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Much Ado About Restrooms

April 29, 2016

transgender-bathroom1-1024x751

While our aging republic is setting itself up for the most regrettable choice of presidential candidates in its history, how are the American people occupying themselves? Watching TV, of course — especially the antics of Lena Dunham and other habitually naked and/or potty-mouthed pay-cable darlings. Rewarding Beyoncé for taking a baseball bat to multiple car windows in her latest video. Mourning the premature death of pop idol Prince, posthumously acclaimed by some experts as the greatest musician of all time. Roll over, Paganini.

They’re also in a tizzy over toilets — specifically the right of transgender folk to use facilities originally intended for the opposite biological sex. First the government of North Carolina stirred up a tempest by enacting legislation that curtailed those rights. Progressives were outraged; boycotts and acrimony ensued. Now Target has scandalized conservatives by launching a transgender-friendly bathroom policy in all its stores. A million traditionalists, led by the American Family Association, have promised to boycott the retail giant.

Restrooms, like just about everything else in our fractured red-blue nation, have suddenly become politicized. Colorful memes mocking one side or the other are popping up daily on my Facebook feed. Conservatives command us to stand guard while our wives and daughters attend to their necessities, while progressives caution us that the ones we need to guard against are the creepy Republicans peeking under the stalls.

The whole transgender category is a relatively recent addition to the cultural landscape; it used to be that someone who felt marooned in the wrong body had a sex-change operation to clarify his or her gender status. Witness travel writer James/Jan Morris, musician Walter/Wendy Carlos, celebrity scion Chastity/Chaz Bono. Surgery eliminated the ambiguity, and all was right with the world. Where gender was concerned, we were still operating on the binary system.

That’s history now, if we’re to accept the progressive perspective on the subject. (Since progressives almost always shape our future attitudes on social issues, we have little choice but to yield to their wisdom or be trodden under with fundamentalist Christians and other troglodytes.) Gender is no longer a superficial matter of genitals, chromosomes or outward appearance, they tell us; it’s certainly not in the eye of the beholder. A man who looks, sounds and acts like a man can still call himself a woman if he feels like one, and that person is entitled (except in Paleolithic states like North Carolina) to use the ladies’ room.

I really don’t mean to sound flippant. As a living relic of the binary gender era, I’m taking a while to adjust. (We Baby Boomers have had a deluge of social changes to deal with since the Eisenhower administration.) I can understand the existence of a gender spectrum: manly men and womanly women at one end, shading toward gender-fluid individuals and finally, at the opposite end, those who feel convinced that the gods stranded them in the wrong body.

I sympathize with anyone who feels maladjusted, including the unfortunate gender misfits. It has to be a vexing and difficult life. Yet I’m still not sure I understand the idea that gender is a subjective social construct… that a biologically intact man can be a woman — and be treated as a woman by society — as long as he believes he’s a woman. All in good time, I suppose.

The restroom controversy didn’t disturb me as much as it seemed to disturb our cultural conservatives. A male-to-female transgender person who uses a ladies’ room will be hidden inside a stall, since ladies’ rooms offer no other options. No cause for alarm there.

Similarly, a female-to-male transgender person will also occupy a stall — although that person might catch a fleeting glimpse of actual biological men relieving themselves at the communal pissoir. Again, hardly a cause for ruffled feathers. Men who’d rather not be glimpsed can also use a stall.

I’m a little more tentative when it comes to transgender people who still look like members of their biologically assigned sex. A lone woman washing up in a restroom has every right to be alarmed by a bearded individual bursting into her sanctuary. Most men would be startled, too, if a pixieish five-foot-tall human surprised them in mid-stream. Most likely these are exceptions, but they’re part of the strange future we’ll all be confronting.

Locker rooms and changing rooms are another story — I don’t think we can treat them as an automatic extension of the transgender restroom issue. (A true moderate is rarely all in favor or all against; we generally find ourselves drawing wobbly lines of demarcation between the acceptable and the unacceptable.) If I had a six-year-old daughter, I’d be livid if a biological male stripped down and paraded his man-parts in front of her. No exceptions, even if the biological male thinks he’s more feminine than Loretta Young.

If public changing areas are to be open to transgender people, they need to be made less public. In other words, build them with private stalls and private showers. This isn’t bigotry. Until we as a society endorse public nudity, it’s simple common sense.

But that raises a larger and more perplexing question: since when is common sense a guiding factor in contemporary life? Maybe I need to sit in front of a screen and learn to applaud as Beyoncé smashes those car windows. It’s art, isn’t it? It must be art if the critics say it is, just as that bearded person must be a woman if she insists she is. As Pope Francis famously said, Who am I to judge?

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

 

 

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723 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron P permalink
    April 30, 2016 12:00 am

    Living in NC and hearing day in and day out everyone from New York to California commenting on NC bathroom law has me perplexed. Well before the election last year, the Houston government passed a bathroom bill much the same as that passed in Charlotte NC. In the November election, Houston voters overwhelmingly overturned the ordinance. Little news and few shows were cancelled when this happened.

    I suspect there is much more to the NC uproar than just the ordinance itself. We have a GOP US Senator up for reelection, a Republican governor up for reelection, all the US house seats which the majority are GOP held seats and most of the state legislators, which both houses are GOP held.

    I have little doubt that all the negative news concerning this law is to drive up Democrat turnout this coming November. If it were not an election year, I suspect the same amount of news that we see concerning the Houston ordinance and the Mississippi law would be given to NC’s law. Had Charlotte handled the ordinance like Chapel Hill and other more liberal areas in the state, it would have been “continue to ignore the issue” and it “won’t be an issue”. But the democrats in charge in Charlotte found a way to stir the cesspool of political crap to make a stink smelled across the country.

    • April 30, 2016 8:33 am

      Ron, I wasn’t aware of the Houston (read Red State) ordinance that was overturned prior to the NC (read Purple State) one that has so disturbed our beloved icon Bruce Springsteen. Understanding the politics of news events really clarifies things, doesn’t it?

      • April 30, 2016 8:45 am

        Springsteen is from NJ. What else can you expect?

    • dhlii permalink
      June 1, 2016 5:37 pm

      You raise an issue that is little noted in this controversy, and often misrepresented.

      The Actual FACTS as I understand them is Charlotte has been angling to pass a TG restroom ordinance for years.

      They were repeatedly told by the State to leave well enough alone.

      NC is one of something like 29 States where there is no, or little local authority to enact this type of ordinance.

      For several years Charlotte left the status Quo alone.

      The Status Quo BTW was NOTHING. It was essentially quietly legal for anyone to use any restroom – though there was no clear RIGHT to do so. You could not get convicted of a crime unless you were doing something MORE than peeing in the restroom of the wrong gender – whatever that is.

      Charlotte eventually could not stand it anymore and acted.

      Businesses complained to the State House as the new rules were unclear.
      The new rules did not allow businesses to “conform” by adding or converting existing restrooms to unisex.

      The Legislature acted close to with a gun to its head.
      Th Charlotte ordinace was unconsitutional according to the NC constitution,
      but all kinds of businesses were going to get prosecuted for violating it.
      It was also unclear whether the Charlotte legislation applied to schools, and locker rooms and places besides ordinary public restrooms.

      The Legislature overwhelmingly passed legislation that like it or not killed the messy Charlotte ordinace and established rules that were not going to require massive numbers of public restrooms to be rebuilt and all kinds of people fined.
      The State law also explicitly – as I understand it allows for unisex restrooms.

      BTW Unisex restrooms are becoming increasingly common. They are also often called Family Restrooms. They are large separate facilities that address changing babies, provide excellent handicapped access, have excellent privacy, and can be locked – so when Mom takes Junior into the restroom there are no problems either way.

      As I understand it most Targets have these now – and my local one does.

      In the long run it is likely that separate Men’s and womens restrooms are going the way fo dinosaurs. But not tomorow. It took 50 years to get gay marraige. Transgendered people should not expect the everyone to change attitudes and to have our entire restroom infrastructure recreated overnight.

      I would further note that the rest of us have rights and values too – public restrooms for anyone are an actual right.

      I think Charlotte should have continued to leave well enough alone.
      I think the NC state government did what was approximately appropriate for the moment.
      I think that in the long run a better accomidation will be made for Transgendered people.
      But this is NOT an issue of rights – though the left seems to think that government can create rights out of thin air.

      I have no problem with Target having whatever policies it wishes – so long as those policies do not violate laws.
      I have no problem with those protesting or boycotting Target because of their policies.

      I think that municipalities and states (and the federal government) should stay out of bathroom and locker room politics.

      Let Businesses, churches, and other providers of public facilities work this out on their own.

      Target can not arrest you for your choice of restroom – or your displeasure that over they choices regarding restrooms.
      That sounds to me the way restroom (and many many other choices) should be resolved.

      Government is force – ANY choice government makes ultimately must be imposed by FORCE. Resisting government – results in jail, physical harm, even loss of life.
      Eric Garner died because he was unwilling to capitulate to a law barring selling lose cigarettes. Do we want to see people die over their choice of restrooms ? or over their displeasure at the choice of others ?

      We already have laws against CONDUCT – peeping toms, fondling children or others.
      If someone misbehaves in a restroom – their real or subjective gender identity is not relevant to the illegality of their action.

      So that is my .02 on this issue.

      I would note that libertarains do not have all the answers – I can not tell you what Target should do. I do not even know what I would tell them to do, were I an advisor, or CEO or …
      They have to work that out, according to their own values and moral compass.

      But we generally have the answers as to what government should do. And it is nearly always “stay out of matters that do not involve:
      The initiation of force or fraud against others
      Failure to keep agreements
      credible claims of actual harm against others”

      Everything else should be solved by individuals and voluntary groups, acting freely on their own and responsible for their actions.

      I would also note for Rick:

      I consider myself socially liberal.
      I think that means being willing to tolerate non-violent free choices of others that I may or may not agree with.
      It also means tolerating the intolerant – something neither the left, nor Rick seem to get.

      I am – or mostly thought I was a pretty plain normal guy.
      No fetishes, no exotic tastes, a don’t rock the boat guy happy with my world.

      I am nearly the only child of the 60’s I know that has never taken an illegal drug – not even Pot. Though at 58 with increasing joint pain and eye problems and newly enacted medical marijuana laws in my state, that is likely to change – except it wont be illegal.

      At the same time the internet has been a major eye opener. When I was young I had no clue what homosexuality even was. Trying to figure it out from readers digest and encyclopedia Britannica is a near fruitless task. I was closer to my father than my mother, according to everything I read that meant I was probably homosexual.

      Regardless this is a different era. You do not have to troll for book on greek and roman sculptures to view naked women – or men.
      Google will bring right to your laptop people doing things you never dreamed of.
      Sometimes those things are unbeleiveably revolting. Others they are oddly exciting.

      The point is what we need is freedom. If you are disgusted and reviled by someone elses life choices – that is OK. You are not obligated to accept any behavior anyone else engages in.
      But so long as it is voluntary and does not harm involuntary third parties, you may not use government to bar it.

      TransGendered – and the rest of the alphabet soup of choices (or not) need to take a pill.
      The rest of us are going to get there. Possibly kicking and screaming. But sooner than you think. In the mean time striking down LAWS that actually discriminate – is not the same as demanding laws that favor your wishes over those of others.
      And if someone else does not like you – you can not like them back. What you can not do is FORCE them to like or even accept you.

  2. April 30, 2016 8:30 am

    I just visited the local Target and told them I would be back when they changed their bathroom policy. Sure, I want to allow my six year old granddaughter to go into the Target rest room by herself.

    Ah, no.

    Nonsense, through and through. We used to shun perverts, now we worship them.

    • April 30, 2016 8:42 am

      First of all….really glad to see you back here, JB!!!

      I think that Rick has clearly identified at least one of the main issues for me on this bathroom thing, which is this – it seems that someone who wants to use the women’s restroom (isn’t it quaint that we still call it a “restroom”) should at least be able to pass for a woman. I’m sure that transgenders have been doing this for years, without incident.

      But the idea that all you have to do to use a gender restricted facility is to say that you think of yourself (maybe for that one day, or moment?) as a member of the designated gender is beyond ridiculous.

      What happens when trans species begin to demand their rights? Will we be putting biological humans in dog shelters and zoos? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-species_psychology

      • April 30, 2016 8:49 am

        This is a trend with no end in sight. I also think it is the end product of the
        “diversity” movement. All cultures are not equal and some are more effective than others.

        Of course, I can’t say that where I work, as this type of expression is not allowed at my University.

        We used to commit the insane. Now we ask them what they want in their coffee.

      • April 30, 2016 9:05 am

        I’ll tell you one thing….having stood in seemingly endless women’s room lines at theaters, sporting events and concerts, I am going to “think of myself as a man” during the next halftime/intermission!

      • April 30, 2016 9:55 am

        I hadn’t thought of that. Good one!

    • May 3, 2016 2:07 pm

      Yes, welcome back, JB! Good to see you and Priscilla bantering again. Your comment about diversity persuaded me that I should write a column on the topic. I’ve always found it odd that progressives seem to be selective when they endorse diversity: they embrace blacks, Hispanics (and all other people of color), plus Muslims and gays (no conflict there?). They’re not so welcoming when it comes to fundamentalist Christians, white males, working-class white ethnics, and Southerners.

      Back when my fiancée and I were looking for a house, she recommended Germantown, a historic neighborhood that’s over 90% black today. “It’s so diverse!” she said. I was incredulous. “Diverse? I didn’t see a white face the entire time we were driving around.” Well, that ignited one of our early spats. Granted, my response was blunt, and it made me sound like Archie Bunker, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how such a racially homogeneous neighborhood could be characterized as “diverse.” I concluded that, for progressives, it means “lots of the kind of minorities we like.”

      • May 3, 2016 5:26 pm

        You are spot on, old buddy. Humans are tribal and they decide what tribes are in and what tribe are out.

        Same as it ever was!

        Apologies to David Byrne.

    • dhlii permalink
      June 1, 2016 5:40 pm

      Do not go to Target if you do not want.

      But a suggestion – do not visit or call the local Target and piss over them.

      My son and daughter actually work at Target. They do not set the policies. The local store does nto set the policies. There is no one at the store that can change the polices.

      If you are unhappy – call or write target corporate.
      But do not piss all over some poor teenager that has the misfortune to have to answer the phone and can do absolutely nothing to accomplish your wishes and has probably been told by his superiors to be polite and otherwise ignore you

      • June 1, 2016 5:56 pm

        Mr Freedom, eh?

        Hey, I do what I want. I remained inside the law and common decency, but hey, they have to do something to earn that $15 minimum wage and dealing with pissy customers is one of those things.

        Deal with it!

    • dhlii permalink
      June 1, 2016 5:54 pm

      All cultures, values, oppinions aand ideas are not equal.
      We even have a means to attempt to sort out their relative merits – epistemology.

      But the inequality, even logical inconsistency of someone else’s truth’s, culture or values does not grant any of us the right to use force – government to restrict their freedom to practice those values, culture, … so long as doing so does nto violate the natural rights of others.

      This is why to the largest extent government should stay out.

      Target has to figure out how to accomidate both you and Transgendered people.
      It wants both of you as clients.

      I do not know the answer to the bathroom problem.
      I do know that Target is motivated to solve it – as its stock has lost almost 1/4 of its value.

      What I worry about is that Target will twist government to step in.

      We should not want this fight in that arena.
      One of the reasons behind Rick’s rants about the extremism of everyone – is we have made government to the place everyone goes to have their grevance accomidated.
      Targets grevance is that a federal law on this issue protects it from angry consumers like you.

      If there is an answer – government is not likely to find it. No;r is the “right” answer likely to be the same today as tomorow.

      • June 1, 2016 5:59 pm

        “I do know that Target is motivated to solve it – as its stock has lost almost 1/4 of its value.”

        Yeah, isn’t it great! I sold my stock in a NY minute. The Target CEO continues to deny the stock plunge has anything to do with their sanctimonious attitude.

        Right!

  3. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2016 9:19 am

    We used to commit the insane. Now we ask them what they want in their coffee.

    Great line. Welcome back!

    • April 30, 2016 9:55 am

      Thanks, it is good to be back. Blame Rick and Priscilla. They found me on FB and well, here I am.

  4. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2016 9:29 am

    When I went to use the restroom (gigantic) at the Kremlin museum wasn’t I shocked to find an old woman scrubbing the floor as the men used the urinals. Sort of demeaning to everyone involved I thought.

    Look this is so easy, any institution large enough to have large multi person bathrooms is also large enough to have one unisex bathroom on campus built for one occupant.

    Some self created committee of cures looking for a problem to solve had some meetings at our state college must have been two years ago and posted their thoughts about how to improve campus life on flyers. They located a problem, the poor transgender people on campus were oppressed because they had to use gender-confusing bathrooms. They needed their own (common sense actually). No one paid any attention to the posters. And there already were plenty of such single person restrooms on campus.

    • April 30, 2016 9:57 am

      I tried this out on one of our diversity crusaders. Apparently, that is not sufficient, as it would make the transgender feel “singled out.” No, these men want to use the ladies room.

    • May 3, 2016 2:15 pm

      Roby: But single-user restrooms are too rational a solution! You have to remember, of course, that this is a civil rights issue, not an “I need to go” issue. JB, who works on a college campus and has to endure this stuff on a daily basis, saw the response of the diversity police to the idea of single-user restrooms.

  5. April 30, 2016 9:32 am

    Actually, what will happen in the end is exactly what has gone on along. Transgender people have been among us for centuries. They have been quietly using the restroom without anyone knowing and it and as long as they don’t draw attention to themselves everything is fine. If they do anyting perverted they will be arrested and prosecuted as they should be – as anyone hetero, homo, bi or trans has always been.

    Much ado about freakin’ nothin’.

    • April 30, 2016 9:58 am

      That may, or may not, be true. Any data you can share?

      As for arresting the perv, that would be a little late, once my six year old granddaughter has been molested.

      • April 30, 2016 11:39 am

        And, that is the point, after all, JB.

        I volunteer at a YMCA, and one of the things I do is help take attendance and organize things at their swim lessons, which are held at a big university’s pool, since the Y does not have its own pool. The university does not allow even toddler boys into the girls locker rooms (yeah, that might not be the case for long), but they do have “family changing cabanas” on the pool deck.

        The problem arises when a little 4 year old has to go to the bathroom, and the only parent there is the parent of the other gender. In cases where the child has been a girl, I have offered to accompany her into the girls room. Most dads are relieved and happy to have me do this, but there have been instances in which my offer has been greeted with suspicion and polite rejection. Now, in my humble opinion, I look or act nothing like a pedophile…..but then, pedophiles don’t wear jerseys announcing their sexual proclivities. Many of the families that attend these lessons are foreign born, from cultures very different from our own.

        I never take offense at the “side-eyes” I occasionally get, but to call this kind of stuff “much ado about freakin’ nothin’ ” may be protesting a bit much.

      • April 30, 2016 1:12 pm

        Ah, common sense has taken a powder. Welcome to the new USA. Yesterday, we saved Europe. Today, we fight over this crap.

        I think they call that “small ball.” (No pun intended!).

    • Ron P permalink
      April 30, 2016 11:59 am

      That’s why I think it is all politics in a blue state to get the liberals to the polls to defeat a GOP US senator and all the others from his party in November. (Posted earlier about that).

      Much ado ’bout nothing” unless you are trying to stir the pot!

      • April 30, 2016 12:10 pm

        So right, as usual, Ron. It’s probably worth noting that the university I refer to in my Y swim lesson story is Rutgers University, smack in the middle of dark blue NJ, home state of said icon Bruce. In a few weeks, President Obama will be delivering the commencement address at Rutgers, despite its extremely restrictive and discriminatory locker room policy! And, I have yet to hear about Bruce Springsteen refusing to play in Asbury Park until things change……but, then again, there is no question about where NJ’s electoral votes will go in November.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 30, 2016 2:30 pm

        The LGBT movement had lost steam. They had accomplished most everything they could after they secured most of the rights straight people had. The last was the national right to marry and have all the benefits that brought. I am not informed enough to understand what the “B’s” in the LGBT movement could gain from any specific actions for them but the “T’s” had something they could gain from the actions taking place today and I have already mentioned that from a political standpoint.

        As Rick pointed out, this is much ado about nothing. Since this all started, there have been many individuals that are T’s and there is no way in hell I could tell they were anything but what they appeared to be. For example, one woman, about 5’8″, 180 lbs, short military style hair cut, full 1″ thick beard, total hormonal makeover that allowed for weight lifter muscle build up. Another male, short, thin, long blond hair, with figure that looked like cosmetic makeover that could fool anyone. And then Bruce Jenner who most would take for female most anytime. No one would give these individuals a second thought if the were in the restroom of their choice. Given their looks, the questions would come if they used the restroom of their born gender.

        And that opens up another question. If Bruce Jenner walked into a male restroom, what would most men do today if they were in that facility at the same time?

    • May 3, 2016 2:23 pm

      Susan: Transgender people who can pass for members of the opposite biological sex may have been using the restrooms of their assumed gender without incident. I’m OK with that. The problem arises when we declare that transgender people of any appearance can use restrooms (or changing rooms) of the opposite biological sex. What’s to keep cisgender (I hate that word, but I guess we’re stuck with it) men from masquerading as transgender “women” who simply haven’t altered their appearance? They’re now free to invade women’s restrooms and changing areas, which can be pretty dicey — especially if there’s only one actual woman (or girl) inside.

      • May 3, 2016 5:31 pm

        Actually, I decide recently that I am a black man trapped inside a white body. Interestingly, my buddy from Ethiopia loved the idea, as he is allowed to have a sense of humor. I tried the same idea on a liberal colleague and got that stare you always get when you have stepped upon hallowed ground and committed a micro-aggression.

        Fee speech, even to make a humorous point, is apparently not allowed in this domain of knowledge.

      • May 4, 2016 10:55 am

        Bathroom laws or lack thereof are not going to protect women or children. It is the actions of the person entering the restroom that are the problem, not the gender.

        People seem to think they will be protected by the mere presence of a law. Most are unwilling to say a word when laws are broken – not willing to get “involved”. If you think there is a pervert in the restroom, report it. TALK to your kids so they know what to do. And lobby for family restrooms.

      • Ron P permalink
        May 4, 2016 12:55 pm

        Susan, this is a very interesting comment and made me think. Many on the right refuse to accept the fact that some controls on guns would be a good thing and constantly say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and more laws will not help.

        Now they are saying “we need a law to keep “T’s” out of bathrooms and locker rooms because molesters will use that as a means of molesting others..

        Like you commented earlier, laws are not going to stop people from doing anything illegal.

        And like I said earlier in this discussion, I think the LGBT movement had lost steam after getting all their social programs through for the “L’s”, “G”s” and “B’s”, so the “T’s” were the last to work on to keep their movement going. And they did that in a right leaning state which contained a liberal city due to all the liberals that had moved in from other states. That insured a negative reaction, much more so than had this occurred in Chicago.

      • May 4, 2016 4:05 pm

        We will disagree on this. The law MAY prosecute the sexual deviant after he has done the crime. It is another thing to invite him into the arena under the guise of political correctness. If a guy feels like a woman, fine. When in public, he can go into the men’s room and use a stall.

        No harm, no foul.

        Otherwise, let me granddaughter go into the ladies room and not have to deal with the deviant’s behavior. Enough is enough.

  6. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2016 9:34 am

    The greatest musician of all times was not Paganini. He wasn’t even the greatest violinist.

    The greatest musician ever was Bach. Very humble and utterly not flamboyant as well.

    • May 3, 2016 2:29 pm

      “Roll over, Paganini” simply had more zing to it than “Roll over, Bach.” (I didn’t realize that JSB was that renowned as a hands-on musician.)

      • May 3, 2016 5:32 pm

        Yes, like Mozart, he could do more than just write for the Gods. Apparently, he could play for them as well.

  7. April 30, 2016 9:59 am

    I have to agree with you about Bach.

    • Roby permalink
      April 30, 2016 10:10 am

      Knew you would! But expected a pitch for the Beach Boys as runners up.

      • April 30, 2016 10:26 am

        I love the Beach Boys. Some of Brian’s compositions are truly breathtaking.

  8. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2016 10:15 am

    Bottom line, this will all blow over in a year and it really is the last sexual frontier, the man-boy love association is not going to find campus advocates. We have reached the end. There will always be silly people in the world, we can’t stop it.

    • May 3, 2016 2:36 pm

      Roby: You’re right that we’ve now reached the limit of socially acceptable minority rights. The next stage will probably be increasing pressure to eliminate vestiges of the old white patriarchy: down with Andrew Jackson today, Jefferson tomorrow, George Washington eventually. I have to wonder, quite seriously, if whites will be a marginalized group once they’re in the minority. I’m sure the history books of the future will be written primarily by people of color and leftist women.

      • Ron P permalink
        May 3, 2016 3:27 pm

        Rick, “You’re right that we’ve now reached the limit of socially acceptable minority rights.”Not so fast. Now that the LGBT community has reached its goal for marriage, benefits, employment and bathroom use, I think it might be time for men and women who want to marry multiple partners to begin that movement. Why is this Christian belief given any more weight that other Christian beliefs that have been removed from what is socially acceptable?

      • May 3, 2016 5:37 pm

        Ron,

        That is already happening, as is the group that pushes the notion that pedophilia is a sexual orientation).

        http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/pedophilia-the-next-sexual-rights-revolution/

      • Ron P permalink
        May 3, 2016 6:00 pm

        Well JB, you have finally found my limits on socially acceptable”norms”. I can accept someones LGBT lifestyle. I can accept marriage between gays and lesbians. (I don’t understand it, but I can accept it). That is because there are two consenting adults making that choice.

        I can accept polygamy because it is consenting adults making their own decision. I can accept all of this because there is no harm to anyone involved outside the circle of individuals taking part. Everyone is an adult and my libertarian side allows for that behavior as I do not believe government should be involved in personal lifestyles between adults.

        But when it comes down to pedophilia, that goes beyond my acceptance because it is not between two consenting adults and there is harm done to the minor involved in that situation. And when scientists try to diminish the crime by saying someone is born with this problem, then not only are the individuals sick that practice this, so are the scientists that try to explain it away. After that, they will be saying bestiality is genetic (if they have not already)

      • May 3, 2016 7:02 pm

        I think they call it moral relativism. I would call it moral decay.

        http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2014/01/17/did-moral-decay-destroy-the-ancient-world/

  9. April 30, 2016 10:27 am

    I so hope you are right, Roby.

  10. April 30, 2016 10:57 am

    Rick, I think your post is right on. I’ve written some comments on my own blog, if anyone cares to see.

    I’ve never really understood “transgender.” As far as I’m concerned, anyone with Y chromosomes in his cells and a penis is male; anyone without those is female. And I simply don’t understand what “woman” means to Bruce (“Caitlyn”) Jenner that he claims to be one. But if someone is ensconced in a stall, it hardly matters what they are; showers and dressing rooms, where one gets naked in front of others are another story. I agree with just about everything you’ve said here.

    • May 3, 2016 2:38 pm

      Thanks, Bruce. Yes, I’m surprised (but not really) that hardly any of the public dialogue addresses the difference between restrooms and changing rooms.

  11. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2016 11:20 am

    After reflecting on this a bit more I am inclined to think that those who worry about molesters have a point. Its not as if sexual predators don’t exist every state has a registry with many people on it. This brave new world is an opportunity for enterprising perverts and molesters, an argument that I doubt many liberals will weigh and that probably no transgender activists will consider. I don’t think that actual really sincerely trans people are the big issue or threat, its those sexual predators who will use the trans loophole. Worry about that is not just ultra conservative religious fanaticism its a real issue. I’d come down on the side of protecting us from sexual predators.

    We should provide single occupancy unisex toilets at large facilities. But other than that, If you are trans you are going to have some inconveniences, nothing is perfect.

    • April 30, 2016 11:25 am

      No, Roby. You do not understand. The world must be made perfect for those who deviate in any way, shape, or form. The new reality is that the vast majority MUST adapt for those who walk a different path.

      This is the new religion. Diversity in all manner must be worshiped, except of course, in thought. One CANNOT think that considering yourself another sex is wrong, strange, or just weird. We must consider the other person’s feelings.

      I hope you now are set straight.

  12. Jack permalink
    April 30, 2016 12:38 pm

    I think that you made an excellent point and anyone with a small amount of common sense would agree but unfortunately people today have no sense at all.
    A saving thought for women would be, if a man who thought he was a woman and wanted to use the ladies room would probably change his mind when he saw the line in front of it.

    • May 3, 2016 2:49 pm

      Jack: Those long lines are definitely a deterrent, at least at big public functions. It’s the more deserted facilities that would concern me, though.

  13. Anonymous permalink
    April 30, 2016 6:49 pm

    If simply identifying as a man or a women without having a sex change or even shaving and putting on a dress or suit and tie is going to be pushed upon us as the new norm then we better get used to the bearded lumberjack in the ladies room. In fact, I may have to take advantage of this and start identifying as a queen and expect people to curtsy to me as I purchase my Starbucks. Better yet, I will have my kids identify as a minority on their college application so they have a better chance of getting in. On a more serious and realistic note there will be a pervert, peeping tom or sexual offender who will take this “I identify” as their free pass into the ladies room.

    • May 3, 2016 2:47 pm

      Ha… I think you get it. Welcome to the new America (and The New Moderate).

  14. Ron P permalink
    May 3, 2016 11:56 am

    Now can someone tell me why bathroom bills make the national headlines when 3/10ths percent of the population is transgender, but when a Democrat denigrates the Native American population that is over 2% of the population, only a handful of articles appear.

    Had Trump said this, we would have heard this for days on the news.
    http://nypost.com/2016/04/30/hillary-slams-trump-ive-dealt-with-men-off-the-reservation/

    • May 3, 2016 2:45 pm

      Ehh, “going off the reservation” is a fairly common expression. Progressives use it when they want to imply that one of their own “tribe” has departed from acceptable groupthink on certain issues. It could be, of course, that Trump would have been criticized for using it.

      • Ron P permalink
        May 3, 2016 3:42 pm

        Guess that is something I missed in my long years of living. I find it degrading to Indians..But since the Altlanta Braves still use the tomahawk chop and indian chants, the Cleveland baseball team is still called the Indians and the Washington football team is still called the Redskins, then “going off the reservation” is acceptable to many as being insensitive to native Americans is ingrained in our DNA because Indians were always considered savages, and then at best second class individuals. It was not until 1924 that tribal indians were granted citizenship, 58 years after blacks gained that same right. And today, there is still tension between tribal nations and the US government due to the rights they were given when they were placed on god forsaken land in the middle of no where USA.

  15. May 3, 2016 5:44 pm

    One wonders how younger adults can buy all the crap that has being handed to them by these various “victims” of society. Well, here is a true story that might provide a hint.

    I was lecturing to doctoral students the other day and put up a slide of Karl Marx and Adams Smith. As I was chatting away about the differing aspects of free markets vs. the controlled economy, I could see the blank stares.

    I asked the students who actually knew who Karl Marx was. 15 hands went up (out of 50 students).

    I was quite frankly, stunned. How can any doctoral student not know who Karl Marx is and the impact his theories have had on the world stage?

    I had to stop the lecture and compose myself. Later, I begged them to Google Marx and read a bit on his “legacy.”

    To be fair, they didn’t know about the Spanish Flu of 1917 either. Hey, what does 50 million dead people mean when you can take a selfie at the ball game.

    Now, if they Googled Groucho, they might at least get a chuckle.

    • Roby permalink
      May 4, 2016 4:56 pm

      Boggles the mind JB. No wonder so many millennials are swallowing Bernies economic ideas.

      One year I taught Biology at a college as a 1 year replacement for a man who had suddenly quit in mid summer. The Department Chairn an utterly wretched woman, as I was to find out, had made his life miserable for years for being from the south and not being left wing. Boom he had enough, went back to Georgia. I got hired in a hurry.

      Anyhow, my point: I found on the first day via a questionnaire I made to find out what my students knew that most of them, mostly sophomores and ALL biology majors, could not answer a simple question about what the relationship is between DNA, RNA, and Protein aka, the central Dogma of Molecular Biology. Its the most basic fundamental thing in all of modern biology and perhaps 5 students out of 20 could answer the question. I sighed visibly when I found out. One of them went straight to that same Department Chair to complain that I had sighed. She never let it be forgotten (either of them).

      You are a braver man than I, teaching college, I lost all interest. It was at a very well regarded school, Private, Catholic, expensive as hell, for some reason the entire the Biology Department were both devout Catholics and devout Nader supporters.

      • May 4, 2016 6:23 pm

        It is a strange experience, no doubt. Yes, it appears that for any number of reasons, academic rigor has gone out the window. My colleagues and I talk about this frequently and just shake our heads at what we encounter. Mind you, these students are all graduates, so what must the rest look like?

    • Ron P permalink
      May 4, 2016 11:09 pm

      JB, we just came up through a different generation that was forced into foreign affairs and politics that the last 45 years has allowed the younger generation to ignore. And add to that the generation of teachers that have been forced to teach information to get kids passed and not taught only adds to ignorance that prevails today. Seems like that is what happened to Roby’s biology students and even college professors did not do their jobs.

      Today marks the 46th anniversary of Kent State massacre when students were much more engaged with what was happening in society and government. Unlike the kids today that are being spoon fed propaganda and accepting that crap because their parents spoon fed them and sheltered them from every negative in society, the end of the Boomer generation were not as protected and were much more rebellious of authority.

      No wonder we have a large percentage of voters supporting a socialist. They have been given everything by their parents, they have not been expected to work for anything and they have had the student loan program to pay for their college education. Keep spoon feeding them BS and you can get anyone to support them.

      • May 5, 2016 7:51 am

        I think you have nailed it. I think I would reconsider home schooling if my son were growing up today. Thankfully, he knows who Karl Marx and Adam Smith are.

  16. May 3, 2016 10:26 pm

    A lot of us have seen signs of the “dumbing down” of the American population, and I say the dumbing down is very real in many ways, but here’s a partial counterpoint in support of our sometimes seemingly uneducated youngsters:

    We sometimes forget there has been an incredible explosion of available information. Not too long ago we had the world’s knowledge in 26 volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica (not really, but you know what I mean) and we had 3 network channels on TV. I’m thinking it was a lot easier to pass along / teach / share the “accepted chunk of standard information,” and so we all learned in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

    Yesterday’s readily available info might be a handful of sand compared to a thousand beaches of sand on the Internet (and TV channels 24/7). This new info has also made young people skeptical of some of that old “accepted chunk of standard info”. So many more varying opinions and options these days.

    I’m not saying the dumbing down isn’t a worrisome problem, but sometimes it is partly because other new information is being learned.

  17. May 4, 2016 12:07 pm

    Thought you all might be interested in a few facts. I have not found any data yet on how often children are molested in public restrooms.

    http://www.stopsexoffenders.com/childsafety/articles/childsafetyarticles11.shtml

    • May 5, 2016 9:18 am

      Susan, any current data on children being molested in restrooms and locker rooms would be irrelevant, because in most places,and until now, men are not allowed in restrooms and locker rooms that young girls use. If they are found there, they are usually considered suspicious, at best, and removed. Many of us have had the experience of using the “wrong” restroom ~ I remember when I did, and a man exited one of the stalls (for whatever reason, there were no urinals to tip me off). We both screamed. Well, not screamed exactly, but loudly expressed our shock, lol. And I was a grown woman at the time.

      Bathrooms, showers, and changing areas are private places, even in public, and most people expect a certain level of privacy from the opposite gender when they use the facilities. And, when I say most people, I mean 99.9% of people. Even in the absence of pedophiles, how many of my YMCA parents would be ok with their pre-school daughters showering with grown men?

      It defies common sense, there is no reason for it other than political, and it places children in danger. As we have all acknowledged, transgenders who “pass” for women have likely used these facilities for years (probably generations), and there has been no outcry whatsoever. Only now. Why?

      • May 5, 2016 1:10 pm

        Of course past data would be relevant now. We have no idea if its a problem now – much less in the future. I want to know how many children are molested in public bathrooms every year – of either sex, by heteros, homos, bis, people dressed as the other gender -whatever. I just seriously doubt a person who wants to molest a child is going to be stopped by any kind of law.

        This is the voter laws all over again – there is NO mass fraud going on but Republicans want to make a big issue of it to keep power – which keeps Big Bizness in charge, which keeps wages low, which keeps working class America from being middle class again and having power again. And I may say that Repubs are quite adept at keeping your average working class person from examining the real issue – Income Inequality. So long as the Repubs keep up the farce of being “Christian” and holding up “moral values”…the working class will continue to suffer.

      • May 5, 2016 6:49 pm

        Well, there you go again. You went directly to partisan politics with nary a pause. So, all GOP voters don’t really care about protecting their children from pedophiles, just looking for some headlines and a way to keep the “working class” down.

