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Election Night 2012: Is It 1860 All Over Again?

November 6, 2012

We couldn’t have asked for a more portentious finale to a hard-fought presidential campaign. The swirling storm swept up the Atlantic seaboard, emptied its wrath on the Jersey shore, battered lower Manhattan and the southern shore of Long Island, and produced scenes of Old Testament destruction before it veered inland. Any soothsayer worth his sooth would have quaked in fear of its occult meaning.

Coming as it did a week before a bitter election, the monster hurricane with the disarming name took our minds off partisan politics for a moment. But make no mistake, America on Election Night 2012 is more sharply divided than at any time since 1860. That year, with the nation already barreling inexorably toward Civil War, the election of a moderate anti-slavery Republican named Abraham Lincoln over his Democratic archrival Stephen A. Douglas was enough to break up the Union.

Tonight, no matter whose name flashes on our TV screens when the networks reveal their final projections, we’ll be sliding toward the most contentious era in our history since the last four years — but even more so.

Conservatives hate Obama with a passion generally reserved for the Vietnam-era Jane Fonda. They proclaimed him a socialist, even though his domestic policies would place him slightly to the right of Richard Nixon. During his first term they continually attacked his legitimacy and even his nationality; the Republican majority in the House went out of its way to thwart his every move, even at the expense of the country as a whole. Then, naturally, they blasted him for his lack of accomplishments.

Liberals, for their part, fear that a Romney presidency (and particularly a Ryan vice-presidency, which goes with the package) would propel us even more speedily toward a winner-take-all society — a latter-day Yankee replica of Latin American republics with their self-pampering upper classes and impoverished peasantry. They excoriate the Michigan Mormon for his shape-shifting policies, his slippery penchant for saying whatever he needs to say to win votes at the moment: conservative when stumping for his party’s nomination, moderate when appealing to the national electorate, and who-knows-what after he takes office.

The reality is that both nominees are more moderate than their supporters. Yet each man has come to symbolize the rampant polarization that defines America in 2012. We’ve been torn asunder by financial collapse, endless unemployment, corporate outsourcing, growing wealth disparities, abortion, guns, race, religion, gay rights, the insatiable greed of bankers and the insatiable needs of the unfortunate. We’ve taken sides like a land split down the middle by an earthquake, with most of the populace on one side or the other, and only a sprinkling of hardy souls occupying the middle.

The polarization of America has been fueled not only by hyperpartisan politicians, but by the tireless militancy of Twitter extremists and Facebook fanatics. These chatty radicals are something new on the American scene; they preach to a homogeneous choir in a vast echo chamber that raises the volume and distorts opinions until there’s no possibility of compromise with the enemy.

As a wise Republican once warned us, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The winner of the 2012 presidential election must work to find common ground between America’s dangerously overheated liberals and conservatives. It shouldn’t take a disaster like Hurricane Sandy to unite partisan warriors like Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in brotherly affection. If Americans refuse to unite, we’ll have an even more devastating disaster on our hands.

LATE-BREAKING BULLETIN: It’s Obama! The president won narrowly in most of the battleground states, and it was enough to put him over the top. Romney conceded late but graciously, and Obama’s victory speech should have been enough to convince (nearly) all doubters that this president wants to be a uniter. Now it remains to be seen if the Republican Congress (and all those fervent Tea Partiers out there) will let him govern.

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601 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob Anderson permalink
    November 6, 2012 8:45 pm

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that this site is called “The New Moderate”, as so much that is written to it fundamentally right wing. But then I recall that the framework of political debate has shifted so far to the right over the last 40 years that a borderline reactionary of his time – Richard Nixon – is now to the *left* of our sitting, Democrat president. FAR to the left when it comes to civil rights.

    If we are on the virge of a second civil war – and I believe we are – it will largely be due to the inability of otherwise intelligent people to see the threat for what it is.

    • November 7, 2012 9:31 am

      Rob: Hard to believe, isn’t it, that Nixon would be considered a lefty today (at least according to the standards by which the GOP judges Obama). I don’t think he was as reactionary as you portray him — after all, he created the E.P.A., expanded civil rights and opened relations with China. He certainly didn’t come from the Goldwater wing of the party. He was simply a mainstream Republican, before the stream shifted its course to the right under Reagan.

      It’s a sign of the times that you consider The New Moderate to be “fundamentally right wing” while my libertarian friends continually tell me that I’m a liberal. Alas, ’tis the moderate’s lot.

      • November 7, 2012 10:02 am

        Dude, you ARE a liberal, all the way I might add. Statism is simply statism and you my friend, are statist.

      • November 7, 2012 11:29 am

        Rich: There are degrees of “statism,” just as there are degrees of most other things in life. I don’t believe in cradle-to-grave welfare, but I believe in safety nets and a level playing field. So call me a moderate statist if you like, but I’m not a social democrat statist.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 7, 2012 12:09 pm

        Sure, Rick, sure. 47 M on food stamps. Satefy net. 15% unemployment and re-elect the Marxist.

    • November 7, 2012 11:50 am

      If the country has drifted to the right over the past 40 years then the center has moved, and that would place TNM solidly on the left.

      Nixon was never on the right, even the Bush’s are arguably not right.

      This president is another in a long line of statist imperialists – of course he is abysmal on civil rights.

      • November 7, 2012 11:56 am

        Dave: We’re only to the left of the right. That doesn’t make us left. Remember, I look at absolute values, not relative values.

      • November 7, 2012 12:13 pm

        Rick, you are in denial. When folks keep telling you that you are a statist, you might want to listen.

  2. Monica permalink
    November 6, 2012 9:35 pm

    The fuel for the discord is just not Twitter or Facebook but the endless brainwashing by Fox News,MSNBC, and the Talking Heads of radio and television. When you listen to Romney supporters it’s like talking to “Stepford” people. They all say the same phrases over and over. The most popular one I hear is that they are voting for someone who loves their country like Romney and Obama hates this country, plans to destroy it, and is a “Muslim”. I don’t think anyone believes that Ryan has a bag of tricks waiting to unleash on the unsuspecting middleclass. How gullible and truly uninformed this country has become. I compare them to sheep being led to slaughter!!

    • November 7, 2012 9:41 am

      Monica: You’re absolutely right: I should have mentioned the “amen corners” in the media, from Rush Limbaugh and Fox to MSNBC. (Maybe I can still sneak it in there.)

      I think Romney was a legitimate candidate for certain segments of the population (people who prospered after the crash of 2008, and Mormons). Even though he disdains “the 47%” who depend on the government, he won their vote through appeals to shared social and cultural values — especially the belief that America is the kind of place where anyone who works hard enough can make it big. A lot of marginalized former middle class Americans still believe that, even as their former jobs are being shipped overseas and their children are being saddled with lifelong debts because of outrageous college tuitions.

      • November 7, 2012 10:05 am

        Pathetic whining; I am out of here, you know, to work, where we earn money to pay taxes to support these losers you whine about. Cell phones, Nikes, and food stamps. Hey, its all good, right?

        Sorry, duty and country call. Who the hell else is going to pay the bills?

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 7, 2012 10:32 am

        The 47% comment was like Climategate or Wikileaks. Whatever stupid things each of us say when we think we are in privacy, well we all say them, and they are a dismal way to judge us. Then add the element of sleaze in how they were obtained and you have nothing but a criminal act. I have as little loss of respect for Romney over the 47% remark as I do for climate scientists after “Climategate.” I lost no respect for either to make it clear.

        The 47% remark even turned out to be helpful, it led to an open discussion that completely debunked the idea that one party had the allegiance of all the so-called loafers and parasites. Romney apologised and thats the end of it. I’m going to remember ROmney as a decent man who blonged to a party that was lost in space. I think he would have made a good president.

      • November 7, 2012 11:44 am

        I think Romney is a decent man, too… it’s just that I also think his world-view is that of a plutocrat, and that he probably wouldn’t have been the wisest choice for a country with ever-increasing wealth-gap issues.

        As for the 47% remark… it may have been recorded on the sly, but it wasn’t taken out of context. For me it speaks to an insensitivity (or simple lack of comprehension) toward a vast segment of society that’s currently seeing the American Dream vaporize in front of their eyes. (Sorry for the unintentional rhyme; there’s a potential song lyric for you!) Besides, that 47% includes people on Social Security, who have already paid their dues.

        As for the GOP being lost in space… complete agreement there. Romney was one of the least objectionable candidates, though I still preferred Huntsman — at least in part because he refused to sign the Norquist pledge, and he’s outspoken about believing in science. Obviously that didn’t get him very far within his party.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 7, 2012 12:11 pm

        Amazing, 50+ years of social programs and the wealth gap increases. Then you guys think it is the private sectors fault. You wouldn’t know an observation if it hit you with a 2 by 4.

      • November 7, 2012 1:55 pm

        Interesting: I just watched Obama’s victory speech again, and he said something to the effect that this is a country where anyone who works hard enough can make it. Sounds almost like a Republican to me!

      • November 7, 2012 1:56 pm

        Talk is cheap, especially when you don’t mean it.

        Wake up Rick, the guy is a Marxist and he will show this soon enough.
        Of course, that is after the Benghazi impeachment trial is over.

  3. JB Say permalink
    November 6, 2012 10:42 pm

    I disagree totally that Obama is a Moderate. He only appears moderate because he does not have the skills nor the energy to move his statist agenda through a largely moderate House of Rep. If he were the Emperor, he would love to move the country into leftist terrritory, as long as he didn’t you know, have to do any real work.

    Golf, anyone?

    • November 7, 2012 9:43 am

      Rich: Well, at least you’re admitting that Obama appears moderate. That’s a step in the right direction. ;) I wonder, too, if he’d pursue the same moderate course if he were emperor. Maybe not. But he’s realistic enough to know that he has a responsibility to be president of all the people, not just “his” people… and I respect him for that.

      • JB Say permalink
        November 7, 2012 9:58 am

        Rick, I like you and your a long time friend. Today is not the day to respond to you.

  4. Ron P permalink
    November 7, 2012 12:44 am

    Obama has promoted the divided country. He has done little to bring the country together. When he stands before the American people and talks of the 99 and 1, he has set the table for division. Now he is in a position that he is going to have to work with congress, which he has not done for 46 months. He has met very few times with Democrat Party leaders and fewer times with the Republican leadership.

    The question now is will he go before the American people again and talk of the 99 and 1? Will he promote a tax increase on the 1 that will do nothing to solve the fiscal crisis we face and believe a divided country where he most likely will receive just a few votes over Romney will go to their congressional representative and demand they vote with Obama? Or will he try to begin working with congress to find compromise to fix the problems we face?

    I believe Obama will be left out of the fiscal clift discussion. Congressional leaders will forge a compromise that will fix the problem for a few years, but will not fix the structural problems at all. They will send Obama legislation and dare him to veto that legislation. They have no loyalty to Obama now that he is a lame duck president and the next group of candidates will be positioning themselves for the 2016 election cycle.

    And Obama will use executive orders that will be hard for congress to stop to get many of his environmental issues into law, thus bypassing congress.And he might even proclaim some things environmentally dangerious, even though they have nothing to do with the environment.

    But hold on to your rears, as the fights we will see in the senate over SCOTUS appointments will make what we have seen so far look like childs play. It is really going to show what division really is short of a civil war. .

    • November 7, 2012 9:53 am

      Ron: I hope you listened to Obama’s victory speech last night (or if you didn’t stay up for it, I hope you’ll find it online and listen to it today). He sure didn’t sound like a divider. In fact, I don’t recall that he ever pitted the “99%” against the “1%” or fomented class war. What he’s done is to insist that everyone play by the same rules… seems fair and balanced enough to me.

      I hope you’re wrong about the future bloodletting over Supreme Court appointments and other Obama actions, though I suspect you’re not. Maybe now that Obama can’t be prevented from winning a second term, Congress will accept reality and cooperate with him — or at least bargain with him instead of trying to subvert everything he proposes.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 7, 2012 3:01 pm

        Rick I did not stay up, but if I get a chance, I will listen if I can find it. My thoughts concerning a second term for any president is based on my understanding of what prior Presidents have accomplished in their second term. Even though johnson could have run for a second term, his last couple in his first full term (basically the first two of a second term any other president) molded his future since we were mired in a War in Viet Nam and the country was split. Nixons first term accomplishments were all but forgotten for years due to the Watergate scandal. Looking at Reagan, most of his accomplishments were in his first term and some carried forward to his second, but anything new was overshadowed by the Iran-Contra scandal taking much of the attention his second term. And we all know what happened with Clinton and the Monica issue. As for 43, little domestically was accomplished and the wars overshadowed anything productive, which was not much.

        Even going back farther, one can look at second terms and find that most all accomplishments were in the foreign policy field and not the domestic field.

        Will it be the house Republicans continual investigations into fast and furious or the Benghazi terrorist attacks that take much of Obama’s time and energy to fight off, much like Clinton, Reagan and Nixon, or will it be that congress views Obama as a lame duck president and will do what they want to do, regardless of his belief he has a mandate?

        No one knows, but in a nation divided like we are currently experiencing, I don’t think I would bet on much of his agenda getting through congress.

        As for him meeting with congressional leaders on a regular basis and working out something in that regard, anyones guess is as good as the others.

      • November 7, 2012 3:20 pm

        Oh, I think O will be meeting with the House on a fairly regular basis, As they get ready to indict him (Impeach if you will) there will be any number of communications. If they are really good at this, they will find a way to make Hilliary testify and see if they can’t take her out of the next election in the bargain. If you like Court TV, this will be a doozy.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 7, 2012 3:31 pm

        Well if you are correct, then history will repeat itself as to the efectiveness of second term presidents

      • November 7, 2012 3:43 pm

        It is hard to imagine Obama being any less productive next time around than this time.

  5. Pat Riot permalink
    November 7, 2012 9:32 am

    Rick, portentous, battered, divisive, split down the middle by an earthquake, and a “house divided against itself.” A good swirl of weather and politics, mister.

    • November 7, 2012 9:46 am

      Pat: I was feeling transported back to the world of 1860 as I wrote this. Everything seemed portentious back then, and as H. L. Mencken put it so eloquently, old-time Americans still believed in “the powers and principalities of the air.”

  6. November 7, 2012 10:01 am

    If you think Obama wants to bring the country together then you are clearly on some form of drug. Now that he has nothing to lose, he will use executive orders to do pretty much anything he damn well pleases and he knows the GOP has nothing they can do about it.

    I do expect an impeachment hearing in the house and the Senate will acquit, ala Clinton. Liars know who their friends are.

    How, if Biden and Obama go down in a plane crash ….. Just thinking outloud.

  7. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 7, 2012 10:14 am

    Here is an observation I’ve been saving for this moment. Here is a pattern I see

    Reelected Presidents

    Nixon
    Reagan
    Clinton
    W. Bush
    Obama

    One-term presidents

    Ford
    Carter
    G.H.W Bush

    The pattern? The reelected presidents all had opposition from significant numbers of people who thought these figures where the devil himself, I remember how Nixon was hated it was comparable to how W and Obama were hated. Reagan and Clinton were ridiculed by large portions of the population as unfit to hold the office.

    I am not passing any judgement on why these presidents were hated and whether there were valid reasons for some, each can judge them for themself.

    Ford Carter and Bush I had more reasoned oppositions, I do not remember large groups that were completely beside themselves. There are always some of course. Some might say that Carter was hated and ridiculed, but the negative opinion of his presidency has developed over time. At the time we disliked him but not too many had Carter disreality disease.

    The moral? Opposition to a president is much more effective when it stays within certain bounds. When a large portion of the population has really lost it, it backfires. Trump asking for a presidents birth certificate is a bad sign, as are those that followed Rush wherever his fantasies took him.

    If the party leadership would act on this insight and try to discourage the red meat throwing and red meat throwers, it might lead to more edifying campaigns and more of my beloved moderation. And It would work out a lot better for the opposition as well.

    • November 7, 2012 11:49 am

      Hmm… verrry interesting. The reelected presidents were the ones who stirred passions (positive and/or negative). Their reelection could be a backlash against the naysayers. But then, if you don’t have the naysayers savaging the president (as in the case of Ford or GHW Bush), it might be that the president’s supporters stay lukewarm.

  8. Musher permalink
    November 7, 2012 10:40 am

    Being from the reddest state in the Union (Utah) I’d be happy to tell you what the country may have looked like under Romney. Crushing theocracy that controls everything with a seemingly gentle hand, but a big stick in the back pocket. I grew up here so I am no eastern transplant that is used to something else. At times it is almost facist. Being anything but a conservative in Utah is a bust. I recently had dinner with some Tea Party folks across the table from me and they had so much hatred for Democrats (in general, not just Obama) that they admitted that they would like to see them all driven into the dirt. There is no room for anyone with different views in most of the Republican party anymore. But they told me outright that they hated my type even more because I said I was a moderate and they said we were the ones that would truly end up in hell because we had no passion for any position. Listening a little too much to red meat radio I suppose.

    • November 7, 2012 11:52 am

      Musher: Illuminating report from one of the reddest states. I was hoping the Tea Party might split from the GOP, but instead they cannibalized it. Maybe it will take a good RINO president to restore them to their senses. But in today’s climate, a RINO would never win the nomination. “It’s a puzzlement.”

      • November 7, 2012 12:06 pm

        This hate driven perception of the Tea Party as well as republicans in general is malarky. The much hailed study that claimed that Tea Party members were racist, provides plenty of data to refute this.

        In general as abysmal as people are at understanding those whose views are different studies have shown that conservatives are better able to elucidate the positions of liberals than the reverse.

        It will take some time to fully grasp the real meaning of this election, but it would be my guess that this pretty much ends RINO’s within the GOP.
        Romney was likely the last gasp of establishment republicans.

        The importance of social conservatives is waning, as our Neo-Cons, the likely republican future belongs to the fiscal conservatives – possibly with some libertarian influences.

      • November 7, 2012 12:16 pm

        Agreed. In fact, I am planning on checking out the Tea Party. They may be for me. After all, once you are called a racist, what else can they pull out? I mean, the race card is like a death threat, right?

    • Ron P permalink
      November 7, 2012 3:21 pm

      Musher, just wanted to lend some support to your comments about the conservatives in Utah. My daughter, born and raise in North Carolina who is a fiscal conservative and social liberal moved to Salt Lake City 5 years ago to work in a rehab hospital. Although the politics of the area are changing with the influx of out of state people moving in, she is still shocked with some of the comments she hears when she is visiting where native born Ute’s are present. And shocking someone born and raised in NC in this cirtcumstance would be much harder that shocking someone from New York City who may have never been around some red neck bubba’s. Yes, some of the most radical of the radicals are in Utah.

      • November 7, 2012 3:42 pm

        Sure, we are all racists here in fly over country. Man, you libs are a self-righteous lot.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 7, 2012 4:08 pm

        Please clarify. Where did I say anything about racist? I commented “Some of the most radical of the Radicals live in Utah”. Given the number of fundementalist mormans living in the rural areas of Utah, is that not a true statement?

      • JB Say permalink
        November 7, 2012 7:23 pm

        You didn’t but then again, usually that next statement follows, so I just jumped ahead, If you weren’t going there, then consider it a gift anyway!

        That was a joke BTW.

  9. November 7, 2012 11:59 am

    Rick;

    We just finished a bitterly contested election between two candidates who are barely distinguishable. That sounds neither polarized nor hyper-partisan to me.

    Analysis of this will take a long time, but the early suggestions are that despite the fixation of the political class on this election voters were extremely uninspired.
    Ron Paul – at least nominally republican could not endorse his own parties candidate.
    A year ago nearly few expected a President with this bad a record to survive.
    The GOP was expected o pick up as much as 6 senate seats.

    Turnout was low – lower than 2008, lower than 2004. Obama’s Vaunted GOTV drive failed – BUT Romney’s failed even worse.

    If that holds up it speaks to the opposite of your conclusion. Voters wanted a choice and they did not feel they had one.

    • November 7, 2012 12:15 pm

      What MAY happen now is that Barry will continue to drive the train off the tracks and MAYBE some folks will wake up, kind of like what is happening in SOME of Europe. Maybe, just maybe.

  10. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 7, 2012 12:37 pm

    There you go again Rick (and now Musher), wrong about everything once again, as always. For once will you please just make the opposite conclusion in the First Place and give Dave’s poor fingers a rest. Musher, if you will stay here long you will soon realize that your actual life experiences mean nothing, you were hallucinating and Dave (Asmith) will soon find a study to sort out your delusions.

    And of course, everything was a failure, dem efforts as well as rep ones. Libertarians will rise, the election results lead to that inescapable conclusion. The New Moderate is a left-wing propaganda mill. Hurricane Sandy was a dawdle, Tis but a scratch.

    There is a chiropractor who used to run ads in the local paper for many years, every week he had a new study or studies to quote that said that chiropracting cures this disease, that disease, every disease. I think he finally gave that up, but I’m sure he fooled a lot of gullible people for a time. Well. it goes to show there is a study for everything, Any conclusion a person wants, they can find their study.

    I think that chiropracting barely cures bad backs at a rate higher than a placebo, let alone cancer and anemia etc. and I think that a study showing how insightful conservatives are compared to others rings quite false this morning. If I had the time to dig up studies that prove my subjective ideas/beliefs all day long I could prove some astonishing things beyond any doubt and bury the New Moderate.

    But I have a life, and the political swelling in my brain is sure to subside as the election recedes.

    • November 8, 2012 8:59 am

      Ian;

      Morgan Spurlock had a TV series called 30 days were he took people and yanked them from their comfort one and got them to spend 30 days living under circumstances that completely went against their views and values.

      You desperately need to have to spend 30 days with Rush Limbaugh.

  11. November 7, 2012 12:38 pm

    The most important consequence of this election is not the vote, the ideology or the partisanship.

    It is what happens in the next 4 years.
    Though I probably would have prefered to see the GOP lose control of the House.
    I see this much different from you I see this as the last gasp of liberalism

    Liberals and democrats must put up or shutup. They will have the reigns of government for eight years by the end of Obama’s term.

    The only times in US history where the economy has remained in the dumps for that long have been under democratic control.

    Pres. Obama has already had the advantage that recovery is inevitable. It should already have occurred and it should have been much stronger.
    Given half a chance we will recover – strongly.

    Despite the fact that numerous factors have started us back towards recession during the election season – I expect the reduction in uncertainty that the election brings to reverse much of that.

    But far more than anything in your article the political future depends on Pres. Obama’s results.

    He has an extremely difficult task ahead of him – and I believe he has gone about it entirely the wrong way.. Worse he appears to have learned nothing, and he now has enormous political debts to pay off. The only advantage he has is that given the slightest chance we will succeed.

    Liberals and conservatives alike will all try hard to succeed – regardless of their opinions of the president or congress. Unlike left-wing propaganda – and this site sometimes, no one wants failure.

    I want and voted accordingly to give the left the best possible shot at demonstrating that their ideology works. I find myself as I was in 2008 – praying for Obama’s success and hoping that everything that I believe is false – otherwise, he and we are in serious trouble.

    We have serious problems that the President did not even pretend to address.

    We are running a trillion dollar a year deficit and the current level of debt costs us about 1 1/4 % growth in GDP all by itself. For those what wanted a European social democracy – that is what we have. The broadest and deepest safety-net in the history of the country combined with crushing debt.

    In the past 12 years we have managed to take the strongest economy in the world and convert it into the mess that the europeans are desperately trying to escape.

    My rants aside, liberalism has the best opportunity it has ever had to demonstrate that it can work.

    I actually hope it does – but I think the odds of that are long.

    My question for the rest of you, is if as I expect our problems continue to get worse, what will it take for you to realize that it is the consequences of these polices ?

    Once again Pres. Obama has a republican house to work with Are we going to hear two more years of these rants that everything is the fault of house republicans ?
    Remembering that they two were elected – many of them from districts that went for Obama.

    I would have preferred a democratic clean sweep. Are real clear test of liberalism.
    What we got was something only a “moderate” could love. Though I would remind all the so called moderates here, that if you really are going to try to make the fallacy of moderation work, that means BOTH sides have to move to the center.

    In the net few months we have:
    Debt Ceiling crisis two – yup we are about to burst through the debt ceiling again, sooner than we thought.
    The expiration of innumerable tax cuts.
    The start of sequestration.
    The rapidly increasing costs of PPACA.

    And all this on an economy that is weak and can not figure which direction it is heading.

    • November 7, 2012 1:08 pm

      I hope you are right but suspect you are wrong. The sad fact is that the ability to humans to delude themselves (or to simply remain ignorant) seems unlimited. This blog’s title is in a sense, a testiomony to that fact. Yes, with nearly $60T in debt and IOU’s you would think that number would rouse one out of their stupor and get that there is no “moderate” answer to the crushing ignorance that we endure each election cycle.

      No such luck. Even a guy who is as bright as my buddy Rick can remain nearly comatose in the face of such large numbers: bogles the mind.

      I am pessimistic in the extremis. I guess if the entire world prints money, we can go on like this until long after my death?

      Likely.

      • November 7, 2012 2:01 pm

        Rich: Believe me, I’m not in favor of plunging us into more debt. If we could cut military spending almost in half, raise taxes *slightly* at the upper end, impose a minimal income tax on low-income people who currently don’t pay, and clear away some of the dead wood in government spending, we’d have enough to ensure basic safety net benefits without going overboard on entitlements… and we might actually reduce the deficit.

      • November 7, 2012 2:55 pm

        Not with this assclown in charge.

      • November 8, 2012 9:56 am

        Rick;

        If we could restore Federal Spending to 2007 levels everything would be solved – would that be so bad ?

        One of the worst features of most everything the President has done is that the spending increases are PERMANENT. Most of the ARA is PERMANENT increases in spending. Very little of it was real stimulus even if you believe that stimulus works.

        I will be happy to join you in whatever defense cuts you want, but cutting defense is really only supported by a miniscule percentage of us. Unlike Ian I KNOW I am in a minority on most issues. I have not deluded myself into thinking most everyone else thinks like I do.

        As to taxes – they just wont work. There are myriads of past examples of tax increases netting LESS revenue. Yes, repealing the Bush cuts would likely produce a small amount of revenue – but you would have to repeal ALL of the Bush cuts – because it is the middle class cuts that would produce the revenue. There are numerous studies over 4 decades – one of the most recent by Christine Romer telling us that increases in taxes on capitol and investment rarely produce net positive revenue and are always economically destructive. Basically if you could get $500B of new revenue by soaking the rich, it would cost you a $1T decrease in GDP. The peak to trough decline in GDP in 2008 was about $500B do you really want to experience a $1T drop ?

        Though I should quit arguing with you, because my “strategy” is to allow the left to do exactly what it thinks is necessary and hope that we will learn from the consequences.

      • November 8, 2012 10:33 am

        What we are doing is pretty much guaranteed to produce disaster.
        Absent change closer to Rand Paul rather than Paul Ryan, we are headed for total government failure. I am happy that Romney is not president because I would prefer the blame rest squarely on the left.

        The big danger is that failure will drive us in one of two directions:
        Towards totalitarianism
        or towards freedom.

        So the question for Ian, Rick, and all the rest of the so called moderates is that when statism fails, what are you going to choose ?
        Are you going to decide that the failure was because there was not a powerful enough government or because government was too powerful.

        When SS, Medicare, PPACA, …. fail as they are certain to, what choices are you going to make ?

        There is already a confrontation coming soon over the debt ceiling.
        I can already hear the chorus on TNM claiming that extremist republicans are holding the nations credit hostage and risking default because they are demanding further spending cuts.
        What dictates credit is a rational belief that the debtor will be able to pay off the debt, no credit card company has ever lowered your credit because you paid off your charges or refused to borrow more than you could repay.

        One of the most irritating aspects of the so called moderates at TNM, is this insistence on calling common sense rational expectations “extreme”.

        Contrary to various rants here, the vast majority of the “extremist ideology” I spout here is Econ 101. Much of it is accepted even by Keynesians such as Samuelson, and even Krugman when his is not a political shill.

      • November 8, 2012 11:18 am

        I am beginning to come around to the notion that a meldown would be a good thing, long term. Perhaps we need to “call the question” and expose once and for all the enormnity of the problem. I think where Rick really misses the boat is his looking for a “moderate solution.”

        Sorry, 60T in bad debt is not something that can be danced away from. As the Buddha said: Pain, is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 10, 2012 6:33 pm

        If only we were all as smart as JBastiat. If only I could see the world so clearly, and pull such intelligent comments straight from my @#! to post for the world to marvel.

      • November 10, 2012 6:55 pm

        Well, keep working on it. You know, you can DREAM, can’t you?

  12. Musher permalink
    November 7, 2012 1:59 pm

    Thanks Not So Grand Wazzoo. I agree with you that one can find a study that will support anything. It is also hard to know what media outlet or social media set to believe nowadays. I find that personal experience works the best for me now…in other words if I don’t see it or hear it with my own eyes, I am always suspicious. Living in the Red, White and no Blue at all state I reside in, that is the experience I have. When someone from the fringes tells me that they want to bury others and see me in hell for my political beliefs, then that is what I have to believe of those that tell me that. Of course not everyone is the same so I imagine many in the Tea Party are not that set on killing the rest of us if we don’t believe what they believe. I think what we see is exactly what Rick has described. Moderates listen to everyone and try to make sense of it, while the ends of the political stick only really want to hear about what they believe. I mean when I get in the company truck and drive it the radio is always set to LImbaugh or Hannity type programs. The people that work here are very conservative and getting more so. You never find it tuned to NPR on the other end of the spectrum or stations all up and down the political scale that we have available. Interesting isn’t it.

    • November 8, 2012 11:15 am

      Sure you can find one study to support whatever you want, and usually I only cite one or two. But for most of the issues I raise the majority of studies over the past 4 decades arrive at the same results.

      Most of the studies I produce that Ian ignores are coming from people and institutions on the left. It is trivial to find something from Cato or Heritage to support the claim that big government fails. But what about studies from the IMF, World Bank, or Christine Romer ?

      Further, unlike numerous studies in another area of pseudo science I shall leave unnamed, these are studies based on publicly available data with published methodology.
      Everything necessary to reproduce or refute the results is readily available, you can change the assumptions, or the weightings or the filtering and see if you get a different outcome. Put differently they are conducted using the real scientific method.

      I am sorry about your experiences in Utah – but my experiences with the blind on the left, right, and middle is pretty much the same. Even here at TNM make a claim that is both common sense and accepted by more than 9 of 10 economists – and you are an extremist racist right wing ideologue …….

      Further my own experience has been that the right is far more tolerant of dissent than the left, I spent years arguing about the bible with christian fundimentalists. Most will tell you your going to hell, but they will still listen, the left will not listen to anything that does not fit their world view – not even from a different left faction. The spat between Hitler and Stalin was that of white collar socialism against blue collar socialism.

      I live in the deep red part of “Pensyltucky”. Despite Ian’s rant’s in my community I am radical left wing falling off the edge of the earth.

      Conversely my brother lives in Berkeley. It is no contest, I would pick the right over the left anyday. My neighors will send you to hell – but they will give you a hot meal and hear you out before sending you on your way. Further most of them do not try to impose their values on you by force.

      One of the great errors that the left – and moderates make is confusing force with free choice.

      If someone offers you a job, that pays less than you want or in some other way is unsatisfactory, the fact that you may desperately need a job and chose to take it does not mean you were coerced by your employer.

      You are forced to pay taxes, charity is free choice. You are forced to go to public schools and endure whatever they teach.

      Force is not, not having the choices you want.
      It is not being compelled by circumstances in your own life to accept someone else’s offer that you would otherwise decline.

      • November 8, 2012 11:22 am

        One study that does not have to be done is this: As the Feds take over more and more of our economy and create more social programs, the misery index goes, UP! Surely, Black Americans as a group should be able to see how they have been played by the left. Yet, they don’t. Hmm, maybe its related to the Great Society programs and of course, our fine inner city schools? The destruction of the Black family started, curiously in the late0s. What do you make of that?

        Empirical observations of this kind are useful, no?

  13. November 8, 2012 9:23 am

    Actually, I listen to NPR all thet time and never to Limbaugh. That said,the NPR guys are for the most part, massively biased for Obama and anything liberal and counter-cultural. They would deny it to their deaths (there is a thought) and they are slicker and more arrogant about it. In fact, they take arrogance and condescension to never seen before heights.You know, we non-litbards are just so stupid, we cannot follow along unless they go really slow!

    That said, there are stories there that you cannot hear elsewhere. Sadly, even programs like “Science Friday” can’t seem to get out of the liberal bull pen. Can you say, climate change?

    At times, it makes me want to throw up but I listen anyway. Keep your enemies closer.

    • November 8, 2012 11:30 am

      I too listen to NPR for atleast an hour everyday

      The mis-perceptions and distortions of reality are almost beyond comprehension. It does not matter what the issue NPR nearly always finds the way to get it wrong.

      The appropriate punishment for those on the left is to let them to live in the world they wish to create – unfortunately the rest of us live there too.

      I rarely listen to Limbaugh, but when I do the similarities are incredible. The biggest difference – Limbaugh is right more often.

      One of the things that bothers me the most is the claims of “racism”, the data from the study used to claim that Tea Party members were all racist actually proved pretty much the opposite. The right tends to believe in a meritocracy – they are wrong, people fail through no fault of their own or are unable, and success is often disparate without relation to merit. Luck or starting afluence are among the weakest factors. The typical entrepeneur fails 7 times before succeeding – merit, particularly perseverance is critical.
      The right sees those at the bottom as there because of their own failings – it sees that regardless of race – and that is what the data from the so called racist tea party study actually proves. Conversely though the left is more likely to see outside factors as significant, they are actually more disposed to view minority failures more harshly than those of others. And remember this is a study done by a strongly left tilted academic.

      • November 8, 2012 11:39 am

        You can’t let the racism label bother you. For many, it is the only thing they have. Otherwise, they would have to confront something like say, facts, logic, and well, thinking!

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 8, 2012 11:44 am

        Yada, Yada, the left is always wrong, Rush is right, Yada Yada, no surprises. And no impact, can’t you tell? If I read your latest study it will no more say what you say it does than the NPR article you claimed represented 6 things all economists agree on that turned out to recommend legalizing pot and carbon credits and was agreed on by 5 economists on an NPR panel.

        Your material is so comically and transparently slanted that it has no impact whatsoever on your target audience of “so-called moderates” other than to make us sicker than hell of the simplistic philosophy you are trying to shove down our throats. I have no idea why you are wasting your time. And yes, I have no idea why I am wasting my time replying, addiction and obsession are terrible things.

      • November 8, 2012 12:02 pm

        The left is not always wrong, just most of the time. Let’s be fair and balanced here, shall we?

  14. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 8, 2012 10:14 am

    Since with my ADD I was slow to be ready go to college I did other things first, worked in factories, was a mechanic for quite a few years, worked construction, built houses. Trust me, I’ve met Rush Limbaugh’s world and audience. And I would be the first to say that many of them are not bad people, often racist as hell, but not actually hurting anyone. But those ideas they have do cause hurt, I would think that hyper conservative people who feel the sting of feeling that their ideologies are not respected would be able to understand the sting of not feeling that your actual race is not respected and that you are not respected the moment you walk into a room, but I guess that is too much of an empathetic leap.

    BTW, I can also tell you that aside from my vote for Obama, I voted straight republican this time, as usual, those were protest votes against my lefty Dem. state and fed Vermont politicians and all but one, (Lt. Gov.), was futile.

    I can also mention that I very nearly ran for the Vermont senate about 15 years ago, as a republican, and not as a moderate one either. After Act 60 was created, I was standing on top of Vermont history, with a pitchfork, yelling no (and I believe I used words like socialist as well). I attended a class put on by the GOP about campaigning, learned about how to use wedge issues, but finally did not pull the trigger on the run because I realized it was futile, even if I got into the Senate I would have been alone, Vermont is hard wired to be a liberal democratic place. Which is also a place of soft and gentle fascism at times, all left is no better than all right.

    So, really, I’ve been there, and probably been more “there” than our resident conservatives and Libertarians who think they know me and have me pegged.

    • November 8, 2012 11:16 am

      You know, the race card is always played with conservatives. Is there any doubt that Obama is a racist? Well, if you do doubt it, you are not paying attention. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton not racist? Hmmm.

      So, let’s drop the race card as candidly it is SO old and over done.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 8, 2012 11:21 am

        Twas you what played it first. See your post above to Ron P.

        Methinks thou doth protest too much.

      • November 8, 2012 11:29 am

        I like to play with you guys and you have no sense of humor. I am not protesting, as I have not been called a racist lately, at least not to my face. That said, I confess that I detest so-called “current black/hip hop/baggy ass pants/rap American culture” irrespective of who is practicing it (white, black, hispanic, asian, whatever). If that makes me racist, so be it. I have been called worse.

        I think it just means I have some sense of “good taste” left in me.

        Mozart anyone? Is that too Aryian of me?

        The key thing is this: once you get called a racist and you don’t recoil and plead that you are not, the race baters have nothing. That, is fun to watch!

      • AMAC permalink
        November 10, 2012 6:45 pm

        Not racist, but maybe out of touch. Wishing things could go back to “the good ole’ days” is a waste of time. I am sure your grandparents hated the culture of your youth as much as you seem to detest the culture of the current youth. You probably also characterize “kids today” as lazy and lacking the character of your generation. This is typical of an aging generation and nothing new. The current generation is more productive, work longer hours, and yes; they look different.

      • November 10, 2012 6:57 pm

        If you say so. I made a reference to one aspect of today’s culture and you generalize as only a libtard can do. That fact is, I teach students at the graduate school level and for the most part, they are an impressive lot. Of course, I don’t teach in an inner city HS, so you know, I am not really “giving back!”

        We all can’t be as holy as you, AMAC!

    • November 8, 2012 11:37 am

      Absent forcing them on others ideas no matter how vile ham no one but yourself.

      If you are an employer and you are racist sexist and homophobic and you act on that in you hiring choices or with respect to your clients, you do not harm blacks, women or gays – you deprive them of nothing they were entitled to.

      But you do harm yourself – you deprive yourself of a broader market, of a broader pool of employees some of which are certain to be better than the white men you chose instead.

      And i will open the business down the street competing against you serving those you will not, and hiring the best of those you will not,, and absent government interference my business will prosper and yours will fail.

      Discrimination is a self punishing act.

      Further until you can grasp what does and does not constitute force or harm, you are doomed to chase solutions that are guaranteed to fail.

      • November 8, 2012 11:43 am

        Thomas Sowell (among others) says that the great thing about capitalists is the only color they see is green. When I was running companies, I could care less what the skin color or sexual preference was. I was looking to compete and clearly could not afford to be “picky” when it came to finding talent. If I could afford the best, I hired them, regardless.

        Libs don’t get that about capitalism. In that sense, they project their own bias onto the capitalist. In fact, many libs WOULD hire a black american over a white one, so that they could feel better about themselves. Hmm, that sounds like they might be ….Naw, that couldn’t be!

    • November 8, 2012 12:00 pm

      Maybe you have been there but it does not seem you have learned much.
      Unless you have changed racially, your comments are indistinguishable from the vermont socialists you are ranting about.

      Beyond that – why do you believe you know so much about the life experiences of the rest of us ? You portray most of us like we are teens enthralled by atlas shrugged. My perceptions of you are based on your own remarks. Your inability to have a rational logical fact driven dialogue, your reliance on fallacies and ad hominem as nearly your sole means of argument.

      I have been in the real world since I was a child – some of my “biography” is in past posts.
      I have had to hire people, fire people – even some because of my own failures. I have had to start over numerous times. I have had jobs I loved, and jobs I had to take to pay the mortgage. I contribute both my time and my wealth to those less fortunate. i take Matthew 25:31-46 seriously even if I eschew organized religion. I have come about as close to running for state office as you.

      But I would note that despite living in the “soft fascism” of vermont most of your venom is targeted at the right. You do not as an example grasp that NPR is atleast as skewed as Limbaugh, That NYT is far more skewed than WSJ, That nearly all major networks are more skewed than FOX.

      Like Rick most of your venom is targeted at the right.
      We have a president who has continued unchanged nearly all the worst policies the left complained of with Bush – yet not a peep from you or Rick on most of those.
      Benghazi is an unmittigated disaster – irrespective of ideology. Yet you down play it. Aside from the screw ups, are the lies. The whitehouse and the press claimed Romney’s response was wrong – when they knew he was right. That is called deliberate lying. I do not care whether you are on the right or the left – deliberately lie to me and get caught and I am through with you. But this the norm once you decide the ends justify the means.

      • November 8, 2012 12:03 pm

        Hey, don’t pick on Vermont. Where else can the 60s radicals and hippies go to drive their Subarus and feel superior in virtue?

        Hug a tree lately?

  15. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 8, 2012 10:53 am

    Not to mention Army Basic training and AIT during a heat wave in at lovely Fort Benning Georgia. Where I met both white and black soldiers with racial attitudes along with those that did not have them. Speaking of leaving one’s comfort zone in every way. At least it was purely voluntary and I was not shipped straight to a combat zone afterwards but only back to Vermont and the Nat Guard.

    I play now with a drummer in a jazz band who is conservative, listens to FOX, and who was a marine who played in the Marine band for Reagan on a regular basis. Hell of nice guy, none better, only mildly conservative actually.

    Another Reagan connection, during my Act 60 rebellion I became good friends with John McLaughry, who has a free market think tank, ran for Vt Gov. and was a speechwriter for Reagan. There was plenty of mutual respect, but as the rebellion died down, we found a chasm between our ideas on climate science and I stopped receiving his think tank newsletter.

    Another very close friend is the former head the Vt. Rep. Party, we were both married to Russians and were tennis buddies and have had a warm friendship for many years. I wrote for his Vt conservative newsletter, (anonymously I’ll admit) and fought many (successful) wars against the Vt. Dem. Establishment with him.

    Any idea that I have no idea of what the world is ought to be leaving.

    I’m a moderate, both extreme lefties and righties make my teeth itch.

    • November 8, 2012 12:35 pm

      Wow, you have conservative friends. Whopy Ding, I have some incredibly liberal ones.

      I have had debated policy with Robert Reich, law with Lawrence Tribe and Lawrence Lessig, economics with Paul Krugman, as well as many other luminaries on the left. all wonderful and decent in my exchanges with them.

      Regardless, you seem to have learned little from your experiences.
      You have said you are a biologist – when deciding the merits of some purported new advance in biology – do you rely on studies that do not provide data or methodology ? or do you more heavily weigh those that others have been able to reproduce that have been subject to rigorous scrutiny, that eventually persuaded even the skeptics ?
      Do you buy the conclusions of scientist who rely on maligning those who disagree, who turn the very act of disagreeing into a pejorative ? Do you trust the results of those who do not provide data, who do not provide their methodology, who excoriate and impeded those that ask, who confuse correlation with causation, and who would not have a clue how to tell if a result was statistically valid if it bit them on the ass ?

      I have provided you with numerous studies supporting my claims or countering yours.
      Further most of mine conform to two hundred years of political economics – much of which even Krugman atleast claims to accept. You call this cherry picking – several of the studies are surveys of the results of nearly every study on the specific subject across the past 40 years – cherry picking my ass. i have provided you with data from NBER, US Census, GAO, CBO, … to back up my claims. I desparately want open government, nothing would better expose the failure of government than public access to the raw data on government performance. You respond with appeals to authority, and ad hominem, and believe with religious fervor that the truth, the right answer is always in the middle – another fallacy. You have actually converted a fallacy into an ideology – and you have done so openly – you might argue with my restatement, but it is still just a restatement of your own claims.

      The right is wrong about many things, when it is wrong the truth is NOT found in the middle. The left is wrong atleast as often – again the truth is NOT found in the middle.
      Even when the left is right about an issue, they are willing to use bad means to get good ends – and that leaves them wrong even when they are right.

      For many if not most problems the resolution of competing views is NOT the middle, or compromise. Even where a problems solutions falls along a curve the peak is not usually at the center, further the peak is the optimum for a single criteria – as an example the best tax rate for maximizing government revenue and the best rate for maximizing economic growth are distinct.

      Put differently you can not plot everything on a bell curve with an optimum in the center. In fact most things do not follow a bell curve.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 8, 2012 1:02 pm

        Yes, Dave your utter disdain for the center and moderates has been fully explained in ten million usually insulting or condescending words, and yet here you still are, futilely expecting us moderates to take your extreme positions seriously. You are wasting your time. We know you reflexively believe that all we say and believe is wrong, its an ineffective and utterly boring tactic that long ago lost its punch and does not lead to further interest in your ideas.

        In response to your endless repetition, I stand on my right of free speech to be repetitious myself and ask again, where is your own shining light of a Libertarian site where you will promote your own philosophy instead of your endless litany of “everything moderate or liberal is wrong” on the New Moderate? Your wasteful use of your time here make it obvious that your own religion is going nowhere. See Gary Johnson.

  16. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 8, 2012 11:12 am

    Dave, sorry but you really are thicker than Missisippi mud or at least you are pretending to be for the sake of continuing your endless argument. The parts of your beliefs that are in Econ 101 are clearly distinct from the parts that are extreme. I can tell that, the world can tell that, you try to make points by pretending that you can’t tell that? Please, it says a lot about the strength of your material that you use arguments that are knocked down by a mild breeze.

    Yes, you and Paul Krugman have a lot in common, as all who have a basic grasp of the principles of economics has a lot in common. But you and Krugman are both extreme because of the points you Don’t have in common, the points where you both take extreme and opposite positions on. Its really simple.

    Your libertarian site, when you finally create it instead trying to reeducate us “whinny liberal so-called moderates” ought to be called the New Libertarian Martyr. Everyone loves a good martyr, eh? Actually, not so much.

    • November 8, 2012 12:55 pm

      i provided you with numerous top 10 lists of things 90% of economists believe – probably 80% of what I argue here coincides with one or the other of those.

      Now in addition to telling me what i think you are telling me what others think about me.

      I am sorry Ian – you have no clue what extreme actually is. And even so, extreme is not the same a s wrong. Galeleo took an “extreme” position – right or wrong ? Abolitionists took an extreme position. Our founders took an extreme position. A position outside the center is NOT inherently wrong.

      If you accept that Krugman is an example of the error of extremism – why is it that most of what you accept as correct mimics him ?

      Actually some of the most “extreme” positions I have taken derive fairly cleanly from econ 101. Few sane economists will disagree that as tax rates increase the rate of return will decline. Few will disagree that as tax rates increase economic growth will decline.
      These are simple applications of supply and demand curves.

      Much of what I say about the size of government is not only born out by econ 101 – but also by study after study. Greater economic freedom means better standard of living – that is not only my “extremist ideology” but it is the conclusion of numerous studies across the US and the world. It is the conclusion of such extreme conservative organizations such as the world bank and IMF. Increased social safety nets reduce standard of living – again not just my ideology, but the results of data worldwide.
      In the US – what states have the lowest unemployment, highest growth, most improving standard of living, and a net inflow of people ? Look at the electoral college map – they are all red. I provided you with studies of US states – lower taxes, lower regulation – higher growth greater improvement in standard of living.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 8, 2012 1:13 pm

        Did I ask for your studies? Am I interested in your studies? You distort everything you touch beyond recognition. Let someone have the slightest positive thing to say about deregulation or smaller government and you utterly ignore the scale issue and claim them as support for your anti government crusade.

