Who is this man?

Let’s have some fun for a change today.  Here’s the picture:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.40.56 AM


And here are a few hints:

1.  He was born in the summer of 1961, and is 52 years old.

2.  When he was a boy he lived on the island of Java, in Indonesia.

3.  He is an inspiring political figure, popular with younger voters.

4.  The picture (from a campaign poster) looks a little bit like him, but there is artistic license to make him look more inspirational.

5.  Unless something unexpected happens, he will be serving as the President of the third or fourth most populous country in the world during 2015 and 2016.

Now here is the hard part of the puzzle.  You must find TWO names that fit the bill.




21 Responses to “Who is this man?”

  1. Gravatar of AldreyM AldreyM
    9. December 2013 at 08:01

    Jokowi Sang.

  2. Gravatar of Ben Ben
    9. December 2013 at 08:06

    Joko Widodo and Barack Obama

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. December 2013 at 08:13

    Aldrey, Yes. But you haven’t given me the second name. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the second name was obvious.

    Is it just me or does the picture look a bit like both of them? Maybe it’s more a question of stylistic similarities in campaign posters, as in real life the two figures look quite different.

  4. Gravatar of Philippe Belanger Philippe Belanger
    9. December 2013 at 08:15

    Joko Widodo and Barack Obama.

  5. Gravatar of Chris H Chris H
    9. December 2013 at 09:30

    I think the picture looks more like Joko than Obama, the style is what mostly makes the connection.

    But I read the wikipedia article on Joko Widodo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joko_Widodo) and I have to say it came across almost like it was a piece of campaign literature.

  6. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    9. December 2013 at 10:45

    Oooh Boy

    Scott, You’ve argued that unemployment benefits are a supply side problem. How is this possible when they are 40-50% of previous pay? What mistake is Krugman making here? Is he ignoring the states?

    Id be interested in your response

  7. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    9. December 2013 at 11:04

    My two cents:

    (a) tax differentials?
    (b) if UI recipients tend to have lower than average wages, they would likely enjoy higher wage replacement than 40%-50%.
    (c) on UI, you can sleep in.

  8. Gravatar of Gordon Gordon
    9. December 2013 at 11:34

    I loved the little twist about 2015. I had no clue about Indonesia’s current president nor the leading contenders for the next election but a quick search came up with the answers. I sometimes get discouraged that the revolution in information technology makes it very easy for disinformation to be spread. But a brain teaser like this is a good reminder that it’s well worth the cost when it’s just as easy to find correct information when you wish to seek it out. Thanks for sharing this puzzle!

  9. Gravatar of Adam Ozimek Adam Ozimek
    9. December 2013 at 11:35

    Joko Widodo and Chris Christie.

  10. Gravatar of Vivian Darkbloom Vivian Darkbloom
    9. December 2013 at 12:16

    (a) Tax differentials

    UI is not subject to FICA or Medicare. On the employee side, this is 7.65 percent. A lot of UI recipients don’t pay income tax on their normal wages. but to the extent they did, lower or no income tax on lower income would increase the “replacement ratio” further;

    (b) if UI recipients tend to have lower than average wages, they would likely enjoy higher wage replacement than 40%-50%.

    Yes, but with the following clarification, I think. My understanding is that most UI programs replace a certain percentage of pre-unemployment wages up to a maximum. However, if we are dealing with “averages”, then those with low wages (not subject to the cap) would have a higher replacement rate *on average* than the total, the total average being driven down by those subject to the cap.

    Krugman says that the replacement rate is between 40 and 50 percent, which is technically correct, but it refers to gross, not net replacement, and the “average” gross appears to be 46.6 percent nationally. (I don’t understand how the stats deal with part time/overtime workers as they seem to simply assume that the previously employed worked an average 40 hours) There are plenty getting a much higher replacement rate and the disincentives to that sub-group are, of course, the greatest.

    (c) You can sleep on it.

    But, more importantly, why assume that UI is the only program some people are “sleeping on”? Other programs such as TANF, SNAP, Medicaid, etc. make it more feasible to “sleep on” those plus unemployment. These programs cumulatively increase the “replacement rate” and disincentive to work.

    Krugman creates several straw men and then burns them in effigy. The first, which is typical, is that those who oppose extending the extended UI program are heartless and basically evil. Their subjective motives are bad, bad, bad. The second is that those who might oppose extension claim that the program is responsible (with the intended implication of “solely”) for 4 million long-term unemployed. No one is claiming that, but plenty of folks are claiming that the extended program increases unemployment and not insignificantly so, particularly among the young and unskilled. And, he shades the prevailing view a bit too heavily in his direction.

    The issue I have, and presumably this is the issue that should confront policy makers, is how do you protect those who are long-term unemployed, and there really are many, who are truly not slackers? Is the higher unemployment rate caused by the extended program something that one just has to live with because the benefits to the “deserving” outweigh the cost of the disincentives others take advantage of? How can you throw the bath water out without the baby? I think that should have been the crux of a more honest argument for extending the program.