        I guess all GOP voters have no jobs, just living off the land.

        Gee Sue, I am very glad you don’t teach anymore.

        As to baby boomers complaining, my post was more one of dismay and sadness. Disregard history and you get to do it all over again, I trust you would agree with me that we don’t need to go down the Communist revolution road one more time?

      • May 5, 2016 1:47 pm

        Well, we will not see eye to eye on this at all. And I guess Jewish and atheist Republicans are all figments of our imagination…..

        But, bathrooms and Christianity aside, I don’t think this has any real impact on the economy. And, I also don’t think that true liberals are unable to negotiate fair compromises with their more conservative neighbors. Roby, for one, is a liberal, and he’s already suggested one in this thread.

        Sad that “compromise” is a dirty word these days.

      • May 5, 2016 6:52 pm

        Indeed. It actually is the only way to get a deal done. Nobody gets everything they want, even on Christmas morning.

      • May 5, 2016 6:45 pm

        Spot on, Priscilla. As always, straight to the point.

  18. Roby permalink
    May 4, 2016 4:40 pm

    I don’t think its an absurd fear (molesters using this issue). Time will tell. I recommend pepper spray and a whistle. For the kids and their parents, if they are concerned. Shouldn’t have to be that way but its a world not built for complete comfort and safety.

  19. Ron P permalink
    May 4, 2016 11:13 pm

    Like I said, it’s all politics and we won’t know the outcome until after the election. Who gets voters to the polls.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-north-carolina-lgbt-idUSKCN0XV2N8

  20. May 5, 2016 1:24 pm

    I am getting a good laugh from what I assume are baby boomers complaining about today’s young people. When your generation were the young people, the older people were sure that the world was going to hell in a hand bucket with “free love”, rock & roll and drugs. Nice try. Yours was the most spoiled generation in history because the Greatest Generation GAVE you everything you needed plus more.
    I guarantee there were plenty of young people who didn’t know who Karl Marx was in your day – they had less of an excuse since it wasn’t as far in the past. As far as the Biology question that so many students “failed” to answer to your satisfaction, I would like to know more of the context.
    More food for thought – if you are a baby boomer you grew up in a time when teaching was the best paying job available to women. Starting in the 70s, the best qualified women went to other careers. So for those like me who went to school in the 70s or later, what makes you think that we had near the quality of teachers you did. I taught high school for 9 years – inner city, suburban and rural – and I could tell stories. I finally had to give up.
    Young people are the result of the older people who raised them.

    • May 5, 2016 1:38 pm

      Susan, I am a boomer, but I totally agree with you on this one. I have long thought that my generation has totally botched the whole leadership thing in many ways. Tolerance is all well and good, but tolerating bad behavior is not tolerance in the true sense. Then again, I guess you could blame the “Greatest Generation” for spoiling US and causing us to be crazy hippies who never grew up!

      In all fairness, things change, the world imposes upon every generation its own challenges, and we shall see what this generation does with theirs.

      • May 5, 2016 1:40 pm

        By the way, I was a teacher in the 70’s. And a damn good one. They don’t make ’em like me anymore 😉

      • May 5, 2016 6:51 pm

        Knowing you like I do, I would say you are dead right about that.

      • May 5, 2016 2:15 pm

        I was a great teacher 😉 my former students tell me so, lol. But I butted heads with administrators all the time. More politicking than educating going on.

        I just find it amusing that every generation thinks they were smarter, less arrogant, more respectful than the current young people. Having taught young people who are now in their 30s & 40s, that’s not the way I remember them!! But I consider it normal for young people to act like young people…and my memory isn’t bad enough for me to believe today’s young people are any worse than those of us born in the 60s & 70s were. Much of the overprotectiveness of today’s parents comes from us running wild. Smoking areas at the high schools? lol

      • May 5, 2016 6:51 pm

        All generalizations are inherently false. To take age demographic as large as the so-called baby boomers and typecast them is quite silly. We should stay away from such mental laziness.

    • Ron P permalink
      May 5, 2016 4:18 pm

      Susan, I suspect you are right on the issue of Baby Boomers complaining and that generation most likely being the root of the problems we face today. I guess my perspective is clouded based on the way my parents raised me and that was not by being spoiled. And based on your comments that was not the norm, but an exception. I was not given everything, in fact I was not given an allowance. If I mowed the grass, I got paid. If I washed the car I got paid. And not much at that. Once out of high school, I was expected to have a part time job. My dad told me he would pay for the oil in the car when it needed it (as running the engine without oil creates alot of problems). I had to pay for the gas as it would not run at all without that and it was not a necessity. So I worked for gas money. I worked full time going to 4 years of college. And most all of my friends were raised the same way and were expected to work while in college to pay for “fun and games” as well as part of their education. We must have been the fringe elements of our generation and since i knew few who were not raise this way, I am looking through glasses that reflect a generation different than reality.

      But I wonder what percentage of the boomers were raised like I was compared to the percentage of the millennials and later generation that was raised this way.

  21. May 7, 2016 6:56 am

    From jbastiat: “All generalizations are inherently false. To take age demographic as large as the so-called baby boomers and typecast them is quite silly. We should stay away from such mental laziness.”

    Yes. Thank you. There is mental laziness and danger in such generalizations. We must be careful if we are to be rational. It is kind of the essence of prejudice toward people–the lumping together and labeling of people based on a few outward or salient characteristics (even when there is some truth involved) and the simultaneous ignoring of so many more details and factors, known and unknown, and then applying that label to even larger groups of people one has never met, based on the few outward or salient characteristics, such as “born in the 1960s” or “votes Democrat” or “has white skin” or “is currently in their twenties” or whatever.

    And yet very often there are strong threads of truth woven in, (yes, to the lumping together, yes to the prejudice) so it’s very tricky and dangerous. Comedians make money from it. So tricky and dangerous because it quickly leads to untruths. And yet we know some of it it true, even some of the generalizations about generations!

    As long as we are not too condemning about it, it can be fun. As long as we realize it is true and not true at the same time.

  22. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 7:42 am

    Something that one of my wife’s 5th graders said in school…

    Brief set up first: The boy is from a relatively well-to-do family that owns several local businesses. Most of the students in this Catholic elementary school are from “working class families”.

    This is what the boy said:

    “I don’t know what my family will do if Bernie Sanders gets elected. Poor people are used to living that way, but we’re not.”

    Haha. Apparently must have overhead his grownups worried about paying higher taxes or the like.

    One of the other boys was so outraged that he will no longer speak to him.

    Interesting how our politics is playing out these days.

    • May 7, 2016 10:42 am

      I think your statement indicates that the “relatively” well-to-do do not understand HOW much better than over half the nation they are doing. They are worried about paying more taxes? The rest of us are worried about eating, having a place to live, how we will pay for healthcare or if a car breaks down.

      If you take the time to read non-hard right sources, you find that 60% of us don’t have any money for emergencies – not because we “waste” money but because we don’t make enough to even cover basic bills. Working class folks are now spending 40% or better on housing of their pay. My retirement accounts are a joke – they lose money or make $100 – that’s with $40,000 in them.

      In my grandparents time, my working class grandfathers, who never had supervisory positions, made far better money than their college educated granddaughters are. That is how much wages have sunk. In their time, I would not be surprised if 75-90% of the population was middle class or better. I would be hugely surprised if even 40% could be considered middle class now. That is how much greedy corporations are keeping money to themselves by sending jobs to sweatshops overseas, instead of paying hardworking people good money. If you enjoy having an unstable economy where only a few people have money to spend then by all means keep electing conservatives. But if you want to return to the days when we had a booming economy then you must pay working people well – worldwide. These corporations must have no place to escape to pay people dirt. Believing people are “lazy” and “victims” is what these big corporations want you to believe so they can keep cheating people out of real money. Read more about Income Inequality.

      I believe conservatives use things like “potty bills” to distract us from how we are being cheated – so that people will continue to vote in favor of wealthy…and nothing changes.

      • May 7, 2016 11:12 am

        That is a lot of utter nonsense, but it appears you believe it. You also believe that you are entitled to some particular standard of living. I don’t recall anyone making that promise in the Constitution. In the main, the vast majority of Americans are “working class” in that they have to work to pay their bills.

        Of course, there are a large number of Americans who don’t work at all. You can find them in select neighborhoods that feature subsidized housing, food stamps,welfare checks and Medicaid. Those are all paid for by the “working class.”

        No one is “cheating you.” Get out the mirror and take a hard look at the choices you made in your life. If you aren’t where you thought you would be, the mirror will tell you who to point the finger at.

        IN the main, most conservatives do not point finger at someone else and blame them for their standard of living. That is a progressive thing and you seem to have that down very well.

        .

      • May 7, 2016 11:49 am

        That is because the VAST majority of conservatives were BORN into their standard of living, and have stolen from the working class by not paying real wages. You must live under a rock, if you have not understood how much the standard of living has gone down because of poor wages. There is NO huge number of lazy victims – that is utter BS created by the right wing to keep working class people voting for them. And I know people who have to depend on those welfare programs because they are not paid enough at their working class jobs any more.

        Just please don’t tell me you are a “Christian” – I find the whole concept of conservatives being “Christian” revolting. They are the antithesis of what Christ preached.

        And since you know nothing about me, how do you know about my choices and standard of living? You don’t know squat – just repeating conservative BS. You don’t know anyone personally whose been on food stamps to know WHY they might be on them. Don’t bother to post your conservative sites that justify screwing working people out of real wages – I don’t read them.

        It is conservatives that have ruined the country for working people, starting with Reagan’s election in 1980. Wages went down, standard of living has gone down (except for the top 10%). So conservatives hoodwink evangelicals to joining you to make sure things stay in your favor. Conservatives lie about whose “entitled”…poor people may get millions in aid but corporations have bilked us out of BILLIONS.

        But when you are born into privilege, hard to see out of it. Of course you “worked” for it, while denying that others worked just as hard as you if not harder.

        Of course the typical conservative response is “sucks to be you”…

      • May 7, 2016 11:57 am

        Unlike you, I know real poverty. That said,it is irrelevant what I have personally experienced. This is also true for you. Whatever your station in life, you earned what you got (most likely). If that is not much, well, there you have it.

        As for my being a Christian, that is also irrelevant and not something that I have referenced here. You have provided no data, just an unrelenting hate for conservatives and Christians They are the root of all evil. I suppose that having a boogie man to blame keeps you feeling OK.

        If that makes you feel better about what you have failed to accomplish, then so be it. Whatever gets you through the night. Let’s be clear about the progressive mindset
        “What’s mine,is mine.” What’s yours is also mine, as long as I can win the election.

        “The world has never been a level playing field.”
        -Thomas Sowell, PhD.

      • Ron P permalink
        May 7, 2016 1:19 pm

        Susan. Much of what you have said in this message has already been addressed by others. But there are a couple items that have not.
        First, you say “That is how much greedy corporations are keeping money to themselves by sending jobs to sweatshops overseas, instead of paying hardworking people good money.” You may remember the ’92 election when a little guy by the name of Ross Perot talked about the “sucking sounds of jobs going to Mexico”. This was in response to NAFTA. And everyone made fun of him and said he did not know what he was talking about. He was right!!!!! And who was the mover and shaker in getting that passed. Bill Clinton, a Democrat with the help of Republicans and Democrats in congress. How many Fords were produced in Mexico before 1992 and how many are built there now? How about Carrier heating and air conditioner systems? And try buying someone an electric tool made in America. Most of the good ones are now made in Mexico. Now we have the Asian Pacific trade agreement and every one says it is going to provide economic stimulus. I call BS on that one. It will have the same impact as NAFTA resulting in more jobs going overseas. And who is pushing that? Barrack Obama along with friends in congress. So both Liberals and Conservatives are one of the causes of business moving out of the country.
        Second, labor unions were once needed to improve “sweat shop” working conditions in the states. They did their job. And then they did more. One of the reasons the United States does not have a national health insurance system is due to unions. (Look it up if you don’t believe this statement). One of the major accomplishments after the war was unions negotiated contracts that included health insurance coverage for employees. When congress proposed any national program, the unions balked. Finally we got part of it with medicare because unions did not represent retired folks.. Then along with NAFTA making it easier to move plants, union wage growth and demands resulted in a economic environment where moving was easier than paying the higher union wages. And what political party supports unions?

        I could give you many more examples of liberal politics helping to create the economic environment we now live in, but I would hope you would do some research on your own. I would think you will find that both liberals and conservatives have contributed to the issues our country faces today. FOR INSTANCE, the House of Representative controls spending. Not the Senate and not the President, although everyone wants people to think the president does. Since 1981, thirty five years ago, the national debt has increased 11.3 trillion dollars. During Democrat control of congress it increased 6.3 Trillion and during Republican control it increased 5 Trillion.

        So my point in this long “dissertation” is the problems we face in this country today is not a Democrat/Republican/Liberal/conservative created problem. It is the incompetence of the leadership in government at all levels and in all parties that have led to the problems we face and the gulliable nature of citizens to buy the cool-aide that politicians are selling.

  23. May 7, 2016 11:50 am

    And what is really insulting is you call the sad wages we are paid today “utter nonsense”. Must be nice living in fairy land.

    • May 7, 2016 11:58 am

      I work for a living. I do OK actually. Started at age 12, been going for over 50 yrs. Amazing how that money adds up when you live within your means.

      • May 8, 2016 6:43 am

        “And, no, I don’t think “income inequality” is a big deal. Largely, it is an abstraction.”

        Again we see that you must have means that others don’t, and do not study what has happened in this country in the last 40 years. You are in some good denial. Everything you’ve said is about denial – wages have not gone down, people are just lazy, racism does not exist, jobs have not been shipped overseas, people all start off equal in life. You are unbelievable. And did you say you teach economics??????

        How can anyone discuss with you when you do not even agree to what facts are? They are staring everyone else in the face, but you deny them.

      • May 8, 2016 8:48 am

        Sue,Sue, Sue,

        What are we to do with you?

        I never said the following:

        wages have not gone down, people are just lazy, racism does not exist, jobs have not been shipped overseas, people all start off equal in life. You are unbelievable. And did you say you teach economics??????

        Kindly show me where I have said that?

        In fact,

        -People do not start off equal (whatever that means). On the contrary, we ALL start out with variations and differences.Some of those differences are vast, some are not.

        -Wages have not gone down, In the aggregate, income is substantially higher in the USA over the last 40 years. This is inflation adjusted, BTW.

        Jobs have been relocated overseas.

        Racism exists and it has been exploited by both sides of the aisle over the past 8 years. Some level of racism exists across all races, in all parts of the world. This has been true since we have been recording history.

        Some people are lazy. Some are not.

        I do teach economics.

        The above are all facts.

        Care to dispute them?

      • May 8, 2016 9:05 am

        Susan, We have had flame wars here before, but, because, at least of late, we really try to make this possibly the only place on the internet where people of different political persuasions can express opposing views in an honest way (perhaps there are others, but I haven’t found them!), we try not to attack each other personally, or mock the intelligence or sincerity of what someone says.

        You express your views well, as I would expect from someone of your background and education. But if I implied that you were incapable of doing anything other than spouting liberal boilerplate bs, you would take offense, and rightly so. If I said you and other left-leaners have a “brain-gap” when it comes to honestly evaluating government intervention, you would probably snap back at me, and rightfully so.

        JB is perfectly capable of engaging you in an economic discussion, and certainly doesn’t need me to defend him. But, rather than go after his (genuine, btw) credentials as a man who rose from true poverty to comfortable middle-class status, or ridicule his vast knowledge of economic theory as right-wing nuttery, it would probably make sense to stick to the actual ideas that the two of you are arguing. Just my two cents.

        This whole discussion is fascinating to me, by the way, even if it’s not about bathrooms. Honestly, you can only talk about bathrooms so much, before you’ve said it all………

      • May 8, 2016 9:17 am

        Thanks, Priscilla, I am actually trying to stick to the facts with Susan, but she does not present any, so that makes it difficult to say the least.

        How are you and Skip doing today? Happy Mothers day BTW.

        Rich

      • May 8, 2016 2:06 pm

        “Lord almighty, I hate to say it but I hope you are not a teacher at present. This would explain much about why public educated students are scoring the way they are.” Not attacking me personally? I would be ashamed if I was you and sprouting the the bs you do to college students who pay hard earned money. You would find my students THANK me for teaching them to be suspect of what the upper crust tells them.

        You cherry pick data from right leaning sites and accuse me of leading people astray? At least I am not in the pocket of the wealthy. ANY stat from right leaning sites are suspect, because they have the most to lose if things change. They worked for years to return us to the pre-NewDeal days when there was only the rich and the poor. You want poor suckers to be content with what little they are paid for their jobs, so the right buffalos them with nonsense about how they don’t work hard enough. You yourself who know nothing about me think you insult me by calling me trailer trash, and questioning my teaching skills.

        The real reason education has gone downhill is because the wealthy want it that way – an ignorant workforce is a much more docile group. Around here, where there used to be furniture and clothing manufacturing jobs…you should hear the poor white folk squawk about how we must keep “free markets” and the wealthy should be “free” to pay what they want – because they have been so snowed under by conservative talk shows for the last 30+ years. Faux News is a fav. They are willing to overlook the fact that they make a quarter of what their grandparents did for the same amount of education and hardwork.

        But I have faith the younger generation is waking up, and I think Trump’s popularity shows that most of the right even thinks you have gone too far protecting the 1%. Not that I would touch Trump with a 50ft pole, but thankfully we should be swinging back to the middle again. Would be nice if we could stay there, but sadly we’ll probably go too far left in about 20 years.

        BTW – if you’ve never read “Generations” by Strauss & Howe, it is well worth the time.

      • May 8, 2016 2:44 pm

        You didn’t read the cites I provided. They covered the spectrum, including The Atlantic.

        My students are very fond of my classes. Sorry to disappoint you on that score.

      • May 8, 2016 4:39 pm

        :”The real reason education has gone downhill is because the wealthy want it that way – an ignorant workforce is a much more docile group. Around here, where there used to be furniture and clothing manufacturing jobs”

        Sue….And don’t forget “we want to keep the women barefoot and pregnant” also.

        I am in your same economic environment, (worked in High Point NC), the furniture capital of the world and I can only say I can not disagree more with your comment about keeping an ignorant workforce than I agree with Trump and his ability to get Mexico to build a wall.

        For those that may not know, textiles and furniture were a northeast industry until the 30’s or so, then they moved south due to lower wages and then moved overseas when southern wages drove up costs. Now we see autos moving to Mexico and GM. GM survived due to taxpayer moneys given to them by the Obama administration and is now going to produce their new Envision in China that will cost Americans jobs.

        So lets stop with the party blame as all the parties are participants. The Trans-Pacific trade agreement pushed by Obama will do nothing to increase manufacturing in America.

        too many people buy the Fox/Huffington Post cool-aide and don’t do enough research to know the facts. They just spout off what they hear from the reporters thay are interested in listening too.

      • May 8, 2016 5:18 pm

        That comment about who wants the population dumbed down is exactly 180 degrees. As someone who used to hire employees, the last thing in the world I wanted was a dumb employee. No one can compete with a bunch of morons running around the office.

        The entity that benefits from helpless people is government. After all, who is always promising to help out the poor citizen succeed in life? It is always the politician.

        The more I read Sue’s comments, the more I realize they have succeeded and the sad thing is that she says she is an educator. Now that scares me no end, although it explains much.

      • May 8, 2016 11:38 pm

        I have made numerous unsubstantiated claims on this site and have been called out for it and I am still here. (For some SORRY!). But I have learned that one can not make a claim that has no factual support and not find themselves trying to crawl out of a hole they dug for themselves. I try to have factual comments, but sometimes I regress into my previous past.

        I would hate to see Sue leave because she may feel she is out numbered and not many accept her claims she is making, but when a comment that comes right out of the left wing liberal play book is made and no facts back it up, it does need to be called out.

        We need some more people with differing views to debate issues as there are few places this can be done without being attacked personally. We learn from others point of view and change positions in some.

      • May 9, 2016 7:58 am

        Sue tried to start a partisan flaming with her second post here. In spite of efforts to not fire back, she was relentless.

        Conservatives and esp,Christians are evil people. End of story.

        I hoped we had moved past this on this particular forum and I think that, in the main, we have. If Sue moves on, so be it.

        If she stays, she will need to up her game.

  24. Roby permalink
    May 7, 2016 11:50 am

    Susan, I cannot understand why people would vote “in favor of the wealthy” and I don’t think that as a group we do. That is just populist rhetoric. “Nothing changes” is definitely not true either, but to the extent that it approximates truth its because America consists of a number of different political cultures that fundamentally do not agree. Its also because the problems that we mean when we say “nothing changes” are much, much harder to solve than one would believe from listening to political promises in an election year.

    What specific changes do you think a populist left-leaning politician can make to change income disparity? Everything I hear proposed, even by, say, Robert Reich, is rather unlikely to fundamentally change income disparity. As well, it is not income disparity in itself that is the issue, it is how well people live at the bottom 20% and the bottom 50%, which is often unacceptably poorly, as well know. But I don’t hear what I would call a rational plan to fix that.

    I can’t agree with what you said about our grandparents’ time. My grandfathers were born before or at the turn of the 20th century. The life expectancy, male or female, in the US was 49. I happen to be reading a biography of Loren Eiseley, there is a very good description of what life was life for his generation and that of his parents and grandparents. Russell Baker’s autobiography contains a wealth of detail about how hard people had it when he was born, safe to say that we would not recognize that life or want to live it. There are thousands of other books with the same story, the story of reality in the Good Old Days. The Good Old Days are a myth. There was a period just after WWII where the US was really booming, we had the best economy the world has ever known, as the rest of our competitors were flattened and our industrial engine was running at full tilt. That could not hold forever, the American economy has gradually come back to earth over the decades, while we still have many advantages. Even in those good old days of the 50s, 60s 70s there were many serious problems and social ills, riots, wars, poverty. I don’t believe in those good old days. There have always been rich and poor, everywhere, and the poor have always had it very tough. Some things have changed; if you got cancer in 1960 you most likely died, rich or poor. If you get it today, you most likely live, rich or poor. The life expectancy of the poor is longer than the life expectancy of the rich when my grandparents were born. No, my kids do not have it as tough as my parents did. My parents lived through the depression and experienced its consequences, fully. My kids have first world problems, internet addiction, health insurance, student debt. For the record my family are very much in the middle part of the economic continuum.

    While I think that most of what Bernie Sanders offers (my guess it that Bernie’s ideas are what you were getting at) has its heart in the right place, its mostly pretty much a fantasy, solutions with huge practical economic issues. Would a $15 minimum wage lead to a drastically better situation, or would it put millions out of work and cause an economic disaster? No one knows, economists can debate, most of them seem skeptical. It is not stupid to worry that in fact huge numbers of people would lose their jobs. Free college education for everyone sort of works in Germany and in some other European countries. I’ve done some reading and tried to understand how that all happened and how it works. It makes my head spin, not an easy subject. Progressives completely do not acknowledge that there is a completely different history in a completely different culture with totally different demographics that led to that free college education. “They can do it, why can’t we?” is an utterly simplistic argument. The “yes we can” slogan is cheerleading, its empty rhetoric, a meaningless slogan to get votes. Economic and political realities exist, they will not go away if Bernie become president.

    It is interesting and important that populism has also hit the right and that conservatives are joining the anti-elite bandwagon. My best hope is that out of all of this anger some small numbers of thoughtful economic experts will begin to draw up plans that actually would fix the standard of living of the worst off among us and improve the lot of the middle class, to my thinking that means free education in the trades in areas with high poverty and renewal programs to fix the infrastructure of poverty.. The high poverty areas concern me more than the middle class issues, although I am middle class, the poor have it much worse than I do.

    Bottom line, I want to hear an actual plan that passes the test of being both economically and politically realistic for raising the standard of living of the people in this country who are not participating in or enjoying all the wonders of the modern age. So far I have heard no plan that meets these tests, mostly I hear anger, envy, and rather bad understandings of both economics and political realities. Let’s create Denmark in Vermont AND Oklahoma, that sort of dreaming. Its OK to be angry and envious in a world where some are living in luxury and tens of millions are living in poverty but it does no good at all unless one has a real solution that they can win via their political revolution. Perhaps such are realistic plan will slowly take shape in coming decades. There will be no quickie revolution that will fix income disparity and poverty.

    • May 7, 2016 12:05 pm

      Income disparity is directly related to outcome disparity. Put another way, there is no per-ordained order of the way in which output with “be distributed.” Individual variation as to output created is in incredibly wide, so it is indeed puzzling to me that people think there is some specific number or range that “should” be shown by whoever pretends to collect these data.

      That said, pols don’t need any real data to play to the masses, just some sense that it is isn’t “fair.”

      To wit: I am a college professor, I make a certain wage/salary. Before that, I was in industry, where I made MUCH higher salary. I choose to work less and the price was to make less money.

      So? In the data, I created a larger income disparity by my choice. Oh, that is terrible, based on the data. Well, not really, it was a good choice, for me.

      This income disparity myth is quite amusing actually.

      As Thomas Sowell says quite often: “What is your fair share of my income and how did you determine that?”

      • Roby permalink
        May 7, 2016 12:33 pm

        Well, I have partial sympathy for your argument JB. But while criticism of income and wealth disparity can be easily overdone and turn into populist class warfare that is not going to help anyone, there is also some truth to the income disparity issue. I’ve done just what you did, I traded a higher income away for a much better life and more time for myself. But we are not the only type of people in the US and and there are far too many people who have it really bad and who had a very slim chance at birth, that also exists.

        The problem is to get over the anger and rhetoric and find something that actually addresses the issue of poverty and low wages instead of things that sound good. Its great that the country has entered a phase where more people want more of the wealth and income to go to the lower 50%, but we as a group are like a man looking for his keys under a lamp post because that is were the light is. We are looking in the wrong places for the answers because we are ideologically worked up to do so. It ain’t gonna work its even counter productive. Trickle down economics are bad but just wildly thrashing around and harming the economic engine only would make matters worse, there would be even less to trickle down after the “revolution.”

      • May 7, 2016 12:44 pm

        In the main, it is pretty clear what leads to “low wages” and that is low valued output. The studies are clear that if you rely on physical labor (capital) to earn you keep, on balance, you are becoming less valued. Hence, you need to develop a skill beyond that or you will be destined to earn relatively low wages.

        So your job is to develop your intellectual capital. However, not just ANY intellectual capital but that which is valued. Hence, the Art History debacle that many students engage in.

        What is that valued capital? It depends, and it changes. That is the nature of progress.

        There is very solid data that indicates that if you finished high school, get and stay married and have kids, on balance, you will do quite well economically.

        I think the time is coming when that HS turns into some years of college, but you get the point.

        Once again, there is no pre-ordained value of one’s output. It changes over time, just as people’s wants and needs change over time.

        Use it, or lose it.

  25. May 7, 2016 11:54 am

    Actually did take a glance at that “federalist” page – what nonsense. Thankfully my Dad taught me skeptism which is why I can’t read far right or left sites.

    Of course with most of the right, anything you don’t agree with is communism.

    • May 7, 2016 12:06 pm

      I bet you “glanced:” at it. If you done a fact check, you would find out that indeed, those laws referenced do exist. Do you have a problem with facts?

  26. Roby permalink
    May 7, 2016 12:05 pm

    “That is because the VAST majority of conservatives were BORN into their standard of living, and have stolen from the working class by not paying real wages.”

    I am Not a conservative and there are large numbers of conservatives today who’s ideas make me ill. But this statement of your does not ring true. DId you have any actual factual basis for this or is is simply a liberal slogan? I’m fairly sure that the bulk of conservatives Are the working classes and visa versa.

    • May 7, 2016 12:08 pm

      She has no data to support that claim, but it makes her feel so much better to make it.

      • May 7, 2016 1:34 pm

        http://economy.money.cnn.com/2013/11/13/making-it-into-the-middle-class/

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html

        I have been reading about the decline of the middle class since the early 90s. To deny it has happened – when sources on the left and right acknowledge it has is absurd.

        To the person who says they gave up the private sector to become a professor – I’m sure you are living on less, but are probably above working class people. 30+ years ago your salary would have been much higher, you would have had more in savings and a nicer house. No I can’t prove it, but I suspect that teachers, firemen, policemen, store managers and others who had a comfortable middle class salary 30 years ago are barely scraping by today. I gave up teaching partially because I realized just how low paid they were – that I would never be able to afford my own small home on a teacher’s salary by myself.

      • May 11, 2016 7:59 am

        I am glad that you gave up teaching, The level of critical thinking you exhibit here certainly suggests that you did your students a favor. Moreover, your intellectual laziness is on display with literally every post you make.

        I am sure that you are a nice person and there is merit in that. However, if you are going to enter the domain of discourse, you need to up your game. I hope this doesn’t insult you, but spur you on to do some WORK on your reasoning skills.

        “Never bring a knife to a gun fight!”

      • May 11, 2016 12:30 pm

        “But he finds the stagnation at the bottom alarming and warns that it will worsen. Most of the studies end with people born before 1970, while wage gaps, single motherhood and incarceration increased later. Until more recent data arrives, he said, “we don’t know the half of it.” – JBs article from NYT.

        Actually I am considering a return to teaching because my former students believe I should do it. Who is intellectually lazy? The person who believes the status quo is wrong, and sets out to prove them wrong? Or the privileged person who just agrees with whatever will keep him in his place?

        Thanks for posting that article, it backs up everything I have said – low wages, Income Inequality, etc, etc It is those of us born in the 60s & 70s – who of course are most of the people I know – who are suffering from conservative policies. We are not attaining the levels of wealth our parents did – but the current retirees are the wealthiest ever. They were well paid and had money left over to invest, and for years had high returns. Neither has been true for those born in later years.

      • May 11, 2016 12:42 pm

        “I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you came unarmed!”

        -William Shakespeare

      • May 11, 2016 8:16 am

        “I have been reading about the decline of the middle class since the early 90s. To deny it has happened – when sources on the left and right acknowledge it has is absurd.”

        This is new from you. Before you were talking about the “working class” which you never bothered to define, Now, you are talking about the “middle class” which you have not bothered to define.

        I cannot refute a statement as vague as “the middle class.” Defining your terms is the first step in discourse.

        “To the person who says they gave up the private sector to become a professor – I’m sure you are living on less, but are probably above working class people. ”

        I still work in the private sector, simply in higher ed. I do not work for the government. As to how much I make, you would (one again) have to put a dollar value on the :”working class” label before I can answer that question. You haven’t, I can’t!

        I live fine, based on my desired standard of living. That is a normative statement, which would vary person to person.

        “30+ years ago your salary would have been much higher, you would have had more in savings and a nicer house.”

        I actually wrote that exact statement earlier. What is your point?

        “No I can’t prove it, but I suspect that teachers, firemen, policemen, store managers and others who had a comfortable middle class salary 30 years ago are barely scraping by today.”

        You suspect. You do that a lot. I also cannot speculate on what “scraping by” means.

        “I gave up teaching partially because I realized just how low paid they were – that I would never be able to afford my own small home on a teacher’s salary by myself.”

        As stated elsewhere, I am glad you gave up teaching. Based on what you write here, you must have been quite poor at it.

        BTW-what exactly DID you teach? Did you have no idea of the salary that a teacher makes before you decide to go into teaching?

      • May 11, 2016 11:33 am

        Although not income related, it is interesting to note that work related fatalities have been declining since 1994, from 6632 to 4585 in 2013. This is likely related to the introduction of robots in the factories that replace workers in the more dangerous aspects of the job.

        Imagine, those evil corporations are actually doing something that benefits their workers.

  27. May 7, 2016 12:09 pm

    Susan Lea Rudd, I am with you and your last post.

    jbastiat your next-to-last post is outdated. That “hard work pays off” amen corner can still apply, but in rarer cases, as it applied much more regularly as part of an albeit imperfect system circa 1948 through 1970. Your position, that the establishment has been counting on to help preserve the status quo (and the status quo is UNPRECEDENTED CONSOLIDATION and steadily declining wages/buying power except for a smaller and smaller percentage of people) knee-jerks all the way over to a dislike of progressive extremism, and is closer to that 5th grader’s worries than to current reality. Wake up, man. Does hard work beat laziness? Of course; that’s not the argument. Part of our regular now is teachers with Master’s Degrees living below poverty lines, precision machine operators on food stamps, etc. There are plenty more examples where the hard work has no system in which to be applied. Were there hard luck cases before, in the 80s, 70s, 60s, 40s? Certainly. But what’s the regular now? What’s the norm? The regular is unprecedented profits at the very top, and most everybody else in America sliding toward third-world global wages and crappy jobs with no pensions, expensive benefits or no benefits, etc. You may not be able to see it from your perch, but if it continues it will affect more and more perches. These lazy people fix our cars, pave our roads, transport our goods, clean our hospitals—make up our civilization. I’m so disappointed by people who have worked themselves up into a decent position who can’t see the forest for their own trees. Wake up, man.

    • May 7, 2016 12:17 pm

      In a word, you are wrong Pat, and you didn’t read my post correctly. I did not say that “hard work” (whatever that means) equals income. I indicated that “output” equals income, all things being equal,

      In other words, to the degree that someone’s output is valued by the economy, they will do better (all things being equal) than someone whose output (if any) is not so desired.

      So, two people get a college degree, one in education and one in engineering. If the economy values one over the other at some point in time, one person will make more money.

      Seems OK to me. You have a different plan for the economy, bring it on.

      PS-How much should a public school with a BS degree make? I don’t know, just as I don’t know what it means when someone asserts that everyone should make a “living wage.”

      My response to the last statement is: it’s up to them to both define what a living wage is for themselves (mine is much higher than many, thank you) and then to go get that wage.

      That getting part is directly related to that output thing.

      Stay tuned, more to come.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        May 7, 2016 12:31 pm

        jbastiat, part of your line of reasoning presupposes healthy markets, rather than the artificially propped up, subsidized, hamstrung, corrupt, corporate welfare piracy that hopefully will be studies in the future if our species survives its own stupidity. Our markets were SO strong historically that amazingly some of the trajectories are managing to hold us together through the economic, social, and political rape and pillage that is occurring.

      • May 7, 2016 12:38 pm

        To the degree that markets are “unhealthy” who might be responsible for that? Who creates subsidies (minimum wage, rent control, crop subsidies)? Who creates tax policies that might favor one over another?

        That can only happen by and through, government. Who creates licensing laws, environmental restrictions, etc.Wherever economic freedom is restricted, you almost always find government there.

        In nearly every case where markets are perverted, you find the hand of government working its will.

        So, your answer to that is what, more government? Haven’t we tried that ad naseum?

        I think we have had any number of experiments that have revealed what more government control can do to an economy.

        Let me know if you want some examples.

        PS-how much SHOULD a public school teacher make?

    • May 7, 2016 12:17 pm

      Amen Pat Riot.

  28. May 7, 2016 12:24 pm

    Indeed, a major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it… gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.

    -Milton Friedman

      • May 7, 2016 2:06 pm

        Your point being, what exactly?

        BTW-How did you go from perverts in bathrooms to this whole attack on Christianity and Conservatives?

        My bet is that most perverts are dems, but I have not data on that.

      • May 7, 2016 2:07 pm

        Why do you worry so about the very successful? There are only a handful of them and if you took all their money and distributed it to the “poor” the poor would always be with us.

        Sorry, nice pipe dream though.

  29. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 12:34 pm

    Yes, let the markets be as free as they can be! They’re not. They’re top down and getting worse. Not arguing about free markets. Arguing against corporate-driven central planning that is not worker-friendly.

    • May 7, 2016 12:45 pm

      You must provide example and data. The notion of corporate welfare sounds nice, but precious few examples exist. Corporations are require to follow tax laws, just like you and me.

    • Roby permalink
      May 7, 2016 2:37 pm

      “Yes, let the markets be as free as they can be! They’re not. They’re top down and getting worse. Not arguing about free markets. Arguing against corporate-driven central planning that is not worker-friendly.”

      Pat, I can sort of agree with you on this way of putting the problem. Its not all that is going on, but its a part of it.

      • May 7, 2016 3:28 pm

        Corporations are not supposed to be “worker friendly” whatever that means! Corporations exist to provide goods and services and a return for the shareholders. Corporations compete for workers. When workers with the right skills are scarce, corporations must pay more for them and treat them better (whatever that means).

        When workers are plentiful, corporations will pay them less.

        They operate just the way you do when you spend your own money.

        Do you always look to pay more for your new car?

      • Roby permalink
        May 7, 2016 4:24 pm

        “Corporations are not supposed to be “worker friendly” whatever that means!”

        Ford was. Ford, unless I have been misled, realized that if he created a decent standard of living for his workers, they would buy his cars and increase his earnings. Various companies have had the policy of creating an environment that was worker friendly. I don’t pretend to be en expert on that or to know whether that always works out it the end but it is not a completely absurd idea.