        I’ve taken econ 101, it was my one and only college A+. I do not need you to condescending explain what basic economics are through your distortion field.

        I am not going to read one more of your %$#&^ studies only to find out that once again you have completely misrepresented it.

        Provide your studies to someone who is interested in them on your own Libertarian website, that would be a great use of your expertise.

        If you have anything positive to contribute to the topic of moderation then this would be the place to do it. Otherwise….

        i’ve got a band practice to prepare for, I’m sure you will still be here when I get back and tomorrow and the next day….

      • November 8, 2012 5:36 pm

        “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve got a closed mind.”
        Rep. Earl Landgrebe (R-IN),

        “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (John Adams, 1770.)

        “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Patrick Moynihan

        They are not “my” studies, they are those of literally hundreds of economists over the past 40 years, and the overwhelming majority of them draw conclusions that support my claims – right down to we would do better with 80% less government.

        Glad you took econ 101 – sugest you find the text. Even Paul Samuelson only questions the laws of supply and demand at the fringes.

        Facts, studies, correlations and opinions that contradict yours are not negative.

  17. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 8, 2012 12:47 pm

    No, hugged no trees lately or ever, Cartman,

    My wife is at war with trees, which she carries out using me and my chain saw as her weapon. I just threw another log on the fire.

    But I vastly prefer over the top environmentalists with their hearts in the right place to gung-ho right wingers who hate environmental protection in any form.

    I did just rebuild the engine of my %$#@ Subaru Forester this year when I wasn’t busy obsessively posting here. I’m sticking with Volvos in the future, although they were not designed to be worked on, just try replacing the buried alternator, they also were not designed to break every ten seconds like the ^&%$# Subaru.

    • November 8, 2012 1:26 pm

      So loaded with assumptions.

      In truth those “tree huggers” are on net environmentally destructive. It is impossible to reconcile all the different environmentalist views into something that is not inherently in conflict.

      The greatest environmental destruction occurs at the hands of the state.
      Chernobyl is a beautiful example of what happens when the state manages things – but we have plenty of examples in the US. Far more of the environment has been destroyed by government than all private exploitation combined – yet you fixate on “right wingers who hate the environment” – I am not sure that group exists. What does exist is people who weight their love of nature against their other needs and wants.

      The environmental left is responsible for more death and poverty that the worst polluters have ever inflicted. Look up GreenPeace founder Dr. Patrick Moore.

      But for the a prior generation of Genetically engineered grains millions would have died in India. The WHO backed down slightly on pesticides and africa was slowly gaining ground on Malaria and other mosquito born disease. The WHO reversed itself and Bill Gates wasted $1B on mosquito nets – to zero effect.

      We are idiotically tarifing or embargoing sugar from elsewhere, We have banned genetically modified and sterile Super Sugar beets in the US – because they might somehow breed with ordinary ones and create mutants that will destroy the earth.
      We recycle paper – the most sustainable product in existance. We have more forests in this country than when the Pilgrims landed. We are ranting about fracking – which even if the worst claims were true is still a much better ecological choice than deep ocean drilling, or even just ordinary 20th century oil fields.
      At small cost and little environmental damage we could have oil piped from Canada – a place not know for its political and religious volatility, instead we expensively and dangerously transport it by supertanker from countries it would be best not to have to deal with at all if possible.

      And on and on.

      I have zero problem with holding people accountable for the actual harm they cause.

      I have enormous problems with people who think they have a clue how to properly solve a problem based solely on ideology before the fact.

      Those tree huggers you are so found of kill people. They should prey for a forgiving god.

    • November 8, 2012 1:35 pm

      My wife has a Sub, has for many years. I actually like working on it, save the plugs which are not easy to do. The true huggers are OK, but a bit weak in the logic dept. And they just to FEEL, which makes me uncomforable.

    • November 8, 2012 5:23 pm

      Kudos on your engine rebuild. I did that one for a Honda Civic CVCC 1200. Never again. That is why god created mechanics and junk yards.

  18. November 8, 2012 5:44 pm

    Ian;

    This is the abstract of the world bank study from 2008

    Which part am I cherry picking or mis-interpretting.

    These are not my words. I can not find a single conclusion or aspect of this that is in anyway at odds with anything I have expounded or offers the slightest glimmer of hope to statists such as your self.

    So Am I lying and cherry picking here ?

    “Reviewing the economic performance—good and bad—
    of more than 100 countries over the past 30 years, this
    paper finds new empirical evidence supporting the idea
    that economic freedom and civil and political liberties are
    the root causes of why some countries achieve and sustain
    better economic outcomes. For instance, a one unit
    change in the initial level of economic freedom between
    two countries (on a scale of 1 to 10) is associated with
    an almost 1 percentage point differential in their average
    long-run economic growth rates. In the case of civil and
    political liberties, the long-term effect is also positive and
    significant with a differential of 0.3 percentage point.
    In addition to the initial conditions, the expansion of
    freedom conditions over time (economic, civil, and
    political) also positively influences long-run economic
    growth. In contrast, no evidence was found that the
    initial level of entitlement rights or their change over
    time had any significant effects on long-term per capita
    income, except for a negative effect in some specifications
    of the model. These results tend to support earlier
    findings that beyond core functions of government
    responsibility—including the protection of liberty
    itself—the expansion of the state to provide for various
    entitlements, including so-called economic, social, and
    cultural rights, may not make people richer in the long
    run and may even make them poorer.”

    I would also note that the abstract specifically notes that this study essentially confirms earlier studies reaching the same conclusion.

    I would happily admit that I have occasionally offered some studies reached the conclusions I wanted to demonstrate but had editorial comments that I did not necessarily agree with.

  19. November 8, 2012 6:00 pm

    Here is the NBER link to the Romer and Romer paper on the economic effects of taxes.

    http://www.nber.org/digest/mar08/w13264.html

    NBER headlines this with

    “Tax changes have very large effects: an exogenous tax increase of 1 percent of GDP lowers real GDP by roughly 2 to 3 percent.”

    Are they cherry picking ?

    Do you trust Christine Romer – President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors chair ?
    What about NBER ?

    I can provide links to papers by Paul Krugman about the benefits of Free trade – he received his Nobel for work in a very narrow aspect of trade and until he became a political shill produced numerous papers on the benefits of free trade. As he has aged and become more radical he has convinced himself that his lifes work is essentially wrong – should he give back the Nobel ?

    I give you actual papers with real data, that if you passed your econ 101 class you should be able to verify or challenge on your own.

    When you deign to do more than rant about cherry picking and froth at the mouth over radical extremist racist …. conservatives (or libertarians as the mood strikes you), what we get are editorials. While there is nothing wrong with those, opinions are not facts.

    As a biologist I would hope you are not redrafting the fundimentals of biology based solely on the written opinion of another biologist, no matter how plausible they might be.

    • November 8, 2012 6:16 pm

      Krugman used to be an economist. Then he got the Nobel, got married, got whipped, and move to an island, where his wife tells him what to write. And BTW-I am not making this up, lead story in the Lib magazine, the New Yorker.

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 9, 2012 10:10 am

      Dave: Those tree huggers you are so found of kill people. They should prey for a forgiving god.

      Dave, you are like having a Jehovah’s witness at my door, except that you won’t leave and you have camped out on my porch and every time I open the door you shout at me that I’m wrong about absolutely everything and shove your fucking Watchtower in my face.

      You still don’t get it. I’m not interested in your extreme and at times repulsive worldview, your environmental diatribe was a perfect example of the views of a loon and complete crank. Yes my mind IS closed to your nonsense, there is only a small window of data and arguments and theories that I can consider in one day out of the nearly infinite possibilities and what you are offering does not meet even the loosest standards of interest or credibility, let alone the incredibly tight ones the real world imposes on me and anyone.

      If your goal is to convert me to your nasty religion then you are a failure at that.

      • November 9, 2012 10:57 am

        I have never had an issue with our friends from Mormon or Jehovah. They are polite and orderly, unlike those assclowns from the Occupy movement. Who would you rather spend time with?

  20. Ron P permalink
    November 8, 2012 6:04 pm

    http://www.physicianspractice.com/six-main-reasons-physicians-are-dropping-medicare-patients

    As we enter a new chapter in fiscal inniatives to balance the budget and reduce spending, keep in mind that the ACA cuts physician reimbursement 29% beginning in January 2013.

    The above link provides information on one state that follows physician participation in the program based on applications to participate in the year ahead. Doin a search on “physician participation in Medicare” will provide additional links showing other situations in other states.

    Should you have an interest, have a loved one on medicare or approaching that time in their life, or you are approaching that age, you might find this information interesting.

  21. November 8, 2012 6:18 pm

    If the feds are allowed to force us to buy Health Insurance, how hard will it be to force docs to accept Medicare?

    Put this prediction in an envelope and take it out is say, 2 yrs. Executive Order #, well you get the picture.

    • November 9, 2012 1:09 am

      But they can not force them to be doctors. And if the status and remuneration of the profession declines fewer and less able people will choose to be doctors.

      PPACA will likely significantly increase the immigration of 3rd world doctors, because that is the only way to rapidly replace the losses, with people somewhat able to do the job.

      This in turn will decrease the quality of care in those nations we draw from

      That is just my guess at what the market response will be, but that does not matter.
      What does is that whenever you use government to force a desired result – “the seen”, you always get lots of other consequences – usually bad “the unseen”

      That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen

      http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

      I just watched some TV show where one of the characters spouts of a line something to the effect of “If I did not have all this debt from college I would be out serving the underprivileged rather than a high paid corporate attorney.”

      I am not sure if that is true, but I know that A profession that demands the expensive and intensive training of medicine is going to be far less attractive if doctors opportunities are reduced.

      • November 9, 2012 8:19 am

        Of course, there will be fewer doctors because of Obamacare. Fewer doctors and more patients. Opponents of the law, particuarly physicians, have been saying this all along. If we are lucky, there will be a successful attempt to fix this feature, although I am not optimistic.

        What will more likely happen is that many people will be treated by nurse practitioners and physicians assistants. While highly skilled, they do not have the same training as physicians, and the quality of care will go down.

        We’re sacrificing quality of care, it’s as simple as that.

      • November 9, 2012 10:56 am

        Most likely true in the long run. I have been researching medical costs for the period 1981-2010. Three quarters of the real increases are purely price related (not usage). Thus, price controls are inevitable. I believe in the long run, the docs will experience a “japan” like world. That will not be good for them, or us.

      • November 9, 2012 10:52 am

        Medicine as a career over time has become less attractive. This will continue. That said, it will take even more time to see a drop in the numbers of those who want to become docs. In fact, the apps are actually up now and a number of new med schools are in the works. So, you are correct I think in the very long run. You are not correct as to the “quality” of FMGs. The vast majority of these docs are NOT from 3rd world countries and their training is more than adequate to provide quality of care. The real issue from a supply side is that the AMA has done a nice job of keeping these FMGs out of residency programs. If we are to deal with the long run issues of doctor supply, that little deal will have to be addressed.

  22. November 8, 2012 8:26 pm

    Wow, it’s almost impossible to catch up to one of these threads, once the number of comments has gone over 30-40. I did give it a try…I’ll admit to having skimmed a little.

    Just some quick reactions, all over the map:

    Rick, I agree about the excessive bitterness of our current political climate, but I don’t think it approaches the level of 1860, and if it does, it is largely because there are neverending interventions by the 24 hr media to roil the electorate in negative ways. My observation is that liberals justify their bad behavior as being a totally appropriate response to the “horrors” of conservativism and to the intellectual inferiority of conservatives, and that conservatives justify theirs as an appropriate defense.

    Really interesting theory on one vs. two term presidents, Ian. I think you are on to something in one sense, but I have (surprise!) a slightly different view of this particular election. If you look at the ways Obama and Romney ran their respective campaigns, it would be hard to say that Romney ever attacked Obama personally. No doubt, there were Obama foes (Trump) who did, but the Romney campaign stayed pretty above-board and substantive when it came to the issues. On the other hand, beginning almost instantaneously with Romney clinching the nomination, the Obama campaign and its SuperPACs began running ads accusing Romney of being everything from a tax cheat to a misogynist, to a murderer (“my wife died of cancer because of Romney”). We even saw Harry Reid say (on the floor of the Senate, to protect himself from a slander suit) that he believed that Romney had not paid taxes for 10 years. Politics ain’t beanbag, and I fault the Romney campaign for not coming back at these accusations in a very direct and forceful way. By “taking the high road” I believe that there were many who simply believed that an accusation unchallenged must be true.

    I appreciate Ron’s continuing efforts to point out the realities of the monstrosity known as Obamacare. And I agree with Rich that this administration may believe that forcing docs to treat Medicare patients is the way to solve the problem of not paying them nearly enough. The idea that docs may just drop out the profession and do something else that is more lucrative does not occur to them, I’m afraid…….

  23. November 9, 2012 1:58 am

    Everyone will get in on the game of analyzing why Romney lost.

    The left probably joined by moderates here will likely claim because the GOP was too extreme, and blame it on the Tea Party.

    Whether that is true or not – and I think it is not, the message the GOP got was “another moderate bites the dust”, this country will not elect moderate republicans.

    Going into election day Republicans had a 1% advantage in voter registration – I think for the first time in my lifetime. Further Romney was something like a 16 point favorite among independents. Yet Nate Silver and other claiming democrats would be substantially more motivated than republicans to vote proved right – otherwise this would have been Romney in a landslide. That means alot of republicans did not vote. This is one of the big problems with all the claims that the GOP needs to move to the center to get elected – it is false.
    Romney lost more votes from the far right than he picked up from the middle.

    I fully expect the 2014 midterms to look much like the 2010 ones. And you should expect that the house and senate candidates are going to be more conservative not less.
    Republicans are likely to look at these results and note than all the moderate republicans lost.

    If moderates want more influence within the GOP – they need to be more willing to vote for moderate republicans. Though frankly it is too late for that.

    Democrats and a few republicans like the meme that demographics is destiny – that the largest growing constituencies – hispanics are democratic.

    I would note that hispanics blend more rapidly into this nation than any other minority and are both more religious and more conservative as a group to begin with. Third generation hispanic immigrants have a different “racial” classification – white.

    Further the most rapidly growing states in the country are the red states – particularly the deep red states. They are absorbing alot of immigrants, and they are not getting any bluer.

    One last look into the crystal ball. We are teetering on a double dip recession.
    A part of that is downward pressure from the election so there might be some improvement after the election.

    But neither a President Romney nor a President Obama was going to do anything of consequence to address those problems. Pres. Obama is already essentially a lame duck. Few presidents manage anything of consequence in their 2nd term. Maybe if Pres. Obama is capable of Clintonesque cooperation with the GOP – but I doubt that.
    What little Pres. Obama accomplishes is likely by executive fiat and will almost certainly be bad.

    In the unlikely event the republican house cooperates with him on say Jobs bills – the economic consequences of that will be bad.

    Over the next 4 years we will add another $4T+ to the debt – which will become even more crushing.

    My crystal ball says 2% growth for the next 4 years is the very best we can hope for – that will leave unemployment right where it is, and probably increase the deficit even more. Eventually the Federal Reserve is going to have to admit that it is out of ammunition, and that monetary policy just plain does not work at near zero interest rates anyway. At some point in the not too distant future the Fed will have to chose between allowing the weak inflationary recovery they have baked in, or deliberately causing a recession to forestall inflation.

    and just for Ian – these are just my prognostications. They are not for the most part some extremist libertarian insights. They are mostly just expectations based on what is already easily foreseable. There is no reason to expect strong growth anytime soon – nothing has changed that would make that likely – eventually people will start to reinvest – but far more slowly than if they had real confidence. There is no reason to expect that the federal government is going to bring the debt under control. that has never been something Pres. Obama cared about. There is no Safetynet program such as PPACA that has ever cost less than 3 times what was expected. The real costs of PPACA will start kicking in. Price controls have never ever worked before – just take alot at NJ and NY and gasoline after Sandy, Price controls either raise prices, or cause shortages or both. We can probably add another $1T to the debt over the next 4 years just from PPACA.

    If you doubt this – go back and look at what medicare was supposed to cost,
    Social security was NEVER going to cost more than 2% of wages – FDR guaranteed that. Medicare part D has proved incredibly expensive.
    And the war in Iraq was supposed to pay for itself.

    Though I do expect to hear the president telling us all how much worse it would have been without PPACA.

    Does that future sound like something that is going to get liberals elected ?
    Even moderates ?

    And if you do not like my view into the future there is only one thing needed to avoid it – Pres. Obama has to succeed at something he has been unable to do in 4 years. He has to solve all or atleast most of the problems above.

    I am personally quite happy that Romney was not elected – I do not think he could have done enough to avoid the mess that is coming, and the economic failure of another statist republican would have ensured the continuation of this progressive idiocy until I was too old to care.

    Right now as I see it the quicker Obama fails the quicker we can get to the creative destruction necessary to clean this mess up.

    And no I am not praying for his failure. I just do not see him changing and therefore it is inevitable.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 9, 2012 12:28 pm

      I will just offer four examples of individuals not voting for Romney. All four aged 26 to 32. Two females, practicing Catholics, two males. All from very republican families. All four fiscal conservative. All four voted for Gary johnson as they could not vote for Obama since they dislike everything he stands for. But they say they could not vote for Romney due to the Republicans position on immigration, abortion and gay rights. They find that they value individual freedoms more than the fear of a fiscal economic problem in the future. They do not believe people in the late teen to 20’s brought to US at young age and raised American should be deported. They do not believe in abortion for themselves, but do not believe in government imposing their belief on others. They believe in straight marriage for themselves, but do not believe government should impose restrictions on gay marriage.

      So how many 18-35 year old voters believe the same as those four. I don’t know. Maybe someone does. Might also answer why women voted 59% to 41% for Obama and why Romney got the majority of the white “bubba” vote.

      As for red states not getting any bluer. Look at NC. Rarely ever voted for a democrat for president. And the votes were by large percentages. Then came Obama. Now a state that was always red is barely a red state. Is that because of the influx of northeast transplants and increasing hispanic vote, or is that due to some other changing demographic?

      I am not an expert, only commenting on what I see and hear. You decide..

      • November 9, 2012 12:41 pm

        Good examle of wrong headed thinking:

        Indvidual freedoms:

        So, it is OK to enter a country illegally, hide out, avoid taxes and then ask that your children be granted immunity for your ability to break the law for many years. Let’s send them to college to boot! Am I free to object and ask for a refund on my taxes for this theft?

        Re: abortion. A baby is not a body part. A woman legally cannot go to an MD and demand that her healthy gall bladder be removed. How then, can her healthy fetus/baby to be be removed because she feels like it? Gross, disgusting, and immoral.

        Re: gay marriage. Who cares? What we can do is remove all the special deals that are offered to married folks (including me) and make it a simple contractual arrangement. Problem solved ala France, where there are two ceremonies if the couple wants to add a church wedding. While I HATE to agree with the French, this is a good idea. BTW-it is my understanding that only a handfull of countries in the world recognize gay marriage, not that that bothers me.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 9, 2012 12:57 pm

        Don’t shoot the messenger, I only report what I heard and observed. I did not say they were right. it was meant to let everyone determine if they were with the majority of young voters and women, or were they outliers in their inability to vote for a Republican.

        Now another question. If it is determine (as indicated by Newt Gingrich after the election) that the Republican party is out of touch with the majority to make another Republican administration possible, then it has two alternative paths.

        1. Change and move to a position on issues that matches the social values of those the party want to attract.
        2. Change the social values of those that can not vote for them today so the social values of the Republican Party is no longer a impediment to the younger voter.

        However, if it is determined that the Republican Party represents the fiscal and social values of America, then how did the Republican Party end up with a known moderate in place of candidates with much stronger conservative values?

      • November 9, 2012 1:03 pm

        Hard to say. I am much more a libertarian who has to vote GOP to have any chance of backing a winning horse. That said. the “logic” of many voters such as you cited eludes me. Perhaps our public schools are not doing such a hot job?

      • November 9, 2012 3:03 pm

        Ron, I have seen and heard what you have, when it comes to people – and not just young people – refusing to vote for Republicans because of issues like gay marriage, immigration, and abortion. And I know that you have vented frustration here about the GOP’s “Akin Problem,” that is, having millions of low-information voters judge the whole party, based on the idiotic utterances one or two candidates. Right before the election, my daughter came by with a friend, a very well-educated, articulate young woman of 26, who said that she thought that Mitt Romney had some good ideas and seemed like a good guy, but she could never vote for anyone who would consider banning birth control. When I told her that never, ever in even the slightest way did the GOP ever suggest banning birth control, she seemed skeptical….after all, she knows what she’s heard for the last year, and who am I to know better?

        I do think that immigration can become a winning issue for the GOP, if they will only take the lead on it. Obama has handled it poorly, plus many Latino Americans are firm believers in the American dream. I don’t think ther Republicans are dead yet. I read this morning that George P. Bush (son of Jeb) , who is himself Latino – his mother is a Mexican immigrant – has filed to run, as a Republican, for state office in Texas in 2013. Here we go….

      • Ron P permalink
        November 9, 2012 4:39 pm

        How about Jeb Bush V Hillary Clinton in 2016.

        As for the young lady you mention, if its on TV, If its in the MSNBC or other news shows and if its on the internet, it has to be true, right?

        Yes, the republicans can take the lead on immigration. Rubio had a plan ready in May that would have allowed young people brought in by their parents to stay in the US due to humanitarian reasons. They would stay using a residency permit and then work on citizenship like other legal immigrants. And that would not have impacted the status of their parents like some other legislation would have.

        Needless to say this died shortly after the election campaign started. Not sure why, but I can guess it may have had something to do with the Republican platform and its position on immigration.

        But when a tea party darling proposes something like this and its seems to have been shot down, what does that say about the party and being able to attract voters that are not white males?

      • November 9, 2012 5:03 pm

        So, I enter the country illegally and bring my kids with me. The country then decides for “humanitarian reasons” that my kids can stay. Hmm,

        That is very sound logic. How about we ship the entire family back to where they came from and allow those who want to apply legally to have a shot. Wouldn’t that be more “humanitarian?”

      • Ron P permalink
        November 9, 2012 9:12 pm

        Well I could agree with that except for the following.

        Kid is 1 year old. Raised in America, educated in America, is American through and through. May even serviced in the armed forces (I still don’t understand how that happens, but the Dream act say something about serving to qualify)

        President is born in America, Raised in a foreign country. Comes back to America in his late teens or early 20’s. He is foreign except for his birth certificate.

        Which mid 20 year old is really the American?

      • November 9, 2012 10:24 pm

        Rule of law 101.

        That is why we have laws.

      • November 9, 2012 6:35 pm

        I don’t know Rich….the law is the law and I am fully aware that the Democrat Party’s greater goal is to expand its constituency, as opposed to being humanitarian. I am in full agreement on this.

        On the other hand, the issue of “anchor babies” and of children brought illegally into the country without their knowledge is real, and the people involved, many innocent of wrongdoing, number in the millions. No viable political party can ignore this, or propose as a realistic solution, the deportation of tens of millions of people who have been living and working here.

        Ron, I think I read that Rubio’s version of the Dream Act was not allowed to come to the floor of the Senate, because Democrats were afraid that it would show Republicans (gasp!) to be both fair and humanitarian on this issue, and it would also raise Rubio’s profile as a national Hispanic leader.

        In any case, immigration reform is going to happen, one way or the other. I would rather see the Republicans take the lead on it – it’s kind of like Nixon going to China……

      • November 9, 2012 7:35 pm

        If in fact, we allow these “tens of millions” of people off the hook, again, it will be the third time in my lifetime this has happened. It makes me wonder: why bother having immigration laws?

        How can we defend to folks who actually waited and did it the right way?

      • November 10, 2012 11:11 am

        The trail of broken promises by the government on this issue is longer than most, I agree. Sorry state of affairs all around.

      • November 10, 2012 11:55 am

        Abortion and illegal immigration are both thorny issues with no easy solutions. I think we need a moderate perspective on both, because the extremes are engaging in perpetual ideological warfare.

        I agree that the liberal position on abortion is too glib and convenient: no, a fetus isn’t like an inflamed appendix; it’s not part of a woman’s body… it’s contained inside the woman’s body and it’s genetically distinct from the mother, which makes a big difference. The moderate solution would be to allow abortions up to some arbitrary point in the pregnancy– say three months. After that, the fetus begins to assume a human shape, move voluntarily and could experience pain, so its removal is tantamount to murder. In cases of rape or endangerment of the mother’s health, we could extend the three-month deadline. Would this proposal please everyone? Of course not. But it probably beats the all-or-none stance of the extremists.

        I don’t really have a good solution to the illegal immigration problem. We have to do something about “anchor babies,” that un-PC term that liberals refuse to utter. If we were more vigilant about protecting our border, there would be fewer anchor babies born in the U.S. And frankly, I’m not opposed to stricter laws like the infamous Arizona policy of checking the status of those who are stopped for traffic violations and other offenses. Racial profiling? Sure, because we don’t expect illegals along the Mexican border to look Scandinavian or Japanese. If Latino citizens are really citizens, they have nothing to hide and shouldn’t have to worry about their status. I don’t mind when I’m pulled aside at airport check-ins (presumably for looking Middle Eastern). I have nothing to hide.

        I’d be inclined to let the illegals’ children off the hook, since they had no control over their status. If they were born here, I’d let them apply for citizenship without going to the back of the line. That said, would we break up families, sending the parents back to Mexico? Maybe they could stay on as residents with limited privileges, as long as they have clean records. (If they want to apply for citizenship, they’d have to go to the back of the line.)

      • November 10, 2012 1:52 pm

        Sorry buddy, but these are not “thorny issues.” They are inconvenient issues, where the tradeoffs annoy some people more than others. I have no issue “sending these innocent children” back home WITH THEIR parents. Then, they can get in line and apply to come here the right way;.

        The libs will NEVER go for that, nor will they go for ID checks and for time limits on abortion, They believe in a world where the only trade-offs to be made are by someone else, not them or who they favor. Meanwhile, we pay for hospitals, schools, and the like for folks who simply ignore the rules. If the rule of law means nothning, say so and I can then stop following it too!

    • November 9, 2012 6:48 pm

      Ok, I was half right (should have goodgle first, wrote second)….Rubio’s Dream Act was co-opted and derailed by Obama in his executive order issued shortly before the election. The EO was undoubtedly issued for the purpose of taking the air out of Rubio’s bill and making sure that the GOP got no traction on immigration. Obama will likely say that he has solved the problem through edict. It will be up to Republicans to push a permanent solution, if they dare…..

  24. November 9, 2012 11:01 am

    Ian;

    It is impossible to have disdain for moderates, as it is impossible to determine what a moderate means. Everyone here has their own different definition. I have no problem with that – try finding a broad definition of conservative or liberal that all will be happy with.

    But I am disappointed by anyone of any political persuasion that thinks name calling is argument, that thinks it is acceptable to accomplish good ends by bad means, that thinks opinion trumps facts.

    I am firmly grounded in a libertarian ideology – BECAUSE it is consistent with the real world. Find an actual robust instance where that ideology fails, and I will alter my views. Faith without reason leads to destruction.

    If liberalism actually worked I would likely be a communist, but it does not and can not work, and its flaws are structural – they can not be fixed – not even in some progressive light form.

    Apparently your new label is “negative”. Whatever. It is not negative to note that it is unlikely that what has always failed in the past will succeed today. It is not negative to note that the bulk of data and research runs contrary to your beliefs.

    Ultimately I am the optimist – I believe that imperfect humans free to do anything but harm others will inevitably produce a continually improving world. Even the my “dark” view of our immediate future, fraught with recession and worse is still a continuously improving world. The greater our freedom is the greater the improvement in our standard of living will be, but even across the recent recession our circumstances have improved – only a little, but still improved.

    You are failing by your own definition of moderate. Faced with the failure of the state to deliver on its promises – you seek more promises from that state. Choosing between more freedom and less you pick less. In nearly every instance where the moderates here could choose between more individual freedom and more state power they have chosen more state power. How is that moderate ?

    Confronted by a problem – and all our problems of consequence are the result of government, few here ever think – is there a way to solve this with less government and more individual freedom ? Whatever problem tickles your fancy – the answer is always – government should do something about that. You conclude government is corrupt and then decide that can be fixed by giving the government more power.

    Liberals at least have an excuse – they actually believe in more government as a force for good. That is the essential core value of liberalism – and if that is what you actually believe, then quit hiding behind moderate as a label and embrace what you truly are – liberal.

    My definition of moderate based on what it appears to mean here would be pessimistic tepid liberal. Eeyore progressivism.

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 9, 2012 12:48 pm

      Dave, don’t you see, after calling environments a group killers who “should prey (sic) for a forgiving god” you have simply got no leg to stand on about name calling. I would say that you are the most enormous hypocrite I have ever encountered, but that would be rhetoric, I’m sure that I must have met your equal somewhere.

      Your environmental rant combined the ethics of a tobacco company lawyer with the intellectual machinery of a lunatic. And in general, you have the persistence of a bad case of the clap. But I won’t go so far as to say that you are actually evil or a killer, so I am safely behind the line you have set out in the field of over the top insulting accusations.

      I’m outa here for a good political vacation, your never ending fanatical extremism has ruined the New Moderate for me. Others too I suspect. Oh don’t worry, no one is trying to infringe on your rights to yammer perpetually and murder logic until your head finally spins right off. Knock yourself out.

      • November 10, 2012 1:04 pm

        Ian;

        Re-read your own post here – it is just dripping with malice and ad hominem. Is this really who you are ?

        Anyone who says things you do not like

        Has the ethics of a tobacco lawyer
        The persistence of a bad case of clap
        Is not quite actually evil or a killer,

        On occasion I accuse some groups of being evil – because they use bad means AND because the ends that actually accomplish are bad.

        Is there someone here who believes that any good aspiration can justify bad means AND bad ends ?

        Numerous monsters of history have wrapped them selves in some purportedly good cause but their means were evil as were their ends – and we recognize them as evil.

        My ends and my means are the same – the greatest possible individual liberty consistent with a non-violent society.

        In what way is that evil or wrong ? Where is the instance where pursuing that has required doing evil to anyone ? Where is the instance where the consequences of that have been doing evil to anyone ?

      • November 10, 2012 1:05 pm

        I think we have found a clear point at which we depart from each other.

        I beleive that people who advocate for policies that have resulted in and will result in death, disease and starvation for millions of other people are actively engaged in evil – regardless of any spin you can put on their motives.

        The Nazi’s,, Pol Pot, Mao, Khmer Rouge, Hutu, ….. had their own story about how what they were doing was good not evil.

        And back to the ad homimen I have absolutely zero problem with seeing tobacco companies pay for the harm they caused – but I want them to pay those they harmed not government protection money so those they harmed get screwed – If you have a problem with that, then I think you are the one with the ethics of a tobacco lawyer.

        I expect that when someone wraps themselves in some mantle of moral superiority, claims to be doing some great good, and steals from others to do so, that at the barest minimum they are not actually causing more harm than good.

        I do not care what the issue is. Using bad means AND achieving bad results is evil regardless of what claim to goodness you can make.

        Is that some extremist position ?

    • November 10, 2012 11:41 am

      Dave: I’m probably repeating myself (but so are you, so what the heck): Libertarian ideology fails when companies can freely hire cheap foreign labor on a huge scale, effectively starving out local workers who have nowhere else to go. One man’s freedom can mean a million men’s hardship, but you’re probably fine with that. As a famous fictional miser once said: “Then let them die, and therefore decrease the surplus population.”

      • November 10, 2012 1:38 pm

        Rick

        Are you honestly making this argument ?

        What would it take to get you to seriously examine this particular issue ?

        If you are not honestly prepared to argue that we should never do anything that increases productivity because that decreases jobs then can we just get past this argument ?

        This is pretty trivial to disprove. You are rejecting the economic principles that caused the explosive improvement of standard of living in the past several centuries.

        I can give you cites to Bastiat’s Negative RailRoad, or Candle Maker’s petition. Or reams of studies etc.

        This is just a ludicrously bad fallacy.

        The premise of your argument is essentially anything that allows producing more for less is inherently bad – because it decreases the labor needed to perform that job.

        But the central premise underlying the radical improvement in standard of living over the past couple of centuries is that creating more value at lower cost improves everything for everyone.

        Accept your claim above and we must all return to conditions of the middle ages.

        Your chaneling luddites and Pat Buchannon – is that really what you want ?

        How is it that as we have outsourced more and more – the standard of living in the US has increased ?

        Free trade always benefits both parties. Even less than free trade always benefits everyone – with the greatest benefit to the freest party.

        It is irrelevant whether what crosses the borders is people, or goods or jobs. Nor is this some extreme libertarian ideological point of view – Even Paul Krugman vigorously argued this until more recently. His nobel prize is for work directly related to free trade.

      • November 10, 2012 1:48 pm

        Actually, that is a falsehood and has been proven on a number of levels. Moreover, why is it that you libs are not willing to have our poor foreign brothers obtain jobs? Are we not all created equal and worthy of work?

      • November 10, 2012 3:25 pm

        Dave (and Rich): Our standard of living increased steadily until about ten years ago, which, coincidentally, is right around the time that U.S. companies started exporting jobs on a massive scale. Do foreigners have a right to earn decent money? Sure. But until you tell me what all those dispossessed Americans are going to do for income, the libertarian model is obviously not working for them.

      • November 10, 2012 3:49 pm

        An economist, you are not, by dear friend. Out “standard of living” has been financed by empty money and empty promises. This is what Ponzi schemes do: the provide the apparency of wealth but it is only that. Before you object, think about what Medicard and SS really do. They make promises to some, delivery OPM to others. So, some folks who receive and spend OPM while those at the back of the line are fooled into thinking that they too will receive. Now, that overdue bill in the mail box reads $60T and counting.

        Similarly, when mortgages are handed out like candy (student loans too) and the bill becomes due, BOOM. That is the nature of BUST.

        As for free trade, get used to it.This boat has sailed and everyone knows what happened to the world when we had the last wave of global protectionism. I think we called it the “great depression.”

  25. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 9, 2012 12:29 pm

    Rich, Can I choose to spend time with neither? That would be my first choice.

    Other notes:

    To best get at those subaru spark plugs remove the windshield washer reservoir and the box that holds the air filter and the MAF sensor. I had to replace fouled plugs so often that I just left the washer out of the car. My engine rebuild was actually just replacing one head, that had a loose exhaust valve guide and replacing all the seals so that I do not not spend nearly as much on oil as gas. Great winter cars but when it dies I would not take another Subaru as a gift.

    I yield to no one in my love of Germanic composers, Bach first of all, and the sublime Schubert. In Mozart’s hands, even Opera sometimes sound good, he was that much of a genius.

    Rap music is just noise, Bill Cosby said so, your taste has not led you astray.

    Wearing your pants so low that your underwear is fully revealed is idiotic, even subarban white kids in Vt do it, is it a racial thing?

    Wishing for an Obama-Biden plane crash, even as humor, is over the line. Really

    Good luck to you, I’m putting my political addiction on the shelf for a good long storage period, months I hope, if I’m lucky, years. We will see.

    • November 9, 2012 12:44 pm

      Interestingly, we have had incredible luck with the Subs, no repairs other than routine maintence. I just had the timing belt and plugs replaced by the dealer, which was a very good idea.

      Re: rap etc. A great way to torture me, and I would spill on anyone if you used rap as a weapon of choice. Re: the plane crash, I will plead that it is poor taste but I am entitled, as I am old and cranky!

    • November 10, 2012 11:22 am

      Ian: I share your taste in music: big on classical but not opera, though in Mozart’s case I make an exception. At least as important, I share your taste in politics… so although it might be tempting to take a breather after the election of 2012, I hope you’ll continue to battle valiantly for the enlightened Middle.

      Rich: Yeah, I hear you on rap “music.” (Boy, that’s an oxymoron.) It’s funny: classical music is actually being used in some rundown neighborhoods to scare away street-punks who are loitering in front of stores. It must have the same effect on them that rap has on us. Maybe cops could use classical music to extract confessions out of criminal suspects.

      • November 10, 2012 1:46 pm

        Once I left the projects I never returned and I mean never, not even for a visit. Rap is simply disgusting and one cannot say that in public or you are accused of being racist. Apparently, one can no longer express an opinion on such matters.\
        .

    • November 10, 2012 1:43 pm

      I have no expertise in Suburus. I will defer to your wisdom.

      But we share opinions on music.

      So what do you want to do about Rap ? Or exposed underwear ?

      I agree it is offensive.

      • November 10, 2012 1:58 pm

        Well, as a libertarian, there is no statist solution here, although commerial enterprises should be willing and legally able to shut this awful music off and ban these so-called clothes if they see fit. Also, it would useful if are so called leaders started to simply tell the truth about this “pop black culture” starting with the idiot in the WH.

        But, that will never happen.

  26. November 9, 2012 12:55 pm

    JBastiat;

    I have clearly not focused as much on Healthcare as you have. But the information I have read has claimed that Doctors are leaving the profession – not in hordes, but still in greater numbers than we can afford. And that there is a growing shortage of Doctors – before factoring in PPACA.

    Either there was no crisis of medical care for the uninsured – i.e. they were receiving treatment anyway, and the only change PPACA makes is forcing the uninsured into the system – or there was a real problem – in which case there is no possibility that we can magically instantly come up with the number of doctors necessary to provide them with care. I suspect the truth is in the middle. But it does nto really matter the bottom line is either it was a lie when we were told there was a problem or it was a lie when we were sold PPACA as a solution.

    I have noted over several decades that Doctors have been transformed from one of the nations largest groups of entrepeneurs to essentially highly paid employees. Fewer and fewer new doctors start their own practices. They are typically not even partners in larger practices. They are demanding 50 or less hour work weeks and limited on call time, and taking pay cuts in return. This is all fine – and might even improve care, but it significantly increases the necescary number of doctors.

    Medical schools have always had more applicants than positions I am not sure that is meaningful. Is the quality of the applicants increasing or decreasing – that is more significant.

    Regardless, most of what I have read is that the medical schools can not generate the necescary number of doctors BEFORE PPACA, and are unlikely to be able to do so for a long time.

    Further more and more practices are dropping medicare – again not a majority, or a landslide, but still a major problem.

    I was not specifically trying to malign foriegn doctors. I favor open immigration. No fences, check for criminals and that is about it – if you want to come – come. Citizenship should be somewhat more difficult certainly not automatic) but not unattainable. This poses a problem with the welfare state – the real answer is just to eliminate it. Immigrants do not come here for welfare, but granting anyone from anyone entitlement to the free ride that no one should have is irreconcilable with open immigration.

    There is ALWAYS a problem with foriegn doctors. Starting with the fact that they are from different cultures. I am still happy to welcome them, but we must expect that even the best foreign doctor from an english speaking country will not have the same culture and that effects communications. I would with people from all over the world. It is wonderful. But presuming a broad core of shared values and culture is a mistake.

    All professional organizations and licensing are about restricting access to the profession. Why would anyone expect the AMA to be any different. I believe there are stakes licensing tanning specialists now. Even North Carolina is trying to jail a food blogger because he does not have a nutritionists license.

    I am sure this will spawn much ranting and blabbering – but just eliminate all manditory licensing. Contrary to popular belief that does not mean that suddenly drug dealers will be doing structures for sky scrappers, or the high school dropouts performing open heart surgery. Anyone here NOT check the credentials of their doctors ? Why do we need the state for something we already do ourselves ? Further we have increasing online services to report on the quality of everything from our plumber through our surgeon. Anyone here beleive Donald Trump will hire someone incompetent to do the structures of his next real estate venture – because they are a bit cheaper ?

    As Ron Paul noted in the debates – if you woke up tomorrow and Heroin was legal – who here would rush out to shoot up ? As numerous nations have found the meer presence of a law – even with intensive enforcement does not significantly change the behavior of those who want what the law denies them.

    Drive any highway in this nation – how many of us obey the speed limits ? In many places drive the speed limit and you will get killed.

    For all you regulation nuts – if you are unwilling to meticulously obey every single minor law imposed upon you – why do you expect others to obey the mountain of mostly stupid legal impositions upon them ?

    • November 9, 2012 1:00 pm

      Docs are leaving for all kinds of reasons and yes, it is not nearly as much fun to be a doc. As of yet, no let up in demand for people who want to become docs. As of yet. More production is in the offing but that could change also if the profession gets too unattractive. We will see. On the FMG’s, most are surprisingly good and the AMA has done a nice snow job at hiding that fact.

      I agree that the new HC law sucks and won’t improve our HC system in any appreciable way.

    • November 10, 2012 11:13 am

      The day after the election, I was looking at the voting-breakdown map of Philadelphia in the Inquirer. It was incredible: Romney didn’t win a single ward, even in the more conservative parts of town. In my heavily Democratic (and NPR-listening, sandal-wearing liberal) neighborhood, Romney got less than 5% of the vote. (FYI: I never wear sandals.) And in the black neighborhoods… forget it. Let’s say I suspect a certain amount of “I’m voting for OUR guy” sentiment there.

      But it was the results in the white conservative areas that struck me: these were mostlly lower-middle class neighborhoods with lots of hardworking Catholics. And they still went for Obama. Maybe they saw through the Republican strategy of appealing to less-fortunate whites through issues like abortion, anti-government anger, low taxes and nativism. I’m guessing they simply refused to elect an enthusiastic plutocrat to the presidency — someone who had no idea or interest in how they and their neighbors were living during a massive recession.

      I’m hoping there won’t be a lot of smug triumphalism on the left now that Obama has won his second term. We really need to come back together as a people instead of barely coexisting as two mutually hostile cultures.

      • November 10, 2012 12:37 pm

        Rick, you are an honorable, decent guy. But, in no way can I agree that the GOP campaign was based on “abortion, anti-government anger, low taxes and nativism.” In fact, quite the opposite….Republicans tended to be frustrated with Romney for not fighting back against the relentless accusations of a “war on women,” “only for the rich,” and in particular, the unbelieveable scandal of Benghazi. Pretty much all he talked about was his 5 point plan for getting middle class jobs back – something we have yet to hear from Obama.

        I pretty much stayed away from Facebook for 2-3 days after the election, after my news feed lit up with, as you rightly label it, the “smug triumphalism” of many who seemed happier to gloat over Romney’s loss than to celebrate Obama’s win. I remember how bad my liberal friends were feeling the morning after election day 2004, and I would never have rubbed their noses in it….and I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, I just don’t think that the vicious partisan hatred exists on both sides. Although an interesting article in Slate, by an Obama supporter of your mindset explores this a bit further and seems to think that the growth of social media is responsible….it’s an interesting read, and makes me hopeful that not all liberals delight in the misery of half the population: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/11/liberal_schadenfreude_obama_s_win_brings_out_too_mean_gloating_on_social.html

      • November 10, 2012 1:55 pm

        Rick,

        Priscilla is correct,

        I saw Mitt last Sunday in Des Moines. He spoke for 25 minutes and didn’t once mention the issues you raised. He spoke about economic issues and jobs. He also spoke much about love of country and service to his country. Frankly, I was impressed.He did not say one thing that I considered divisive and only criticized Obama’s results, never his character.

      • November 10, 2012 1:44 pm

        Rick, define Plutocrat and why you believe Romney is one. Why is it that you think the conservatives “saw through his strategy?” Why is it that you cannot acknowledge that the “voting for our guy” is an outright form of racism. Why can’t you acknowledge that Obama is simply the worst “divider” we have experienced in our lifetime?

        You need to start thinking before your fingers start moving my friend.

      • November 10, 2012 2:06 pm

        I am still trying to sort through post election information,
        But regardless of the mix turnout appears to have been much lower than expected – lower among democrats and much lower among independents and republicans.

        The results of this election seem to be about lack of enthusiasm.
        Democratic support for Obama appears to have been abysmal.
        But Republican support for Romney was even worse.
        The republican media claim of skewed polls has a solid rational basis.
        republicans, democrats and independents all appear to have voted as they were polled. But a large number of people sat out this election, and the majority of those were republicans and independents otherwise this would have gone the other way.

        I do not recall Abortion being part of any republican agenda. Even the lunatic Akins did not raise the issue himself, he just responded idiotically when asked about it. Romney made it perfectly clear that regardless of his personal feelings changes to the status quo on abortion were not part of his campaign.

        You raise republican nativism AND rant about outsourcing jobs ?
        How do you reconcile those ? Further both candidates were falling all over themselves to bash china.

        There do appear to be some anomalies – several precincts in nevada had total votes exceeding the number of registered voters.

        While this was a tight race, it was fortunately not so tight that fraud could prove a determining factor.

        I will be very happy as more and more states implement reasonable voter id laws. I believe there is real fraud conducting by low level functionaries of both parties. So long as victories are sufficient that it does not matter, that question is mostly academic. But i was terrified in 2000 that the longer Bush V. Gore dragged on the more likely it was to turn into a contest of which candidates forces cheated the least.

        Uncovering a serious instance of voter fraud – regardless of which party, would be unbelievably damaging

        The legitimacy of government rests on the consent of the governed.

  27. November 10, 2012 2:26 pm

    Pearows;

    Your comparisons to 2004 seem very on point.
    Bush/Rove won by getting out their base and because kerry was an abysmally bad Democratic candidate generating no enthusiasm.

    I think that Romney tried very hard to fire people up – but he failed.

    There was alot of talk about republican voter supression – but the major acts of voter supression (which I beleive are legitimate) were by Pres. Obama.

    Obama has won – but he really has no mandate.
    His entire campaign was – don’t elect republicans – they suck worse.
    He succeed – but in doing so, he can claim no mandate – because he did not ask for one.

    He ran asking us essentially as the first Bush did to “stay the course” and he won on that.

    But he also got essentially the same congress – with a small number of additional libertarian and tea party pickups.

    We have essentially voted for more of the past two years. And that is pretty much what we got. We have the same president, but we have pretty much exactly the same house, and senate. The republicans did not make the gains they had hoped for in the senate but did not have the losses that were projected in the house.

    And that is going to matter alot very shortly.
    When Pres. Obama says “elections have consequences and they elected me president” the response is and the same voters gave republicans a strong majority in the house, and a sufficient minority to fillibuster the senate.

    We spent $3B on an eternal election to change nothing.

    • November 10, 2012 3:43 pm

      Indeed, One way to frame this election is this: When people are confronted by massive uncertainty, they freeze and do nothing!

  28. November 10, 2012 3:50 pm

    Now we are speculating on what comes next.

    We are about to run into the debt ceiling again.

    Having negotiated fake spending cuts last time, both sides are now whining about them – certainly neither has the temerity to insist on more cuts.

    We have multiple tax cuts expiring.

