Not to get too much into inflation index arcana but it looks like the typical household — say you didn’t buy or rent a car this spring — has not actually been exposed to much inflationary pressure (so far) despite the high average inflation.
Relatedly, people’s self-assessment of their financial situation is pretty strong even as consumers express doubt that now is a good time to buy things and feel kinda meh about overall economic conditions.
Given the really large role rental car fleet replenishment and used cars are playing, I wonder if there’s a role for the GSA to deliberately stall on fleet vehicle purchases for the next twelve months or whatever.

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More from @mattyglesias

10 Jun
The NRCC’s message for the midterms is wages went up too much under Biden and they’ll keep people poorer?

nrcc.org/2021/06/09/you…
Superficially this sounds good, but have you considered that suppressing the pandemic and stimulating the economy has raised demand and wages leading to a 38 cent increase in the price of a barbacoa burrito?
I think there’s a pretty fundamental difference between a price increase in an inelastic, non-discretionary space like gas or groceries & one like takeout burritos where it’s easy to walk away.

That’s why even though the used car thing is so idiosyncratic it’s still troubling.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
Here's a good GSS question on free speech: "Now consider a Muslim clergyman who preaches hatred of the United States. A. If such a person wanted to make a speech in your community preaching hatred of the United States, should he be allowed to speak, or not?"
What I like about it is that anti-American Islamism is genuinely super-unpopular with all major factions of American politics.

Nobody sees that cleric as an ally. So it really is just a test of people's commitment to free speech and that commitment is ... tepid.
There's no big party gap, but men are more supportive of free speech than women and more educated people are more supportive than the less educated.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
I think the best question @BCAppelbaum raises here is the quiet dispute between him and Warren Buffett about the social impact of vast wealth passing tax free into charitable foundations.

nyti.ms/3imQZ3Y
Buffett’s view is that his charitable giving supports important causes and that marginal reductions in the national debt are not important.

I am sympathetic to this argument!
But as @BCAppelbaum briefly alludes to here, there’s no IRS requirement that your charitable giving actually be effective or really even “charitable” in any kind of normal sense.
Read 4 tweets
7 Jun
Today’s free Slow Boring post is all about parking — specifically the nearly ubiquitous rules that require builders of basically everything to provide more than a market amount of parking.

These rules are really bad.

slowboring.com/p/the-case-for…
A number of cities have recently adopting parking reforms — including a notable one in Minneapolis which is big — and successfully gotten themselves cheaper, more abundant housing.

slowboring.com/p/the-case-for…
But the biggest parking reform yet could be coming to California where a strong bipartisan majority just backed a huge statewide reform over opponents’ incoherent objections.

slowboring.com/p/the-case-for…
Read 4 tweets
6 Jun
Something I don't really understand about the American government is sometimes congress will pass a law directing an agency to do something — update sonic boom regulations by the end of 2020, for example — and then the agency just doesn't do it.

cnbc.com/2018/09/24/us-…
Or like in 2015, Congress told Amtrak to reevaluate its boarding procedures so they produced an Inspector General report conceding that there is no actual reason for these procedures but then they didn't change them.

vox.com/2018/12/4/1812…
Oh, wait, per @alex_block the FAA did update the rule ~one week late ... on January 6, 2021 when there was some other stuff in the news.

faa.gov/news/press_rel…
Read 4 tweets

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