Stick to baseball, 2/10/18.

My one new piece for Insiders this week covers the Cubs signing Yu Darvish to a six-year deal. I also held a Klawchat on Thursday.

I reviewed the new, light strategy board game Majesty: For the Realm for Paste this week.

I’ve been sending out my free email newsletter a bit more regularly now that the prospect work is over. Also, Smart Baseball will be out in paperback on March 13th; you can pre-order it on amazon or elsewhere, although at the moment the hardcover version is about $1 cheaper.

And now, the links…


  1. “The tax cut gave a disproportionate benefit to higher-income earners, even though it’s far from clear that this will do anything to stimulate the economy; there’s a competing school of thought that savings and/or consumption do more to drive growth. ”

    I’m not following this. Savings (that is, investment) is the opposite of consumption, no? What I don’t spend, I save (and the bank lends to someone, so it’s an investment). High earners are more likely to save more, since low earners have to spend most of their income just to get by. If savings/investment is driving the economy (as I believe), the tax cut might stimulate the economy (though it’s never enough to offset its own cost); if it’s consumption, this tax cut won’t do it.

    What am I missing?

    • My understanding is that, when interest rates are ~0.00 from the Fed, tax cuts are unlikely to stimulate investment since investment cash is already readily available. The argument is that, since there’s already more than enough available cash to meet the current demand for investment, then adding more via a tax cut is just going to give investors a surplus that will go straight into their pockets rather than back into the economy (which many of the larger companies have already said is exactly what they plan to do with their tax cuts). Tax cuts can stimulate the economy when investment capital is scares and/or expensive, but there’s a lot of skepticism that cutting taxes now (and paying for them with massive deficits) will have much impact on investment.

  2. A shame that his equivocation of Hitler to Obama prevented him from assigning “Mein Kampf”. I guess he could have substituted “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as It would have fit in nicely with some of those other titles. Guess I’ll go drink a beer and lament this missed opportunity for the next generation of bigots from Alabama.

    • Of course, if we want to make presidential-fuhrer parallels, the better one is Donald Trump. I do an exercise about demagoguery where I change eight words from Trump’s announcement speech, and it plausibly looks like a passage from Mein Kampf.

  3. Gerrymandering only seems to be bad when Republicans are drawing the maps. The Democratic Party needs a strategy to win more races down the ballot and it will be their turn to draw.

    I don’t understand the outrage of the $1.50 per week tweet. Some people just think that way. If I can save $5 per week on something I think it will add up to something nice over the course of the year.

    I prepare about 110 tax returns each year and about 10 of my clients have $0 liability. They won’t get a tax cut because it is impossible to pay less than $0. My wife and I paid about $30k of income tax alone in 2016. I figure I will save about $3k. I am not sorry that I get to keep more of my money.

    • No, gerrymandering is bad when anyone does it. It’s just that the GOP made it a big part of their long-term strategic plan, since they knew/know they are the minority party. So, they are the ones being criticized. The only state that is majorly gerrymandered in the Democrats’ direction is Maryland, compared to about a dozen that are majorly gerrymandered in the Republicans’ direction (Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, West Virginia, etc.) And it’s sad that your solution is that two wrongs make a right, as opposed to, “Let’s hope SCOTUS strikes down partisan gerrymanders in Gill v. Whitford.”

      Do you really not understand the problem with the $1.50 tweet? That it’s a tiny, tiny amount of money, compared to the vast sums that will be given back to the very wealthy and/or corporations? That it looks wildly out of touch for a party that has also proclaimed that a $1,000 tax break is enough to buy a car or renovate your kitchen?

      And similarly, do you really not understand that you getting to keep more of your money could, quite conceivably, have long-term consequences that mean that you get to keep less of your money? That unwise short-term economic policy can do severe long-term damage? If you are unclear this point, I suggest you take a look at what happened in Kansas in the past four years. Or during the Bush presidency.

    • A Salty Scientist

      1) Gerrymandering reduces the number of competitive districts and increases political polarization. It disenfranchises citizens and is bad for democracy. The solution shouldn’t be for the opposite party to gerrymander in their own favor following wave elections.

      2) It’s a little tone deaf for a wealthy individual to congratulate someone making a lot less on their newfound $80. But as a libby lib, I’ll concede that there is confirmation bias when it comes to noticing things like this.

      3) I dont’ begrudge someone for being happy about more take home pay. I am annoyed that extremely wealthy individuals get a larger percentage cut (not just raw dollars, but percentage of income) than the middle class. And I do believe that the increasing deficits will be used later as an excuse to cut entitlements down the road. I also find the most of the Obama presidency deficit hawks to be pretty hypocritical right now.

  4. My father has worked to set up foster care facilities in nearby Hendersonville, NC, as well as homes for abused mothers and their children. The opioid crisis there is indeed horrific, and not made better by the attitudes of many locals — at-risk populations need housing close by to other services for the poor, as they typically lack their own transportation. But the downtown areas of these small cities are hugged closely by residential areas, the inhabitants of which tend to fight the zoning variances that these facilities often require.

  5. Not that I am arguing for coal but something that really isn’t talked about is how you are essentially cooling earths core with geothermal energy. What kind of impact could that have if we actually used geothermal on a wide scale?

  6. Its not the size of your paycheck that matters, its what you are able to do with it. The whole discussion about tax cuts is fucking stupid, because, as a nation, we look at about 1/4 of the relevant information and decide thats all thats important. There is less than zero chance that the tax cut that the middle class is seeing is going to increase the purchasing power of the middle class. On the other hand, there is a very large chance that this tax cut will shift a significant percentage of the nations wealth upwards to the already obscenely wealthy.

  7. Mayfair Games? They are a seriously venerable company. Long before Catan they published gems like Empire Builder and the 18XX rail games, great beer and pretzels card games like Family Business and Encounters (I would kill to find a copy of Encounters.) Lookout is a good mobile company, hopefully the new stewards of Mayfair’s legacy realize the historical importance of their acquisition.

  8. I Wish I'd Pursued Your Career Path

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