        There is a great video that I saw on netflix on the Steinway company on the making of a Steinway piano, they bring ordinary people in out of not very fancy section of NY City if I remember and they stay there forever and become master craftsman.

        Even a McDonald’s manager can be either a nasty psychological idiot and make everyone miserable or can be a great person to work for and not have to hire and train a new crew every week. Or think of Department chairs (ouch, I’d rather not!)

      • May 7, 2016 5:02 pm

        Don’t get me wrong, I prefer a pleasant working environment. I am just under no illusions as to why I am there and what they want from me.

  30. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 12:40 pm

    Have you read the TPP – Trans Pacific Partnership? A while back I downloaded a .pdf and printed the whole thing, read it twice. If I had the expendable capital I’d mail a hardcopy and thumb drive copy to every U.S. citizen. Includes further legalizes corporations’ abilities to sue nations. In other words, special interests and big money with further ability to cripple nations, which, under a constitution like ours, is supposed to represent the will of the people. Corporations over the will of the people. Quiz: what South American country did Phillip Morris hamper with lawsuits?

    • May 7, 2016 12:47 pm

      To my knowledge, anyone or any entity is entitled to sue the USA, and that happens every day. Am I wrong about that? What would you do about that, remove a legal entity’s right for legal redress from the actions of government?

  31. May 7, 2016 12:44 pm

    Does you wage predict your vote? If you are thinking and not making the money you should, it does!!

    Unfortunately, I’ve lived in 2 places where conservative rhetoric about “Christians” took over poor white people’s thinking – Texas and Southwest Virginia. They vote against their economic interest every time!!

    I’ve never been truly “poor” just poorer than most of the people in my area. My Dad worked for NASA in Houston in the 70s-90s and the Clear Lake area is very well-to-do. But my classmates (1981)don’t see it that way. Since I had lived other places, I know we were better off than most. But most of my classmates wouldn’t see it that way – they would think we are just average, and put down others saying the same tripe all conservatives do. That area is heavily Republican, believing they are exceptional, hard working people. Snobby is more like it.

    Now that I’ve spent time teaching in inner city schools and keeping foster teens…I really know how fortunate I’ve been. Jbastiat, too bad you haven’t realized that yet. You’ve never been really poor a day in your life, or you wouldn’t spout all the nonsense about poor people you do.

    I’m not sure who wrote earlier about their grandparents, but they are older than I am. My grandparents were born in the teens, The Greatest Generation. Both my grandfathers worked for Dupont, and as I mentioned earlier neither were supervisors, just ordinary working men. Both my grandmothers worked as secretary and grocery clerk, but not when the kids were small. Both sets owned their own homes, had new cars, vacations, paid their medical bills, sent kids to college and retired extremely comfortably. That simply is NOT possible on working class wages now. To deny that jobs don’t pay what they used to or have the benefits they once did is either ignorant or a lie.

    • Roby permalink
      May 7, 2016 12:49 pm

      “You’ve never been really poor a day in your life, or you wouldn’t spout all the nonsense about poor people you do.”

      He’s going to be quick to tell you that you guessed wrong there. I’m out of here till the dust settles, life calls.

    • May 7, 2016 12:55 pm

      If that makes you feel better, than you can believe it. I won’t refer to my background, just suffice it to say that I know exactly what it is to be poor and hungry. That has nothing to do with my view in the slightest and I don’t try to use it as some moral marker to earn cred with the progressive movement. Many people have been poor and moved out of that state. No big deal, really.

      I also know how “lucky” I am to reach this stage of my life. My response to that is: SO WHAT!

      Am I supposed to feel bad that it has turned out well? Well, I don’t. It was an interesting ride (still is) and I am grateful that most of my plans have turned out (not all, for sure).

      Once again, so what? have what I have and don’t begrudge anyone who has more than I do to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

      Must be very annoying to be so bitter and envious of those who have done well. You might try to work on that for a bit.

      Lastly, you seem to have some issues with Christianity, which you keep bringing up as it I had mentioned it. I have not. Perhaps, counseling on that issue is also in order.

      I suggest you get over it.

    • May 7, 2016 3:58 pm

      BTW-I live on “working class” wages right now. I am doing fine. Of course, you can define that number anyway you like, but you get the point.

      I will point out that my parents and grandparents did own a home (for a while) and we had a used car.. The home we owned was maybe 800 sq ft, had no A/C, and we had one TV. We were the norm for the day.

      Be careful when you compare 1955 to today. Owning a home and a car had a very different meaning (and cost) then, as compared to what it does today.

      My current home is 3200 sq ft and I have a Lexus in the garage. Pretty different, no?
      So, my parents and I both owned and cars.

      Apples and oranges.

  32. Roby permalink
    May 7, 2016 12:46 pm

    Maybe, just maybe we can talk about the real fundamental issues instead of being clever. And, I ‘ve offended many times myself and fallen to the level of taking these discussions personally and throwing elbows and being cute with a sharp edge. We are basically an anonymous group. Only actual ideas can ever change anything for the better, in such a discussion at best people might evolve their ideas, the ones that are both economically and politically workable.

    What worked in some other place at some other time is not the issue. American economic problems in the real America today are the issue, with its political realities of division and polarization. I’d like to hear anyone’s ideas of solutions that can work on income and wealth disparity and low wages for millions while others are fat, without any revolutionary rhetoric. Not every one of the those millions who are struggling can succeed, a few can, but there is no way to create tens of millions of good jobs right this second. So many people are stuck in the world of globalization, increasing “efficiency” and low or no wages. Textbooks have some theoretical answers about markets and competition but they gloss over the human consequences.

    • May 7, 2016 1:01 pm

      Personally, I have not “thrown any elbows.” Once again, I ask for facts. What is a low paying job and how many should of those should there be?

      The second question is: How did you arrive at that number?

      The government can guaranteed that no job pay less than say, $15. per hours. It cannot guarantee how many of those jobs will actually be created.

      There is no specified number of jobs at rates of pay for any economy. If the US economy continues to be competitive (we can sell what we produce) our standard of living in the aggregate will continue to increase.

      How hard can this be to figure out?

      The more value we create, the better we do.

      How that gets “distributed” is tied to who contributes more value vs. those who contribute less. I can assure you that physical labor will continue to decline in terms of adding value, unless of course, you want to go back to digging ditches with a hand shovel.

      Personally, I only have earned income to the degree my employer values my services. I am not entitled to a certain jog or certain pay, just the chance to ply my trade.

      So far, so good.

  33. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 12:56 pm

    We would likely agree on many of the things we cherished and cherish about the United States of America: private property, liberty, freedom, free enterprise, capitalism, self-determination, hard work, work, personal responsibility. I bet we are not far away from each other on how we’d like to see the U.S. operate: people getting up off their asses and making things happen for themselves, their families, their communities…(music swell optional).

    But I think we are far apart on what we see occurring now, on how we view current reality.

    • May 7, 2016 1:05 pm

      No, I think you are right. We are mostly in agreement. The issue here is not whether all people are sharing in the value created in the USA equally. They are not, and they have never done so.

      The issue is how pols exploit the unthinking by created straw man/boogie men and promise to fix the situation.

      To wit: How can anyone believe H. Clinton will help them against the :”corporate interests” when she is entirely funded by those interests. That is simply an incredibly naive position to take

      Once again, we live in a culture where nearly 50% of individuals pay NO income tax and the top 5% of income earned provide most of the federal tax dollars.

      I rest my case. If the game were stacked, how could these numbers be true?

  34. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 1:02 pm

    I thought the discussion was getting passionate without getting too nasty. Hopefully it can remain fairly rational and classy while still being honest and real.

  35. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 1:08 pm

    But Roby, I want to talk about fundamental issues AND be clever!

  36. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 1:14 pm

    There are truths on the right and the left. Bridging those truths has been a helluva lot of trouble and misunderstanding. Whether it’s a conspiracy or not, those who benefit most from the status quo benefit from the misunderstandings.

    • May 7, 2016 1:59 pm

      Maybe, Pat, This phrase “benefiting form the status quo” is interesting. For example, I have carefully constructed my retirement plans around existing taxes laws. If these laws were to be changed for the worse, i would certainly be against that.

      I think that is rational, not sinister.

      You?

  37. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 1:27 pm

    That whole “living wage” thing is another morass. I was paid by the Dept. of Labor under the Clinton Administration and then Bush 1, 1992 to about 2004 off and on, research demonstration projects, etc., had to work around so much wheel spinning on “sustainable wages,” “living wages,” cost-of-living indexes, basket of goods, “disadvantaged vs. disenfranchised,” good God there were so many different sheets of music resulting in Yes’ “Gates of Delerium”…

    I know we need data here, but off the top of my head: college tuition at 30K to 50K/year x 4 years = 200K, and so many $8/hr jobs with no benefits. Too much of a disconnect. To wide of a chasm. When I went to Villanova in 1980-81 I believe my tution was $4,600 and my father made about 40K/year in a maintenance department for a global company, with medical benefits and a pension. We can start with these changes. Too many of these types of changes. People in Academia and in the Medical Industry don’t feel the changes as much. Look to almost ANY town or small city in the U.S. and the only entities that are building new buildings, expanding, are the colleges and the hospitals. So the views from there are skewed.

    • May 7, 2016 2:04 pm

      What changes do you have in mind, Pat? At the federal level, they assert they have been attacking “health care costs” since 1973 (the HMO act) and yet, the sky is the limit. Every time the Feds attack costs, they go up.Wow, perhaps we can learn from the past after all?

      So, again, little Johnny goes to college and comes out with a degree that allows him to work at Starbucks? Little Johnny apparently didn’t learn all that much in college.

      How much should a waiter make and how would you determine that? After all, I make my own coffee so how much should I pay myself?

      • May 7, 2016 2:52 pm

        I think our views on determining wages will be very similar. I think markets should determine wages as naturally as possible. So if all Ned can get is a waiter job, then he should do the best job he can to make current waiter wages, and pick up skills along the way to “demand” a little more on the next job, and go to school in his spare time if he wants/needs to better himself, etc.

        The owner of the restaurant should be free to pay his workers what he wants/thinks he can afford/what the market enables. I don’t believe in government mandated raising of the minimum wage, which in some ways is absurd, except in some crisis-intervention capacity as determined by the people of a region. Knowledge and skills can raise wages because a person can take his/her knowledge and skills somewhere else.

        Now the situation of the waiters, owners, and customers can all be improved by correcting the general economic malaise.In very crass terms for the sake of brevity here, we re-divert some of the millions, billions, and trillions going overseas for roads and schools in Afghanistan (etc) that get blown up the next day, etc, etc) and channel it into U.S. state and national projects. These projects cannot be government run or unfortunately most will fall on their face and fail. They need to be public-private partnerships and merit-based.

        So, a rust belt town is economically half-depressed. There’s a big vacant warehouse. A private enterprise (that has proven itself elsewhere) gets a great deal on the building, and government funding for the community college to help train its new workforce. The town gets jobs. The restaurant owner is suddenly doing a little better and can pay his workers a little more, expand his menu, whatever. Successful models like these exist.

        Bigger national projects can have corporate sponsors and corporate guidance. Employ hundreds and thousands. These projects can be rallying points with great support. ‘Ya know those 5K runs and 10-mile runs for good causes, and all that hoopla…well imagine regions getting behind their projects like that. I’m talking about inspiring projects. U.S. Navy Seabees can have friendly competition projects with the Army Corp of Engineers. Let’s put a Disney-like monorail up alongside a traffic-choked highway. Jobs. Infrastructure. Proud again.

        Give people opportunities HERE in the U.S. Amazing things can be done. So many possibilities exist. I’m convinced that the present administration does not want to.

      • May 7, 2016 3:30 pm

        I am all for eliminating any funds headed for the mid-east or anywhere else for that matter. The taxpayers of the US are not obligated to pay for another nations anything.

        We are 100% in agreement on that score.

      • Roby permalink
        May 7, 2016 3:29 pm

        Pat. Love it, cept that last sentence. Bravo!

        JB and I have very different ideologies But I can’t argue with him on his economics, he is just stating the basic laws of gravity of economics. He believes they exist, I believe they exist, you believe they exist. But I think there are ways to change the game a bit and so do you. (Heh, You part from Bernie on the minimum wage idea, as I would think most people with a college course or two in economics would.)

        I don’t agree with you about the present administration though. It came in with the intention of doing all that you say and much more and then politics, both democratic hubris and republican reaction set it. Bad politics, the intention were good. I don’t know of any America president in my lifetime, including W, who did not want great things for Americans. For me, that is just going too far in trying to read someone’s mind and project bad intentions on it because I dislike something about them. (Nixon might have been the exception with his paranoia and enemies list.)

  38. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 1:31 pm

    whoops! Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2. It’s a wonder us humans get anything done!

  39. Roby permalink
    May 7, 2016 2:30 pm

    Most (I think all) of us who have been at this TNM for lengthy periods have agreed that not everyone needs a college degree, not by a long shot. If you go to college you can go to an expensive one or an inexpensive one. The cost of an expensive college is staggering, yes. I graduated from a cheap state college with almost no debt, got a very good job, did well on the standardized grad school tests, got into grad school and finished my degree (wish I hadn’t). I earn my living now with something that was once a hobby/obsession that I learned completely out of school, a self education. Thats just me its an anecdote, that’s all.

    I believe that income/wealth disparity is a huge problem and I believe that something can and should be done about it. I think there is a tremendous human cost to global competition that is not discussed in economics texts. We need to do something about that. I just don’t think that our political culture as it exists today is headed in the direction of doing the kind of thinking and compromising that it would take to be constructive. Perhaps after the dust from this election has settled that will change, I can hope and dream.

    The number of people who are economically literate enough to even understand the actual problems and their possible solutions is not large. Most of the people who Are economically literate are not those who are proposing or fiercely championing the solutions of this election year, because they know things are not so simple.

    I was an auto mechanic and I know how a car works, more or less. I can fix one, sometimes. I almost never see people who don’t know how a car works try to fix a car or have an opinion about how to fix one. But in the case of economics issues, which are far, far, far more complex, I meet so many people who know just what needs to be done, and it turns out that its all very simple and just requires a president and a congress of their party and writing and easy passage of a a few simple laws.

    Its like saying that my car will run better if I attach the oil pan to the master brake cylinder, its just hubris and anger.

    The polarization into further and further left and right groups is only making this harder. I’d start with making peace between the bulk of generally decent liberal- and conservative-tending people. Get them to put down their pitchforks and share a beer. This election so far has accomplished the opposite. No solution, even one that Might Actually Work, has a chance when we are as divided as the Protestants and Catholics in Queen Mary’s time.

    • May 7, 2016 3:23 pm

      Politicians since time immemorial have worked to pit one group against the other. This has happened all over the world. I doubt one can change this behavior of the political class anytime soon, if ever.

      The only hope (IMHO) is through one’s educating themselves on how things really work, so as not to fall for the same old thing.

      Sadly, the race hucksters are in the same boat. Who wants to follow someone who tells you that maybe, just maybe, you have to do things for yourself? There is no fun in that.

  40. May 7, 2016 3:25 pm

    And, no, I don’t think “income inequality” is a big deal. Largely, it is an abstraction. The real issue for the individual is: Do I have enough and if not, what am I going to do about it.

    Otherwise, you are just waiting for a handout.

    • Roby permalink
      May 7, 2016 3:43 pm

      I’ve had plenty of handouts in my lifetime, that CETA program that trained me to work on cars in the 70s was one, all the help I got from my parents was another. Sometimes in life handouts are fine if the person who receives them does their part to apply them with energy. If they don’t participate with their own efforts then cut them off. Most people need and get help from somewhere sometime in life. Its not immoral.

      I also believe that is incredibly important that people understand how things (economics, politics, history) work. Your were born with a mind that could understand economics. That is a gift, even if you worked to develop it. There are many people who did not get that gift. When I took economics 101 in college the teacher was great, the text was great it was all so clear and ridiculously easy, except to most of the other students in the class (business majors at a small state college) it was Greek. They lurched into the room, the lights were on but no one was home. The grades on each exam got put up on the blackboard. Multiple choice and flll in the blank questions. Grades went as low as the teens and not much higher than 75 each test. They were not hippies. They were not stoned. They just had brains that could not absorb economics. Your insights into how all economics works are not going to be understood by a very significant chunk of Americans, and not because they are lazy. Just not wired for it.

      • May 7, 2016 3:47 pm

        You may be right, Roby. I do teach Economics now and it can be a challenge. However, what I do try to do is dispense with the graphs and charts, which tend to make people go weird (me included).

        For an amazing education on economics, I highly recommend “Basic Economics” by Thomas Sowell, 900 pages and not a graph or chart in sight. The guy is a miracle in motion.

  41. Pat Riot permalink
    May 7, 2016 6:21 pm

    Bravo, Roby! Some of your Democrat / Moderate elements coming out: “I’ve had plenty of handouts in my lifetime…all the help I got from my parents was another. Sometimes in life handouts are fine if the person who receives them does their part to apply them with energy. If they don’t participate with their own efforts then cut them off. Most people need and get help from somewhere sometime in life. Its not immoral.”

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo. What you wrote there is so important. Too many “regular working folks,” middle-class folks, and other Republicans” do not fully realize all the help they have received, from our society’s amenities including “Eisenhower’s roads” and other infrastructure to parents, grandparents, money, food, safe home, friends, teachers, mentors, role models, etc. This unrealized, taken-for-granted support was not merely occasional, but supporting nearly every day…

    My first-hand, DOL-funded tours of successful U.S. programs and the related research showed that successful programs had plugged enough of the cracks to enable program participants to get themselves through the stages of the respective programs and to a job.

    “Non-poor” Americans have the illusion that they got themselves through school and applied themselves and got a job, which may be partly true, but they do not see all the supports that enabled them to not fall through the cracks. The supports are not seen because they seem like the normal backdrop of a regular life: clothing, food, family members who are not severe detriments, car, help with choices…those supports were in turn supported by others, and society was involved, including the government, even if not as seemingly direct as food stamps, etc.

    • May 7, 2016 10:11 pm

      Yeah, nice try but no cigar. No thinking individual would deny that society supports are important. That said, many fail in spite of those supports.

      Hence, the folks how succeed should feel fine about the success they have achieved. Those who fail to succeed don’t need to fell bad about that, but they should also not blame those who do.

      • May 8, 2016 9:03 am

        jbastiat, don’t think in binary or polar mode, as if the world consists of those who succeed and those who fail. Too many conservatives fall into this trap.

        Too many successful and/or comfortable and/or accomplished people in America are making this mistake. They think something along the lines of: “well, I didn’t have it easy, and I made it, through my efforts, through my education and my work, so others are just going to have to make it through THEIR efforts, because that’s how the world is, and their failures are not my fault and not my responsibility…”

        It’s not that simple. The context matters. Even with the greatest work ethic and strong determination, how much of a chance does a Syrian refugee have right now? The context matters.

        Back to the United States. The context has changed. The context has changed and people are angry. These angry Americans include intelligent people, hard-working people, loving people, talented people. Don’t fall into the trap of binary thinking–that those who are not succeeding are struggling because of their own choices and mistakes. That’s only a wedge of the pie. Don’t get tricked into binary thinking–that there are HAVES and the HAVE NOTS, and that this is simply due to the application of hard work, or intelligence, or talent, etc.

        Too many HAVES throughout history have underestimated the context, e.g. Russians prior to 1917, French upper classes during the mid 1700s, Britain’s rulers regarding the American colonies. And citizens in America right now.

        America has an opportunity to correct itself, to steer away from escalating corruption, to steer away from a context that bankrupts the nation, embarrasses the nation, that WIDENS the wealth GAP. (Remember: a wealth gap is natural, a widening wealth gap to extremes is not sustainable.)

        America needs its successful people to help correct the context. We can do this without bloody revolution, but not if successful people think the peasants should just eat cake.

      • May 8, 2016 9:15 am

        Thanks for the lecture, but to be candid, I am not the one guilty of binary thinking here. Refer to my last post to Sue about what I did and did not say about these issues. They are very complex and time does not allow us to address them all in depth.

        As to the issue of income, let’s talk about who actually pays income taxes.

        Take a gander. Rather than vilifying those who have “made it” I think we should thank them.

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/top-20-of-earners-pay-84-of-income-tax-1428674384

  42. Roby permalink
    May 7, 2016 7:16 pm

    Glad to be back in your good graces old buddy.

    As well, for people who have no honest way to live, the next option is crime. Keeping someone in jail is a hell of a handout, not to mention the fact that the crime had a victim. Its cheaper to get everyone trained and working. After all, what is high school? What were my violin lessons in school, a hand out I guess, but one I appreciated that changed my life.

  43. May 8, 2016 7:38 am

    JB, You just keep making me laugh with your contradictory statements. You said you were private sector, then went to being a college professor – but you make a “working class” wage? You own a 3200 sq ft home and a Lexus on your working class wage? Its nice that you could go from higher to a lower income, but please, you are in a career requiring a college degree – that’s not working class. Not to mention that you apparently made enough money to acquire at certain level of living before you downgraded. That is quite different from a person who never made over let’s say $15hr in the last 30 years.

    There’s some difference from wanting to own a home now and in 1955? Pray tell what it is? On my teachers salary by myself I managed to get a 1400 sq ft double wide trailer – which means no basement, no attic, no garage. And they are hardly built to last. I might have gone for something smaller, but this was where I needed it to be. I could not have afforded a stick built home of any size. I’ve always bought the smallest newish cars. I’ve mentioned earlier my retirement savings are a joke.

    “Corporations are not supposed to be worker friendly” – Therein lies the problem. When they were worker friendly – paying good wages and good benefits – our economy was strong. When more people have more money, they spend it. The 10% can only buy so much. – then they start saving and investing, which does not spur the economy.

    “How much should a public school teacher make?” This is another conservative brain gap – its just too much trouble to think about it, so lets not make an effort. One of the problems with teaching in the last 40 years is your best and brightest women can now go on to other less stressful higher paying careers. What do you think that has left in our classrooms? It was another reason I left. As a nation, everyone keeps talking about the importance of education, but you’re no longer willing to pay for it. Schools and teachers were better paid by the Greatest Generation.

    “it is pretty clear what leads to “low wages” and that is low valued output. The studies are clear that if you rely on physical labor (capital) to earn you keep, on balance, you are becoming less valued.” But we will always need garbage men, construction workers, highway builders, janitors, nurses aides – and we need more of them than lawyers and Wall Street crooks. You may think they are “low-value” but I do not, and neither do most people I expect.

    You and other conservatives want us to think the “free market” determines wages. It does not. The owner of the company decides how many homes he wants, how many millions he thinks he needs for a good retirement, how much he needs for vacations…then he pays the workers. As we are seeing, this does not bode well for the economy. Free market is not free when people are paid slave wages.

    Again, I say the reason this devolved on a page about bathroom laws is that conservatives try to distract us from the real issue – which is Income Inequality…which of course for some insane reason you say doesn’t exist…(which is why I won’t bother to post sources, you would deny them)…

    • May 8, 2016 8:51 am

      Sue,

      You have yet to define what “working class” is. I have. Working class means quite simply, that I must work for a living. If I don’t work, I have no income and that means I will soon run out of money.

      How soon I run out of money depends on how much I have saved. In my case, I have saved quite a bit. That said, I need to keep working or I will at some point run out of money.

      That is my definition,

      You have one?

    • May 8, 2016 8:55 am

      Lord almighty, I hate to say it but I hope you are not a teacher at present. This would explain much about why public educated students are scoring the way they are.

      I can’t respond to all of your statements because, on balance, they are nonsensical and lack any basis in fact.

      I don’t want to end on a bad note, but I think it is clear to me why you live in a trailer.

      The end.

  44. May 8, 2016 9:19 am

    If one is to go to college (yes, it is possible) these majors make economic sense.

    http://www.forbes.com/pictures/lmj45jgfi/no-1-biomedical-engineering/

  45. May 8, 2016 9:21 am

    Can’t get into college? Actually, you can.

    https://www.noodle.com/articles/getting-into-college-is-easier-than-you-think

  46. May 8, 2016 9:28 am

    In the aggregate, most Americans do not agree with you Sue:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/180449/standard-living-index-climbs-highest-years.aspx

  47. May 8, 2016 9:31 am

    Some data on income disparities:

    http://www.nber.org/digest/dec08/w13982.html

  48. May 8, 2016 9:32 am

    Another take on income variation.

    http://fortune.com/2015/06/11/income-inequality/

    • Roby permalink
      May 8, 2016 10:29 am

      This one seems to be at odds with the others, there is no income disparity? The other links you provided say that there is and try to explain the reasons for it.

      All the same, if Americans spent more time looking at and understanding this type of information then we would be on much more solid ground to talk about what the actual problems are and what the solutions are.

      I am going to be in agreement with Pat on some things but at odds with him on others. The populist movement is running on anger based on wildly misunderstanding the basic economics of what is happening.

      I do agree with Pat that the American economy has shifted and not in favor of the folks in the lower 50%. Not all graphs will show that, economically barely literate people can be easily led, cherry picking thrives in economics like nowhere else. Any point of view can be supported and followers of various movements will not distinguish between support for a point of view and proof of a point of view, which are utterly different things.

      What it amounts to is that data is great but can also be very misleading and a person needs to practically have a Ph.D in economics or have spent decades working in it to avoid being yanked around emotionally by cherry picked statistics, whats going on is real but subtle and complex. Many people are hell bent, in my opinion, in solving problems that are to a large extent illusions, but that does not mean that there are not real problems. This also does not mean that just living in a world in which the cost of college and healthcare have continually increased at rates in excess of inflation with seemingly no end in sight is demoralizing. Watching jobs lost to globalization and watching American workers losing out in the lowest wage race to people in Asia, likewise.

      I can hope that from all the seeming chaos of misinformation somehow some helpful impulse comes out that improves the lives of Americans. That seems a bit optimistic at the moment. History only makes sense when seen from a distance, right now we are right in the middle of a period of change, it does not inspire confidence. Economies run on confidence, among other types of fuel.

      How I wish America as a whole could be sat down in one big and relatively ideologically unbiased economics class. So much good hearted and sincere energy goes into fighting phantoms, while the real driving forces are impersonal and almost beyond the ability of a single human mind to comprehend.

      • May 8, 2016 1:30 pm

        I posted all those links to suggest that you can find the answer that you are looking for. That is the nature of class warfare and it has never really changed all that much throughout history.

        People like Sue will never change their point of view and really, I had no sense that would happen here. She is unhappy with her lot and it makes her feel better to place the responsibility elsewhere.

        I get it. I would likely do the same thing in her shoes, but I am not in her shoes.

        Did the economy shift in the last 50 years. Of course, did it in the preceding 50? You bet!

        Will it continue to change? For sure and the is the safest bet in the world to make.

        Now, to the heart of the matter. Who is changing the economy? The corporations, ah, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

        They are reacting to a changing global economy. They have no choice and we all know that. Is the global economy good or bad? It depends who you ask. Some winners, some losers. Who to blame? I don’t know, maybe nobody.

        Why? Values vary all over the world Overall, people want to live better and do less. I would take that deal if I could get it and so would you.

        So, we can rail against change all we want but quite candidly, do you want to go back to the 1955 economy and live like that?

        I don’t!

      • Ron P permalink
        May 8, 2016 3:57 pm

        JB, enjoying your communications with everyone on this subject. I can’t agree with you more on what you are saying. (SURPRISE!) Your comment “They are reacting to a changing global economy. They have no choice and we all know that” goes to my point that I made to Sue concerning trade agreements and unions. When it becomes economically more attractive to produce items in a foreign country, business will react and move.

        And many people that have retirement funds in state and local government pension funds have seen a significant increase in those funds if they have been invested in the market and did not bail out in 2008 when so many people did from fear and not knowing markets go up and down. And why have those funds increased so much? Profits from those dirty bad corporations that moved overseas because it was economically feasible and taxes are much lower to also raise profits.

      • May 8, 2016 4:22 pm

        Indeed. Many folks (esp on the progressive left) forget that public corporations are owned by their shareholders, either directly or through mutual and pension funds. Hence, when McDonald’s stock goes up, or they pay a dividend, the shareholders benefit.

        This is a very GOOD thing, indeed.

        I have about 35 companies that I own inside of my portfolio. I expect them to earn a profit and to pay me a dividend. If they miss a dividend payment, I sell those shares.

        Makes perfect sense to me.

        As an add-on, when I see the $15 minimum wage law being touted, I have to laugh (and cry). Already, McDonald’s is working on replacing workers with technology, as to try and maintain their franchise owners margins.

        How else should they behave? Will the progressives next pass a law that says that they cannot do so?

      • May 8, 2016 1:46 pm

        “So much good hearted and sincere energy goes into fighting phantoms…”

        So true.

        And so much mean-spirited energy, left against right and vice versa, half-cocked viewpoints pointing at more phantoms and boogeymen, so sure they are correct…

      • May 8, 2016 1:49 pm

        “Science is the disbelief in experts!”

        -Richard Feynman

      • Roby permalink
        May 8, 2016 1:53 pm

        JB, You and I have very different ideologies but on the basic laws and ideas of economics we are exactly on the same page. What you just said is absolutely in sync with my general foggy picture of the situation. Its not the corporations, they are not in control, they are being carried along by larger forces, just like you and I are. No one is in control.

        All the same, trying to understand the global economy with one human brain is like people in 1400 trying to draw the map of the globe. We see one little part of the big picture. Its perfect material for politicians, anything is sort of true from some perspective, true but not helpful. As well, I am sure they very sincerely believe their own diagnoses for the most part.

      • May 8, 2016 2:39 pm

        I think you are spot on. The real danger is that many believe those, who believe that they have a “fix” to make things perfect.

        Another great Thomas Sowell quote: “In economics, there are no solutions, only trade-offs!”

  49. May 8, 2016 1:32 pm

    PS-Income data isvery misleading and hard to come by. Wealth data is even less accessible. Economists who lay claim to specifics about this are simply not being candid. We don’t know how much anyone’s net worth is unless they tell us and assuming they can figure it out.

    Most people can’t. I can, but I am not telling anyone what it is .

    You see, it is private.

  50. May 8, 2016 1:56 pm

    I think that there is a general conflation in the public mind of crony capitalism and free market economics, and it has been perpetuated by an ignorant media as well as dishonest and manipulative “public servants” (I think we all know why I put that term in scare quotes), private and public sector unions, and leftist groups devoted to various types of socialist economies.

    Crony Capitalism is bad…..it’s essentially fascism dressed up as capitalism. But it doesn’t work the way capitalism is supposed to work. When the most powerful people in government are picking winners and losers based on pay-to-play, lobbyists, overregulation or anything else, you can’t say that we have a free economy of any sort.

    On the other hand, those who trash true free market capitalism, based on some extreme libertarian-style notion of Mr. Moneybags running rampant through the economy, with no regulation at all, are simply helping the groups I mentioned above. This is why Bernie Sanders can get away with the half-truths that he perpetuates, and Donald Trump can talk about starting trade wars as if there would be no blowback.

    The electorate is suffering economically and is ill- informed as to what the government can do about that. Politicians have learned to leverage this ignorance by mouthing platitudes and riling people up with bogus social issues like who can use what bathrooms. (There! I tied it in to the main post 🙂 )

    And, Roby, by the way, your last comment was great. Why we mandate diversity education but not economic and civics is a whole lot of the problem. Let families and churches teach values and tolerance. Let schools teach knowledge.

    • May 8, 2016 1:58 pm

      And, to be clear, I consider ‘dishonest and manipulative “public servants” ‘ to be of both parties. Absolutely.

      • May 8, 2016 2:42 pm

        One you said, public servants, the dishonesty was assumed, regardless of party affiliation.

    • May 8, 2016 2:41 pm

      Ah, yes, the diversity god. At our U, we have program running literally everyday. To gain Econ knowledge would be WAY better but alas, there is no budget or time for that.

      ‘Tis a pity!

    • May 8, 2016 4:16 pm

      “Let families and churches teach values and tolerance. Let schools teach knowledge.”

      Priscilla, are you sure this can happen in this day in age when almost 60% of maririages end in divorce. According to “SingleMothersGuide”, 25% of all children or 17,4 million, are raised in a single parent home of which 80% of these were in a home without a father. 72% of all black children are raised without a father in the house.

      As for churches, only 39% of Americans actively attended church in 2013.

      Based on these staggering statistics, this is why schools have become the tool for teaching values and tolerance. It’s not happening at home in a large percent of homes today.

      • May 8, 2016 4:23 pm

        Good point, Ron. I do think that says more about the degradation of the social structure of society than it does about what is the proper role of education. On the other hand, I understand why the schools have felt the need to take the place of families and churches. Just think it’s been an overall bad idea for a lot of reasons. If some of those kids from bad homes learned to read and do math, it would probably help them more than all of the positive self-esteem lessons they’re getting.

      • May 8, 2016 4:26 pm

        Many (including Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell) have criticized the Welfare State enacted as the “great society” as responsible for the demolition of the black family. While this cannot be proven, the timing is pretty much spot on.

  51. Pat Riot permalink
    May 8, 2016 2:03 pm

    JB, I will look at the data you posted. I hope you were paying attention during my lecture. There may be a quiz.

  52. Pat Riot permalink
    May 8, 2016 2:37 pm

    Economists disagree. But we don’t have to understand every aspect, thread, or nuance of economics to know when there are problems. And we don’t have to understand every theoretical principle and notion of economics to apply solutions. Just as we don’t have to be a doctor from the future to treat ourselves when we have a stomach issue or a cold. We learn to see the symptoms of sickness and apply common sense. Sit down, relax, drink fluids. Then we are better, healthy again, even without a full understanding of every system of the body. Sometimes there is obvious hard evidence. Sometimes common sense works. Stop drinking the pond water, Eugene, and you will stop feeling ill ( ! ) Stop having a government corrupted to the degree it is, and then you may have more control over your own region, neighborhood, and life, Mr. American Citizen.

    • May 8, 2016 2:46 pm

      Milton Friedman used to suggest that government corruption (or self-interest) was inevitable, but that the amount of power granted to government over our daily affairs can be limited.

      I tend to agree with him.

  53. Pat Riot permalink
    May 8, 2016 2:39 pm

    And Mrs. American Citizen. And Miss American Citizen.

  54. Pat Riot permalink
    May 8, 2016 2:41 pm

    And Miss who used to be a Mister. There I connected it to Rick’s post! 🙂

    • May 8, 2016 2:47 pm

      Only in his mind, Rick. Bruce Jenner may be dressing up like a chick, but his genes are still male.

      • May 8, 2016 8:50 pm

        As I said, I don’t know how he defines “male” or “female,” But JB, what you say here is what I think too.

      • May 8, 2016 10:14 pm

        Thanks, Bruce.

  55. May 8, 2016 2:48 pm

    Sorry, I meant to type Pat!

  56. Roby permalink
    May 8, 2016 3:21 pm

    A related issue is that it is so tempting to mix one’s ideology with one’s economic ideas. As an example when 200 economists sign a document that says that Bernie Sanders economic plans would be beneficial to the economy are they speaking as economists or imposing their ideology on their economics? Just an example I could give one from the right side as well but Bernienomics has been a big issue this year. There must be 100 000 economists in the US, 200 is a tiny fraction, but to college kids supporting Bernie all they need to know is the names of one or two prominent economists and the number of economists who signed to support Bernie and instant total invincible belief. Of course anyone who disagrees is the Establishment, no need to even consider their arguments, they are the establishment and obviously lying for profit. People now root for their favorite economist (the one who says what they want to believe) like they support a sports team. Ah, Krugman’s wrong when he says Bernie does not know what he is talking about, Robert Reich is the guy who knows what he is talking about. End of Argument, Robert Reich says so, 200 economists signed a support page, the Establishment, blah, blah, blah, Free college, blah blah, We Win.

    Makes me nuts.

    • May 8, 2016 4:06 pm

      Yeah, one of the worst things to happen to economics was when they started calling it a social “science”. Robert Schiller, who won the Nobel Prize for “economic sciences”, wrote a great piece on the use of the term, in which he contrasts the fact that the Nobel for for chemistry is not called the prize for “chemical sciences”, so why use the term for economics?

      Politics just tends to mess everything up. Although I was always afraid of Econ because I heard there was too much math…….

      • May 8, 2016 4:24 pm

        Like all of the so-called social sciences, economics is not a science. We use math and all, in order to pretend we are scientific. After all, if you use statistics, you must be a scientist, right?

        Hogwash.

      • May 8, 2016 5:01 pm

        Sometimes it’s a bit challenging to isolate variables scientifically out there in the world of seven billion people scrambling for goods and services!

      • May 8, 2016 5:27 pm

        Ya think? More seriously, it is very hard to conduct legitimate experiments, where you can hold any variable constant. Humans are messy subjects, no doubt.