  11. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    9. December 2013 at 12:20

    New video of Professor Sumner:


    I think he was in Britain at the Institute for Economic Affairs.

  12. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    9. December 2013 at 13:21

    Who is this cat?


    And here are a few hints:

    1. He was born in the winter of 2001, and is 12 years old.

    2. When he was a kitten he lived in the alleyways of Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania.

    3. He unusually large (long, not wide) for a cat, and is often confused for a dog at a distance.

    4. The picture (from a spoof of a political poster) looks a little bit like him, but there is artistic license to make him look more inspirational.

    5. Unless something unexpected happens, he will be running my house again for the 13th year in a row in 2014.

  13. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    9. December 2013 at 16:06

    Interesting column and find by Ramesh Ponnuru:


    “Republican Inflation Paranoia Is Political Suicide”

    A conservative group called American Principles in Action laid out the premise in a recent report. The chief obstacle to Republican political success, the report says, isn’t the party’s stance on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage but rather its economic agenda. It puts too much focus on job creators “and too little on middle-class workers and wages.”

    And the problem isn’t merely rhetorical: The policies the party is advancing don’t address voters’ chief economic concerns. “Rising prices,” the group points out, are high on the list of those concerns. In exit polls after the 2012 presidential election, prices were voters’ second-biggest economic concern, just 1 percentage point behind unemployment. In the battleground state of Ohio, rising prices topped the list, cited by 41 percent.


    This analysis fits easily with the group’s advocacy for a gold standard: Republicans should blame loose money for raising prices for consumers. Maybe they should even blame loose money for enriching the wealthy: Conservative activist Jeffrey Bell, who’s affiliated with the group, argues that it’s a form of “trickle-down economics.”

  14. Gravatar of Geoff Geoff
    9. December 2013 at 16:34

    Right click image, then click “Search Google for this image” in the context menu.

  15. Gravatar of benjamin cole benjamin cole
    9. December 2013 at 16:41

    To Mark S–
    There was a land named Caninopolis
    Trurh told, it be quite prosperous
    But the cental bank
    Came under the feline
    Who thought money to
    be divine
    And the land of Caninopolis
    Is no longer said prosperous
    But at the top of it…
    Cats don’t like dogs

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. December 2013 at 18:19

    Edward, I’m only claiming that a modest share of unemployment is supply side. There are academic studies suggesting a small share may be, which is my claim. Most is demand-side. I’m not that far apart from Krugman.

    In places like France and Italy I believe a larger share is supply-side.

    Everyone, I kind of expected that lots of people would not see much resemblance. Oh well. . .

    It’s all subjective.

  17. Gravatar of ChrisA ChrisA
    9. December 2013 at 19:27

    While I agree Jokowi is very popular at the moment, I think it is a bit of stretch to say he will likely be the President of Indonesia next year. The establishment are certainly not keen on him, and his party, the PDI, haven’t even nominated him yet. There is a typical Indonesian dialogue going on that you cannot see or hear about him, and Megawati is still looking for another go (although she has little chance). She doesn’t want to repeat the mistake she made with SBY though, who was originally an ally, then became a rival, so she is being very non-committal. Its going to be an interesting next 12 months.

  18. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    9. December 2013 at 19:40

    Brad DeLong on extending unemployment benefits:


    Unemployment Benefit Extension Blogging; Why Does George W. Bush Hate John McCain?

    A crass political post…

    Calculated Risk writes:

    Calculated Risk: Unemployment Benefits Extended: An extension of unemployment benefits for 13 weeks was included in the war funding bill signed by President Bush today. This extension covers workers who used all their unemployment benefits between November 2006 and March 2009…

    The rule of thumb, IIRC, is that the average duration of an unemployment spell increases by 1/4 of the increase in the duration of unemployment benefits. Thus a 13-week increase in unemployment insurance duration should increase the average unemployment spell by 3 weeks. With current mean unemployment spell duration at 17 weeks, and with roughly 2/3 of the unemployed eligible for UI, this would produce a 3/17 * 2/3 * 5.5% = 0.6% increase in the measured unemployment rate.

    It seems to me likely that–whatever happens to the economy–George W. Bush has just produced four bad unemployment-rate headlines on the Saturdays August 2, September 6, and October 4. This cannot be news that John McCain is happy to hear.

  19. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    9. December 2013 at 20:36

    As market monetarists, we view this differently, right???????

    “Warren Buffett: George W. Bush Once Said The Greatest Economic Statement Of All Time”


    In answering the question, Buffett vividly set the scene of the crisis, describing an economy that was truly teetering on the brink. And in setting that scene Buffett heaped gigantic praise on George W. Bush, which we’ve bolded in red:

    George Bush said, “If money doesn’t loosen up, this sucker will go down” – I believe this was the greatest economic statement of all time.

  20. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    10. December 2013 at 07:18

    Jim Glass and Travis V,

    awesome links.

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. December 2013 at 14:58

    Thanks Chris, I know nothing about the subject, and relied on The Economist.

    Jim, Great! I did a post. You might be surprised by my findings.

    Travis, Yes, I addressed that in several places.

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