    What really needs to be done in every instance is patently obvious, but politically impossible.

    First I need to note that in all instance below spending cut actually means reduction in the rate of increase – absolutely no one is discussing real spending cuts. But the language of politics is has been so distorted – to make it easier to lie, that we lost touch with the truth almost a century ago.

    We need to match further increases in the debt ceiling with further decreases in spending over the next decade Even that kind of agreement is ludicrous. it is agreeing to pay for the crack of current spending from our future, but atleast that is better than pretending we do not have to pay at all.

    The cuts negotiated in 2010 should remain untouched. Cut defense, cut whatever.

    The payroll tax holiday, unemployment extensions, and the Bush middle class tax cut need to end. Two of these will hurt me personally and significantly, but they were abysmally bad ideas from the very begining. You can not cut taxes on the middle class without cutting government spending. You can not cut social security or medicare taxes without cutting social security or medicare. The negative economic impact of increased taxes on the middle class are small. If you want more revenue the only practical place to get it is from the middle class.

    The Bush upper margin cuts should be left – in the most optomistic view they will generate negligible additional revenue, and the negative economic impact will large.

    While the above is what anyone with a wit of economic sense would propose – and all of the above ONLY addresses immediate problems, it totally ignores the real looming problems with Social Security and Medicare. There is not a snowballs chance in hell we will do ANY of these. In fact it is nearly virtually certain that we will do precisely the wrong thing on each of these. Sen. Reid is demanding a $2.4T increase in the debt ceiling before the end of 2012 – that number is pure politics. It means that the debt ceiling will not be a political issue again until after the next mid-term election.

    My personal advice to the GOP – find a way to give the democrats absolutely everything they want while assuring that the political responsibility for the consequences falls squarely on them.

    Winning on one or two – or even all of these issues is totally meaningless – absent willingness to tackle the real monsters in the closet – an existing debt level that will depress the economy for atleast two decades and a social security and medicare deficits that will require draconian measures.

    The lesson of the 2012 election is that the electorate has not yet grasped the seriousness of our problems nor where the responsibility lies. Neither party nor candidate was serious or honest about the problems we face.

    If the public and left think higher taxes, greater debt and more government spending are the road to prosperity – then give it to them. Sometimes it is possible to learn from past history. Sometimes you have to learn from the history you make. Sometimes the gods punish you by giving you what you want.

    In the aftermath I am reading articles about the “death of american exceptionalism” – for that to be true there would have had to have been a choice that preserved it.

    I see this more as the last gasp of progressiveness. The Tea Party revolt of 2010 was wonderful – but premature. Four years like Pres. Obama’s first two would have permanently falsified liberalism. The Tea party victories in 2010 were too early and laid the foundations for the current results.

    2012 gave the left no mandate – but I will offer one anyway. The next four years are yours. Do what you wish and be judged by the results.

    Given the choices that were available – this is the outcome I voted for. It is my hope that in 2014 and 2016 the failure of liberalism will be self evident – even to moderates, and atleast one party will be willing to do what is necescary.

    • November 10, 2012 4:40 pm

      Dave, I think that the recent statements by Obama and Boehner indicate that a deal will be made that, ironically, will raise the tax revenue side in the way Romney said he would propose….by closing off deductions and loopholes for the very rich, as opposed to going back to the pre-Bush tax rates. Certainly,middle-class taxes are inevitably going up anyway, with the advent of the health care law, and many businesses will have all they can handle to survive those increases.

      If Obama really wants to attack the deficit, which he says he does, it would seem to be the smartest thing to go back to Simpson-Bowles as a reasonable starting point.

      • November 10, 2012 4:45 pm

        My small rebellion: If Barry raises the dividend/cap gain tax rates, I will simply shift my investments. I will pull capital out of the stock market and stick it in tax free-bonds. Art Laffer would be proud and Paul Krugman would call me mean-spirited.

      • November 10, 2012 7:17 pm

        I have have no expectation that either the republicans nor the democrats are going to do anything but attempt to postpone addressing significant problems to the future.

        I house republicans wanted to actually serve the nation, the would demand spending cuts to match any deficit increase, insist on restoring all middle class tax cuts – or paying for them with spending cuts, and demand the extension of tax cuts on investment.

        That is barely a down payment on what is needed to address our problems. I do not expect that.

        before the election the republican House Taxation chair said that tax reform was highly likely no matter who was elected.

        Romney’s plan is far more viable than the left has argued. Flat tax no deductions resonates as fair with most reasonable people.
        Many analysts pointed out that it was nearly impossible for Buffer to be paying at the same rate as his secretary – unless she was receiving high six figures. Regardless, The secretary, the tow motor operator, all these purported comparisons are paying a tiny fraction of the total taxes that investors do. Buffets total tax bill is probably greater than that of several thousand of the middle class.

        The same economist Obama claimed proved Romneys plan was short, in an unheralded interview said that after factoring in increased growth it would likely be revenue neutral.

        Regardless, the principle is trivial.
        Exclude X amount of income for taxes for everyone.
        Tax all income (with no deductions, no subsidies for anything) above X for everyone at rate Y. Adjust X and Y as necescary to be revenue neutral.
        Likely values are 20,000 and 20%.
        Lock this in as rigidly as you can for as long as you can.
        Impose some kind of automatic penalites on congress if they try to change deductions, add subsidies or change rates in the future.

        If you can create a high probability of certain tax rates far into the future you will spur tremendous growth. While that growth will be greater the lower the rate is, just guaranteed long term tax rates will spur investment.

        The next issue is capitol gains – both the left and right are correct. Capitol gains should be taxed the same as ordinary income. The entire distinction between active and passive income, earned and unearned is ludicrous, stupid, and destructive. However any individual capitol gains that result from corporate profits – which is most capitol gains, are already being taxed twice at net higher rates than ordinary income.

        Either exempt all disbursements of corporate profits to shareholders from corporate taxes – which will discourage corporations from reinvesting, or eliminate all corporate taxes.

      • November 10, 2012 7:20 pm

        Tax reform reducing deductions and subsidies, broadening the base and reducing rates, would be an excellent idea, seems likely to happen in some form – ignoring the spending side of the “fiscal cliff” both parties have significant impetus NOT to allow all the tax changes that are coming to happen.

  29. AMAC permalink
    November 10, 2012 7:25 pm

    I just want to step in and defend the younger generation for a moment. I am a fan of many classical works, and visit our local symphony monthly. I was very lucky as a child to have an aunt very well versed in classical music. She shared her passion with me, and it has stuck to this day. I also enjoy hip-hop, or rap if you prefer. I am sure that your parents and grandparents hated the culture of the youth that you were once a member, just as some of us may dislike the current pop-culture. Young people wearing scandelous or shocking clothing is nothing new. Teens are not concerned with function, as I was not as a teenager. There was a time Elvis and Jerry Lewis were seen as leading teens to the devil. My youth is all but gone, but not so far gone I can’t remember. You don’t like the music or fashion because it is not designed to be liked by you. It is not mindless, or ignorant. It is just different.

    • November 10, 2012 10:24 pm

      Well that is your opinion. Many of us would disagree. Moreover, if singing and glorifying rape and murder is simply “different” then what does that say about your view of life?

      • AMAC permalink
        November 11, 2012 10:58 pm

        I am sure I could list several examples of music from the 60’s in 70’s that would have been equally appaulling during their respective era’s. I hardly think the crabby old man is qualified to comment on my view of life, also. Get out of our yard, Jbastiat. You damned kids! You are one of the most pesimistic, disgruntled human beings I have ever encountered. You are totally blind to any perspective other than your own. You are incapable of reason and logic, because any view that disagrees with your own is quickly classified as stupid. You attack any differing opinions because of your elderly fear of a world you no longer understand. I am sorry things can’t be like you want them to, but I think it is best for us that they are not. Your anger is a result of your fear and arrogance. You will lash out at me, but it is more to convince yourself this is not true, rather than me. Unless you can find a Delorian that can still get up to 85 mph, you will have to continue towards the future with the rest of us. If you chose not to, you will continue to be dragged into it complaining and screaming as you are currently. See, I can be an amateur phsyco-analyst as well!

      • November 12, 2012 8:58 am

        Opinions, are like, well you get the picture. For the record, I have lived and do live, a pretty good life. Great family, great job, done a few things I am not proud of, and quite a few things that were worthwhile. No regrets. You?

        All that and I don’t like the urban, rap life style Wow. I AM worse than Hitler.

        Back to Mozart and red wine.

  30. November 10, 2012 7:28 pm

    Perhaps this electoral loss will shake up the GOP in a positive way…..I’ve been thinking about some of the things that Rick has written about “right wing extremists” taking over the party and Romney being beholden to them, etc. And, while I totally disagree that the purist trucons have any real power in the Republican Party, they have certainly been successful not only in getting some awful candidates nominated in high profile contests (Angle, O’Donnell in the last cycle, Akin, Mourdock in this one), but in helping the mainstream media paint the entire of the GOP as an extreme, racist, misogynist, anti-gay party.

    As Ron has mentioned multiple times in his comments, this is is what torpedoed Romney’s presidential bid. Certainly, there are those who still see Obama as a unifying leader, but I would guess that the negativity and bitterness of this campaign has opened many eyes to the fact that….well, he isn’t. Obama won with millions less votes than he got in 2008, and, although I guess those people didn’t like Romney and the GOP either, they are clearly open to changing their votes. Not to mention that Obama is not really considered “cool” anymore. He’s the new boss, same as the old boss – literally.

    Hopefully “the stupid party” will figure out a way to stick to its principles, but communicate them to young people and minorities in a way that makes it clear that your race or gender should not determine your politics. Am I optimistic? Eh, maybe, a little.

    • November 10, 2012 10:26 pm

      The Who got it right!

    • AMAC permalink
      November 11, 2012 11:44 pm

      I think this election will have a very positive impact on the Republican Party. I have heard a lot from leaders within the party speaking about reaching out to a more diverse group, spearheading programs to identify new candidates with fresh takes on conservative principles. I think a great change could be on the horizon. Republicans do not have to change their views or even the packaging to make a comeback. I think that many of the basic principles of conservatism will speak to the younger generations just as it has in the past. The message needs to be marketed differently and by different people. The pundits are slowly taking over both parties. The conservative message that speaks to me is streamlining regulation (not eliminating completely), reducing government spending, and streamlining the bearocracy of government. These messages speak to me, and many in my age group. The primaries spoke of a different vision than what I conveyed. I heard way too much talk about religion, abortion, obamacare, etc. I think that republicans can reach out across race and socio-economic status with a stronger, more principled message.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 12, 2012 12:01 am

        I also think the republicans should do a better job conveying the positive results of elemination some programs, regulation, etc. For instance, re-alignment of DOE could result in less red-tape and government spending, while maintaining the important aspects of the department like R&D and nuclear management. Dep of Education could be cut, or transitioned into a congressional oversight committe, giving more money and freedom to state levels of education while maintaining accountability.

        I also read an article in USA Today that contained many suggestions to the administration on improving economic opportunity for individuals and business from CEO’s and other business leaders. The suggestions included things you would expect about corporate tax levels, etc. What was interesting though, was suggestions like massive improvements to infrastructure, college education programs, and high school work programs. The most interesting point I came across was the complaint of local levels of government oversight. The business leaders made comments that city and county codes were a severe deterent to manufacturing operations. I don’t hear a lot about these specific suggestions that I found interesting from the republican party. I think these could be great points for the republicans to gain some fresh material to reach out to a new generation of voters. All parties speak generally about education, economic opportunity, and regulation. It would be a great time for the republicans to use some specifics like those listed by the business leaders in the article to build some momentum.

      • November 12, 2012 9:05 am

        Good points. In fact, if you read Mitt’s 5 point plan (which Obama didn’t but derided) much of what you address is in there. Of course, the mainstream media steadfastly refused to even mention it. Obama’s plan came out two weeks before the election. Anyone see it?

        Ah, no. Apparently, many voters don’t care that he has no plan. However, he does have an Iphone.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 12, 2012 12:05 am

        One more thing. I think the republicans need to market their message as business friendly and people conscious. They need to market their ideas better to the lower classes that they are looking to improve life for them, through economic opportunity. There is too much about the entitled society, the takers, etc. Telling people they are a drain on society is a bad way to convince them your ideas are best for them.

      • November 12, 2012 9:02 am

        The error in your logic is that you embrace the need for smaller government, less regulation, and you embrace Obamacare. How do you reconcile these views?

        Moreover, since over half the nation has a negative view of abortion and illegal immigration do you recommend that the GOP simply ignore that half? These are not easy issues to ignore. That said, Mitt’s main message was always, the economy and jobs.

      • November 12, 2012 10:25 am

        AMAC, good stuff on the positive appeal that the GOP can still present. It is such a shame that the voting public doesn’t have a chance to hear candidates discuss this stuff in detail, unfiltered from the constant yada-yada-yada of political invective and media punditry. If each candidate had say, an hour to answer, in detail,substantive policy questions and also “big-picture” questions on his/her view of the role of government, America’s global role, etc….then another couple of hours to discuss and debate these positions in a structured, yet unfiltered way – it would give all of us a chance to choose a leader in a more educated, rather than merely emotional, way.

      • November 12, 2012 11:17 am

        “Candy, get the transcript!

        A fine example of useful discourse! This from the so-called leader of the free world.

        Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

      • November 12, 2012 1:12 pm

        Hahaha. That was classic.

      • November 12, 2012 1:26 pm

        Glad you liked. How about: “No, don’t get mad, get even. Vote!”

        Obama, if I didn’t see it with my own eyes I wouldn’t believe it.

        Beware the soft bigotry of low expecations.

        Imagine, Bill Clinton lecturing Mitt Romney on how to treat women!

  31. Ron P permalink
    November 10, 2012 8:21 pm

    I have read the comments concerning immigration, some form of the dream act, sending everyone home including those that were brought to this country at a young age and are still illegals into their 20’s and other comments with much interest.

    I might be one of those bleeding heart liberals disguised as a conservative when it comes to this subject. I have read that over the next ten years, the hispanic eligible voter population will increase by 50,000 each month. (Yes I saw it on the internet, so that has to be right huh?) But if that is correct, then that means over the next 4 years the hispanic registration will grow 2.4 million and in ten years that will grow 6 million. And where are a large number of these voters coming from?

    Many, if not most, are children that were born in America, have an American birth certificate and are legal.. That is due to the 14th amendment defining citizenship. So when they begin voting, will they vote for a party that is looking at ways to allow illegals to stay in the country under certain circumstances, or will they vote for a party that has a platform that requires all illegals to return to their home country and apply for entrance to the US.? Since these same illegals are these voters parents, I have a strong suspicion that they will vote for the party that wants to find a way to allow their parents to stay.

    Since Obama carried states like NC by just a few thousand votes and NC has experienced a 117% increase in hispanic voters since 2000, does anyone really think NC will be in play for the republicans when we almost double the hispanic registration in 10 years? And I bet that 2016 will be a blue color for NC also if we just have a 40% increase by that time.

    Take a look at the last few presidential elections and add 75% of the 2.4 million or 6 million to the democrats presidential voter total and see what impact that has on the elections in the future. If you have time, apply that growth to the swing states and you might find Arizona becoming a blue state by that time.

    • November 10, 2012 10:28 pm

      That is the way it works. Self interest and ignoring the rule of law. Game, set, match.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 11, 2012 12:45 am

        Are you saying that if you were 25, an american citizen and a son of illegal immigrants that you would vote for the party that was going to send them home after being in the USA for 25-30 years?

        Might be that you would, but for most people family trumps country in this respect.

      • November 11, 2012 8:59 am

        I am saying that you don’t make public policy the way you suggest. That is why the pols are supposed to be the adults in the room. If my children were starving I would likely steal food to feed them. So, based on your logic, I would vote for the guy who would make stealing food, legal. Maybe I would but that does not make my voting pattern something to emulate.

      • November 11, 2012 9:30 am

        The thorniest argument is this one on immigration. Part of the problem has been the absolute refusal of the Obama administration to enforce federal immigration law, as it applies to border security, while simultaneously deporting record numbers of illegals…the “shoveling sh*t against the tide method. My personal theory is that Obama somehow feels he can solve the illegal immigration problem in a similar way as he thought he could defeat AlQaeda….just send a bunch of drones over there with a “kill list” and once the bad guys were dead…voila! The immigration version goes like this – let everyone come in (they are potential voters, after all!), and then just catch and release back to Mexico as many bad ones as we can.

        The idea of sitting down and doing the extremely hard work of working out a fair and reasonble compromise on this is way, way too boring and difficult.

      • November 11, 2012 9:45 am

        Obama, hard work? Now, you are clearly expecting something that is not going to happpen. Golf and vactions, that is going to happen!

  32. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 10, 2012 8:50 pm

    I’m Really trying to take that political vacation, but I one last political convulsion to get out of my system. First, I have to share the fact that according to the mass pooled media exit poll Moderates voted 56-41 Obama and we made up 41% of the electorate. We moderates determined the election. Again. Like usual in the good ol USA.
    Liberals (25%) voted 86-11 Obama, Conservatives, (35%) voted 82-17 Romney.
    Breaking it down instead into independents, dems, and reps shows, once again, that moderate is Not a synonym for independent: independents (29%) went 50-45 Romney. Independent is not an ideological leaning, it simply means people who are not party members, in quite a few cases too far to the left or right.

    http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/race/president?hpt=po_t1#exit-polls

    A low turnout? Heh, Better find a new theory.
    1996 49%
    2000 50.4
    2004 56.2
    2008 61.6
    2012 57.5-60%
    2008 was a huge, even historic turnout, and 2012 is only a bit behind it, all votes are not yet counted.
    From USA today:

    “From the beginning, President Obama’s re-election strategy relied on replicating the historically high voter turnout from 2008.
    He didn’t quite do that — but it was close enough. (Oh failure, failure, failure, woe is Obama.)
    Preliminary data suggest that turnout this year may reach 132 million, for a turnout of about 60%, said Michael McDonald, a voting expert at George Mason University. That would fall just short of the 135 million who voted in 2008….”

    In an orgy of political inebriation I read articles all over the internet for a day, the worst I found was in Salon, it was written by a repulsive young lefty woman, about how Romney’s concession speech was not gracious. If I had magical powers I would have picked her up with an invisible hand and deposited her in one of the deep manure pits Vermont farmers save cow shit in prior to spreading in on their cornfields. What a &^^%$# coldhearted *&^%$.
    What a horribly painful moment in a life, to barely lose the presidency after having worked on in for a decade. Romney was quite gracious at that soul wrenching time, my heart went out to him and his circle.
    But don’t worry I’m not going soft, my heart did Not go out to Donald Trump, Karl Rove, or Ted Nugent, all of whom had election night meltdowns that still make me smile. The thought that somewhere in America Donald Trump is suffering (even if it is actually in a hot tub in Rome with Berlusconi and a dozen under-aged Bulgarian women) fills my malicious little heart with joy, to be honest.
    I do not really expect that many in the GOP will come to the conclusion that seems obvious to us evil progressives, but Romney made a 5 point leap in the polls after turning to the center in the first debate and well, see above about the moderate votes…
    My evil liberal twin is praying the message will not be understood.
    Now, really, ta, ta, 2012 political chat and I’m sure many are tired of hearing me say it without doing it.

    • November 11, 2012 9:09 am

      Goodbye again for now Ian. By the time you (hopefully) return, we’ll be able to parse the numbers down a bit better, no doubt. But, as of now, John McCain’s ’08 numbers in the PV are roughly equal to ’12 Obama, which I find interesting. Turnout, shmurnout, that’s a lot less votes.

      I am sure we will all read thousands of words of analysis on this going forward. Right now, I must turn my attention to the sex life of David Petraeus – something I never dreamed I would need to read about……..

    • November 12, 2012 1:24 pm

      complain as you wish but there are only a few possibilities.
      Low turnout is one of few where the math actually works – where the pre-election polls, exit polls etc. as well as the breakdown can be conformed with the results.

      Regardless, it is early and I am not personally tied to any thesis.
      I am happy with the results. I do not want the party with the only chance of being fixable to be responsible for the coming mess.

      I could really care less if 100% of voters voted, and if that chose Obama unanimously.

      We are on an unsustainable course. Progressive policies are self punishing acts.
      We will continue to get beaten for our economic ignorance until we learn – or until we fail.

      Your choice.

      • November 12, 2012 1:33 pm

        I understand your logic. However, this is where we libertarians need to get a grip. While we do the cross walk to a hopefully better place, there will be much misery. Yes, cutting off the hand to save the rest of the body may be necessary but it is bad form to seem to enjoy it, especially when it is your buddy’s hand.

        Wise up, you will win more converts if you seem to be, well, human!

      • November 13, 2012 12:39 am

        Well said, Rich. Despite your libertarian-warrior persona here, I think you understand on a gut level that our economy affects individual Joes and Janes. Dave, I’m not sure you do. I think you’re too much in love with models (and I don’t mean Cindy Crawford) to appreciate their impact for better or worse on actual human lives.

    • November 12, 2012 2:14 pm

      I guess you are demonstrating that you can be equally nasty to those on the left.

      From what I am reading Obama received less total votes in 2012 than John McCain in 2008.

      That is not a highly motivated democratic base.

      But it also means Republicans were even more demoralized.

      The next big question will be If republicans sat out this election – and it appears they did, which republicans ?

      If “moderate” or Establishment republicans failed to vote, then the GOP needs to move left as all the pundits are claiming.

      But if it was the right that sat this out then the next GOP candidate is going to either look like Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, and is probably going to win.

      There also appears to have been a surge in the youth vote – which is unusual, young people are very politically active but as a rule do not vote.

    • November 12, 2012 2:42 pm

      Ian;

      The different between 57.5 and 61.6 is 4.1 percent.
      Obama’s victory will be at best 3% of the popular vote.

      I am still trying to get good information on relative turnout, but as Obama 2012 got less votes that McCain 2008 that strongly suggests a big drop in republican turnout.

      Nate Silver is showing a 6.8% drop in voting from 2008.

      several places are showing a distinct drop in white voters.

      Several pundits are calling this like 2004.

      A generally unpopular candidate with a tremendously supportive base.

      I thought Bush was dead in 2004 Instead he won – by just about the same margin as Obama and picked up a few unexpected Senate seats.

      Numerous pundits wrote of the Democrats after 2004 – if you can’t beat Bush who can you beat ? We are hearing the same chest thumping now.

      I would note that there is one single issue that Republicans could shift on that would have radically altered the outcome – immigration.

      Pres. Obama has been abysmally bad on immigration. He has deported more people in 4 years than Bush did in 8. – and in a weak economy too boot.

      it increasingly appears torpedoing the Dream Act was an astute political ploy.
      Getting it passed was easy – but would have required bi-partisan cooperation.
      That would not have line latinos up as a democratic voting block.
      Implimenting it by executive order allowed him to take sole political credit and look like a latino hero – at the expense of doing real good.

      If the GOP ever grasps that it must soften its stance on immigration – the GOP is actually already as pro-immigrant as the democrats, it just spins the issue worse.
      even a small shift in hispanic voting could be catastrophic to democrats.

      Many republicans have noted for years that hispanics are a natural republican constituency.

  33. November 10, 2012 10:44 pm

    Note from Mitt and Ann,

    The guy is a class act!

    Richard,

    Ann and I cannot thank you enough for supporting and believing in our cause.

    This was more than just a campaign — this was a national movement.

    Thank you for the work that you did — going across neighborhoods to knock on doors and put up yard signs. Thanks for making phone calls, coming to rallies, donating funds, and convincing friends and family to join our team.

    What’s really inspiring is that you came together because you care about America.

    We still believe that better days are ahead. It’s up to us to rally together to renew America’s promise and restore American greatness.

    From the bottom of our hearts, Ann and I thank you for your support, prayers, efforts, and vote. We are forever grateful to each and every one of you.

    Today’s a new day. Keep believing in America.

    Thank you and God bless America,

    Mitt and Ann Romney

    • AMAC permalink
      November 11, 2012 11:31 pm

      He is a class act. I didn’t notice one threat to whoop Obama’s skinny ass. How about turning over a new leaf, now that the election is over. More debate, less elderly hostility. I will be more than happy to call this water under the bridge. You have attacked me consistantly throughout most articles, as well as anyone that does not share your beliefs. I am sure you have more that sarcastic one-liners to offer. I am more than capable of ignorant attacks laced with sarcastic remarks if that is how we will continue to proceed. I can appreciate passion, but not arrogant outbursts. We don’t have to agree, but we can debate and converse. How about it?

      • November 12, 2012 8:59 am

        First you will have to dust off the mirror my friend.

      • November 12, 2012 1:18 pm

        AMAC;

        I have tried to avoid personal attacks. But it is difficult and far too many here see no difference between maligning ideas and maligning people.

        Much of what is spouted here as near political dogma, is ludicrously stupid.. Is that an insult ? Regardless it is true.

        Ian claims i am some right wing lunatic boogey man because I want to cut government 80%. Yet the take away from numerous economic studies is 80% of modern western government is on the net negative.
        I happen to like and agree with those results, but are the results “radical right wing lunacy” ? There not facts – but they are the statistically robust correlations from an enormous body of real world data – and they interlock nicely with numerous other studies.

        Looking for truth and speaking it when you find it, seems to be a damnable offense to far too many here.

        The good news is that for all the backbiting here TNM is actually head and shoulders more civil than most political blogs.

  34. AMAC permalink
    November 12, 2012 12:18 am

    I understand that the congressional leaders and the president are set for a series of meetings. With the serious problems ahead, let’s hope they can now work together and do what is best for all of us. Though I did not vote for Obama, I am hopeful that during his second term there will be less venom and more teamwork from both sides. I am encouraged by some of the news I am hearing. I understand talks are underway to reduce corporate taxes by almost 11%, while enlisting exceptions for those corporation sending jobs oversees. I also hope that both sides can work together to lower spending, and ensure an adequate revenue stream. Now that re-election is off of the table, both sides might be able to set aside their “holy cows” and give concessions were needed. Some new revenue will be needed and some cuts will have to be made to all areas. I am moving forward with optimism.

    • November 12, 2012 1:08 pm

      Do you beleive that any increase in the debt ceiling will be matched by equal reductions in long term spending ?

      If not, regardless of whether the results are bipartisan or rancorous, we are doomed.
      The fallacy of moderation is the belief that the answer to all problems lies in the middle.
      We can all go off the cliff in harmony together.

      Do you believe that the prior sequestration cuts are going to remain. If not we are in trouble.

      Do you believe that cuts in taxes on investment will remain ?
      If not we are in trouble.

      In fact even if we make every choice related to the impending so clalled fiscal cliff correctly. It is unlikely we will have done more than buy (at a pretty steep price) more time before getting thwacked by the real fiscal cliff.

      We are spending $1T/year too much, with little hope of reigning that in any time soon.
      And the problem will get worse as Social Security slides into the red.

  35. November 12, 2012 12:18 pm

    The fallacy of Job Creation

    http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/153296245.html?refer=y

  36. November 12, 2012 12:24 pm

    Rick;

    Regarding your off shoring jobs non-sense.

    This is all really quite simple – you can have peoples standard of living improving, which means constantly destroying or treansfering uproductive jobs elsewhere while creating newer, better more productive ones, or you can allow standards of living to decline.

    There is no happy medium – and even if there was, you would just be chosing which group to punish to maintain the status quo.

    Creating jobs – even good jobs is pretty easy. Finding people to do them is harder. The best jobs program we could possibly have is a labor market that grasped that just staying in the same place requires increasing skills each year. Actually getting ahead requires significantly increasing skills.

    Create more value, you receive more value. Not only is it just that simple, but there is absolutely no other way to better lives.

    • November 12, 2012 12:30 pm

      Another way of saying this is: Standards of living improve only when productivity of resources improve. Think about it.

    • November 13, 2012 1:11 am

      I have a feeling both of you believe that an unemployed pipefitter whose job has been outsourced to China can simply re-educate himself as a computer programmer. I see a couple of problems here.

      Let’s say our pipefitter’s name is Stan Kovik, and he’s 54 years old. (Remember, we like to talk about individual people, not abstract units in a model.) First, Stan will have to go back to school to learn his new trade. It might take him two years before he can make an income again — and meanwhile he’ll have to pay for his schooling. That represents a severe blow to his bank account — unless the government steps in with a re-education grant. But we know you guys don’t believe in government assistance, so let’s move on to Step 2.

      Stan applies to computer school but fails to get in; he has an IQ of 91 and doesn’t have the aptitude for higher-level professional work. Back in the mid-to-late 20th century, before American manufacturing jobs were routinely outsourced to Asia, guys with limited cognitive skills could find remunerative blue-collar work and attain a decent standard of living. No more. They’re free to join the underclass.

      But let’s say Stan had an IQ of 128 and was smart enough to gain admission to a professional program. He dutifully trains for his new career, finishes the program and starts applying for a job. But guess what? He’s 54, and nobody in his field is hiring entry-level people over the age of 40. Stan is stuck.

      Moral of the story: It’s nice that American companies are sharing their wealth with workers from other nations. But it could take decades for foreign wages and American wages to reach equilibrium, and meanwhile we’re letting our own workers fall through the cracks. When they’re living in the street we’ll just step around them and silently condemn them for their lack of initiative. A good libertarian might be fine with that outcome. I’m not.

      • November 13, 2012 8:05 am

        Well, there you go again. No one denies that change can create challenges in ANYONE’S life. That is not the issue. Stan’s life can be derailed by any manner of issue at any time. So can yours. So, Rick, what do we do, stop everything in place and deal with every issue that Stan (or me) can have?

        So far as I can tell, only God can do that. In the end, Stan HAS to deal with Stan’s issues. Can others help a times? Sure. What is the best way to help? Restrict trade? Pay for Stan’s every issue? Or let Stan, his family, friends, etc. work this out. Do you really believe that the dolts that pass for lawmakers can figure this out so that there are no Stan’s?

        Seriously Rick , you assume a level of ability, insight, and wisdom that on one possesses. That is why markets work better, in general , over time. NOTHING guarantees that there are no Stan’s.

        Remember Rick, there was NO unemployment in the Soviet Union. Then again, there was a lot of nothing there too. When you find the genius that can work this all out, send me a card so that I can meet him.

        PS-Corporations do not share wealth and in fact, it is NOT their wealth to share. The wealth belongs to the shareholders, who risk their capital to obtain a piece of that wealth. Let me remind you that more than a few of us capitalists have lost money in our investments. Are you going to take care of me too? Am I less deserving than Stan?

        PPS-I went back to school to earn my doctorate when I was 58. I paid for it myself and it was not cheap. Got a check for me?

      • November 13, 2012 9:32 am

        Aha, a very illuminating exchange….. I do think that, in so many ways, the idea that people cannot fend for themselves – or that they can, indeed must – lies at the bottom of much of your divide.

        Stan is in a bad situation….he has worked hard all of his life, but times have changed, and he is left jobless, like many others. Times change, economies changes, marketable skills come and go. When I worked for J&J, I knew a lot of “Stans” who who worked at good factory jobs, making BandAids and Baby Shampoo. They had a strong union, and the corporation was committed to creating the best possible work environment. Many low and semi-skilled workers, many foreign born and with little education, had incomes of $75-$100K, not including a “cadillac healthcare plan” (that followed them into retirement, at no cost to them) and many perks afforded to them by the “greedy corporation” … free state-of-the-art fitness centers, on-site childcare centers, free remedial education programs for those who lacked basic skills and special programs for those who wanted to upgrade theirs. Trust me, Rick, when a great corporation is doing well, they want to keep their employees happy.

        Ah, but times changed. Market share for BandAids and Baby Shampoo plummeted, due to many factors. J&J started showing some serious decline in profits, as people began buying the $2.99 generic shampoo, which seemed to be as good as the $5.50 J&J version. The union continued to demand wages in the $16-$20 p/hr range, even as the company was looking to lower the cost of manufacturing, in order to remain competitive.

        We all know how this story ends……but is it J&J’s “fault?” Are those who got laid off, because of declining corporate fortunes owed a new job from the rest of us, via taxpayer funded “work” programs or neverending welfare?

      • November 13, 2012 11:09 am

        Here is the deal. NO ONE owes anyone a job. If you have marketable skills you can sell yourself. It is up to you to keep yourself marketable. If you don’t, you run the risk of having no job. Then, you need to re-train yourself. If you don’t, for God’s sake, simply say so and don’t whine. No one is obligated to be marketable but then again, no one is obligated to pay that person either.

        If you do, re-train yourself, you don’t get any extra credit for that either. What you get is, if you are lucky, another job. I didn’t make the rules, so don’t blame me. But, I do KNOW the rules, is which is probably why I HAVE a job, one that I love by the way.

        I am not sure this dynamic is any different for 99% on the planet. Only the specifics are different. If Joe hasn’t obtained any education since high school or less, why the hell do I owe Joe something? No offense, but I have been re-training myself my whole life and I didn’t expect the government to do that for me.

        Sounds harsh huh? Well, sorry to say, but that is the way life works, and, always has. Just ask the Greeks.

      • November 13, 2012 10:54 am

        Rich and PR: You tend to focus on the people who can make the necessary adjustment when they have the rug pulled out from under them. I tend to focus on the people who can’t, because the others can help themselves.

        Did some of the unions price American labor out of the market? Absolutely. I’m not a big union fan. (My position is that they were essential 100 years ago but eventually grew too arrogant and entitled.) But here’s the big question: if we’re not willing to pay for publicly funded job programs to help the casualties of the system, how do we keep these people from ending up on the street? We can’t just wish them away.

        Welfare? No. These folks need work, and we can’t afford to give away money with no return. Frankly, I don’t see the problem with federal job programs to employ them in rebuilding infrastructure and filling other gaps in current job market. Restore their self-respect, put some money in their pockets, and eventually they’ll be repaying our investment in them through good old American consumerism.

        But I think we have a long-term problem on our hands as long as American companies keep exporting jobs. By the time Asian wages approach American wages, American companies will probably export their jobs to Africa. Where does it end?

      • November 13, 2012 11:12 am

        Sure Rick, because the Federal Goverment has been so successful in the education and re-education dept. Tell you what: YOU up your tax payments for this special cause. I will defer thanks.

        Good money after bad.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 13, 2012 12:35 pm

        Rick, I a not one for government programs, but on this issue I would have to agree with you on job training. Take FDR’s WPA, CCCC and other programs, modify them to fit the 21st century needs, take those out of work on unemployment and welfare and place them in the new program and I believe the eventual results would be a reduction in government spending overall due to lowering the unemployment rate and increasing revenues due to income taxes paid by those put back to work.

        But the major hurdle would be private enterpriseand labor and their resistence to any federal work program that increased competition with them. If you took Stan and placed him in a welding program with 6-8 weeks of classroom training and then a few months on OJT with a company where a portion of his salary was covered by the government, alot of resistence would happen to try to stop that program.

      • November 13, 2012 12:42 pm

        The last thing the world needs is another government program. Perhaps we should learn from the CIA, FBI, Secret Service,the state dept.,, the Justice Dept, The US Army, etc, the ATF. Recently, these programs don’t look so hot, do they?

      • Ron P permalink
        November 13, 2012 3:35 pm

        Well I did not state my case well. What I beleive is needed is to eliminate the dozens of job programs now in existence that are not working and develop one, in conjunction with corporations, that provide the training that their employees need.

        Much like the hospitals in my area have shortages of certain technical satff, they provide funds to the state to help support the community colleges costs as well as the individuals education cost for those lab tech and radiology tech positions. Once the individual has finished the program, they are then hired at one of the hospitals supporting the program. After a certain period of time, they have “worked off” their education cost and owe nothing to the state or hospital for their education. The state benefits from having funds provided by business to cover some of the cost and business benefits from have trained staff after completion of the program.

        This same plan could be used for unemployed workers needing new training, but the partnership would be with the federal government and industry.

        And yes, I know it would not work because Washington would have to hire thousands of new employees to administer the program instead of reallocating staff they currently have on board. And too many regulations would be issued to make the program not viable for private industry to participate.

      • November 13, 2012 3:54 pm

        To the degree that these programs can “work” the best chance is at the local and state level. Smaller, in this case, is way better. If there is a market for skills, then the way to impart them can be worked out by the parties who need those skills and the closer to the action, the better. Washington DC is simply a swamp hole that eats capital whole.

      • November 13, 2012 11:10 am

        The answer, Rick, is to create the conditions necessary to let corporations like J&J continue operating profitably in the US, while protecting the rights of workers. Forcing companies overseas to be be profitable and then taking taxpayer money to create government jobs for those who lost theirs (which isn’t even happening, btw), is not how a free market works.

        That said, the growth of the global economy has changed certain things forever…..just as the invention of the auto made it inevitable that highly skilled blacksmiths would have little to no market for their skills, the emergence of strong markets abroad has attracted business. You can’t change that with government intervention.

        Am I for leaving people destitute and unable to fend for themselves? Of course not.

      • November 13, 2012 5:25 pm

        Actually, I hope I didn’t come across as overly defensive with that last remark, because I know that you don’t think that I am a heartless person, or one who does not believe that we all have a moral obligation to help those people who are struggling.

        Yet, that seems to be exactly the argument that you use against those who contend that government cannot create prosperity, And I know that you say that the New Deal made the Great Depression easier for some…..whether or not it did – and let’s stipulate, for argument’s sake that it did – it also, undoubtedly extended the depression for years, extending the misery that had to be eased. So, in the end, is it any more compassionate to spend the nation into oblivion, in order to “ease” the suffering of the unemployed, if by doing so that suffering is extended and expanded?

        Fairness and compassion do not create prosperity, And, without prosperity,
        the government will not have the luxury of creating vast, beneficent programs, as the number of needy begin to outnumber those who can pay for their welfare (and I use welfare in the generic sense, here).

      • November 13, 2012 6:42 pm

        Well said! You are pretty smart there Priscilla.

  37. November 12, 2012 12:48 pm

    Rick;

    regarding this nonsense of sudden decline in standard of living a decade ago.

    Please document. This claim does not correspond to any of the data I have seen.

    Absolutely the gains in wages over the last three decades have been greater for those at the top – but though small they have also occured at the bottom.
    Further that data ignores – what census data reveals that the those in each group are not the same from decade to decade – we still move upward through 2-2.5 quintiles during the course of our lives. but differently the odds are that the pering in the bottom quintile in 1980 was in the middle quintile today – that is a dramatic improvement in standard of living.

    Eventually we all die – at that point we cease to be an income statistic.

    Beyond that NBER data confirms that independent of wages the actual wealth of those in the bottom quintile is about twice what it was 3 decades ago.

    I will be happy to agree this recession has hit everyone – including those at the bottom, but unless I am misreading you – that is not your argument.

    I will also be happy to agree that Bush mismanaged the economy – in much the same wags as Pres. Obama is and probably as Pres. Romney would have.

    Government can not create jobs, wealth, prosperity – but it can destroy it.

    If you want to improve the standard of living for everyone you can only do that by:
    Producing more and more.

    There is no other way at all. Redistribution does not change the standard of living.

    Producing more and more means more automation, more technically difficult high skill jobs and less and less low skill jobs.

    So long as a nation is capable of increasing what it produces – outsourcing at any level is always a good thing not a bad thing. It releases labor to more productive uses.
    But it is especially good to outsource jobs from the bottom.

    The alternative – rather than outsource lower paying jobs – increase immigrants to do those low paying jobs.

    The pay for doing exactly the same task is guaranteed to inexorably decline. So long as anyone can benefit from being more productive, there will always be downward pressure on all prices – including wages.

    You are not fighting republicans, democrats or even libertarians – you are fighting the tide.

    You want to dictate that the world should work different than it does.
    You are on the wrong side of Humes Guillotine.
    You can not cross the is-ought barrier.

    Maybe the world “should” work differently – but it does not, and you can change it no more than you can change whether the sun will rise.

    • November 13, 2012 2:03 am

      Dave: See my reply to your previous comment. Beyond that, I have to disagree with you about the government creating jobs. FDR did it. Did it end the Great Depression? No, but his federal work programs kept millions from starving.

      On a more fundamental level, I guess you believe that government shouldn’t interfere with nature… that it should let the unfortunate sink quietly into oblivion the way maladaptive species like the dodo have gone extinct, Well, I believe that government has the ability, even the duty, to fight nature on behalf of its unsuccessful citizens… not to load them with costly entitlements, but to keep them from becoming casualties. To do nothing is tantamount to turning your back on a flood-stricken town because nature intended to destroy it. Bottom line: I still believe in the word “ought.”

      • November 13, 2012 8:08 am

        Send a note to FEMA and ask them how they are doing up there in Staten Island. They OUGHT to be doing a better job, I will wager.

        Can government create a job? Yes, one that on one else will pay for WILLINGLY.
        This is why the issue of school vouchers will never go anywhere.

  38. November 12, 2012 12:59 pm

    Rick;

    My hope for failure now – is rooted in the so called “moderates” here.

    I am reminded of Godspell

    “Alas alas for you
    Lawyers and pharisees

    I send you prophets, I send you preachers
    Sages and rages and ages of teachers
    Nothing can bar your mood
    Blind guides, blind fools
    The blood you spilt
    On you will fall!

    This nation, this generation
    Will bear the guilt of it all!

    Alas, alas alas for you! Blind fools!!”

    You can learn from history or you can repeat it.

    The good news is we have an opportunity to fix things before the real fiscal cliff.
    The bad news is no one – not moderates, not the right, not the left is discussing anything sufficient.

    You have essentially two options – tough choices now or far tougher ones later.

    Everything making up the so called “fiscal cliff” is inconsequential compared to what is coming.

    Political analysts are arguing that demographics is destiny.

    Well all too soon the pie being carved up by those on social security and medicare and those on welfare state entitlements is going to be too small to serve both.

    You have sown class warfare – you are likely to reap it.

    Unless they are prepared to role up their sleeves now and make tough choices, major progressive constituencies are going to war against each other.

    Difficult choices today – or far more draconian ones later.

    This nation – this generation will bear the guilt of it all.

    • November 13, 2012 2:08 am

      Who exactly has sown class warfare? Not us moderates. The tycoons have sown it by rigging the system in their favor and bribing most of our elected representatives to support them. (15% taxes on stock options, anyone?) The left has sown it by blaming all rich people for their problems. But today’s Occupy crowd wouldn’t be up in arms if the financial elite hadn’t fired the first shots.

      • November 13, 2012 8:12 am

        Bullshit on every level and you know it. Yes, by all means, blame the tycoons, whoever the hell they are. That is so convenient. Yet, you just voted for a POTUS that has proven to be a liar and perhaps a felon and who has feathered the nest of many while pointing the finger at the same folks. Have you noticed how many Wall Street tycoons went to jail over the last bust? Ah, none. How many went to jail during the GWB years. Tons, just ask Martha Stewart.

        The American voter puts up with this crap and rewards him with another 4 years? Makes me want to vomit.

      • November 13, 2012 11:09 am

        Rich: Obama is a whole ‘nother issue. I got on his case (not that he noticed) for being too cozy with Wall Street tycoons and going out of his way to cushion their fall after the crash of 2008. (And yet conservatives still call him a socialist. Go figure.) Believe me, if there were a viable candidate who pledged to make our government lobby-proof, I’d vote for him in an instant — even though it would be almost impossible to push anti-corruption measures through Congress (because, hey, the plutocrats are good to them).

        Anyway, the main issue here is whether the financial elite have rigged the system by essentially paying our representatives to legislate in their favor. And the answer is yes, of course they have. Is it wrong for powerful interests to buy favors in Congress? Yes, of course it is. This is supposed to be a republic, isn’t it?

      • November 13, 2012 11:16 am

        This has always been the case and factually, this occurs in any system that I am aware of, all across the world. In fact, in many countries, it is much worse, where in fact, you must bribe the local goverment dope to get anything done (see Mexico for an example).

        What is your answer to this Rick: are you going to eliminate self-interest?

        Ball in your court Buddy!

      • November 13, 2012 8:14 pm

        Oh cut the crap rick.

        When you demand that the the 40% of americans who are net contributors to the cost of the federal government to pay even more to support the 60% of us who are net beneficiaries.
        When you ask the top 1% who already pay 1/3 of all taxes, to pay more.
        Or the top 5% of pay 60% of all taxes or the top 25% who pay 87% to pay more – that is called class warfare.

        If you want to redistribute wealth further you are a class warrior – period..

        If you think todays OWS crowd is meaningful in anyway except as a left wing wet dream you are nuts. The Tea Party dwarfs OWS by a factor of at-least 1000.

        I am glad teens were out protesting again – and apparently a few more of them voted.

        But that does not make them significant.

        The average tax rate of the bottom 50% of americans is 1.85% – I think under the circumstances a 15% capitol gains rate on money that has already been taxed at a 40% corporate tax rate is WAY too high.

        We have been arguing these things for several years here.
        There is no excuse for you to be this ignorant of what tax rates actually ware and who is paying what, or failing to grasp that most capitol gains are taxed twice.

        This is what drives me nuts about so much of TNM you have heard the real facts, you just ignore them and accept progressive spin as a substitute for facts.

        It is very annoying .

        There is no possibility of developing actually working policy regardless of ideology, if spin trumps facts.

    • November 13, 2012 11:26 pm

      Come on, Dave. Your endless apologetics on behalf of the plutocrats aren’t going to convince me now any more than they did a year ago. I’m really beginning to think you must be a paid agent for some libertarian think tank. (Sure… wear down the host of a moderate blog with voluminous contrarian posts until he never wants to write a word about politics again. Enemy eliminated… mission accomplished. Chalk up another one for Ayn Rand’s malevolent zombie corpse, which apparently still holds a mysterious power over otherwise intelligent people.)

      OK, I’m just kidding, but this really IS getting to be wearisome — and still puzzling to me. I’m a MODERATE… see that title on the banner? M-O-D-E-R-A-T-E. I’m not going to crusade in favor of reparations for black folks or free contraceptives for the masses at public expense, but I’m also not going to defend the rights of the financial elite to rig the game in their favor, buy our elected representatives and widen the gap between themselves and everyone else. That’s because I’m a MODERATE. So for God’s sake, stop trying to tell me that I’m a leftist. You’re so far off the edge of the grid that Gerald Ford would look like a Red to you.

      Want facts? Here are some facts.

      The top 1% may pay 1/3 of all our federal taxes, but they also earn 1/4 of all our income. When you factor in state and local taxes, the top 1% pay essentially the same percentage of their income as middle-class folks like you and me. And they have all those neat little foreign tax shelters and loopholes to hide in. Believe me, they’re not being exploited.

      You keep telling me that capital gains income has already been taxed… but that’s just for peons like us. What about top-level executives who earn millions each year in stock options? They haven’t paid any tax on that income until they file with their accountants… and then they pay a paltry 15%. Do you honestly believe it’s fair that Mitt Romney should pay a smaller percentage of his taxes than his SECRETARY? Well, that’s the system you’re defending, my boy. Think about it.

