No Picture

North Carolina’s Fickle Finger of Redistricting

09/06/2017 Walter Olson 0

The pictures tell the story:

The drafters of a North Carolina redistricting plan drew a finger of land from a state senator’s district to take in a second home he’d recently built outside its bounds.

From what I’ve seen in my work on redistricting issues in Maryland and elsewhere, there’s nothing unusual about this tactic (except maybe how blatantly it was done). Often, as in this case, the finger method does not appear to have been welcome to the lawmaker in question, but serves to limit his options or keep him out of a district where he might run strongly.

In my chapter on this subject on Cato’s recently updated Handbook for Policymakers, I wrote:

The American system tends to leave the power of redistricting in the hands of the same officials whose careers are at stake, and they have routinely misused that power to draw lines with the aim of electing or defeating one or another candidate or party….Redistricting reform makes sense for its own sake and as a safeguard against the entrenchment and insulation of a permanent political class.

It would also keep rival lawmakers from giving each other – not to mention the voters – the finger.

No Picture

North Carolina’s Fickle Finger of Redistricting

09/06/2017 Walter Olson 0

The pictures tell the story:

The drafters of a North Carolina redistricting plan drew a finger of land from a state senator’s district to take in a second home he’d recently built outside its bounds.

From what I’ve seen in my work on redistricting issues in Maryland and elsewhere, there’s nothing unusual about this tactic (except maybe how blatantly it was done). Often, as in this case, the finger method does not appear to have been welcome to the lawmaker in question, but serves to limit his options or keep him out of a district where he might run strongly.

In my chapter on this subject on Cato’s recently updated Handbook for Policymakers, I wrote:

The American system tends to leave the power of redistricting in the hands of the same officials whose careers are at stake, and they have routinely misused that power to draw lines with the aim of electing or defeating one or another candidate or party….Redistricting reform makes sense for its own sake and as a safeguard against the entrenchment and insulation of a permanent political class.

It would also keep rival lawmakers from giving each other – not to mention the voters – the finger.

No Picture

Stanley Fischer Is Out at the Fed

09/06/2017 C.Jay Engel 0

By: C.Jay Engel
fischer.PNG

Fed Vice Chair and Yellen ally Stanely Fischer announced his unexpected resignation today, citing “personal reasons.” His term as a Fed governor wasn’t to be over until 2020 and his vice chairmanship was to end June of next year.

Fischer was one of the three most important Fed members, the other two being Yellen herself and the New York Fed’s William Dudley. The WSJ reports:

Mr. Fischer came to the Fed in 2014 a luminary in central banking, having taught many leading policy makers during a more-than two decade career as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specializing in international economics. His students included European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Mr. Fischer also ran a central bank—the Bank of Israel—from 2005 to 2013, held a senior post at the International Monetary Fund and served as a Citigroup vice chairman.

In terms of the insider status of these central bankers, Mr. Fischer was “Mr. Establishment.” Well educated in the machinations of how to control an economy from the top, Fischer was an expert bureaucrat. On paper, Fischer was among the most qualified in the world to be tasked with impossible role of making us more prosperous by diktat.

In reality, Fischer, to the extent he had a marked influence on central bankers like Draghi, Bernanke, Yellen, and so many others, was a key player in the boom-and-bust system of modern monetary economics. Under his watch, we had two major and devastating recessions— the cause of which was not Fischer’s failure individually, but the inflationary framework that pervades them all.

Fischer was considered to have leaned “hawkish” by the financial press. In the old days of Paul Volcker, a hawk was one wary of dangers of rising inflation. This was juxtaposed to a dove, who would downplay the dangers of inflation and advise greater monetary expansion. But in the post-crisis era of the so-called “new normal,” where interest rates are to remain absurdly low and inflation must be targeted at 2%, the hawks have long gone extinct. Fischer was no hawk, he was a cheerleader of the quadrupling of the Fed’s balance sheet, an advocate of unprecedented credit creation, and a hater of sound money.

It remains to be seen where Fischer will go next. But his undying advocacy of the use of central banking to tinker with and manage the economy will live on.

See also:

No Picture

Stanley Fischer Is Out at the Fed

09/06/2017 C.Jay Engel 0

By: C.Jay Engel
fischer.PNG

Fed Vice Chair and Yellen ally Stanely Fischer announced his unexpected resignation today, citing “personal reasons.” His term as a Fed governor wasn’t to be over until 2020 and his vice chairmanship was to end June of next year.

Fischer was one of the three most important Fed members, the other two being Yellen herself and the New York Fed’s William Dudley. The WSJ reports:

Mr. Fischer came to the Fed in 2014 a luminary in central banking, having taught many leading policy makers during a more-than two decade career as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specializing in international economics. His students included European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Mr. Fischer also ran a central bank—the Bank of Israel—from 2005 to 2013, held a senior post at the International Monetary Fund and served as a Citigroup vice chairman.

In terms of the insider status of these central bankers, Mr. Fischer was “Mr. Establishment.” Well educated in the machinations of how to control an economy from the top, Fischer was an expert bureaucrat. On paper, Fischer was among the most qualified in the world to be tasked with impossible role of making us more prosperous by diktat.

In reality, Fischer, to the extent he had a marked influence on central bankers like Draghi, Bernanke, Yellen, and so many others, was a key player in the boom-and-bust system of modern monetary economics. Under his watch, we had two major and devastating recessions— the cause of which was not Fischer’s failure individually, but the inflationary framework that pervades them all.

Fischer was considered to have leaned “hawkish” by the financial press. In the old days of Paul Volcker, a hawk was one wary of dangers of rising inflation. This was juxtaposed to a dove, who would downplay the dangers of inflation and advise greater monetary expansion. But in the post-crisis era of the so-called “new normal,” where interest rates are to remain absurdly low and inflation must be targeted at 2%, the hawks have long gone extinct. Fischer was no hawk, he was a cheerleader of the quadrupling of the Fed’s balance sheet, an advocate of unprecedented credit creation, and a hater of sound money.

It remains to be seen where Fischer will go next. But his undying advocacy of the use of central banking to tinker with and manage the economy will live on.

See also: