Josh Barro Profile picture
Columnist for Business Insider. Host of KCRW's Left, Right & Center & cohost w/ @popehat of All the President's Lawyers. Instagram: @ joshbarro
Birger Leth Profile picture Drew Tagliabue Profile picture Puneet Kollipara Profile picture 3 added to My Authors
12 Jan
My price target for Bitcoin has been $0 for years and obviously I've been proved wrong over and over, but I'm still right about the larger truth, which is that Bitcoin is stupid. nytimes.com/2021/01/12/tec…
"Of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin, around 20 percent — currently worth around $140 billion — appear to be in lost or otherwise stranded wallets, according to the cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis." lol what a cool asset class
This doesn't happen to mutual funds!
Read 6 tweets
10 Jan
In Arizona and to a lesser extent Georgia, the GOP seems intent on accelerating the blue trend in the state instead of slowing it.
This may be a "nothing succeeds like success" thing? In states getting more red (like Ohio) the GOP seems to be actually trying to win by more.
Florida being the other key example. Republicans have actually tried to win Hispanic votes and it paid off.
Read 7 tweets
9 Jan
Since we're talking about Olive Garden, it's a good opportunity to revisit that private equity powerpoint deck from 2014, which said things like Olive Garden loses $5 million a year because it wastes so many breadsticks. businessinsider.com/starboard-tran…
People slag Wall Street, but "if you don't give people so many goddamn breadsticks they didn't ask for, maybe they'll be more likely to order dessert" is a good insight.
They also criticized Olive Garden for overpaying for asparagus due to imposing "tight length and spear specs" on suppliers and for using custom-size straws.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
This is because more male goods-producing industries (like construction and manufacturing) continued to add jobs while service-producing industries (especially leisure and hospitality) lost jobs.
This month's trend is heavily due to the 3rd wave. But the trend since February also has job losses concentrated among women, due to job losses not just in leisure & hospitality but also education and retail. Economy-wide, service consumption is down more than goods consumption.
More women than men have also stopped working due to pandemic-related child care disruptions.
Read 6 tweets
9 Jan
Looking forward to the rental-car-industry-level user interface on the president's Twitter competitor app.
Sorry, this is unfair to Enterprise.
Read 6 tweets
8 Jan
Flying to Washington to riot on a weekday isn't exactly a working-class hobby.
There's something strangely bourgeois about the whole thing. Like the nightmare guests at the Grand Hyatt, in town for the riot, who wouldn't wear their masks in the lobby.
(By the way, as Grand Hyatts go, that's not a very good one -- weird layouts and rooms whose only window is onto an indoor courtyard.)
Read 4 tweets
7 Jan
He is really the whiniest little baby
The problem with Josh Hawley's theory of politics is that being a sociopath and being a whiny little baby are only two of Trump's many traits, and copying them alone will not get you elected president. Trump also, for example, has charisma.
Read 4 tweets
7 Jan
One thing that's happened since the pandemic is I've been eating a lot more oatmeal, and I've formed some opinions about oatmeal best practices. First of all, oatmeal really ought to be cooked on the stovetop from non-quick cooking oats. It's easy and the texture is way better.
Oatmeal is a grain like any other and it needs to be seasoned as you would season rice. It needs fat and salt, even if you're going to have it sweetened.
My go-to sweet oatmeal is with butter, maple syrup, and fresh berries (and salt -- 1/4 tsp kosher salt for 75g of dry oats). For savory oatmeal, try it with salt plus pepper, good olive oil, parmesan cheese, and the zest of half a lemon.
Read 7 tweets
7 Jan
This is the least fun manifestation of the Cuomo-BDB feud
One reason New York mayors and governors always hate each other is NYC does a lot of functions normally reserved to state governments, so they have more opportunities for turf wars.
For whatever reason, they seem to get along better when they’re not from the same party.
Read 4 tweets
7 Jan
"When something's ugly, talking about beauty isn't just permissible, talking about beauty is obligatory," says Sen. Sasse, never wavering from his commitment to florid-yet-vacuous rhetoric.
Sen. Chance the Gardener (R-Neb.)
Now he's talking about getting from a silver frame to a golden apple, and about little league.
Read 4 tweets
5 Jan
So we hear a lot of "shaming doesn't work," and of past examples of epidemics where shaming didn't work, or was counterproductive, but I'm wondering if this is over-learned like "travel bans don't work." What if the shaming relates to activity that can't easily be concealed?
Like, the shame story with HIV is clear: you attach stigma to the disease and then people don't want to get tested, or don't want to disclose their status, and they can keep engaging in risk behaviors without telling the world. How comparable is that to COVID?
I don't know the answer. I'm not pro-shame. Also, unpleasant social interactions have their own costs even when they do "work" at the margin. But I think there's been a problem where past empirical results get turned into general principles that aren't actually so general.
Read 4 tweets
29 Dec 20
This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Intertemporal distribution is possible bc of international trade. More cash doesn’t have to just chase a fixed-ish quantity of goods and services; we can buy more goods this year and next from abroad. In fact, the trade deficit is already way up.