      • November 14, 2012 7:54 am

        I call Bullshit, again.
        “Taxation

        Because most employee stock options are non-transferable, are not immediately exercisable although they can be readily hedged to reduce risk, the IRS considers that their “fair market value” cannot be “readily determined”, and therefore “no taxable event” occurs when an employee receives an option grant. Depending on the type of option granted, the employee may or may not be taxed upon exercise. Non-qualified stock options (those most often granted to employees) are taxed upon exercise. Incentive stock options (ISO) are not, assuming that the employee complies with certain additional tax code requirements. Most importantly, shares acquired upon exercise of ISOs must be held for at least one year after the date of exercise if the favorable capital gains tax are to be achieved.”

        The bottom line is: when the employee actually receives cash value from the option, it is taxed.

      • November 14, 2012 10:29 am

        Well, I’m glad you agree with me, Rich… because that’s exactly the point I was making to Dave: stock options are taxed ONCE, not twice as he claimed. If they’re taxed as capital gains, that means a CEO will be paying a whopping 15% on income in the tens of millions (just like Mitt). And it appears that in some cases they’re not taxed at all.

        What a charmed life for these folks: not only do they make out like bandits, but they get legions of smart middle-class conservatives like you and Dave to defend their right to make out like bandits. Only in America!

      • November 14, 2012 10:51 am

        No Rick, you cannot or will not read what I post.

        The stock options are ALWAYS taxed; it is a question of when they are taxed. Moreover, the larger issue is this and you keep missing this, on purpose I believe. There are relatively few paying for many. You can slice this anyway you want but the fact is, that is an unsustainable state. The issue which you will not recognize is that all of these folks earn this money legally. You can whine all you want about how it isn’t fair and it’s a lot of money but the reality is, this just looks like jealousy to me. Again, if you know of a system where benefits are equally distributed based on merit, by all means cite it. The fact is, our talents, ability, and willingness to work are not equally distributed. Witness your pity party for poor Stan, the welder. What exactly does society owe a guy who developed one marketable skill for his entire life?

        I have no issue with this people making tons of money, unless they work for the government. I work, I pay taxes. So do those guys on Wall Street. What is much more annoying is how the government pisses my money away. If you don’t get that, it is YOU who are in denial my friend.

      • November 14, 2012 12:15 pm

        Rick, are you at all in favor of tax reform, as opposed to soaking the rich with higher rates? Also, as far as spending cuts – I know that you want to slash our military spending by half, but are there any entitlement reforms that you would support, if you were to become convinced that, even with extremely high taxes and an extremely reduced military, those programs would still be unsustainable?

        I ask because I am genuinely puzzled at how you think we are going to get out of this mess. Even if the government took every cent that Mitt Romney has (on or off shore), and did the same with every rich person in the US, while reducing our military to severely weakened levels, the problem of unsustainable entitlements would still be upon us.

      • November 14, 2012 12:18 pm

        Rich: Here’s the passage that made me wonder if some stock options aren’t taxed:

        “Non-qualified stock options (those most often granted to employees) are taxed upon exercise. INCENTIVE STOCK OPTIONS (ISO) ARE NOT, assuming that the employee complies with certain additional tax code requirements.”

        But the main point I was making was to refute Dave’s claim that all capital gains are taxed twice. My own capital gains are taxed twice; my father’s estate was taxed twice; a CEO who gets paid in stock options is taxed just once at most. Agreed?

        I have no issue with people making tons of money, unless they’re benefitting from a system that’s been rigged in their favor. In your last comment you didn’t reveal whether stock options are taxed as income or as capital gains. If they’re taxed as capital gains, then we’re letting multimillionaires pay a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans. Are you for that?

        As for government waste, I think we both agree that our tax money could be better spent. The question is what constitutes a waste of taxes and what constitutes a good use of taxes.

      • November 14, 2012 12:21 pm

        No Rick. All profits of the corporation are taxed, irrespective of whether they are distributed to the SH. Then, if the corporation pays a dividend, they are taxed again. If the SH realizes a capital gain, they are taxed again. There is no cheating the man, the man in this case, being the government.

        Now, if you take your dividend or cap gain income and invest that and make any gains, they are taxed, again. Now, if leave them to your kids and have sufficient assets, they are taxed again.

        Get it now?

      • November 14, 2012 1:13 pm

        PR: I’m really not enough of an expert to say we should cut this or that program. I’m sure there are plenty that can go, and I’ll give you a few examples off the top of my head. In the realm of entitlements for the poor, do we really need free school lunches for families that are already on food stamps? In the realm of entitlements for the rich, I’d say the government needs to stop subsidizing oil and other favored industries. I’d even cut some middle-class entitlements: the excessively generous pensions for public employees. (I’d recommend gradually scaling back so we don’t short-change older workers who were expecting those generous pensions.)

        If there’s a long-range answer to your question, it’s that we need to rebuild the middle class by any means possible. When we can boost the collective income of the middle class, we can afford decent government programs without putting ourselves in hock. Of course, that means we’ll have to cajole American companies into hiring Americans.

      • November 14, 2012 1:16 pm

        For the record, the feds DO NOT subsidize the oil and gas industries. They allow them to take a depletion allowance which simply acknowledges that as they draw down oil from a well, its value declines. This is akin to deprecation allowances. This is often declared to be a subsidy but ALL businesses are allowed to take depreciation, as they are not allowed to expense capital items.

        That said, I am firmly against ALL subsidies that are current in the tax code and among them are so-called “green energy” such as corn subsidies, which ARE subsidies.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 14, 2012 9:54 pm

        Oil and Gas companies are subsidized in terms of R&D through the department of energy. The US governemnts will perform research, geological surveys, etc. at the expense of the US government for private Oil and Gas companies. This is a subssidy. Not the kind other companies get, but a subsidy the same.

      • November 14, 2012 10:50 pm

        To the degree to which this exists, it should be stopped. Then again, your credibility is shaky at best.

  39. November 12, 2012 1:39 pm

    Seems appropriate in line with the Petraius news

  40. Ron P permalink
    November 12, 2012 3:00 pm

    Moderate, left, right,conservative, liberal, centrist, none of it matters with what we have in Washington today. You can see it developing already. Obama will not negotiate on higher tax rates for the wealthy and will veto any legislation that comes that does not include that stipulation. Patty Murray has taken the hard line in the senate that their will be tax rate increase for the rich. John Boehner has taken the hard line that there will not be rate increases, but they would negotiate revenue increases through elimination of deductions.

    Who blinks, the democrats allowing republicans to defend their reputation of low tax rates, or democrats defending their positions on everyone pays an equal share.

    The outcome of lower rates and fewer deductions most likely would result in the same outcome, but whose reputation is most likely to take a hit if some compromise is reached.

    Anyone bet we reach the side of the clift before that compromise is reached?

    • November 12, 2012 3:54 pm

      I hear ya, Ron. Although, I do have to say that keeping tax rates reasonable is an important aspect of revenue production – and closing loopholes for the very rich is an important part of tax reform. So, if Boehner is saying that we can raise the same revenue from positive tax reform as we can by simply jacking up the rates, I’m not sure why that should not be his party’s opening offer in any negotiation. The Democrats, it seems to me, need to justify all of their class warfare rhetoric over the last two years, but I still don’t see their side presenting a reasonable plan.

      I guess they will push until the GOP agrees to some sort of rate increase, even if it is symbolic. I hope it isn’t much more than that. And what about cuts? We’re not fixing this hot mess with revenue alone…far from it.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 12, 2012 6:00 pm

        pearows, I have not heard anyone talk about cuts, at all, ever. What they talk about is proposing a budget through 10 years, project the spending to be $XXX from $X currently and then accept $XX as the final figure and they say they cut $X from spending. I don’t call that a cut. That includes even programs that have outlived their usefulness. So the idea is to project a cost in 10 years that far exceeds what you really believe is needed, accept something less, you “cut” spending, you get reelected because you “cut” spending and the only ones screwed are the American citizens stuck with the bill. The solution which will never happen are term limits that takes reelection out of the play book and then maybe politicians would do more right than wrong.

      • November 12, 2012 7:06 pm

        “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 10 years there would be a shortage of sand!”

        -Milton Friedman

    • November 13, 2012 7:48 pm

      The only possible deal is through reform.
      Though just about every economist in creation would tell you – lower rates less deductions, One of the primary impetus’s is political.

      Democrats can spin anything. They will successfully spin a revenue neutral flat tax as an increase for the wealthy – haven’t they been claiming that Buffet pays lower taxes than his secretary ?
      BTW I do nto actually expect a flat tax though that would be an excellent idea.

      There is no problem with raising capitol gains taxes – but you must lower or eliminate corporatate taxes concurrently or destroy the economy.

      Capitols gains tax rates are low because the money has typically already been taxed and doing so twice is incredibly economically destructive.

      Ignoring “policy” and focusing on politics.
      If republicans get lower rates and less deductions – even if revenue increases, that can still be sold as a tax cut. If democrats get more revenue – and new revenue will come for the rich, they can walk away.

      But no republican and few democrats can vote for an actual tax increase and expect to get re-elected – and that is how it should be.

  41. AMAC permalink
    November 12, 2012 9:54 pm

    Priscilla

    In response to our most recent conversation (it wa a little narrow and crowded). I do think it is a shame the pundits have taken over the political media landscape. However, I do also criticize the candidates and their campaigns as well. Like many, I like to go to the source to get as much data as possible. I go to these candidates web sites and I see little “meat” on the bones. I think that the internet is the best place for the republican to market their philosophy to the new generations and take back their party from the same old talking heads.

    Jbastiat

    I did not suggest taking away or even ignoring their positions on religion, abortion, or any other social issue. I simply want them to be a little more realistic. Few people are going to actually chose their candidate based on abortion. This can be a stance, but does not need to be a focul point. I also think they should speak more to some spending and jobs programs that republican are for. Basically, not preach just to cutting, but also to spending initiatives that would be more attractive to blue collar individuals in construction, dock workers, etc. When candidates spend so much time talking about family values, religion, etc (like during the primaries), it is a turnoff to many. It is a part of who they are as candidates, but in no way is their primary qualifications or platform. They need to reach out to the pro business crowd, but put a little more effort into reaching out to the working class. That was my point. I would argue that they should put a little more emphasis on issues like education, infrastructure programs, etc. that would directly benefit and concern working class citizens.

    • November 13, 2012 10:22 am

      AMAC, I have to admit that I don’t often check out candidate’s web sites….so much BS, so little time. But, I am sure that the internet could become a far greater communication tool.

      As Obama’s lame duck term plays out, it will be interesting to see how the Democrats cope with their apparently weak – and OLD – bench. With the exception of Andrew Cuomo, the current heirs apparent seem to be Hillary and Uncle Joe. Not really the folks you want to continue hopenchange….but 4 years is an eternity in politics. Hell, 4 months is.

      And the GOP is freaking loaded with young, dynamic potential candidates: Rubio, Ryan, , Jindal, Martinez (I’m leaving out Christie, who may have doomed himself as a GOP leader with his bromantic stroll on the Jersey Shore with Obama)..

      • Ron P permalink
        November 13, 2012 12:26 pm

        pearows..you forgot one waiting in the dugout to step up for the dem’s. Gerry Brown from California!!! Anyone better to continue Obaba’s legacy of debt and deficits?

      • November 13, 2012 12:39 pm

        Brown is like Dracula, You can’t kill him.

      • November 13, 2012 4:49 pm

        I remember when he dated Linda Ronstadt, I think that was back before California had a deficit. ;)

      • November 13, 2012 4:59 pm

        Yes, and when Linda was still hot!

      • Ron P permalink
        November 13, 2012 5:40 pm

        That is correct, and that is when he got the nickname “Governor Moonbeam”.

      • November 13, 2012 7:38 pm

        I would not rule Christie out.

        I had no problem with his Obama stroll. I had problems with his actual polices regarding Sandy.

        I can see warning people with respect to Sandy. I can see begging them.
        I can see telling people that he will not risk the lives of first responders for people who chose to stay on the barrier islands.

        But there was no secret knowledge of Sandy that only the NJ Govenors office had people were entitled to make their own minds up as te whether they were leaving.

        The results – which were much as predicted strongly suggest that far more people could have stayed and that recovery efforts would have been quicker and less costly had cleanup started early.

        On TV we are watchin people strip out moldy drywall and throw it away.

        Something as simple as bleach will kill mold easily in the first day, by several days later what was a $50 problem can be a $50,000 problem.
        Mold spreads fast once it takes root.

        Nor is that the only issue. The sooner cleanup starts the lower the damage will be – often by orders of magnitude.

        Christies handling of Sandy was not all that good – though better than Cuomo’s.

        Cuomo is now looking for a $30B blank check – most of it has no direct relationship to the real damage of Sandy.

        One thing you have to watch about federal funds very carefullly – is that their actual use usually has little to do with what they were intended for.

        Check out where the tobacco company settlement money ended up going – often it went to the tobacco companies.

        Anyway Christie managed to work reasonably well with Democrats, seems to know how to pick his fights, usually wins, comes off as tough, and has no real major policy mistakes like Romney Care.

        He may be a harder sell to GOP troops than Rubio but not as hard as Romney.

        The GOP should have known they were in trouble as voters jumped from Bachman to Perry to Cain to Gingrich to Santorum.

        There was a significant “Anyone But Romney” Contingent, and they decided not to vote.

    • November 13, 2012 8:00 pm

      AMAC;

      So what do you sugest as a position ?

      Romney flat out said there would be no changes regarding the legality of abortion during his presidency.

      The Susan Fluke stuff was nuts – a woman testifies before congress that birth control should be free and you do nto expect a republican push back ?
      I do nto care if she testified that milkyway bars should be free. There is no such things as free stuff from the government – only things you have not figured out you are paying for.

      PPACA goes out of its way to force religious organizations to sacrifice their values and republicans are supposed to favor that ?

      Both parties were falling all over themselves to play for the latino vote except when they were screwing them. I can see little difference between Obama and the GOP as far as Latino’s – if anything Obama is worse.

      gay marraige was an issue on the ballot in several states – and it won. But it was not an issue in the national election.

      I am as happy to trash Rick Santorum as anyone – but Romney was NOT the social cponservative candidate and did not run a social conservative campaign.

      I would like democrats to get more rational on numerous issues – starting with you only destroy wealth by “spreading it around” you certainly do not create it.

      Even the Obama Buggies remark – great line, but idiotic policy.
      I want a smaller military, including a smaller navy – BECAUSE we will be less tempted to stick our nose into everything.
      i am not naive enough to think we can have a smaller cheaper more powerful navy.
      The fact is we have been able to project more power with less (very expensive) ships. But we are very close to having to abandon the two battle front doctrine. And that has serious consequences.

  42. November 13, 2012 1:55 pm

    I agree with our friend Marc Faber here:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/49802535

  43. November 13, 2012 6:06 pm

    Rick;

    Why are you surprised by any president getting into bed with Wall Street ?

    I have been pointing out to you repeatedly that DEMOCRATS get more in fortune 500 contributions than Republicans. Contrary to the media meme the party most deeply indebted to big business is the left.

    I also keep reminding you power corrupts. So long as government has the power to do the things you want it to do, it will be corrupt.

    Name a period in time when you think government was not in bed with business, corrupt ?

    There is only one way to acheive a lobby-proof government – have a government that offers little reason to be lobbied.

    “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary” James Madison.

    you have dismantled most of those controls – and are surprised at the results.

    If your design for government requires perfection on the part of our leaders – it will fail.
    That is the root failure of communism, socialism and all forms of statism.

    It is irrelevant whether in some perfect world it might work. It will not work in the real world of humans.

    Despite the ranting about greedy corporate overlords, the most important facet of individual liberty and limited government is that it is the only system that works with imperfect leaders.

    If you got anti-corruption measures through congress – who would enforce them ?
    It is rapidly becoming evident that the DOJ sat on the Petraius problem until after the election. Mind you I am NOT blaming the Whitehouse, which it appears did not know about this until very close to the election. And things have expanded and now another
    General has been implicated.

    Then there is fast and furious. The mainstream media has mostly been ignoring this, but the IG’s report says this goes to the top of DOJ and may lead to the whitehouse.
    The government sold guns to the mexican cartels and lots of people died – including two border patrol agents. There are lots of questions about this program – it either was an abysmally bad idea to begin with OR it was a deliberate attempt to trigger an outcry against guns that backfired. It really does not matter.
    The AG has almost certainly lied to congress and is being held in contempt by congress.

    Regardless, when you thing the Attorney General of the US might be a crook – who do you call ? Batman ?

    Sexual picadellos on the part of GOP congressmen usually cost them their jobs,

    Duke Cunningham – our first Vietnam ACE and a republican congressmen went to jail over some dubious fiscal dealing.

    What about Charlie Rangel, Barny Frank, Maxine Waters ?
    These people are heros – but they are all also crooks, no different from Cuningham.

    You also do not understand government very well.

    It is NOT immoral to pay money for your own benefit.
    It is IMMORAL and illegal to take money as a public servant to alter the way you do your job.

    Somehow you seem to think that but for evil corporate lobbiests congressmen would be pure and true.

    Atleast those evil corporate lobbiests are completely upfront. There is no secret about what they want or what they will do to get it.
    The deception the fraud the immorality, is on the part of members of government.

  44. November 13, 2012 6:15 pm

    Tax revenues have slowly recovered.
    Despite the payroll tax holiday. Tax receipts in 2012 are very nearly what they were in 2012. The the payroll tax holiday expire and tax revenues will exceed that of 2008.
    Yet we have a 1+T Defict.

    What does it take before you get we have a spending problem.
    There is no amount of revenue that the federal government can not consume.

    Tax revenues are greater than 2007, GDP is greater than 2007.
    If Government spending were slightly above 2007 levels we would have a $100B defict not a $1T deficit.
    Our wages are very nearly as they were in 2007.
    So what is the justification for spending $1T more than 2007 ?

    Who here would not be happy to just return to the way things were in 2007 ?

    Was the safety net too small then ? Were children starving in the streets ?
    Were we all cruel self serving bastards with no concern for anyone else ?

    Was 2007 a lifetime ago.

  45. November 13, 2012 7:23 pm

    The brilliant Richard Epstein nails it again:

    http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/134296

  46. November 14, 2012 8:08 am

    Apparently, increasing tax rates on the “rich” doesn’t fix socialism’s problems?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/new-style-new-slogans-no-new-policies-hollande-tries-to-start-again-8313292.html#sfmsg_-7890|0|0@@

    • November 14, 2012 9:20 am

      It’s all fun and games, until your national debt is 90% of GDP……

  47. November 14, 2012 10:26 am

    And, over the cliff we go?

    “President Barack Obama has responded to House Speaker John Boehner’s gesture last week towards reaching a deal to avoid the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts, putting a specific demand on the table: $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues, reached by raising tax rates on the wealthy in addition to other “tax revenues.” The offer is twice as high as a deal Obama scuttled last year, suggesting he may be prepared to let talks fail again.”

    • November 14, 2012 10:44 am

      No skin off his nose. Off to the golf course he goes.

    • November 14, 2012 1:16 pm

      Lets see according to Romer that would be $3.2T in lost GDP.
      If I have done the math correctly that is about 20,000,000 lost jobs. (assuming a $40,000/year job and assuming 50% of costs are labor)

      I am assuming this is $1.6T/decade – otherwise it is completely impossible, that would make it 2m jobs/year lost.

      I am pretty sure this is also the bogusly estimated cost of the upper portion of the bush Tax cuts.

      For reference from Dept. Treasury 2010 estimates.
      The entire cost of ALL tax changes from Bush to the present excluding the Payroll Tax holiday is $3.7T. The total yearly costs for 2010 (18B), 2011(200B), 2012(258B), 2013(292B).

      For the entire decade from 2010-2020 repealing ONLY the upper income tax breaks would produce $680B in revenue. repealing just the decrease in the top marginal rate from 39.6% would only produce $327B in revenue.

      I would also note that if the Obama Treasury beleives the maximum loss from the portion of the bush tax cuts for the wealthy over the next 10 years was $680B, that means that the lost revenue from 2002-2008 was probably less than 1/2 that.

      Again I would remind you that these are Pres. Obama’s treasury department figures. They are almost certainly the upper limit of any possible revenue increase. The real gains if any are certain to be far lower.

      Conversely that means that only approx 1/6 of the revenue losses due to “Bush tax cuts for the wealthy” came from that portion of those cuts that applied to the wealthy.

      Essentially 5/6 of the revenue effects of the Bush tax cuts are from cuts to the middle class.

      Again these are Obama treasury figures – not something from Cato or Heritage.

      The left has constantly cited the Bush tax cuts are proof that supply side economics is a fallacy, that tax cuts do not pay for themselves.

      The Bush tax cuts were nearly the worst possible mix if the purpose was economic stimulus. These were imposed in two parts – one in Mid 2001, and one in mid 2003. as a response to a weak recession. Actual government revenues exceeded the previous peak by 2005, and returned to the post WWII norm of 18% of GDP by 2006.
      If the entire decline in revenue in 2003 was due to the tax cuts (rather than the recession), the maximum possible cost of the tax cuts was $300B/year.
      And using the Treasury assumptions above $250B of that was due to the middle class tax cuts, not the reductions for the “wealthy”

      Essentially the entire meme that the bush tax cuts disprove supply side economics, rests on what is at best the belief that the upper margin tax cuts cost $50B/year AT MOST, according to government figures.

      We can not know what would have happened had only the upper margin tax cuts passed, But we do know that over the past 4 decades reductions in corporate taxes, reductions in capitol gains taxes and reductions in upper margin income taxes have resulted in a pronounced shift in the source of tax revenues from the middle class to the upper class. That result is not possible if tax cuts for the rich were even revenue neutral.

  48. Ron P permalink
    November 14, 2012 1:24 pm

    Interesting comments concering the fiscal cliff previously posted. So someone straighten me out on the following facts and tell me where I am wrong. Republicans are willing to reform the tax code to increase revenues from the wealthy. Patty Murray has stated she will take the country over the cliff if tax rates are not increased. Obama wants 1.6 trillion over the next 10 years in tax rate increases. Rate increases do not seem to be acceptible to the right. And if the cliff does occur, that is around 1.2 trillion decreased growth of spending over ten years (give of take a couple billion, chump change in DC). Country still has somewhere between 1.2 Trillion and 1.5 Trillion deficit per year. So 1.6 trillion over 10 years is 160 billion per year in increased taxes. And 1.2 trillion is 120 billion per year in decreased spending. Net change in deficit is 2.8 billion per year. Assume deficit at low end at 1.2 trillion. What happened to the other 980 billion or 9.8 trillion over 10 years?

    Is there anyone in Washington that has a few brain cells that realizes that what they are talking about is just a fraction of the problem facing this country. Right, left or center, someone has to know what is happening even with the changes they are talking about is wrong. To some,Republicans might have run us into a ditch, but both parties have gassed up the car and are running us off a mountain, forget the cliff.

    • November 14, 2012 1:48 pm

      No matter what happens, you can bet that Congress and the POTUS will:

      Keep getting paid, including benefits and vacations.
      Not touch their pensions
      When they leave government, will stick around and lobby Congress on behalf of clients or write a few more books (in the case of Obama, more fiction).

      Any questions?

    • November 14, 2012 5:58 pm

      Further if you increase taxes at the top by 1.6T you will decrease GDP by 3.2T over the same term – or something like 2M jobs. Ultimately you will likely have a net DECREASE in tax revenues and the defict will be worse not better.
      Further so long at the debt is greater than 100% of GDP it is going to be very hard to get growth above 2% – look at the past 4 years, that may be our best future.

    • November 14, 2012 6:06 pm

      Ron,

      There is one other factor you are committing – this is Washington – conformance to the laws of mathematics, logic, physics etc.

      Obama and Republicans might agree to a reduction in tax rates with as well as limits or removal of deductions and CLAIM that the results are a $1.6T increase in taxes on the uber rich.

      Rick and TNM can then jump for joy and celebrate bi-partisanship and harmony, while the real fiscal cliff comes by to whack us all in the ass.

  49. November 14, 2012 3:09 pm

    “Is there anyone in Washington that has a few brain cells that realizes that what they are talking about is just a fraction of the problem facing this country?”

    I think that they all realize it. They just don’t care, because most of them will be long gone when the sh*t finally hits the fan. All of this fiscal cliff stuff is just grist for the political mill in their eyes… a political game of “chicken” in which each side will see if they can get the other side blamed for what is happening.

    The fact that the President thinks that this is the way to run a country is pretty damn discouraging .I don’t understand why, now that he no longer has to get reelected, he doesn’t make a genuine attempt to broker a long term deal that addresses the really serious issues. I mean, I know he won’t do it, but I’m not sure why he won’t do it. Ideology? Partisanship?

    • November 14, 2012 3:12 pm

      I think it is obvious that the POTUS:
      -doesn’t want to work very hard
      -does NOT know the first thing about negotiation (ie it is hard work)
      -doesn’t actually like many people (gets in the way of negotiation)
      -has already figured out he doesn’t really like the job.

      Prediction: He will be impeached in the house once the Benghazi related hearings are held. The Generals will do him in. I think this is called a bloodless coup!

      • November 14, 2012 5:26 pm

        I think impeachment is a non-starter. Few republicans are really prepared to repeat the impeachment mess that occurred with Clinton.

        While ultimately I agree with the result -, Pres. Clinton should have been impeached from lying under oath in a civil proceeding, he should not have been removed from office. In truth the courts should not have allowed the Paula Jones trial to proceed so long as Clinton was president. They just should have waived the statute of limitations until he left office.

        Regardless, there is no good reason to repeat that fiasco.
        Any attempt will result in screams of racism from the left.
        I think the evidence from Benghazi is increasingly damning.
        Further the Petreaus debacle is linking in, in several ways. Paula Broadwell’s revelations if true are very damaging – first that she had access through the Director of Central Intelligence, and second because what she reveals is an administration disregarding its own executive orders and jephardizing our people in doing so.

        But this is the natural consequences when we drift from few limited clear laws to myriads of discretionary policies.

        The reason for clear bright line principles and limited government is it is not possible to construct a complex system of discretionary policies that will not be inherently self contradictory and corrupt.

      • November 14, 2012 5:53 pm

        We will disagree. i think the POTUS is at least guily of lying to us about the whole affair. Worse, I think he is also guilty of constructing a coverup which includes blackmailing the head of the CIA. I say: off with his head.

        As for the left playing the race card: whatever.

      • November 15, 2012 12:22 am

        There is a difference between is the President guilty of something and is it a good idea for the house GOP to press the issue.

        Nor am I sure he is actually guilty of much beyond ineptitude.

        The really big deal is whether anything attempted to delay of hinder the FBI investigation of Petreaus. It is my guess that story stops with the Attorney General. And he is likely out anyway.

    • AMAC permalink
      November 14, 2012 9:43 pm

      I think the republicans and democrats are responsible for the mess. I also don’t feel positive that the President won’t try to broker a long term deal. Saying he is lazy and stupid is lazy and stupid.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 14, 2012 9:45 pm

        This seems to have turned in to a bash Obama conversation.

      • November 14, 2012 10:48 pm

        There is so much to bash.

      • November 14, 2012 10:04 pm

        I disagree AMAC. I’ll be the first to admit that I do not think that Obama has been a good president. But I can assure you that, if I see any sign that he is going to use his second term to seriously address the huge issues that we face as a nation, I will be extremely happy. What I have heard from him thus far are assurances that he will work with Republicans to come up with a solution to the “fiscal cliff,” as long as the Republicans are willing to accept huge tax increases on corporations and people making over $250K. That sounds to me like exactly what he was saying last year, and with Harry Reid insisting that Social Security reform is off the table, I don’t see any attempt at all to reach across the aisle.

        I would love to be wrong about this.

      • November 14, 2012 10:52 pm

        You are not wrong. Right now, Ozero is trying to figure out how to lay all the blame for Benghazi on Petraeus.

      • November 14, 2012 10:47 pm

        So, Mr. Genius, point to the deals that he has brokered so far. Don’t point to Obamacare, as Reid and Pelosi made that happen. In fact, in private, they were pissed as hell, as Obama stayed in the WH and did shit.

  50. November 14, 2012 8:00 pm

    jBastiat–The one word strategy you suggested in your last comment is my current mantra– WHATEVER! I’m still in shock over the election, and failure of what I’ve previously considered bedrock– the collective wisdom of the American people. If we’ve truly reached the tipping point, where our society consists of more idiots than solid citizens, more slackers than producers, and more people dreaming of instant riches than aspiring to hard earned gains, then WHATEVER may be the watch word from here on in.

    • November 14, 2012 10:46 pm

      Sad but perhaps, true. As I watch young folks walking down the street,texting, I grow in my sense of despair. Really, is THIS what we have created for our future?

  51. November 14, 2012 9:55 pm

    Did anyone see Ron Paul’s farewell speech on the floor of the House? He puts a lot of this stuff in perspective and he makes a lot of sense. He will be greatly missed. Or, at least, he should be.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/11/14/ron-pauls-farewell-speech-video/

    • November 14, 2012 10:51 pm

      I like Uncle Ron and he will be missed, at least by those who still know how to think.

  52. AMAC permalink
    November 14, 2012 10:33 pm

    This site is turning history revisionist and anti-government / libertarian drastically. I really thought it would tone down after the election. I see now the FDR made the depression worse? Government should not try to help the working class? It’s just fine to let US companies send their jobs to other countries? I thought the government was supposed to look out for us. Dave is finally correct… This is not the new moderate. It is officially the New Libertarian. Dave with his insulting “moderate” comments suddenly seem approrpriate since 90% of the comments are libertarian. Libertarians are supposed to be all for personal liberties, but seem to be the most intollerant of other ideas. The libertarian block has forced me to take yet another absence for the sake of my sanity. The old wise-ass will surely leave a remark, to show he has still got “spunk”. If you can’t find one thing the democrats do that you agree with, you are most likely blind, or unreasonable. That is all I will say for now. I hope everyone enjoys Thanksgiving. Enjoy your families and friends. Remember how lucky we are to have our loved ones and live in such a great country. This is the first major holiday my family in Afghanistan will miss, pray for them (as will I). They are fighting for a cause they believe in for this country, which is admirable wether you agree with it or not. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday. Even you ‘Ole Man Bastiat!

    • November 15, 2012 1:22 am

      FDR Did make the depression worse – hat is real history, not the crap you were taught in grade school.

      Government has no ability to economically help anyone – beyond providing clear stable law and enforcing it.

      The oppinion of the majority of americans has been anti-government for as long as there have been polls – looking at 18th century politics for as long as the nation has existed.
      This is not new.

      The benefits of free trade are so great even Krugman once sung them. While not politically popular, it is just the truth. Fighting it is like trying to keep the sun from rising.
      Both parties are equally guilty of idiotic mercantilist ideas on trade, jobs, etc.

      If I have insulted a person, call me out. When noting the stupidity of an argument is banned this is the new fascist not the new moderate.

      Have I banned someone else from speaking. Individual liberty includes the right to say totally stupid things. It does not include the right to respect for them.

      “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – voltaire.
      It is freedom to speak not freedom from disapproval.

      I support the right of Nazi’s or the KKK to march – and I have been at those marches proclaiming the evil of their views.

      Yes, I am having a hard time finding anything democrats do that I agree with – because most everything they used to believe that I agreed with they have abandon. I can find more common ground with McGovern than Obama. I have accused Romney of being Obama-lite, but Obama in oh so many ways is Bush III.

      Further most of my “attacks” here are not a democrats – but statists (of both parties), if democrats chose to be more and more the party of statism do i have to give them a pass in the name of tolerance ? By the same standard do Nazi’s get a pass ?

      BOTH parties are abysmal on trade.
      BOTH parties are abysmal on immigration.
      BOTH parties are abysmal on Drugs.
      BOTH parties are indistinguishably bad on foreign policy

      Democrats have gone from advocating for freedom and self ownership off our bodies – to claiming that freedom places a duty on others to pay for the wants of another.
      It is neither freedom nor a right if it requires action on the part of another.

      On most issues that I side with Republicans they are at best just less bad than democrats.

      Isnt the cause your family is fighting for freedom ?

  53. November 15, 2012 9:03 am

    AMAC, I wish you would not leave (even thought you are apparently already gone!).

    This is, unfortunately, what I see happen in discussions of politics all the time….I guess it’s always been like that, which is why my parents taught me never to discuss politics (or religion) at a social event. But , I consider this a place where it is safe to discuss what might overly inflame a dinner party or start a Facebook flame war.

    My personal opinion is that most of the regular commenters here are “moderate,” at least to a degree. But that, of course, presumes that you use my definition of moderate, which is more of an adjective than a noun, and does not imply a specific ideology, but rather a worldview which prizes reason and is not extreme or radically partisan. Certainly, there is some partisanship here, and that was more pronounced during the election – Rick was certainly openly partisan in his electoral position, while remaining essentially moderate in his expression of that partisanship.

    There are so few places where it is “safe” to dissent – moderately – from a politically correct world view these days. I have long thought TNM is one of them.

    By the way, back in my days as a HS history teacher (I know, I know, I mention so many careers here, I must be as old as……I don’t know, maybe as old as JBastiat -and that is OLD!), I used to have the kids do a research project during our unit on The Great Depression, which would culminate in a debate. The debate was: “Did Roosevelt’s New Deal policies help pull the US out of depression or did they prolong it?” I can assure you that the debate was always lively, and both sides had strong arguments to back up their diametrically opposing views.

    • November 15, 2012 10:58 am

      Priscilla,

      You and I are the same age and went to the same HS. That said, you LOOK younger so I will give you that one! As for FDR, I think he was essentially a guy who wanted to be a dictator but couldn’t pack the court and get it done. And, he created one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes (SS).

  54. November 15, 2012 1:01 pm

    Everyone: As a veteran moderate who’s almost as old as Rich and Priscilla (cough, cough… by a few months), I’m accustomed to opposition from both sides. During the late ’60s and early ’70s I used to catch it from the student leftists (How dare I hope for an American victory in Vietnam?). These days I catch it from the right (How dare I oppose the interests of the plutocrats who keep tilting the financial pinball machine to score points?). But it might be that some of our younger friends here aren’t as thick-skinned as I am.

    I can understand their dismay. There’s no question that our comments gallery is dominated by the libertarian faction. (Dave, you’re not really a paid think-tank agent, are you? Come on, you can come clean with me.) The sheer volume and contrariness of libertarian comments here pushes our resident moderates off the board. It’s reached the point that we can’t voice a moderate opinion without being shouted down as liberals or fools (pretty much the same thing from a libertarian perspective), and it’s starting to feel oppressive. This is a moderate blog, after all, and it won’t be a viable one if all my moderate readers are chased off the site.

    I stand by my original philosophy of welcoming opinions from all points on the ideological grid. But I’m going to make a request: from now on, let’s try to find some common ground and avoid (as much as possible) the ideological warfare that’s ripping our nation (and this blog) apart. What can we do to build bridges? What do we all hate about the current state of affairs?

    I think we can all agree that we’re against the veiled system of bribery that buys legislative support for special interests. We can probably agree that we need to rein in our national debt. And I think we can concur that America needs a robust middle class. That’s a start. Now let’s see if we can build those bridges.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 15, 2012 1:29 pm

      Rick, thank you for this request. Although I am new to your site compared to most of the others here, your comment ,”This is a moderate blog, after all, and it won’t be a viable one if all my moderate readers are chased off the site” is very true. That is why I was happy to find one that someone could comment and not be called every known negative in the book like you find in other blogs that have been overrun by the extreme opn both sides. People can disagree on positions and have an honest debate and maybe even change some thinking along the way without making it personal. When it becomes a personal attack on the person and not a disagreement on positions, then that is when others begin to leave.

    • November 15, 2012 1:38 pm

      Rick, your policy of welcoming a broad range of opinion is one of the things that makes this blog pretty unique and great…but I do sometimes worry that you feel pushed to the margins of your own blog. I think that other so-called “moderate” and centrist bloggers use a heavier hand in policing their comments section….not necessarily the constant use of the ban hammer, but a tendency to slap down unruly commenters with insults and threats. That also drives away a lot of moderates ( I think Ron and I both remarked upon the Moderate Voice as being a blog run along those “echo chamber lines”). I appreciate your courtly manner of maintaining discipline here (it’s positively Republican!) and I don’t want to see that end.

      • November 15, 2012 1:51 pm

        I try to be civil at all times. If I am attacking anyone personally, please let me know. That does not go for Barack Obama. After all, I pay his salary so I feel entitled to call him names.
        Fair enough?

      • November 16, 2012 12:52 am

        Ron and PR: Thanks, I appreciate the appreciation. And believe me, Priscilla, I’m not averse to old-fashioned Republican virtues.

        Rich: It’s a deal.

    • November 15, 2012 3:06 pm

      If some think tank wants to pay me – I will happily accept – but so far no offers.
      Besides even the Koch’s do not fund my particular brand of libertarianism.

      I have no problems with anything you are looking for agreement on.

      It is when we get to solutions that we are at odds.

      At the same time I would note:

      Accepting that we are some corporate plutocracy how is it that the largest portion of government spending is on entitlements ? how is it that 60% of us receive more direct benefits from government than we pay ? Isn’t that in opposition to the interests of our purported plutocratic masters ?

      Our founders designed a powerful federal government significantly constrained by placing all those interests at odds with each other. Our founders expected aristocratic plutocratic, and populist special interests – as well as many others. They presumed that for good or evil these were normal and inevitable. They hoped and prayed by giving each their own means of exercising power they would block action on anything that did not serve everyone’s interests.

      We have spent the past two centuries dismantling the structure that pitted interests against each other and are now surprised that they have become more powerful.

      One of the big takeaways from this election should be the plutocracy is at best a power at the fringes. We have elected probably the most rhetorically anti-plutocratic administration ever. Yet there appears no sane reason to be expecting great anti-plutocratic legislation.

      Further we face huge problems – none of which were created by Rick’s plutocratic boogeymen.

      Plutocracy is a serious problem. Any powerful group is the root to corruption.
      But we are not failing because the plutocracy persuaded us to create a number of progressive ponzi schemes, that are coming down around our heads.

      The roots of our current failures do not lie with powerful nameless faceless puppeteers.
      They lie with ourselves. It is not corporate greed that is bringing us to the bring of failure, but the effort of government to do the impossible and give us wherever we want.

      The root of the problem stares us in the face everytime we look in the mirror.
      It is the belief that government can take seven loaves and five fishes and feed us all without requiring any effort.

      We are entitled to what we produce – nothing more. A society that produces less, will have less – no matter how you re-arrange the deck chairs. We can not consume more than we produce for long and no amount of hope and change will fix that .

  55. November 15, 2012 2:21 pm

    The general consensus among historians and economists is that the great depression ended – either with the start of WWII or a few years before as the preparations for war started.

    There are few credible economists that believe the efforts of the new deal did any more than make the great depression more bearable.

    There are a growing number of economists that are credibly claiming that the Great Depression lasted through the war, and did not end until:
    wage and price controls were lifted
    Government spending plumetted,
    and soldiers returned to work.

    There is an increasing body of evidence not just on the Great Depression but on downturns in general that appears to be demonstrating that the actions of government can reduce the magnitude of the decline – but at the expense of substantially prolonging the harm.

    Put differently if we had allowed The “too big to fail” banks to fail things would have been worse, but they would have been over long ago and we would be enjoying robust growth by now.

    • November 15, 2012 3:39 pm

      It is also useful to note that since the creation of the Federal Reserve, the US has NOT avoided the boom/bust cycle that was ostensibly the reason the Fed was created. Note to Congress: empirical observations are useful in the face of failed dogma.

    • November 16, 2012 12:49 am

      Dave: FDR’s New Deal programs actually had the country well on the road to recovery. But in 1937, reasonably concluding that the worst of the depression was over, FDR listened to his advisors and slashed spending on New Deal programs in an attempt to balance the budget. The resulting slump of 1937-38 wiped out most of the early New Deal gains. There were other factors as well (tightened money supply, etc.) but it’s interesting that the recovery fell apart as soon as FDR agreed to balance the budget. Not that I’m defending deficit spending as a general rule, but during a dire national emergency you might have to break the rules.

      Interesting point about government action lessening the severity of a downturn while also prolonging it. Would we rather see more people out of work and desperate during the downturn… or have a less severe depression that lasts longer? I guess it’s a matter of choosing your poison.

      Rich: Confound it, man… I agree with you again!

      • November 16, 2012 8:58 am

        Like a stopped clock, I get it right, twice a day.

  56. November 15, 2012 2:32 pm

    I, Pencil

  57. November 15, 2012 6:03 pm

    So Rick – is Washington’s grass roots lobbiest legislation something that you support or is it an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324735104578119013565758582.html

    • Ron P permalink
      November 15, 2012 9:30 pm

      asmith, I would like to read more about this. Don’t have access to WSJ and can not find another link on the internet. Interesting that there would not be anything else as important as this may have on freedom of speech. Do you have a link to the actual case information?

      • November 16, 2012 11:13 am

        I have WSJ access, but rarely use it. You can virtually always get any WSJ subscriber only article by googling the title and clicking on the link google finds to get an “article free pass”. WSJs paywall is deliberately thin.

        They are such evil greedy capitolist bastards

        The full article is below

        ——————————————————————————————————

        Are you a lobbyist? You might be and not even know it. That’s because in more than half the country the simple act of speaking to fellow citizens about issues of public importance can be regulated as a form of lobbying.

        The result is a trap for the unwary that may mean fines or even jail time for ordinary citizens who fail to comply with complicated regulations written to cover professional lobbyists.

        But can such regulations of ordinary political speech really be constitutional? That is the question the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals now must answer in a case the court heard Nov. 9.

        Washington state is one of 36 states that regulates such ordinary political speech—or “grass roots lobbying,” as the state’s law calls it. In Washington, a person who spends as little as $500 in one month urging fellow citizens to contact the legislature and express their support or opposition to legislation must register with and provide information to the state’s campaign-finance regulatory agency. The state law is so broad that it covers even people who simply speak with their fellow citizens and have no intention of lobbying governmental officials.

        To make matters worse, the law covers speech about “any other matter that may be the subject of action” by the state legislature. At the appellate-court hearing, one of the judges said of the law’s broad definitions: “If someone wants to talk about the price of cat food—bang, it might come before the legislature,” so the speech would therefore be covered by the law.

        As absurd as the law sounds in theory, in Washington it has real consequences for real groups engaging in real speech.

        Many Cultures, One Message is a Seattle neighborhood group that works to fight eminent-domain abuse and other measures that threaten the character and vibrancy of MCOM’s diverse neighborhood. The organization’s multi-ethnic membership makes it especially wary of the law’s intrusiveness. Many MCOM donors and volunteers come from countries ruled by oppressive regimes, and these supporters withdrew from the group in 2010 when they learned that the lobbying law might require the placement of their names and addresses on a publicly accessible, government-run database.

        On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Conservative Enthusiasts is a self-described tea party group that encourages citizens to promote limited government and lower taxes at all levels of government. After one of the group’s sponsors received a warning from the group’s fundraiser in 2010 that its financial support for the organization’s Fourth of July rally might be publicly disclosed on a government website, the donor withdrew its planned contribution.

        Enlarge Image

        Associated Press
        A citizen’s convention, in New Jersey, supported by conservative grass roots groups.

        Once the Washington law has been triggered, the associated red tape means that grass-roots groups must deal with an absurdly complex array of regulations. The state’s own lobbying handbook recommends that groups retain records for nine years; annotate receipts with date, person and purpose; maintain a separate bank account and credit card; and hire an accountant to anticipate and remedy reporting problems. Groups that fail to comply with the law can be fined up to $10,000.

        Unable to decipher this maze of regulations, rules and requirements—much less afford a campaign-finance attorney and accountant—Many Cultures, One Message and Conservative Enthusiasts decided that the burdens were too onerous and both ceased their advocacy efforts.

        Forcing grass-roots groups to jump through hoops just to talk to the public about political issues is bad enough, but it is also not clear how the public benefits. In a 2011 study, economist Jeffrey Milyo of the University of Missouri found no evidence that regulations on grass-roots lobbying increase public confidence in government, or that disclosure of contributors to grass-roots campaigns provides useful information to legislators or the public.

        Simply put, the supposed benefits of these laws are entirely speculative, but the costs to grass-roots advocates and their supporters are substantial.

        If the First Amendment protects anything, it protects Americans’ right to communicate with fellow citizens and to contact their elected representatives about important issues. That isn’t
        “lobbying”—it’s speaking. The Ninth Circuit would be wise to pull the law up by the roots.

  58. November 16, 2012 12:25 am

    Dave: Funny that they’d clamp down on unlicensed purveyors of opinion, but it’s perfectly OK to pay Congressmen in exchange for favors. I shouldn’t be surprised.

    • November 16, 2012 11:14 am

      How are you planning on distinguishing one group from the other ?

    • November 16, 2012 11:27 am

      It is not surprising at all. Again one of the places we part company.

      You still have the misperception that evil lobiests are paying congressmen.

      You have it backwards. Our political leaders are doing everything they can to secure and expand their power. Big lobiests are in thrall to them, they are an asset to politicians not a liability. Those further down the food chain are a threat.

      Much of what you see as wrong in our political process is not wrong because the plutocrats took control. It is that way because the politicians made it that way to serve them.

      Politicans and parties do not want grass roots groups – they have no control over them. They do not want PACS and super PACS.

      They only want contributions directly to candidates and to political parties that they control.

      They want ONLY their message getting out.

      Virtually all political regulation – particularly that regulating speech favors incumbents.
      Which is precisely what incumbents want.

      Further Government, politicians, and political parties want to deal with BIG. Big corporations, Big contributors, Big organizations.

      Republicans get a far larger share of their donations from individuals and small organizations, and far less from fortune 500 companies – and yet somehow you think the GOP is in the pocket of business and the rich.

      Open your eyes.

      If we are going to play the Ian style guilt by association follow the money games, then it is the left that is in the pockets of Big unions, big corporations, and the uber rich.

      If you really believe that our politicians have been bought (rather than are doing the buying), then you should never vote for another democrat.

      • November 16, 2012 11:35 am

        It is certainly true that the less power the government has to grant favors, the fewer lobbying types there will be. Indeed, one only need look at the industries that are regulated the most, who of course, need to hire the most advocates for their position. Then again, how many tag sale lobbies do we see in Washington DC.

  59. November 16, 2012 10:45 am

    “Hostess Brands Inc. says it’s going out of business after striking workers across the country crippled its ability to make its Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and other snacks…..He added that all employees will eventually lose their jobs, “some sooner than others….Hostess, founded in 1930, was fighting battles beyond labor costs. Competition is increasing in the snack space and Americans are increasingly conscious about healthy eating.” http://bigstory.ap.org/article/hostess-close-cites-nationwide-worker-strike

    I wonder if Hostess Brands explored the option of manufacturing their products overseas, instead of trying to work through Chapter 11 with an intransigent union. I also wonder if the current pro-union, anti-corporation environment had a hand in Hostess’s decision to throw in the towel…..balance has to come in all forms, and one point I try to make about the Obama administration is that it tilts way too far against xorporations.