    • May 8, 2016 4:15 pm

      Robert Reich has a law degree and not a PhD in economics. While he studied that in his master’s work, that is not his main academic credential. That said, he has opined ad naseum on economics as if he were an authority.

      Far from it.

      Paul Krugman used to be an economist but has turned into a full time mouthpiece for the progressive left. Krugman has been drubbed in a number of very public encounters with practicing economists by virtue of his conflating or confusing data or facts.

      I suggest he stay retired and stop writing dribble for the NY Times.

  57. Roby permalink
    May 8, 2016 3:43 pm

    And, by the way, speaking of Bathrooms, Trump.

    I’ve noticed that most words that end in ump are either mildly comical or somewhat insulting. Trump, rump, frump, grump, thump, mump, clump, bump, dump, hump, lump, sump(pump), chump.

    Now, You know that what we really want to talk about is the man with the orange dyed muscrat on his head, the one who put an end to his remaining primary competitors this week and has had such an effect on his adopted party and what end he is going to come to.

  58. Roby permalink
    May 8, 2016 3:56 pm

    And, by the way, speaking of Bat

  59. May 8, 2016 4:01 pm

    Were you trying to write a country song about Trump?

    Grab a cold beer
    and vote for Trump
    Y’all should fear
    the establishment chump
    jump on the Don Train
    get outa the dump
    join our refrain
    or we’ll kick your rump

    • May 8, 2016 4:10 pm

      I mean you can’t say “feel the trump”. It sounds dirty. “Don’t be a chump, vote for Trump” – eh, that’s so cheesy. The Trump Train thing has caught on, though.

    • Roby permalink
      May 8, 2016 4:23 pm

      Pat, you caught my drift. I think I am going to put my brain to work on dirty limericks involving my words. Or a rap thingy. You all will excuse me if I come up with some mildly dirty limericks?

      We can have a competition, first prize is a live one of whatever he is wearing on his head.

      • May 8, 2016 7:15 pm

        Roby, please write a hit that goes viral and makes you a bundle of money. Then you can use that money to promote a return to civility and class. Something involving the violin perhaps. I don’t know, just do it!

  60. May 8, 2016 5:22 pm

    Then there is the assertion that the US doesn’t spend very much on public school education. Ah, wrong again!

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/

  61. May 8, 2016 5:26 pm

    A provocative study by the folks at Pew, hardly a right wing organization.

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/04/22/science-say-gop-voters-better-informed-open-minded/

  62. Roby permalink
    May 8, 2016 7:58 pm

    “Then you can use that money to promote a return to civility …” Ha, me of the nuclear temper and sarcasm, those who can’t do teach…

    Dave Barry came up with this rap song:

    “I’m from the G-O-P, and I know how to dance,

    I do the bunny hop in my lime-green pants.

    I know how to boogie, I know how to jive,

    I got a statue of a jockey at the end of my drive.

    (Chorus:)

    Feelin’ so good, momma, feelin’ so right;

    Think I might fold my S&L tonight.”

    Thats my model.

  63. Roby permalink
    May 8, 2016 8:25 pm

    For nostalgia’s sake, have this that I just happened on:

    This Dave Barry column was originally published Sunday, February 18, 1996, and refers to the 1996 presidential election.
    The eight leading Republican presidential contenders squared off in a televised debate here the other night, giving New Hampshire voters, as well as millions of viewers across the nation, an opportunity to watch Friends.
    I thought the debate went very well, except for the part when I almost got killed. This was entirely my fault. The debate was held at a TV station, and I stupidly chose to be standing out front when the candidates arrived. This was a major mistake, because an event like this attracts a large number of people whom I will describe as “political activists,” because it would be unprofessional to use the term “wing nuts.”
    If these people had been any more politically active, the police would have needed tranquilizer harpoons to subdue them. There were hundreds of them, representing a wide range of candidates and causes. One person was dressed — Why not? — as a pig. These people were all standing jammed together in a small area, thrusting signs and mindlessly shouting slogans at each other.
    Mindless repetitive shouting is of course a major tactic in American politics. You’ll see two groups of people holding diametrically opposite views — say, pro- and anti-abortion — shouting at each other for hours at a time, as though each side truly believes it’s accomplishing something; as though, suddenly, the other is going to stop shouting and go, “Hey! You’re RIGHT!”
    So anyway, I was standing at what I thought was a safe distance from the crowd, when up pulled a vehicle, and out got Pat Buchanan, surrounded by a clot of aides and police, which started moving . . . OH NO! IT’S COMING MY WAY!
    I turned to run, but it was too late. I was engulfed by a fast-moving stampede of TV crews and sign-thrusting people, some shouting, “GO PAT GO!!”; some shouting, “DOLE FOR PRESIDENT!!”; some shouting, “DON’T EAT MEAT!!”; some shouting — I swear — “LAMAAARRRR!!”
    Struggling to remain on my feet, I tried to push my way out of the mob, but it was too dense around me, and — CONK! — a TV camera, behind me, was — CONK! — slamming down, hard, directly on my — CONK! — head, and just when I thought I was about to be CONKed senseless, a courageous Manchester police officer pulled me out of there.
    As I emerged from the mob, I saw, standing in front of me, speaking to nobody in particular through an electronic bullhorn, a man wearing a large rubber boot on his head. I recognized him from the 1992 primary; he’s a perennial presidential candidate who calls himself “Vermin Supreme.”
    At that moment, he seemed to be one of the saner people in New Hampshire.
    A short while later, as I was massaging my head, a TV cameraman came over and said, graciously, “I didn’t mean to hit you in the head.” I told him it was OK. As a journalist, I recognize that the risk of permanent brain damage is a small price to pay for providing the American voter with crucial video footage of Pat Buchanan walking into a building.
    As for the actual debate : It was very, very informative, with the candidates doing an excellent job of explaining exactly how they differed on the key issues. Here’s a breakdown of where each candidate stands:
    Against Negative Campaigning? — *
    Opponents Are All Scum? — *
    * * *
    LATE NEWS UPDATE: It has been snowing like a banshee (assuming that banshees can snow), and President Clinton has flown up here for a presidential visit with the policy objective of screwing up traffic beyond human comprehension.
    * * *
    MORRY “THE GRIZ” TAYLOR CAMPAIGN UPDATE — According to his published schedule, The Griz’s recent campaign events included making his “own brand of beer” and challenging “TV personalities” to a candlepin bowling match. My advice is, jump on this bandwagon soon, before it crashes.

  64. May 8, 2016 10:32 pm

    Amazing! It seems when you change incentives, you change behavior. Who would have thought?

    http://thefga.org/research/report-the-power-of-work-how-kansas-welfare-reform-is-lifting-americans-out-of-poverty/

  65. May 8, 2016 11:23 pm

    Not to change the subject, but I will anyway. Careful what you write on a plane. Intelligence can be mistaken for terrorism.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/05/08/3776376/math-professor-terrorism/

  66. May 8, 2016 11:27 pm

    Not to change the subject, but I will anyway. Careful what you write on a plane these days, intelligence can be mistaken for terrorism.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/05/08/3776376/math-professor-terrorism/

    • May 8, 2016 11:40 pm

      The first one did not post until I wrote another and posted it again, Now they both show. Sorry!!!

  67. May 9, 2016 8:01 am

    This one is well done. When we look at input versus output, I think “public service” needs to be viewed with a critical eye.

    https://mises.org/blog/public-servants-who-serving-whom

  68. May 9, 2016 8:16 am

    This economist does an amazing job of addressing this topic (inequality) than I could ever do. A great read, delivered in language that a non-economist can understand.

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/02/ben-domenech-interviews-deirdre-mccloskey-on-inequality-poverty-and-social-connectedness/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=a82aab7630-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-a82aab7630-83789813

    Sue, if you really want to address the issue, read through this.

    • May 9, 2016 8:24 am

      The great irony of this piece is the author is transgendered.

      • Roby permalink
        May 9, 2016 9:48 am

        Good Lord! Its a great piece, full of common sense. Its not the pure undistilled truth, its the perspective of a free market economist but there is a lot of undisputable fact in there and the point of view is not irrational either.

        Heh, I want a few points for having stated that poverty and the living working conditions of the lower 50% is the problem and not income/wealth inequality per se, although I rambled on about income equality too, which I am not convinced is completely not a problem,

        I do understand perfectly (wish everyone did) that we are all (every economic class that is) living a whole lot better than even 50 let alone 100 years ago and that there could be huge income inequality and who would care as long as everyone has what they need and the chance to move up. I don’t believe that there is much if any starvation in America, I don’t believe that anyone is denied health care (which is not the same as medical insurance) and I believe that anyone can go to college, although it might be a crappy one with 4th rate marxist professors instead of 2nd rate marxist professors (thats just a little joke, most profs aren’t actually marxists, just the loudest ones).

        It still matters if someone is living in an economically depressed region and has a terrible time finding a job and it still matters if your job was exported to Mexico or China and you are 55 years old and left stranded. I’m very willing to look at economics from a very objective and heartless way for part of the time to understand what is happening and to see the big picture without emotion, but real crap does devastate real people and that cold objective answer is not going to satisfy them. As well, I am not satisfied to live in a nation that has such a high level of concentrated poverty in places and where there is so much un- and under-employment. I want something better and I have not (along with Pat) given up on the idea that there are things that can be done to improve the situation, starting with my favorite thing, training programs in the trades, like my CETA program.

        But thanks for posting substantive stuff, that is a great resource.

      • May 9, 2016 10:46 am

        Indeed, One thing to keep in mind is that when income inequality advocates gin up their data, they conveniently leave out any payments and benefits received from government programs such as food stamps, welfare payments, and medicaid coverage.

        When add those back, the dynamic changes. Poverty sure ain’t what it used to be.

      • May 9, 2016 1:21 pm

        Roby, ” I don’t believe that anyone is denied health care (which is not the same as medical insurance)”

        Having worked in healthcare finance for 30+ years I can tell you that healthcare is rationed based on the ability to pay by the patient. They will never use “denied” in any statement, but you will find that a large majority of doctors across the country “do not accept Medicaid coverage”. What that means is low income patients have much fewer numbers of doctors to choose from for normal medical treatment. In my area, many of the Medicaid doc’s were foreign trained. We also started our of physician network as our community benefit outreach that provided indigent and Medicaid services.

        In looking at services at the hospital by insurance coverage, our total Medicaid population was about 10% of our patients when the maternity was removed. In most cases, this followed through in most all the services provided except for open heart surgery. That was because the cardiac surgeons did not want to provide high cost services to low cost reimbursement patients. So Medicaid patients were treated on a much less aggressive form of treatment and sent home. Again, services were not denied, but they were rationed.

        Where indigent and Medicaid patients received most of their care was in the emergency room, a high cost area where 24-7-365 minimum required staffing was provided regardless of the number of patients seen in a day. And when a patient reported with “chest pain”, batteries of test were provided to “rule out” everything from heart attack to appendicitis. They went home with indigestion, a note to get some Tums and a $1500 bill for all the unneeded test had they had a primary care doc.

        So yes, no one is denied healthcare, but healthcare is provided in many different ways based on your ability to pay.

      • May 9, 2016 1:23 pm

        “So yes, no one is denied healthcare, but healthcare is provided in many different ways based on your ability to pay.:”

        Yes, and there is nothing wrong with that.

      • May 9, 2016 1:44 pm

        I suspect if you are that Medicaid patient that goes home and sees others that have lived a full and active life for years after open heart surgery and you are limited and then die within the year since that blockage was not removed you would find something wrong with that.

      • May 9, 2016 1:59 pm

        I suspect you are right. On the other hand, I might remind you that in addition to taking our tax dollars directly to fund Medicaid, the government turns around and covertly rations care by virtue of its reimbursement policies. There is a good reason why many docs won’t treat Medicaid patients and among them is the low pay they receive. Medicaid patients on balance, are also very poor at complying with care instructions, showing up for appts., etc.

        To make matters worse, the provider then cost shifts the lost revenue from Medicaid and Medicare onto private insurance payers, which, in turn, drives up my insurance premiums. So, I get to pay twice for a system that is designed to ration care, but won’t admit it.

        So, if you are looking to complain about the poor care that Medicaid provides, I think you should chat with the birds who designed and administer this fine government program.

      • May 9, 2016 4:41 pm

        JB..I was not complaining about Medicaid or the patients that are covered. I was just stating a fact that patients are being denied treatments, even though they won’t admit that fact. There is way too much “reason” why our health care costs as much as it does and why our system of reimbursement is so screwed up. In some respects, we have a better system than other countries when it comes to care and in others we have a much worse system. We could spend months discussing this subject and still not cover all the points that need to be covered.

        But one thing I can say is all the “experts” that write articles for and against our current system don’t have enough information on the subject to fill a rats ass, let alone convince the American public they know what they are talking about. It is either they like what we have and want more or hate what we have and want less. Neither of these positions is a good one as neither addresses the real problems.

      • May 9, 2016 6:06 pm

        Agreed. It starts with telling all citizens that resources are limited and cannot be used for two uses as one time.

        In other words, there is no Santa Claus.

      • Roby permalink
        May 9, 2016 2:05 pm

        Ron, you have set me straight, Thanks. And, I think there is something wrong with that in principle.

        When I was in grad school I got kicked in the leg playing soccer. Turned into cellulitus, I spent a couple nights in the hospital with an IV. I had no insurance and not much income. The hospital ate the bill, treated me like anyone else. That kind of thing happened to my wife as well, she had a minor operation several years back, was covered under her ex husbands insurance, still had a whopping bill left over, the hospital asked for income figures and forgave it. So, I base my overly general ideas on my own case. Thanks for making it more detailed. (Yes, I know that the costs that the hospitals ate got passed on to others). It is absurd that if I have health insurance I get charged $1000 for some procedure but it gets knocked down to a small percentage of that by the insurer. But if I don’t have insurance I get hit with all of it, the whole $1000. After my wifes minor surgery she had several follow up visits with the surgeon who stuck some kind of scope up her nose. Cost was over $500, took 5 minutes. The insurance said, uh uh, gave the surgeon much less.

        Now I know that individual patients are not the story here, its the system as a whole that generates such huge costs and there seems to be no clue how stop the above inflation cast increases. Its just broken and practically does need to be blown up and rebuilt, but to do that would be like doing open heart surgery on someone As the run a marathon. Everyone would have to be treated, the system would have to be in full operation while it was being torn down and rebuilt. Doesn’t seem likely, you’d have to have 90% popular support.

        My bigger point is just that unless you go to a private hospital, you get treated. If you are poor kid or poor person and you get cancer you get treated. But you are right, that is just skimming the surface of the details. Its not a good deal to be poor or uninsured healthcare wise. And preventive medicine, or treating something before it gets serious if one is poor or uninsured, forget it.

        JB, don’t throw a fit at me, I don’t have a Ph.D in the economics of health care. I’m sure that there are reasons that things are like this that are huge and hard to change.

      • May 9, 2016 2:11 pm

        There are any number of factors that contribute to the relatively high cost of healthcare in the US. It should be said that health care is “expensive” in any developed nation, but some costs are constrained by virtue of planned rationing. So, for example, you cannot receive certain medical services in the UK if you are past a certain age, and so forth. Canada employs similar measures to constrain costs.

        In the US, one can easily point to technology, litigation, licensing, aging population, violence, and not least, administrative/legal burdens as contributing to cost inflation.

        Which one is most to blame? Take your pick. If you are like many progressives, you would immediately lean towards price controls.

        We all know how well that works.

      • May 9, 2016 5:09 pm

        Like I commented to JB that there are many reasons our system is so much more expensive that other countries, there are so many it would take months to discuss. But here are just a few.
        Medical school cost in the USA ave. $250K to 300K. In The UK 9000 lbs or $12K per year. Total around $60K for 5 years, $75K for 6 years.
        Malpractice costs can reach $200K for specialist in USA, cost covered by the NHS in Britain
        Salaries represent about 60% of costs for hospitals and doctor offices. Primary care doc in USA make $175K to $200K. Britain right at 100K. Nurses around 60K in USA, around 35K in Britain. Pjharmacist almost 100K in USA, 40K or so in Britain.
        Drugs cost multiple times in the USA that they do in Britain. Why? Patents and government protection of drug companies.
        And this does not take into account the cost shifting that happens when Medicare and Medicaid pays 65% and 30% of the actual cost to treat patients respectively, so the other 50% of the population is covering those unreimbursed cost. And when I say costs, I mean the difference between the drug cost (for example) of $100 and the government paying $50.00, not the difference between the reimbursement and charge.
        So that is about 1% of the problem we have with our system and 99% is left to be discussed.

      • May 9, 2016 6:09 pm

        Let’s also point out that in UK and in France, medical school is largely free to the student. They can be paid less, because they have invested less.

        Now, what that means that what would be a medical cost in the US, is shown as an education cost (cost to the state) in France.

        Throw in malpractice and you start to see how this all goes.

    • May 9, 2016 9:33 am

      Started reading what the transgender person had to say…kinda lost interest when it claimed her “6 yachts never made anyone poor”. Poppycock. These people will claim they can’t pay their workers any better – because they have a certain lifestyle that have to support. The big oil companies only pay the Mom& Pop stores in my area pennies (3-7 cents a gallon from what I understand) and keep enormous profits for themselves. I have no doubt oil workers who take the risks are not as well-paid as they should be.

      Entire companies need to be looked at from shareholders to janitors, to see how the money is distributed. That is the proper place of government. But of course the conservatives will scream bloody murder because they don’t want the working people they have buffaloed all these years to know just how badly they’ve been ripped off.

      It is the wealthy who are the ones that feel “entitled”, not the poor.

      • May 9, 2016 9:49 am

        So, Susan, I don’t understand what you’re saying How does owning 6 yachts make anyone poor? If anything, the woman has provided jobs for yacht makers and mechanics. It’s not as if she was going to use that money to subsidize a poor family. She could, of course, but even the most charitable rich folks can only do so much. So, I am perplexed as to why you would say that.

      • May 9, 2016 10:47 am

        I think was Susan is saying is that Robin Hood should take the yachts, sell them, and shower the money all over the peasants in the village.

        Right, Sue?

      • Roby permalink
        May 9, 2016 10:03 am

        Susan, You are going to be shocked when you look. Executive pay may be obscene, especially when they get bonuses to lay people off, but the executive payroll at large companies is literally on the order of 1/100th to 1/1000 of the payroll for the non executives. Fire all the executives and redistribute their money to the workers, the workers won’t even notice the raise. And they will soon not have jobs with noone running the company. I get it, its ugly, but when you look deeper you are looking under the wrong lamp post for solutions in general.

        And whether you like it or not owning 6 yachts does not make anyone else poorer, in fact if creates employment. Yes, I know that sounds hard hearted but it is objectively true. Most objective economic truths do sound hard hearted, they do not mean that the person stating them is hard hearted. I am not poorer because I saw a guy in town the other day with a cherry red BMW. He did not steal it somehow from me, not even if he inherited the money and never worked a day in his life.

        You say that you reject the left ideas as well as the right, that you are trained to be skeptical. You are saying a lot of things here that I who am a liberal at heart if not so much in practice any more can say are left-wing/populist economics. Wouldn’t I love and I really mean it, wouldn’t I love to believe that the things you are saying are true. For the most part they are not.

      • May 9, 2016 10:49 am

        Progressives always cry about the other guy’s greed. They conveniently forget that envy is also one of the seven deadly sins.

        From the Bible: “Do not cover they neighbor’s goods.”

        Good advice, even today.

      • May 9, 2016 12:47 pm

        Sue..Your example of gasoline stations making 3-7 cents a gallon is factually true. What you failed to continue to provide is the information that competition is what keeps that rate where it is. Another is the fact that gasoline stations are no longer gas stations, they are convenient stores that sell gas. So, the additional facts are one large distributor in an area usually set the price for a gallon of gas. If they decide to raise their margin to 10 cents a gallon and raise the price, then everyone else follows suit. If they decide to lower the margin and lower price, then everyone else follow suit. The second fact is convenient stores don’t make their profit off gasoline. They make their profit off the items they sell in their stores that they mark up significantly over the price sold in super markets. Gas is almost a “lost leader” as its called in business circles.

        And if you go back to much earlier days, gas stations did not make their money on gas in those times either. They made their profits on car repairs, sale of batteries, tires and accessories.

        Times change. So unless we live in a country where the government sets wage and prices for all goods and services, competition for customers and workers sets the wage and prices we pay.

      • May 9, 2016 1:25 pm

        Susan, you lack of economic knowledge is truly staggering. I suggest you read Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell.

        You will be glad you did.

        BTW-The local gas station buys gasoline from the oil companies at market rates (which vary daily). The local station decides how much margin to add on top of that.

        See how easy that way.

    • May 9, 2016 9:44 am

      That was such an excellent interview, JB. Reminded me of what Dave is always trying to say here (Dave? Dave?), but with more context – or maybe different context- than Dave is able to put in our relatively short-form structure.

      Dr. McCloskey is more optimistic than I am about America and the world, but maybe that’s because she focuses on economics and not social and cultural problems, which have become somewhat intractable. For example, the idea that cities die and the best way to escape life in a dying city is to literally escape, by moving somewhere else, where jobs are available, seems practically impossible (and by that I mean impossible in a practical sense) to a 17 year old, drug addicted mother of 2, living in a world where schools do not teach, businesses barely exist and the possibility of a better life takes 2nd or 3rd place to a cheap high, or a new government give-away that will make life slightly less dismal than it is. The idea of “equality of opportunity” hardly exists for these people, because they have had the tools of opportunity (primarily education) removed by the government, and replaced by placating government programs.

      But, overall, this was a great read, and I loved her comment about having the same views as Bernie in 1961,………

      • May 9, 2016 10:37 am

        It was a good read indeed. As for the social progress (or decline) at a certain point, one would like to think that the people will recognize that they must reject the false promises of socialism and start rediscovering what has worked for centuries.

        Self-reliance.

  69. May 9, 2016 9:36 am

    Did enjoy the rapping.

  70. May 9, 2016 9:45 am

    “Many (including Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell) have criticized the Welfare State enacted as the “great society” as responsible for the demolition of the black family. While this cannot be proven, the timing is pretty much spot on.”

    Actually, the more wages have gone down, the worse our problems for everyone have become. Because wages went down, women were forced to go to work,leaving children less supervised. (IMHO not all women went to work in the 70s because they wanted to – they felt they HAD to) Crime, drug usage, divorce have all gone up as wages went down. black folk were already at the low end, so naturally they were the first to be affected.

    It seems common sense to me to think if 80% of the population has money to spend, rather than say 40%, that the economy is going to work better. It is obvious to me that 1% having 90% of the money is not working well. Pay working folks (those without degrees that do the muscle work you disdained) well and watch the economy boom again.

    I don’t think you have to have a degree in Economics to see the sense in that.

    • May 9, 2016 10:17 am

      The whole idea of the 1% is flawed to begin with, Susan, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

      I don’t think that anyone thinks that working folks ( I assume you are talking about blue-collar workers, since you referenced “muscle work) should not be paid fairly for what they do. And companies that need workers generally DO pay well – it’s simple supply and demand. The idea that a college educated 25 year old should be competing with a barely literate 18 year old for a job at Burger King is a big part of the problem. And the fact that the 25 year old has to make a $500 student loan repayment for his useless sheepskin is also part of the problem……

      But, anger and envy toward the rich, or even the comfortably well- off is not going to solve the problem. And, we do need people who truly understand economics………

      • May 9, 2016 10:18 am

        $500 a month**** student loan repayment.

      • May 9, 2016 10:57 am

        On point again, Priscilla. One has to wonder what the thought process is when a student starts college and is about to take out a loan to pay for it. Does it ever occur to them that they MIGHT want to look at the potential earnings tied to the college major they select.

        To wit: A student decides to be a elementary school teacher. Good, we need those (maybe, depending on the market dynamics when the student graduates).

        Anyway, there is very good and reliable data on the income expectations for teaching elementary school. With a bit of high school math, the student COULD figure out the financial reward for pursuing that path.

        If this looks like a bad investment and the student does it anyway, do they get the right to whine about it? Can anyone be held responsible for the fact that the student didn’t do the calculus on this? Do we owe the student a do-over or a raise because they are unhappy?

        Sue, you are/were a teacher. You complained about your pay at that time. Did you pay level come as a big surprise to you or did you just not bother to think about it ahead of time?

        When I planned to enter higher ed, i was VERY CLEAR what pay levels were. Hence, I am satisfied with my pay, as is it just about what I had planned for. Could it be higher, sure! Do they owe me a raise to meet my preferences? Ah, no.

        No rocket science here.

    • May 9, 2016 10:40 am

      You haven’t produced a shred of evidence that wages or more importantly, our standard of living has gone down.

      You don’t need a degree in economics, just the ability to think logically and search out the data. Stop blindly listening to the progressive left, as they have a very clear agenda.

      BTW-wealth doesn’t belong to you or to the government, It belongs to people who have accumulated it. You speak like it is yours for the taking. It is not.

      • Roby permalink
        May 9, 2016 10:55 am

        I’ll make a mild defence of the progressive left, they are sincere, they really think they are looking under the right lamp post. They see a real situation and they want to fix it. They are mostly economically illiterate, but so are most Americans, as well as being biologically illiterate, mathematically illiterate, geographically illiterate….

      • May 9, 2016 10:58 am

        Well, some maybe. Certainly, the political leaders should know better, but then, where would they “work?”

    • May 9, 2016 11:06 am

      On the future of manual labor:

      Take a tour (virtually) any auto plant in the world and you will be stunned by how few humans are needed to make a car. The robots do most of the work.

      In most towns, the guys on the back of the garbage truck has been replaced by a mechanical arm that picks up the cans and dumps the garbage in the truck.

      The point is, history has been consistent in its desire to reduce manual labor and free up humans to do other things.

      Don’t blame me, I didn’t do it, I am simply reporting on it.

      And for the record, I don’t in anyway disdain manual labor. It got me through high school and college. I am simply pointing out that it is a diminishing part of any economy.

      PS-Check out this video showing how the Tesla is manufactured.

    • May 9, 2016 1:41 pm

      Susan…” Actually, the more wages have gone down, the worse our problems for everyone have become”

      Can you provide actual data (not some reporters personal views without data) where wages have gone down. I am looking at information such as this link and find nothing that shows wages have declined. What I do find is wage growth declining as inflation declines, which is to be expected. I am not saying what you say is wrong, I just can’t find data to support that claim.
      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wage-growth

      • May 9, 2016 1:44 pm

        She can’t, because it does not exist for any legitimate time frame and across the US.

        There may be certain time periods in certain locations where this is true.

        Susan, your ball!

  71. Roby permalink
    May 9, 2016 10:07 am

    Well, I hope this is enjoyed as well. I could have made it quite a bit more graphic but I choose to be only mildly obscene.

    The obstreperous nominee Trump
    was too rich to lie down with a Frump
    while his fans were inhaling
    he wooed Sarah Palin
    Now her lips are quite glued to his rump.

  72. Roby permalink
    May 9, 2016 10:41 am

    Not to push my luck with the decency level but I also had the idea that “Penis Song” from Meaning of life could be reworked as a sort of Trump theme song.

    I’d alter the final phase

    But, don’t brag about it in public at the candidates debate
    Or you won’t get votes.

    Although that was not true in the primaries.

  73. May 9, 2016 11:07 am

    I am reading this book presently and it is quite wonderful. Here is an interview with the genius, Thomas Sowell.

  74. May 9, 2016 2:07 pm

    Good God, TNM has taken a severe turn to the right of late, to the same ole cul-de-sac dead end of capitalism justifications, trickle-down elite guilt deflection, and other conservative BS that is missing the points brought up earlier. The GPS lady was saying “re-calculate, re-direct…” but now she has thrown her hands up in the air in frustration and is taking a self-imposed vacation. She was heard mumbling, “…just can’t penetrate through the years of rationalizing…it might be hopeless…”

    It’s not about variations of wealth. It’s not about rich and poor. It’s not about leveling the playing field. It’s not about everybody having the same or close to the same. It’s not anti-wealth. It’s not anti-production. It’s not anti-capitalism. Anybody with common sense knows that the owners of companies create jobs. Even simple folk without common sense know some jobs are worth more than others. Even the most left-wing hippie-musician pushing a broom knows he’s not worth as much, economically speaking, as a doctor who is saving lives, until he makes himself valuable.

    Jesus H. Christ, we are not talking about indigenous populations in primitive countries and how production and trade raises up the standard of living. No f-ing duh.

    We are talking about America. We are talking about very real developments that have put much more control of our nation in the hands of much fewer people. It’s about Monopoly and cronyism, and those are not free-market friendly. It’s about our system warping to the point that we get a choice between Billionaire Neanderthal Trump and the Oligarchy Queen. Any Moderate should know that any good, healthy thing becomes unhealthy and dangerous once it reaches a certain point. Food is good until you have too much for too long. Medication can be a miraculous help until you overdose. Capitalism and production are good until…

    the people lose their representation
    local people can’t say NO to a monstrous corporation
    we can’t drink the water or breathe the air but the system for redress is corrupt and bought off

    Do I really need to provide more examples? At some point it becomes more than an Economic issue. At some point it becomes a Societal issue, and I say it has already crossed that threshold.

    Now please don’t waste time with economic dribble about how productivity raises all the boats in the harbor, or how the mining company provides jobs from the whole town. Yes, we get that. Productivity is good. Until the norm is for twelve-year-olds to get black lung, meat to go uninspected because regulation slows things down, oil pipes to pump oil into the Gulf of Mexico for weeks because the checks and balances are pushed aside by big money.

    The discussion is about how to correct the corruption, not that wealth is bad. Jesus H. Christ.

    • May 9, 2016 2:13 pm

      Hate to burst your bubble there, Pat. What corruption are you talking about? if it is illegal, call the local prosecutor.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        May 9, 2016 3:05 pm

        What corruption? Do you live in a bubble? A little bit of corruption is normal, even healthy. It would be a little unnatural if the butcher’s helper doesn’t have a little bit of extra meat in his freezer. When justice becomes unaffordable, that’s another story…

      • May 9, 2016 3:22 pm

        When justice becomes affordable. What does that mean?

    • Roby permalink
      May 9, 2016 2:53 pm

      Well, Pat, welcome to my world, this (TNM) has always been quite to the right of my views. I try to hang with it, while having the occasional temper outburst. Its been conservative/libertarian here for years. What’s a moderate/liberal to do? (Plus I’m tryna be nicer and not yell “F you, disappear you jerk” at anyone for a while)

      Some of those laws of economics I have to just agree with JB on, its just standard stuff, its real. Progressives don’t like those laws, I don’t like em either but they exist. Having economic misconceptions just leads one to long for and work for cures that aren’t cures.

    • Roby permalink
      May 9, 2016 3:09 pm

      So Pat, the place where I can find common ground with you and Susan is that conservatives use the real laws of economics to argue that its almost pointless for government to help anyone. I disagree with them and agree with you.

      Liberals want the government to help. I want the government to help, I’m a liberal still underneath. But I want them to help in some way that actually will work and not cause more harm than good. Moral hazard is real, and efforts to mandate how much people make through legislation somehow seem not to work.

      I thought you had a brilliant post the other day about things that can be done. But they won’t happen unless they become politically popular. Perhaps this populist movement will make helping the lower 50% politically popular and then perhaps once the next President and congress are in some of the things you want to see and I want to see will happen.

      Perhaps you and Bernie are right about trade agreements, I am not enough of a genius to figure that one out. Economists, even liberal ones, seem to like them.

      • May 9, 2016 3:27 pm

        I never said that government cannot and should not, help people. My concern is that they are pretty poor at it and never know when to stop.

        My suggestion is that government work at getting excellent in a few basic areas where governments can add value and refrain from trying to rig the economy. Remember how the crash of 1929 was turned into the Great Depression. Governments had their hands all over that one, and with the best intentions I might add.

        Ditto the Great Society. I don’t think these people know what the word “great” is supposed to mean!

      • May 9, 2016 5:36 pm

        JB you do not need to go back to 1929. You only need to go back to the late 90’s. So here is a personal story that is not based on facts other than a dialog between brothers-in-law.
        My B-I-L was president of a savings and loan in Eastern NC. where there was a upper middle class that made up a large percentage of the population, but there was also a higher percentage of lower income families, much like you see in the rural south in many places. He said in early 2000’s that they were having problems meeting the requirements of government and the community reinvestment act that required a mortgage companies loan portfolio to mirror the economic demographics of the community. They had to work to meet those standards. In early 2008 her retired because he said “all S^%$’s about to hit the fan” and he was not sticking around when the mortgages began to go bad due to the requirement that they loan money to home buyers they knew could not afford to pay the loan back.
        Everyone in the mortgage business could see what was happening and that is why they bundled all those bad loans with good loans. That was not right, but in retrospect they were triyng to protect their business from the crap they had to make due to government regulations

      • May 9, 2016 6:13 pm

        Amen. Remember when the Dem from MA (Barney Frank) said that we should roll the dive with mortgage rules to allow more people to buy a home?

        Yeah, that guy!

  75. May 9, 2016 2:14 pm

    And let’s stop taking the Lord’s name in vain. That is simply offensive.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      May 9, 2016 2:49 pm

      When it’s for a good cause, the Son of God doesn’t mind endorsing, though he didn’t give me His direct approval. It’s an educated guess.

  76. Pat Riot permalink
    May 9, 2016 2:29 pm

    This is what Susan is correct about: American workers steadily making less and less, while fewer and fewer make more and more, is not sustainable.

    And it is NOT about uneducated vs. educated, and not about hard work vs. laziness, and not about poor people wanting other people’s money, and not about free markets. It’s about laws forced upon us from the top–FROM THE TOP DOWN TO OUR HANDCUFFED GOVERNMENT, NOT UP FROM THE PEOPLE TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE. This is not about the right to become wealthy. This is not a futile attempt to stamp out human self-interest and greed. This is about pulling our nation back within a range of functionality before chaos.

    • May 9, 2016 2:39 pm

      Susan did not provide any data and neither did you, Pat. that would be nice to see.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        May 9, 2016 2:59 pm

        Oh, data schmata. What did Krugman say, what did 4 out of 5 dentists recommend? What do YOU think, logically, given the latest stirring lecture by Pat Riot!!

      • May 9, 2016 3:04 pm

        I would say that the vast majority of Americans have much higher standard of living than they did even 20 yrs ago. I say that most of the world would LOVE to live as well as the poorest American.

        I would say that the bottom 20% of Americans lot in life is vastly better than it was 20 yrs ago.

        Shall I go on?

    • May 9, 2016 5:20 pm

      PatRiot..and you might add that since 1981 the Democrats have controlled the House of representatives for 20 years and the Republicans for 15 years, so ” It’s about laws forced upon us from the top–FROM THE TOP DOWN TO OUR HANDCUFFED GOVERNMENT, NOT UP FROM THE PEOPLE TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE.”

      So when we all discuss the 1%.,99%, rich, poor and who is to blame, we need to look at ourselves and look at who we are electing at the lowest level of our government structure, as they are the ones moving up into state and federal government providing us with the screwed up system we have today.

  77. Pat Riot permalink
    May 9, 2016 2:39 pm

    There’s a great scene in Band of Brothers (Spielberg/Hanks production) when one of the main U.S. soldier characters comes in to a wealthy German home and he knocks over a picture of the presumed husband and the glass breaks, and the wife is home, and what a poignant moment, and later that same wife is dragging bodies in a cleanup crew. The lesson: wealth isn’t quite the same when the society falls apart because it goes to extremes from the control of a few. Oligarchy, “legal” or not, is not what our Founders had in their minds and their hearts.

  78. Pat Riot permalink
    May 9, 2016 3:38 pm

    “I would say that the vast majority of Americans have much higher standard of living than they did even 20 yrs ago. I say that most of the world would LOVE to live as well as the poorest American.

    I would say that the bottom 20% of Americans lot in life is vastly better than it was 20 yrs ago.

    Shall I go on?”

    There’s some truth to what you say there, for American to other country comparisons, and for present American to past American comparisons, but, even in regard to that partial truth, you’re talking mostly in economic terms, in numbers, regarding material goods, and conveniences, etc.,

    Who had it better, the lower middle class families in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, who could afford a home and a car on one person’s blue-collar or white-collar wages, who could walk to corner stores where they knew the local owners, and they knew their local reps, in communties where the kids could play relatively safely in the steets, etc., or the time-crunched modern American family, both spouses rushing around, everybody including their kids on their cell phones, forgetting to fill the water dish for the poor “designer dog” with allergies in the corner (OK just being melodramatic and semi-exaggerating here)…their unreliable jobs going away from underneath them about every 5 years…no pensions…

    Whose country is it anyway? Just the people at the top?

