New column on why high gas prices have a unique ability to make people feel gloomy about the economy. As I said a couple days ago, the crank theory that I nonetheless believe is that high gas prices were in part responsible for McAuliffe's defeat in VA.
gen.medium.com/gas-prices-are…
Gas prices are powerful in part simply because they're so much more *visible* than other prices - as you drive down the road, you're ceaselessly reminded of how much gas cost. So they're always salient, in the sense of being easy to call to mind.
And the impact of gas prices politically is also likely not symmetrical - politicians get punished more when gas prices spike (even though they have essentially no control over what's happening) than they get rewarded when gas prices fall.
One other interesting, albeit more speculative, reason why gas prices may have such an outsize impact on our view of the economy is that filling up your gas tank typically requires you to just stand there watching the dollars tick up. It's very different from other consumption.

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More from @JamesSurowiecki

4 Nov
Here's a new interview I did with historian Paul Sabin, whose excellent new book "Public Citizens" shows how, paradoxically, left-liberals like Ralph Nader played a major role in bringing an end to New-Deal-style big-government liberalism in the 1970s.
yalereview.org/article/who-ki…
Public-interest liberals did a lot of good by identifying and attacking problems like regulatory capture, top-down urban planning, and the sacrifice of the environment in the pursuit of GDP growth. But in the process, they helped de-legitimize big-govt liberalism generally.
Sabin's book, and our interview, look at why this happened, and at the challenge of reviving a New-Deal-style vision of government without completely abandoning the public-interest perspective.
Read 5 tweets
2 Nov
1. If the vaccines don't work, what's the explanation for why, in Connecticut, unvaxxed ppl are currently 18x more likely to be hospitalized for Covid than vaxxed ppl of the same age are, and 18x more likely to die from Covid. ImageImage
2. CT vaccinated its seniors early, so it isn't that the vaxxes haven't had time to wane in efficacy. Boosters haven't had time to have an effect, and anyway the unvaxxed's relative hospitalization and death risk has been high all along.
3. And say, as antivaxxers are wont to do, the deaths are "with Covid" rather than "from Covid." The question still stands: why are unvaccinated people being hospitalized and dying with Covid at such a higher rate than the vaxxed if the vaccines don't work?
Read 4 tweets
2 Nov
The Giants are hanging in there, but they're just no fun to watch. They're just such a clunky team. Clunky playcalling, clunky execution, clunky penalties. That was one of the worst end-of-the-half "drives" I've ever seen.
At least look like you know what you're doing out there, instead of bumbling around play after play.
Giants follow up a dismal end-of-the-1st-half drive with a dismal start-of-the-2nd-half drive. They're making the terrible Chiefs defense look good.
Read 5 tweets
30 Oct
This is completely false. Not an incorrect interpretation - totally false. To know the rate of hospitalization w/CLI for vaxxed/previously infected, you would need to know the age-adjusted pct of each in the outside pop. Study doesn't calculate that, because info doesn't exist.
To know whether vaxxed ppl were more likely to be hospitalized w/Covid-like illness, you would need to divide the number of vaxxed ppl hospitalized w/CLI by the # of vaxxed ppl in the community, and adjust for age (since older ppl are more likely to be hospitalized in general).
You would then need to divide the number of unvaxxed, previously infected ppl hospitalized for CLI by the number of those ppl in the community, and compare the rates. But we have no idea of how many unvaxxed, previously infected ppl there are, so the calculation is impossible.
Read 5 tweets
29 Oct
Actually, Puerto Rico has the lowest case rate in the US. It also has the highest vaccination rate in the US.

And one reason FL's case rate is low is that it tests so much less than other states: its positive-test rate is significantly higher than states like CT, VT, even LA.
Right-wingers complain about all the criticism of DeSantis. But if DeSantis and his shills would just stop the endless bragging and acknowledge that he and his team radically misjudged what was going to happen this summer, the criticism would be far more muted.
On July 13, Kyle Lamb - one of DeSantis' "data analysts" - tweeted that the summer surge "likely won't last very long." In fact it was just starting, and thousands of Floridians died over the next 2 1/2 months. Predictions are hard with Covid. But just admit they got it wrong.
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
Stephen A. hits on one of the interestingly underdiscussed issues here, namely Kyrie's insistence on putting his own interests above the team's. Not surprising, given that the NBA is a star-driven rather than a team-driven league, but still striking.
By contrast, 99% of players in the NHL, which is exceedingly team-centered (for good and bad), are now vaxxed - all but four players in the entire league.
The men's major team sport with the lowest vax rate seems to be MLB, which makes sense, since it's the most individual of the four sports. Also interesting that pitchers have been among the most high-profile refuseniks.

By contrast, NFL has a very high vax rate.
Read 4 tweets

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