    R,I, P Twinkies (although I’m guessing some other company may produce them going forward….)

    • November 16, 2012 11:16 am

      Yes, the Hostess brand names are salable and the bankruptcy judge likely will put them up for auction in order to raise cash, pay creditors. Long live the brands.

    • November 16, 2012 11:42 am

      To the lefties at TNM,

      The choice of producing Twinkies in the US with US labor may not exist. Essentially consumers have spoken – they are not going to pay more for that twinky.

      Hostess brands faced the normal challenges of competition.

      Make the product more valueable – apparently not possible.
      Reduce the cost to produce – unions decided no jobs was better than lower pay.
      Outsource.

      So in the face of that what should Hostess have done ?

      Would it have been evil for Hostess to move thousands of jobs off-shore if that was the only way to stay in business ?

      Hostess is probably not the perfect example. As I suspect they rejected outsourcing as unviable for their particular product.

      Regardless, when is it acceptable for a business to make decisions that may negatively impact labor ?

      Can/Should a business increase productivity, increase automation, alter its process to produce more with fewer people – or is that greedy and evil ?

      Can/Should a business move production to reduce production costs – Should Boeing move to North Carolina (Airbus is now in Louisiana). If it is acceptable to move around inside the country why not outside the country ?

      Is it better to go bankrupt than to lose jobs ?

      We have watched as Kodak slid into the muck. We should have seen much of Wall Street as well as GM and Chrysler join them, and now we are watching Hostess.

      What does it take before you grasp that a corporations ONLY purpose is to make money for its investors – and that is us, their capitol is our pension funds, and IRA’s and mortgages, and …..

      Many businesses are mismanaged and fail. But the last thing we should be seeking is adding another layer of government to the mixture.
      i have yet to see a single government regulation that assures the survival of a business in a free market. I have never seen a regulation that did not increase the chances that businesses would fail.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 16, 2012 11:55 am

        I would like to think that no one here would suggest the Feds intervene to save Hostess. That would be really really sad, IMHO. As for Twinkies, I love them but can certainly live without them, as with most things!

  60. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 16, 2012 10:49 am

    Rick, your most basic problem is that moderates in general, and I mean that in the ideological sense, do not do this. Ideological moderates very rarely have an inner fire to talk politics on line. There are plenty of passionate moderates in the world, former NJ Gov Keane (head of the 911 commission and former President of Drew University, where one of my daughter graduated) is an example of a passionate moderate who turned that passion into something. But people like that don’t spend time chatting about politics on websites.

    You did collect here a small but proud number of actual intelligent and well informed ideological moderates who do post, but yes, the environment is really not suitable to a discussion of ideological moderation and how to harness it. You make your initial constructive essay, Rob comes in and gives his left wing drive by and then the echo chamber starts to roll. TNM IS a conservative echo chamber, exactly as AMAC said, for bashing liberals, democrats and Obama. Very tiresome and no moderate in their right mind is looking for that. The “Benghazi scandal” we could get, if we wanted it (and we don’t!) by reading anything Rupert Murdoch has control over.

    I checked in out of habit to relax during my work for a minute and found that AMAC had also fled.

    So, really, I am pissed. There is a principle at stake here, I’d call it having the decency to honor the purpose of a site dedicated to moderation.

    Priscilla, I simply cannot imagine a more rigidly partisan thinker than you, how do you not know it? If you have not married the GOP yet, its high time, before Junior arrives any day now.

    And of course the black knight is camped out and is not wired to be reachable by any request that he self regulate. He has a right to do this, damn anyone who can’t stand his repetitive, fanatical and entirely not moderate behavior, The main point I have understood from discussions with the black knight is that Libertarianism, if taken to an extreme, is simply a childish expression of an entirely “Me” centered view of the universe. Then couple that to a genetic program that combines obsessiveness and repetition with a complete inability to understand any sentence that is inconvenient to a favorite dogma and forget it, a broken record that will haunt TNM forever waving the Watchtower and screaming No.

    Pat and Ron P balance that as libertarians who understand that we are all in this together, and that is a welcome relief from pure dogma.

    Rick, it ain’t gonna stop. Unfortunately, my advice is to leave the echo chamber to echo by itself and let it alone until it is not fun any more, months, years, whatever it takes, Just don’t feed them. I don’t know at what point they would get it, but it has to become boring at some point, doesn’t it? Sad, but there is no other way, unless you know a way to suddenly locate a large percentage of the tiny number of talkative ideological moderates and bring them here at once to drown out the ideologues.

    • November 16, 2012 11:20 am

      I know Priscilla well and you do here a disservice. She actually has a very open mind, but her eyes and ears are open as well. The challenge for so-called “moderates” is that of principles. In effect, at times they don’t seem to possess any. Moreover, as I have said many times, Rick has a liberal bias that he needs to have poked from time to time. To his credit, he often admits it.

      PS-The Benghazi murders are not a trivial or made up matter. If you don’t see that, it is because you don’t want to.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 16, 2012 12:04 pm

        DO you have any idea how many dozens of adolescent Vermont Nat Guard members have died or how many young and old US soldiers have died in two hopelessly badly conceived Bush wars or even how many afghan civilians in wedding parties have died in the last ten years? We are immune at this point, we are numb to war casualties. The Libya deaths were a tragedy, but their family members themselves, who might know something, have said that politicizing this is another tragedy.

        If I were going to spend all my time nosing around for dirt on Obama, I would look in a more promising place, Americans have accepted that those that serve in dangerous places very often die undeserving deaths. Move on.

        The one and only thing Mitt Romney ever did in the campaign that made me really disgusted with him was his initial reaction to Benghazi, to his credit within a day he had told his staff that “We screwed up. This is bad.” Would that his party was as perceptive.

        As to the open GOP minds here, that is all a matter of perspective, and from mine, the view is not pretty.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 16, 2012 12:27 pm

        Ah, one has nothing to do with another and you guys pulling out Bush is just so,old. If the POTUS lied to push this over to aftr the election, he deserves to get the boot. If he leveraged/blackmailed Petraeus to keep him quiet, he deserves jail time. I know that is not a nice thing to say about the liberal Pres but it is true none the less.

        If he stopped the military from saving Chris Stevens, he is guilty of murder. I will leave the punishment for that up to you.

    • November 16, 2012 12:14 pm

      What is an “ideological moderate” ?

      I have spent years here listening to you and other rant that moderate is NOT an ideology and that “ideology” is at the roots of all our problems.

      By saying the environment here is not conducive to nurturing “Ideological moderates”
      You appear to be saying that the moderate ideology can not compete and thrive in a free market for ideas ? Is that really what you want to be saying ?

      As to your attacks on Priscilla and I – rather than rant that we are “rigid”, “partisan”, “unreachable”, “married to the GOP” “fanatical”, ……
      Why not demonstrate how we are wrong. Though I would disagree with your characterizations – not a single one of them actually means WRONG.
      Deal with issues

      As to “ME centered” – I have repeatedly said AND demonstrated that your purported empathy that requires stealing from one group for another, aside from being immoral is also destructive to those you were trying to help.
      I personally put in alot of time money and effort trying to actually help others.
      Even those extreme right wing loons that you chastise contribute as much as 3 times as much of their time and money to helping others as most of the rest – particularly the left.

      People are NOT self centered just because you say they are.
      An ideology is not self centered because you say it is .
      Portraying opposition to theft – even for a purportedly good cause as immoral – is EVIL.
      Portraying opposition to things that have enslaved and ruined the lives of the poor and minorities in the name of helping them as “self centered” is EVIL.

      “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Thomas Jefferson.

      Ian – you are seeking tyranny over our minds.

      Only what you deem to be moderate is – and you refuse to actually define that.
      You are not interested in addressing the merits of any issue. Your attacks are invective.

      You occasionally say pleasant things about some people – I guess we should give you the nobel peace prize.

      Make an actual argument – one that is not rooted in character assassination, fallacy, character assassination.

      On rare occaisons – when you have been willing to put forth ideas and address real facts and data, we have found common ground.

      More than a year ago I told you I could live with your 1% approach to reducing spending.
      Yes, I made some specific critiques of it, but I also noted that it was a more significant cut to spending than anything anyone by Rand Paul has offered.

      Regardless, the point is that when you can open your mind and deal with the real world and real facts and data, you are an intelligent rational person, with purportedly moderate ideas that even the radical extreme falling off the edge of the world libertarians here can work with.

      But when others provide opinions you do not like and then real world facts, data, statistics to support them rather than actually counter facts with facts, data with data, and statistics with statistics, you go into full bore tyrannical rant mode.

      You are perfectly free to do so – and I am free to call you on it.

      If you want TNM to tilt more in your direction – make real arguments for your values using logic, reason, facts, data, statistics, etc.

      You are entitled to win any debate on the strength of your ideas.

  61. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 16, 2012 11:09 am

    I really tried very hard to be decent and not to rub conservative noses here after the election, but to see the complete disconnect from reality and the usual mindless GOP partisanship go on and on here… Well, Sorry guys, your side lost and you deserved to lose, richly and deeply and we moderates were the ones who were responsible, in our many tens of millions. We are the “40 percenters.” We will continue to frustrate the partisans and you can’t stop that by taking over this tiny part of the political universe.

    Reading the thoughts of the echo chamber my liberal side is thrilled to death, you never, Never will come close to getting it, your idea of getting it will go no deeper than retorting that you do get it. Not a very effective replacement for actually understanding, finally, that it was not idiots and slackers who voted against your party. Idiots and slackers are preferentially found in the non-voters.

    Suddenly discovering Latinos in post-election defeat is not your magic bullet either; to woo them will take more than a few Latino politicians, it will take understanding the latino perspective from some other standpoint than the delusion that they are natural conservatives. If they were, that would have been revealed by now, wouldn’t it have? Putting a few persons of color on the GOP convention stage will always be undone by the actual culture of the GOP, some convention goer will have few drinks and forget themselves and throw peanuts at a brown skinned CNN reporter and reveal that good old GOP spirit. And now there is Twitter and facebook, you can’t stop county GOP chairmen from being themselves on twitter and facebook, and revealing the GOP culture and “sense of humor”, they are gonna do that. You’d have to change your real GOP culture, a thing that is unthinkable.

    The idea that (bleeding-heart liberal!) democrats have supported immigration reform out of cynical practicality in order to win latino votes while conservative and republicans will now suddenly embrace it, but only for all the Best Moral Reasons and certainly NOT out of cynical post-election political practicality, oh my god, I hate to use this worn device, but ROTFLMAO, for real. That was the dumbest remark by an intelligent person I can remember. Unbelievable delusional partisan warped reality, its truly fascinating but really really weird to observe. And that is coming from a GOP moderate, what Ann Coulture and Rush Limbaugh will contribute to the GOP brand prior to the next election on the subject of immigration and Latino interests can only be imagined by me, I don’t have the stomach to go see for myself today.

    If my dislike of and disgust with the endless conservative partisanship of this echo chamber shows, its because it is real, and nothing that I am ashamed of. Tut tuting me for being an ideological moderate on TNM is not going to work. I never claimed that moderate equals perpetually nice.

    • November 16, 2012 11:24 am

      I will call Bullshit again. Immigration reform in your world is another blanket amnesty program and no border enforcement. That is not reform, it is capitulation. If that is what the Latino “voter” wants, well they are going to get resistence and it is well deserved. I don’t know of any other country that has been as forgiving of illegaly entry. I think it should stop.

      Oh, I know, that makes me heartless and self-centered. And racist too.

      See, I just did your post for you!

    • November 16, 2012 12:30 pm

      You want to go after conservatives regarding the election – go ahead.

      Have I ever claimed to be conservative ?
      Have I ever claimed Romney was the answer ?

      I will admit to having misread the teas leaves in this election – and I am actually unhappy that the GOP retained control of the House.
      I WANT the left to get its chance to do precisely what it wants.
      I WANT Nancy Pelosi back as House Speaker.

      I want their ideas to get a real opportunity to demonstrate their effectiveness.

      I believe they will fail drastically and rapidly.
      And we desparately need to establish that sooner rather than later.

      I WANT the left to have the freedom to do exactly what they think is necessary to fix things.

      I think this election demonstrates precisely how important that is.
      This is a great conflict of ideas. Pres. Obama decisively won the 2008 election based on his. He mostly won the 2012 one without ideas by disgusting so many of us with the political process that we did not vote, and he did that openly.

      Regardless, we are at an inflection point where nearly all the progressive ideas of the past 75 years are all failing nearly concurrently.

      Let progressives attempt to fix them. I want them to have full freedom to do so – but I also want them to have all the blame when they fail.

      I want the small carnage that I believe would happen if Obama is given full reign rather than the more massive disaster that will occur if we wait.

      I have more faith in people than progressives and moderates.
      I do not necessarily believe they are right on specific issues at any given time,
      but that eventually – no matter how much propaganda they are inundated by they will get things right.

      It is the moderates and progressives that do not trust people, that want to restrict what they can hear.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 16, 2012 12:35 pm

      TNSGW…What you say concerning the defeat of the GOP during this election has merit, but the discussion that the loss was due to the hispanic vote is only partially true. Not too many people agree with me on this issue, but when women, the largest voting block in the country vote at a rate of 18% more for Obama than Romney, that is almost impossible to overcome.And that is primarily the result of younger women voting for Obama than older women.

      When you have a group such as this that favors reproductive rights for each woman, even though they may not favor abortion as an alternative for themselves, they will vote for the one that supports there position. The younger voter is more concerned with individual freedoms than with fiscal matters.

      Couple the young voter favoring individual rights and women favoring choice with the hispanic voter that sees the Democrats as more supportive of hispanic rights and you have the problems that the GOP is facing today.

      Now is it actually their positions or is it the message? Have the Democrats painted the GOP as the “Grumy old white mans party”, or is the GOP really out of step with the majority of voters? Someone smarter than me will have to determine that. I can only decide from personal experiences and what I see happening in my family.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 16, 2012 12:48 pm

        Reproductive rights. Code for abortion? If so, that would be terminating a life, not removing a gall bladder. Is that what young women really want? I hope not.

        Why not just smother them when they are born? Less mess.

        I know that sounds harsh but I have had enough of the codes for what we do to each other.

        As to the other issue: birth control. Is anyone seriously considering restricting this? Ah, no.

        Obama is simply the worst pimp in history.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 16, 2012 1:45 pm

        Anonymous..First I do not believe that you could sway too many women into voting for one party or the other simply by providing contraceptives in health care plans. But yes, they have been able to package this along with other womens rights to make the message that the GOP does not support women.

        Now for abortion. You have taken a very strong position on abortion from what I can read into your comments. I can not say that is right or wrong as I may have very different moral values than you have. I can not say that supporting abortion in the early stages of pregnancy is right or wrong as those individuals that believe in that position may have very different moral values than I have.

        What I can say is your values are not going to be acceptible to a large percentage of young women. They are not going to change their minds overnight, or in the next 4 years. They may come to accept that abortion is not acceptible, but that change will take many years to develop. And no political party, political platform or laws will make that acceptible until those women begin the process to move from abortion being a right for everyone to one where it is not acceptible. And in many cases, that change will end where they do not accept abortion for themsleves any longer, but do not accept forcing their views on others.

        So, the question becomes very simple. The answer is very complicated. Does the GOP value fiscal issues enough to reduce the negative influence of social values that the party platform has on a large percentage of voters that make or break an election for a candidate? Or does the GOP maintain their positions on social values, knowing they are eliminating a large percentage of voters before the election has already begun.

        Eliminate hispanics, blacks, young people that either vote for a democrat or don’t vote and the under 40 women in the country and what do you have left?

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 16, 2012 1:52 pm

        We will differ on this for sure. I don’t see abortion as a “social issue” but a moral one. Life and death are pretty definitive issues and I think humans should take a stand on something like aborting a baby because the baby is an inconvenience. If young women can’t understand that, then SOMEONE has to illustrate the issue for them. Or, should we just roll on the issue because it will cost us votes.

        I know where I stand.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 16, 2012 2:00 pm

        Here again there is a position taken that not everyone accepts. When does life begin? We could argue that for years and not come to agreement . I believe it starts at conception. Others do not. Yes that is a moral value, not a social value, but again no one will be able to change a personal belief overnight.

        But you have provided an alternative that could be acceptible to many. Education. Where a large percentage of individuals do not take a stand on religion and therefore do not base moral values on religion, education at a young age could lead to reducing the number of people in the coming years that find abortion acceptible. But that is a personal decision, not one that has been forced upon a group by law. They have taken information from both sides and formed an opinion that directs their voting choices.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 16, 2012 3:21 pm

        Are you suggesting that we should allow individuals to legally abort a baby that is about to be born? Where and when do we as a society declare that to be murder?

      • Ron P permalink
        November 16, 2012 5:39 pm

        I did not suggest that at all. But has that not already happened in some cases with partial birth abortions. Some far out of mainstream individuals want that to be legal. In those cases the baby is a viable person and should be protected.

        But I don’t want to get into a debate over abortion as that debate has been going on for more than 3 decades and it will probably continue well into the future. I will just say I do not approve of abortion as a personal choice for my family, but aslso understand their are people with much different moral values than mne that do approve.

        What I offered as a reason for young women voting for Obama was their moral values are much different than those in the GOP. They believe it is a womans right to choose, it is the right of gay and lesbians to marry and they believe that when a choice has to be made between fiscal and social issues, they will choose social issues as the young are not yet that worried about the future monitary issues they will face or the country will face.

        Now instead of debating if abortion is the killing of a life at anytime during pregnancy, offer a reason why my thoughts on women voting for Obama is wrong. That is what I offered at the beginning and would like to hear others positions on womens voting patterns other than the democrats and GOP talking points.

    • November 16, 2012 12:56 pm

      Just some observations.

      Republicans have a real problem with minorities.
      At the same time those republican minority politicians are not “uncle toms”
      Whether you agree with Rubio or Jindal, or …. on many issues. But do you doubt they beleive what they say ?

      Why are we supposed to beleive that “The not-so-grand Wazzoo” has a special ability to perceive what “latinos” want ?

      In US history only two minority groups have had difficulty assimilating – Blacks and Asians. Latinos may prove the answer to the former group as Latinos assimilate with both whites and blacks.
      The US is unlikely to shift demographically, for the same reasons it has not really shifted with every other wave of immigrants – Are the Irish, the Swedes, the Italians, distinct “non -white” democratic voting blocks in this country ? In 40 years the demographics of this country will be much as it is today – except that lots of “white” middle class people will celebrate their Hispanic heritage – just as I celebrate my Irish ancestors.
      With a few exceptions the reddest states in the country have some of the largest Hispanic populations.

      Elections determine the whim of the voters at the moment.
      They do not decide truth.

      Had Romney been elected, it would not have made the right “right” or the left wrong.
      All it would have meant is that a small majority of us was prepared to head in a different direction.

      This election does have consequences with regard to various pundits – particularly losing ones that strongly backed Romney.

      i would also note that much of the policy choice you criticise the GOP for are popular and often driven by complex swing state issues.

      Obama appears to have successfully managed to mitigate his anti-Israel stance. How he pulled off Florida god alone knows. But in Flordia that matters alot, and florida is a critical swing state – but it is not a microcosm of the rest of the country – pro-immigrant stances do not sit well in Ohio or Virginia – and they are swing states. Republicans must win in North Carolina.

      Both parties have limited political leaway. Absent the financial panic in 2008 does anyone think that Obama would have been elected ?

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 16, 2012 1:21 pm

        It is hard to believe that voter fraud didn’t make a difference. I doubt it cost Mitt the election but it didn’t help.

  62. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 16, 2012 11:51 am

    In fact, Bastiat, I am in sympathy with your ideas on immigration. The nearly open border we have is an idiotic idea, it is out of control. I don’t think it is nuts to believe that. Some kind of immigration reform ideally would be based on that reality, how can we help Mexico to have an economy that keeps its citizens home that is the question. As well the US population grows now strictly due to immigration, our existing population reproduces at a neutral rate. From the perspective of a “global warming alarmist” turning tens of millions of mexicans into US citizens with our energy habits is a disaster. See, there is a liberal side to the question, even if most liberals have not discovered it as yet.

    As to racism, we have tangled on that a few times, I do not believe I have ever stated that there are not non racist GOP members, but the culture of the GOP party that attracts the people who are the epitomy of 21st-century code-word-thinly-disguised-caucasion-vs.-those-other-ethnic-groups-culture-war mentality is not going to win presidential elections going forward. Purge that part of the GOP or perish along with any responsible ideas on debt the GOP has.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 16, 2012 11:55 am

      As does the Dems outright pandering to anyone who might feel they have a grievance. It works both ways and if you don’t think there are any black and Latino racists, you are deluding yourself.

    • November 16, 2012 1:20 pm

      So now you are arguing for outsourcing jobs to Mexico – do you think that is going to fly well politically ?

      All Hispanic immigrants crossing our southern border are not from Mexico.

      Mexico has many problems, but over the long run it is likely to solve them.
      Regardless, Mexico’s problems are its own. We can not “help” Mexico.
      Look how well our help has worked and been received around the world.
      Foreign Aide has proven to be extremely destructive to the countries receiving it – whether Nigeria, or Egypt.
      The best we can do for Mexico is offer a free market for their products, and sell them whatever we have that they want – a task which has no role for government.

      You throw arround word like “help” – we must help. As if they are magic. As if noting that there is a problem means our government CAN and MUST do something about it.

      You fail to grasp that in the overwhelming majority of instances where you see our help as necescary, even you can not elucidate what we should do and how or even whether it would work.

      It is not enough to recognize that there is a problem.
      Before rushing to solve a problem we need solutions that are possible and will work.
      Absent that we are wasting money and inflicting harm on those we are trying to help.

      As to your “racism” fixation, the very study that purportedly proved that the Tea party was Racist – actually proved that if there was any differences in racism by political affiliation, that the left as a whole was more likely to a benign form of racisim,

      The “code word” argument is ludicrous. For “code words” to be effecitive and meaningful, it is necescary for the “in group” to recognize them, and the “out group” to be unable to.
      When the left or the media claims the GOP is speaking racial code words – the one thing you can be certain of is that they are not. If the media and the left understand the code – it is not code.

      What is really true is that the left is actively and successfully engaged in censoring the speech of the right. The left and the media want to find what they believe is GOP code for racism, and absent finding it they want to make it impossible for Republican politicians to speak without having to agonize over every word they use.

      The left has been incredibly effective in mangling language.
      Your own diatribes demonstrate it – you and rick claim to be moderate – but you speak in the language of the left. You say so many things without questioning them.
      You want to help Mexico – I want to “help” Mexico too, but that is not really what you want. You want the US government to give money to Mexico. Regardless, of precisely what you mean you have skipped past an individual view and obligation and created a societal one and imposed it on others that may not share it

      Much of what Pres. Obama says I agree with. But nearly nothing that he actually means – because the left has made all the words mean something different.

      It is a tactic right out of Alynski.

  63. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 16, 2012 12:12 pm

    The idea that moderates have no principles is another absurd statement. Since we are a large and not a dogmatic group, we have diverse principles. Are you telling me I have no principles? I beg to differ. Our principle simply do not overlap very much in the area of government and politics. Principle and dogma are not synonyms.

    However, I encourage conservatives to continue to believe that we moderates have no principles, if one must have an adversary let them be daft, its a gift.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 16, 2012 12:28 pm

      Being gutless is not a virtue but if you want to make it one, have at it.

    • November 16, 2012 2:04 pm

      Are you equating your principles with that of all moderates ?
      I and a few others here think Libertarian is a form of real moderate – are your principles and ours the same ? Are we not allowed to claim we are moderate ?
      If moderates are diverse – then clearly they include people with different principles than yours. Is there some litmus test for “moderate” ?

      Principle and Dogma are not synonyms – I can not find much principle in anything you say, but I can find alot of dogma.

      Someone who is principled grasps that something is wrong even when done for good reasons.

      I have constantly tried to get some expression of principles from you or Rick – the best I have gotten is this idiocy of “fairness” – even the Nazi’s used that, and your adoption of the fallacy of moderation as practically a golden rule.

      For the most part you seem to be like Justice Potter Stewart – I can not define “moderate” but I know it when I see it.

      You rant about partisanship – but you are the most partisan person here. Your party in not the GOP or the DNC, but the I am right don’t confuse me with the facts party.

      I would have never guessed that Priscilla was a radical conservative – but for your instruction.

      Principles are things we stick to – even when they are not in our best interests, even when they are costly. Our efforts to conform to them – beceause we beleive in them

  64. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 16, 2012 12:21 pm

    I’m feeding them again and right after my lecture. I have a serious lack of self-control problem! Arrrrrrrggggghh! Compulsion is an actual swelling of the brain, Cold water and time are needed. Must not scratch the itch, must not….

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 16, 2012 12:29 pm

      Go read an economics text book. That will put you to sleep.

  65. November 16, 2012 12:29 pm

    Alright, you know,,,screw it. I have patiently put up with Ian’s incessant insults and attacks against my intellect, honesty and openness to real moderate debate. Rarely, if ever, in the last few months, have I done anything other than gently chide him for his exceptional rudeness and overly emotional outbursts. I pride myself on my civility, but it matters not with Ian, yet he holds himself up as some kind of “moderate ideal” as he trashes me, trashes Dave, and effectively tries to drive us off of the site.

    I love the “I really tried very hard to be decent and not to rub conservative noses here after the election”…..and then – BAM! Rub noses in it like there is no tomorrow. What a freaking phony!

    I enjoy discussion and debate. I hate namecalling and the kind of smug, supercilious BS that you think passes for moderation, Ian.

    Now that you are back, I see no purpose in continuing to try and find common ground, because you outright reject any and all opinions that do not dovetail with what you think on any particular day, and feel compelled to rip into anyone who, regardless of the level of respect and conciliation that they show you, may take up a position that you don’t like.

    So, have at it, buddy. Next time you take a break, I’ll stop back.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 16, 2012 12:35 pm

      Ah, that is the Priscilla that I know and love. Don’t go girl, stay and play with us. We will all drive a stake through Ian’s heart, if we can find it!

    • November 16, 2012 2:20 pm

      Do not let Ian drive you away.

  66. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 16, 2012 12:58 pm

    II don’t care if you are nice to me Priscilla, I don’t know you, you are words on a screen that originate from a conservative partisan I share little world view with. I make no agreement to politely reciprocate and thus be buried here under the weight of entirely un-moderate political nonsense. Since you all have decided to follow the election with incessant partisan conservative babble, and since nearly all actual moderates here, not just myself, but AMAC and Rick, have all but begged you to see something you refuse to see, that this is a site for moderates that you are harming via your echo chamber, then yes, time to rub noses rather than allow you to have your delusional romp here unchecked. Brought it on yourselves, you did. Stop and think, you didn’t. (When 150 years you reach, look this good you’ll not. )

    Meanwhile Pat Riot has disappeared and the echo chamber rambles on and on…

    Actually, my moderate heart beats with pride when I consider that we moderates beat the shit out of your beloved ultra-conservative GOP and that we will again, with regularity.

    You (by which I mean the entire larger conservative group you represent) could only hurt me, politically speaking, in the future by learning some lessons that you will refuse to learn.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 16, 2012 1:24 pm

      You sir, are a coward and a bully. And, not that smart. I am trying to decide what is the worst of these faults. I will leave that up to you. After all, 3 is not a very large number. PS- I know Priscilla personally and she could kick the shit out of you all day long (mentally or physically).

    • November 16, 2012 2:43 pm

      Moderates won in this election ?
      Hardly. Net republican losses were negligible. Several new libertarian or Tea Party leaning republicans are in the house and Senate.

      The few Democratic gains are hardly moderate.

      The american people essentially voted for the status quo – they voted for continued partisan bickering. They voted for divided government.

      The GOP has some soul searching to do – an election that should have mirrored 2010, turned into a draw. That is a reflection of serious problems with the GOP – when you can not defeat a weak enemy clearly you have some strategy and tactics problems.

      But this is likely to proved to be a serious defeat for moderates – even your flavor moderate.

      Obama won by demoralizing voters, and getting slightly more of his base out than the GOP managed. Moderates sat this election out – otherwise Obama would have lost.

      Even democrats did not vote in the same numbers they did in 2008.
      This election portends disaster for Democrats in 2014. Obama will not be running, and the democratic core is notoriously bad at voting in off year elections, while independents and republicans are likely to vote heavily.

      Further, as i have said before the message the GOP is likely to take from this election is one that has been running through the GOP for decades – Republican moderates do not win elections. Romney was about the most moderate Republican candidate you are likely to ever see. The fact you can not grasp that is just proof of how far left you lean.
      Regardless, the future republican candidates are likely to be

      Christie,
      Jindal,
      Rubio
      McDonnell
      Walker
      Ryan
      Paul

      Even Christie is to the right of the real Mitt Romney.

      The Tea Party considers Romney’s loss empowering – he dissed them, and they did not work for him, and in many instances did not vote for him. And the GOP will notice that.

      Republicans are incredibly dependent on volunteers to run their elections. Democrats typically pay their GOTV staff. This is a tremendous advantage for the GOP – BUT you have to win the hearts and minds of volunteers.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 16, 2012 3:24 pm

        I agree. I don’t think you can call Patty Murray or Pocahontas Warren moderate.

  67. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 16, 2012 1:41 pm

    And you do not know me personally, so… But I thank you for the sir and for omitting some of your trademark pleasantries. When you have failed to find any great hole in my armor, well you can always call me a dimwit or not that smart. Like the bumper sticker says, I may be slow but I’m ahead of you!

    • November 16, 2012 1:48 pm

      Slow is such an ugly work. We have moved from using that phrase to something like “exceptional or special.” And yes, you are special, you know, in your own way.

      Here is a gold star.

  68. November 16, 2012 2:27 pm

    OK, it looks as if it IS 1860 all over again… at least on this message board. Come on, friends, is this how we build bridges?

    Ian, I can understand why you’re exasperated, but you’re making this WAY too personal. Priscilla is a principled and intelligent woman — and I’m sure you’d think she’s a delightful person if you had a chance to meet her. (She is.) Yes, she’s more conservative than we are, but we have to respect her right to be more conservative — just as the conservatives here need to respect our right to be moderate (or, as they’d put it, “socialist”). (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    It’s not as if Priscilla is a John Bircher, and it’s not as if she’s forcing us to convert to her politics. Will she convert to our brand of politics? Probably not… but that’s fine. All we can do is say our piece and hope to be persuasive.

    I like to hear opinions to the right and left of ours. For one, they help me define where I stand. For another, I can actually learn from them. And probably most important, they help keep me honest when I’m tempted to veer too far to one side or the other in the heat of some temporary indignation. I would hope that our conservative and libertarian friends here feel the same way (though, alas, they don’t seem to be influenced by anything we say).

    In a polarized political climate, we need people of differing opinions to check one another’s extremist tendencies. If you spend any time on Twitter or even Facebook, you’ll see right- and left-wingers preaching to the choir, intensifying and distorting their already extreme beliefs in the self-imposed isolation of like-mindedness. I think this is dangerous, and it’s why I’d rather squabble occasionally (but respectfully) with liberals and conservatives than speak only to an audience of fellow moderates.

    That said, we definitely need a strong moderate presence here. It bothers me that people like AMAC and Pat Riot are retreating from the fray. Our libertarian wing needs to pounce less and show more willingness to understand our views. (Not necessarily to agree… just accept and understand.) And we embattled moderates need to be just as tolerant. Not wishy-washy (our backbones can’t be made out of rubber)… but passionately moderate in our beliefs as well as in our respect for honest opinions that differ from ours.

    End of sermon… I need to get back to a freelance project I was working on (even though this is so much more interesting). So don’t let me catch you guys butting heads while I’m gone, ya hear?

    • November 16, 2012 3:13 pm

      Thank you for a call to the end of rancor.

      Rick I will be happy to listen to your views..

      But honestly getting them from you or Ian is like pulling hens teeth.

      You give out snippets, but when someone notes they are they are either inconsistent or inconsistent with other things you have claimed you typically drop the issue, and ian resorts to ad hominem.

      i would be happy to see purported real moderates actually express and support their views here and take up more of the bandwidth

      But just lobbing off – we should not outsource jobs, or any other position without being willing to support it, build a foundation for it, ……

      i often find myself arguing against what i think you or Ian meant – because you are unwilling to come out and say what you mean, to stand behind and support your arguments.

      When I say that moderates are tepid liberals, or wishy -washy or ….
      It is honestly because that is what I see.

      Ian is certainly not tepid or wishy-washy He makes it perfectly clear that he beliefs ferverantly, pasionately, ideologyically in ……. What ?
      The best I can get is that the right 2/3 of the country is racist idiots who are not entitled to an opinion.
      For the most part Ian’s beleifs seem to be a random collection of things he is opposed to rather than anything positive system of values.

      Well whatever it is that he believes in, I do not think anyone here would argue that he does not believe in it forcefully.

      But you seem more like Eeyore.
      Again I am not trying to be mean, but you lack passion.
      It is what it is. You want certain changes but you already believe that mythical plutocratic forces are just too powerful to overcome.
      You want a government run by angels but fail to grasp that if men were angels there would be no need for government. But you are atleast wise enough to grasp we will not get government by angels, you seem to have resigned yourself to that.

      I asked you for what you believed in and the best I got was “fairness” and you could not even mount a passionate defense of that.

      Again I am not trying to be nasty. I am trying to find out deep down what really matters to Rick.

      I have already concluded Ian is just a contrarian, and it is pretty trivial to tie him in knots with his own arguments. I have given up carring what he actually thinks. I suspect there is an intelligent person hiding in him somewhere, but he has bought into hating people he thinks are haters so much he is blind to the real world.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 16, 2012 3:23 pm

      Good job, thanks Rick. I don’t believe I pounce but then again, I do call bullshit when I think I see it.

      Like Benghazi coverups and the like.

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 16, 2012 3:29 pm

      Sorry Rick, I’m NOT a nice moderate and don’t intend to be, I’m a passionate and irritable moderate who cannot stand to see that the conservatives have invaded one more little part of the political universe.

      I don’t think Priscilla is a John Bircher, I think she is a very conservative GOP partisan. When AMAC complained and left and his words were just brushed off, well. first of all I do have some perspective I realize how tiny this on line real estate is, but in its tiny way its important that the right does not just drive over everyone.

      The web simply is not the best venue for moderates, the voting box is. And I guess the great thing about moderates is that we don’t as a group need to be organized to do the correct thing. We will be the bane and puzzlement of partisans just because that is how we are put together. No directions necessary.

      • November 16, 2012 6:05 pm

        Ian;

        If you think either party thinks this election was decided in a positive way by moderates you are nuts.

        Turnout with few exceptions across the country was down 10%,
        Romney won those independents that voted by a whopping 10%.

        Free speech is not an “invasion”, there is no right to only have your own viewpoint heard.

        You keep talking about moderates as if you represent them – one of the points of the backlash you have inspired is that you are the penultamate expression of moderate no more than I or Rick or Priscilla, or Rich or ….

        The web is an excellent venue for political discourse and TNM is a reasonably good site because it tolerates a breadth of views, AND because the majority of posters here do not resort to juvenile insults, ad hominem, and monty python humor as a substitute for an argument.

        The web is a limitless – as is TNM.

        For every thousand lines I post – you are free to post 2000 – and neither of us are harmed.

        You particularly and Rick more generally do not realize how much you polarize conversation here.

        Your fixation on this fictitious meglomanical all powerful right compels the rest of us to defend the real right and makes much of the conversation about the right.

        I think virtually everyone here has FAR more idiotic right wing views on immigration that I do, Or trade.

        Why don’t I just start calling you a Rush Limbaugh right wing loon because you do not support open immigration or free trade ?

  69. Anonymous permalink
    November 16, 2012 3:29 pm

    Another govt entity out of money: This never ends, does it:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-fha-federal-housing-administration-bailout-20121116,0,1915053.story

  70. November 16, 2012 3:33 pm

    Why is libertarian not moderate ?

    Ian claims moderate is a big tent capable of tolerating diversity of opinion.

    With only a few exceptions we share the ideals with liberals – but we do not believe you can accomplish good ends through bad means.
    We share the anti-government individual liberty values of George McGovern Liberals.

    We share with the right the belief that government powerful enough to give us everything we want is powerful enough to take it way, as well as demanding fiscal responsibility from government. But just as the Left is willing to sacrifice means for ends, the right is fickle about its faith in small government and fiscal responsibility.

    Libertarianism is also a big tent with wide variation among self proclaimed libertarians, but for the most part – unlike the right or left, libertarian values are logically consistent.

    What part of “no one has the right to initiate force against another” is at odds with whatever “moderate” means ?

    If you have no real idea what moderate means – how do you exclude conservatives and liberals much less libertarains. ?

  71. Pat Riot permalink
    November 16, 2012 10:51 pm

    TNM does tolerate a breadth of views as you say, Dave. Kudos to TNM.
    Over 300 comments per post lately!

    Dave, I don’t believe anyone will ever get you to realize that those neat categories and definitions with which you do your reasoning are more relative and illusory than you think, even though there’s some truth to them. Back in Rick’s last post I mentioned excellent job training programs via partnerships among private sector employers providing good jobs, and you post something about CHARITY. CHARITY? Whachoo talkin’ bout, Willis? Oy veh! There’s too much ‘splainin’ to do. It’s Okay. I’m never going to get my wife to put her shoes in her closet either. She kicks them off all over the place, but she’s good in so many other ways, so I can live with the scattered shoes, God help me.

    My brother and I have been working on setting up a non-profit organization. We believe it will be something that fosters excitement and American pride for left, right, center, and everyone in between!

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 16, 2012 11:18 pm

      Actually, I posted the ditty about charity. Charity works!

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 16, 2012 11:34 pm

        I was referring to this post by Asmith:

        Who gives the most, how do they give, what do they give, what are the effects of giving ?

        http://www.gordon.edu/ace/pdf/Spr07BRGrinols.pdf

        If I’m not mistaking it referred to Democrats like Gore hardly donating anything to charity…

        I took it that my topic of government-assisted job training was being plopped into the charity category along with giving nickels and dimes to homeless people. Not knocking charity either. Sometimes charity holds us together at the seams, as individuals and as a nation.

    • November 17, 2012 3:53 pm

      Pat;

      Everything I write or post is not directly related to your posts.

      Who gives how much and how much of their time to charity has nothing to do with the efficacy of federal jobs programs.

      The fact that numerous programs such as section 8, Head start, ….. all worked – and some incredibly well as pilot programs , where the participants were cherry picked and enormous efforts were made to prove the effectiveness of the underlying concept, while scaling those programs up to where they are today has turned them into abysmal failures.

      Kudos to you and your Brother – I wish you as much success as you are capable of managing. I hope you always just barely have as much money as you need, but that you always have to pinch pennies and scrounge for more. Because it is when the money comes flooding in that good ideas start to mold and rot.

      I have noted several stories over the past decades of private and semi private efforts to improve education. The directors were asked if they could do better with more money, and most interestingly responded – no, that more money would ruin their programs. That it was necessary for them and their students to struggle against the limitations they faced and succeed. That additional resources rather than making the task easier makes it impossible.

      But there is a bigger tie back to charity.
      What is the difference between Gates and Oprahs charitable efforts and government social safety net programs ?

      If Gates and Oprah are learning that often no amount of money can solve a problem, why is government going to be able to do better ?

  72. Pat Riot permalink
    November 16, 2012 11:10 pm

    P.S. I’m about 1/3 of the way through Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” It’s dreadful. I have to force myself through just to get it “under my belt.” Talk about caricatures! All the heroes are capitalists who let nothing stand in their way of raising prosperity for All ( ! ) while all the government types and liberal types slip around sloop-shouldered and despicable, undermining all the heroic efforts of the private venture capitalists! Yeah I get it: Dagny will “do whatever it takes.” I never knew FLAT character development could be so voluminous!

    • November 17, 2012 3:39 pm

      So what is your point ?

      You claim the characters are carcatures – but where has everything that has made your life better than those in the time of Rand come from ? If you have no clue or appreciation where the improvement in your own world came from, then the misperception of how the world actually works is yours, not Rand’s.

      BTW MOST of the “capitolists” in Atlas shrugged are not heros. Is James Taggart a hero ? Owen Boyle, Wesley Mooch ?

      Rand is not particularly noteworthy for character development. Her characters are somewhat one dimensional. Atlas shrugged is not Dagney Taggart’s story or Hank Reardon’s story, but the story of a conflict of ideas.

      Instead of fixating on the characters, concentrate on the ideas.
      Does the behavior of government that Rand portray’s accurately reflect government as it is ? Do many businesses try to manipulate government to obtain protection from competition ?

      The point is not that Dagney will “will do whatever it takes” the point is how hard the rest of us make it for those who strive to make the world better for both themselves and others.
      The point is that everyone wins with Dagney wins, and everyone looses when Dagney looses. The point is that “the engine of the world” is that drive to succeed, no matter what, regardless.

      Another point that most of those on the left are blind to is that it is not just the Dagney Taggarts, but everyone big or small who struggles to the best of their abilities to improve their own lot and that of the world.

      Taggart and Reardon struggle forward despite the odds – with the help of myriads of others at all levels of society.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 18, 2012 1:10 pm

        Not only are the characters of “Atlas Shrugged” flat caricatures, so far, but the premise/ideas are far too simplistic and, therefore, erroneous.

        The world isn’t made up of free-enterprise doers on one side and progressive fools on the other, not black and white, not left and right.

        As I’ve said before, the free markets–as much as they are the main engines of progress–do not function in a vacuum. In Philadelphia in the 70s a chemical giant would routinely dump chemical wastes directly into the Delaware River because it was cheaper to pay the lightweight fines than to truck it to some treatment facility. What’s going to stop something deadly like that other than good people coming together for REASONABLE policies, not kill-all-industriousness extreeme left progressiveness and not kill all people in the way of “progress” industrialists. If we left it only up to the profit-minded then many more of us would be poisoned on more of a regular basis than we already are. If we left it only up to the “statists,” then we’d be stagnating and undermining innovations. Moderation isn’t the middle, it’s a reasonable, liveable, sustainable amount for a given situation.

  73. Pat Riot permalink
    November 16, 2012 11:40 pm

    Heard on NPR today that according to Gallup poll, 2/3 of Republicans and Democrats (voters) want Republican and Democratic leaders to compromise equally (meet in the middle). The Pollsters “baited” the respondents by asking Democrats if Repbulicans should compromise more, and vice versa, but 2/3 didn’t take the bait and want both sides to compromise to keep us from the cliff.

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 18, 2012 12:29 pm

      Hi Pat, I’m glad you are well, I was getting a bit worried…

      The Gallop poll comment is great, once again, as a group we are a moderate nation more often than not.

      I find so much hope in that poll that I even stuck it into my comment in defense of today’s Ross Douthat column.

      Ironically the NYT employs two conservative columnists who are worlds more thoughtful than most of the Times liberal stable.

      Douthat had a very decent and thoughtful piece today, I disagree with its initial premise that liberals are now engaged in some extraordinary level of gloating, but the rest of it was typical Douthat, very thoughtful and worthy of consideration. Not that I will agree with every belief he has, but he is a conservative writer I can take seriously and and disagree with without feeling dislike. Of course, he was immediately beset in the comments section by enraged hyper-partisan liberals. I read their comments and say to myself, nope, I must not be a liberal, although I sympathize with many liberal concerns. Nasty little people, partisans, at least when they talk politics. They may be perfectly nice people otherwise.

      Moderate Power, may it continue to defeat the worst of the partisan ideologues, even if one has to search hard to hear its heartbeat most of the time, buried as it is under the noise of partisan fanatics.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 18, 2012 1:16 pm

        Yes, Moderate Power! Common Sense! Innovation and industriousness but not with child labor, not with asbestous dust floating about for all the working slobs. Good point about the heartbeat of Moderate Power hard to hear under the noise of partisan fanatics. That’s a symptom of our media–always trying to get the attention of the masses for their advertisers. So what turns heads and grabs attention? Extremes and anomolies and bizarre and unique, or good ‘ole steady common sense efforts? Lindsay Lohen getting busted or the middle school teacher who just had a great class? Ok I’d better put my soap box back in the corner.

      • November 18, 2012 3:28 pm

        To build on your point about liberal concerns: Many of the sentiments that liberals espouse are laudable. However, to hear them talk, they believe they are the only ones who “care.” Care about the …..,. well you fill in blank, as if caring made them special.

        Crap! Most of us care about these things but that means little when it comes to developing human responses to daily living. The issue isn’t that Obama cares more than Romney (he doesn’t) its that its irrelevant in the grade scheme of things.

        What matters is what will work. The libtards don’t/won’t see that after 50+ years of trying to solve social problems through govt programs, that approach is simply making things worse. Instead, all they can do is demand more. Kind of like petulant children demanding more candy.

        It is kind of pathetic really.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 18, 2012 8:25 pm

        jbastiat. Humans are no different than any other animal when it comes to dependancy. Feed the wild animals long enough and they will forget how to hunt. Provide for humans long enough and they will forget how to provide for themselves, or at best will just lose the desire to provide for themselves.

        Many far left Democrats know this and how best to insure support and continued positive results in elections than to provide government programs to support social issues?

  74. November 17, 2012 3:09 pm

    • November 17, 2012 3:20 pm

      But compromise is not the solution – nor has either side proposed anything close to what actually needs done.

      just to avert the short run crisis we need to,

      Allow ALL spending cuts to go forward, AND increase them by another 2.4T/decade in return for increasing the debt ceiling.

      Allow all the tax cuts except the upper margin cuts and inheritance tax changes to expire.

      And all that does is kicks the problem further down the road. It does nto address the fundimental insolvency of SS and Medicare.

      Neither party is proposing anything close to this.

      The answer is not in the right or the left, nor in the middle, it is doing what is necessary – even though it is difficult.

      We are already at grave risk of a long term weak economy. Allowing the debt to rise faster than the economy grows will only make that worse.

      It will cost jobs and it will lower our standard of living and the effects will be greatest on those with the least.

      I keep getting told libertarians have no empathy – but it is those that think we can continue as we are who are ruining the lives of countless numbers of those living below the median.

      “Until this moment, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. …. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

  75. November 17, 2012 4:12 pm

    Pew Post election analysis

    60% of republican’s think Romney was not conservative enough
    slightly less than 1/3 of voters think the results of the national election were accruate.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/15/election-poll-2012-frustrating_n_2138061.html

    I do not believe that voter fraud by either party significantly effected the results of this election. – though most voters apparently beleive otherwise.

    But I do believe there was real fraud.

    Something like 60 precints in the philadelphia area records zero, zip, nada votes for Romney. The statistical probability against that is astronomical, There were a large number of other precincts across the country reporting similar results. I have not yet heard of a single precinct reporting no votes for Obama.
    There are already stories of several municipalities where the number of voted exceeded the number of registered voters.

    We have a US attorney General’s office that does not believe voter fraud or intimidation exists when it kicks them in the nuts.