    It’s too subjective for reliable data (quality of life, etc.) but a lot of people around the world do NOT want modern American life and its craziness and some of the so-called “raised standards of living”.

    This is a fuzzy area, but losing liberties and gaining cheap goods from China is not a good long-term trade for Americans.

    • May 9, 2016 3:48 pm

      Interesting normative generalizations. No one is forced to buy anything in the US, as far as I can tell. One can buy a small home (800 sq ft) one used car and have one TV set. (I have one TV set.) Also, one can eschew the $250 a month cell phone ( I have) and so on.

      In other words, you CAN live like folks did in 1955 and many in the Midwest where I live do just that. Mom stays home with the kids, Dad works all day and they go to church on Sunday.

      Of course, you can choose any other lifestyle that you want, as long as you are willing to make the trade-offs. This is what we call freedom and we have more of that than any other country that I know of.

      What liberties are we losing again, exactly?

      Whose country is it? It’s yours, of course.
      And mine.

      • Roby permalink
        May 9, 2016 4:13 pm

        “In other words, you CAN live like folks did in 1955 and many in the Midwest where I live do just that. Mom stays home with the kids, Dad works all day and they go to church on Sunday.
        Of course, you can choose any other lifestyle that you want, as long as you are willing to make the trade-offs. This is what we call freedom and we have more of that than any other country that I know of.”

        Good lord, that is true, and yet never mentioned. I could have a 1955 life if I wanted it (except the best part, the music scene) . When did you get so smart? Why am I in the weird position of liking so much of what you say?

        The time off did you good, or me, or something. (Now I am sure we will find some issue to go all Donald Duck nuclear at each other again in the future, don’t worry.)

    • Roby permalink
      May 9, 2016 3:57 pm

      I keep sayin it, the 50s, 60s 70s were the golden post WWII era. The dollar was king. The British and French empires had been lost, the American century was at its peak. That could not last forever. While we had it good, other had it worse. Naturally, they wanted to even the equation, we lost some strength, they gained gained strength.

      Note that we are living longer than in the 50s, 60s 70s. Why?

  79. May 9, 2016 3:54 pm

    “Good God, TNM has taken a severe turn to the right of late, to the same ole cul-de-sac dead end of capitalism justifications, trickle-down elite guilt deflection, and other conservative BS that is missing the points brought up earlier.”

    Or maybe YOU, dear Mr. Riot, have taken a severe turn to the LEFT, and are now in the BERNIE ZONE!! Bwahahahaha!

    Wages fall, wages rise. I can tell you whose wages have risen – public sector employees, who are lucky enough to be represented by unions who “bargain collectively” with elected representatives, dependent upon their support to stay in office. Talk about corrupt! Teachers unions make it impossible to fire teachers with tenure – even for cause or bad behavior. Government employees get cadillac healthcare and above average salaries, at the cost of higher taxes on everyone. While private sector unions have faltered, public sector union membership has soared…and why the hell not? Our civil servants, including teachers and police, can hold us all hostage to their demands by going on strike for personal gain. And, while you’re pooh-poohing “data schmata” try looking up the average increase in public workers salaries and wages, vs private sector employees, whose employers actually have to make a profit, unlke, say, oh……the US Postal Service.

    I’ll start buying this wage inequality bs when federal employees stop making more for comparable jobs than private sector employees.

    It is not uncommon for young people today to make $40,000 at an entry level job – an unheard of starting salary back in our day. But we didn’t have a debt load of $50-150K in student loans, average apartments in the northeast costing well over $1000 p/month, yada, yada yada.

    And why the hell should a worker at McDonald’s make a “living wage”? Isn’t it a part time job? And, ok, before you and Susan jump all down my throat about being elitist, who even wants to work at McD’s for a full time job. This is the hill we’re gonna die on? Getting more people good jobs flipping burgers?

    • May 9, 2016 4:27 pm

      I should add that not all teachers and cops have the right to strike. Especially cops. Depends on local laws. But work stoppages and slowdowns are common enough. And, yes, I did belong to the teachers union when I taught. Really had no choice, not allowed to negotiate my own contract.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      May 9, 2016 5:32 pm

      Priscilla, haha, my comments do seem lefty lately, but I think partly because of their contrast to JB’s “Darwinian Conservatism.”

      I am only temporarily for Bernie Sanders in the hope of avoiding/eliminating Hillary.

      I’m actually much more republican and conservative, probably very much in line with you, Roby, and JB’s regarding economic principles, productivity, and wealth, etc., but meanwhile also in favor of a well-run, public-private safety net helping to keep free markets operating (like oil between the gears, much less expensive than break downs). Not sure where Ron is on this, but I think the rest of us, even JB, see the economic sense and societal benefits of some level of safety net–not as giveaways, but as pathways and stairways to industries and jobs…as Roby pointed out in a very out-of-the-box way: like school was for most of us

      If I didn’t think the amount of wealth/money/power/rights being stolen from us was so large/tremendous, I wouldn’t vote for Bernie in a general election. If only Trump were not such a loose cannon. If only Trump wasn’t so Trump. Given the current choices I still may choose the twilight zone choice of Donald Trump. And only 30% of me trusts him. If only a Republican maverick were running who was a little more sophisticated than Trump and less knee-jerk than Trump. Not PC, but with enough filters to indicate a different character.

      Sorry I’m so long-winded. I have two wonderful twenty-something children and I’m really, really, really concerned about where our country is headed.

      • May 9, 2016 5:59 pm

        Pat, sorry I do not provide a clear and distinct position on government so others can understand where I stand. So here is my take on me:
        1. Social libertarian.
        2. Government provides military support to allies after they spend 5% of their GDP on their own protection. (Right now the average is about 2%)
        3. Government enacts a zero based budget and justifies every dollar spent, not this “I spent $1 today so I get that dollar plus inflation next year.
        4. Once every dollar is justified and duplicate government programs are eliminated and combined, then safety net social programs would be used for those in need.
        5. Anyone on a government support program that is able to work would be required to work or be in training for a job. (Much the same as the Clinton administration required)
        6. Government should be required by law to balance the budget at all times other than during times of “declared” war.
        7. Government should be required to account for all pension and social security programs and follow the same laws as applied to actuarial requirements on private pensions.
        I think I have covered most, so I see myself as a social liberal and fiscal conservative.

      • May 9, 2016 6:11 pm

        Don;’t put words in my mouth. I am not a conservative and I have not suggested anything about survival of the fittest.

        Stick to what I have said my friend.

      • May 9, 2016 6:52 pm

        I am not opposed to safety nets, nor even temporary government aid and assistance programs…and, yes, I am aware of Friedman’s famous quote about “temporary” government programs. There was the GI Bill after WWII. The house I grew up in, until I was 10 was purchased through a GI loan, and millions got a college education that way. And the program actually ended in the mid 1950’s.

        We should do something like that for returning vets now, except that I suppose we can’t afford it, because of so many other entitlements and welfare programs that never end.

        Affirmative action should be done and over with. It has been extremely successful, but it’s no longer needed, and in, in the eyes of too many white middle class families, it’s just become a reverse discrimination tool.

        I guess my point is that I no longer trust the government to differentiate between safety nets and free stuff.

        Anyway….bathrooms.

      • May 9, 2016 6:58 pm

        At our U, AA has been replaced by “diversity goals.” Same story, different name! It makes some feel so good about themselves.

  80. May 9, 2016 4:28 pm

    Some good counterpoints being brought up. Priscilla you bring up good exceptions to some of my normative generalizations. Roby you are again being a reasonable human–aiming for objective but with a sliver of heart for uh…what is it again…oh yeah: humanity! JB, JB, JB! You are in an armored tank of economics. Climb out of the hatch, stand on your Abrams tank (compliments of the Industrial Military Cartel), and smell the flowers!! Do you have kids? I’m not trying to get too personal, just wondering if you really think economic principles will keep the likes of Al Capone, Bernie Madoff, and Son of Sam in check? (I deleted Hillary Clinton from that short list!) I swear we are all not so far away at the core on many of these issues.

    • Roby permalink
      May 9, 2016 5:08 pm

      Oh, we will reach agreement quickly Pat, once you see reason and see that we are right.

      BTW, Did you like my little attempt at poetry? I’m sort of proud of it. Can we market that if I make more?

    • May 9, 2016 6:04 pm

      Income inequality is an economic question, Why are you offended by my using economics to address it? Would you rather I use strategy formation frameworks to further the dialog?

      The Al Capones of the world will always be with us. Before Madoff, we had Ponzi. What is your point, exactly?

      Yes, I have a son and two grandchildren. I love them all very much, thanks,

  81. Pat Riot permalink
    May 9, 2016 5:36 pm

    Roby, yes, any limerick or jingle that can get the word obstreperous out more into circulation is a win-win for our country!

    • Roby permalink
      May 9, 2016 7:11 pm

      Read some of Edward Lear’s limericks, its exactly the type of word he would use. I was going for that.

      There was a Young Person of Smyrna,
      Whose Grandmother threatened to burn her;
      But she seized on the cat,
      And said, ‘Granny, burn that!
      You incongruous Old Woman of Smyrna!’

      There was an Old Person of Chili,
      Whose conduct was painful and silly,
      He sate on the stairs,
      Eating apples and pears,
      That imprudent Old Person of Chili.

      There was an Old Man with a beard,
      Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
      Two Owls and a Hen,
      Four Larks and a Wren,
      Have all built their nests in my beard!’

      There was a Young Lady of Hull,
      Who was chased by a virulent bull;
      But she seized on a spade,
      And called out, ‘Who’s afraid?’
      Which distracted that virulent bull.

      There was an Old Person of Ewell,
      Who chiefly subsisted on gruel;
      But to make it more nice
      He inserted some mice,
      Which refreshed that Old Person of Ewell.

      Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/limericks-by-edward-lear

  82. May 9, 2016 6:00 pm

    Thanks. To be fair, I have gone through some very extensive behavior modification recently, so I am glad it is bearing fruit!

  83. May 9, 2016 6:10 pm

    Also, in most of Europe, medical school comes right after high school and the training period is only six years. Hence, doctors start practicing as young as 24 yrs old.

  84. May 9, 2016 6:14 pm

    Sorry, that should be “dice.”

  85. May 10, 2016 9:06 am

    OMG, JB, if you would come out of your ivy castle and come see where real people live…
    1. You’ve claimed as a college professor you are working class. Dream on.
    You became a college professor after making a ton of money in another profession. That’s not the same thing. When you have money, you have more choices.
    2. If you were here in Appalachia, where all the textile mills and furniture factories are closed, you wouldn’t keep up this farce of “Life is better now than 20 years ago”. Its been going down here for 40 years. I almost cried when I saw a Fieldcrest factory being used to pass out food.
    3. Every reliable source I’ve read for the last 25 years has reported wages declining. I could give you tons of examples besides my own family. This is why I’m not bothering to post anything, because they come from non-far-right sources and you will deny them.
    4. The far right is funded by the people with 90% of the money, so they are suspect. They will try to convince working people of anything that will keep most of the money in the hands of those that already have it. The far right does not want anything to change.

    Anyway, if you can not even acknowledge basic facts like wages have gone down severly in the last 40 years, or that Income Inequality even exists…then there is not much point in this conversation. Go ahead and live your priviliged life style and believe you are 100% responsible for getting there, like most of the die-hard righties. Deny you started higher up and had good fortune. Good Day sir, and God forbid you have some of the problems the rest of us have had.

    • May 10, 2016 9:28 am

      Susan: Let me intervene here before JB returns and bops you on the noggin. First of all, JB did start out poor and, through education and effort, worked his way up. (We had something called upward mobility in those days.)

      That said, even JB has to acknowledge that the rug has been pulled out from under the old working class with the widespread closing of factories and outsourcing of jobs. Yes, in many cases union labor priced itself out of the market, but the human toll is still staggering, and nobody can claim that these folks are better off now than they were 40 years ago.

      You cite income inequality. I’m afraid there’s no cure for that — nor should there be. Some work is intrinsically more valuable than other work, even aside from market value. What we have a right to protest is the INCREASING income inequality that results in CEOs now making 300 times as much as the average worker. (In the 1950s, CEOs made about 30 times as much as the average worker.)

      So what changed to enhance the relative value of CEOs, movie stars, pro athletes, Wall Street honchos and other one-percenters? And what changed to depress the value of ordinary workers? And if this trend continues, how do we avoid turning into a feudal society peopled by lords and serfs?

      • May 10, 2016 10:04 am

        Ah, Rick, yes! You have articulated the problem perfectly…and, there is one other thing: that evil 1% already pays almost half the income taxes, while the bottom 80% pay only 15%.

        So, people are right when they say that one percenters earn a greater share, but they are wrong when they say that they are not paying their fair share of taxes. Unless they think that almost 50% of income tax revenue is not enough to squeeze out of the rich. Which, according to Bernie, it’s not.

        This is an interesting bit of info from the article: “The U.S. is more dependent on the income tax than other countries, with 37 percent of total government revenue coming from the income tax, compared with 24 percent in other countries. Those countries depend more on consumption taxes and other sources of revenue.”

        Keeping in mind that many states already impose high income and consumption taxes of their own (check out California, which despite being a beautiful place to live, is bleeding population), and New York, I don’t know that we could impose a federal consumption tax without a vast overhaul of the tax system. But that- a tax overhaul – is what is needed, not the redistribution that is the preferred solution of the left.

        The U.S. is more dependent on the income tax than other countries, with 37 percent of total government revenue coming from the income tax, compared with 24 percent in other countries. Those countries depend more on consumption taxes and other sources of revenue.

        http://www.cnbc.com/2015/04/13/top-1-pay-nearly-half-of-federal-income-taxes.html

      • May 10, 2016 10:41 am

        You are dead on, as usual. It is also interesting to note that I posted that income tax data a few days ago and no one said a word.

        Thanks as always, Priscilla.

      • May 10, 2016 10:12 am

        A lot if typos up there! Parenthetical should have extended to “New York” and the whole last paragraph should be in quotes. Haven’t had mu second cup of coffee (or at least that’s my excuse!)

      • May 10, 2016 10:20 am

        Which I quoted twice. Ugh. Lol.

      • May 10, 2016 10:39 am

        Thanks Rick, but now I will have to bop you on the head.

        What right have you to “protest” the pay that the CEO of public company makes? Unless you are shareholder in that company, you are just a innocent bystander. That comp package is between the CEO and the Board of Directors, that represents the shareholders.

        Moreover, if you thought about it, these pay packages benefit the federal and state treasuries. This comp is taxed, no matter what the absolute pay is.

        Sorry, you may not like but you have no standing in the matter.

    • May 10, 2016 10:36 am

      OMG, JB, if you would come out of your ivy castle and come see where real people live…
      1. You’ve claimed as a college professor you are working class. Dream on.
      You became a college professor after making a ton of money in another profession. That’s not the same thing. When you have money, you have more choices.”

      You have yet to define working class, while I have. So, I need to work, to sustain my life style.

      And yes, earning and having money give you more choices. You are actually starting to catch on to the economics thing!

      “2. If you were here in Appalachia, where all the textile mills and furniture factories are closed, you wouldn’t keep up this farce of “Life is better now than 20 years ago”. Its been going down here for 40 years. I almost cried when I saw a Fieldcrest factory being used to pass out food.”

      I suggest you move from Appalachia, where there are more opportunities. I have moved several times in my life to take advantage of such opportunities. Hence, I have done better than if I had stayed where I was born.

      BTW- I indicated that economically speaking, life is far better that it was 40 years ago. This is in aggregate terms, not individual terms. Some people are better off, some not so much.That is the way income works, don’t you know.

      “3. Every reliable source I’ve read for the last 25 years has reported wages declining. I could give you tons of examples besides my own family. This is why I’m not bothering to post anything, because they come from non-far-right sources and you will deny them.

      And yet, you have not provided a shred of evidence, just assertion. When you have some data, get back to us.”

      “4. The far right is funded by the people with 90% of the money, so they are suspect. They will try to convince working people of anything that will keep most of the money in the hands of those that already have it. The far right does not want anything to change.”

      You may be right about the “far right” whatever that means. I cannot speak for them. I suspect if the change that you mentioned disadvantaged them in any way, they would be against it, as would you be, should the circumstances change.

      Self-interest runs across the political spectrum so I understand!

      “Anyway, if you can not even acknowledge basic facts like wages have gone down severly in the last 40 years, or that Income Inequality even exists…then there is not much point in this conversation. Go ahead and live your priviliged life style and believe you are 100% responsible for getting there, like most of the die-hard righties. Deny you started higher up and had good fortune. Good Day sir, and God forbid you have some of the problems the rest of us have.”

      There has ALWAYS been income variation throughout the world and all throughout time. I have stated that a number of times, so I am puzzled why you keep saying that.

      I indicated that I didn’t consider it a problem that was resolvable. What about that don’t you understand? People have different abilities, hopes, aspirations, desires, and goals. Why would you expect equal outcomes?

      My life is what my life is. You said it is privileged, whatever that means. I don’t remember anyone giving me anything for free, so I am puzzled by you statement. I like my life, but others would find it austere. It depends on your values and your resources I suppose.

      Everyone has problems. What they are and how we deal with them varies. My father died of cancer when I was 13. Was that a problem? Ah, yeah.

      Does it mean anything really? Well, no, in the long run, we all die. He died and I missed him, a lot. Then, I got over it and went about my life, as there really was no alternative that I could see.

      It is the living piece of life that I try to focus on. I think I have lived a decent life, but I will find out if the good Lord agrees sometime in the future (A long time I hope).

      I am sorry you are unhappy with your life. Would you prefer that I tell you it was all the fault of the “conservative Christians?”

      OK, you are right, it is their fault and you are in no way responsible for your life as you now live it.

      Feel better now?

      • May 11, 2016 12:10 pm

        “Why Charlotte thought they needed to make an ordinance was a calculated move on their part during an election year to try to mobilize their base in a purple state.” -That was my thought…its not like transgenders just started peeing yesterday.

        “Susan is having a conversation with just one person” – silly me, I thought several people were reading this. I thought when you read something you know to be not true, you should let the rest know. Or just when you have a differing opinion. Is that not discussion?

        “She is not presenting data” Again for 25 years+ it has been common knowledge that wages have gone down, the middle class is disappearing and Income Inequality has grown greater. If you have refused to believe it and only believing what conservative sources tell you, I don’t have time to waste. I have a 2 hour round trip commute to my job that you claim lets me live better than 20 years ago which I know is fantasy. No time to waste.

        “Move from Appalachia” – I do not have that choice because I do not have the money, like most people here. After years of poor employment, I have no resources left, credit cards maxed out, and the cost of living would be greater closer to civilation. Not entirely true about moving, because my mother can finance it, but most people here are not in that situation. And I would have to leave said 75 yo mother, and my kids and my grandkids. Not saying out of the question, but at 53yo and having spent the majority of my life moving every 5 years or less, not looking forward to it. I moved here to be with my elderly grandfather who has since passed.

        “Redistribution” This is a term used by conservatives to fool the poor into thinking their demand for fair pay is communism. As I have mentioned, when the majority of working people were paid good wages, the economy was in far better shape.

        “Consumption Tax” – I am 1000% in favor. Put it on diamonds, yachts, houses over 2,000 square feet, real jewerly, clothing over $100, high end construction materials like granite counter tops…endless ways we could apply that.

        “The wealthy pay most of the taxes” – well duh. They have 90% of the money. Pay your workers better then you have less tax to pay and they have more.

        “so unhappy with her life” – again you don’t know me, so you have no earthly idea. I suspect it is you that is unhappy with yours and this is why you must justify conservative BS that keeps the working class on starvation wages.

        Have a good day all.

      • May 11, 2016 12:45 pm

        Susan, you keep saying wages have gone down in America over the past 25 years. This study and many others like it do not support that information. Over the same period of time, the inflation rate has totaled around 4.5%.

        These are actual figures from the US department of Commerce.

        Now I will grant you if you use the period 2008 to 2012 or whatever the latest numbers are you are going to find wage growth flat or negative because of the near depression we had in 2008. But in all periods, we have increases and decreases. You can not take a short period of time and use that as a trend. But for political purposes, politicians can do anything and make it true.

        Remember, figures don’t lie, but liars can figure. And statistics are nothing but figures.

        http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0883617.html

    • Roby permalink
      May 10, 2016 10:36 am

      Susan, you are having a conversation with just one person. There are more of us here.

      • May 10, 2016 10:45 am

        Actually, I think she is having with herself.

  86. Roby permalink
    May 10, 2016 10:35 am

    This is simple, its the tension between economic laws and morality. The entire 20th century was ruled by it. The most extensive attempts at egalitarian societies ended worst. Why?

    Here is a thought experiment, let’s lake millions of goodhearted progressives and put them on a large island and let them run it their way. I think that pretty soon many of them will understand the laws of economics much better.

    The thought experiment, which I started to think about as an abstract, has been performed I realized. Its called Cuba. Started with the best of intentions by people committed to social justice. Soon became clear that everyone was living at the same egalitarian miserable level and then only undemocratic means could hold it together.

    OK, there is another experiment in egalitarian living that came out better than that, the Scandinavian model, really 5 different models. But one has to do a lot of reading about that experiment to see what has been good and what has been less good. Everything is a tradeoff. Then you have to ask if America can follow the models of 5 small, culturally homogeneous countries that have a very different history than ours. Can Sweden’s 50% tax rate be imposed in America?

    There are still things that can be done, Pat described them.

    • May 10, 2016 10:44 am

      If you gave me the following trade-off I would take it:

      The US has the option of improving the standard of living of the bottom 20% of our nation by exactly double. To repeat, there standard of living would double overnight.

      However to do this, the top 1% would have their standard of living increased 5 times. what it is today.

      Would you take that deal? I would in a heartbeat.

      Most progressives would vomit at the thought and therein lies the problem.

  87. Roby permalink
    May 10, 2016 10:39 am

    “The far right is funded by the people with 90% of the money, so they are suspect.”

    That is total bullshit. Look it up for gods sake, You can’t be bothered with reality. And I don’t know what you meant when you said that you are a skeptic who rejects right and left. Empty words. You are a raging progressive looking for a conservative target to pester with your misconceptions. Not going to fix anything that way.

    • May 10, 2016 10:46 am

      I think she is just wedded to her misery and looking for a scapegoat. She is not alone in the endeavor, I am sad to say.

    • May 10, 2016 10:50 am

      I must say I am enjoying this Roby/JB symbiosis! I thought it would be a cold day in Hell……

      • May 10, 2016 10:53 am

        Me too!

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2016 11:07 am

        Yeah, weird isn’t it? For one thing JB became much more articulate and started to write essays instead of one liners. He is noticeably more patient, while not perfect, too.

        As for me, Like Pat, I want a better world I just want people to look under the right streetlamp for it and not in history’s dustbin.

        Hope you like my poetry as much as my economics! I could write more! Just ask!

      • May 10, 2016 11:42 am

        Sadly, I could never develop an ear for poetry. I think I am a poorer person for it.

        I also want the world to be a better place and in the aggregate, it is. We have fewer people going hungry around the world than we ever have had in all of recorded history.

        That said, there is still plenty of misery to go around. The self-inflicted kind is really kind of galling, so I try to avoid that at all costs.

        As the Buddha said: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional!”

  88. Roby permalink
    May 10, 2016 11:00 am

    As our token almost liberal wouldn’t I love it if a poster showed up who could really uphold liberal ideals with passion and knowledge and really converse. There really are such people, but they are not spending their time on the internet, alas.

    Pat has had to take on that work! Nature abhors a vacuum.

  89. Roby permalink
    May 10, 2016 11:34 am

    Meanwhile, here are the problems that I deal with in my neighborhood. I Like these problems. I just got this e-mail:

    “Bear came back last night again and killed 4 more chickens.

    On Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 3:18 PM, xxxx wrote:
    Hi all,

    Update on bear(s) in the neighborhood…

    Last night a bear broken into a coop and took chickens up the road near Dodge road. Before that a bear took chickens at the Pelton’s (house just before Phil and Cricket Smith’s). A bear broke into a coop and took chickens on Hardwood Flatts, and the night before it was at our house, it was broke into the Austin’s coop (log cabin across from Pelton’s). The game warden thinks it’s likely the same animal.

    On Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 9:58 AM, xxxx wrote:
    Hi neighbors,

    Want to let you all know that we had a bear pull the wood off the side of our chicken coop last night and get into our birds. Not sure who on xxxx has chickens of their own but you may want to take precautions and be careful if you’re walking through the woods.”

    My own little Maybury RFD. Maybe this is why I am not miserable, I AM living in 1955.

    • May 10, 2016 11:43 am

      Sounds like Iowa. I hear reports like that all the time on the local radio.

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2016 11:44 am

        But we have no Tornados here. Join the proletariat, move to Vermont next!

      • May 10, 2016 11:46 am

        Sorry, my ex lives in Vermont, so I am not allowed in that state for the rest of time.

  90. May 10, 2016 11:47 am

    So, men in the ladies room. That has nothing on this one!

    “Let me introduce you to my wife ………”

    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/nlifestyle/2016/05/10/environmentalist-weds-1000-year-old-tule-tree-in-south-mexico/?intcmp=hplnws

  91. Anonymous permalink
    May 10, 2016 12:21 pm

    Back to the crapper news. DOJ demands NC reverse action on crapper law. Gov. McCrory sues DOJ to block reversal. DOJ now sues NC citing Titles VII and IX. (The governor took the action and not the states attorney general since he is the Democrat McCrory is running against for reelection)

    Looks like this will be in the next session of SCOTUS , hopefully with 9 justices so it does not come back a tie.

    • May 10, 2016 12:24 pm

      If anyone is reading these, I have no idea what is happening with WordPress, but this posted before I even signed in. Might be my computer since one did not post until after I posted another earlier yesterday.

    • May 10, 2016 12:42 pm

      Ron, I think that the Obama administration is trying to nationalize this, in order to gin up turnout for the election. A poll came out today showing Trump and Hillary essentially tied in swing states – which doesn’t surprise me, since they are both riding the base of their party right now. There are more registered Democrats that Republicans, but without Obama on the ticket, a lot of them probably won’t vote. Unless of course, there’s a big “civil rights” movement going on. National Review had a great rundown of this today:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435182/north-carolina-bathroom-law-obama-justice-department-governor-pat-mccrory-lawsuit

      • May 10, 2016 12:45 pm

        I think the Dems may be misjudging just how much support the left has for the transgendered world.

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2016 4:10 pm

        “Ron, I think that the Obama administration is trying to nationalize this, in order to gin up turnout for the election.’

        Ah ha, at last a small chance to revert to form. This idea is silly on so many levels I’m about paralyzed to spit them out. Almost no one cares cares about this its an issue with pitifully little draw. Obama is not behind every tree with some conniving plan to warp society. And if he were, he would think of way better plans than the transgender bathroom, since that is likely to work against his party.

        How’s this for a conspiracy, Obama wants to cement his place in history and the best way to do it is to be followed by a complete nincompoop. So, he is using the trans issue to get get a higher turnout for Trump and get people to vote against Hillary in order to look great by comparison in the history books when Trump destroys the country (and maybe more).

        I may as well start composing these type of theories myself for entertainment since the whole country seems to have gone loopy.

      • May 10, 2016 5:54 pm

        What appears to be true is that the DOE and DOJ are both out in front on the issue. I would be surprised if they were doing without Barry’s OK. Why?

        Who knows?

      • May 10, 2016 5:27 pm

        Ah, that’s the Roby I know and, er, um….agree with occasionally.

        Well, you may think I’m a silly conspiracy theorist, but if you think that Obama believes that this issue is equivalent to the Jim Crow laws (which Lynch invoked in her speech), then you are not giving him near enough credit as a hardball politician.

        So here are excerpts from Loretta “I do nothing unless directed to do so by the President” Lynch’s heartfelt announcement of the federal civil rights lawsuit that the Obama administration is filing against the state of North Carolina (cue the violins):

        “And what we must not do, what we must never do, is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans for something that they cannot control and deny what makes them human,”

        “None of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something or someone that they are not.”

        “This is state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security, a right taken for granted by most of us.”

        “This is about the dignity and the respect that we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we as a people and as a country have enacted to protect them, indeed, to protect all of us. And it’s about the founding ideals that have led to this country haltingly, but inexorably, in the direction of fairness, inclusion, and equality for all Americans.” ”

        Come on!! What a crock of unadulterated, steaming….nonsense (we’ve had enough potty talk here)!

      • May 10, 2016 5:51 pm

        “we’ve had enough potty talk here”

        Ah come on Priscilla, this is just the second inning. The first inning was the Charlotte council making the regulation and the state responding. This is the top of the second inning.

        I have no doubt in my mind at all that the state party leaders are now weighing the proposal to put this on the ballot for voters to vote on and increase the turnout or to leave it off and anticipate that will draw more conservatives to the polls to vote for candidates against this regulation.

        What most people in my state, as well as the rest of the country, do not realize is according to many articles I have read in local papers and heard on the local news, this was an acceptable practice in many locations across the state already. Most all state universities already had the “gender you relate to” and not “birth certificate gender” in place for bathrooms. Private companies could do what they wanted. Why Charlotte thought they needed to make an ordinance was a calculated move on their part during an election year to try to mobilize their base in a purple state.

        What they did not realize was Trump winning the nomination and doing that exact thing for them while reducing the conservative base turnout. I really think this is going to backfire on them and this is going to be the issue, along with SCOTUS that will support these type laws if Hillary is elected, in the fall election and make the right leaning voters turn out much heavier than had they not done this.

        What everyone in the country needs to ask of their leadership is what is the acceptable practice in their community. Most will find if you look like a girl and dress like a girl, you use the girls room. If you look like a boy and dress like a boy, you use the boys room. There are no guards in front of bathrooms anywhere I know in the country.

      • May 10, 2016 6:00 pm

        When I lived in a dorm, we had communal bathrooms. The ladies and men’s rooms had a big shower room with about 6 shower heads. Would they really be OK about a guy (feeling every bit like a lady) dropping in to the ladies room for a shower?

        Seriously?

        How about if he then waltzed over to the sink and proceed to shave, all the time in the buff?

        Sure, why would any woman object?

      • May 10, 2016 5:57 pm

        Yes, because what one feel’s about oneself is paramount to any other consideration the rest of humanity may have.

        “I ask for generals, and they send me foot soldiers!”

      • May 10, 2016 8:02 pm

        “None of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something or someone that they are not.”

        But of course, that is the question: What _is_ a person who has Y chromosomes in every cell and a penis, but insists on dressing as a woman and using a female name? And what is a person who has only X chromosomes in every cell and a vagina, but insists on dressing as a man and using a male name? The answer to these questions is the stuff of what these conflicts is.

      • May 10, 2016 5:52 pm

        Interesting results, here. And pretty promising for the “nincompoop” against Hillary. If this is what is happening now, while the GOP is still so divided over a Trump candidacy, imagine what might happen after a good convention. Maybe the Democrats should feel the Bern! Or maybe get good ol’ Loretta to prosecute Hillary, instead of the state of North Carolina, and get Joe Biden into this thing, pronto.

      • May 10, 2016 6:00 pm

        Hush your mouth girl!!! Hillary is the GOP’s last little hope of Trump winning. Joe would annihilate him in the general election.

      • May 10, 2016 6:02 pm

        It is my understanding that Hilary is going to go transgender and emerge as Harry Clinton?

      • May 10, 2016 6:03 pm

        Ron, I get that, on a state level, a referendum on this might increase turnout on both sides, or bring out conservatives to vote for the anti’s without a ballot question.

        But making it a federal civil rights issue, I believe, is intended to nationalize it. And, listening the the AG’s speech in announcing the civil rights action, you would think for all the world that she was speaking about the actual Civil Rights movement. Right down to the Jim Crow reference. And the Founding Fathers, for cripes sake. (Do you think that Ben Franklin was born a woman?)

      • May 10, 2016 11:51 pm

        I just look back on all the cases he has entered into himself to stir up the minority voters and the left wingers. He has kept out of this himself, but he now has a surrogate to do the work for him. She could have briefly said that they believed this a civil rights case and that gender identification was a gender and that chromosome gender was not the deciding factor. But again, they wanted to stir up the pot and get the stink spreading so the people that might not vote for Hillary would get out in more liberal leaning states like Penn, Ohio and those with populations with large minority populations.

  92. May 10, 2016 12:42 pm

    There is still an unfortunate disconnect, separate truths. Yes there is truth in those economic principles, but they don’t occur in a vacuum, and Susan is speaking around a truth that many conservatives just can’t see.

    I’ll try this: let’s say everything in America stays the same, right now, except for the following two things:
    1. college costs 1 million dollars per semester
    2. there are 15 available jobs nationwide, fifteen

    Then what would we say to the young people coming out of high school? Hey, you just gotta apply yourself like I did. Hey, sorry, the world is not an easy place.

    America’s situation is not as extreme as this scenario, but actually, for many, it may as well be.

    The economics is a part of the culture and society. That is why we have to come together to solve some of the problems of our culture and society. That’s what healthy societies do. Not too much, Not too little. Just enough. Self-interest and economic principles alone are not enough.

    This will not convince the Ayn Rand crowd.

    • May 10, 2016 12:53 pm

      I guess I don’t see your point. No one knows how many jobs will be available at any one time. Is your proposal to guarantee jobs to folks who come out of school? If so, what types of jobs, where, what will they pay, etc. who will create these jobs, you?

      You seem to want us to create jobs, income, more favorable life conditions out of thin air. That is not the way it works in the world that I observe.

      Who are these people who will “come together” and what will they do? When did they ever “come together” before? I think you assume much about the past that never happened.

      I am sorry that Appalachia has remained backward since the 1800s I didn’t do it, don’t blame me. I don’t feel the need to fix the place either. There is no predetermined place for Appalachia now, or in the future.

      If that makes me a bad person, so be it. Every area in the country can site “problems to fix.”
      Are you suggesting we fix them all and if so, how would you do that? If not, which ones do you deem worthy of fixing?

      BTW- the world has NEVER been an “easy place” but things are much easier (in the main) than they have ever been before. If you don’t believe me, get out a history book.

    • May 10, 2016 1:05 pm

      “That is why we have to come together to solve some of the problems of our culture and society.”

      PatRiot, you make a lot of sense with this statement. That is why I have posted comments about the debt and the number of years Democrats and Republicans have shared control of the House, because we have not come together unless it is something like 9-11. And the divide grows worse with every passing administration.

      That is why Bernie is getting so much support and why Trump captured the nomination. People are tired with the same old system that has developed over many years.

      But then when push comes to shove, someone like Hillary is going to get elected and the same problems will continue, with no one coming together to solve a problem. A good example was Obama asking the Simpson-Bowles to make a non-partisan recommendation to cut the debt and deficit. When they did, he tabled that thing like a hot potato since it not only increased taxes, it also cut spending on entitlements. I have serious doubts this will improve if Hillary is elected as the House and/or Senate will continue investigating her. And I wonder if Trump is really a negotiator or if he is more dictatorial in his management style, being more like Obama and “the emperor has no cloths”.

      There are not enough people willing to face reality and accept the fact that things can not continue like they are. Liberals believe that they can tax the rich and solve all the economic problems in the country and pay for education, healthcare, infrastructure and new social programs without raising taxes on anyone else and cutting the deficit at the same time.. Conservative think they can cut taxes and solve all the economic problems. That might have been true 40 years ago, but with the problems we have today, it is no longer true. Both positions are a fairy tale.

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2016 4:16 pm

        “Liberals believe that they can tax the rich and solve all the economic problems in the country and pay for education, healthcare, infrastructure and new social programs without raising taxes on anyone else and cutting the deficit at the same time.. Conservative think they can cut taxes and solve all the economic problems. That might have been true 40 years ago, but with the problems we have today, it is no longer true. Both positions are a fairy tale.”

        Oh, my fingers are practically worn out from typing Bravo after your posts. Or they should be. I hereby promote you to King of the new moderate. Please rule us wisely.

      • May 10, 2016 5:08 pm

        As Sherman once said “If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.” …
        Thanks for the support, but everyone is equal at this site. That’s why I like it even if we get a little testy with each other now and then.

      • May 10, 2016 4:29 pm

        Yes Ron, a lot of fairy tale viewpoints out there. Roby hit on it up North in this thread regarding overly simplistic, blanket solutions being being offered for complex problems. There are solutions, but many will take cooperation and perseverence and…

      • Roby permalink
        May 10, 2016 5:18 pm

        Had I thought otherwise I would not have appointed you. But I was a bit worried that you might ban my “poetry” and python humor before abdicating.

      • May 10, 2016 6:04 pm

        Some conservatives think tax decreases will solve everything. Many do not.

      • May 10, 2016 11:55 pm

        AH but there are many people that buy that cool-aide just like there are people that buy the increased taxes on the rich will solve all the ills of the country. One only needs to look at tax incentives given to companies to come to their state and once those incentives run out, the company is looking to move elsewhere, many overseas.

