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March 12, 2014
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I've written before about the alarming consensus developing in certain wonkish circles that suddenly labor markets are tightening up, and accelerating inflation is just waiting in the wings. Paul Krugman has now weighed in several times against these "inflationistas," and his latest effort is the most comprehensive.

He adduces four arguments: First, measured wage growth is probably to some extent a statistical artifact representing the fact that during bad weather hourly workers, who are paid less, tend to be idled — making measured wages only seem to increase. Second, if you look closely at the data, the case for wage growth even existing at all is barely there. Third, wage increases are well below what they were before the financial crisis, and everything we've learned since then suggests that a greater fraction of GDP coming in the form of wages would be highly beneficial.

The fourth is especially interesting, though:

Fourth, there's good reason to believe that everyone is working with the wrong paradigm here. Ever since the 1970s, textbook macroeconomics — reflecting the experience of the 1970s — has assumed an "accelerationist" framework, in which low unemployment leads not just to rising wages but to an ever-rising rate of wage increase. But the actual data haven't looked like that for a long time. Since the mid-1990s, in fact, they have looked much more like an old-fashioned Phillips curve, with a relationship between the unemployment rate and the level of wage increase, not the rate of change of wage increase. [New York Times]

This brings to mind a Steve Randy Waldman post arguing that the economics profession has completely misinterpreted the 1970s, and the accelerationist view was wrong even back then. By this reading, inflation is even less of a concern than people assume. If true, this loads the policy scale even more heavily on the side of stimulating like mad.

Of course, as Krugman says, regardless of who is actually right about this, the relative risks involved clearly militate on the side of stimulus. One doesn't have to buy the Waldman view of the '70s for that — it will hold regardless.

In other words: Damn the inflation, Captain Yellen, full speed ahead! Ryan Cooper

8:07 p.m. ET
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The final Republican presidential debate before Tuesday's New Hampshire primary kicks off Saturday at 8 p.m. EST in Manchester, New Hampshire. The debate hosted by ABC News marks the first since Monday's Iowa caucuses. Participating are Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Candidates Jim Gilmore and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina did not make the cut.

Catch the full debate livestream below or at ABCNews.com. Becca Stanek

2:19 p.m. ET
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced executive orders Saturday intended to ban LGBT conversion therapy in the state, BuzzFeed News reports.

Both public and private insurers are banned from reimbursing the therapy, which aims to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, for minors. And facilities funded, licensed, or operated by New York will not be allowed to offer conversion therapy to minors.

"We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBT young people for simply being who they are," Cuomo said in a statement.

New York joins Washington, D.C., and states including Illinois, New Jersey, and California in banning conversion therapy. In April, President Obama called for an end to the practice. Julie Kliegman

1:40 p.m. ET

Don't panic, but Twitter might shake up your reverse chronological feed as soon as next week, BuzzFeed News reported Friday. They're already testing a new feature — an algorithm designed to put tweets you want to see near the top of your feed — with a small number of users.

There's reason to believe the switch, which would look a lot like your Facebook feed's out-of-order posts, will be optional:

Twitter declined to comment on feed changes. Julie Kliegman

12:55 p.m. ET

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is in the middle of dealing with a crisis in Flint, where lead pipes have contaminated the drinking water. While addressing a grave concern in an impoverished city, Snyder celebrated his wife's birthday with quite an upscale-looking cake from an Ann Arbor bakery, MLive reports:

Interesting choice of optics. Julie Kliegman

12:22 p.m. ET
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MSNBC pundit Melissa Harris-Perry called out the Democratic Party on Saturday for a lack of diversity in an "anemic" candidate pool.

"I would argue that for me, Thursday night, watching Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — we are in New Hampshire — and our party is so anemic. We are down to two candidates, right?" Harris-Perry said. "Say what you want to say about the mad house going on on the Republican side."

For Harris-Perry, the primary field bears some resemblance to a certain other much talked about national event: "It's whiter than the Oscars up in here." Julie Kliegman

11:37 a.m. ET
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You may or may not be excited for football, but chances are you're pretty amped about the food associated with Super Bowl Sunday.

Here are some striking numbers courtesy of ABC News regarding what U.S. viewers are expected to wolf down as the Denver Broncos face the Carolina Panthers:

12 million — Americans watching from restaurants and bars

48 million — takeout and deliver orders

139.4 million — pounds of avocados

1.3 billion — chicken wings, a 3 percent increase over 2015

$15.5 billion — total Super Bowl spending

Happy eating. Julie Kliegman

10:51 a.m. ET

Saturday would've marked Babe Ruth's 121st birthday. To honor The Great Bambino, relive the glory of his first-ever New York Times profile. It's from way back in 1915, and it has some real gems:

The paper of record described the soon-to-be-record-setting slugger as "peculiar" and "built like a bale of cotton."

"What the Yanks evidently need are some peculiar left-handed pitchers," the profile went on to say, to counter Ruth, who then pitched for the rival Boston Red Sox.

Either that, or perhaps they just needed to make the trade of the century. Julie Kliegman

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