Shout it from the rooftops

There are times when it’s cruel to be kind.

At some point in the not too distant future, the quality of my blogging will drop below a certain threshold. (Maybe it already has.) At that point, I hope my best commenters will tell me so. You won’t be doing me any favors by hiding my senility from me—it would merely cause me to suffer even more from the indignities of old age, and to lose whatever meager reputation I might have once had.

I see reports that top Dems are suggesting that conversations about Biden’s obvious incapacity to govern be kept private. Maybe that will work, but I doubt it. If you care about Biden’s long-term interests, you will go public with your misgivings. Despite Biden’s claims that he’s staying in the race, I still believe that a large enough critical mass of Democrats could nudge him out.

Ordinary Democrats also have an important role to play. Next time you are contacted by a pollster, don’t blow them off. Take the poll and indicate that you would support Trump over Biden, but any other Democrat over Trump. Would that be lying? Probably, but in this case it’s your patriotic duty to lie, in the same way as if you were called upon by the secret police when hiding refugees in your basement.

Yes, Harris would probably lose, but at least it would no longer be a humiliating defeat. She could campaign on the (truthful) argument that Trump is clearly too old and senile to be president. Wouldn’t that be ironic?

PS. Soviet commenters Sara/Ricardo/Edward have already informed me of my senility. But given that their combined IQ is below that of a turnip, I don’t put a great deal of weight on their opinion.

PPS. How about George Clooney? He looks presidential. Or how about the first Congressional Democrat to have the guts to publicly say that the emperor had no clothes?



38 Responses to “Shout it from the rooftops”

  1. Gravatar of steve steve
    10. July 2024 at 10:05

    Sara/Ricardo/Edward are the only followers of this blog that make sense you senile old man.

  2. Gravatar of Garrett Garrett
    10. July 2024 at 12:55

    I read all of your posts but haven’t commented much the last few years. I would probably comment more if there weren’t so many trolls.

  3. Gravatar of Garrett Garrett
    10. July 2024 at 12:56

    BTW, Dem’s should be BEGGING Gavin Newsom to run

  4. Gravatar of Henri Hein Henri Hein
    10. July 2024 at 13:13

    I haven’t noticed any senility on your part. What I have noticed is that you seem to have gotten more testy with the trolls lately. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, just an observation.

  5. Gravatar of Cove77 Cove77
    10. July 2024 at 13:30

    Big fan. Been following Money Illusion and Econlog from the start. You’ve still got your fastball. However I agree w/ Henri. A few commenters can easily derail a thread.

  6. Gravatar of Cochrane Cochrane
    10. July 2024 at 13:37


    Gavin would never run, he is a straight white male and there is no possible world where he get’s the preference over a black woman vp that was hand picked to fill the DEI quota.

  7. Gravatar of Cochrane Cochrane
    10. July 2024 at 13:41

    In the end, democrats are between a rock and a hard place of their own making. It’s between senile old man who cannot function properly (fact in which they colluded with the media to hide from the american public) and an extremely dislikeable progressive vice president.

  8. Gravatar of Will Will
    10. July 2024 at 13:45

    You’re not senile yet, I agree with Garrett, and I find Cochrane’s shallow culture war bullshit tiresome.

  9. Gravatar of Will Will
    10. July 2024 at 13:53

    Oh, and I agree with Garrett both about Newsom and about how off-putting the trolls are.

  10. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    10. July 2024 at 14:50

    Garrett, It’s tough to get conditional odds on low probability candidates, but I agree that Newsom is more electable than most other options.

    Will, Yeah, I agree that a lot of the right wing culture warriors are pretty tiresome. If you don’t have anything interesting to say, why even comment?

    On the bright side, consider the MR comment section, which has an order of magnitude more MAGA trolls.

  11. Gravatar of EeewAnon EeewAnon
    10. July 2024 at 16:41

    Forget Clooney. Daniel Day-Lewis should reprise his role as Lincoln! Also I should note that he did way better than the real Lincoln in theaters.


    Too soon?

  12. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    10. July 2024 at 18:27

    I don’t like the trolls, but isn’t increased irritability often associated with a weakening of the prefrontal cortex/executive function as people age? That isn’t to say that it is necessarily a sign of encroaching senility, but could be a sign of mild cognitive decline that is typical with aging. Also, Harris might win were she the nominee. It would be a really weird situation, and Trump himself is a weird guy, and the world is unpredictable enough that I am not very sure how nominating Harris instead of Biden would actually impact the race. Very likely it would boost the chances of Democrats of winning the presidency, and also help them down ballot, but I have no idea of how much.