  93. May 10, 2016 2:28 pm

    Meanwhile, this the work world I inhabit each day (not complaining, mind you):

    https://www.creators.com/read/thomas-sowell/05/16/dry-rot-in-academia

  94. May 10, 2016 6:01 pm

    Will a man be entitled to live in a woman’s dorm? Can a man be admitted to an all woman’s college (Smith, Mt Holyoke)?

    • May 10, 2016 8:08 pm

      “Can a man be admitted to an all woman’s college (Smith, Mt Holyoke)?” Actually this question has already come up:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/06/barnard-transgender-colleges/394928/

      • May 10, 2016 8:48 pm

        How about this one? Transgendered women can compete in the Olympics without undergoing reassignment surgery. It appears that all they have to do is undergo hormone therapy for a year. Boy, are those women’s Olympic records going to fall!!

        Ironically, it was only a few years ago that the 1976 East German women’s swim team was stripped of its medals for “systematic doping” that included treatment with male hormones. So much so that swimmers from the other countries said that some of the East German girls looked like men and had male facial hair. No problem now…..

        http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jan/25/ioc-rules-transgender-athletes-can-take-part-in-olympics-without-surgery

      • May 10, 2016 9:23 pm

        This man/woman is so yesterday. Today, we are all together, men/women. I am for creating a whatever category.

        This is what happens when a culture becomes bored. No good game to play and the kids go off the reservation.

        Steve McQueen is rolling over in his grave.

      • May 11, 2016 12:23 am

        ” I am for creating a whatever category.”

        I am too old to ever see it, but since the LGBT minority has gain rights that straight people have, maybe since they have married and become couples within their gender identity, the mutated gene that creates this identity will be eliminated over time since they are unable to procreate.

        Before you say i am way off base…..
        http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/10/homosexuality-may-be-caused-chemical-modifications-dna

      • May 11, 2016 7:55 am

        Believe me, there are people out there trying to find a way to allow these freak shows to procreate. Likely, using stem cells but that is another topic altogether.

      • May 11, 2016 12:14 am

        OK, so this old man needs some Y2K era education. I am still in the olden times. It has not been that long since I finally was able to fathom male to male sex and now this comes up.

        So here it goes. You are a male, but identify as a female. He/she goes through the hormone treatments and his/her breast grow. So now he/she has breasts. He/she grows his/her hair long and becomes a somewhat attractive female/male given some use of cosmetics to help soften the male facial structure. Now you are at a college with trans students along with straight students. The bathrooms and showers are communal (not individual shower stalls) like so many old dorms had for years. So now what does he/she do with that penis between his/her legs?

        RICK, we need another article to get to another subject!!! This ones going off the deep end.

  95. May 11, 2016 7:52 am

    If you are serious abut the change, you have a series of operations that fashion you a vagina and no, I am NOT making that up.

    If you are no serious, well.

  96. May 11, 2016 7:53 am

    That is “not serious.” Whey doesn’t this app have an edit feature?

  97. May 11, 2016 2:15 pm

    Harvard dictates the end of single sex clubs, sort of. What is wrong with these birds anyway. Have they never heard of freedom of association?

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/harvards-final-clubs-debacle/article/2002336

    • May 11, 2016 2:27 pm

      I saw this news. More insanity from the academic world… at the extreme point where the authoritarian left meets the fascist right, somewhere around the backside of the political spectrum. Pretty soon they’ll be issuing olive drab uniforms to all the students so everyone will look the same regardless of gender.

      • May 11, 2016 2:32 pm

        I am telling you that I am, at times, hesitant to tell people what I do for a living. I think I will tell them I am a bouncer in a brothel!

    • May 11, 2016 3:26 pm

      “I think I will tell them I am a bouncer in a brothel!” – ok that was a good one 🙂

      • May 11, 2016 3:41 pm

        Thanks, I was going to say “piano player” but I can’t play the piano!. I can, however, throw a fist or two if need be.

    • May 11, 2016 3:44 pm

      Gender neutral and diversity is fine until it has a negative impact on individual personally. Harvard’s liberal students are already demonstrating against this according to a couple news outlets.

      • May 11, 2016 3:48 pm

        I fail to see the “logic” of this. How can this particular action be justified on any grounds?

        Shall we force Smith College to admit men to its full-time day program?

      • May 11, 2016 6:02 pm

        OOPS..I forgot being factitious was not something that comes across good in written words. I was being sarcastic when I said gender neutral and diversity were fine ……

        And now I do see where demonstrations have begun because it has hit the liberal kids where it hurts. Them personally.

      • May 11, 2016 4:08 pm

        Ron, it’s called NIMBY……Not In My Back Yard.

      • May 11, 2016 6:04 pm

        Same people that believe 100% in green energy until they want to put windmills in the Mass, bays and spoil the views of the home owners,

      • May 11, 2016 6:06 pm

        Oh, yeah, that is different, don’t you know!

  98. May 11, 2016 4:27 pm

    The headline here is unintentionally hilarious. Calling Captain Obvious…….

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/transgender-girl-says-rejected-straight-6857022#ICID=sharebar_twitter

  99. Anonymous permalink
    May 11, 2016 5:45 pm

    “And I like you too, guy…but…there’s something I should probably tell you…I still have the penis I was born with. Wait, what? That matters to you???” hahahaha

  100. May 11, 2016 5:51 pm

    And yet another!

    • May 12, 2016 9:22 am

      Well I’m not the world’s most physical guy
      But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
      Oh my Lola la-la-la-la Lola
      Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand
      Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man
      Oh my Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola

      • May 12, 2016 10:06 am

        Ray always had a way with a lyric!

      • Roby permalink
        May 12, 2016 11:11 am

        Love the Kink! We play You’ve really got me, Please don’t keep my waiting and I play lazing a on a sunny afternoon (my girl friends run off with my car and gone back to her ma and pa, telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty.)

        The taxman’s taken all my dough
        And left me in my stately home
        Lazin’ on a sunny afternoon
        And I can’t sail my yacht
        He’s taken everything I’ve got
        All I’ve got’s this sunny afternoon

        Our drummer wants to play Lola, he seems to me to be the last one to be interested in those lyrics, but I guess its a form of dark humor about our times.

        I’m trying an experiment. I’m not going to look at the news, at all (instead of 17 times/day) until after the election. My family will inform me of anything serious that happens. I’ve gotten way carried away, I want to not think at all about Trump and Clinton and Sander until there is a verdict. After that I still will not want to think about whoever the winner is, either.

        Can I pull this off, disconnect myself from the bad and worse news and scandal and outrage machinery?

        I may be here somewhat less as a result, cause I don’t want to know what is going on in politics. We’ll see. I’m fighting multiple forms of computer addiction. Summer is almost here, so many things to do on my house and property and boats and fishing and music and family. Must fight the dopamine rush I get from mouse clicking.

        Anyhow, If I succeed and am here much less its not because I am in a snit about anything or anyone. Wish me Luck, this could be truly life changing!

        But I leave you with this!

      • May 12, 2016 12:29 pm

        Ah, this reminded me that you never posted any video of your band playing at …was it Stowe or Killington?

        If you are successful in not being her very often, our group will be the worse off for it. And that’s not to say that you shouldn’t deal with your computer addiction issues, just that I hope that TNM will turn out to be not among them!

        I’m off to walk my dogs and enjoy the sun. But I shall return 😉

      • Roby permalink
        May 13, 2016 11:06 am

        Hi Priscialla, Stowe was a not a fortunate outing, we played but were interupted by thunder and lightening and everything got wet, large tent notwithstanding. I did a lot of swearing in front of a family audience not far enough away from the microphone due to having to play with wet electric equipment with lightening still flashing not that far distant. So no video from that. We are playing another 4th this year, perhaps we will have some video luck there.

        TNM is Definitely part of my computer addiction, needs to be brought under control. I have seen no news for 4 days now, already happier and saner.

        Here is a clip of the band, not a good quality of recording but you can get the idea of the band under ski bar /restaurant conditions. WInter olympics on the TV.

      • Roby permalink
        May 13, 2016 11:18 am

        Another ski bar another TV, Black Magic Woman

        It looks sort of depressing to be honest, but it was fun at the time. THere were like 2 feet of snow that night, so not many people, and we all got home at about 4 a.m. through the storm. But that is the video we have. Ah, the romantic life of a musician.

      • May 14, 2016 1:00 pm

        Love both videos. Black Magic Woman = excellent. You guys are good.

  101. May 11, 2016 6:16 pm

    In a earlier post, I was accused of being having “privilege” and that it is this quality that allowed me to earn my current place in the grand scheme of life.

    Well, now there is a new privilege that I must admit to and I must admit, I feel mighty bad about it.

    Since I am about to sit down to dinner, I will do my best to make amends and end my shame!

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/05/11/fat-activist-lectures-college-kids-on-thin-privilege.html?intcmp=hplnws

    • May 12, 2016 11:51 am

      This is something that I have read about in more serious articles; basically that at least 50% or more of transgenders regret their sex-change, and want to return to their original, true gender. It’s next to impossible, of course, for men who have had themselves castrated, but they too experience the regret. And it’s also true that the high rate of suicide among transgenders does not decline among the transitioned population, which would indicate that these people have more deep-seated issues than “just” gender identity.

      All of this makes it so much more tragic that parents are allowing, sometimes even encouraging their “tomboy” daughters and “sissyboy” sons to identify as the other gender. It’s psychological child abuse in my opinion.

      As far as Bruce/Caitlyn, I give him some credit for speaking honestly about his own issues, but I think that his issues are different than many other transgenders. Listening to him talk to Diane Sawyer, I though to myself “this guy is just a transvestite – he likes to dress up as a woman and pretend he is a woman. But he also likes being a man. He’s been sold a bill of goods on this transgender thing” Luckily for him, he’s rich and famous and likely hasn’t undergone the final, surgical reassignment surgery.

      If he does “revert” he should speak just as honestly about that. I would imagine that ESPN would want their award back, but he would be helping an awful lot of people who are suffering from what is likely an extreme body dysmorphic condition.

  102. May 12, 2016 1:46 pm

    Interesting piece about job loss during recessions and subsequent income variation.

    http://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2016/05/lost-jobs-in-recessions.html

  103. May 12, 2016 3:28 pm

    The progressive mind, explained.

    Good stuff from the folks at George Mason U.

    http://mercatus.org/expert_commentary/saviors-need-victims-save

  104. May 13, 2016 8:04 am

    My good intentions for you trump your freedom to live the way you want:

    https://mises.org/blog/government%E2%80%99s-war-affordable-housing

  105. May 13, 2016 8:36 pm

    Roby, I enjoyed the clips of the band. Excellent. Excellent. I’ll forward your Black Magic Woman to Carlos so he can hear how it’s done!! I’ve heard a lot of versions of that through the years. Rare and appreciated how notes of your lead “completed” with almost imperceptible space before going to next note rather than the sloppier usual out there. I’m assuming that was you on lead since you said you play Steve Howe numbers. Good to see you man. Good luck with your self-imposed hiatus from online addiction. I was thinking similar.

  106. May 14, 2016 12:17 am

    Even though I do not understand the transgender orientation, this seems to be the most sensible solution to this problem. One is not forced to accept progressive positions on co-mingling sexes in bathrooms and locker rooms and it also doe not force the medical definition of gender on those that have decided there are more than two based on chromosomes.
    https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2015/11/08/the-libertarian-solution-to-transgender-bathrooms-and-locker-rooms/
    This has a lot of information already discussed, but about 3/4ths of the way down he offers a sensible solution that could allow for decisions acceptable to a much larger percentage of the population than is now being forced down from D.C. or state capitals.

    But that is why the Libertarians don’t get far in elections. Sensible does not attract votes.

    • May 14, 2016 9:11 am

      Ron, this is the sensible solution! It’s the sensible solution to so many of our issues. There are problems inherent in moving to a voucher system, but they pale in comparison to the advantages.

      Libertarians don’t get far in elections, because the Libertarians themselves (upper case L) have failed to distinguish itself as a party with sensible solutions and candidates. Ask the average person what a libertarian/Libertarian believes in, and (assuming they even know what the term means) they’ll say “no government”, “anarchy” “legalized pot”, “isolationism” or some such thing. In other words, the party has allowed itself to be defined by its fringe members and fringe issues, and until it can change that, it will continue to be a fringe party. If someone like Rand Paul were to decide to run under the Libertarian banner, it might be a good start, but he has clearly decided that that would be a career-killer for him.

      • May 14, 2016 9:47 am

        I consider myself a moderate libertarian and could easily vote for Rand. Alas, many in this domain are way way out.

        Consider the case of Dave.

      • May 14, 2016 11:07 am

        Yes, even someone as qualified as Gary Johnson has allowed himself to be identified with the legalized pot issue. I personally don’t care whether an adult person chooses to use marijuana or not, but it’s a hot button issue that immediately and unnecessarily divides people that might otherwise agree with him on other, more important, things.

        It’s not entirely Johnson’s fault that this has happened, but it does indicate that he’s a poor candidate. Imagine if the Libertarians could recruit a celebrity candidate like Trump….someone who would be a sought after interview on all of the TV stations and be an articulate spokesperson for free market economics and limited government.

  107. May 14, 2016 12:53 pm

    Some subsidies are apparently, better (holier) that others?

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/10/elon-musk-is-revolting/

  108. Roby permalink
    May 14, 2016 6:19 pm

    Thanks Pat and Priscilla for the kind words. I always had an affinity for Santana and when I was in my 20s I could really do his style (for one thing doing Santana right takes more volume than anyone will allow me to get away with these days, the guitar becomes very live and sustaining at considerable volume. It turns out that Carlos’ father was a violinist and his own first instrument was the violin, he played classical pieces! I think that explains a lot about his very fluid and singing style. He and his band were in their teens and early twenties when they became famous, boggles the mind, so young to be inventing a very beautiful innovative style. These days I play the first half of the song on the guitar and then switch to electric violin, which comes out quite nicely.

    I am not so thrilled with my soling on this video of BMW, its a bit tentative and conservative, a little bit of clumsiness got into a few phrases, its not very fiery, doesn’t soar. The tone I like though. Trying to get the perfect video of the best performance is not easy, we have a lot of imperfect videos. I have not succeeded in making many videos of the band that I like, something is always out of balance or goes slightly wrong when I make a video. I’m more satisfied with Heart full of soul. BTW if you listen with headphones these sound much better, tiny computer speakers make the bass player disappear, and actually Bobby really gets BMW right, which is a big part of the charm of the song.

    Its my 5th day without reading or seeing news! I removed all the favorites and links in my browser to news and politics. I’m beginning to relax. There is no reason to let candidates and other nonsense take over my brain! Let me know when the election is over. I highly recommend this experiment.

  109. May 14, 2016 6:28 pm

    Candidates, what candidates? Did I miss it all?

  110. May 16, 2016 12:12 pm

    Do we still think the Obama Administration doesn’t have an agenda regarding sexual orientation?

    This repels me on many levels.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/05/16/obamacare-regulation-pressures-insurers-to-cover-sex-change-operations.html?intcmp=hplnws

  111. May 16, 2016 2:23 pm

    One of the many reasons to fight the expansion of federal powers.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/05/16/welcome/5QJDMRHCN93VfojLmJCTHN/story.html

    • May 20, 2016 8:35 am

      I do think that the breathtaking hypocrisy of Hollywood is one of the reasons for Bernie’s rise. Whatever his faults, he appears to have lived the life of a true believer.

      JB, do you think you and I are the only two left here?

      • May 20, 2016 8:39 am

        Yes, we have saved the best for last!

      • Roby permalink
        May 20, 2016 7:47 pm

        Well, I just got back from Maine adn I am here to the extent that I can be without reading the news or talking about the election.

  112. May 20, 2016 11:10 pm

    I’m still hovering and swooping by to see what’s up. This isn’t my favorite thread. The original topic of this thread has gotten much too much coverage in the “news” in my opinion. I’m just going to continue sounding grumpy for a bit, though I’m actually relatively cheerful for many reasons, including that I’m recently mortgage-free after 32 years. (Did I already mention that previously? if so, sorry for the repeat.) I also don’t like “The Federalist” blog as a source of info. It seems like a click-bait site to me (same brief sensationalism cut-and-pasted from other click-bait sites. Where’s the investigative aspect such as interviewing people on the insides of the stories? Bah! )

    And this doesn’t seem like the New Moderate to me lately. It seems like the New Republi-terian. Roby I’m proud of you for your abstinence. More and More I’m convinced the populace is really truly and increasingly hypnotized and brainwashed. More and more when I bike or walk or drive through nice neighborhoods in the day or night there is NOBODY out–no kids playing, no neighbors chatting, nobody sitting out sipping an iced tea. Everybody’s in with their screens. It’s no longer an exaggeration. It’s Plato’s Cave. Bah!

    • May 21, 2016 9:06 am

      Pat, I hear you on the lack of neighborhood life these days, although I don’t think it has so much to do with brainwashing, as it does with the economy (very few stay-at-home moms), greater numbers and social acceptance of single parents, childless couples, etc., the lure of technology (a lot of those kids are playing….video games) and a zillion other changes that we old fogies don’t like. For the most part, the changes seem to be…..not so good.

      I cop to being a “Republiterian”,I suppose, but a moderate one, and it’s really only a part of of my life, not the thing that totally defines me. Back up a little further on this thread, I related a story about the volunteer work that I do for a local YMCA (when you recall what that acronym stands for, it’s no wonder that the organization has re-branded itself as simply “the Y”, lol), and most of my friends do volunteer work of some kind or other, regardless of their political affiliation. And, those swim lessons? Hundreds of kids, ages 3-12 (not all at once, thank God!), from all different ethnic groups, splashing around, laughing in the way that only kids do, being taught primarily by older teens and 20-somethings, who are either volunteering, or being paid minimum wage, and having almost as much fun as the kids……..I originally told the story to illustrate the good sense and bad politics of Rutgers’ locker room policy (girls in the girls’ room, boys in the boys’, so outré in today’s world), with not an objection to be heard. No one is the least interested in politics there – although the Y and Rutgers are quite the PC organizations. It’s all about family and kids, and learning a life skill, and having fun.

      Still happening, my dear Pat. Have heart!

      • Roby permalink
        May 21, 2016 9:57 am

        Bravo!!!

      • May 21, 2016 5:59 pm

        Priscilla, you are right that there is still much good fun going on, and quite naturally too. I believe we’ve touched on it before at TNM that “good society” happens in “pockets” these days in clubs, organizations, like at the “Y” (Young Men’s Christian Association, hah YMCA), school events, etc. etc. Parents set up their folding chairs at the sides of soccer practice…the fighting parents get the press but that is not the norm. As us older Americans know, “good society” (conversation and other interaction) used to occur regularly/daily in the streets, and many of us sure miss it!

    • Roby permalink
      May 21, 2016 10:54 am

      Their screens are about 2 X 4 inches. Sitting a beautiful sunny restaurant deck overlooking the ocean the other day I was NOT amused or delighted to see every patron under thirty glued to their devices, texting away and talking in monosyllables to the people sitting next to them in 3-D reality.

      I’m looking forward to the day when the device and its screen will be surgically implanted in the brain and retina. I am fairly sure that they will be available on one’s glasses soon if they are not already. Otherwise, the human race is going to evolve into a giant set of texting thumbs attached to a pitiful little body that just serves for carrying the head around so it can text on facebook and twitter.

      Let It Be the musical theatrical production just happened to be playing in the Ogunquit Playhouse, it took you right back to 1963-1969. I wanna go back to that cultural world. I Really don’t like this one.

      Bah is great word, underused and highly appropriate these days.

      • May 21, 2016 12:28 pm

        It is astounding. People seem unable to not look at their phones. What will the miss? It confounds me no end.

        No, when they do it in a car while driving, it infuriates me. I was almost killed 2 years ago by a texting driver.

  113. May 21, 2016 10:21 am

    Here come the pervs.

  114. May 21, 2016 10:38 am

    http://www.snopes.com/target-sues-hero-stabbing/

    This will be my last peep in here. I wanted to find a moderate site, because I can’t take the extremism on either side. But when your right leaning guy is allowed to tell me that being a college professor is a “working” class job; when he claims Income Inequality does not exist (or does not matter if it does); when he repeats bs and posts articles from the far right that only tell part of the truth…I realize I have just fallen in with a bunch of (mostly)old white baby boomers just whining about how the world is so terrible. And I’ve been insulted by him on numerous occasions and he is still posting lies. Just more bullying from the right. I was hoping for something different, but I haven’t found it yet. Every moderate site I’ve been to is like this- the extremely few that are out there.

    Most of the world is working class (true working class, not college educated!) and until we pay them real wages again, the economy will stay in its pre-WWII state of continous flux, with a small middle class, a few ultra rich, and huge masses of poor people. A completely free market just creates slaves. Good Day everyone.

    • May 21, 2016 10:56 am

      Sorry to see you leave, Susan. But we all have to hear things that we don’t like or that we disagree with. I’m not always right, you’re not always right, JB’s not always right…..

      No one here wants a completely free market – not even Dave (who you never “met”). But since you’re not peeping anymore, you’re not reading this, so I’ll rest my fingers.

      • May 21, 2016 12:29 pm

        I am not always “right” not by a long shot. What I will do is try to puzzle out what works and what doesn’t. I will also admit when I flub, which is fairly often.

        Others may not be so secure, hence the assertions without a shred of evidence. Clearly, I won’t miss Susan, since she added nothing to the conversation.

      • Roby permalink
        May 21, 2016 1:06 pm

        Priscilla, I note the you left me out of the “not-always-right” category! An oversight I am sure. In truth, I m slightly more left than right. I aspire to being always center but haven’t pulled it off.

    • Roby permalink
      May 21, 2016 11:17 am

      “I realize I have just fallen in with a bunch of (mostly)old white baby boomers just whining about how the world is so terrible.” Oblivious irony like this cannot not be bought or faked.

      Note to Susan, Your point is taken, but guess what, you were not moderate either. Nor did you discuss anything with anyone other than the person who insulted you. Hmm, a masochistic tendency. As well, you just insulted us, all of us. Ha, nice. You know what, you are a typical progressive hypocrite who does nothing but whine and insult while complaining about others whining and insulting and being theatrically offended and waiting for someone to care. If I can make any sense out of your contradictory statements, you seem to be looking for a progressive but moderate site. You won’t find it, its a contradiction in terms.

      Reading an economics textbook would clear up a lot of your misunderstandings, if you read it carefully and really understand it. Economic gravity in a 7 billion person globalized technological world is not moral, it simply is. You want to change something that is as vast, silently powerful, and impersonal as the ocean. I don’t blame you for that but I DO blame you for being unwilling to think as deeply as you feel. There are good things a person can do locally once they stop asking the impossible of the world. Understanding that is a stage of life, thing, we whiny old baby boomers have acquired experience and wisdom. There is a chance that you may appreciate it yourself in a few decades.

    • May 21, 2016 12:25 pm

      Good riddance. Reading and comprehension are clearly not your strong suite.

    • May 21, 2016 1:14 pm

      I know Susan probably will not read this for two reasons. She (1) said she was leaving this site and (2) she refused to get in any discussions with anyone other than JB and when you get in a discussion with JB you better bring your A game (which she did not) or you are toast. I tried to engage Susan a couple times asking her to document her comments or I posted documentation that provided information that refuted her comments and asked her to respond and she did not. When you comment on any site you can’t regurgitate liberal or conservative talking points and not expect push back form others.

      I think we have a good mix of moderate to conservative making comments. Susan was the only liberal (from her comments at least) and when you are the only one without support from others, you better be able to back up what you say with facts or you will get an “F” from the graders.

      • May 21, 2016 1:41 pm

        You are most kind. Ron. Yes, I was actually hoping that Susan would have learned a bit here, as we have some very bright folks irrespective of our political default settings. I try to do my best to back up my statements when I can, or simply be upfront that I am uttering an opinion.

        Such is life. You can educate anyone who is committed to their present state of knowledge or ignorance.

      • May 21, 2016 4:35 pm

        “You (can?) educate anyone who is committed to their present state of knowledge or ignorance.” I will try once again. But since obviously no one here reads anything but right wing sites here – and you are retired, college educated, white, and do not get out in the real world much, I do not have much hope to change your minds. You’ve been ignoring this information for a long time apparently.

        You would think this might offer some proof that the working class (people w/o college degrees who work 40 hours a week – probably more) is growing. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/majority-of-us-public-school-students-are-in-poverty/2015/01/15/df7171d0-9ce9-11e4-a7ee-526210d665b4_story.html

        Income Inequality:
        (I started looking at one article from Forbes but when it claimed 70% of Americans will reach the top 20% at one time or another…I fell to floor laughing and skipped it. poppycock.)
        http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/05/u-s-income-inequality-on-rise-for-decades-is-now-highest-since-1928/

        https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/inequality/

        http://billmoyers.com/2015/01/05/top-10-charts-2014/

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/economic-inequality-it-s-far-worse-than-you-think/

        http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/10/02/349863761/40-years-of-income-inequality-in-america-in-graphs

        http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2015/03/27/income-inequality-makes-a-mockery-of-the-american-dream

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/05/21/the-top-10-of-americans-own-76-of-the-stuff-and-its-dragging-our-economy-down/

        Declining Wages
        http://www.epi.org/publication/even-the-most-educated-workers-have-declining-wages/

        http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/09/low-income-worker-wage-decline/403840/

        http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/09/for-most-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/

        http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/the-uncomfortable-truth-about-american-wages/?_r=0

        http://www.businessinsider.com/real-wages-decline-literally-no-one-notices-2013-6

        Republicans being the party of the wealthy
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/10/08/the-elections-40-biggest-billionaire-donors-and-why-the-kochs-are-missing/3/#51ca66075bb5
        By my estimates, billionaries gave about $85 million to Republicans (that we know of) and maybe $15 million to Democrats.
        Interesting: http://www.gallup.com/poll/151310/u.s.-republican-not-conservative.aspx

        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-gop-became-the-party-of-the-rich-20111109 (ok this one leans left) “It was the birth of what is now known as “Starve the Beast” – a conscious strategy by conservatives to force cuts in federal spending by bankrupting the country. As conceived by the right-wing intellectual Irving Kristol in 1980, the plan called for Republicans to create a “fiscal problem” by slashing taxes – and then foist the pain of reimposing fiscal discipline onto future Democratic administrations who, in Kristol’s words, would be forced to “tidy up afterward.””

        Surprise (NOT) most conservatives don’t want anything to be done to change the present lopsided problem of income/wealth – http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/29/inequality-poverty-divide-republicans-more-than-democrats/ “55% of conservative Republicans don’t want the government to do much or anything at all about inequality”

        Part of conservative rhetoric involves convincing people with money – even if its not much money – that those without are just “lazy” and they “live off the government”. And convince that there are huge masses of them. (There are not) Creates fear which keeps working people from working together like they had to do years ago to get things like the 40 hr week, minimum wage and safety standards. What corporations most fear is working people uniting and shutting them down. OMG, they might not get to keep obscene amounts of money.

        I will state again for the record – the economy works best for EVERYONE when working people are paid well. And I mean world-wide. As long as corporations can escape to somewhere else, the problems will persist. To not be able to see the sense in that is…flabbergasting. And to tell me that as a college graduate I should be satisfied with what little I am paid is insulting. I’m thrilled Indians/Chinese now have indoor plumbing. However I want more for me and mine.

        Also for the record, I’ve said nothing about paying people “equally” just not at the extremes we have now. And no, you cannot convince me that the Waltons can’t afford to pay workers better, nor other corporations. The Waltons could take $50 billion (which they made by not paying workers well) and divide it among their 2.5 million workers, giving everyone a $25,000 bonus. That’s more than most of them make in a year. Boo Hoo, they’d only have to squeak by on $100 billion (probably more than that, but that is how much is publically known).

        Although I do my best not to frequent far right OR left sites, I expect to be derided that all my sources are just liberal mouthpieces. But I keep being told to post the obvious that most of you have apparently overlooked for years. As I have mentioned before, I know a broad swath of people from all walks of life – 4 different states, from the ghetto to Ivy League schools which tends to make my outlook rather different.

        Carry On. I will.

      • May 24, 2016 7:30 pm

        Susan, I have tried to be civil in my comments concerning your positions and ask you for documentation. And you have provided that information. But since you have taken the position of adversary and said ” and you are retired, college educated, white, and do not get out in the real world much”, I don’t find it advantageous to get into a pissing contest with a skunk. I could write a long response as to my background that would prove I am not a”sheltered white conservative without a heart”, but that would not do much good since you seem to want to fight and not debate or discuss.

        And you might find that in many respects I may agree with you, but only in a civil discussion and not one that you seem to want with JB and now me.

        People can discuss issues, have differing views and still be nice to each other.

      • May 24, 2016 10:26 pm

        Well said, Ron.

      • May 24, 2016 7:47 pm

        Susan there are two issue to discuss concerning the poverty rate of kids in school.
        http://www.prb.org/pdf10/single-motherfamilies.pdf

        1) The first one is what caused this tremendous increase (link information)

        2) How does one address this issue. We have had equal representation of control of congress over this period of time by both parties. And I am one who believes the President does not do anything unless congress agrees unlike some who think we have a monarchy.

      • Roby permalink
        May 22, 2016 9:40 am

        Ron, I still think of myself as a liberal, albeit a moderate one, because I fear many of the same things that liberals fear, at least the rational thoughtful ones, and generally do not fear the same things that conservatives fear, or at least not to the same degree that they fear them. Just out of curiosity, if you are not ranking me as a liberal, how would you categorize me? I am sincerely interested in the answer because I have been seen by Dave, for example, as a raging progressive and JB has often referred to me as a liberal, pure and simple. Now, I think I know who I am, but I am interested in how I look to others in my ideology too. Perhaps it egotistical of me to care about this but I have invested many many hours here of expressing myself and I am interested to know what flavor you think my opinions are.

        Bear in mind that in agreeing with JB on basic economics in his argument with Susan, I am with him on what I consider econ 101 textbook material, just the real basics of economics that no one can escape. I can find plenty of room to argue with JB or you (let alone Dave) about the size of government and its role in helping poor people. I would favor quite a few government programs, food stamps for example, that more economically conservative people would make cuts in and believe are just bad in principle, moral hazard. More importantly I would favor something such as the CETA program to get the chronically poor trained and working in the trades, no matter how much it cost almost. At the same time I think that welfare reform was a huge success that was badly needed. If people will make a return effort the government should help them to be employable. If they want to sit at home and have many babies and have me support them generation after generation, no, thanks god we are through with that experiment with survival of the non-fittest.

        So, am I a liberal in your eyes, of some form, or am I something else?

      • May 22, 2016 1:09 pm

        Roby, maybe I should have said “bleeding heart liberal” and not just liberal. I viewed Susan on the farthest left of the scale (as Dave usually provided documentation to support his positions where Susan did not). In many of his comments, JB could be placed as the more right on the scale for individuals communicating on this site. Then there are everyone else that falls into place based on their comments.

        Where would I place you. About the same distance left of the mid point that I would place myself to the right of mid point. But that could be very different once if we could have a very in-depth conversation and debate because many people who say they are liberal and conservative and support the overall positions held by those groups actually accept each others thinking once they begin to dig deeper into the subject.

        For instance, you say you favor government programs. I have said many times government programs need to be cut. Those two positions are ones where significant arguments could take place over. But then if I asked if you would support a zero based budget where every dollar spent had to be documented as to its effectiveness, each government program had to be supported by documentation as to its effectiveness and a program was in place to identify duplicate programs, combine duplicate programs and then eliminate duplicate government programs, would you accept cutting spending if the the combining of programs cut spending by 3% and improved the outcomes for the recipients? And if you said yes, then would you be considered conservative?

        You say you support food stamps and conservatives would cut that program. I say we need to cut spending for nutrition programs. BUT that could be done with combining programs. We now have a minimum of 4 programs feeding children. School lunch, School breakfast, Summer food Program and Women Infants and children. Do we need 4 bureaucratic departments with government employees duplicating efforts to feed children, or could these programs be combined and employees administering these programs reduced with saving used to reduce some of the deficit or used to provide better nutrition for kids?

        And that is just one small segment of duplicated programs in our government. So yes, I am conservative as I expect our government to spend our money wisely and right now that is far from what they are doing. And that is why we have as large a deficit as we do.

        As for my positions on personal social issues, I don’t think you could be much more liberal than I am on those.

      • May 22, 2016 1:43 pm

        My stance is pretty simple. By virtue of the power we grant government, we should be extremely careful with its reach. I think in judging say, the Federal Government, we should judge its efforts/outcomes, not its stated intentions.

        The issue isn’t whether government programs provide a value or service, but at what cost for what benefits. Given the untold billions spent on “social programs” I think the evidence is clear that the outcomes of the programs are quite dismal. Often, progressives forget that capital that is taken from the private sector (you and me) cannot be used for other things.

        Moreover, since the government is essentially a legal monopoly, it will not be efficient because it does not have to be. Hence, the Post Office, the IRS, the DOE, etc. etc.

        Government’s share of GDP has been increasing for about 50 years. As it increases, the growth of GDP slows. That means the capital that can be used for productive means is being diverted to non-productive uses.

        And, then, there is that 18B national debt. Hey, if you can’t make money running a monopoly, you should give up the game .

      • May 22, 2016 2:18 pm

        I think you and I are on the same page. You mention the postal service. I say we need the postal service, but in a completely organized different way. No company is going to deliver mail to rural America 6 days a week regardless of the amount of mail. But try cutting that service and we hear idiotic comments like “we can’t cut Saturday delivery because the elderly loom forward to their mail” (Can’t remember politicians that said this, hopefully they were defeated after that comment). How about continuing the postal service deliveries on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. If something has to get out fast, then special delivery can be used with extra cost just like Fed Ex or UPS. Would that not cut costs?

        And you comment about services and cost benefit. That is where I am coming from with zero based budget. A service may not get axed, but it can be changed and delivered in a different method or a different agency combined with other services. There are a lot of services where they have outlived their usefulness.

        But you have to start somewhere and instead of across the board cuts like they did with the military that has planes being cannibalized for parts, units unable to deploy, units deployed multiple times to war zones with short periods of time between deployments and all the other problems caused by across the board cuts, every government program needs a review and a reason for sustaining the program.

        What I find so interesting is many very liberal individuals like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates believe in government and its ability to provide services to the poor and needy until it comes to their money when they die. That is not left in their estate to get taxed as inheritance, it goes into trust to provide services to their interested causes. If government is so good in their minds, why not left the government tax their estate and spend the money?

      • Roby permalink
        May 22, 2016 1:35 pm

        Well, you did not disappoint me Ron. Every word pure common sense and common decency. There is little if anything for us to disagree about in your questions, I would answer them in the affirmative.

        They way you characterize me is just where I think I am. A liberal of my sort can certainly find common ground with a conservative/libertarian of your sort. Why aren’t people of that sort running the country? Or any country? Why oh why?

        On the other hand the fact that so many things in our society do work and are valuable shows that someone somewhere, and probably rather a lot of someones are doing the thoughtful reasonable competent non ideologically fanatical things every day that make the world go round.

        Its our so-called leaders that are the rot and they are that way because the system selects that type of behavior; they have to lie about everything and make everything political or ideological because on the grand scale that is what we ordinary people reward with votes as a group, all the more so after the advent of the internet.

        Human decency and human indecency both occur in surprising amounts but 1 indecent destructive person is so often able to outweigh 100 decent constructive people.

      • May 22, 2016 1:50 pm

        I don’t know that “society” or the voters reward lying pols. In a two party system with a complicit media, what actual choice do we have. Half the time, it is impossible to tell if they are lying, given the way the “facts” are re-arranged over time. Witness the Clintons, the best liars in my lifetime (family award).

        I will vote for Trump, because he is the lesser of two evils What choice do I have, other than to not vote at all?

      • May 22, 2016 1:52 pm

        Its called “divide and conquer”. Say the same things over and over and people begin to believe it is fact, even when it is not. Before the internet and instant news, it was harder to brainwash people and it took longer for people to begin thinking like the politicians wanted them to think instead of making up their own minds. Now when things are constantly broadcast, people begin repeating it and it becomes reality. And that ends up with people unable to discuss a subject and find the real facts fro themselves.

  115. May 22, 2016 10:24 am

    Oh yea, well, I can outdo you on how LGTB friendly I am.

    Take particular notice at the last quote by one of these birds.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/22/yale-university-introduces-gender-neutral-bathrooms-in-23-buildings.html?intcmp=hplnws

    • Roby permalink
      May 22, 2016 1:50 pm

      Good help me, when the day has come that I am reading the comments on Fox about cultural warfare and finding them witty, the PC forces must have really gone too far.

      Score 1 point for conservatives, this issue will not help democrats.