  76. November 17, 2012 4:56 pm

    What is wrong with healthcare and actually successful efforts to fix it.

    http://reason.com/archives/2012/11/15/the-obamacare-revolt-oklahoma-doctors-fi/singlepage

    • Ron P permalink
      November 17, 2012 5:28 pm

      asmith, just a couple followup comments to the healthcare article.
      1. That surgery center does not accept Medicare or Medicaid, so they are not stuck with ” cost ” that are not covered by the payments. No cost shifting to paying patients.
      2. Even if it did accept those payors, OK does not have certificate of need laws that curtails competition. And competition in any market will reduce cost. Just look at eye procedures and how that cost has come down with more docs performing different procedures.
      3. The surgery center is not billing the government or insurance companies, so they can have one flat rate per procedure. Government regulations require detail billing for supplies, procedures and test so revenues and expenses can be included in a year end Medicare Cost report required by CMS. Some hospitals have tried (including mine) to find a way to bill flat rate charges and the government and insurance companies always said NO.
      4. Doctors who participate in Medicare have been prohibited by law for many years from “self referrals”, meaning they can not refer patients to facilities they have an interest in. That did not include surgery centers, but they may be included now with Obamacare.
      5. And the last issue is the cost structure of the hospital compared to the surgery center. A surgery center usually runs from 6 or so in the morning until sometime into the everning. That allows patients to recover and go home. And that may only be 5-6 days a week. The hospital is staffed 24-7, 365 days a year. The ER has to be staffed for contingency patients, even though they may not see a patient at all at night. Same with Lad, Radiology, etc.

      I am not defending all of the rediculous charges that are quoted in this articel. There is no law that says an item that cost $1.50 has to be charged for to begin with. And there is no excuse for having 18 administrative employees making $400.000+ per year. Not even if this is a 1000+ bed facility. That is total incompetence on the part of the board and CEO/CFO for allowing this to happen.

      Sorry for the long message, but thought the info would be interesting to some.

      • November 17, 2012 6:51 pm

        1). I thought that Medicare and Medicaid purportedly paid their own way – atleast that is what progressives constantly tell me. In fact they tell me they are so much better we should just eliminate insurance and do medicare for all.

        Regardless, there are many medical procedures that I could pay out of pocket at the Surgical center, that I could not afford without going bankrupt in our traditional system.

        2). Absolutely. Another example of the chrony capitolism of government regulation. Yet, I can hear the chorus already – I must be a racist or gay basher because I oppose government regulation whihc rarely has net positive results.

        3). Sure – one size does not fit all. The Surgical Center may not be the best solution to every problem. There is no such thing as a one size fits all solution, which is why PPACA will fail, and why the surgical center will succeed atleast until government kills is.

        Regardless, again in many instances for the rates they are charging I could buy a catastrophic police for $3000/year for my family and still afford – 2-5 significant procedures a year for what 80% dedudictable insurance costs.

        I ran billing for a 55 person professional practice for 22 years.
        Today I do entirely fixed fee work. Want a Linux devices driver for your wigamhozit $5000.00 payment when complete – unhappy, don’t pay.
        I keep no time records, each client gets one bill. I have very simple records, and I spend my time doing the work I love – writing software rather than billing and tracking time and job costing.
        Want to hire me by the hour ? Sure but you will have to pay an exhorbitant rate, because I hate tracking time, and job costing.

        4). Another excellent idea. Look at those areas of medicine where prices have dropped radically – virtually all are uninsured, and self-referal systems, eye-doctors running their own lasik practice or things like that.

        5). All the other things necessary in a hospital do not permit it to charge $35.00 for cheeseburgers in the hospital cafeteria.

        I am neither defending or attacking integris. if they can get $360 for a $1.50 item I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is laws and regulations that prevent competitors from figuring out how to deliver the same thing for $100 or $3 or whatever they think is reasonable.

        The real point of this is that free markets – where you can actually get them work.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 17, 2012 8:49 pm

        Your first comment about medicare/caid. They do not pay there own way. They pay on a flat rate by diagnosis related group. Appendectomy, X,XXX.OO. cardiac Surgery XX,XXX.OO. That is even with the requirement that the bills be detailed to the items used. And those flat rate payments are adjusted somewhat for differences in labor cost in the different MSA’s, but when the patients stay is run through an elaborate cost accounting system, in most cases they are paying 50-60% of actual cost. Medicaid is paying 25-35% of actual cost. So when you go into the hospital, you pay for you cost, plus usually 5% “profit” plus some of the cost that medicare/ciad do not pay. So a $10,000 procedure cost will have about $500 added for profit and another couple thousand added to pay for your neighbor’s grandmas hip replacement.
        In not-for-profit hospitals, it is excess revenues over expenses and that funds new equipment, etc.

      • November 17, 2012 11:42 pm

        Ron P’

        “the pay their own way” was sarcasm. We are told Medicare/Medicaid pay there own way, that PPACA will save a Trillion,

        But like all systems of price controls they fail. Worse they destroy everything around them.

        Integris may not be able to compete with the surgical center – because if the surcical center does not take medicare and integris does Integris can not attempt to compete without endangering its medicare re-imbursement.

  77. November 17, 2012 5:01 pm

    On the excellent Job FEMA has done Post Sandy

    http://reason.com/archives/2012/11/12/fema-welfare-masquerading-as-disaster-re

  78. November 17, 2012 5:47 pm

    “Maybe peace would have broken out with a different kind of White House, one less committed to waging a perpetual campaign–a White House that would see a 51-48 victory as a call to humility and compromise rather than an irrefutable mandate.”
    Barack Obama 2004 The Audacity of Hope regarding the Bush victory.

  79. November 17, 2012 6:58 pm

    CBO says that the impact of the ARA stimulus is net negative.

    Sen Sessions: And in the next 10 years, since you’re carrying that debt and paying interest on it and the stimulus value is long since gone, it would be a continual negative of some effect?

    CBO Director Elmendorf: Yes, it would represent a drag on the level of GDP beyond that, if no other actions were taken.

  80. November 17, 2012 7:06 pm

    apparently adding immigrants to US classrooms on the net improves the education of natives, their graduation rates and their future job prospects.

    http://www.voxeu.org/article/impact-immigration-educational-attainment-natives

  81. November 17, 2012 8:05 pm

    A partial explanation for why opposition to outsourcing is idiocy.

    http://www.johnkay.com/2012/11/14/fetish-for-making-things-ignores-real-work

  82. November 17, 2012 8:45 pm

    Have we switched to a center-libertarian nation ?

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-america-center-right-libertarian-20121112,0,4773786.story

  83. November 18, 2012 12:06 pm

    express yourself to the whitehouse

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions

  84. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 18, 2012 5:08 pm

    You know Rich, you sort of had something there until the word Libtards. Smug liberals are part of one’s daily diet in VT. The ones who begin letters to the editor with the words “Let me enlighten you…” But sensible objective, and therefore valuable, criticism comes from sensible objective people, not partisan ideological warriors.

    There is an hours in the day problem here, I just don’t have time to consider the evidence, always very partial, that govt programs as an entire group don’t work, when I can see for myself that is false. Its not the universe I live in. You and Dave may as well ask me why I don’t investigate the idea that no American actually walked on the moon. I’ve no time for such nonsense.

    Can I see that Welfare, pre-reform, was a program for perpetuating helplessness across generations and encouraging helpless people to have ten children who then each had ten children while they were supposedly in a life crisis such that only govt assistance could keep them alive? Huzzah for welfare reform, but it was the low hanging fruit of your anti-govt program philosophy. I don’t need food stamps and never have, but I’m glad that the food stamp program exists. If I needed a selfish reason for that, then not having to fear that starving people might invade my home in a robbery is good enough, but I have other better reasons as well.

    And to be honest, does my memory fail me or was it not you who once took great pleasure here on TNM in mocking and insulting a homeless man, I think it was on Christmas or his birthday or some such day? Very nice and compassionate, that.

    • November 18, 2012 6:06 pm

      Interesting that you directly go to food stamps as the program that you think I was referring to. In fact, there are so many flawed federal programs, we could start there LAST and work our way up). Let’s start with farm subsidies shall we? Or, can we stop shipping money and arms to the mideast. I could spend all day, but you get the picture.

      As for your last comment, yes, I mocked that turd who lived in a hotel room, which the last time I looked does not meet the definition of “homeless.” However, that was after he threatened to punch me silly. Wow, I need a compassion transfusion.. Know any liberal who will volunteer to lend me some?

      • The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 18, 2012 6:37 pm

        That “turd” has civility issues comparable to your own, yes, And he is whinier than hell truth be told, and blames the world for his condition, via left-wing ideology. Not a very credible source of political wisdom, either.

        But living in cheap hotels and a car and various shelters is homeless and Christmas is Christmas. Threats to punch some anonymous person on the internet, oh dear, you were really very upset? And I am “gutless”?

        This caring issue, its another case of Methinks thou dost protest too much.

      • November 18, 2012 6:49 pm

        I have been in the crapper. It is no fun. That said, the only way is UP. If you are decent others, most times, they will lend a hand. On the other hand ……

        “Never, ever, ever, give up.”

        -W Churchill

    • Ron P permalink
      November 18, 2012 8:33 pm

      TNSGW..During the great depression of the 30’s, what were the major programs that FDR used to help individuals in a time of need? Wasn’t the CCC, WPA and other job related government programs the most effective during the depression?

      Today, what government programs have done what these programs were able to do during the depression?

      It is not that all government programs are bad, its just that most bad programs today are run by the government.

      • November 20, 2012 8:23 pm

        There were no actually effective Depression era programs, and there are no modern programs that work either.

        Even if you were to beleive that the CCC and WPA were effective – which they were not, the “poor” today would be unlikely to aggree to programs that paid crappy transported them thousands of miles from their families in return for the opportunity for crappy low paying back breaking jobs with abysmal pay.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 21, 2012 12:24 am

        I can’t argue the effectiveness of these programs since I am not a student of that era. I do know that over 500,000 individuals were employed and placed in camps by the CCC throughout the country where much of the infrastructure of the current national park system was built . The WPA also replaced some direct government aid with a program where individuals worked on government projects and earned money during the depression. Those projects can be foound on the internet.

        But the key difference in these programs to programs today is the word “work”. FDR expected those that could work and wanted to work to work. What these individuals experienced was an honest days work for a honest dollar earned. If they had kids, the kids most likely saw dad off each morning and met him at the door when he returned that night. Today, many kids do not see either parent leave the house and grow up thinking “money grows on trees”.

        If the programs then did what they were expected to do, that can be debated later. But even if you do not find FDR’s leadership effective, it did expect people to work, unlike the leadership today that wants to make people dependant on government.

    • November 20, 2012 8:03 pm

      I share your offense as “libtard”

    • November 20, 2012 8:12 pm

      All “entitlements” create dependence. Food stamps is no special exception.

      But if you are so all fired determined to do something – give people cash. It is the easiest to administer, and leaves those you are helping the greatest control of their own lives – the least dependent. You eliminate a significant portion of “government welfare” because you no longer need myriads of administrators. You eliminate the indirect welfare to those institutions that take food stamps, you eliminate corruption. And you radically reduce your costs. Further you clarify to people exactly what is being done.
      Rather that providing direct benefits to as much as 50% of the population averaging 18K/year/person in myriads of different forms, You provide a fixed benefit that everyone knows exactly what is, and you provide it based on clear criteria that everyone understands. Equally important we can back down from a welfare state where more than half of us are on some form of the dole.

      Do you grasp that that is unsustainable ?

    • November 20, 2012 8:19 pm

      Living in cheap hotels might not be an ideal way to live – but it is not “homeless”.

      Next thing you know we are going to have to aid people who live in mansions – because that is some form of homeless.

      What most of us think of as homeless – is people without a home – living on the streets.
      That is what most of us assume in public discourse about the problem of the “homeless”.

      We are not think of people with crappy homes, or who rent, or who have crappy apartments.

  85. Wilma permalink
    November 18, 2012 6:20 pm

    Give Peace a Chance.

  86. Wilma permalink
    November 18, 2012 6:25 pm

    That means you.

    in truth this is an identity tied to a new e-mail address I created just so that i can receive the comments in a dedicated e-mail and read the ones from actual moderates there without having to hunt for them in the middle of Dave’s fillibuster of TNM.

    I can suggest that as a solution to anyone with the same issues.

    • November 18, 2012 6:36 pm

      Interesting. Using your logic, I would hang out on a libertarian blog so that I would agree with all my other buddies and no one would challenge my point of view. Hmmmm.

      • The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 18, 2012 6:49 pm

        I’d like to try to limit the challengers to those with the intellectual skills to do that properly. Its the time problem again. Religious fanatics are just annoying filler. We all need to screen.

        If I wanted to argue with various flavors of ideologue I’d go to their home turf and troll there. But I don’t.

        Insane perhaps, but I’m interested in connecting with the various flavors of moderate and creating the seed of some tiny grass roots movement whose express purpose is to limit the influence of the worst partisans. Its not really helped by having exactly those people show up and scream that moderates don’t exist and then throw a 2 year million word filibuster based on the slight chance that they do.

  87. The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 18, 2012 7:06 pm

    You’ve got the quote a bit wrong, there were about 15 more evers in most versions.

    Also from Churchill:

    “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

    “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

    In the morning I will be sober but you will still be ugly.

    I love my cigar but I sometimes take it out of my mouth (to a man with 15 children who explained that he loved his wife.)

    Not everything Churchill said works 100% of the time.

    I know a woman, almost 60, out of work for 3 years, she worked and made a good living doing graphic arts for newspapers for 35 years but the print newspaper industry has shrunk to a fraction of its former self and she lost her job. No more of that work is available, especially to older workers. She feels useless and just wants to die, No retraining programs exist for her, courtesy of those who are sure Keynes has long ago been proven wrong. Can’t even get a minimum wage job, too old. Must be a slacker. A well to do sister keeps her mortgage paid or she would be on the street. She never was good with money, some people aren’t. Go ahead judge her, its the conservative way.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 19, 2012 9:02 pm

      Ian, in which state does your woman friend live? She should engage the state’s workforce development system under the state Dept. of Labor. In Pennsylvania this is now the “PA CareerLink.” The money is channeled differently in different states. Likely in her state/your state there will be free networking/support groups for 55+ workers, and many ancilary networking opportunities. Yes it’s a big challenge to get re-employed in our later years, but there are avenues. There may be assistance available for her to turn her hobbies into a small business. In the old days these avenues were often mismanaged and in cubicles and demeaning. These days it’s bright and shiny in big rooms full of Internet resources and dynamic workforce development professionals willing to guide with a smile. But you gotta know the route to go to reduce time and frustration. Are we talking Vermont?

      • November 19, 2012 9:11 pm

        Or, she could work it out on her own.

        I did.

      • November 20, 2012 8:42 pm

        I the record of government retraining programs both in the old days and today is abysmal. If your friend is smart she will work it out on her own.
        Those bright shiny government assistance programs only make you less in demand and less able to work than when you started.

    • November 20, 2012 8:40 pm

      Ian;

      I am almost 60 – or close enough. I am very highly skilled and currently well paid in a profession that is not what my degree is in and not what I spent a quarter of a century doing.

      At various points in the past decade:
      I wrote technical magazine articles for about $600/ea. to get by.
      I took a crappy job installing computers in call centers for barely more than minimum wage.
      If necescary I would have worked at McDonald’s

      No one provided me any job retraining. In 2011, My AGI would have qualified me for food stamps. I was motivated by that mortgage I owe, and the family I promised to take care of.
      At the moment I have a job that pays well – but I would much prefer to be back working for myself. But “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you get what you need”.

      I have little sympathy for your friend. I do not believe that she is unable to do any other job than some job that no longer exists.

      I have been to walmart (and McDonald’s, and my local grocery store) – there is no such thing as too old for a minimum wage job, and in fact there are an enormous number of seniors taking jobs from teens, because the seniors have better attitude, and more basic jobs skills and are just worth more.

      I am left to the conclusion that you friend does not want a job.

  88. Pat Riot permalink
    November 19, 2012 8:22 pm

    Welfare as we knew it was halted in 1996 when President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA).

    Bill Clinton signed PRWORA into law on August 22, 1996, fulfilling his 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we have come to know it.” PRWORA was part of the Republican “Contract with America.” Democratic President. Republican bill. (E. Clay Shaw R-FL-22). Common sense compromise was TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

    Key word: Temporary

    generational welfare: despicable, deplorable, a drain on society, too far left

    extended welfare for same person for years: still too much, still too far left

    let people starve if they fall on hard times; they must have deserved to fall: not enough intelligence or understanding applied to the situation, too far “rightwing”

    Temporary assistance until people get back on their feet and become contributing members of society again: reasonable, moderate

    Welfare rolls have declined dramatically:

    http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2011/06/24/muni-sweeps-june-24/:

    Moderation. It’s real. It works.

    • November 19, 2012 9:09 pm

      Is it me or is this blog tech challenged. I am having all kinds of issues accessing and posting?

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 19, 2012 9:16 pm

        jbastiat, sometimes this wordpress platform wigs out a bit and sends comments to seemingly random places. Sometimes it works fairly well. Digital. That’s why I keep candles and firewood on hand at home.

      • November 19, 2012 9:16 pm

        Thanks Pat.

    • November 20, 2012 8:43 pm

      Who is starving in this country ?

  89. Pat Riot permalink
    November 19, 2012 8:41 pm

    Our Thanksgiving Holiday is almost here. I am thankful for the U.S. Constitution.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    Article. I.
    Section. 1.
    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives…

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 19, 2012 9:26 pm

      jbastiat, best way is if she can work out a transition on her own, or with the “natural help” of family and friends. I’m a personal responsibility guy. I’ve been working since about age 9 shoveling snow, carrying packages, then working nights through high school. Sometimes people don’t understand how to transition. Sometimes it’s a chunk of information that’s missing. When Bethlehem Steel went under, some of the workforce were third generation “Steel.” They didn’t understand their options. Great if they can understand the Brave New World on their own, but if they don’t, why have them flounder when there are workforce development professionals who know the landscape? Most of us wouldnt’ go to court without a lawyer. Most of us hire specialists for all kinds of things. Why knee-jerk back to 1970’s method of “go look for a job”? The landscape has changed. Some adjustments are needed. Why not get a map from professionals for negotiating the 2012 labor market?

      • November 19, 2012 10:30 pm

        Agreed, Resouces are all around, even on the Interweb!

    • November 20, 2012 8:46 pm

      Amendment IX

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      Amendment X

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 21, 2012 3:39 am

        Ah yes! Such words! Humanity-altering words! We can agree on those! I raised my right hand and took an oath to defend those words back in 1992! Got out in ’97 but I still get a 10% veteran discount at Home Depot and Lowe’s. Not bad.

      • November 21, 2012 8:38 am

        Pat,

        Thank you for your service to our country!

  90. Pat Riot permalink
    November 19, 2012 9:28 pm

    Know yourself
    Know the market
    Make a match

    There are now time-tested tools to do the above. Why go back to primitive methods of finding a job?

    • November 20, 2012 8:53 pm

      The Danes did a recent study of government programs to help people get jobs.
      The good news – they worked, those receiving the danish government training were 60% more likely to get a job. The bad news – those not receiving the traning were essentially 60% less likely to get a job.

      Put more accurately there was no change in the number of available jobs, only in which unemployed people got them. There was no real net societal benefit. Only government picking the winners and losers.

      If you want more people to get jobs, we need more jobs. To have more jobs the opportunity for others to profit from hiring must exist – i.e. we must produce more.

      Increasing production is the only way to improve things. Everything else is just a shell game.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 21, 2012 3:49 am

        Yes, we must produce more. Yes, we need more jobs. No, not just a shell game to help people get jobs. Without training programs the jobs often go unfllled. Yep. Jobs over here. Unemployed over there. Employers are often good at making their widgets, but often very bad at defining what skills are needed, finding the right people, etc. It saves the country wasted time to know how to move people along the right paths to approprate jobs, rahter than have workers and employers wasting more time. There’s a whole process. There are now Bachelor’s Degrees in Workforce Development, and it’s about time, because how vital is our work life? In the old days people put more thought into buying a car or stereo than in finding a job. “Hey, your Uncle Charlie says they’re hiring down at the plant…BOOM. 35 years later…was that where the person should have been?

      • November 21, 2012 8:43 am

        Yes, if there is a need, the market will provide and serve that need, IF left alone to do so. I can see it now. Soon, we will have to “licensed” certified workforce development professionals.

        It is indeed true that many jobs go unfilled and that has always been a classic market problem. One of the issues has always been: where are the jobs? If a person has the skills they may need to go where the job is, not sit where they are. Ah, but, we own home!

        Yes, you do and you will have to work around that too. But, it is difficult. Yes, it is.

        I don’t know a way around the space-time continum but I bet some smart policy guy at Harvard believes he does.

  91. Pat Riot permalink
    November 19, 2012 11:01 pm

    Some people are great with hand tools and do all their own remodeling.
    Some people are so-so but they struggle through and do OK
    Some people need to hire contractors.

    Some people are great at getting re-hired.
    Some people need some help getting through the job-finding and job-getting process, and then they’re great after they’re on the job.

    Some people just suck.

    • November 20, 2012 8:54 pm

      None of this alters the number of available jobs.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 21, 2012 4:05 am

        Yes it can and does increase the number of available jobs! Check it out: Suzy Q from the hood in Allentown thinks she want to be a Nursing Assistant (secretely because she thinks she might meet a doctor and get married), seriously. Then she finds out that Nursing Assistant includes bed pans, not just General Hospital fantasies. This scenario happened more than you might think.

        The workforce developer helps Suzy Q get a realistic look at her KSA: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. Turns out she’s a great organizer, loves to work independently organizing and tracking details. Some people would detest that kind of thing and belong in the forest with a chainsaw or up on a stage singing, whatever. The WFD professional knows a contractor (with a 3-man crew) who wants to hire his first office person. Turns out Suzy Q’s father and brothers were in construction and so she’s familiar with the lingo.She becomes the new office person and the contractor can now devote his time to his on-site concerns. Suddenly, with him not bogged down with the office crap, his jobs are getting done faster and better. Six months later he’s now able to bring another guy on. That’s how it works at the micro level. Harder to see that up at the macro level where things might look like just a shell game.

        appropriate, meaningful work–what a concept!

  92. Pat Riot permalink
    November 19, 2012 11:09 pm

    True story: One 20-something program applicant/nitwit didn’t have a job or a car or a place of his own. But he had a pet alligator that he was keeping in his friend’s swimming pool. He tried to borrow some money to buy a chicken to feed his alligator. This was in an urban area of Allentown, PA. Some people just suck. That’s when you want to have the lever for the trap door and the person just drops down into a pneumatic tube that jettisons them to an island where they just stay out of the way.

    • The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 20, 2012 11:44 am

      I’d like a lever like that for all the crazy angry partisan liberal and conservative nut jobs who hurl insane levels of abuse at each other on the internet all day long. The hyper-partisan columnists and media stars who are their heros can go their with them.

      Question, send them to the same island to see if they can make peace if survival is at stake or give them separate ones and see which group fails faster without the skills the other group has?

      Could Ted Rall and Paul Krugman cooperate woth Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulture if their lives were at stake? I’d pay to see that reality show.

      • November 20, 2012 12:27 pm

        Krugman already lives on an island. Perhaps we could find it and sink it?

        What a nutjob.

      • November 20, 2012 10:22 pm

        30 days with Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, that is my prescription.

        Ian,
        you are just as much of an angry partisan as those you are thwacking.

        Find something – anything that Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter have said that you agree with ?

        Find something I have said that you agree with ?

  93. November 20, 2012 8:49 am

    Yes, but they are all God’s children!

  94. The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 20, 2012 11:33 am

    Pat, I directed her to a program that is supposed to help older workers change careers. That did not help, they had really the same lists of jobs the Dept of Labor had, the program was mainly a benefit to the two or three people who worked in its office.

    One hears rumors of retraining programs, but they seem to be hard to find this time around.

    She had a job skill that was needed for 35 years, now its not and she is pushing sixty with some rough edges. 60 year old people often do not re invent themselves well. Older workers can be attractive with the right set of skills. Without that… Suddenly one cannot find even a minimum wage job, even once they accept that idea, which is also hard at 60 having made good money as a skilled worker for 35 years. Without her family she could wind up on the street.

    I remember the millions of homeless under Reagan, I’ll be fair and admit that the economy collapsed under Carter and recovered under Reagan, but… Was that really necessary?

    Yeah I know, for nearly all of human history it was adapt or die, but today many of us are not keen on watching people who were productive all their lives but who’s niche vanished wander around with shopping carts in the cold. Bleeding hearts are the social norm now, there are advantages to not having one, but on the whole I’d rather have one.

    • November 20, 2012 12:20 pm

      Having a “heart” is easy. Someone should do something. Get off your ass and do something. Have you vounteered lately? I have.

      Or not, Expect government will do something. Yes, they will. They wiil take care of themselves and their pet projects. If it doesn’t bother you that the POTUS is giving money to Burma, then you have a heart but no brain to think Does it bother you that Congress and the POTUS earn lifetime pensions far in excess of what others earn by serving one term in office? .

      So. what is YOUR solution to all of these issues. Is there really any evidence that government can solve problems? I think the evidence over the last 60+ years is to the contrary. And, don’t point to Europe as it is very clear now that OPM has run out.

      Ball is in your court. In the end, if one has not marketable skill, the only choice is to be unemployed or retrain. How one does that is very much tied to the indvidual. Have you noticed the government is not very good at customization?

      Vouchers anyone?

    • November 21, 2012 1:03 am

      I am sorry Ian but I do not believe this.

      Unless you friend is personally completely unable to adapt to the slightest variation on her prior job, there is work out there even now.

      There are between 50% more and more than three times as many homeless today as the peak during the Reagan administration depending on whose numbers you use. And it was not millions is was either 200,000 or 500,000 depending on which government estimate you used. So if Reagan was heartless what is Obama ? Again you see the world through tinted lenses – conservative evil, liberal good. God forbid facts should get in the way

      The economy did not collapse under Carter, “stagflation” started with Johnson and gradually grew as successive presidents continued to apply a Keynesian mistake,, believing they could trade inflation for employment. Volker deliberately induced a recession to bring inflation under-control starting during the carter administration.

      Productivity is not about niche’s if you are so unadaptable that you can not even adjust slightly, you are not going to end up homeless – unless you chose to. That is unless that tremendous social safety net you take such great pride in and costs every man woman and child in this country 6.500/year has completely vaporized.

      I could care whether your heart bleeds or not – but if the systems already in-place are insufficient to help your friend then why do you believe that stealing even more from all of us is going to help any more ?

      If you had your share of that 6.500/year – would you use some of it to help your friend ? That would be what someone who cares does. But you don’t have it, because it has been taken from you on false promises, and now you want to steal more from somebody else because you can’t help.

      What does it take before it gets through to you that it is the system you are advocating – not the fictional dog-eat-dog world you rant about that is causing all the harm you lament ?

      Should disaster befall your friend, is it because the industry she was in was so heartless it up and failed ? Is it because other cruel businesses refuse to hire someone without the skills they need ? Or is it because that vaunted safety-net you prize is an impossible fiction ?

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 21, 2012 4:33 am

        Asmith I gotta agree with your statement above that “there is work out there even now.” It’s true.

        Getting connected with it, getting on the inside, isn’t easy, but it’s out there. Every one of my customers has more work than I can get to. I could expand my business but I don’t want to at this point in my life. I’m trying to get to some other things before I croak.

        Just about every thriving business has things they’d like to get to but put on the back burner. If only the right deal came along then that work would start…

        Just about every homeowner–that’s a lot of people–has a list of things they gotta get to and a list of things they’d like to get to. Many people have the funds. 1% of 300 million Americans is 3 million people. They need tree surgeons, interior designers, remodelers, home organizers…so many opportunities! So much gets put off, goes undone…

        So many people don’t know what to do with themselves. So lost. They’re home watching re-runs for Chris’sake!

  95. November 20, 2012 12:21 pm

    Another socialist economy bites the dust:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/tide-turning-against-france-economists-111917504.html

  96. Pat Riot permalink
    November 21, 2012 3:20 am

    Ian, I put this down here so it wouldn’t be in a narrow column…

    It certainly can be gut-wrenching when you are close to someone who is going through a major life transition. Much easier for armchair quarterbacks at a distance to say things like “unemployed people should just go get a job” or “all the people in Ethiopia should just move to a more fertile region” or “well the market shifted so you gotta redefine yourself,” yada yada.

    My father had a very difficult transition when he was down-sized and then again later for retirement because to a large degree he DEFINED himself through his strong work ethic and his daily “esprit de corps” with his co-workers, the challenges of the work itself, etc. Again, easy to say what people should do from a distance, more difficult when you are “down in it” or see others who are struggling
    .
    I’ll try to refrain from too much unsolicited advice, especially from this virtual distance, as I don’t know your friend or the particulars of her situation, but I do know the workforce development side of the safety net. It is absolutely a life-saver for some, just annoying for others.For some it clicks in a few weeks; for others it’s a process that takes years.

    Right now, as you know, it can be discouraging, demoralizing, and ABSOLUTELY BEWILDERING even for 20-somethings and 30-somethings with great resumes to find a good job. As you also know, for older workers the playing field narrows greatly for “traditional apply-for-a-job methods.” At her age, job lists are just going to be frustrating.

    At this point the workforce development system will realistically provide a destination for self-exploration, workshops, computers and printer, information and NETWORKING. If your friend wants to work again it’ll almost exclusively occur at her age through networking—not necessarily at one of those networking “mixers,” but with people she comes into contact with week after week who get to know her personality, people she bonds with who need help with something or people they know who need help with something, which then after six weeks or six months leads to the next thing…and that networking can occur through volunteering and at DOL-funded workshops and events—some that will be uplifting and information-rich with dynamic presenters, and some that might give her only 10 seconds of useful information after an hour workshop and an hour commute.

    The most important thing she can do is “mix it up” and stay engaged and not stay home, if she wants to work again. The transition may take two years. I know this likely sounds like armchair quarterbacking, but often it can be a “blessing in disguise” personally if there’s enough money and family support for survival while she explores and tests herself.

    There has been some discussion here at TNM regarding the “saftey net,” so I hope others don’t mind this post. Here is my email in case I’m able to answer any questions, perhaps about WFD terminology, etc: listfinishers@rcn.com

    • The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 21, 2012 11:24 am

      Thanks Pat, I’ve also given her the advise to volunteer, anywhere, hospital, animal shelter. In other words network. In truth she does have an inertia problem, always did watch way too much TV, but at the same time has applied for many jobs, some way out of her field and at minimum wage. After being turned down at the local supermarket, which is hiring, she has been in a funk. She never was a go getter I’ll admit, but does want a job. Just a lost soul. I pushed her to go to that training office for displaced worker, its disappointing that they really had no kind of program to offer, those programs have existed in previous downturns, but not this huge one. Billions for bailouts to wall street firms that turned around and paid bonuses in the billions but nothing really for displaced older workers caught in a giant downturn.

      • November 21, 2012 12:26 pm

        Call your buddy Obama. He decided where the Trillons went. Windmills, electric car batteries.

        I thought the Dems were supposed to be the friend of the “little people”?

  97. The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 21, 2012 11:38 am

    Bastiat, I have a hard time distinguishing your anti government views from Dave’s, the ones you claim belong to a crazy. The fundamental principle seems to be identical, government does not work.

    The far left hate capitalism and can point to a long list of its failures, Enron, the Exxon Valdez, numerous rounds of bank bailouts. Polaroid failed, they went out of business. So they are a failure. In fact not just a failure they prove that capitalism itself is a failure.

    Of course this is shit. Business and capitalism have their failures, but they have successes that far outweigh them.

    The far right hates government and can list all its failures. Depending on how loosely one chooses to define failure, anything is a failure. Life is a failure because in the end we are all dead. You and Dave can flood the site with examples of the so-called failures of government. I can if I wish (but don’t have the time or wish) flood the site with examples of the failures of the free market and business.

    The remarkable thing is that with a nearly exactly 50/50 mix of these two titanic “failures”, private enterprise and government, I look around and see that I live an an amazingly successful country. Go figure.

    • November 21, 2012 12:32 pm

      So obvious it hurts. When I invest in Polaroid, I do it voluntarily and knowing full well that I am taking a particular risk with my own money. If I change my mind, out I go. Free choice and I do it all the time. Similarly, when I choose to be employed by Polaroid, I do it freely, knowling that all companies can go out of business or sufffer a downturn. Lastly, I can choose ot buy a camera from Polaroid, Kodak, or not at all. Isn’t that the way life ought to work?

      Now, is the way government works? Ah, no. Do I have a choice to fund my local school? No. My only choice is to also send my kid to a good school on my nickel. When my local school is “failing” really what are my choices?: None really, except maybe home schooling but again, I have to fund the failure or lose my house to the tax man.

      So, you see my friend, there is a BIG difference between private enterprise and government activity. ANYTHING can fail but the risk, reward, and choices we have are very different indeed.

      Suprised you didn’t get that!

      • The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 21, 2012 12:52 pm

        Well, I did get it long ago, that is why I am a moderate, I do not buy the BS of either extreme view of the tension between Govt and private enterprise. If you re-read my post you will perhaps notice this time around I rejected the far left view of capitalism as being shit.

        I think its perfectly rational to:

        Think that an un-born child is not a gall bladder and that it ought to have more rights than a gall bladder:

        Want a balanced Federal budget;

        Believe that national borders are supposed to be respected and that the US cannot absorb millions of illegals every year;

        Believe in School choice (I do).

        BUT I think its sheer lunacy to have a near blanket disbelief in government, especially the US government. That is where you guys lose me.

        I am not trying to convert you here, (I’d rather talk about moderate stuff than the usual battle between worlds, which is overrated in terms of reaching understanding); you will continue to believe what you have long believed, as will I continue to believe in my world view. But y’all seem to want to change my views, which, really, ain’t gonna happen. I’m not sure when you guys are going to stop wasting energy on that program.

        Happy Thanksgiving!

      • November 21, 2012 1:22 pm

        I actually believe the Feds do a few things well and should continue to do them, including national defense, Interstate HIghways, FAA, and the like. That said, they continue to encroach in areas that make no sense and make things far worse. Health care is one, education, another. In my opinion, the programs of the Johnson Admiinstration were just about the worse moves this country has ever made. The black american family has just about been destroyed by the so-called Great Society.

        The list could go on and on. I am not for eliminating government, simply getting them out of much our lives as possible. People are much more resilient and capable (in the long run) than most libs believe. That is, unless they go through the now pathetic public school system.

        But, that is another discussion.

    • November 21, 2012 4:03 pm

      Why are you ranting at Bastiat’s and my “anti-government” tilt on this.

      This is YOUR example.

      40-50% of what we produce is being devoured by government – yet government has no answer for your friend.

      I did not make it so, nor did Bastiat. nor did the ultra conservative right.
      The nastiest complaint you can direct at us regarding this is that we don’t want to see government consuming 50-60% of GDP and STILL not be able to help your friend.

      What is difficult to believe is YOUR faith in government after this.
      You rant about “adapt or die” but at-least that offers the opportunity to adapt – so far what is this broad expensive safety-net offering your friend – as best as I can tell little or nothing. I can make lots of suggestions – even Pat has – and few if any involve government.

      Open your eyes – government has failed your friend.
      All my rants did not cause that – but they are confirmed by it.

      Why do you insist on seeing good in government as it screws your friend ?
      How is that my or Bastiat’s fault ?

    • November 21, 2012 4:16 pm

      Great you see our success.
      But Why is 50/50 the perfect mix ?
      Here we are listening to your tale of woe regarding your friend and the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from that is that the safety-net has failed her.
      That World Bank study i keep refering to – was a compendium of myriads of other studies over many nations over 40 years. The results – 50/50 is pretty far from the right mix.
      60/40 is better still, 70/30 better yet, and 80/20 the best of anything we have seen in the past 40 years. Data from the 19th century suggests that 90/10 and even 95/5 work better yet.

      With GDP of 16T that is an additional 24K/year for every man/woman/child in the US.
      That sounds like one hell of a safety-net to me.

      Of all the wonderful things you see in this country – which are the result of government ?
      Even if we presume that those great public works would not have happened without government. Did government dig the earth, mix the concrete, …. every single thing government has accomplished has been done by paying private entities to actually accomplish the task..

      So what is it that government has done that is worth 7.2T/year – or nearly half of everything we produce ?

      What is the evidence that 50/50 is even close to the right mix ?

      You rant about ideological extremism – but my argument is about evidence.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 21, 2012 11:41 pm

      Ian, good, reasonable posts above, spoken like a moderate in that you see both extremes and know reality is neither of those extremes. The government-hating “logic” of the far right and extreme libertarians goes like this: We see corruption and inefficiency in government, so government is bad. Of course they are throwing the baby out with the dirty bath water. Their 98% across-the-board loathing of goverment is as illogical as their trust in private enterprise and markets. Companies don’t cheat, don’t waste, aren’t corrupt? Why do we need to give examples, aren’t their eyes open? Are they basing these views on experience and observation, or just reading concepts from a sheltered distance?

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 21, 2012 11:54 pm

        Why did whole developments of houses blow off their foundations in Florida during Hurrican Andrew in 1992? Literally hundreds of slabs per development with just the copper feed pipes sticking up and the PVC drains sticking up, and all the houses GONE, piled up in a corner or completely gone. Why? Because the masonry contractors CHEATED and built the block foundations on top of concrete slabs WITHOUT tying them in with rebar or straps because it was cheaper to do so. The practice was rampant. It kept the price down. People bought them. I thought the free market would reward the guys who did it right??? No, it took hurricane Andrew to reveal that particular corruption in the private sector. Now an inspector has to check for the tie-downs and hurricane straps. They cost about 1.29 each. Did it cripple the industry? Could over-regulation cripple and industry? Yes, of course. Most people can see that. So since over-regulation could cripple an industry then…let’s see…by careful reasoning…we should have no regulation and government should just get out to the way. No, common sense amount, brainiacs!

      • November 22, 2012 9:35 am

        Sure, regulation always works and is cost free. Let’s see, the FDA. Get back to me Pat, after you look at their sparkling record on this issue. And, as long as you are cherry picking, lets chat about the Tuskegee Experminent, conducted by the Progressives in the US Public Health Service. Hey, let’s see how VD works when we withhold medical treatment.

        Using your “logic” we need regulators, to watch regulators.

        Your move!

      • JB Say permalink
        November 22, 2012 9:29 am

        Actually, I just got done posting quite the opposite of what you just asserted. All structures are flawed and that is why we have laws, rules, etc. Please go back and re-read my posts. Libertarians in particular don’t believe capitalism and PR are perfect. What we do believe is that self-interest can be counted on and agency problems will almost always make government a bad solution. The structure is the issue.

        The great thing about PE is that in almost all cases, we have more options, more freedoms. To some of us, that matters.

        Please stick to what I write, not what you think I did.

      • The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 22, 2012 12:35 pm

        Hi Pat,

        Thanks, I thought so too!

        Hating the very concept of government has got to give person a permanent bad mood. Its (government) not going away. Hatin the govnmint is a bad choice of a hobby. Fer gods sake, take up painting, tennis, get a boat, do something else with your time to distract from that useless obsession, that is my advice to the sufferers.

        If someone (e.g., Ron P) tells me that we have to act to limit government because our unsustainable budgeting means that we will be leaving our children and theirs with huge piles of debt and that is immoral, then I am right there with him. If someone tells me that we just don’t need government at all and their other comments reveal a deep loathing of paying taxes, well, there is a person I am not going to take seriously.

        The funny thing is that the whole RP Bastiat, Priscilla, ASmith echo chamber group presents no danger at all to their hated target of liberals and democrats. They are working day and night to reinforce the bad habits of thought and communication that just help their dreaded adversary stay in power. Its reflexive they cannot stop.

        Then take Ron P. The liberal part of me is terrified of him, God Help liberals if the GOP started to take his advice on a regular basis. The moderate in me admires him, he is thinking objectively. Well, I am here in my moderate capacity so…

        Happy Holidays Pat, I’ll take your offer to communicate after family events end in a day or so.

      • November 22, 2012 1:11 pm

        Who is going to “challenge” governments when they do the things only they can do:
        Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, China, North Korea, wholesale extermination of peoples including the Jews, Armenians, Kurds, Coptic Christians, etc? This is of course why governments should not get too much power.

        All of these mass atrocities are carried out by governments. So, you guys whine about looking out for greedy corporations while all of the wholesale slaugher of human lives, are carried out by governments, most of which were formed as “collectives” to deal with the abuses of capitalism.

        For a refresher, let me recommend Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, still as relevent today as i n 1944.

        Any takers? I thought not? Still waiting to hear about the US Public Health Service. Who conducted surgical experiments on humans in Nazi Germany? The National Socialist Party.

        Hmm. So, if are worred about who can do more harm (walmart vs. the US Public Health Service) who should I worry about?

        You ball gentlemen.

  98. The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 21, 2012 2:40 pm

    I’ve lived and worked in a country with the government you describe, it was Russia, circa 2007.

    The state was heavily into police and security, military, and transportation (since then they have only gotten much worse). Not many funds remained for anything else.

    Not a libertarian paradise, we can agree, the right to vote was only in sham elections and the right to express a political opinion was only slightly better than that in China, But Russia spends its government efforts in exactly the areas you describe, with predictable results.

    You will likely tell me that its a rotten example as their police and military forces are aimed at over zealous repression as much as anything legit, well, I will tell you that when a state has shrunk to little more than security functions, it will put all the worst absolute power corrupts tendencies into going overboard on security. You do not want to live in a place where the government has shrunk to little more than security functions, they will concentrate all the dark energies you attribute to government to just that area. A nightmare.

    The picture of a happy well balanced society where government provides only reasonable security functions, and private enterprise behaves itself beautifully without regulation and people obtain all that they require from a private enterprise and the laws of supply and demand is a utopian dream.

    I’m really not seeing the difference between your vision and Dave’s

    • November 21, 2012 3:14 pm

      What a nonsensical response. You take a totalitarinan failed state as an example of what I want from my government. You fail to acknowledge the legacy of communism whiich is the antithesis of what any libertarian would want for us. Of course, progressives LOVED the USSR in the 1930s but that is another matter.

      Your sir, are a dope.

      • The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 21, 2012 4:18 pm

        As expected, the usual result of attempting to actually take you seriously. Why should one bother?

        And you, sir, have your picture next to the word Naive in the new Funk and Wagnell’s dictionary.

        Every society in which government has been reduced to security and transportation and the rest of the society is left to run itself via free enterprise and supply and demand will come to the same ugly conclusion and rapidly. A small number of mega rich who are in league with or are the same people that control the state. Security will be performed by them and for them. Warlords with their own private armies will be the next stage. Society may evolve with much bloodshed until it gets back to what we have now after god only knows how many years. No one of any intelligence who is not a dogmatic extreme libertarian who thinks about the idea of absolutely minimal government is going to avoid this conclusion.

        No thanks, it sounds like a really bad movie, its not an experiment I want to see tried, I’ll stick with the imperfect society we have now.

        Utopia does not exist, either communist or libertarian. Be grateful for what you have now.

    • November 21, 2012 4:47 pm

      Who here has offered either the deterous of the failed statism that was the USSR or that of the PRC slowly trying to em,brace state-capitolism as some form of libertopia ?

      It really sucks to live in a failed statist state – we agree.

      Conversely many parts of the former USSR have successfully transitioned from statism to greater freedom. They have started deep in the hole. They have a long way to go, they are far from perfect, but they are succeeding and growing far more rapidly than we are..
      Because of how far behind they are they have decades before they will catch us.
      But they are coming.

      I do not think anyone has suggested that businesses are inherently good and need no check on their errors. The question is how that is accomplished.
      Absent prior-restraint regulation, the first check on business is the market. Businesses that harm their customers do not last long. The second check is the requirement that those who do harm repair that harm. The most extreme libertarian I am aware of accepts that each of us are responsible for the harm we cause.

      When you claim we wish to see businesses run about willy nilly as they please – you misrepresent our views.
      The debate is about prior restraint vs. consequences. It is about allowing people the freedom to find solutions in anyway they can so long as they do not harm others. in doing so. Regulation is a presumption that a one size fits all rule that most people are not even aware of is capable of preventing harm.

      • November 21, 2012 6:59 pm

        Epstein has written extensively on the data that shows the superiority of market forces AND tort remedy over regulation as a means of keeping folks within the lines. Indeed, as any liberatarian can tell you, the rules need to be minimal but very clear and uniforn in their application. Humans are good at behaving for the most part when the guidelines and sanctions clear, immediate, and consequential.

  99. November 21, 2012 4:33 pm

    You think that an unborn-child is more important than a gall bladders – yet you eviscerate those who feel the same is bigots and racists, and anti-women.
    Aside from his idiotic view that raped women can prevent pregnancy – you are expressing the same value that lost Akin’s his election.

    If you want a balanced budget – then quit pissing all over the only people actually trying to get their. Few if any democrats support that. The president sure doesn’t.

    As to immigration, at 1/4 our current population we absorbed twice the current number of immigrants for several decades – during that time, the nation prospered more than it does now, and standards of living even for the least improved at more than twice the current rate.

    Do you beleive in school choice because the current public schools are so great ?
    Because we have doubled, trippled, quadrupled education spending, teachers salaries, … since you and I were in school for a net loss in quality of education.

    The near blanket disbelief in government comes from near universal government failure.
    But fine you disagree. What portion of the time do you beleive that government succeeds.
    Remember government spends nearly half what we produce – in your life or those arround you do you see half the value coming from government ?
    We do not have to agree that all government is bad.
    But that is not really what you argue. Essentially you grumblingly argue that government fails alot, but that we still need every more.
    When you start getting really serious about actually separating the baby from the bath water maybe some of us “extremists” might take an interest in what you have to say.

    What is most disturbing is that you consider even entertaining the possibility that we need LESS government in any form, to be anti-moderate extremism.

    I will be cease believing what I believe as facts make it clear that it does not work – thus far that has not happened. You continue to beleive what you beleive regardless of facts.
    Is that what it means to be moderate ?

  100. November 21, 2012 4:57 pm

    “Every society in which government has been reduced to security and transportation and the rest of the society is left to run itself via free enterprise and supply and demand will come to the same ugly conclusion and rapidly.”

    I am not offering Hong Kong and Singapore as “Libertopia” but they certainly seem to run at odds to your claims. They have the least government of any developed nations in the world, the least regulation, the greatest economic freedom, and the greatest long term growth in median standard of living.

    Further, much of Eastern Europe has drug itself up from utter destruction with a fraction of the government typical in the west – they have a long way to go but their growth has averaged double ours.

    The entire point of that World Bank survey was that those states with less government
    have done better than those states with more.

    You are arguing against facts and trying to use Russia and China which while freer than they were 3 decades ago ares still not even close to free nations. And even there more freedom has resulted in more prosperity.