  13. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. July 2024 at 21:21

    “but isn’t increased irritability often associated with a weakening of the prefrontal cortex/executive function as people age?”

    I’m outraged by the ageism in your comment!


  14. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    11. July 2024 at 02:41

    I for one would welcome if our Scott took Scott Alexander as an example and handed out a few bans here and there more often. Especially temporary bans aren’t too harsh.

  15. Gravatar of Rajat Rajat
    11. July 2024 at 04:02

    The lack of courage of congressional and other leading Democrats combined with your long-stated view that America is a banana republic reminds me of these words uttered on a radio interview by Australia’s former Treasurer (and later, Prime Minister), Paul Keating in 1986 during a balance of payments ‘crisis’ (which turned out to be no such thing):
    “If in the final analysis Australia is so undisciplined, so disinterested in its salvation and its economic well being, that it doesn’t deal with these fundamental problems… then Australia is basically done for. We will just end up being a third-rate economy, a banana republic.”
    If the Dems cannot get their act together – soon – it just shows they are not fit to govern, and they and everyone else deserves to live in the banana republic that Trump will deliver.
    As for you, Scott, you’re still above the threshold. But nowadays, I am more interested your film reviews and in a restarting of your ‘Ted talks’ ( than I am on hearing you on most economic and political topics, on which I think I know or could guess your views.

  16. Gravatar of Scott H. Scott H.
    11. July 2024 at 04:54

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a reply of yours that hinted at you changing your opinion.

    Maybe my memory is not so good? I tried to get chatgpt to assess the data to no avail.

  17. Gravatar of dhbiv174 dhbiv174
    11. July 2024 at 06:47

    Hi Scott,

    I’m a long-time reader (10+ years) and I don’t think I’ve ever commented but I’m going to on this one. Above you state:

    “Would that be lying? Probably, but in this case it’s your patriotic duty to lie, in the same way as if you were called upon by the secret police when hiding refugees in your basement.”

    C’mon man, you’re better than that. When was Trump going around and ordering the Gestapo to round up the refugees hiding in someone’s basement? Yes, there are certainly patriotic & duty bound times to lie, but this is isn’t one.

    A few reasons – in many of your prior posts on politics, you more or less have said — and I’m paraphrasing, so this is my take on your thoughts- over our history, Republican/Democrat administrations swing back and forth around 50% of the time and in the long run we get a mix of policy and it’s more or less nbd.

    What is truly different about a second-term Trump president? Yes, I can’t stand the guy, but he has been president before and the world kept on spinning. I understand the hesitance before he was elected, but he’s been president before…but we know what it sort of looks like. To me, that’s the true dumbassery of the Democrats this time ’round. They are so used to running a POTUS candidate who is either an incumbent or against someone who has never been POTUS, let alone someone who was POTUS immediately before. People aren’t buying that the world is going to fall apart and democracy is at stake under a Trump presidency since it didn’t before. Biden’s age issue, while important, is exogenous to all that imo.

    Yes, I know this time may be different if Trump is elected again, but it probably won’t be. I understand that history isn’t an indication of the future, but it also, in politics, often is.

    Lastly, Trump’s prior presidency policy-wise (for better or worse) to me is largely no different than what we would have gotten out of the median Republican at the time. I don’t think Trump has any clue about what Republican policy is, but his handlers/staff did and they ran the show. We would have gotten the same judicial picks, same misguided foreign policy, TCJA, mishandling of COVID, etc under McCain, Romney, Bush, DeSantis, whomever. The big difference is Trump is just an overtly despicable and brazen human being, rather than privately so.

  18. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    11. July 2024 at 06:50

    Now he thinks I’m Russian, lol.

    The delusion is hilarious. There is nothing slavic about me, Sumner. I’m Irish.

    Good try, though.

    You see, to Sumner and his band of low I.Q. radicals, the problem is always everyone else. It’s never them. In this world of bizarre logic Bolton, the war criminal, becomes becomes Sumner’s hero. He’s the “truth teller” and everyone else is “lying”.

    Interesting world.

    The drug addict is equivalent to Martin Luther King. He inspires generations.

    Trump supporters are in a “cult” and he’s secretly “Hitler.” A band of unarmed buffoons are “terrorists”.

    The supreme court is “radical” and “votes on party lines” despite none of that being true.

    In this upside down world, those who support borders and controlled immigration based on merit and having proper documentation are “racist”.

    Disenfranchising citizens is great. It’s “patriotic”.

