of beat writing. (You can also follow my Notes From over on Medium!)

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Why George R.R. Martin Owes You

I’ll step back from macroeconomics to talk about something a little more generally accessible: A Song of Ice and Fire. Specifically, why George R.R. Martin either owes readers a new book or should give all of their money back.

This is a classic installment delivery gone wrong.

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Squaring The Circle On Health Care

Republicans have put themselves in an impossible position on health care.

Unless you’ve been living deep in a cave underneath the rock which knocked you into a coma when it fell, you’ll have heard about the health care debate. In 2009 the Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). The Republican party united in opposition to the law and spent the subsequent seven years vowing to repeal and replace the law with something non-specifically better. They focused their pitch in particular on spending less and reducing regulation.

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Money From Thin Air

Let’s talk about the quantity theory of money.

Readers who have never picked up a novel by the late Terry Pratchett should hop offline and do so. His witty and insightful Discworld series lives up to to the highest traditions of satire, managing to reflect the real world through a funhouse mirror of humor and medieval fantasy tropes.

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Two Words That Should Scare You

“Secular Stagnation.”

Whoof. For those of us who write about economics, this is like opening up with “it was a dark and stormy night.” You know you’re in for something scary, lengthy, a little bit cliched and very hard to kill.

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Wanted: Cross Examination

Journalists and lawyers have a lot in common. Our jobs demand many of the same skills, involve similar accomplishments and even attract many of the same people.

If you want to find a law firm refugee, look no further than the nearest newsroom. And we journalists need to start taking a note from our colleagues with JDs. We need to learn how to conduct a cross examination.

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The Best Pieces Of Advice I've Ever Gotten

So, the other day I was contacted by an aspiring freelance writer.

I always enjoy hearing from would-be writers and journalists of every stripe. It reminds me of everyone who has helped me out along the way, and makes me feel good to finally get a chance to pay their kindness forward (even if just a little bit).

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The Great Missing Middle

So, this afternoon I’m writing a story about single payer healthcare at the state level.

Since losing the 2016 election, Medicare for all has picked up steam on the Democratic left. This started as a bumper sticker among those who take it on faith that Bernie Sanders would have defeated Donald Trump, but increasingly it’s showing up in the more normalized corridors of power.

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Democrats Surrender The High Ground

For the last several years of the Obama presidency, Democrats claimed a moral and economic high ground when it came to the United States debt ceiling…

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Congratulations, you’re a developer now!

So, my website is down. Again.

Here’s something they never told me about working as a journalist. It turns out that these days you also have to be a part-time web developer, especially when you work freelance.

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Why Don’t We Cover Substance?

“Why won’t the media cover the issues? Why do reporters pay attention to Trump’s words instead of his actions? I’m sick of media burying the substance.”

If you’re like me, you’ve heard some version of this concern, that we in the media spend too much time writing about politics instead of substance.

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Notes From an Accidental Economist

I have about as much background in economics as that hamster who eats things on YouTube. Maybe less since, given his pageviews, Chicken the hamster often deals with much bigger numbers than I do.

But I still write about money a lot.

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On Pitching

I think I get this question more often than just about any other:

How do you pitch stories?

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Social media and the modern journo

I stink at social media.

For anyone who has checked out my Twitter or Facebook accounts, surprises come no smaller. I command a proud following of 14 followers at current count, and the last time I updated my Facebook profile comic movies still seemed like a bold experiment.

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If you like your doctor… Part II

For the first two reasons I have never seriously dinged Obamacare for “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” see here.

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If you like your doctor… Part I

When criticizing Obamacare, right wing commenters often cite President Barak Obama’s infamous promise “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” (See, for example, this piece by Ross Douthat.)

Their criticism is both more than fair and often made in bad faith.

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What’s wrong with the AHCA

The American Health Care Act is one of the worst pieces of legislation I have ever reviewed in my time as a journalist.

Here’s why.

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One of the biggest tax myths

Can we clear something up that’s been bothering me?

Thanks.

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