      Comments:

      “Ever since I was a small boy I have had better relationships with canines than humans and identify myself more as a mixed breed poodle and schnauzer where I prefer to sniff peoples butts rather than shake hands or hug. Many humans have taken offense to this innocent practice and have gone as far to call the police. I hope this gender bathroom discussion leads to significant improvements for people who share my predicament.

      @FredTJanson Fred, we’re with you. Mixed Breeds Matter.

      BishkekSteeler 2 hours ago
      Faculty of Arts and Sciences. I would guess really strong on the Arts, not so much on the Sciences.

      Benny71 2 hours ago
      Unisex bathrooms have existed for long time. Just mentally unstable freak shows trying to draw attention to themselves. No one cares.

      I wonder what the next weirdo group will be after all this fuss dies down about the sexually confused.

      @Angeline0609 Left foot averse snow shoe Eskimo’s.

      • Roby permalink
        May 22, 2016 1:55 pm

        Oh F*** Damn you JB, You tricked me into reading the news. For nearly two weeks not one news item had penetrated my defences. Curses.

      • May 22, 2016 1:59 pm

        I am sorry, that was not my intent!

      • Roby permalink
        May 22, 2016 2:00 pm

        Caution, the above is not rated G. Sorry about that.

      • Roby permalink
        May 23, 2016 7:34 am

        “I am sorry, that was not my intent!”

        I wasn’t really blaming you JB, just trying to be funny. My own fault that I let my guard down. I’m back on the wagon. Gonna kick this news/political junkie behavior for real and put all that time into better things.

      • May 23, 2016 12:46 pm

        Hard to believe anyone would want to block out the comedy show and take part. I also have cut back on the news, not watching it like I had at 6 each night and Sunday morning talk shows. Amazing that one does not go through withdrawal when doing this. And somehow I still seem to know whats happening….(Just read some speeches by politicians from the 70’s and 80’s and you will be up to date!!!)

  116. May 22, 2016 1:35 pm

    Income and standard of living has been discussed earlier. Associated Press has produced an article concerning peoples ability to withstand a $1000 emergency. Here, 2/3rds of individuals would have a had time finding the money. Even for those with over $100,000 income, 38% would have problems finding the money.

    I would like for these news agencies to at least include information on the living standards of the people they poll. How many were in NYC or San Fran compared to Birmingham Alabama or Kansas City. How many were married with kids compared to single.

    I suspect there are those that truly have a problem saving money and live within their income level. And then there are those that make $100,000 a year and live way beyond their means with two new cars and all the toys they can find along with a mortgage that requires old cars and dinner at home 7 nights a week.
    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/965e48ed609245539ed315f83e01b6a2

    Maybe we need 12 years of personal finance taught in schools by people that know the subject to change this picture.

    • May 22, 2016 1:46 pm

      Knowing that you should save money and actually doing it are very different things, no? The issue isn’t knowledge for most people, it is impulse control and the ability to delay gratification (IMHO).

      I know a number of families who complain about the $600 a month health insurance premium and spend a like amount on cell phones, cable TV and the like.

      Ignorance? I suspect not.

      • May 22, 2016 2:32 pm

        When one is taught from the very beginning how to spend money or save money, it becomes a way of life. Spend spend spend at a young age or be given everything you want at a young age and not have to pay for it yourself and you end up like the federal government. In over your head in debt. Save for something at a young age and then buy it and it stays with you the rest of your life most times. Listen to Dave Ramsey to see how many people can change their lives and spending.

        One of my daughters worked whenever she could and saved some when she made money. She bought things when she had the money and paid cash for good used cars. She went to school on a program where she was required to work in the state in the profession she earned her degree one year for every year she had part of her tuition paid for. She married a fellow that was raised in a family where they were always in debt, they had two new cars with constant car payments, a nice inboard/outboard 20ft boat and all the new stuff for the house. He went to school on school loans. They have been married 8 years and he now talks about money and spending the same way she does. So even the unwise can be made to see the light with the right guidance.

      • May 22, 2016 4:29 pm

        Indeed, as long as you are breathing, there is hope that one can learn. The problem is that for many, the “solution” is for a new government program to address this situation. Or, worse than that, we can simply blame the wealthy for having wealth.

        In other words, it is always someone other than me that is responsible for my plight. In fact, very often, it really is me who put myself in the position I so vigorously lament.

      • May 22, 2016 6:07 pm

        I will go one step further. I blame the parents for planting the seed and fertilizing the growth of overspending and excess where the roots have taken a strong hold on the actions and thinking of the individual. Then when they are older they do not have a good understanding of limits. Parents providing every want and not setting limits. Being raised in a country where debt is easily attained by students when credit card companies try to trap them into debt and the government providing the example that overspending is OK. All of this makes it hard for anyone to actually overcome self gratification unlike previous generations where debt was not easy to come by and people saved for what they wanted to buy. Its kind of like the druggie and all their family and friends keep promoting the habit and their doctors writing scripts so they can purchase more. They won’t ever get clean until someone provides a reason for them to do it.

      • May 23, 2016 9:32 am

        One of the problems with young millennials is that, by the time that they have realized the crushing power of the college debt that they have accumulated, as well as the worthlessness of their degree in native american basket weaving, or other such useless knowledge, it is too late. The debt is there. Oh sure, you can go teach in some urban jungle, where your main goal is to get through every day without incident, but, here again, we have the government not only dictating the terms of your debt (part of the ACA, a part that most don’t even know about , was a takeover of the student loan business, eliminating the student’s ability to shop around for good interest rates, so that the government could help finance the horrible healthcare law on the backs of middle class kids), but also insuring that the only way to get loan forgiveness is to become a public education slave.

        I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, but, honestly, a lot of these kids are graduating with $100,000 of debt, and no decent job prospects. There are a few ways to lower payments, get partial loan forgiveness, etc., but, in the end, you’ve got a big debt that has to be repayed, on an income that does not provide the means to do so, without deferring, for many, many years, the things that young adults should be working and saving for – a car, a house, etc. Add to that, that marriage often compounds the problem, when both husband and wife have debt.

        So, I am very sympathetic to this generation, and I understand why Bernie’s message resonates with them. They have been raised with little to no financial understanding, and, by the time they have the slightest clue, they’re already underwater.

        And if the rule is “If you broke it, you fix it”. it is the government’s job to fix it. How the hell that happens is way above my pay grade, but I think that it’s a major issue that, on the Republican side, was addressed only by Rubio, who didn’t get much traction from it.

      • May 23, 2016 10:15 am

        As always, we agree. However, here is the issue.

        The Federal government has 17T in formal debt on the books. It also has about 60T in unfunded liabilities for the Medicare and SS commitments it has made.

        So, what are the chances that Uncle Sam will suddenly get with the program? Moreover, how can a government that has this much debt have any moral authority in the area of fiscal responsibility? This looks like some sort of sick joke played on us by cruel morons.

        Today’s children are simply modelling what they see from Big Brother.

      • May 23, 2016 1:16 pm

        JB..You forgot the PBGC guaranteed pension liabilities that run into the trillions that pension funds will not be able to support. Not sure how the government gets out of that acturial mess.

      • May 23, 2016 1:23 pm

        I didn’t want to pile on.

        I think we both know the can will continue to be kicked down the road.

      • May 23, 2016 2:25 pm

        JB..Have you ever seen a can being kicked down the road. After awhile all it is is a smashed wad of metal or shredder to bits. We passed that point about at the 15 trillion or so mark.

        The other thing most people do not understand or pay attention to (including our politicians) is the interest paid on the debt is about $215 billion dollars today and that is with interest rates around 2.3%. Without any additional debt (which will never happen) and a normalization of interest rates to a level seen between 2002 and 2008 (and also in earlier normal economic times) when the rate fluctuated between the high 4’s and up to 6% will cause an increase in debt payments. That means the $215 billion automatically becomes $430 billion and that is cost congress and the government can not do anything about. It will be the second highest expense the government has and no budget tricks can impact that figure. And with additional debt and higher rates, the minimum about in 2020 will be closer to $575 billion.

        But who cares really?????

      • May 23, 2016 2:33 pm

        I couldn’t agree with you more. Yet, this is a non-topic among the candidates and the left continues to argue/demand more spending, more government programs.

        Instead of chatting about the little issue of paying for the already-made commitments, these birds like Sanders want to keep upping the ante. No wonder, he has been a dead weight on society since birth.

      • May 23, 2016 1:07 pm

        Priscilla…”I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, but, honestly, a lot of these kids are graduating with $100,000 of debt, and no decent job prospects.”…..If they where raised in an environment where there was an expectation of personal responsibility like Ramsey preaches, they would not be graduating with a degree in Fundamental American Basket Making and then have to accept any job that came along. They would be attending a state school where tuition is manageable, they would be working part time doing something, even delivering pizza, to help pay for the cost and they would have been given information from their parents when they got old enough as to the importance of a degree where a living could be made. That is what is lacking. Even mother dogs and cats teach their young how to live and support themselves from a very young age.

        “And if the rule is “If you broke it, you fix it”. it is the government’s job to fix it. “…And I think this is where you and I will find differences of opinion. Government can’t fix anything even if they broke it. Just look at the VA system and the link I shared as to what the VA system has going now with the government fix for 2014. Government does not raise kids, I disagree 100% with Hillary’s “It takes a Village”. Government should not be in the business of loans for education. The responsibility lies with the parents and the kids. Bernies message resonates because he is reinforcing the standards that the kids were raised under. If you are raised where someone provides for every “want” you may ever experience, then that is the goovernment that you will support. Only parents can fix the problem and when people stop applying for admission to expensive colleges and apply to the state schools, competition will drive down the cost. And as the better state universities get more applications, that will shift more applications to the smaller lessor known state schools, so the cost will still be manageable. And last, more on-line education through state universities can provide an education without the huge debt and allow kids to stay at home for part of the time and work. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

      • May 24, 2016 4:08 pm

        Well, Ron, I’ll double down on one of my points, and backtrack on the other….

        Even most state universities and colleges are difficult to finance these days, without grants and loans (avg tuition $10-15K). And, true merit scholarships have become few and far between, as more and more grant and scholarship money is based on other criteria (“And the $10,000 Goldplate Scholarship, awarded to the neediest Indonesian transgender female in the class, goes to….) Add to the tuition the cost of necessary room and board or transportation, and even frugal students are looking at $50-$150 for a 4 year degree. It’s true that, for many middle class students, the cost is manageable, if barely….but then there are those who are on the lower income end of what qualifies for loans but not grants, families that suffer health crises, unexpected job loss, etc. I think that many of current generation of middle class kids have been screwed every which way, even the ones with reasonably frugal parents.

        I’ll backtrack on the government fixing things. (Hahahahaha! The government fixing things?) After reading your response, I realize that, well, of course, it’s the government being involved that has caused the problem. As middle class incomes have stagnated or decreased, college costs have skyrocketed due to; easy student loans, issued without regard to the creditworthiness of the borrowers; the marketing of college degrees, by both private and public colleges, as essential to well-paying jobs; the increase in pressure to get graduate degrees (I believe that, in NY, you must have a master’s degree in order to become a public schoolteacher);the exploding numbers of administrative personnel at colleges and universities, often needed to handle federally mandated, but unfunded, programs.

        Getting the government out of the student loan business would probably set higher education back 30 years. Which would be a good thing.

      • May 24, 2016 5:49 pm

        Yes, but, but, everyone deserves a chance to go to college (and everyone gets a gold star too!).

      • May 24, 2016 6:01 pm

        Ron P wrote “…as the better state universities get more applications, that will shift more applications to the smaller lessor known state schools”

        “Lessor known”? I bet you mean “lesser-known.”

      • Roby permalink
        May 24, 2016 6:07 pm

        “Getting the government out of the student loan business would probably set higher education back 30 years. Which would be a good thing.”

        You want to know that really impacted the cost of Higher Ed? Rich donors having buildings built. THose buildings need to be maintained and heated. Princeton University pays more for maintenance of its buildings than many large universities pay for everything.

        This I have from my dad, an expert on the subject as he was the Commissioner of Higher Ed for a large Midwestern State.

        You can’t go back 30 years unless you are suggesting that the universities sell off much of their physical plant and work with much less space. That stuff has been built and costs big money to run and maintain.

        As well, the US system was designed for the Baby Boom demographics. If there are fewer students, more money needs to come from each.

        My oldest child graduated from a fancy private University in NJ. She is back now getting a 2 year degree in radiography, which will lead her to a much more secure career than her very expensive 4 year degree. Apparently philosophy is a preferred major for law school admissions and she thought she want to go to law school. She now hates philosophy worse than anything. She was the captain of her fencing team and a great fencer in a very competitive program, that was the plus side. But an expensive plus side.

  117. May 22, 2016 6:27 pm

    So, now we have a moderator?

  118. May 23, 2016 10:25 am

    A little math. Project federal revenues for 2015 were about 3T. Based on the data above, total Federal commitments/debt are about 77T. So, the total revenue to debt levels were about 25.6 to 1.

    Using this ratio. this means that if you had a family income of $100K per year, you would have about 2.56M in debt.

    Feel better now, do we? I don’t.

    This is why when progressives pine for more government programs, it makes me want to vomit.

    I wonder if Sue is still watching?

      • May 24, 2016 8:51 am

        As always, you make no sense. I thought you promised to leave us in peace? You lied.

      • May 24, 2016 9:15 am

        Apparently, if your right wing buddies don’t tell you how to think, you cannot come to conclusions on your own.

        I might have to re-think leaving you alone. You will indoctrinate these folks with righty sources (omg, that Federalist site sure knows how to spin…and omit major relevant facts) instead of creating a balance between what Big Bizness wants and what the working people need.

        As long as you cannot see how the majority of working class people in this counrty have been screwed (they do not include college professors) then so much for intelligent thought coming from you.

      • May 24, 2016 11:07 am

        Go back to the facts, The data on federal indebtedness and unfunded liabilities is public record. Are you refuting my math or the facts? If so, provide data that refutes the debt levels of the Federal government.

        And do try to stick to the subject. The item you posted had no relevance to the post you replied to.

        Lastly, if you are going to stick around, you can stop the political attacks. Stick to facts and reliable sources and be specific. The cost of cell phones relate to the federal debt in what way, exactly?

      • May 24, 2016 11:31 am

        Sorry dude, I have to work for a living, unlike you apparently. I can’t be on here all day. Yep, you are the expert in personal attacks and not sticking to facts. You don’t even post from sites that use facts. Just more right wing jibberish to confuse working people because you think we are all uneducated hillbillys.

      • Roby permalink
        May 24, 2016 11:22 am

        College professors have not been screwed? Thats news to the large and growing legion of part-time benefit-less poorly paid adjunct professors. Clueless class warfare blather. Not helpful.

      • May 24, 2016 11:30 am

        She can’t even make the tiniest distinction, which is the sign of a weak and/or mind. The fact is, the variation seen within the ranks of “college professors” is massive.

        I don’t bother to respond to people who purport to know what my life is like. You see, its mine and I don’t blame anyone else for what’s in it.

      • May 24, 2016 12:06 pm

        Not that Susan is going to respond to this comment since she is infatuated with JB and only JB, but this is for the rest of us that might like to chime in. She is commenting about a company that is run by some of the most liberal individuals in the country and they are doing to same thing all the liberals are complaining about. Shipping jobs overseas where wages are low, building cash reserves in foreign countries to shelter the income from USA taxes and selling products at a premium price to people that can’t afford them without a credit card.

        Does anyone (INCLUDING SUSAN) see the hypocrisy here? Let a conservative businessman do the same and his name and likeness is plastered all over the liberal news but let Steve Jobs and Tim Cook do the same and they are American icons in business.

      • May 24, 2016 1:54 pm

        Yes, as far as I know, many (most companies) will build a product wherever the least cost is located. The difference as you have correctly pointed out, is that most capitalists are fine about that and understand that if they don’t find the lowest net cost of production, their competitors will.

        The other guys you mentioned are indeed, being hypocritical, but there is no shortage of that these days.

        As Milton Friedman famously told Phil Donahue:

        “Of course, none of us are greedy: it’s the other guy!

  119. May 23, 2016 11:18 pm

    TNM is alright. In fact it’s getting so “all right” that it’s going in circles, get it? Move over you Republi-terians, Conservatives, and other mixed righties. Make room for a political hybrid freak, a Moderately Progressive Republi-tarian Democrat! (Don’t worry; I don’t need a special restroom.)

    All here at TNM, regardless of our “default political setting,” can likely agree with Ron that government activities could be more efficient, with less duplication and improved outcomes. Yep.

    We could also all probably agree that the inefficiencies of government activities are largely due to the absence of “natural market incentives” present in the private sector (that is, as we all know, government agencies get funded again even after poor performance, which is NOT the case for very long in the private sector where it is PERFORM OR DIE…unless of course there’s a monopoly and a strong demand, but that is another discussion…).

    And we’d probably all agree that government often performs poorly because of various forms of corruption. (Here’s one I witnessed: the regional HUD Director casually admits lending his brother all the tools (probably for brother’s unlicensed contracting business) so the scheduled HUD project is delayed for days because there are no tools. Small example perhaps, but we can multiply that kind of crap at all different levels.

    So, believe me, I understand the shortcomings of government activities, agencies, programs.

    And yet, the gross mistake that so many conservatives and other staunch righties make, represented strongly here at TNM by our very own “Gran Torino Republi-tarian,” (picture old Clint Eastwood in the “Gran Torino” movie, grumbling and grunting “grr…the left want more government programs…grr”) ug …the mistake is to get bifurcated: private sector and personal responsibility and hard work on the right, and wasteful government “handouts” and non-deserving boobs and bleeding heart liberal fools on the left. Ug. It’s political prejudice in classical stubborn form.

    JB you said yourself above: “You can(t) educate anyone who is committed to their present state of knowledge or ignorance.”

    But then you did say: “Indeed, as long as you are breathing, there is hope that one can learn”

    Let’s see if I can work a pry bar in there and open up a space between government folly on the left and bootstrap Conservatism on the right. I’ll use data. I just can’t stand to see TNM going around in circles!

    • May 24, 2016 12:28 am

      Pat, lets hear it for government spending and give us documentation while at the same time addressing this comment I made earlier.

      “What I find so interesting is many very liberal individuals like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates believe in government and its ability to provide services to the poor and needy until it comes to their money when they die. That is not left in their estate to get taxed as inheritance, it goes into trust to provide services to their interested causes. If government is so good in their minds, why not let the government tax their estate and spend the money?”

      I accept the fact the there are things the government needs to do. But when people use the example of roads, bridges and other infrastructure, the government does not “do” those things. The government collects money and then awards contracts to the private sector to construct those things. Could the money be provided more efficiently. Probably. But compare that to the VA health system and the continual problems that system has and they are unable to fix even a portion of the problems. They are a government agency trying to provide a service and due to government red tape, inefficiencies can not be addressed.

      But the biggest snafu the government ever came up with and is now the largest or close to the largest expenditure the government will ever have is Social Security and Medicare. “Hey Joe Smo, give us your money, have your employer give us the same amount and we will take that money and be a good custodian of those funds and invest it for you so it will grow over time and you will have a nice nest egg for retirement”…… And then….And then…And then along came the long arm of government spending and they used those funds and put IOU’s in the coffer. And if they paid interest on any of those funds, they paid a small percentage one could get on most any investment over a long period of time. Right now it is less than 2% if that, much less than 4-5% one can get in a well balance investment portfolio. And now my kids are paying for my retirement because my money was spent on some government program.

      Defense, homeland security, FDA, commerce monopoly laws are examples of governmental programs needed. Problem is there are too many that are not needed.

      • May 24, 2016 7:45 am

        The great irony is that Bernie Madoff is in jail for replicating the SS system, albeit on a smaller scale. Perhaps we should convict FDR and LBJ for creating the mess that these systems are.

        All in favor?

  120. Pat Riot permalink
    May 23, 2016 11:44 pm

    First of all, jbastiat, I don’t know you personally, and I’m not attacking you personally. It sounds like you worked your way up in life, and in most people’s books, including mine, that makes you a good American. But I am going to attack your position which is “curmudgeon righty” (Hey you liberal rabble, get offa my lawn!)

    • May 24, 2016 7:43 am

      Actually, anyone on my lawn is not welcome, unless they are invited. Politics aside, I like my space.

  121. May 24, 2016 7:56 am

    On why you can never really trust Joe Stiglitz, Nobel prize or no. Hey, they gave on to Krugman!

    https://mises.org/blog/clinton-adviser-nobel-prize-winning-economist-endorsed-venezuelan-socialism-0

  122. May 24, 2016 8:19 am

    Remember this officer, who had all been tried and convicted by the powers that be?

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/23/baltimore-officer-found-not-guilty-on-all-charges-in-freddie-gray-case.html?intcmp=hpbt4

  123. Roby permalink
    May 24, 2016 11:16 am

    Hmm Pat, one the one hand you are singing my song, the conservative/libertarian tilt here has often frustrated me to the point of screaming, becoming enraged, or leaving. On the other hand if you read any of my conversation with Ron above we have agreed that on the question of fiscal ideology Ron and I are both more or less equally moderately conservative and moderately liberal. On social issues Ron is more liberal than I am! Priscilla is reliably conservative in a moderate way, but you two get along like gangbusters (and me with both of you. So that leaves JB who is quite conservative regarding both economics and social issues, and apparently Susan who seems quite progressive. And You! You are the damnedest combination of different political philosophies I have ever encountered! The result is in the end unique, but you are here these days as a libertarian populist moderate supporting Bernie as far as I can understand you. Then there is Rick of course, who seems to me socially conservative but economically liberal and I have detected strains of libertarian.

    The problem is that the conservative forces are arguing their case more effectively here. I am not an effective liberal warrier, I am liberal in my longings but not much believing in the standard liberal prescriptions, other than wanting giant CETA like training programs for the economically marginalized. Which I have managed to have good conversations about with our conservatives and they don’t seem wildly opposed to the idea of the government training people at the margins to be employable. So, one little victory for my liberal side. Susan sees the pain of the poor and working class but offers no answers and is like a neutrino, she does not interact, apparently too proud or just knows that she is completely out of her element when economic mechanisms are discussed. She may be the counterweight to JB but she is not 1/100th as effective about talking about economic mechanisms. So, she is losing badly and its her own fault in her battle with JB. She is not carrying the liberal flag well, I have little sympathy for her. I want to hear from someone who can do that well.

    So ironically its up to you, Pat, who is, among other very diverse characteristics, a Goldwater-influenced Hillary-adverse 2nd-amendment-protective libertarian, to carry the liberal flag and shift the balance. You made one very reasonable post about actual mechanisms several weeks back, to improve things. That is were the real discussion should be, actual specific mechanisms to improve the lot of the poor and the working class, otherwise its all hot air and emotion and nothing concrete. Handwaving.

    So, Pat, outline the programs that you believe will help the un- and underemployed and then we will have something concrete to talk about. A $15 minimum wage? Free college for all? Something else? JB will more than likely oppose your proposals, Susan will probably endorse them, that leaves you trying to convince the relative moderates, Ron, myself, Priscilla. Its the national conversation in microcosm, a split around the diehard right, the diehard left, and a more open-minded group in the middle who will decide the election, like usual.

    • May 24, 2016 11:28 am

      I am sorry that you see it as an “argument” in the sense that I want to “win.” If we continue on the path we are on, there are NO winners. Take a look at the trajectory of the US since the end of WW 2.

      Are you pleased with what you see?

      If one looks at the economic and social data with a cold eye, it is hard to make an argument for more federal government spending and intrusion. If you see a place where the Feds have been successful, by all means, please point it out and we can chat about it.

      Now, keep in mind that success must be balanced between cost and benefits. Any moron can add benefits if they ignore costs. The problem is that normal mortals run out of money pretty quickly with that approach.

      The Feds of course, simply borrow and print their own. With a deal like that, I could pass out freebies all day long.

      PS-How do you reconcile a POTUS that seems to think he can mandate bathroom policy in every public school in the US.

      Do you think Jefferson has that in mind?

      • Roby permalink
        May 24, 2016 11:40 am

        “Take a look at the trajectory of the US since the end of WW 2.
        Are you pleased with what you see?”

        I can understand what I see in the framework of history and economics. I see a nation, my country, that had the greatest prosperity the world has ever known in the 50s and 60s, a nation that due to the effects of WWII on its competitors had nearly escaped many of the laws of exports/imports/currency value, returning slowly to earth as the effects of WWII fade and as international trade became easier and easier due to advances in technology. I see the forces of technology (specifically the internet) having ruined our culture, and not just American, but nearly everywhere. The culture wars between the left and right have contributed mightily as well. But I don’t see the government as a main actor in my dislike of our present cultural and economic situation. I see much larger and utterly impersonal forces behind nearly all that I dislike. My philosophical life would be a lot simpler if I could just blame a relatively personal evil or incompetent actor the government, the right, the left, the Koch brothers, PC on campus. THose are all just relatively small forces being carried along by the much greater tides of history IMO.

      • May 24, 2016 12:11 pm

        We disagree. Changes in technology (including medical technology) have largely been very positive for the economic well being of most of the US. If you need data and evidence, I would be happy to provide.

        That said, government keeps encroaching on the very system that allows that innovation work and technology to flourish. Do you think the VA and the Post Office are bastions of innovation at work?

        The military? Ah, that innovation is purchased from the private sector.

        Where ever the Feds travel, mediocrity follows, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.

  124. May 24, 2016 11:36 am

    You know, if working people were well paid, there would be less need for government assistance programs. Programs are created for a need, not vice versa. But I guess you will tell me that’s not true either!!

    To show you how conservatives create problems where there are none – this county school board created rules…when there are NO transgender people in the schools…https://www.yahoo.com/news/va-school-board-votes-to-require-students-use-bathrooms-matching-their-biological-gender-230620366.html

    • Roby permalink
      May 24, 2016 11:43 am

      Not that you will reply Susan, but how do you propose that working people will be better paid? What is your specific program? Or do we just elect Bernie who will then get a bill passed that proclaims that working people will be better paid?

      • May 24, 2016 12:07 pm

        Susan has yet to provide one specific on this score. I don’t think she knows.

    • May 24, 2016 12:06 pm

      There is no telling you anything. You have yet to define “working people” and what constitutes being paid well.

      Unless you define your terms, there is no way to understand what you mean and what you want.

      Who will pay working people well and how will they be compelled to do so?

      Try answering a question for a change.

  125. May 24, 2016 12:16 pm

    I am working today (on lunch now) so I will hopefully be able to hone the points of my persuasive argument this evening, and post. So you righties have a few more hours to stay in your insulated towers before you come downstairs to the ground and move a few gradations to the left! 🙂

    • Roby permalink
      May 24, 2016 12:27 pm

      “You righties?” Am not.

      Start from realizing that its not such an easily pigeon holed group. You of all people.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        May 24, 2016 12:35 pm

        I wasn’t counting you in the righties, Roby. You are sort of moderate liberal / moderate conservative hybrid. And for the righties please note the smiley face!

      • May 24, 2016 12:42 pm

        There are no emoticons in this blog. Sorry, your smiley face is not evident on my screen.

    • May 24, 2016 12:39 pm

      For the record, I am more a libertarian by inclination. My support of limited government is well grounded in their track record than by ideology.

      • May 24, 2016 1:04 pm

        JB, I also consider myself more Libertarian than Republican, but we have had some serious disagreements on social issues. We do agree mostly on fiscal issues, but like everyone there are a few differences here also but nothing that could not be worked out if we were in positions that we could make those decisions. But on social issues, where do you stand on:
        1. Gay marriage
        2. Abortion
        3. Prostitution
        4. Legalization of marijuana
        5. War on drugs

        I know some of the discussions we have had in the past and some of those really did not fit into the Libertarian sphere, while it seemed like they were more along the lines of conservative thinking.

        Wow…we could go on for weeks on this question/comment.

      • May 24, 2016 3:08 pm

        1. Gay marriage

        Opposed, but I can live it.

        2. Abortion

        Opposed, murder in most forms past say the first month. Birth control is very effective, use it.

        3. Prostitution

        Opposed, as this has actually not worked in practice. Denmark just changed back after an experiment with legalizing. Now the jail the customers, not the prostitutes. That appears to be working more effectively.

        4. Legalization of marijuana

        Opposed. Social costs are potentially staggering and long term use of MJ basically fries the brain. Who wants to pay for those losers after they lose what little brain power they had is gone?

        5. War on drugs

        Too vague, you would have to more specific.

      • May 24, 2016 3:29 pm

        And here in lies the difference between a Libertarian and a conservative and why many would identify you as a conservative and not Libertarian.
        1. Gay Marriage..Opposed but you can live with it..That is the Libertarian position somewhat if your opposition is for yourself only and not for others.
        2. Abortion.Opposed, murder in most forms past say the first month. Birth control is very effective, use it…This is not Libertarian. Libertarians accept that one individual may believe life begins at conception, while other believe it starts at some other stage of development. They may not personally support that position for themselves or family, but they do not believe in imposing their belief on others. In most cases, Libertarians accept viability as the point where abortions should not take place.
        3. Prostitution..Opposed..Again not Libertarian position. What crime is taking place? Who decided it was a crime? What is the difference between a one night hook-up given for free and one where the woman makes some money off it?
        4.Legalization of Marijuana. Opposed. Social costs are potentially staggering and long term use of MJ basically fries the brain. Who wants to pay for those losers after they lose what little brain power they had is gone? Again not Libertarian, Ones personal belief is being imposed on others.
        5.War on drugs..Too vague, you would have to more specific. Now we are getting somewhere.

        OK so 1.5 out of 5 are Libertarian positions and that is why those that read your comments might not find you libertarian compared to a conservative. And that is why so many might find me to be some weird mixed up senile old fart in need of a mental institute to determine mental capacity since I support all of the social positions of the Libertarian party. Where I do not support heir positions is in the foreign affairs arena and their more isolationist positions.

      • May 24, 2016 5:55 pm

        I actually don’t care what others label my views. My views are my views. I find some libertarians to be on the short side of crazy and others quite reasonable. The same goes for conservatives that I know.

        On the abortion issue: You can dance around that anyway you want. When you look at the physical evidence (ultrasounds, MRI, etc.) it is clear to me that this is a life, not a “choice” or a point of view.

        Only humans can rationalize a society that promotes abortion (through all manner of ways) and one that tries its best to save any premature baby that is born.

        Sorry, taking a life is not the prerogative of a woman no matter what the abortion lobby says.

        Such is life. Sorry, I don’t fit in a box and I bet you don’t either.

  126. Pat Riot permalink
    May 24, 2016 12:33 pm

    I know you folks here like your data. Some of the data we can all reference together are the pie-charts of the 2016 budget and former budgets, both Discretionary Spending and Mandatory Spending, so we can see, relatively quantitatively, how much money is actually being thrown down the drain for Safety Net Programs vs. other expenditures. O

    One of the most common curmudgeon righty knee-jerks is to characterize “government spending” as “programs,” particularly programs aimed at the lazy and undeserving, which to the righty curmudgeons (and the higher level righty Grinches who want all those young people in Who-ville to sit down and be quiet) either shouldn’t exist at all or are dismally ineffective. This is a slight mental block that creates a snafu for productive communication. How much of the spending pie actually goes to undeserving lazy schmucks vs. corporate welfare, military spending, funds that citizens have paid into, et cetera. Are all programs failures? What is the estimated ROI of successful programs? What other government expenditures are not “programs”?

    • May 24, 2016 12:41 pm

      Why don’t you cut out the cutting and snide remarks about our being right wing and state you case. What government programs do you consider a success and why do you make such a claim?

  127. May 24, 2016 1:27 pm

    Any people who are not curmudgeons or Grinches need not be offended. The smiley face shows up on my TNM screen when I post. From here on out, assume a smiley face. It’s more entertaining to be clever and a little sarcastic, as long as I don’t go ad hominem and personal.

    Let’s take a quick look at some of the posts from above:

    “Good riddance. Reading and comprehension are clearly not your strong suite.” (Now that was kind of nasty.)

    “I am glad that you gave up teaching, The level of critical thinking you exhibit here certainly suggests that you did your students a favor. Moreover, your intellectual laziness is on display with literally every post you make.” (Now that’s just kind of insulting, and a bit condescending as well.)

    You wont’ have such an easy time with me. If your comments suggest you are getting hot under the collar, I’ll interpret that as you being worried about answering real challenges to your thinking. I’ll interpret that as you being on the run.

    I hope you can handle it. We may get some where. Again, it’s your viewpoint that I don’t like. Don’t take it personally.

    I’m not retired yet, so I’ll have to resume ASAP.

    • May 24, 2016 3:32 pm

      “I hope you can handle it. We may get some where. Again, it’s your viewpoint that I don’t like. Don’t take it personally.”

      Yeah, I think I can handle you. I doubt I will break a sweat.

      As for Susan, I stand by every remark I made. I think she demonstrated without a doubt that she is an empty tank. Let us not pussy foot around, shall we? I am all for being nice, but being nice to some is MUCH harder than others.

  128. Roby permalink
    May 24, 2016 2:02 pm

    Its called discretionary social spending in the budget. Years ago I looked up all those programs and found what they cost and it was not a large fraction of the federal budget.

    Well, there are real lazy people in the world, (not all of whom are poor), but I am not willing to get rid of, say, food stamps to get even with them when there are people (retired, and military families are large food stamp users for example) who need them and are not lazy, just at present not having even the basic money to live and eat. I am definitely most of all for forms of aid that make one work for them. If the past conversations here are any clue, I can get Ron on board with that caveat and even JB. People don’t want to work hard so that other people can be lazy.

    Susan has actually been insulting as well, its a classic right and a lefty trading their typical online barbs. JB wags more and barks less than he did previously, he does have a Donald Duck temper (so do I) but he has been trying to keep it more under control. He also said something about Susan living in a trailer that was not helpful, but I can make a list of her snide stuff too. Bottom line, Susan is not looking for a conversation she is looking for a conservative who she can unload her opinion that all would be well with the world if it weren’t for conservatives. Not very useful stuff. I have said my last ever word about Susan, I don’t exist for her and she does not exist for me. As far as I’m concerned, she is not here.

    Liberal and conservative philosophies have been around for a long time and are not about to disappear. That is because both philosophies have some grain of truth to them. I’m most interested to having a conversation with people who can recognize that and find a middle ground.

    • May 24, 2016 2:19 pm

      I have never indicated that I am against all social benefit programs. Each on them on their own can appear to be justified and in some cases, they are. The issue is that we can find precious little evidence that they themselves not only don’t solve the root cause, but rather exacerbate the situation.

      One can make a strong argument that the family structure in the US has been weakened significantly by the development of the so-called Great Society. Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, and Walter Williams have all written extensively about the destruction of the black family structure in the US and lay the blame directly at the feet of the GS.

      So, one can feel one way about the GOALS of a particular program and another about the actual outcomes. It is hard to defend the outcomes of the GS and its offshoots.

      We as a nation are socially much weaker than we were in the 1950s and as the reliance on the family was reduced, the reliance on government has become stronger.

      Not a good direction by any means.

    • May 24, 2016 3:10 pm

      ” I am definitely most of all for forms of aid that make one work for them. If the past conversations here are any clue, I can get Ron on board with that caveat”

      Roby..yes you can. And those that need help and can’t work will also get my support. I will even go so far as to say we could eliminate the food stamp program and the savings would do little to help with the deficit except to make life harder for those that need help. What pisses me off about government is programs like the VA (I keep harping on this) that spend millions and they are not delivering a small percentage of the cost to the vets that they could be providing. When you have the former CEO of Proctor and Gamble take over the VA and say wait times is like waiting in line at Disneyland, one can see that fixing the problems does not lie with upper management since they have no clue. We keep spending money and nothing gets done. We keep putting the good ol’ boys into positions they are unqualified for and nothing happens. The Peter Principle is alive and prospering in government.

      So, once again I say I will support any government program once the government goes on a zero based outcome based budget system. This crap that we now have where we spend $10.00, I asked for $10.70 due to inflation and other cost increases I say are happening and congress gives me $10.50, which is then called a 2% cut and not a 5% increase is BS. But the liberals love that system and the conservatives will not do anything to fix the problem. And when I say liberals, I mean mostly the ones elected and those that just regurgitate their propaganda.

      • May 24, 2016 6:03 pm

        The feds are by any and all measures, broke. They can only sustain themselves by:

        1-Having the Federal Reserve buy US Bonds.

        2-Having other nations who are also broke, buy US Bonds. This is the musical chairs that is world governments in action.

        3-Keeping most liabilities “off the books” as they are not funded as they would be if the Federal Government were held to the same standard as a normal country.

        Given all that, I don’t see any real chance for “reform” as to do that, the folks in charge would have to admit the ugly truth.

        Don’t blame me, I didn’t do it!