    A one-world-Nato, which Sumner has advocated for (bizarre), is somehow “peaceful”. Because history shows that centralizing power into the hands of an unelected supranational brings “peace”. (It doesn’t).

    Klaus Schwab and the WEF is a “conspiracy theory”. It doesn’t exist. KLaus never said you’d “you’ll own nothing and like it.” He doesn’t write books. It’s just all “make believe” in the world of Sumner.

    In this upside down world, Expanding NATO and funding regime change has NOTHING to do with provoking wars. In this low I.Q. world, Putin woke up one day, had a coffee, and suddenly decided to attack everyone. He’s a “madman”…despite evidence that we Sumner and his uniparty globalist gangsters are the madmen.

    The low I.Q. believe Putin wants to “Take over europe” despite the impossibility of such an exercise.

    I don’t know about others, but I prefer to live in a world of sanity and truth.

    There is a reason why you didn’t publish much in your 50 years at a school named after a car. You don’t support your claims with actual data. You just say nonsense, and when somebody pushes you to provide more information, you get rattled. You throw around ad hominem attacks like “putin lovers” and “putin puppies”, which is what low I.Q. people do.

    There is one actual researcher at Bentley worth his salt. His name is Dhaval Dave. He works for the NBER and produces actual research.

    You, on the other hand, fiddled with your thumbs and watched movies for 50 years.

    Respect is earned, not given. And yes, your comments are bizarre. Your ilk needs to be confronted before you destroy the world.

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. July 2024 at 08:20

    Rajat, OK, I’ll try to do a few more Ted talks.

    Scott, Yes, I’ve never changed my opinion on anything. LOL.

    dhbiv174, This is the classic commenter error. You read commentary by X, Y and Z who hate Trump. You discover that I hate Trump. Ergo, Sumner must hold the same views as X, Y, and Z.

    I’ve never claimed that Trump will destroy democracy in America. Next time try responding to what I actually say, not what your fevered imagination assumes that I must believe, because other people with TDS believe those things.

    I’ve always said Trump is the symptom—the rot goes far deeper.

  20. Gravatar of JS JS
    11. July 2024 at 08:50

    In the last week…

    He was triggered by a harmless Newsweek article.
    He asserts that non-citizens should vote, but only if they vote for Biden (presumably).
    He claims lying is patriotic.
    And he insists the aforementioned trio are Russian agents because…w

    I truly struggle to grasp the logic here, but what do I know? I’m just a conservative student studying mathematics at MIT.

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. July 2024 at 08:53

    JS, Nothing sadder than a troll with no sense of humor.

  22. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    11. July 2024 at 10:29

    Another babyboomer suffering from Russiaphobia. The soviet union doesn’t exist anymore Scott, so please get grip with reality. And I never called you senile. I called you a narcissistic bigot. There is a difference.

  23. Gravatar of Jose Jose
    11. July 2024 at 12:00

    Prof. Sumner, please write about monetary policy…

  24. Gravatar of kangaroo kangaroo
    11. July 2024 at 18:02

    “Ladies and gentlemen, President Putin”

    Conservatives are *dying* to run against Harris. Just the same after such a stupendously bad three years – I mean we all thought the pro-Hamas protest movement and the outing of Claudine Gay as an incompetent buffoon was the topping on the cake, as good as it could get for Republicans, but the apparently sudden appearnece of Biden’s senility after blatant lies by administration officials has outdone even that astounding exposure of Democrats’ buffoonery – it’s hard to imagine any Democrat who isn’t made a fool on the campaign trail.

    You should be careful with terms like “Banana Republic” Scott. Given the situation, the most sensible apprehension of that claim would be to that it refers to Trump’s opponents. And you don’t want that to happen.

  25. Gravatar of dhbiv174 dhbiv174
    11. July 2024 at 18:31

    I don’t follow your rebuttal. Are you not claiming, in this very post, that one has a patriotic duty to lie for similar reasons as to lie that one is justifiably holding refugees? Have you not in prior posts refer to the banana republic that the USA is becoming? Yes, I agree Trump is a symptom, but your implicit premise in many of your political posts is he is also a cause. If you don’t agree with that, perhaps write a post clarifying what you mean here, because you’ve certainly either confused me or are just internally inconsistent on the matter of Trump. I’ve read this blog too long to really believe the latter is true.

    Lastly, why the snark? I wrote my comment in good faith. I also stand by my comment. What you describe is not at all what I wrote. Your words in other posts have logical implications, and I’m not necessarily saying you *must* believe anything. I’m trying to understand what you’re saying in synthesizing prior posts. I personally find your political posts unnecessarily vague and obtuse, and I think comments really struggle what you’re actually trying to say. In all honesty, I probably agree with most of your politics, but I actually leave reading your political posts more confused by what you mean than before.