That’s made possible by net saving in other countries, and because our government borrows money to issue the checks, we’ll offset it with more net saving in future years to pay off that debt.
This seems abstract but it’s literally what happens when people take their stimulus checks and go buy electronics.
Read 5 tweets
27 Dec 20
One of the surveys this story relies on to claim a sweeping climate stress problem is a Harris poll conducted for the American Psychological Association. This is where the 47% number comes from. Is this number plausible? Do other results from this survey make sense? Let’s look.
That poll first asks if climate change is the most important problem facing society today. 56% say yes. But what if you don’t ask a leading question? We can compare; Gallup asks open-ended what’s the biggest problem facing the country. Only ~3% give environment-related answers.
So we can see that priming people by asking directly if climate change is today’s most important problem, you can get more than an extra 50% to say yes compared to how many would say that unprompted. Already a bad sign about this data.
Read 6 tweets
23 Dec 20
What Klobuchar said is an attack on every American is Trump’s suggestion he might veto the relief bill. Just endless bad faith commentary about this process from left-wing commentators who prefer Trump over mainstream Democrats.
People are waiting on all sorts of provisions that are in this package. Unemployment benefits are about to expire. The idea this is a productive opportunity to reopen the package negotiations is nuts. We have seen Trump float things like this before, it is not a real negotiation.
What Pelosi is doing is a clever political tactic. And I’m sure she’d be glad to send up a bill to increase the size of the checks. But it doesn’t mean Pelosi wants or is asking for a veto, let alone that she’d want to sustain it, and that is all completely obvious.
Read 4 tweets
22 Dec 20
Very strange article in the Washington Post, about a town that declined to use pretextual zoning to violate the rights of a church with offensive practices, that doesn't even speak with anyone who argues that following the First Amendment is a good thing. washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/…
We get this quote from a Northwestern sociologist who says the First Amendment is racist, nothing from anyone about how it protects the rights of disfavored minorities.
I understand that news outlets are hiring staff who disproportionately subscribe to a very specific, left-wing ideology that is heavily influenced by academia, but they should still understand that's not the whole audience they're writing for.
Read 5 tweets
20 Dec 20
ACIP has taken another crack at recommending vaccine priority after healthcare workers. Instead of essential workers before seniors, it’s 75+ together with the most exposed workers, followed by 65+ with other essential workers & people with co-morbidities. cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/…
I don’t know if this is exactly right (and it’s just a recommendation) but it clearly makes more sense than the last version.
Here’s how they define the approximately 1/3 of essential workers who are “frontline.”
Read 6 tweets
19 Dec 20
Oh good lord. This is how a fake progressive councilman justifies blocking an eight-story residential building (which would be required to contain affordable housing) in a census tract with a median income over $200,000 right next to downtown Brooklyn. “Context”
There’s always some goddamn story
Oh not here, not on MY precious block, the context!, the context!, I can’t be near a tall building in NEW YORK CITY!
Read 4 tweets
18 Dec 20
You're not allowed to pee anymore, but fortunately this is yet another joint state-city thing so Cuomo and De Blasio will be able to blame each other for you not being allowed to pee.
This rule, of course, is insanity. The reason we prohibit indoor dining is people sit with their masks off and spray aerosols in each other's faces. Walking through a restaurant to a garden or using the bathroom is no different from entering a retail store, which is allowed.
Update: New York has relented and you are allowed to pee again. ny.eater.com/2020/12/18/221…
Read 4 tweets
16 Dec 20
CNBC needs to take the ticker off, it's blocking the scales on Jay Powell's slides
I remain confused how the Fed intends to put off rate increases until inflation is set to exceed 2 percent for some period and yet the Fed's economic estimates don't show inflation getting over 2 percent at any time.
I guess the theory is that inflation will be over 2 percent at some point beyond the fed's window of annual projections (2024 or 2025?) but the "longer run" inflation expectation is still 2 percent
Read 4 tweets
11 Dec 20
What a lot of people are looking for here is the thing that finally makes Republicans stop claiming Trump won, or that finally provides an authoritative and *uncontested* account of the election. As Josh notes, that can't happen because some people won't hear of it.
What you can get, and will get, is Joe Biden's inauguration. That's what I'm looking for and that's why I feel at peace. If you're waiting for Donald Trump to admit he's a loser who sucks, or for his party to treat him like one, you're just going to make yourself mad.
The most valid worry people have here is that this is setting precedents that will undermine future elections. I worry about that some, but not as much as other people -- I think mostly our institutions have shown they work well. But that risk would be *exacerbated* if...
Read 4 tweets
10 Dec 20
People who really like cast iron pans and people who really like libraries have similar approaches to Twitter.
Personally I think the idea of a pan you can’t wash is kind of nonsense. I have an enameled cast iron pan I use for steaks sometimes but the best thing for searing is to put a griddle on top of your gas grill.
Some division in my replies between cast iron devotees telling me you obviously can wash cast iron and other cast iron devotees telling them you obviously can’t. Off message! You know what you can wash? Stainless steel. In the dishwasher, if you like.
Read 5 tweets