  101. November 21, 2012 5:08 pm

    How deleterious is corruption to economic development ?

    http://chrisblattman.com/2012/11/05/corruption-and-development-not-what-you-think/

    In 41 different cross country studies of corruption and development 2/3 of the studies did not even find a negative correlation.

    conversely numerous studies have show that “the rule of law” – the reliable enforcement of individual rights – particularly property rights is inseparable from economic success.

  102. November 21, 2012 5:18 pm

    Ian;

    We are not arguing about utopia.
    statism in most any flavor – communist/fascist/totalitarian, …. fails. the evidence of that appears compelling. Though there are ideological problems specific to communism, the root of the failure is not ideological. It is that total state control just does not work regardless of ideology.

    I doubt even the most extreme libertarian here is arguing anarcho-capitolism which is the real opposite to statism.

    Those of us who self identify as libertarian all appear to be some form of “minarchists”
    Minarchism rests on the presumption that some government is necessary – that both extremes – anarchy, and statism fail. That a working society must lie somewhere in the middle. All minarchists are not the same but most see that sweet spot as closer to anarchy than to totalitarianism. Aside from grasping that the optimum is not in the center this sounds much like your description of moderate – except one thing, our emphasis of less government is supported by real world facts as well as ideology, it is not rooted solely in faith in principles we can not even express.

    • November 21, 2012 7:02 pm

      You have to love the irony of a statist accusing a libertarian of looking for utopia!

  103. November 21, 2012 5:45 pm

    Sandy update.

    I went to the barrier islands yesterday to deal with the damage to my fathers house on the bay. Total damage to a house right on the water front – $300.00 – 3 of 4 heavy metal rings that hold the dock inplace had been damaged.

    While touring the rest of the island I found:
    nearly everything working.
    Almost all the roads and houses and lawns and driveways and … had been cleared of sand and debris.

    With few exceptions there was no damage of consequence anywhere on the island to those houses that did not have basements – few homes on the barrier islands do.
    Businesses were up and running – atleast those that are normally up and running during the off season.

    In those houses with basements debris was being cleared out and pitched.

    There were also other interesting consequences.

    Prior to sandy the bulkheads of both homes adjacent to my fathers had been damaged due to years of neglect. Repair of bulkheads can be very expensive.
    Interesting both neighbors were in the process of installing brand new and very expensive bulkheads – my guess is courtesy of FEMA funds. So all you TNMers should celebrate your tax dollars are being used to pay my fathers neighbors to do something they needed to do years ago.

    There was plenty of evidence of similar enterprise. My fathers home on the water with a first floor level at most one foot above the high water mark had no damage beyond the dock. The decks had been inundated and were underwater, but were otherwise undamaged. Nothing got into the house. Yet all arround houses that were up to several feet further above the high water mark had tossed mattresses and couches and TVs and were busily remodelling their first floor.

    I have no doubt that many homes had real damage, but an awful lot of the garbage in the streets was from homes in the high center of the island without basements, and dubious probability that they had any damage at all – particularly when my father’s home right on the water got through this unscathed.

    My father was truly lucky. A slightly higher water level, larger waves, could easily have resulted in the destruction of everything on the first floor of his bay home. Even as it was, I do not understand how the outside decks survived without even having their railings ripped off, greater wave action would have eventually undermined his foundations and destroyed the entire home. But none of this happened. The real destruction beyond loss of power was the result of water in the basement of those few homes on the island with basements, and lots of sand and debris across the island.
    A small number of homes actually on the causeways or on the water front but closer to the ocean than my fathers experienced more damage.

    Regardless, this was no Katrina – and the New Jersey Barrier islands were fairly near the epicenter of landfall for the storm.

    Nothing I saw suggested that the state had any better an idea how to handle this than ordinary citizens, further the most significant damage was already long cleared away two weeks after the storm passed.

    • November 21, 2012 7:04 pm

      Free riders and opportunists in the Blue States? No, say it isn’t so

  104. November 21, 2012 5:57 pm

    Our bleak future a perspective from the left.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/11/19/5_hard_truths_progressives_must_face_about_obama/

    My disagreements:

    Obama is really a centrist only to the extent that he borrows from the worst of both the right and left approximately equally.

    The economy does suck and will likely get worse – because of what Obama and House Republicans are likely to do, but the articles author has no idea why or where jobs come from.

    Future wages are likely to remain low at the bottom – but again mostly for the opposite reasons the article suguests. Stimulus at best puts a very temporary floor under a bad situation, at the cost of protracting the harm.

    PPACA is a mess and will fail. It does reward many of those the article claims – who would have expected differently, but Single payer would have been even worse.

    Dodd-Frank is even worse than the article claims.

    Big Money and Democrats – atleast one Pundit that grasps that the prime beneficiary of corporatism is the democratic party.
    But CU was not the problem. ITs effects were almost entirely on independent voices. The party and its candidates are no more or less beholden to Wall Street of corporate american than they were before CU.

  105. November 21, 2012 6:35 pm

    What will happen if we go over the Fiscal Cliff – according to NBER.

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w18336

    From the summary

    Spending-based adjustments have been associated with mild and short-lived recessions, in many cases with no recession at all.
    Tax-based adjustments have been associated with prolonged and deep recessions.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 22, 2012 9:01 am

      Acetamenophen has been associated with headaches and mild, short-lived ailments. Chemotherapy has been associated with prolonged and serious disease such as cancer. Therefore, chemotherapy must be bad and causing cancer. Hey it’s just an analogy for the reasoning. No need to state that economic troubles are not exactly like a cancer. This is from the NAMR (National Association of Moderate Realists).

      • November 24, 2012 1:48 am

        Make all the analogies to cancer or headaches you wish. So long as the facts are suffificiently analogous that is fine with me.

        Assuming your Acetaminophen information is correct – that comparison is valid – would you take a medicine that occasionally had mild side effects in return for significant long term benefits – I would.

        However Chemotherapy has long term benefits for the patient, that outweigh its harms. Any long term benefits of taxation are at best speculative, while the harm is both real and certain.

  106. November 21, 2012 8:42 pm

    What happens if the US shifts to nordic style “cuddly capitalism” ?

    http://www.voxeu.org/article/cuddly-or-cutthroat-capitalism-choosing-models-globalised-world

    Everybody goes to hell.

  107. Pat Riot permalink
    November 22, 2012 9:22 am

    John Stossel regarding the “fiscal cliff.”

    http://www.humanevents.com/2012/11/21/john-stossel-about-that-fiscal-cliff/

  108. November 22, 2012 10:06 am

    The share of food stamp benefits going to American households with gross incomes over 130 percent of poverty has more than doubled in the past four years, according to the most recent data compiled by the Agriculture Department.

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/11/21/why-are-a-record-number-of-americans-on

  109. November 22, 2012 11:59 am

    ian;

    Small Sampling of craigslist jobs from craigslist in my area

    receptionist 15.50/hr
    Numerous bookkeeping positions $15/hr and up
    Entry level account rep – requires college degree – 30-40K/year
    Shipping associate – clerical $10-$12/hr
    High school and elementary school tutors – 15-40/hr.
    Mortgage Default Inspector
    Virtual Administrative assistant
    Dog Sitting – minimum wage
    Personal Care Attendant – no experience necessary

    There is plenty of work available for anyone who wants to work.
    There is more for those with a high school degree, and even more for those with a college degree, and/or experience.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 22, 2012 12:15 pm

      Literally 200 to 300 applicants going for many of those jobs. Not as rosey as the list makes it look. But I agree with you (what?) that there is work out there for those who want to work.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 22, 2012 12:35 pm

        If you can believe it, some of the unemployed want to work, but they don’t know how. They don’t know what to do. They are no better at being ready for a new job than you are to pitch for the NY Yankees or play quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. tMuch of the old system isn’t here anymore. Huge, important portions of the old American system are in China, India, Mexico, Malaysia, etc., giving those people wages. How many people realize that many of the Titans of Industry really don’t care about the American worker or the American people. It’s not their problem. They make widgets. Widget-making is important, but is it enough for a nation to flourish? Is that all we need? The Black Knight says yes, it’s the only thing that improves our standard of living. Balderdash, Black Knight!

      • November 22, 2012 1:14 pm

        Where were these people who don’t know how to find work educated? Oh, yes, in the public school system. Hmm.

        Do these folks not know how to use a computer and/or the free public library?

        I wonder why?

        Don’t blame me, I am only pointing out the obvious. Spending on education up, competency down? Who do we hold to account and if so, how?

      • November 23, 2012 6:53 pm

        I have hired people from Craigslist. I typically get 20-30 applicants, about half drop the ball when asked for a resume or minimal background information, about half have problems like serious criminal records, about 1/2 don’t show for an interview, about 2/3 do not show after being hired, about 2/3 of those do not return after the first day.

        Usually it takes me 2-3 attempts to get somebody.

        So yeah there are alot of people after each of these jobs – but very very few are actually serious.

        If Ian’s friend is serious there will be no problem finding something – if not she will always have an excuse.

      • November 23, 2012 6:56 pm

        Pat;

        You are correct a large number of people seeking work have no clue how to get it. that just means that if Ian’s friend is serious she should have little or no problem finding something.

      • November 23, 2012 7:10 pm

        You are correct people who are looking to hire somebody are more concerned about the job than the person – and that is how it is supposed to be. Providing a job is not charity.

        When you hire a carpenter, a babysitter, a housekeeper, a …. are you looking to hire the person who will benefit most from your hiring them – or the person who will provide the most benefit to you ?

        Why do you expect Walmart, McDonalds, or Goldman Sachs to hire differently than when you hire a babysitter ?

        Why should you ?

        Employment is not – and can not be a right.

        Further widget making is all important – it is what we produce that allows us to consume what we need and want. If Acme Widget Co. does not focus on profitably making widgets, then everyone who works for Acme and everyone who invested in Acme can not get the other things they need and want. When Acme focuses on something other than widget making, they are harming their other employees, and investors. They are lowering the standard of living of everyone depending on them.

        And yes – the ONLY way to increase standard of living is to be more productive. That is fact not balderdash. It is obvious fact. When you pretend otherwise, you are actually HARMING everyone.

        Empathy is fine, but acts that actually harm in the name of helping are immoral.

  110. Pat Riot permalink
    November 22, 2012 1:04 pm

    I have a conspiracy theory that Asmith is actually Rick Bayan’s alter ego, a fictitious creation, an online avatar! How else would we have 400-some comments on TNM than with an entity so stubbornly loathing government and so faithful in free markets? Thank you, Rick!

    Asmith you are a true foil, a tough immovable stone against which to sharpen our Moderate common sense. It didn’t dawn on me, not fully, until encountering your absolutism that Moderation is about moveable boundaries, fine lines that are dependent on the circumstances. Volume: best to whisper in Church (ask those Russion chicks), maybe call out an aisle over in a supermarket but not clear across the store, and jump up and yell at a football game. The ideology folks say X number of decibals is proper volume, stick with that and all will be OK, it’s worked before and it’ll work again, look Asmith and Bastiat laid it all out so eloquently, look at these statistics….

    The volume analogy is a somethat weak analogy off the top ‘o me head, but the point is that just about everything, including free enterprise, government, sounds, water, food, has points where it becomes too much or too little, a warping point where things get out of control and free markets won’t rescue us from ourselves, like kids mining coal, spoiled meat in Chicago stockyards, laboratories falsifying records that put innocent people in jail, particular factories polluting the water of a whole community of Americans…need I go on? Who is going to challenge a powerful company when it’s so expensive and time-consuming to prove that they’re dumping toxins straight into our water supply? Who? The other companies are busy elsewhere making their own profits. Just drink the cloudy water and die early, peons.

    People coming together to look at situations with reason to say THIS is a more reasonable way for humanity to go, or THIS way, or THiS way, but not THAT way, cause you’re killing me. It’s what government is supposed to be. Just because people in government are screwing things up and over-spending and voting themselves pay raises doesn’t mean we don’t need people to come together collectively for the “general Welfare.” (hate to use the “W” word, but it’s a different meaning in the U.S. Constitution).The Founding Fathers wanted us to come together from time to time when things get out of hand. They built the flexibility in. The didn’t form a company. They formed…a government. Don’t throw the baby out with the dirty bath water.

    • November 23, 2012 8:23 pm

      Pat;

      No I am not interested in compromising with failure.

      You claim I am some absolutist – show me an alternative that has actually worked.
      My lack of faith in government is the only rational response to all the government failure that surrounds us.

      Take off the rose colored glasses – even the most successful government programs are not astounding successes – and they are pretty rare. Most make no sense to begin with.

      You don’t want absolutism – fine – show me something that has worked ?
      The data is not there. Wasting money to make people more miserable is not moderation, and it is not moral.

      How many Solyandra’s ? How many Government Motors Exploding Volts ? How many bailouts ? How many social safety-net programs that only work with cherry picked participants and destroy those they are intended to help.

      You talk about absolutism – but I am not the one with nearly infinite faith in failure.

      Your right there are no on-size fits all solutions – but that is precisely why problems need solved by flexible free individuals and government needs to limited. Discretion, flexibility are not and should not be attributes of government.

      All those studies I throw at you – their not ideology. They are the real world.
      If moderate means having faith against the odds, against reason – then count me out.

      No everything does not fail at the extremes – sometimes 1 + 1 = 2, and you can not compromise. But you are correct the solution to SOME problems is not at one end or another. It still requires reason to figure which problems are which. Further, even on those problems where the answer is not at one extreme or the other – there is still no reason to believe the correct answer is in the center – or the center between the two currently competing positions ?

      It is pure fallacy to believe that given two positions, the correct solution is midway between them. Based purely on the existence of two primary competing positions there is no reason at all to no where the answer is.

      As to your argument for regulation – so I am to believe that we can not trust courts and juries, but we can trust regulators ? That big corporations powerful enough to destroy the court system are impotent when faced with politicians ?

      We have far more reason to believe that the small can successfully stand up to Goliath inside our court system than inside the rest of our political system.

      Further regulation also depends on the courts, AND on legislators. If those powerful corporations you worry about own the court system then your entire legislative regulatory scheme fails. The regulatory system increases rather than decreases the number of points of failure.

      I have little doubt that businesses have and will continue on rare occasion to do evil.
      But I would note that the largest polluters in the world – are still governments. The primary source of water pollution in the US are municipalities.
      Like it or not it is NOT in any businesses interest to poison people. It is rare because it is an abysmally bad idea. Because it is bad business.

      And as I am sure Ian will be happy to tell you EVERYTHING is toxic at some level.
      Humans exhale CO, CO2, CH4 and NH3 – should breathing be banned as toxic ?

      No government is not supposed to be people coming together to solve any conceivable problem – unless you have some criteria for deciding what is the legitimate scope of government and what is not you eventually reach communism – government owns or controls everything.
      The role of government is protecting us from violence initiated by others.
      There is nothing else we are not better off providing for ourselves.
      There is nothing else that is justified by the social contract.
      There is nothing else that is not theft.
      There is nothing else that is not immoral.

      You are correct our founders did not form a company – they understood that free people were perfectly capable of solving most problems on their own. They empowered government to do those few things that can not be done by individuals or freely formed groups of individuals – whether those groups are charities, churches, unions, or corporations.
      There is no sane reason to have government do something that does not require force to accomplish.

      No we should not throw the baby out with the bath water – but we need to quit drowning the baby in the bath water. We have way way too much bath water, and it is pretty gross.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 23, 2012 9:54 pm

        Asmith, your last three lines above about “drowning the baby in the bath water. We have way too much bath water, and it is pretty gross.”–Nicely done! What are you getting figurative on us?! I agree. The excess dirty bath water is pretty gross. Pathetic in so many ways. I agree.

        As to the rest of your post above you are either wildly askew of the point and/or claiming I’m saying things that I’m not, or are obviously wrong.

        Good colleges and universities do the cherry-picking. USDOL training programs administer to the “hardest to serve” with multiple barriers to employment. It’s quite the opposite of cherry-picking. Really, you’re just wrong on that one.

        You said “It is pure fallacy to believe that given two positions, the correct solution is midway between them.” Agreed. You have either not been reading my posts or not comprehending my posts. Over and over I have said being moderate does NOT mean being in the middle. I’m estimating I’ve written that 3 or 4 times here on TNM. A compromise between two positions already out there may be in the middle or near the middle, as a compromise is usually somewhere between the positions, but it could be another alternative direction altogether, and here we are talking about compromise which is something that moderates often push for given the extremes, but being moderate is not limited to compromise or middles.

        What has worked? Many examples of what has worked via government have been given here at TNM by Ian, Rick, myself, and others, but you don’t retain that information. Those examples bounce off your closed mind and then you reiterate what is bad. Teddy Roosevelt setting aside national parks was a good idea I’d say. Including handicapped folks into society via ADA legislation was fairly admirable. I’ve given examples at the local, state, and federal levels where only government can do the job and has, but it bounces off your closed mind.

        I’m certainly not looking through rose colored glasses, but you have your eyes closed. You’ve read Adam Smith and see the good sides of free markets, and you see government corruption and waste and you can see the bad side of government, and you see little else. I see that what has happened to our country has already eroded our freedoms and is very close to ending the Great Experiment. We need a better blend of private and public, and within our fiscal means, or we’re doomed. Not very rosey.

  111. Pat Riot permalink
    November 22, 2012 1:09 pm

    I meant sarcastically that Adam Smith and Freddy Bastiat the dead French guy laid it out so eloquently…

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 22, 2012 1:48 pm

      jbastiat, I’m with you there. The public education system is shameful. Private education, that I was fortunate enough to receive, is also often so woefully archaic/anachronistic and cookie cutter, et cetera. I’m for privatizing education in a new way. Let the schools compete! We will see what they can produce. The government could be a tiny outside observer to make sure certain basic standards are met, (be careful who gets to write the basic standards) and then let the contextual, hands-on, multi-disciplinary, accelerated education begin!

      • November 22, 2012 2:16 pm

        We totally agree. Now, about those teacher unions ……

      • Ron P permalink
        November 22, 2012 5:53 pm

        Privatisation is one way to accomplish better education. Another way is for the senile educators and administrators ( led by the teacher unions) who will not accept new technology and new methods to get out of the way and let education move into the 21st century. Mooresville school district in NC is an excellecnt example of what educators can do when they are in a progressive education district and not held back by the bureaucracy and red tape. And there are other examples of achievement in education when new methods are used throughout the country, but they are far a few between.

      • November 22, 2012 8:52 pm

        Sadly, you are correct. That is why no one really likes competition but it is also why it works.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 23, 2012 3:43 pm

        One only needs to look at the Washington DC school system to see what the interest of educators is in the country. Spend as much money as possible on ineffectieve programs and teachers and fire anyone that tries to make a difference. If the black community would put as much effort into reforming education as it did years ago on equal rights, education might improve in this country. One of the largest impediments to the blacks today in moving up in the social economic ladder is the piss poor education they receive in the large city schools dominated by the teachers unions.

      • November 23, 2012 4:21 pm

        What is intriguing to me is that many of these large cities with large black populations continue to elect democratic mayors, councilmen, etc. You look at the data on and the school systems are simply appalling. At a certain point, you might hope they would say: hey, this isn’t working. As I understand it, DC voted 93% for Obama and they keep electing guys like Marion Barry.

        Makes you wonder if they deserve any better?

      • November 24, 2012 1:30 am

        Pat;

        Mostly I agree – but why is government the outside observer – why not parents ? Even single poor minority parents grasp the importance of a good education for their children – a significant portion of those in cyber charters are minorities as that is the best education many of them can get for their children.

        Further why is competition only good for schools ?
        Shouldn’t GM have to compete on the same playing field as everyone else ?
        Or BoA or Goldman Sachs, or Chiquita or Dole or Haliburton or Solyandra ? Why do we keep thinking that when government picks winners and losers that is a good thing ?

      • November 24, 2012 11:55 am

        Many of us don’t think the govt should pick much of anything.As Milton Friedman once observed:

        “And where is it that you will find these Angels that will make these big decisions?”

    • November 23, 2012 8:40 pm

      Locke, Paine, Turgot, hum, mills, say, ricardo, hoppe, schumpeter, mises, hayek, nozick, friedman, Acton, Sumner, Kant, Hazlitt, Higgs, Menger, Reisman, …..

      Or more recently
      Schleifer, Barro,Acemoglu, mankiw, Taylor, Ostrom, Buchanan,…

      There are atleast 5 nobel’s amount these, many of the top Ideas Respec economists,

      And many many more economists, and classical liberal thinkers not listed.

      • November 28, 2012 1:09 am

        Add Robert Lucas The #7 economist in the world and another Nobel, that is 4 of the top 10.

  112. The Not-So-Grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 22, 2012 1:18 pm

    Here Pat, (or anyone not skeptical of the very idea of fairness)

    Enjoy this its from a TED talk. Hilarious.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 22, 2012 1:56 pm

      Ian, that’s great! Can’t wait to share with others. Fantastic!

      Good grief now some will misconstrue that we Moderates want everyone to have the same things to be fair.

      • Wilma permalink
        November 22, 2012 3:14 pm

        It works with dogs as well, one study showed they will refuse to shake hands for free once they have seen another dog shake hands and get a biscuit. They boycott. Fairness goes pretty deep as an instinct.

      • November 22, 2012 4:15 pm

        Hence the power of free exchange.

    • November 23, 2012 10:00 pm

      So it is ok for Monkeys and dogs to make their own free choices – but if humans are involved we have to impose “fairness” externally ?

      As best as I can tell the experiment proves that free mokeys that have everything they need prefer grapes.

      • November 24, 2012 1:08 am

        Anthropolgists have discovered that a sense of entitlement is innate and confused it with a “fairness”.

        That is unless there is some natural law requiring anthropologists to trade grapes rather than cucumbers for rocks.

        Whether you are a monkey or a man, nature entitles you to nothing, but you are free to trade whatever you produce with whoever you please for whatever you can get. You are free to be angry if you can not get the same deal as someone else – though it is rare in the real world that circumstances are perfectly interchangeable, you are free to throw a fit or go own strike, you are free to demand as much as you wish for whatever you produce, but you are not entitled to receive anything.

  113. Pat Riot permalink
    November 22, 2012 2:53 pm

    This is apparently lifted from Gov Bradford the Mayflower pilgrim’s diary. I hope everyone has not already seen this and I am late to the party. It might help reinforce the fact that Moderates are fans of private enterprise and industriousness, and are not socialists or statists. I think Gov Bradford’s words are priceless. He starts out talking about how the socialistic set up didn’t work very well…Happy Thanksgiving.

    “The experience that was had in this commone course and
    condition, tired sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober
    men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos and
    other ancients, applauded by some of later times; –that the
    taking away of propertie, and bringing in communitie into a
    comone wealth would make them happy and florishing; as if they
    were wiser than God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was
    found to breed much confusion and discontente, and retard much
    imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte.
    For the yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and
    service did repine that they should spend their time and
    streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out
    any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in
    divission of victails and cloaths, than he that was weake and
    not able to doe a quarter the other could; this was thought
    injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalised in
    labours, and victuals, cloaths, etc., with the meaner and
    younger sorte, thought it some indignite and disrespect unto
    them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to doe service for
    other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, etc.,
    they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands
    well brooke it. ”

    “All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when
    they might expecte any. So they [the pilgims] begane to thinke
    how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a
    beter crope than they had done, that they might not still thus
    languish in miserie. At length after much debate of things, the
    Gov. (with the advise of the cheefest amongest them) gave way
    that they should set downe every man for his owne perticuler,
    and in that regard trust to themselves… And so assigned to
    every family a parceel of land. This had very good success; for
    it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was
    planted than other waise would have bene by any means the Gov.
    or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble,
    and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly
    into the feild, and tooke their litle-ons with them to set
    corne, which before would aledge weakness, and inabilitie; whom
    to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and
    opression.”

    “By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God
    gave them plentie, and the face of things was changed, to the
    rejoysing of the harts of many, for which they blessed God. And
    in the effect of their perticular planting was well seene, for
    all had, one way and other, pretty well to bring the year
    aboute, and some of the abler sorte and more industrious had to
    spare, and sell to others, 50 as any generall wante of famine
    hath not been amongest them since to this day.”

    • November 24, 2012 1:13 am

      And in the next Chapter Gov. Bradford, imposes child lab or laws, equal pay laws, nitrate and row spacing regulations, and redistributed the surplus of the most productive to the least in order to restore fairness, and everyone starved.

  114. November 22, 2012 4:16 pm

    You can always count on self-interest. Happy Thanksgiving.

  115. Wilma permalink
    November 24, 2012 10:24 am

    To be an economic free market purist means to ignore the reality that without regulation and government interference the free market becomes a race to the bottom with results that definitely do NOT enrich everyone. I’d say that ignoring that reality is pretty immoral.

    Actually, its something colder and more sinister, its amoral, morality is simply not considered. Her is a reminder of what the market looks like when taken to the extreme. THis woman, she makes logical sense according to the rules of the market, but she cannot have her wish for 2$ wages for her workers.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-richest-woman-pay-20120905,0,6971046.story

    The world’s richest woman, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, drew international scorn recently after saying that people who are jealous of the wealthy should drink less and work harder.

    And now she’s back with some more helpful advice.

    Speaking at the Sydney Mining Club, Rinehart said her country’s mining industry couldn’t compete with nations that are willing to pay workers less than $2 a day for their sweat and labor.

    The implicit suggestion: Employers should be free to pay workers whatever they please.

    This echoes Rinehart’s earlier to-do list, in which she urged Aussie lawmakers to cut the minimum wage so that, well, she wouldn’t have to spend so much money on things like workers’ salaries and benefits.

    “The evidence is inarguable that Australia is becoming too expensive and too uncompetitive to do export-oriented business,” Rinehart said at the Sydney Mining Club. “Africans want to work, and its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day. Such statistics make me worry for this country’s future.”

    Yep, it’s getting harder and harder to be a job creator.

    Rinehart knows what it means to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. She inherited a fortune now estimated to be worth about $18 billion. That’s a heavy burden to bear.

    Yet, inexplicably, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard didn’t take Rinehart’s advice in the generous spirit with which it was offered.

    “It’s not the Australian way to toss people $2, to toss them a gold coin, and then ask them to work for a day,” Gillard said. “We support proper Australian wages and decent working conditions.”

    Socialist.

    As Rinehart observed in an earlier magazine piece: “There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you’re jealous of those with more money don’t just sit there and complain, do something to make more money yourself. Spend less time drinking, smoking and socializing and more time working.”

    And, apparently, you should be happy with whatever table scraps you receive by way of compensation.

    • TNSGW permalink
      November 24, 2012 10:44 am

      And actually her grasp of basic economics sucks, there IS a monopoly on being a millionaire, Once everyone has a million dollars then prices of everything rise accordingly and a million becomes a small sum. I believe that is called inflation. There can only be a relatively small number of rich or there are no rich at all, by definition. Greedy idiot of a woman. But I expect a stirring and utterly tone deaf 15 post defense of her so-called principles. Somewhat unfairly, I won’t be reading any of it.

      • November 24, 2012 12:19 pm

        Millionaires are entitled to be stupid and say idiotic things. Shall we pull her out into the street and stone her? What is YOUR point. That one ranting broad half way around the world proves anything?

        If you want to discuss free markets, capitalism, socialism, by all means, do so by sticking to something call data and observations. Should I start quoting Paul Krugman’s op-ed pieces here? He sounds just as bad as the dingbat that you cite and he is also, BTW, a millionaire who lives on an island with his wife and cat.

      • November 25, 2012 2:59 am

        Can we get some economic literacy here ?

        Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.

        Please find an instance in human history where the price of everything has risen absent government running the printing press.

        There is no reason we can not all have the same standard of living as millionaires – most of us today have a standard of living higher than that of the uber rich a century ago.

        The problem with Rinehart’s remarks is that you dont like them – they are still the truth.

    • November 24, 2012 12:02 pm

      Actually, there is no data whatsoever to suggest remotely that free markets produce a race to the bottom. In fact, the data is irrefutable as to the contrary and numerous Nobel Laureates (including that jackass Krugman) have won the prize for their empirical work in this area.

      Taking this example is an interesting device favored by Liberals. The fact is, until the free markets developed 99% of the population lived a life of poverty and want. Free markets don’t make for good story ala Charles Dickens; what free markets do is produce the standard of living that was a but a dream even 50 years ago.

      Nice try Wilma. Got any other “bad people” to cite?

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 24, 2012 12:34 pm

        You sure made that easy! I only need to find one piece of data that even suggests to disprove your blanket denial of any basis whatsoever for the concept of a race to the bottom. There is a world of it, but I have other fish to fry, so here is what I could find fastest.

        Here, have this from Wiki. I left Krugman in at the bottom instead of simply posting the parts that agree with my argument. But you mischaracterize his views, I’ve read enough of his writing on globalization (one subset of the general race to the bottom argument) to know that he believes that Globalization is worthwhile, but only barely, as the harms are nearly equal to the benefits and the balance is so narrow in its favor that it is easily capable of shifting in the other direction. And that is only as the issue is seen from the aspect of utterly poor in the third world. From the perspective of, say, the American poor, or Australian miners, its a dead loss. Why do believers in conservative economics cling so tightly to denial?

        “Races to the bottom can be described in game theory by the prisoner’s dilemma. This is an exercise in which the optimal outcome for the entire group of participants results from cooperation of the participants, but it is put in danger by the fact that the optimal outcome for each individual is to not cooperate while the others do cooperate.

        An economic example of racing to the bottom is tax competition between governments. Each government may benefit from higher tax revenues by having high tax rates on corporate profits, but governments can benefit individually with lower corporate tax rates relative to other jurisdictions in order to attract businesses to their own jurisdictions. In order to maintain equilibrium, each of the other governments would have to lower their corporate tax rates to match that of the government that first lowered the tax rate. The end result is that each government adopts a lower corporate tax rate and, therefore, collects less revenue overall. Assuming the foundational premise is correct, the optimal option for all governments would be an agreement to maintain tax harmonization.

        A race to the bottom can occur in deregulated private industries as well. One such example would be the subprime mortgage crisis. Banks assume credit risk when they issue mortgages, but can charge higher fees by originating mortgages to the less credit-worthy. Novel financial products, coupled with securitization of mortgages and credit default swaps, led to a race to the bottom of lending standards and risk management.[1]

        The occurrence of races to the bottom is mitigated by the costs of moving investment and production between jurisdictions; the persistence of comparative advantages such as skilled workforces, infrastructure, or proximity to natural resources; and the presence of minimum standards, rules or conventions which prevent them.[citation needed]

        [edit]History and usage

        The concept of a regulatory “race to the bottom” emerged in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th century, when there was charter competition among states to attract corporations to domicile in their jurisdiction. Some described the concept as the “race to efficiency”, and others, such as Justice Louis Brandeis, as the “race to the bottom”.[2] In 1890, New Jersey enacted a liberal corporation charter, which charged low fees for company registration and lower franchise taxes than other states. Delaware attempted to copy the law to attract companies to its own state. This competition ended when Governor Woodrow Wilson tightened New Jersey’s laws through a series of seven statutes.

        In academic literature, the phenomenon of regulatory competition reducing standards overall was argued for by A.A. Berle and G.C. Means in The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932), while the concept received formal recognition by the US Supreme Court in a decision of Justice Louis Brandeis in the 1933 case Ligget Co. v. Lee (288 U.S. 517, 558–559).[3][2][4] In the late 19th century, Joint-stock company control was being liberalised in Europe, where countries were engaged in competitive liberal legislation to allow local companies to compete. This liberalization reached Spain in 1869, Germany in 1870, Belgium in 1873, and Italy in 1883.

        Schram explains that the term “race to the bottom”:

        “ …has for some time served as an important metaphor to illustrate that the United States federal system—and every federal system for that matter—is vulnerable to interstate competition. The “race to the bottom” implies that the states compete with each other as each tries to underbid the others in lowering taxes, spending, regulation…so as to make itself more attractive to outside financial interests or unattractive to unwanted outsiders. It can be opposed to the alternative metaphor of “Laboratories of Democracy”. The laboratory metaphor implies a more sanguine federalism in which [states] use their authority and discretion to develop innovative and creative solutions to common problems which can be then adopted by other states.[4] ”
        Brandeis’s “race to the bottom” metaphor was updated in 1974 by William Cary, in an article in the Yale Law Journal, “Federalism and Corporate Law: Reflections Upon Delaware,” in which Carey argued for the imposition of national standards for corporate governance.

        In 2003, in response to reports that British supermarkets had cut the price of bananas, and by implication had squeezed revenues of banana-growing, developing nations, Alistair Smith, international co-coordinator of Banana Link, said “The British supermarkets are leading a race to the bottom. Jobs are being lost and producers are having to pay less attention to social and environmental agreements.”[5]

        The left-liberal economist Paul Krugman has argued that wages in developing countries have risen as a direct result of businesses outsourcing jobs from developed countries to developing countries.

        “ These improvements have not taken place because well-meaning people in the West have done anything to help — foreign aid, never large, has lately shrunk to virtually nothing. Nor is it the result of the benign policies of national governments, which are as callous and corrupt as ever. It is the indirect and unintended result of the actions of soulless multinationals and rapacious local entrepreneurs, whose only concern was to take advantage of the profit opportunities offered by cheap labor. It is not an edifying spectacle; but no matter how base the motives of those involved, the result has been to move hundreds of millions of people from abject poverty to something still awful but nonetheless significantly better.[6]

      • November 24, 2012 1:02 pm

        Krugman won his Nobel prize for work he did in the early 1990’s on the effectiveness of free trade. More recently, he decided to discredit any serious economic chops by become the NYT shill for liberal causes. The sad fact is that he has become a laughing stock among serious economists, many of whom like to take apart his lame attempts at political commentary posing as a serious economist.

        In fact, Arnold Kling slapped him around just today:

        See below:

        http://www.american.com/archive/2012/november/lenders-and-spenders-confronting-the-political-reality-of-debt

      • November 24, 2012 1:07 pm

        For your information, the sub-prime mortgage fiasco could not have occurred without, well sub-prime mortgage initiatives, largely pushed Congressional liberals (B. Frank et. al.). Do you think any bank would risk its own dough writing SPM’s without the backing/pushing of risky debt to risky borrowers. This is a perfect example of why government needs to keeps its nose out of these kinds of issues.

        When people have their own money at risk, they are well, more careful about who they lend to.

        Gretchen Morgenstern, Thomas Sowell, and others have written extensively as to the government’s role as a precipitator of the SPM fiasco.

      • November 25, 2012 3:10 am

        TNSGW;

        Once again you mangle facts and data and cherry pick crap data.

        Calling tax competition a race to the bottom presumes that high taxes are good. That is pure idiocy. With a tiny bit of economics and progressive values that is refutable. Taxes are the price we pay for what government delivers. Tax competition – like any other competition requires governments to efficiently deliver those services at the least cost. It works exactly like any other market. As the world becomes smaller and barriers collapse, the monopoly governments have enjoyed for much of human history collapse.

        Why should government be exempt from the requirement to deliver the greatest value at the least cost.

        Apparently being moderate requires inverting good and evil.

      • November 25, 2012 3:33 am

        Ian;

        as to you, Krugman and “globalization” – more idiocy.

        What is necescary to get you to look at the world around you ?

        Reductio ad absurdem.

        If “globalization” is bad, then so is nationalization, and the optimum would be everything should be produced locally – in you home.
        The argument that globalization is even close to only a small net positive, and only for poor nations is ignorant of the real world, ignorant of history, and ignorant of economics.

        Citing Krugman – particularly the modern Krugman is idiocy. Krugman is no longer an economist, he is a political hack and a pretty bad one at that. I am certain that If I wanted to go to the trouble I can find Krugman extolling the virtues of globalization in the past.

        When you read something do you ever bother to test it against the real world rather than whether it confirms your beliefs ?

        Standards of living across the world have improved dramatically over the past 3 decades. Nearly doubling. Absolutely the benefits of “globalisation” have been greatest for the least of the world – and in noting that you are just re-iterating the argument I hve been trying to drive home for years here.

        The prime beneficiaries of free markets are the POOREST.
        Globalization is just world-wide free markets.

        But those benefits are not restricted to the poor. What has raised the standard of living in the US over the past 3 decades ? The primary driving factor is shifting from the production of low value low skill products to high value high skill products. The US has grown from 25% of the worlds economy to 30+% AND the wealth of the US poor has increased BECAUSE they can buy more and more of those low value low skill products more cheaply from other nations.

        There is no economic “race to the bottom” it is a fallacy. They are not an example of “the prisoners dilema” because free people are not prisoners – they have more than two choices.

        I will happily agree that absent monetary inflation and economic regulation the price of nearly everything including labor will decline, that can only be accomplished by increasing productivity, which means that the price of labor will decline more slowly than the price of everything else and peoples standard of living will increase.

        That is not a race to the bottom, that is a race to a better world.

      • November 25, 2012 3:43 am

        TNSGW;

        What de-regulated subprime mortgage industry ?
        Does just saying something make it true ?
        The only financial deregulation in the past 3 decades was removing the Glass-Stegal provision prohibiting traditional banks from engaging in investment banking.

        Are you claiming that BoA failed because of its mergers and aquistions work ? Or Goldman Sachs brought on the financial crisis by offering free checking ?

        All the bad behavior you claim was legal 5 decades ago. It was not done because it was a bad idea. It became a good idea because of government regulation.

        There are only two credible thesis for the current mess:

        The government altered incentives to push lenders to make riskier loans.
        The Federal reserve kept interest rates too low for too long.

        I think both are true. Regardless, probably 90% of economists subscribe to one or the other.

        The deregulation meme is just foundationless progressive stupidity that you have bought hook line and sinker.

    • November 25, 2012 2:48 am

      Wilma;

      Jeff and Jim decide that Joe needs help, so they rob john. Is that moral ?
      Does it somehow become moral when it is 100m Jeff’s and Jim’s.

      If you want to do something for someone else – do it, If you want me to – persuade me.
      But forcing someone else to do something you think is good is not moral, it is not amoral, it is immoral.

      Capitolism and free markets are a convenient fiction. there is no such thing a distinct economic life. We produce to get what we need and want – whatever that may be. Economic needs occupy only two of seven of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs yet statisfying any of those needs on the remaining levels can not be accomplished without atleast some economic activity.

      When you regulate the market, you are limiting freedom, and you are impairing our ability to satisfy such needs, as love, friendship, personal growth, self-awareness, …..

      There is no such thing as economic liberty distinct from any other form of freedom.

      The wage argument is trivial to refute – reductio ad absurdum – if there is some minimum wage that is good why isn’t higher better ? Why not set the minimum wage to $100/hr ?

      Wages are paid from what is produced. If the value of what is produced is insufficient to support a particular wage – no minimum wage will change that. All that will occur is production will decline, standard of living will decline. People will be worse off, not better.

      Nearly 80% of economists agree that a minimum wage is a bad idea – because there is lots of data to support that.

      http://www.realclearmarkets.com/charts/10_things_economists_believe-44.html

      It does not assure anyone a “living wage” it just deprives people of jobs, and opportunities.

      Once again you have inverted morality, you have made good bad and bad good.

      The non-violent actions of free people are never immoral.
      A person offering another work for $2/hr or $2/day is not evil. They are providing an opportunity – if no one thinks it is good, then no one needs accept.

      There is no such thing as a “race to the bottom”. This is just luddite idiocy.
      Need we all go out and burn looms because they make it possible for fewer people to produce more ? A less expensive product means more people can afford it, and the primary benefits of inexpensive goods are those at the bottom. In a truly free market, involuntary unemployment is always negligible – there is always a productive use for labor at some wage. In a truly free market, productivity inexorably increases, wages decrease, BUT prices decrease faster. Real free markets are deflationary. Even the quasi free market we have today is fundamentally deflationary – atleast in those parts that are somewhat free. Most everything you buy costs less and is better today than 3 decades ago. Many things cost less without adjusting for inflation. Today’s poor have twice the real wealth of those 3 decades ago. Wages may have remained flat but most prices have declined. The standard of living for everyone – especially the poor has increased.

      Your “race to the bottom” is actually a race to a better world for all of us.
      You are deluded into believing that money is wealth – it is not. It is at best a poor tool for measuring value.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 25, 2012 1:04 pm

        asmith..Do you beleive that all regulation is bad, or just some regulation?

        Would it be OK to have work conditions like those we hear about in China? (I say hear about because I have not personally witnessed those conditions)

        Is there a place for environmental regulations such as polutants being discharged into rivers, air, etc?

        AI believe there is a time and place for regulations, but the regulations we have now are having a negative impact on our nation.

        Remeber, the regulations we get are being divised by a group of people that are usually lifer employees of a government agency that may or may not have a direct education in the area they are trying to regulate. That may be why we get so much bad regulation and so much regulation (Job security)

  116. TNSGW permalink
    November 24, 2012 10:35 am

    A short excerpt from an excellent and fascinating book review by “Nobel prize in economics” winner Robert M. Solow. He covers a lot of ground in four pages on the fallacies of the right-wing version of economics.

    http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/110196/hayek-friedman-and-the-illusions-conservative-economics?page=0,0

    JUST AS I WAS wondering how to start this review, along came the Sunday New York Times Magazine with a short article by Adam Davidson with the title “Made in Austria: Will Friedrich von Hayek be the Tea Party’s Karl Marx?” One Tea Party activist reported that his group’s goal is to fill Congress with Hayekians. This project is unlikely to go smoothly if the price of admission includes an extensive reading of Hayek’s writings. As Davidson remarks, some of Hayek’s ideas would not go down well at all with the American far right: among them is a willingness to entertain a national health care program, and even a state-provided basic income for the poor.

    The source of confusion here is that there was a Good Hayek and a Bad Hayek. The Good Hayek was a serious scholar who was particularly interested in the role of knowledge in the economy (and in the rest of society). Since knowledge—about technological possibilities, about citizens’ preferences, about the interconnections of these, about still more—is inevitably and thoroughly decentralized, the centralization of decisions is bound to generate errors and then fail to correct them. The consequences for society can be calamitous, as the history of central planning confirms. That is where markets come in. All economists know that a system of competitive markets is a remarkably efficient way to aggregate all that knowledge while preserving decentralization.

    But the Good Hayek also knew that unrestricted laissez-faire is unworkable. It has serious defects: successful actors reach for monopoly power, and some of them succeed in grasping it; better-informed actors can exploit the relatively ignorant, creating an inefficiency in the process; the resulting distribution of income may be grossly unequal and widely perceived as intolerably unfair; industrial market economies have been vulnerable to excessively long episodes of unemployment and underutilized capacity, not accidentally but intrinsically; environmental damage is encouraged as a way of reducing private costs—the list is long. Half of Angus Burgin’s book is about the Good Hayek’s attempts to formulate and to propagate a modified version of laissez-faire that would work better and meet his standards for a liberal society. (Hayek and his friends were never able to settle on a name for this kind of society: “liberal” in the European tradition was associated with bad old Manchester liberalism, and neither “neo-liberal” nor “libertarian” seemed to be satisfactory.)

    The Bad Hayek emerged when he aimed to convert a wider public. Then, as often happens, he tended to overreach, and to suggest more than he had legitimately argued. The Road to Serfdom was a popular success but was not a good book. Leaving aside the irrelevant extremes, or even including them, it would be perverse to read the history, as of 1944 or as of now, as suggesting that the standard regulatory interventions in the economy have any inherent tendency to snowball into “serfdom.” The correlations often run the other way. Sixty-five years later, Hayek’s implicit prediction is a failure, rather like Marx’s forecast of the coming “immiserization of the working class.”

    • November 24, 2012 12:09 pm

      If only this were true. The fact is that Hayek directly points out that the only situations wherein a monopoly can exist in the long run is by government fiat. He suggests that in a few rare cases (utilities for example) this may be the optimal solution. However, he goes on to point out that one of the main reasons to restrict government power is exactly because they rule makers are easily co-opted by industry.

      So, in fact, by promoting regulation, restrict competition and promote monopoly. Indeed, this is observable all over the US.

      How do I know all this? Well, it just so happens that unlike you, i have actually read Hayek’s work. I suggest you do the same instead of puppeting liberal Solow’s tripe.

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 24, 2012 12:47 pm

        Yes, reading is great. Understanding, that is even better. Objectivity is a difficult matter, even for persons who are not true believers in some principle, especially when dealing with a hugely complex subject such as the life time of writings and opinions of Hayek.

        Since you are a fellow who is willing to flatly assert that there is absolutely no evidence to even suggest that a race to the bottom can exist I believe I am on solid ground when I say that your ability to make an objective assessment is less good than that of a Nobel prize winner, be he liberal or otherwise.

        I’m a biologist, a translator, a musician. I know it seems like I have a world of free time here, but actually I have to take a few short cuts on economics rather than reading all of the primary literature from either side. I thank Solow for helping me with that.

      • November 24, 2012 1:20 pm

        In some areas, short cuts are dangerous. I suggest you think for yourself. Again, there is no serious data, observations, nor even logic to suggest that free markets and capitalism tends to promote a race to the bottom. If you would like to some more recent proof, Google the subject specific to the nations that used to belong to the former Soviet Union. Those that has prospered have moved far away from the old Soviet model and opened up markets, removed regulations and encouraged free economic development and private ownership of property.

        That said, don’t mistake my position. Free markets (real free markets) and capitalism produce the best overall economic outcomes but they don’t produce Nirvana. This is what pisses off the libs. They really believe. that Nirvana is reachable if only the big policy brains can do enough planning and regulation.

        Good luck with that. For more, read “A Conflict of Visions” by Thomas Sowell. Brilliant stuff.

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 24, 2012 1:56 pm

        When, Oh When will I come to my senses, think for myself and accept right wing economic dogma (or left wing)?

        Seriously, tens of thousands of people with excellent minds have given their lives to the study of the question of regulation vs. “free market” and there has been no knock-out blow delivered, contrary to what the most fanatical members of either side believe. It is not possible to truly think for oneself in economics, the battle has been waged by giants for an eternity and a lifetime of scholarship is required to even understand the positions of the sides. I prefer to do the many interesting and pleasurable things I do then add my name to the list of those who devote nearly every instant of their life to thinking about that question. It does not seem to make those that do it happy people or good company.

        I know enough about economics, and I will bet I know more than 90% of Americans (damn me with faint praise) about basic economics to be sure that regulation is necessary and often is beneficial. That is the position of the vast majority of economists, its good enough for me and its pretty damn obvious when I make my own small attempt to think for myself..

        You are always so comically sure you are winning, I remember your confident prediction that Romney would win going away and the Senate would fall. Overconfidence is destroying your credibility.

        I have very little interest in the ideas of the horses ass Krugman for exactly the same reason, his total lack of objectivity, that I have no interest in your ideas, although his faults and failures are at a much higher level of the game.

      • November 24, 2012 2:42 pm

        And yet, here you are, trying to win the day. I guess you are confused, say one thing, do another.

        Hmmm!

        BTW-I have NEVER said that there is no place for regulation of economic behavior. I favor less, rather than more. I think you added the rest.