    But I digress. You have and excellent blog on monetary policy and economics, but politics not so much. Perhaps consider what you wrote at the beginning of this very post. I haven’t commented in 10+ years. I won’t further.

  26. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    12. July 2024 at 05:43

    It appears I’m late to the party.

    You think I have an I.Q. of a turnip, and I think you have an I.Q. of a doorknob. Was that productive? Do you feel better? Shall we continue?

    My daddy is stronger than your daddy. My daddy is taller than your daddy. You have cooties. I’m smarter to infinity.

    Okay, it’s the 70 year old child’s turn. Let’s go.

    Can you beat my infinity with a double-infinity. Are you going to tell me how tall your daddy is?

    The petulant name calling might not be a sign of senility, however it is a sign of immaturity.

  27. Gravatar of Scott H. Scott H.
    12. July 2024 at 08:09

    I’m not a troll, so don’t get your dander up. It strikes me as false to ask people to help you change your mind and then be so pithily dismissive about anything anyone brings up.

    I’ve never asked you to quit blogging, but I certainly won’t bother participating in this charade when the time comes either.

  28. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. July 2024 at 08:44

    dhbiv174, If you are a long time reader, then you must know that I’ve indicated many many times that Trump is the symptom, not the cause. Banana republicanism is caused by whatever forces changed our society. (I recall a time where a bipartisan effort forced Nixon out of office—that America is long gone.) Authoritarian demagogues don’t get elected until after the decay has already occurred. They are a symptom. If Trump died tomorrow, the US would not go back to its previous state.

    You think Trump is similar to other Republicans? I’ve generally found that it’s impossible to reason with people holding this worldview.

    BTW, you said:

    “Lastly, why the snark? I wrote my comment in good faith.”

    Immediately after writing:

    “C’mon man, you’re better than that. When was Trump going around and ordering the Gestapo to round up the refugees hiding in someone’s basement?”

    Good faith?

    Scott, You said:

    “I’m not a troll,”

    If you are not a troll, then why troll in your previous comment?

  29. Gravatar of David S David S
    12. July 2024 at 09:05

    Sure, insult turnips. This blog keeps getting worse and worse—especially the ad algorithm.

  30. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    12. July 2024 at 09:28

    David S, do you not have an ad-blocker? I never seen ads here.

    Sometimes the trolls are amusing, but I do wonder if things would be better if they were simply banned. Perhaps more actual people would be inclined to comment?

  31. Gravatar of dhbiv174 dhbiv174
    12. July 2024 at 09:46

    Ok, I can’t help myself now. This is actually going to be my last post. I pinky promise. I’ll keep reading the blog, but I’m going to skip over your nonsense political posts. However, you are making it harder to justify the weekly check-in, though. I’m providing *good faith* feedback here, but truly, it’s your blog. Do what you will. Last I checked, it’s the “Money Illusion.”

    1.) Yes, good faith. Saying you are “better than that” is a compliment, dude. You are better than that, at least w/r/t economics topics. For the avoidance of doubt, what are you actually trying to say in sentence ~15 above because I sure as hell have no clue? And your response above is even more unclear & confusing. And I disagree you’re holding consistent viewpoints to your posts, but I admit, those are your views, and am not pretending to say I know your thoughts better than…you. That would be nonsense on my part if I were. However, you express your thoughts on politics most unclearly.

    2.) You are moving the goalpost here. I explicitly say (at the very least heavily imply) that Trump is *not* similar to other Republicans. His *policy* choices are…which weren’t actually his. If you think the stuff Trump did via appointments, EOs, agency picks, foreign policy stances etc aren’t Republican, then please explain that. Any other Republican presidency would have been = Trump’s Actions – his Trolling. By definition, that makes him different from other Republicans, but in the aspects that people I think fundamentally don’t really care about. Behaviorally, they care a lot about his trolling, though. In other words, Trump couldn’t give two shits who is on the Supreme Court. He probably has zero idea how NATO works. I bet he couldn’t even articulate what any federal agency actually does. I know people in his administration/campaign (and Biden’s for that matter). They’ve told me this. Trump is quite different from Republicans in a lot of ways. In another example, his administration functioned very oddly (to say the least) internally, which is the explanation for the constant attrition and disconnect from what he was saying and what his policy wonks were trying to do. But Guess who won? The policy wonks, who were all staunch Republicans).

