Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 11, 2010

RICHARD SHELBY, THE NOBEL COMMITTEE IS HOLDING ON LINE ONE.... President Obama sent three qualified nominees to the Senate several months ago to serve on the board of governors of the Federal Reserve. Two were confirmed after significant delays. The third, MIT's Peter Diamond, was blocked by Senate Republicans.

It appears that the Nobel Prize committee was more impressed with Diamond than the GOP was.

The 2010 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science was awarded on Monday to Peter A. Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen and Christopher A Pissarides for their work on markets where buyers and sellers have difficulty finding each other, in particular in labor markets.

For decades, the researchers have studied what happens when a market is not made up of identical, cookie-cutter units -- as is true with the job market, where all workers have different skills and weakness. In many cases, there are significant search costs to finding the ideal match between a buyer and a seller of a good, like the job to a job-seeker.

Keep in mind, he appears to have been blocked by one conservative senator, Alabama's Richard Shelby (R), who said Diamond, among the most accomplished economists of his generation, lacked the necessary qualifications for the Fed.

Diamond's Nobel prize in economics makes Shelby look a little more ridiculous this morning.

The Alabaman has argued that Diamond's background is not in monetary policy, which is true, but it's hardly a prerequisite -- of the five sitting Fed governors at the time of Diamond's nomination, three are not specialists in monetary economics. One of Bush's appointees has no advanced degree in economics and has never done any academic research in the field. Shelby never raised questions about his qualifications and didn't hesitate to support that nomination.

Diamond's expertise -- the scholarship that produced a Nobel prize -- is in understanding competing kinds of unemployment. Paul Krugman, himself a Nobel winner, recently noted that "there's an ongoing dispute over what the rise in vacancies without a corresponding fall in unemployment means," and as luck would have it, Diamond "pioneered the whole study of this subject."

And yet, Republicans haven't allowed Diamond to have an up-or-down vote. Here's hoping the Nobel announcement can propel Diamond's nomination in the lame-duck session.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Nomination, sure, but get the word out to the public of how the Republicans OKed a guy without serious qualifications and are blocking a guy with the Nobel Prize. The public does not see the chaos their ideology is causing.

Posted by: Bob M on October 11, 2010 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

In Richard Shelby's world, if you're a Nobel Prize winner in economics, but were nominated by Obama, you're not qualified. If, however, you didn't give Richard Shelby the right change from a $20 bill at the Wawa he was at, but were nominated by Goerge W. Bush, you're perfectly qualified to be on the Fed.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on October 11, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Diamond's Nobel prize in economics makes Shelby look a little more ridiculous this morning."

No. Shelby's behavior makes Shelby look ridiculous. the Nobel Prize just reminds us.

"Here's hoping the Nobel announcement can propel Diamond's nomination in the lame-duck session."

I'm not holding my breath. That will require Democrats to stand up and take action.

Posted by: pheski on October 11, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Paul Krugman has also won the Nobel Prize for Economics and he stands about as much chance of Senate confirmation as I do.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on October 11, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind, when a Republican says someone "... lack[s] the necessary qualifications for the Fed ..." what he or she means is "... lack[s] the necessary connections to large corporations for the Fed ..."

Posted by: chrenson on October 11, 2010 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

-Just another example of Republicans hating Science, Education, and. . .oh, hell; anything "New".

(Remember the proposal, in the late 19th Century, to abolish the Patent Office, because "everything had been invented"?)

Posted by: DAY on October 11, 2010 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Since the "intelligent" side of the Tea Party wants to abolish the Fed, it probably doesn't matter what a Southern yahoo does. Remember, Tea Partiers are very serious about fiscal matters! Just ask them why the Fed should be abolished. That's when the fun really starts.

Posted by: walt on October 11, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Diamond's Nobel prize in economics makes Shelby look a little more ridiculous this morning.

Since when have Republicans paid any price, any price whatsoever, for looking ridiculous?

Same issue by a Democrat = made to look ridiculous by the media.

Republican? "That's a principled fellow."

Posted by: terraformer on October 11, 2010 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

When are the democrats, including Obama, going to figure out that placating the neoCon right wing does not slow down their invalid behavior?

Posted by: Dredd on October 11, 2010 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

So the requirement for confirmation is now routinely 100% of the Senate?

Posted by: Tom Allen on October 11, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK
The public does not see the chaos their ideology is causing.

The public loves the chaos their ideology is causing, and is about to ask for more of it at the polls. Because the chaos is good theater.

Krugman and co. are fighting a theological battle with graphs. They're trying to fix an economy, while the median voter has abandoned himself to a morality play.

Via the elections, he or she is about to give it four stars. And why wouldn't they? They get to be the hero/victim. People they hate -- immigrants, hippies, gays, women, liberals, colored people -- get to be the villains. And the narrative arc is as familiar and comfortable as their peculiar version of the Bible. Comes dressed up with a little sex, too.

They'll sit hungry in the seats to watch, and feel privileged to have tickets.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 11, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Dredd has it right. When dealing with the right the Dems need to remember, if you "give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile."

Posted by: GNOP on October 11, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Winning a Nobel disqualifies him in right wing world. The Nobel committee is a bunch of socialists. As for Bush's nominee without an advance degree in economics, I am sure he had real bidness experience

Posted by: Vickijean on October 11, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Well to feel shame you have to be self aware. So Senator Shelby will blunder on.

If at first you don't succeed blunder again

Posted by: Jamie on October 11, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Well of course the Nobel committed thought Diamond was worth their prize while Shelby did not. Diamond is an actual, real researcher who does original research instead of a propagandist for some idiot libertarian economist the way Dick Armey and Phil Gramm were.

Check the academic records. Real researchers have stuff published in reputable peer-reviewed journals and they get citations from other researchers who think they have actually contributed to scientific knowledge. As Gramm and Armey demonstrated, the libertarian propagandists can't get published because they have nothing of value to say.

The conservative economists attribute their failure to be published to liberal bias, but the fact is they offer nothing of any value to extending real knowledge. Conservatives hate research and extending real knowledge. It upsets their nice, safe, unchanging little worlds.

Shelby is a real conservative, of course.

Posted by: Rick B on October 11, 2010 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Pissarides? PISS. A. RIDES?

I'm glad he gets this opportunity to laugh at the kids who made his life hell in junior high.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on October 11, 2010 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah but, everyone knows that the Nobel committee is socialist and they give Nobel prizes to unqualified people.

Hell, they even gave one to that nig - I mean "that one."

Posted by: Winkandanod on October 11, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Heartland thanks good Richard Shelby for standing up to another diabolical elite from Brainland.

The Constant Weader at www.RealityChex.com

Posted by: Marie Burns on October 11, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

As a European, American politics increasingly resemble a comedy sketch show. It's like daily entertainment for me whilst I lament the dumbfuckery of the politics of my piece of the planet.

It would be funnier if it weren't so fucking sad that the great US of A seems to be run by a bunch of idiot children in a sandbox.

Posted by: Christ on October 12, 2010 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK

that's kind of spot on actually... "politics" may be more accurate though... as day to day the government does a lot of things that aren't that entertaining.

Posted by: Eric on October 12, 2010 at 5:36 AM | PERMALINK

Since when is Shelby qualified to pass judgement on a Nobel Prize winner in Econonmics??? Does he even know what the Nobels stand for??? Oh I forgot...The GOP do not want qualified Obama people as they do not want Obama to suceed in any
respect. They would no longer be able to critisize the economy and lack of jobs!!!

Posted by: B. McGregor on October 19, 2010 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK



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