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Sharknado Congress Fast-Slow

July 30, 2013

Politico: “Alan Krueger: Debt ceiling breach like ‘Sharknado’” by MJ Lee and Jon Prior:

Outgoing White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger has added a new worst case scenario to the list of what could happen later this year if Congress fails to raise the debt limit: sharks falling from the sky.


The article refers to today’s Playbook Lunch with host POLITICO’s Mike Allen (airing right now on CSPAN) in which CEA Chairman Alan Krueger:

“You have this tornado which brings sharks and they land on people’s heads,” he joked at POLITICO’s Playbook Lunch event. “I think if we cross the debt limit, it would be worse for the financial sector.”

Recall last years Taxmaggeddon and Fiscal Cliff, Zombie Congress metaphors. “Sharknado” is more apt metaphor for the upcoming debt-ceiling debates because it’s just so absurd that Congress wouldn’t pay the bills it has already approved… It should pass new laws, but surely we must pay our bills… right?

Zombies might be real, but sharks do not fall from the sky. Right???

What sharks do, is approach extinction because of human over-consumption — like all the other species on this endangered planet (see anthropocene).

Incidentally, Krueger also teaches a class at Princeton and has an office down the hall from ZombieLaw favorite Paul Krugman. Also during this interview Krueger mentions the statistician (or is he a witch?) Nate Silver, Bayes Law and the recent book of Daniel Kahneman, another Princeton professor.

Recall prior ZombieLaw: “Are we zombies? Chalmers and Kahneman on Consciousness” and again note the similarity of “fast” and “slow” thinking to the debates about “fast” and “slow” zombies. One problem with prospect theory and loss aversion for national economic policy is that everyone is in different starting position. Equalization and redistribution becomes very painful for the wealthy because losses are felt so much more strongly than gains.

Consider that this also applies to Krugman’s zombie fallacies in that some fallacies spread slow but are hard to disprove, whereas others are easy to disprove but the idea spreads fast that is still hard to correct in public opinion.

Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” is his 2011 summation of a lifetime of achievement in cognitive science; including many well-established heuristics and biases of human thinking. The debt-ceiling may be a sunk cost but zombie congress is pretty much anchored there, locked in their frames with the probability that this gets better still decreasing…

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