    Scott, again, as a long-time reader (and actually a fan). Take a look in the mirror…I’ve complimented you in my previous posts and in the real world on your economic viewpoints and thinking about monetary policy. But when you get into politics, you’re grossly out of your element, and it shows. That’s fine, but it says a lot when you get shitty when people call it out. Especially in a post where you explicitly ask for people to call you out…if you want a political echo chamber, why bother having comments at all? Why bother posting about politics? The only reason anyone blogs on politics is to get responses. Finally, look at what is happening in the comments right now and contemplate whether this is the direction you want your blog to go…people are talking about turnips. Jose has the most on-point comment in the whole thread, and better yet, you should appreciate its brevity.

    I’ve wasted enough of my time on this silly back and forth.

  32. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. July 2024 at 13:55

    dhbiv174, OK, I’ll assume I overreacted, as you seem like a reasonable person. You win. In my defense:

    1. The secret police thing was just an analogy, not a claim that Trump is literally a Nazi. Maybe I should have chosen a better analogy. Mea culpa.

    2. Lots of really smart conservative intellectuals have exactly the same view of Trump that I do, so I kind of doubt that this is merely some sort of derangement syndrome on my part. Trump really is this bad, or at least seems so to lots of people that are smart non-leftists. (I would discount leftists, as they are biased.) I’m not even in the extreme “Trump will end democracy” camp. But we’ll have to agree to disagree on just how bad Trump is.

    And yes, Jose is correct. 🙂

  33. Gravatar of Jonathan Miller Jonathan Miller
    12. July 2024 at 19:30

    I have been posting where I can that Biden is too old to serve 4 more years, and so we should vote for someone who can serve as president for 4 more years. Mine is a very small voice, but it is a voice.

    I think that for many jobs, possibly even serving as president outside of times of crisis, you can be someone who can put in a good and thoughtful handful of hours and still perform better than the majority of Americans. Consider Chomsky or Dyson or Penrose. But that doesn’t mean you are anywhere near your best, and doesn’t mean that you can perform adequently in times of crisis, which it arguably is right now as far as Biden’s reelection is concerned.

    I think we should be able to talk about a loss of mental capability without talking about people being senile or suffering from dementia. People are going to respond strongly against the accusation of senility or dementia (‘look what I can do, look what I know, look at how capable I am’). If you rather focus on a decrease of capability, I think far more people could acknowledge that. And we could/should maintain that some careers (not blog writer or professor emeritus) like president require someone who hasn’t lost much mental capability.

    Also, maybe we just need an age limit for the president and Supreme Court justice (maybe also senator and congressperson). This might be the motivation for it, just like FDR’s election to a 4th term was what motivated the 22nd amendment.

  34. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. July 2024 at 07:36

    Jonathan, To be clear, I’m using senile as a general insult, not a medical diagnosis. I have no idea whether or not he suffers from that disease, or is just getting older. Biden was not intelligent even when he was young, and has undoubtedly lost some IQ points (as have I.)

    I wouldn’t call an ordinary person senile, but if you claim to be president, you better have a very, very thick skin. I wouldn’t want the job. Biden is being extremely selfish in putting his personal interest ahead of what’s best for the country, and he better be ready for some pretty severe criticism. It will get FAR WORSE if he doesn’t drop out.

  35. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    13. July 2024 at 10:48

    “At some point in the not too distant future, the quality of my blogging will drop below a certain threshold…. You won’t be doing me any favors by hiding my senility from me—it would merely cause me to suffer even more from the indignities of old age, and to lose whatever meager reputation I might have once had.”

    Is it actually falling though? I wouldn’t say so.

    The nominal quality is certainly rising. (Controlling for the quality of the readers, i.e. the intelligence of the overall culture).

    Maybe the real quality will fall someday, but maybe also we’ll be spiraling into full-tilt idiocracy and senescent Sumner will still be a worthwhile read.

  36. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. July 2024 at 10:57

    Anon, In absolute terms, I’m getting dumber. Relative to trends in our political system, I’m getting smarter.

  37. Gravatar of Cochrane Cochrane
    13. July 2024 at 17:32


    About your fear of mental decline, sharp and fast declines only naturally happen in the case of neurodegenerative diseases, the case you mentioned of Joe is almost certain a case of parkinsons disease, he exhibits all the hallmarks:

    I’ve listened to a podcast of yours from 4 months ago and you are still sharp.

  38. Gravatar of Cochrane Cochrane
    13. July 2024 at 17:34

    My bad, the podcast is from 2022 but it was reposted on youtube 4 months ago. My point remains the same though.

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