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 24, 2012 3:01 pm

        Which pure dogma am I defending?

        As to the exceptions to your dislike of regulation, well, Dave says much too much and you much too little. Its not the reader’s fault if you do not choose to really fill in the details and instead merely state your disapproval of regulation at every opportunity. If you go back and look at your output you may see that its not hard to believe that you are opposed in principle to it.

      • November 24, 2012 3:15 pm

        I can’t help it if you can’t read what I write nor that Dave and I can’t find a happy medium to suit your taste. The fact is that regulation is necessary in some activities and I have provided several examples. Do you want an exhaustive list and why would you need it even if one can be provided?

        That said, the US government is a veritable regulation factory and it makes sense in this regard. If you create a professional class of “regulators” they will certainly attempt to do their jobs and do them well, forever. Thus, we have a self-perptuating profession that goes hog wild in order to insure its survival. Shoot, I would do the same if I were a regulator. Pure self-interest at work.

        If the European Union isn’t an example of that (or Wash DC) I don’t know what is.

        Now, don’t blame me, I didn’t create the system. I am just pointing out that this is the deal we are facing.

        Now, you can misconstrue what I say so that you can “win.”

        What else is new?

      • November 25, 2012 11:14 am

        TNSGW;

        “The Road to serfdom” is about 140 pages long – longer than an NYT editorial, but not so long as to be unreadable. Further the passages dealing with the safety-net are no more than a few paragraphs – shorter than a NYT editorial.

        If you have so little time – try reading a single chapter, most are no longer than an NYT editorial.

        Further Bastiat is much shorter, easier to read, and even humorous.

        Regardless, expounding on what someone says, someone else says, someone else wrote, is just lunacy.

        i can understand that you choose not to spend your time reading Hayek but then dont go ranting about Hayek from 4th party sources.

      • November 25, 2012 11:57 am

        Hayek is a chore, but I assume much of that is tied to his book having to be translated to English. I like Bastiat (obviously) for as you have said, he is more terse.

    • November 25, 2012 11:02 am

      NYT and other liberal rags constantly print editorials by idiots completely misunderstanding the ideas of scholars they have not even bothered to read.
      Both Hayek and Friedman at one point or another accepted some form of government social safetynet – as something that they had decided was not worth fighting over, not as some laudable benefit of government. Neither would have the slightest qualms dismantling the new deal of great society if they had believed that was possible – and that is crystal clear to anyone who has ever read either. When either raised those issues at all it was primarily to argue for constructing them in the least evil way possible, not offering them as some positive good.

      That some NYT pundit failed to grasp that makes it clear to anyone that has read Hayek, they the pundit has not. Unfortunately the vast majority of NYT readers as well as TNM posters have never actually read Hayek – or anything significant by any other economists.

      Hayek never attempted to construct a modified form of Laissez Faire, but he frequently argued that if government must do something stupid, it should do so in the least damaging way possible.

      There was no “good Hayek” and “Bad Hayek” – actually read Hayek – read to portions that the author claims are in conflict. You would have to distort the clear meaning of the words to find them in actual conflict with the rest of what he wrote.

      The right may end up dis-satisified with Hayek or Friedman as their standard bearers – but not for the idiotic reasons you gleaned from the NYT.

      Hayek and Friedman argued for the greatest individual freedom possible.

      They did not argue for conservative government, but for limited government and that is where they will eventually run afoul of the Tea Party.

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 25, 2012 11:32 am

        Dave, After years of our discussion I have memorized your point of view on everything. So, I have a filter now, a dedicated e-mail just for receiving TNM posts and I read the ones by those whose objectivity gives them credibility, well some others too I’ll admit, but that is my aim, to read the actual moderate posts. I see a few words of yours here and there as I push the next button, so I guess I will continue to read about 0.5 of what you write. This caught me eye:

        “NYT and other liberal rags constantly print editorials by idiots completely misunderstanding the ideas of scholars they have not even bothered to read.”

        Solow has an economics “Nobel Prize,” you are an obscure code writer. Ranting about idiots and rags, oh the irony. He was a personal friend of Friedman, by the way.

        Here is a quote I find funny

        “Everything reminds Milton Friedman of the money supply. Everything reminds me of sex, but I try to keep it out of my papers.”

        Dave for gods sake don’t work yourself up into a lather writing long replies to me, I am not reading them. If you write a single pithy sentence I will see it before I push the next button in my e-mail, but more than that… just a waste of your energy.

      • November 25, 2012 11:55 am

        Agreed, I am reading Hayek as we speak and it is clear the NYT pundit did not read and/or comprehend.

        That said, what does the NYT need for facts anyway?

  117. November 24, 2012 10:40 am

    I am now a couple of weeks out from some major surgery that I had (sorry, Ian, nothing life-threatening), and my physical and mental strength has recovered sufficiently to resume commenting ;) I appreciate that Ian was willing to acknowledge that, in fact, he truly believes that he is entitled to be rude and offensive online to someone that he does not “know” and whose ideas threaten his world view – it is childish, to be sure, but it does say something about his willingness to compete in the arena of ideas, as opposed to simply the cyber-sandbox of name-calling. I will assume that, whenever he is unwilling – or unable – to argue his point, he will simply attack.

    Ok, so all the way back to Rick’s original post (is it me, or does the election already seem ages ago?) with which I originally disagreed, at least with the idea that our polarization had reached 1860 levels. My bad, Rick, you may be right, after all. Even this comments section has become hostile and polarized over issues that we once discussed civilly. Over the course of time, I think I have both agreed and disagreed- on issues – with every single regular commenter here….yet now I find myself placed on “Team X,” labeled as a libertarian (which I am not, despite agreeing with some libertarian positions), an extremist, a religious right-winger (the most bizarre of all, since I am not at all religious and generally oppose everything that the “religious right” fights for) or an old-fashioned Republican bitch, rooting for the rich people to beat up on the poor.

    And this kind of team mentality seems completely oriented toward winning arguments, as opposed to solving problems. I wonder if Rick’s appeal that we find bridge-building opportunities is hopeless, or has merely fallen on deaf ears. I have seen a flicker of agreement on education, at least in the sense that we all agree that the current system sucks. Is that it? Ron and Pat have suggested some qualified proposals on jobs programs, and Dave and Rich have made some pretty strong arguments about the negative unintended consequences of such….I find myself wishing that we could stick onto a subject long enough and calmly enough to get past the level of who’s right or wrong, and start talking about serious compromises that might actually do some good.

    I know, I know…Rodney King is dead. But, seriously? No common ground?

    • November 24, 2012 11:01 am

      By the way, Rick, I am starting to agree with you on Grover Norquist’s take-no-prisoners position on the fiscal cliff negotiations….it’s the win/lose mentality on steroids.

      • November 25, 2012 11:22 am

        In general I agree with Norquist – however I will part company with him as he opposes the elimination of special preferences and subsidies as doing so essentially is an increase in taxes.

        While he is logically correct, and I oppose tax increases, I oppose government bribery even more.

        My objective is to shrink government – reducing taxes is a result not the prime objective, to reduce its power and most anything that accomplishes that is good.

      • November 25, 2012 11:58 am

        I would agree with this. How can one defend subsidies?

  118. TNSGW permalink
    November 24, 2012 11:18 am

    Oh God, here come too many of my words.

    My rudeness Priscilla seems to have consisted of observing that the clique of RP. ASmith, Bastiat, and yourself are highly conservative and, with the exception of Asmith, highly partisan GOP supporters. Its OK, Priscilla for you to jump on a new liberal poster and immediately and sarcastically note the she had given the Dem talking points after reading 1 post but its not OK for my to note the same after reading thousands of posts from the conservative wing here claiming, among other offensive rot, that the election results prove that the electorate has become dominated by idiots and slackers (RP), that environmentalists are killers that should “prey for a forgiving god” (Asmith) wishes that the Obama-Biden plane will crash, (Bastiat), or the delusion that the GOP, most of whom only seem to have discovered the existence of latino voters at 11:30 p.m. on Nov 6, truly has their best interests in mind, while the cynical dem party only wants their votes… And on and on while actual moderates are leaving one after the other and saying that they cannot take the character of the right-wing echo chamber here. After a week of listening to GOP partisans say such things I had had it, and said what I perhaps should have said on Nov 7, that the GOP richly earning is defeat. Let me reiterate that.

    I am glad you have recovered well, really, but you should expect that when you post the daily partisan GOP talking points again, Benghazi or whatever, I will note it, as you did to that liberal poster who you jumped on and chased away after one post. Moderates do not cede the right of free speech to you worked up partisans.

    You have an enormous double standard of internet decency Priscilla, when you finally take note of the many crazy rude things you good buddy Bastiat posts, or the constant over he top malice towards anything connected to liberals or democrats from Asmith, then you will have earned the credibility to complain abut me. Until then I have no sympathy for your one sided idea of nice behavior. Your group has posted countless insults towards anything left of center and rarely if ever conceded any virtues there. And the opposite for right of center. Gosh, how dare I be so rude as to call you guys partisan conservatives. Old wisdom: If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, its a duck! Y’all are exactly what I’ve said you are, I do not understand why you are not prouder of it, that is the mystery.

    The Barnham and Bailey Circus once had an exhibit called the Happy Family: A lion, a tiger and a lamb all sharing one cage peacefully. PT stated that it was a very popular exhibit and that they intended to keep it “as long as the supply of Lambs holds out.”

    Partisans of both sides think that moderates are lambs who have surrendered their right to have a backbone. No thanks, I think I will keep mine!

    • November 24, 2012 12:21 pm

      My goodness we are in a bit of a mood today!

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 24, 2012 12:38 pm

        Probably not quite as bad as the one you have been in for the last 4 years that leads you to wish for the POTUS to die in a plane crash.

      • November 24, 2012 1:11 pm

        I am not picky.. A heart attack is preferable as it would not require anyone else to perish.

        See, it is the holiday season and I am in a generous mood.

    • November 24, 2012 2:50 pm

      Ian, I think that the entire point of my comment was that I do not have “a group.”

      For whatever reason, you cannot or will not read my comments with an open mind to what I say. I agree with Rick that a cease-fire between us would be helpful….for one thing, it would not bore and annoy the daylights out of everyone else who has to read the sniping. For another, it might make it possible for both of us to read the content of each other’s comments.

      I doubt that we will agree in theory on many things- but, as Rick points out, we should not have to justify ourselves personally when we disagree. Nor should you consider me accountable for anything that Rich says, whether I agree with him or not….I find it mildly amusing that I should be personally insulted as an extreme partisan because you think that I should insult someone else as such, in order to prove my moderate street cred or something.

      Anyway, by all means keep your backbone, Ian. I admire your willingness to go to the mat…I just think that you often go there too quickly. Ceasefire declared on my end- I would like to discuss other things.

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 24, 2012 3:18 pm

        I would be happy to just get along but in the past if I say the words “hyper” or “extreme” to one of you, the others rush in in defense, sorry but you guys are thick as thieves, its a classic good cop–bad cop routine. But let one of you have at me or anything left of center even in the most outrageous way, and its dead silence from the ethics committee. Either do not have at me for my transgressions or do have at each other when you cross the standard you set for me, but I’m tired of being ganged up on and tut-tuted for stuff that is mild by comparison to what I have to listen to. Have one standard for decency or it will be a very temporary truce.

        I can take your posts on their own, Priscilla, but the gang of four, no, its intolerable, and not just to me. I don’t think you can find anyone here more moderate that AMAC and he was explicit as to why he left. Fix that, guys, please. That is the bargain I am willing to agree to.

      • November 24, 2012 3:45 pm

        Maybe we all just disagree with you? Why does that disturb or surprise you? Do you always need acceptance for your points of view? After all, its just words and it really is no big deal.

        If you just want agreement, find another blog, perhaps on the NY Times.

      • November 24, 2012 3:47 pm

        Well, then stop using the words “hyper” and “extreme” to describe fairly mainstrean arguments with which you disagree. It is not as if anyone here is advocating revolution, or anything even close. And, as far as AMAC is concerned, he is very capable of speaking for himself. My understanding was that he was sick of the anti-Obama talk after the election and decided to take a break. I expect and hope to see him back – he has a unique perspective on things. But if you are suggesting that no one else here can disagree with anyone that you agree with, well I don’t see that happening.

        Look, I have very close friends who are far to the left of you and with whom I have had very civil political debates. It’s possible as long as you don’t make it personal. I agree with you that it is harder to do that online, but it can be done.

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 24, 2012 4:07 pm

        Priscilla, I don’t want a truce. In a truce, people take a breath and reload before going back at it again.

        What is needed here is a lasting peace, not a truce. To get that, something real has to be exchanged by both sides, otherwise its futile.

        You want to tell me what particular words I can say, but you have nothing at all to say about how the conservative/libertarian side behaves, carte blanche. Actually there is denial that there even is such a side. I do not get the idea that you have actually understood one real point I have made or find anything to offer me except the illusion of a truce based really on no change in position or understanding. Offer me something better or lasting Peace is not going to be the outcome.

        Apply the same standard of behavior to everyone here or do not pretend to have a standard, otherwise the standard is just a transparent device to get this little world to look the way you want it to.

      • November 24, 2012 4:13 pm

        Geez Louise, what is that we are allowed to say? We LOVE your point of view, it is wonderful. Now, do you feel better?

    • November 25, 2012 11:27 pm

      Yes. Ian we are all ganged up against you. It is an ultra-extreme hyper falling off the right edge of the world plot to make you apoplectic.

      The only person here with a legitmate role as TNM censor is rick. Therefore it can not be a “double standard” if the rest of us only note those comments that offend us personally.
      It is not even a “double standard” if we only note SOME of the comments that offend us.

      Neither Pearows nor I are the TNM civility police – we are free – as are you, to take offence or not as we please, without being hypocritical.

      I was not happy with Bastiat’s “libtard” comment and I thought I expressed that.
      I do not frequent many real left and right wing blogs specifically because there is too much of that type of comment.

      But as best as I could tell Bastiat’s venom was targeted at an ideology – liberals, rather than at specific posters to this blog. My primary offense is to the “tard” portion.

      You have the right to malign everyone else, so I guess Bastiat is free to malign liberals as a group.

  119. November 24, 2012 12:31 pm

    To me, the irony of the call for more government regulation and planning is simply delightful. As the evidence reveals itself to us everyday that regulating economic activity will always fail (sub-optimize) there is always a call for more.

    To wit: see the example of one of the more grandiose pipe dreams: the Euro even as it disintegrates, the call is for more of the same. You have go to love people, just like rats, going down the same tunnel.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-23/eu-budget-summit-fails-in-echo-of-debt-crisis-stalemate.html

  120. November 24, 2012 2:11 pm

    We’re fast approaching 500 comments here — we’ve already blown away the old record. (Of course, the 17-day lull since my last column might have something to do with that.)

    Anyway, I thought I’d better drop in on you guys instead of just reading the individual comments in my e-mail alerts. I’ve been holding back on my next column because I’ve been up to my neck in freelance projects (not necessarily a bad thing, though this is more interesting by far). For my next column I was going to write about building bridges, but maybe I’d better focus on repairing the ones we have.

    I wish Ian and Priscilla would call a cease-fire. Here we have two conscientious people who should have a lot in common. Both are smart, literate, witty and high-spirited. Neither is an extremist; both want what they believe is best for the country. But our habit of pinning labels on everyone is going to be our undoing (here and in the nation as a whole).

    I think it all boils down to our own uncertainty about where we stand in relation to our neighbors. We detect heretical opinions coming from people we thought were LIKE US, and we let the accusations start flying. Are they defecting to the enemy? Am I shifting my beliefs without even realizing it? It makes us nervous.

    Keats probably had it right when he wrote to a friend, “O for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts!” I remember thinking he was a wimp when I first read that quote back in college, but I begin to see his point. Life is a glorious spectacle, but so many of us fritter it away with squabbles over ideas. Think of the millions who have died over the centuries because they had a slightly different conception than their neighbors of an unknowable God.

    Nobody is a heretic here. We just believe what we believe, and we should be able to accept our neighbors’ beliefs as long as they’re good people with good intentions. When you come down to it, it’s really just a matter of whether you prefer to pull your toilet paper over or under the roll. End of sermon. (I wonder how many preachers have used the toilet paper analogy.)

    • November 24, 2012 2:22 pm

      Well, on second thought, maybe political differences run a little deeper than toilet paper. (And how would a moderate pull toilet paper? That’s one I’ll have to ponder.) But there’s still no reason for decent people to hurl spears at each other over political differences. Tolerance!

      I’m heading up to my time-share in the Poconos for the next five days. (Having a time-share can be a burden… you actually have to use the damn things.) Anyway, I’ll see if I can write you a good column while I’m up there.

    • TNSGW permalink
      November 24, 2012 2:29 pm

      Rick Today I have been more or less accused of perhaps wishing death on Priscilla, well perhaps that was sort of a joke, but you know, sort of not really either.

      And Bastiat has once again made his wish that Obama will die explicit (and no reaction from Priscilla).

      I’m am afraid that I’m not being much help here. But I am not going to surrender to this.

      You have a beautiful dream that people with diverse political views can come together on TNM.

      It is my long term observation that people with opposing political views at best talk past each other and at worst hurl abuse. Minds are not changing and as to compromise, I really don’t want to compromise with the worst of the right wing stuff that gets posted here, I want to defeat it, politically, with votes. Environmentalists are killers? I should compromise and admit that most of us are merely rapists and armed robbers? No thanks, there is not a compromise to be had with such points of view, they need to be stopped, that is that.

      • November 24, 2012 2:54 pm

        Your last line reveals all that we already knew. You would love to avoid or stifle opinions that do not sync with your own, On the other hand, I am perfectly happy to let you have your own views, as that is what libertarians do. What you cannot do is take my property or life, as they are mine. That is the beauty of classic liberalism. Think whatever you want, as long as you kind of leave me alone to run my daily affairs.

        For the record, I never made one comment about “environmentalists” whoever they are (I will have to confess to constantly funding ASPCA, the Wildlife Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy).

        As for me wishing Obama dead, I plead guilty. In a free society, one can wish one dead but not actually advocate his killing or actually kill him. So, you will have to be content that on the latter two counts, I am innocent.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 24, 2012 3:08 pm

        jbastiat..You state: “What you cannot do is take my property or life, as they are mine. That is the beauty of classic liberalism”.

        Please clarify. Are you saying liberalism accepts that your property is your own and can not be taken or liberalism believes your property can be taken from you?
        Thanks

      • November 24, 2012 3:19 pm

        Assuming I have taken care of my affairs, (paid my taxes etc) classic liberalism assumes that my property is mome to use or dispose of as I see fit. Clearly, SOME restrictions can apply but the notion of “collective” ownership of my property or person is clearly out of bounds if one holds the classic liberal view. In the extreme form of collectivism, one can equate it to slavery, with the master being the state.

        Make sense?

      • Ron P permalink
        November 24, 2012 3:38 pm

        Yes that makes sense, but is it not also the view by more liberal thinkers that the government has the right to take your property through eminent domain for the good of the collective citizens?

        http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/conservative-vs-liberal-beliefs/

        See Private Property ownership.
        And the discussion can be made that the government is paying people a fair market value, so that is not a “seizure” per se. However, there is a situation in my area that has been in the planning stages for over 15 years for a by-pass of interstate 40. People in the path of that road are unable to sell property (no one will buy it at fair market value due to the possibility that they will be moved in 5 years), the state will not buy it since they are out of money and keep delaying the project (three times already and now mid 2020’s is the completion date) and the state forbids the owners of businesses or homes to make improvements (not sure what the legal basis of that is). Some who have changed jobs and moved out of state let their property go into forclosure to get out from under it after they bought property in their new location.

        Under these circumstances, would this still meet what you believe to be “in bounds”, even though the more liberal point of view supports eminent domain laws?

      • November 24, 2012 3:53 pm

        Well, personally, I don’t support eminent domain laws per se. In concept they make sense but I have seen how they are manipulated to make sure city officials and developers get rich while leaving the taxpayers holding the bag on some dream project that fails to deliver in th end. Kind of like when cities construct stadiums for the professional sports teams.

        In this sense, I believe the SC erred big time in the Kelo case.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 24, 2012 2:55 pm

        “You have a beautiful dream that people with diverse political views can come together on TNM.”

        And we expect our elected leaders to “come together” and compromise?

      • November 25, 2012 11:39 pm

        Ian;

        Please examine your own posts and compare them to those you are calling out.

        I frequently malign progressives as a group – I think my deprecating remarks about progressive ideology are both true and earned. But my remarks are still negative.

        I try hard not to malign specific individuals.
        I call ideas idiotic – sometimes your ideas, but I try not to denigrate individual posters.

        Our laws on slander and libel rightfully distinguish between public figures and ordinary people.

        I hope that his god has reserved a special hell for rev. Fred Phelps. I would suspect that you share that view – but how is that any different from wishing tragedy befall Obama-Biden ?

        I value civility – and I have lashed out at your incivility. But I value free speech more.

    • November 24, 2012 2:48 pm

      Rick,

      I admire your willingness to try to bring us together. However, there is one divide that will likely never get crossed. In the classic liberal view, we “get along” largely because we give each other maximum freedom to be who we are, as long as I don’t intrude on your life, liberty, or property. In a sense, that is why classic liberalism appeals to many of us.in that if provides lost of choices as to the way we live, give, and take.

      Now, the collectivist/statist/planner view will have none of that. These conflicting visions are impossible to reconcile at the core. How can I find peace with those who would protect the “right to an abortion” while outlawing a “big gulp?” I find that really really strange. You must buy health insurance but you can’t buy a sugary drink. You can buy some marijuana, but not a very large Coke.

      If you have a way to resolve this I would love to hear it.

      • November 25, 2012 11:43 pm

        They do not even grasp the conflict.

        In his past half dozen posts Ian has managed to disagree with 8 of the top ten things nearly all economist agree on – and somehow we are the extremist nut jobs ?

  121. November 24, 2012 3:11 pm

    I replied to all of this earlier in direct response to Ian’s previous comment. To no avail- or, at least, no response – apparently. But my personal ceasefire still stands. I have had the same thought as Ron, vis a vis elected officials “getting along.” Although I think if they thought that there was a price to pay for not at least attempting to work together, we might see some movement.

    • November 25, 2012 11:51 pm

      Which do we want:

      peace an harmony as we head over the real fiscal cliff ?
      Or fighting like cats and dogs as we strive to avert it ?

      Worse still all but the most extreme of our elected masters haven’t a clue.

      Had Romney won in a landslide, and the GOP attained a filibuster proof majority in the senate I have little doubt the best outcome would have been to delay going over the real fiscal cliff slightly longer.

      Should we have compromised with Hitler, Tojo, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro ?

      I do not understand this fear of conflict and belief that compromise equals truth.

  122. Pat Riot permalink
    November 25, 2012 9:47 am

    Difficult perhaps, but not impossible, for significant concensus here on TNM. If we used the ‘ole Venn diagram, our circles would have gigantic intersections.We do want mostly the same RESULTS for ourselves and our country. It it more out at the edges that we disagree and it is mostly by degrees and definitions. The definition of “government” here is varied for example. Some reveal they see goverhment immediately as top-down trouble while others see it as bottom-up sanity, and this is not to be confused with Rick’s toilet paper analogy, but these fundamental differences in “definitions” spin the debates down the crapper.

    It would help to pull out things we already agree on, or can agree on, (a vibrant economy not shackled by over-regulation, better schools, private-sector companies not spraying our backyards with DDT or other carcingogens, etc) and then we might have leaner, more direct debates about how to get there, and the philosphies and definitions.

    The things we all agree on could be posted on a TNM “bulletin board” link. Then from those nearly unanimously desired Results, a priority list could be decided for how to get there. If it’s good, that priority list could end up being posted by hundreds of other websites, and we could print it as a pamphlet and nail it to the doors of…er, use magnets to hold them onto metal doors of our damaged Titanic. Regardless your level of confidence in the efficacy of this, it is better than only watching American Idol.

    As far as the philosphies that butt heads here, I have a suspicion that our various individual understandings of the concept of “self-interest,” and what self-interest leads to, is at the very crux of our differences.

    • November 25, 2012 10:28 am

      I think this is a nice try and applaud you for your efforts. However, this may be a bridge too far in this regard. At our core, many of us have very different values or at least a different order to our values. For example: I value financial security but place liberty far above financial security. Thus, I am not really tempted by a government promise to provide for my financial security and well being, In other words, I have a risk preference that makes me want to provide for myself and allow others to do the same and am very skeptical of placing my fate in the hands of the state unless I have to. In the case of national defense; yes. Social Security, not so much.

      At the same time, I am compassionate towards other people’s misery. However, I favor private charity for a whole host of reasons. In short, I am strongly individualistic or if you prefer strong adverse to collectivist solutions. This is both philosophical and pragmatic. I don’t see too many social program success stories to crow about (anyone want to live in Washington DC proper?).

      So, at the end of the day, how will I reconcile my structural or core beliefs with somebody, like say, Barry Obama (socialist to the core)?

      As I often say, I hope you are right but suspect you are not.

      Thanks Pat.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 25, 2012 12:41 pm

        No we’re not going to agree where to categorize all the many pieces, and in what order, but there is common ground–I’ve seen it written here. Everyone wants to reduce government spending, no? How about prosperity AND sustainability, can everyone agree on that as a general, common-sense, all-inclusive long-term goal?

      • Ron P permalink
        November 25, 2012 12:50 pm

        Pat…good try. How far one goes to debate or discuss an issue is questionable. Some just want to make obnoxious comments about liberals being xxx, conservatives are xxx, you are a xxx….whatever.

        The same thing that infects our political parties and government also is represented in a small way when discussing issues of importance on this site.

        But remember, there has been a rule by our parents, grandparents and ealier generations. If you want to keep peace, “do not discuss religion or politics”. One sure way on how to get into a fight.

      • November 25, 2012 12:58 pm

        Yes, I think we can try for some agreed upon outcomes and some pathways. That is worth the effort I think!

    • TNSGW permalink
      November 25, 2012 10:36 am

      Could there be a lasting peace, its possible but it has to based on a real understanding of what the problems are here. I’m all for trying, I’ve been through the illusion of a truce here many times and am not interested, its just an illusion.

      Making peace is like a free market transaction, a sale occurs only when all sides believe that what they get is better than what they give up.

      I’ll be away for a day or so, but shall return.

      What are my incentives to make peace after having been called every name in the book by our conservatives?

      The desire to honor Rick’s request.

      The desire to be credible by being reasonable.

      The desire to have an actual conversation about real things that concern, somehow, the topic of moderation without hardline sides that either talk past each other or hurl abuse or the wish that the POTUS will die.

      Find me a bargain that gets that done and I will sign a peace treaty.

      I’m not going to just make a quick bad bargain and suffer buyer’s remorse.

      • November 25, 2012 11:53 am

        Well, I as still OK about the POTUS dying (naturally, not by someone’s hand) but other than that. I will give it a go!

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 25, 2012 12:50 pm

        Ian, we only have to get some concensus among Moderates. If detractors and nay-sayers can’t at least agree on a limited, common sense framework for moving forward, we can leave them at the dock. They can shout out negativity but we will be on our way. (To what? To understanding what it means to be Moderate. To getting a Moderate message out there to break up the partisan log jam. You know, to save our skins from the ignorance of ideological extremism. That’s what!)

      • November 25, 2012 1:00 pm

        I am not so sure your premise is correct. After all, did the Moderates prevail in 1776? If they had, well, we would all have accents, and a Queen.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 25, 2012 5:04 pm

        Jbastiat..was it not moderation that provided us with the government we have today? It seems that on one hand there were founding fathers who emphasized moderation, deliberation, checks and balances, and the separation of powers. On the other hand, there were those that insisted that most of the power be given the people, with little power in the federal government.

        Seems like that is how we ended up with a constitution that provided the states with all the power and the federal government with less power unless given that power to it by the states.

        (Over 200 years, the feds have figured out how to avoid that article in the constitution, thus the mess we have today)

    • November 26, 2012 12:22 am

      Pat;

      There are many things we agree on.

      But the means used to achieve results matter.

      You and I likely have different ideas even on the items you listed ?

      I may be willing to tolerate greater risk in return for potentially higher rewards than you.
      I may be willing to eat red meat or spray DDT on my backyard.
      My idea of a good education and yours are likely not the same.

      The only world that actually works is one in which what we impose by force on others is limited only to the essential.

      You should be free to have your children educated anyway that you can accomplish – as should I.
      You should not have to tolerate someone else spraying your backyard with DDT or even H2O if that is what you wish. But I should be free to chose differently for myself.

      The only system that allows you the freedom to have things as you wish without forcing others to surrender their equal freedom to different choices, is government limited solely to the task of prohibiting others from using violence to abridge your rights and freedom.

      We agree on many things – but we don’t all agree on DDT, or the best way to educate, or … and even when we do agree on ends, we do not agree on means.

      An overwhelming majority of Americans supported healthcare reform when Pres. Obama was elected – and still do. But a Plurality want PPACA repealed, and a majority are unsatisfied with it.

      Agreeing that there is a problem is NOT the same as agreeing on a solution. It is not even the same as agreeing that government needs to solve the problem.

      That system that can impose the values you think we share, can impose any values on us all.

      The only system that can assure that most of us get as much as possible of what we want, is that system that forcibly imposes on us the least.

  123. November 25, 2012 12:05 pm

    Talk about missing the target, this is a perfect example of “faulty reasoning” when you start with a conclusion (we are all racist) and then fill in the “data.”

    Pretty sad what passes for journalism these days.

    http://prospect.org/article/rising-tide-2

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 25, 2012 1:16 pm

      jbastiat, fair question! Different situation. Did the revolutionaries have the Internet? Do we settle arguments with pistol duels? It’s a new world. Conquerers used to be lauded in the days of yore as great men. Now, thanks to cameras on battlefields, we have learned that war is despicable except as self-defense. The revolutions of the 21rst century need not be with bombs and bullets, though plenty of rampant ignorance to make that happen. As people set things up that are better, the old, less-desirable ways will crumble and pass away. We don’t need to attack the teacher’s unions. If new schools can out-teach them, then the best teachers in the old regime will defect to the new schools, and those protecting incompetence will either adapt or fade away.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 25, 2012 1:19 pm

        Just like electrons were all around cave men, a great future is all around and right in front of us, waiting for our understanding and our actions. Will we get it? Or will we go for a few more rounds of destruction?

      • November 25, 2012 2:24 pm

        Well, we don’t have emoticons, so I couldn’t put the smile in there and your point is well taken. That said, the battle of ideas is likely to bring about real costs. For example, in Chicago, we have human slaughter pretty much year around (murders). I could argue that this:

        A-did not occur before the “great society”

        B-is not related to gun control or its lack of thereof,

        C-might be a logical outcome of progressive principles.

        D-none or all of the above.

        just a thought!

      • November 26, 2012 12:36 am

        There were no camera’s in 1787 when the US constitution was adopted, by a people who thought war so despicable that their nation should not have a standing army and that self-defense was the only justification for war.

        We do need to attack the teachers unions – as they (not teachers) are the greatest obstacle to any possible change in our schools.
        Even unions must compete, they must prove their value, they must produce and change, and modern unions do not and therefore they barely exist outside the public sector where they enjoy political protection no different from the corporatists we all bemoan.
        Teachers Unions are the greatest enemy of exploring any alternatives besides throwing more money at teachers.

        Technology makes us more productive – it does not alter morality, or principles – except to the extent that it makes bad ones untenable.

  124. Pat Riot permalink
    November 25, 2012 1:36 pm

    Gates and Jobs didn’t have to ridicule or blame the typewriter for inefficiency. They just brought word processers to the market and the advantages were obvious. Make some good things happen and people will adopt them and copy them. I know the mass media has trained most Americans to see optimism as naive, and sarcasm and bitterness as intelligent, but that’s crazy (and I think it’s a form of crowd control, but no need to discuss conspiracy theories).

    • November 25, 2012 2:26 pm

      “They didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen!”

      -Barry Sotero aka the POTUS

  125. November 25, 2012 1:45 pm

    Pat, what is your definition of a moderate? Do you agree with Ian that I am an extremist, and, if so, I would be curious to understand why…. Also, I wonder about the role of compromise. In my view, compromise involves not only finding common ground (e.g. we need to reform education), but identifying principles and priorities that will guide a debate and focus on areas not only of possible agreement, but also on “must-haves,” regardless of agreement.

    My perception is that “breaking the partisan logjam” too often involves each side trying to get the other to cave on their “must haves,” as opposed to finding the common ground that exists. It is one thing to stand on principle, another to be obstructionist.

    My belief is that moderates can stand on principle without being obstructionist. The real test is whether or not they are open to finding common ground even through dense partisan weeds. I think that too often, moderates default – or are pressured – to accept the notion that compromise is not possible, when the truth is that it has never even been attempted.

    • November 25, 2012 2:27 pm

      If one assumes that you are a racist as its “first principles” it is pretty hard to find common ground.

      Witness the refrain about Susan Rice.

      • November 25, 2012 7:32 pm

        Well, the whole Susan Rice thing seems to me to be poor statesmanship AND poor politics. It’s all about her potentially becoming the next SecState – but even many Democrats have spoken out about her lack of diplomatic skill and her spotty – at best – performance as UN ambassador (missing important Security Council votes etc). I’m willing to accept that she was not given full and accurate info on Benghazi, but I would prefer a SecState who has a little bit more on the ball and less of a puppet. The racism thing is tiresome anyway – we’ve already had two black SecStates (one even named Rice) under Bush, so it should not even be an issue.

        I was thinking more about the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. Several top Republicans have said that they are willing to raise taxes on the rich through capping deductions, despite the fact that Grover Norquist says that he considers that a violation of the no new taxes pledge. So, there we have a significant offer on the table to raise taxes on the rich, with the negotiation being that the Dems give ground on entitlement reform.

        So, the “must have” on the GOP side is entitlement reform, and the “must have” on the Dem side is higher taxes (which they’re going to get one way or another, anyway, but let’s just go with this for sake of argument).

        Will we see movement on this, or will the “must haves” change now that a possible compromise has been offered? It SEEMS as if there may be common ground here, but will either or both sides just obstruct. I know what I’d like to see, but I that’s not what I would bet on.

  126. Pat Riot permalink
    November 25, 2012 1:47 pm

    And actually, it’s not optimism on my part, it’s resolve. Right now I think we’re doomed, so I’m trying to be a part of the solution.

    It’s like when I was a service manager for a builder and a new house was flooded. like up to the doorknobs in the basement flooded, and the homeowners were shrieking and out of their minds hysterical, and my team and I would just start with step 1 and then Step 2, and then in no time it was all fixed, with an upgrade to compensate them for the ordeal.

    • November 26, 2012 12:45 am

      Sometimes failure is necessary for progress to be made. Blacksmith’s and buggy makers are all but extinct – even our president grasps that as good.

      Way too many here have no ability to perceive the world as it is, rather than the gentle nudge that we have been going in the wrong direction that our current economic mess provided, they appear to need a forceful kick in the groin. It would be better if we could learn without failure, but one way or another we will learn.

      Further like your flooded building, failure need not be the end. More likely it is just the begining.

  127. Pat Riot permalink
    November 25, 2012 8:07 pm

    Priscilla, No, I have never considered you an extremist. I think you are a “conservative” if I have to use a label for the sake of discussion, but your posts are reasonable and show an examination of the issues.

    My definition of an extremist might be someone who is always pushing a strict agenda. Extremists have their minds made up. Like a religious extremist, say a Christian, alienating people by telling them they’re going to hell at a casual dinner party—so insulated within their worldview that they lose sight of the situation. Extremism involves an inability to step outside one’s belief system, or political party, to amend or curtail for the situation, and it can be dangerous.

    A Moderate, to me, is someone who is willing to examine an issue openly and honestly, regardless of party lines, regardless of whether they (the person) tend toward left or right. A Moderate can be passionate, zealous, even seemingly “extreme” at times if the situation calls for it, such as being very hawkish for strong and decisive military retaliation if the country is attacked, or pushing for funding for a particular program that has a strong track record despite a core belief that most programs are inefficient.

    Your belief that a moderate can stand on principle without being an obstructionist is an important aspect of it. There are more aspects, and my definitions above are lacking as it’s been a long day today, but I wanted to get back to you.

    • November 26, 2012 1:03 am

      Most everyone on TNM has their mind already made up and refuse to let facts get in the way.

      Moderation can be an extremist religion too – not just “seeming”.

      If most programs are inefficient – you need not be libertarian to seek to eliminate them or at the very least make them more efficient – BEFORE creating some new program.
      Every failed government program appeared to have a strong track record and a compelling justification.

      Nearly everyone wants government behind their endeavor. The CEO of BoA can argue compellingly for his vision of how government should serve the banking industry, Oliver Wendel Holmes argued compellingly for the sterilization of the mentally retarded, Margret Sanger sought more than a right to birth control, she wanted population control – particularly for the unfit and undesirable – by force if necessary.

      There is always someone to tell us that some government program is necessary, good, and effective. One need not be libertarian to start with deep skepticism and to err on the side of doing nothing.

    • TNSGW permalink
      November 26, 2012 9:37 am

      Priscilla, you asked a strange question, but the answer came out correctly in any case. You are a conservative, as I have said.

      I do not believe I have ever called you an extremist. If you can show me where I used the word extremist, which is a noun, towards you I will apologize in a heartbeat. Extremists to me are people with extreme ideas that act on them in a violent way, the Seattle rioters, right wing militias.

      The adjective extreme is a pretty blunt instrument, it has a very subjective meaning, but its no worse in this regard that liberal or conservative.

      I have used the word extreme as an adjective, because I am extremely tired of having TNM be tilted so far to the right side of center.

      You’ve used the word yourself many times, as in “the democrats are the more extreme party”, which you have stated, just like that, many times.

      Again, I am a moderate. What do political moderates hate? Extremes and partisanship. To try to remove the word from my vocabulary would be to shut down my ability to comment. If I cannot complain about ideas that are extreme on TNM then where can I do it? Its like going onto a conservative site and trying to insist that no one say the word liberal.

      You and Dave hate the very sound of the word and take turns defending each other from me and my supposed attempts to shut down your free speech. Well, this is the new moderate and I will do here what moderates do, complain about extreme ideas.

      I’ve said that I find much of what you write extremely partisan, e.g.,

      “I don’t know Rich….the law is the law and I am fully aware that the Democrat Party’s greater goal is to expand its constituency, as opposed to being humanitarian. I am in full agreement on this.”

      That comment I found to be completely offensive and utterly partisan, its the example that sticks out but there have been many.

      Between you and Rich and Dave and RP TNM has been skewed way too far to the right, so far that moderates leave.

      I’m not going to let that go.

      The common ground we can all find here, as Pat noted is that its immoral to leave our children a mountain of debt, its almost the only thing I can agree with the GOP on. But if the GOP is going to get anything done on debt they are going to have to deal with their extreme elements and their extreme commentary.

      • November 26, 2012 9:57 am

        On your last point, the Dems will have to deal with their own constituents, including illegal immigrants, welfare recipients, government employees, all forms of unions, all special interest groups who benefit from government action, funding, and intervention. It is a long list. Oh, yes, the Communist and Socialists parties, that endorse B. Obama for President. Oh, yes, and the 99% whack jobs. If you think the GOP has a monopoly on extremists, you are clearing not reading the news.

        So, even though I am not a fan of the GOP nor a member, I will suggest that you were to be truthful, the GOP has a lot less chits to repay in this discussion than the Dems. I was raised in a Dem household and I speak from direct experience. The Dems have always appealed to those who feel that life is unfair and the Dems are their party to make it right.

        Well, life is unfair, but politicians cannot solve that little problem.

        PS-I toned this down a bit so that you will not be offended by anything that I write. How am I doing. Don’t want to offend.

        PPS-It is funny. You guys go on about this Grover Norquist guy but tell me this: do you think there is no equivalent on the other side? Greez, give me a break.

        For every Grover wanting to limit taxes, there are 10 libs who want more from the government and to tax the rich!

      • TNSGW permalink
        November 26, 2012 10:59 am

        Were that true liberals would outnumber conservatives, instead of a 35% : 25% split the other way. Your view of the world is distorted.

        The few actual deadbeats mostly don’t vote by the way and unemployment is about 8%. Other citizens are either too old, too young or working. So, none of your numbers add up, at all,

        (And BTW every time I do reply to a certain wordy Libertarian I carefully go back and remove all my strongest language and frustrated insults before posting. Well, almost every time. It is a good habit.)

      • Ron P permalink
        November 26, 2012 12:00 pm

        TNSGW stated. ” But if the GOP is going to get anything done on debt they are going to have to deal with their extreme elements and their extreme commentary.”

        One might add:
        But if the Democrats are going to get anything done on debt they are going to have to deal with their extreme elements and their extreme commentary.

        On one hand we have the extreme right wing conservatives that will not accept any changes in tax rates even though that is required to reduce the deficits and on the other hand we have the Pelosi wing of the Democrats that will not accept any changes to entitlements even though that also is required to reduce the deficits.

        And one might ask, where do the moderates from both parties come into play on any deals reached?

      • November 26, 2012 11:21 pm

        Ian;

        You have called me an extremist repeatedly – have I advocated violence ? In fact haven’t I chastised the rest of you for advocating violence ?

        If the criteria for being an extremist is advocating violence then all progressives and most moderates here are extremists – you advocate taking by force from one and giving to another – that is violence.

        You toss around hate far too easily. I have no hate for the word moderate. I do think you abuse it by mis-defining it as congruent to the fallacy of moderation. Regardless I do not hate anyone, or any word.

        i am suspicious that people who rant about extremism and hate may need to look in the mirror.

        What is “partisan” ?
        I certainly do not agree with Republicans on everything. I do not think Priscilla does either. Does beleiving that Republicans are closer to fiscal sanity at the moment than democrats make me partisan ?
        By that logic isn’t Pres. Obama “partisan” ?

        You bandy loaded words without even thinking about what they mean.

        When you use terms like
        racist, extremist, ultra-conservative, partisan essentially the same way foul mouthed teenagers use curses you make them meaningless.
        You are actively seeking to be offended.
        You are also being worse than partisan – you are making dialog impossible. Anyone who does not agree without is “partisan”, “extremist”, ….

        You sir are no moderate.

      • November 26, 2012 11:33 pm

        We are not leaving our children a mountain of debt – we are well past that, the mountain is already here and it is our problem and growing larger by the second. Neither party is really interested in dealing with it. Nor am i particularly convinced that you or most of the so called “moderates” here are in the slightest serious about debt.

        Without leaving the left side of the political spectrum – we have a choice between slightly painful cuts to all those great society programs NOW or extremely painful cuts to them later.

        Once upon a time a saner Ian proposed real cuts to all spending by 1%/year across the board until the budget was balanced.

        Are you still prepared to stick to that – a proposal more conservative than anything either party is currently proposing ?

  128. TNSGW permalink
    November 26, 2012 9:49 am

    From John Avalon in the Daily Beast (and more welcome news I could hardly imagine.)

    Who’s afraid of Grover Norquist?

    Fewer and fewer Republicans, thankfully.
    In recent days, the declarations of independence from Norquist’s absolutist anti-tax pledge have been coming fast and furious.
    Add Southern Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham to the growing list, along with Reps. Peter King, Steve LaTourette and Scott Rigell.
    Chambliss kicked off the most recent outbreak of common sense by telling a Georgia TV station, “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.” He added, “If we do it (Norquist’s) way, then we’ll continue in debt.”

    On ABC’s “This Week,” Graham doubled down by saying, “I agree with Grover, we shouldn’t raise rates, but I think Grover is wrong when it comes to we can’t cap deductions and buy down debt. … I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.”
    King agreed with Chambliss on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying, “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. … For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed a declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed, and the economic situation is different.”
    And on CNN last weekend, LaTourette and Rigell told Ali Velshi that they thought the straitjacket pledge was an impediment to dealing with the deficit and the debt.
    This post-election outbreak of pragmatism is welcome and needed. These senators and congressmen are profiles in courage for speaking out against the stranglehold that one self-appointed activist and lobbyist has had on bipartisan governing.

    Norquist, who leads the conservative activist group Americans for Tax Reform, is both a colorful character and committed ideologue, infamous for sound bites like this: “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
    The signature item for Americans for Tax Reform is a pledge that commits signers to oppose any tax increases at all, for all time — not just tax rate increases, but any increases in tax revenue.
    News: Graham says he’d break no-tax ‘pledge’
    This distinction makes a real difference in the current deficit and debt deal negotiations. Going back to the Bowles-Simpson Commission, the obvious common ground for negotiations has been for Democrats to compromise on spending cuts and entitlement reform and Republicans to compromise on increased tax revenue. This can be done — as the Bowles-Simpson Commission demonstrated — by potentially even lowering some tax rates but closing loopholes to raise revenue. This is what’s known as a win-win.
    The biggest stumbling block for tea party conservatives has been Norquist, who says any new revenue violates the pledge and promises to invite a primary challenge to any member of Congress who puts revenues on the table. Given the number of safe seats carved up in the rigged system of redistricting, a primary challenge from the wings is what most members of Congress fear most. The result is gridlock: an inability to reason together and make a long-term deal for the good of the country.
    Norquist: Pledge not to me, to the people GOP turning on Norquist? Searching for compromise Pledging no new taxes
    It is an ironic problem in some ways: Tea party congressmen rose to power on a promise to deal with deficits and debt. Putting anti-tax absolutism ahead of that goal may play well with special interests, but it undercuts the ability to govern in the national interest. That’s what is at stake.
    These pronouncements from Chambliss, Graham & Co. put them in the company of party leaders like John Boehner, John McCain and Jeb Bush, who have publicly dismissed the pledge as a distraction from the business of governing.
    “I ran for office three times,” said Bush, who is already being discussed as a 2016 candidate. “The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor. I don’t believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people.”
    This pragmatic statement in the summer of 2012 helped break the fever of groupthink. Norquist called Bush’s comments an “insult.”
    In July in an opinion column in the New York Times, respected fiscal conservative Sen. Tom Coburn put Norquist’s pledge in perspective: “What unifies Republicans is not Mr. Norquist’s tortured definition of tax purity but the idea of a Reagan- or Kennedy-style tax reform that lowers rates and broadens the tax base by getting rid of loopholes and deductions.”
    Coburn’s refusal to pay an oath of fealty to the pledge resulted in a sniping war by Norquist. Most recently, Norquist displayed his distorted perspective by tweeting: “Barney Frank, Alger Hiss or Tom Coburn? who said this? ‘I’m all for the very wealthy paying more taxes’ ”
    Comparing Coburn to Hiss — a convicted traitor and KGB agent — was both ugly and revealing: This is what happens when partisan politics starts to look like a cult.
    The real fault line for Republicans is between Norquist-style radicals and Ronald Reagan, who presided over the bipartisan 1986 tax simplification deal by closing loopholes to raise revenues. As Reagan said at the ti