        BTW-My father died in a VA Hospital. As I recall, the place was quite the dump. My colleague who treats patients at the VA (and is a Vet himself) tells me nothing has changed.

  129. Roby permalink
    May 24, 2016 2:05 pm

    I’ve posted this before but its always on target:

  130. May 24, 2016 6:59 pm

    I hadn’t seen this antique classic cartoon before! It’s a good one and, yes, right on target. That is, if only JB would open the closed windows of his…haha, just kidding.

    I’ll try to tone it down a bit, but I agree with you JB regarding “let’s not pussy-foot around…” I’d rather be a little hard-edged if it helps us get somewhere than go nowhere in overly courteous, wimpy circles. Though of course being insulting won’t help. We may have an opportunity here. We have an interesting range of communicative people here in this virtual conference room. I think Roby is correct that we have a sort of microcosm of what is going on out there in our country. It is certainly possible that we could synthesize something fresh and usable. In fiction the characters are brought out / developed / revealed through foils /opponents. We have some varied and opposing viewpoints here.

    Do rational lefties really think there is nothing vital, important, and true about conservative principles? Do rational righties really think there is nothing true, important, and vital about progressive changes? This left vs. right misunderstanding / disagreement / impasse is a crucial dilemma facing the United States and threatening its future.

    In an old Monty Python skit a brontosaurus is described as “thin at one end, fat in the middle, and thin at the other end.” Conservatives may say the Brontosaurus is fat, and Liberals may say it is thin, and both would be correct. The point is that some truths are occurring at the same time, depending on the context and the factors involved.

    JB, I hope you will be open to hearing some perspectives you may not have heard before, or not in quite the same way. I’m proposing that you be at least open to the possibility that some of your tenets are based on relative truths / assumptions. I’ll be honest that I object to you lately dominating TNM because I do not see you as Moderate. Your Libertarian viewpoints come across to me as somewhat closed-minded and arrogant. There, I’m being edgy and not pussy-footing around. That motivates me to re-think some things. I hope you prompt me to re-think some things.

    I want to review what Ron and Roby mentioned above as being part of the crux of the matter, and see how I might incorporate that / overlay that with how I was going to proceed.

    In order to avoid wasting time, we should dispense with things we already agree upon. We can chop off the extremes of both sides of this discussion so that we can concentrate on the nitty-gritty. That could make this effort more feasible. For instance, I will immediately offer for amputation the fact that many young Bernie supporters are shallow kids who hear they might be getting some free stuff. Sure, they exist in droves unfortunately. But their existence doesn’t nullify the truths on the left. Their existence, however annoying, doesn’t collapse all the points of the progressive argument.

    Let’s whittle away some of the extremes and some of the things we can agree upon, then we can debate the nitty-gritty.

    • May 24, 2016 7:06 pm

      I will plead guilty to being arrogant and closed-minded, at times.

      Such is life.

  131. May 24, 2016 11:46 pm

    Pat left the following comment concerning government spending and programs earlier.
    “Are all programs failures? What is the estimated ROI of successful programs? What other government expenditures are not “programs”?”

    I have also said I support programs that help people that are in need. And I have said the Peter Principle is alive and doing well in government employment in Washington D.C.. I have to amend my comment to include New York along with D.C. after watching this program on PBS. (Yes I do watch that liberal station!)
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/business-of-disaster/

    This is the type of crap that goes on day in and day out in our government that could make a difference in peoples lives if the money was spent wisely. I hope you have the time to watch this program (54 minutes long). If you do not there were two significant things I took from this program. One was the incompetence of our government agency (FEMA) that had no idea how much profit the insurance companies make off administering their flood relief program ($326 million in a good year 30% profit margin) ($400 million in a disaster year like Sandy, over 30% profit margin). The other was the incompetence in local government that required the home owner remodel a severely damaged home after 2 years of fighting so it met local building codes before they could lift the house and put it on stilts like so many new beach homes. The problem with doing that is all the remodeling was going to be torn out so they could get to the supports to lift the house.

    And I will not say what i think about the lawyers they discuss in the article.

    Just think how many people could be helped in education, housing, nutrition etc with that 1Billion over three years (more but I lost count over a longer period)

    So Pat, not all programs are failures, just too many of them are. Looks like a successful ROI is around 30% for the companies participating in some programs. If they are not programs, then they could be “Systems” (VA Health) or administations (TSA), Both of these are also very successful (really?)……

    • Pat Riot permalink
      May 25, 2016 12:38 am

      Ron, the examples of ineptitude, bureaucratic red tape, and failures can be demoralizing and disgusting. But this is what sells for news and investigative reporting. All the regular, successful programs graduating 8, 15, and 18 students is boring, a non-story.

      The Community Colleges are government subsidized to varying degrees and typically do an excellent job at customized training for companies in their local regions. I know. I used to monitor/audit the programs. I collected data from program participants, program administrators, the employers who needed the workers.

      Here’s an insider insight that pokes a minor hole in the private sector’s abilities and provides support for government activity: Ask any seasoned “Workforce Development Professional” what regional employers will say they need for employees. It happens time and time again. The employers say “just give us good people that will show up on time…” Wrong. They need people with certain math abilities, certain physical abilities, certain prerequisites. The employers may be decent at producing whatever widgets they make, but they are typically quite poor at understanding or communicating what they need in their workforce. (Fortune 500 companies have a much better understanding of their actual internal needs, sometimes.)Anyway, that is the “demand” side of things. The employers create the workforce demand.

      Now on the “supply side”. Ask most job seekers what kind of job they are looking for, and they will say, “I just need a job right now.” Wrong. They need a job that’s appropriate or they’ll end up quitting after they receive their first paycheck. They don’t know. It’s sad.

      You see, there’s a very real DISCONNECT between employers and job seekers. Companies say they can’t find people. Job seekers say they can’t find jobs. How come the Private Sector doesn’t bridge this disconnect? Why doesn’t the free market naturally fix this situation? Because, in many ways, the people at the entities comprising the “free market” don’t know how. Because it’s not profitable. Both the demand side and the supply side are too unreliable for it to be profitable. (Headhunters work for executives–that’s different.)

      Some problems don’t work themselves out based on profit incentives.

      For most of the job market, government is needed to step in. This is because government operates not for profit but for fuzzy principles such as the common good and a future for our children. It fills in the gaps. When there are gaps in society, whether from a Tornado, Flood, or a very real Disconnects that Free Markets are not fixing (the private sector often is too busy doing what it is already doing to get involved.) So smart people get together and decide where to remedy the situation using the pooled-together money (taxes). This is government. We can equal the next 16 nations in Defense Spending, or we can do some other things.

      Now if we are going to point to the mistakes and failures, if we are going to point to people with little or no integrity in government who botch things, and then use that as a rationale to decide that we shouldn’t have government activities much at all…

      • Pat Riot permalink
        May 25, 2016 12:49 am

        phrase I wrote reads incorrectly: Instead of “For most of the job market…” I meant to communicate about typical entry level jobs for industries experiencing a disconnect with job seekers. To the contrary of my original lousy wording, most of the job market DOES NOT need govt intervention.

      • May 25, 2016 7:58 am

        “Now if we are going to point to the mistakes and failures, if we are going to point to people with little or no integrity in government who botch things, and then use that as a rationale to decide that we shouldn’t have government activities much at all.”

        You have made my point for me. Thanks, Pat!

      • May 25, 2016 11:51 am

        Pat, As I have said earlier, I agree there are things that the government should be doing. In your example the partnership with the government and community colleges providing a service to produce qualified employees for business is one of them. The government has the mechanism to raise funds, the college has the expertise to train the students. Can you image if the government took those same funds and spent them on their own people to train students. We would have stupid producing stupid and just more TSA’s and VA Health Care system’s in the college ranks.

        You state “. So smart people get together and decide where to remedy the situation using the pooled-together money (taxes). This is government.”….. And that is where government is failing. Is it smart people that take a 4 billion dollar program, allocate the funds to insurance companies and then have little idea where the money goes or how much money the insurance companies are taking for profit? Would you give someone $10,000 to help a needy family member or neighbor with healthcare bills, living expenses or other needs and not monitor how those funds were spent to insure they were used for what you intended?

        I am tired of complaining about government spending and wasting money. Conservatives just say cut spending and then have to live with the ramifications where across the board cuts have devastating impacts on some needy programs or people. (ie, Military manpower and deployments, cannibalizing equipment since parts are not available to keep weapons working). Liberals just say spend more on programs, establish new programs to help people and raise taxes on the rich. No one is looking at where the problems exist. The government has more than enough money to support the needs of everyone if they fixed the real problem. And that is incompetence in the monitoring of expenditures and knowing where every dollar is going.

      • May 25, 2016 12:10 pm

        The current projected deficit for this fiscal year is $400B. What shall we cut?

        It is not an easy decision, so it will not get made.

      • May 25, 2016 1:24 pm

        Well since if the rate of growth in a program is reduced and they still get an increase, those running for reelection are not going to support that cut. (Did you know if you asked for a 5% raise or thought you were going to get a 5% raise and you only got 3% that your wages were cut?)

        As the old gross saying goes when applied to incompetence, Government “could screwed up a wet dream”. Index entitlements and they would be controlled. Social security based on the original lifespan and begin date would be somewhere close to 70 or more. Medicare the same. Since I have been out of healthcare for 8 years, this may have changed, but since I have heard nothing on the news about Medicare cuts, I doubt it. Did you know that the original Medicare legislation made it illegal for a medical provider to bill a billionaire or millionaire senior citizen for their services even if the person wanted to pay their bill. Seniors at any level of income could not opt out of medicare Part A. How about means testing medicare?

        Gezzz..Common sense could sole many problems.

      • May 25, 2016 1:57 pm

        Medicare was doomed from the start and that was obvious from about year 2 of the program. Happily, the Feds went along their merry way.

        Nothing has changed, witness the ACA.

  132. May 24, 2016 11:58 pm

    Many reasonable points were made in the above 30 – 40 posts. I agree with much of it. There is definite overlap and common ground despite our differences here.

    Ron, you’d like to see some documented support for government spending, and also for me to address why mega-billionaires use specific trusts for their causes rather than channeling their fortunes to the government to administer to the poor (etc.)

    Roby, you’d like to explore specific, concrete mechanisms to improve things for the poor and working class.

    Priscilla, I think I don’t “engage” with you as frequently because your posts are not abrasive to me. While your views tend to be conservative, it seems to me that you analyze each situation as it comes, with a sense of fairness, and practicality, encumbered by “dogma” for lack of a better work right now. I usually find myself nodding with your reasonableness.

    JB, as I’ve said before on other TNM threads with you, I’m in alignment with many of your viewpoints. But then I only agree with them to an extent. What I realize I take exception to are across-the-board “absolute principles” applied in blanket manner. I see most (not all) principles and philosophies as being context-dependent. This is why I may seem all over the place. This is why I can maintain that Libertarians, Ayn Rand devotees, and trickle-down Reagan Conservatives are correct about how productivity occurs, and the consequential societal benefits of the productivity, but more so with some industries than others, more so within some cultures than others. I see the holes. I see where it doesn’t work. I see where free markets won’t self-regulate. This is part of why I can be socially liberal, even progressive, when it comes to setting up infrastructure–physical infrastructure and social infrastructure. People and organizations are more effective when the context is conducive, supportive. This is mostly true for everything from a laboratory with good equipment to the layout of towns and cities to what a nation spends its money on to PAVE THE WAY to allow people, organizations, and free markets to flourish.

    It’s two seemingly incongruous ‘philosophies ‘ working side by side to support each other, like my wife and me, haha.

    I had a different tact prepared. Just scratching the proverbial surface. I appreciate the commentary above. Good night.

  133. Pat Riot permalink
    May 25, 2016 12:01 am

    “unencumbered”

  134. May 25, 2016 8:31 am

    “phrase I wrote reads incorrectly: Instead of “For most of the job market…” I meant to communicate about typical entry level jobs for industries experiencing a disconnect with job seekers. To the contrary of my original lousy wording, most of the job market DOES NOT need govt intervention.”

    Why do you assume that government intervention will help correct any issues seen within the job market? Is there compelling evidence that, net/net, a government intervention is cost effective, will work, and will not actually be detrimental?

    The old saying applies: If you break it, you own it and that is the problem. Government virtually never, ever stops a program once it starts it. Regulation is pretty much forever.

  135. May 25, 2016 8:38 am

    The Feds started in earnest in 1965 to “fix” market imperfections in health care insurance. With the passage of Medicaid and Medicare, what followed was an unprecedented explosion in the cost of health care services that has not abated in the past 50 years.

    About every 10 years, the Feds have attempted to “fix” the fix and each time, costs have actually escalated. The ACA is the last “fix” and surprise, costs are still climbing faster than other goods and services (save higher ed).

    That is the problem. Whenever a government program doesn’t solve the problem that it was intended to solve, the answer is always to throw more money at it. Just once, it would be nice to see a program dissolved and a clean sheet approach being used.

    I won’t see that in my lifetime, I wager.

  136. May 25, 2016 10:23 am

    So, i’m going to type down here at the current bottom of the thread, as I have lost track of some of the individual conversations (Rick, we need a new main post!)

    Pat, in many ways, I consider myself a “bleeding heart conservative,” and that’s why I end up saying things like “the government should fix what it broke.” Which sounds good, but then Ron or JB quickly – and correctly- remind me that the government doesn’t really have a track record of fixing anything that it’s broken lately. And, by lately, I mean during the last few generations. And by government, I mean the federal government.

    I’ve been really disappointed in movement conservatives during this election cycle so far. People like the National Review writers and other conservative thought leaders, who have basically turned against Donald Trump, because he is a quasi-liberal populist, and not a “true conservative” Well, DUH-OH! Of course, he is not. And, I get that he will not implement a conservative agenda, and lies a lot (imagine that, a political candidate lying!), but he understands one thing, and it’s what we talk about all the time here on TNM ~ People want leaders who are not from the left or the right, but they also don’t want wishy-washy moderates who stand for nothing.

    Well, Mr. Trump is not on the left or the right. He makes it abundantly clear – to even the most simple minded – what he stands for: a WALL, a reconstituted military, trade laws and restrictions that will benefit the US, a refusal to give an inch to political correctness. He’s said that he really doesn’t have strong opinions – or at least well-formed opinions- on social issues like bathroom laws (whatever!) abortion ( he was for it before he was against it), gay marriage (whatever!) He is not wishy-washy in any way. And he might be full of s**t – I accept that.

    And I don’t like him – I really don’t. On the other hand, I don’t “like” any politician. But I’m going to vote for him, and not because he’s the only option (even though, at this point, I suppose he is), but because he is as close to a moderate as we’re going to get. Pure progressives are going to call him a fascist and a bigot, purist conservatives are going to call him a, umm, fascist and a bigot….and what is all of that, other than purists clinging to their “across-the board” principles (Rick’s Amen Corners) to try and destroy a candidate who refuses to join their camp? He is clearly not a fascist, and the word ‘bigot’ has become meaningless, at least in politics.

    Ugh, I didn’t mean for this comment to turn into a Trump ad (God help me!), but I think I can only understand what Pat says from this perspective. We, as a nation, have reached a certain tipping point, where more of the same is going to get us more of the same (brilliant, I know. you can thank me later). And that is progressive decline. Progressive being the key word there. But, although I see Progressivism as an enemy of our democracy, I don’t really see conservatism or libertarianism, or any other ism as the answer.

    • May 25, 2016 10:45 am

      Sign me up for the wall. Think of the jobs it will create!

    • Roby permalink
      May 25, 2016 12:02 pm

      Priscilla I will go on election day and vote because the state level races matter and I will vote for Republicans for the simple reason that Vermont is a one party state now and has been since moderate GOP Gov Jim Douglas stepped down after 4 two year terms and was replaced by uber progressive Peter Shumlin. Our House and Senate are like 3:1 democrat. I have to admit that in spite of that drastic imbalance we have not entered a serious attempt to recreate Sweden, because even our utterly liberal state government are able to look at numbers provided by real number crunchers and realize that their plans won’t work. But property tax rates are headed nowhere but up, up, up etc. so its still a bad thing to be a one party state so I will vote for the moderate Republican Scott and hope he gets in to restore some semblance of a 2 party system.

      I may not vote for anyone at the Fed level, my vote is irrelevant, the Dem gets Vermonts electoral votes automatically but my hope is that Hillary wins and governs much as Bill did without the horseshit. I have an echo of your feeling, I can’t stand her, but to me she is most likely to be moderate of the choices. I have to admit to some small tingling of a wish to vote for the libertarian based on Ron’s version of Libertarianism, which I can respect thoroughly. Unfortunately Ron may be the best example of a sincere sane libertarian I will ever encounter, many of the rest seem slightly mad.

      Trump elevates brazen lying and dishonesty to a level far beyond even that of the worst regular politicians. I think he would be an utterly incompetent president. He has said he will do a bunch of things that no one can do, in a years time he would be hated most of all by his former supporters and we would be left with a universally hated nut for the remainder of his term who has no idea how to be president. He sounds to me, believe it or not, like a very stupid old woman from NYC who lived in our neighborhood when I was a child. They had moved from new york city to suburban Joisey and spent their leisure time making everyone in the neighborhood hate them doing stupid things like putting broken glass in the woods behind their house to keep kids away. When she was confronted with the stupid bullshit her family pulled she made a sort of a sound that sounded a lot like Trump making a speech. He is an insult to my intelligence, I will never accept him as my president. Being without any lucid direction or compass, moral or otherwise, is not being moderate its just being undefinable. Jimmy Carter was sort of like that at a much more believable level, everyone saw in his ideology what they wanted to see until he got elected.

      • May 25, 2016 12:11 pm

        Of the two, I would say that H Clinton is the much more accomplished liar. If that is your criteria, well, the choice is obvious (at least to me).

      • Roby permalink
        May 25, 2016 12:28 pm

        Well, have yourself a nice Trump Steak, you can eat it at Trump University. Trump’s lies may actually not be accomplished, he is actually so comically bad at it that that he reminds one of Blagojevich or Martin Shkreli. Just pathological. I certainly am not blind to the issues the Clintons have with truth or their arrogance. But as Priscilla articulated in her reluctant support of Trump I don’t have to like my choice. As well, I am not even going to actually vote for her, I just think that she is the lesser evil compared to Trump.

        Its all crystal ball reading and since none of us have a real crystal ball its just guessing, Maybe Bernie or Trump will get elected and be effective, though my imaginary crystal ball loudly screams otherwise. No one knows, all of us will be surprised by the actual future, unfortunately it seems most likely, unpleasantly.

      • May 25, 2016 12:37 pm

        To my knowledge, the Donald did not leave any folks in Benghazi to be gang raped and murdered. He also has not (to my knowledge) violated any laws related to classified and top secret communications.

        Now, we know that H.C will skate on those issues but still, I consider a vote against HC as a win.

        Just my point of view, don’t blow a gasket.

      • Roby permalink
        May 25, 2016 1:16 pm

        If there is a single president or secretary of state who does not have blood on their hands I’d like to know their name. Its the nature of the beast, presiding over the US military involvement in the world. You won’t find me repeating, Bush Lied, People Died, and you won’t find me thinking that Benghazi is some unique case of terrible behavior. Its a tough job to be president or Secretary of State and blood will be on your hands. Come to think of it that goes for cops, surgeons and many others. Benghazi is a political event. The family of the dead ambassador requested that we not do that.

        The E-mail server, typical Clintonian arrogance and playing with boundaries. For my taste it is in the low middle range of bad behavior by a politician.

        My gaskets are holding up.

      • May 25, 2016 1:55 pm

        You have very low standards, You shall get the POTUS you deserve.

  137. Roby permalink
    May 25, 2016 1:04 pm

    So, Pat Riot, the argument (at least the one you have been getting into) has shifted from the point where I and JB can both agree on basic economics to an argument where I agree with you against the idea that government just screws everything up.

    Government, here is a good representative example of government. Police. I’ve met some very fine people who are police officers, I’ve also met some who it is hard to believe are trusted with any power. We can make example after example of cops screwing up with terrible consequences. Does that mean I should take the bad side of the equation and be anti-cop? No. I want cops. Get rid of them and the world would go crazy bad. We don’t like cops when we see them hiding in the bushes at 2 am at an utterly desolate stop sign pulling us over for not coming to an complete stop. I don’t like reading about kids with toy guns being killed by a cop within a second or so after he stepped out of his car. I don’t like this I don’t like that. Tough. We need cops and anyone who can’t imagine what life would be like without them isn’t trying. Its the same in general with government. It pisses us of right and left. Its necessary.

    The transportation department, same deal, endless bridge rebuilds, fat men leaning on shovels, can hardly manage 5 minutes of summer driving without hit another repaving. We need roads, we need safe bridges. The transportation department, like government itself is a necessary annoyance. Its easy to complain that they screw everything up, unfortunately I have no way of proving that without a great deal of what government does things would be worse.

    Having an economic philosophy, libertarian, progressive, whatever, leads to people collecting the examples that support their belief. Very few people of our age group are going to forsake their belief and philosophical habits by dwelling harder on the counter examples. But I am with you Pat, government does positive things, its like your example about the news, the news does not cover non events like high school students doing well, going to college, doing well there, getting jobs, being stable and productive. The news does not cover things that work. I am really philosophically at odds with the idea that government is some mediocre source of badness.

    Like anything, there is a balance, I believe that western democracies have found the range of government that works at this time in history under these conditions. The US lies well within that range. Capitalism has no morality, its a blind force. It is insufficient to leave our social life to a morally blind force. Government, its just all of us imposing some order on our social world. I accept it. Give me my CETA program I will be happy to give Ron his accountability and auditing in return, that is a reasonable argument a reasonable deal.

    I am quite open to believing that government screws things up right and left, I just have no way of showing what the world would be like without its efforts. Its so much easier to find the proof that something went wrong than that something went right. No, I don’t think anyone here, not even JB is flatly opposed to government, or even government programs to help the poor or working class, but yes there are those here with a view of it that gives it no or very credit for the good things it does. I am not going to change their minds. Not worth trying either.

    • May 25, 2016 1:46 pm

      Roby, I am going to interject myself into this conversation because I am like that.

      How about separating Federal, state and local “government” when evaluating government. Maybe there was a reason our constitution was written in such a way that we do not have a national police department like so many other countries.

      Transportation department…Does the government actually build those bridges or do they contract with private companies..And then are those dudes leaning on shovels employed by the private contractors or are the the state and local road department guys. (If private companies, their bosses will take care of that problem where the state government can not)

      So I say we have to be specific when we address issues and can not just make generalities.

    • May 25, 2016 1:54 pm

      I have said countless times, there is clearly a role for government. IMHO, we have moved to a situation where that role is WAY over the line.

      When the DOJ and DOE tells public schools it has to allow trannies to use whatever rest room they want, well, I rest my case. Governments compelling a baker to bake a gay wedding cake also makes the list.

      I could go on but I have said it all before.

      • Roby permalink
        May 25, 2016 3:10 pm

        A. You’ve dragged your personal conservative social views into it. B. Overkill, Some cops did some wretched over the line thing, again. Ergo, cops suck and there are too many of them. Same logic. We are not going to like everything or a lot the things government does. If I perform the thought experiment of removing a whole lot of government regulation then I see in my crystal ball a bigger mess. I can’t prove it. The world is tough, has so many people in it, things have gotten so large, governing is tough and everyone wants to jump on every mistake and say that represents the entire enterprise. Its an overly acidic point of view no matter how badly some government action pisses us off.

        I cannot show what the future would actually look like if some conservatives or libertarians actually got the regulatory environment adn government size that they believe is correct. But, I’m not buying the overly cynical view of regulation or government programs. Complain about specific programs, (which as in the case of the gay wedding cake may just be your own personal subjective point fo view) but don’t use that as evidence that government as a whole equals mediocrity. Government also equals some kind of stability in a very complex world and some kind of attempt to interject some morality and into capitalism. I don’t want to live in the Brazil or any of the countries where the Rich and poor are so far apart in their standards of living. I believe that is what would be likely to happen in the world of minimal government.

        I am not trying to convince anyone else, its my point of view, that is all.

      • May 25, 2016 3:15 pm

        You are entitled to your own point of view, just not your own facts. If you think you can make a case for Federal Govt excellence, by all means do so.

        Good luck, you are going to need it.

      • Roby permalink
        May 25, 2016 3:44 pm

        Putting words in my mouth (government excellence) and you know it. As well, I very clearly separated out my personal and unprovable opinion from fact here. What “fact” do you think I claimed? Believe it or not, while you are using facts and that is a good thing, there is also a good bit of pure opinion in your posts. You are over generalizing about government based on bad examples to justify your broad negative opinion. We have a different opinion about the effectiveness of American government, and I am more than willing to leave it at that.

      • May 25, 2016 3:52 pm

        The thing is, I can back up my negative generalizations with real evidence. That suggests that expanding government is a very bad idea indeed. How many bad examples would you like me to provide? I am hardly out of ammo on that score, the feds make my job quite easy.

        The point isn’t to win or lose. The problem is to deny reality and the fact is, the Federal Government is bad at literally anything it does. The only reason it is still around is that it is a legal monopoly with a printing press and an Army.

        How much debt and unfunded liabilities should they be allowed to run up before we all acknowledge the Emperor has no clothes?

      • May 25, 2016 6:56 pm

        Sorry JB but I have to call you out on this one.This is not expanding government, it is just bringing up regulations to todays living cost. The minimum wage rules have been in place as they are now written since 1966. They are just being updated and not expanded. The OT rules as written have been in effect since the mid 70’s or maybe even before. They are just being updated.

        This is another pet peeve of mine about government. They come out with rules, they base the rules on current economic data and then never index the damn thing so they automatically change with the changes in the economy. Why is it that the IRS wrote a rule for travel reimbursement and each year the mileage rate is updated to reflect the change in operating a car and not one word is heard in congress or the press. There have been years it has even gone down when the price of gas went down. There was one person in government employment smart enough to get this written into a regulation so we are not constantly fighting over the same issues years later.

        Fix the damn problem, index it and move on to the next problem.

      • May 25, 2016 7:14 pm

        Don;t call me out on this. View the Sowell video. There is an entire body of knowledge on this. It once again is Econ 101. Raise the price of something and two things happen. People demand less of it, or they move to a resource that offers more for the same price.

        Failing that, they will substitute one resource for another. In this case, technology looks more attractive because human capital just raised its price, courtesy of the government, which pays no price for the price of being wrong.

      • Roby permalink
        May 25, 2016 4:34 pm

        JB, you are sounding like Dave. You go too far.

        A huge number of complex systems work in this country, imperfectly, because the world is too complex and making gigantic systems, medical, educational, scientific, commercial military, etc, is a ridiculously tough assignment. Nor do I imagine that it is not a fusion of private and public forces that make them work.

        Its easy to paint a bleak one sided picture of anyone or anything. You know perfectly well that anyone who had access to the details of your life or mine could write a pathography that would convince any reader that we should not be trusted with anything. All you have to do is emphasize all the mistakes and not balance them with the successes.

        Bottom line is that government of approximately the dimensions or larger of American government evolved more or less independently in the western world, and I consider the western world to be a great success on balance. Government had a hell of a role in that. Government is not going to succumb it will be here when we are dead and gone and be just as ambitious or more so, so the harshly limited government argument is honestly just so much pissing in the wind. Complain about specifics, work to improve specifics, damning the entire enterprise is flat out a waste of time.

      • May 25, 2016 6:01 pm

        If you want to ignore evidence and data, you are free to do that. You can also give government credit where it deserves none, That is fine with me.

        You speak in generalities. Take a look at the government as it stands today. Tell us what you find that they do really well.

        The DOE, IRS, State, EPA, Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Post Office, DHHS? Congress, the WH?

        We will be waiting for sings of brilliance or even minimal competence.

        So, as I have said before, we do need government (state perhaps more than any kind). We need police, fire, prisons, roads. and as you can see, most of these things function at the local level, where they can be more responsive.

        Actually, I am a BIG FAN of the state of Iowa. They have their act together and manage to balance budgets and keep the trains running with very little fuss or muss.

        That said, I find very little that functions well at the Federal Level. 18T in debt and adding to it by the second.

      • Roby permalink
        May 25, 2016 7:03 pm

        You equally speak in generalities and have not defined “bad.” I am for the most part quite happy with my lot as an American and and glad I live here and not elsewhere. Our form of government has a lot to do with that.

      • May 25, 2016 7:22 pm

        Don’t conflate and don’t assume. The Founding Fathers got it quite right (IMHO) but we are far from the ideal they laid out. Distributed power was the watchword but that boat has long sailed.

        I love America and I worry for her. She is in great distress right now and you know that too. I doubt that more Federal Power is the answer. If you see that as so, so be it.

  138. Anonymous permalink
    May 25, 2016 2:12 pm

    HEY SUUUUUSAAAANNNN….MOOKIE….You there???? Come on, I know your there.

    Read some of your links on income inequality. And guess what, I agree with some of that. SURPRISE.

    Now when CEO’s make 300% of what employees make and it was around 75% in the 60’s, one has to ask if that is “fair”. But then one has to look at the economic environment and dig deep into why that has happened. I don’t have much answer to the problem, but I can guarantee government does not either. How many high paying auto worker jobs are now in mexico because Bill Clinton and most everyone in congress supported NAFTA. And how many tech jobs are in China (Apple for instance) because of bad trade agreements.

    Now for minimum wage. If we pay workers $15.00 an hour, is that really going to close that gap? In my math, it may change it from 300% to 299.999%. Where that would have an impact would be on investment income and retirement accounts since the bottom line of the companies would be reduced. Do you really think Walmart is going to cut their CEO’s pay when $15 becomes a reality?

    OK, I will now say I support a higher minimum wage. But not a nationwide one size fits all. When the government sets the reimbursement rates for Medicare services to doctors and hospitals, they adjust the rate by the wage index in each area. For example, if the services are provided in New York City area, the provider may get 110% of the set rate. In Mississippi, they may get 85% of the set rate. So how about increasing the national base rate to $15.00 over 3-4 years, make it indexed to inflation each year after that and then adjust it geographically so someone in NYC or Chicago would get maybe $17.00 while in Mississippi they would get $13.00. I would also ask if you would support a “student wage” where someone in school could get a part time job at lesser minimum wage so the number of jobs are not cut for that group?

    last, the overtime rule. I support that rule also. Seen the impact of the 23,000. College grads coming out and being hired at 35K for assistance manager jobs or other professional jobs. Then companies work them 55-60 hours a week. (My son did this for Lone Star Steak House) When calculating hourly rate it was somewhere around $12.00 an hour. I also saw this a few years back with auditors. Hire a college grad and work them to death. So now they cut the hours back to 40 and because the job requires 60, they either pay OT or they hire another person. Its one thing for a job to require temporary OT, it is something else when it is permanent built in the job requirements. Business does not like it because they have found ways to classify workers as salaried and then take advantage of them.

    That.s my moderate side!!!!

    • May 25, 2016 2:13 pm

      That was me, Ron under anonymous. WordPress messed up again

      • May 25, 2016 2:19 pm

        If I were you, I would have remained anonymous.

      • May 25, 2016 2:22 pm

        In fact, lets kill the Walton family and take all their money too. Shoot, they didn’t earn it, did they!

    • May 25, 2016 2:19 pm

      Claptrap, pure and simple. Minimum wage, make it $50 an hour. That is a living wage. Hey, why not $100.

      CEO pay too high. Tax it at 100%. Don’t be a piker, go all in.

  139. May 25, 2016 2:21 pm

    Ron, you should just succumb and have the feds regulate all income and all expense. Think about how equal we will all be.

    Then, Sue can make the same income as me. She will be very happy indeed. Hell, just give her my house while you are at it. She can move out of the trailer ……..

    • Roby permalink
      May 25, 2016 3:49 pm

      Jumping in (because that is what we do freely here Ron!) He did not say that, or anything like it. Jeez, what is the name of that most common logical fallacy? I’ve typed out its name so often I don’t even want to hear it another time. Argue with what he is actually saying, not with something many times more extreme that he never implied. (Or perhaps Ron will surprise me and tell me that he did imply that.) Jumping back out, carry on!

      • May 25, 2016 3:56 pm

        Once someone decides how much another person is allowed to make in the way of income, the only thing to resolve is how he/she will use that power.

        If John is thought to make too much money by someone who is not actually paying John, why should we care? Should I care what someone thinks of my paycheck? That is between me and my employer. If the employer thinks is OK and I do too, why does anyone else think they have status in the matter?

        How much do you make Roby. Maybe Sue will think poorly of you if it is too much.

      • Roby permalink
        May 25, 2016 4:42 pm

        Who is this Sue that everyone is going on about?

        I simply pointed out that Ron did not say anything close to the ideas you are writing about.

        I personally sympathize with the argument that money should be distributed more equitably pornstars should not make more than fine classical violinists, center fielders should not make more than teachers or surgeons, but I am Oh so familiar with why that happens and how hard it is to make paychecks represent the benefits that one creates for society via their work. I am the last person to suggest anything that resembles socialism. Discussion of this issue is all the same good and it is not impossible that change will come if enough people, as in a large majority of the country become worked up. Which does seem to be happening.

      • May 25, 2016 6:05 pm

        Everyone has their values and they vary. What allows us to function and get along is to allow others to have theirs as well. In the area of income, I totally don’t care how much money that slime ball George Soros has managed to salt away.

        If he earned that money legally, he doesn’t have to justify that to me or anyone else.

        Value is in the eye of the beholder.

        On the other hand, people like the Bern and our dear Sue have their eye on other people’s money. You know it, and I do too! That is called greed too and it is just as pernicious as the people they criticize.

      • Anonymous permalink
        May 25, 2016 7:16 pm

        Roby, do not take any more breaks. It’s not healthy!!!
        Sue (Mookie) is new (or was). What the Anti-Christ is to Christ, Sue is to JB. And she was only conversing with JB for a few days and it got fairly heated today the least. I commented a couple times asking her for documentation to support her liberal viewpoints, like income inequality, declining wages etc, etc and when she finally came back with the information, she bombarded me with 17 websites and said ” and you are retired, college educated, white, and do not get out in the real world much” I basically don’t know what I am talking about.

        She has since said this is not a moderate site, everyone is a right wing nutjob (my words not hers) and she was moving on. So maybe she did, maybe she is still reading comments.

        But that was (is) Sue (Mookie)

      • May 25, 2016 7:25 pm

        Roby, Sue (Mookie) is (was ) new to the site. What the Anti-Christ is to Christ, Sue is to JB. She and JB had some communication which became heated at times. I jumped in and ask her to provide documentation for her liberal comments about income inequality , declining wages, etc and after a couple of my comments that she was not communicating with anyone other than JB, she bombarded me with 17 website. Then she said “obviously no one here reads anything but right wing sites here – and you are retired, college educated, white, and do not get out in the real world much” so she was basically saying I did not know anything about what I was talking about. (I think she most likely would have like to have said I had my head up my rear, but refrained)

        She may still be reading comment, she may not. But that is (was) Sue (Mookie)

      • May 25, 2016 6:44 pm

        Roby, you are right, but really we all get blamed for words we did not say. In 1968 the minimum wage was $1.60. Just by indexing that for the change in the value of a dollar, the minimum would be $10.50 today. So what I said was the minimum should be raised to reflect that change in the purchasing power of a dollar. And I also said it should be indexed to the cost of living by the area where the people live. And then when we look at the cost of living changes and inflation, the calculation used to determine the purchasing power of a dollar has changed since the 90’s. There care many things that were included in the calculation in 1968 that are no longer in that calculation, so that is why I agree with a $15.00 amount, adjusted by geography.

        But that minimum wage was established way back when congress worked for the people more so than the do today.

        As for the OT rules, I think I was very clear about taking advantage of “salaried” workers. I never did that as a manager and worked to support my employees, not take advantage of them. If hte job required a few weekends working or a few lights overtime, they expected that. They did not expect nor did I ask them to work 60 hours of scheduled time like audiit companies did or restaurants do.

      • May 25, 2016 7:09 pm

        The evidence around the world suggests strongly suggests that MW laws simply push out the least skilled workers from the bottom of the food chain. Moreover, it pushes employers to replace people with technology, which is already happening.

        That said, MW laws do make liberals who push them feel better about themselves, as they rarely get to see the folks who lose the jobs in question.

        Hey, it is all about feeling good, right?

      • May 25, 2016 7:40 pm

        JB..I am going to sound like a left wing radical wing nut to a conservative. This BS about jobs being lost because someone raises the MW wage and technology is going to replace them is not real to me. If McDonalds is going to replace a worker with technology, it is not because the wage went from $10.00 to 15.00. It is because it was going to happen anyway. No one lost a job in a car wash because the wages went up, they lost the job because technology made an automatic car wash. No one lost a job on a trash truck because the wage went up, technology allowed automatic arms to lift the cans and dump them in a truck. Bank tellers did not lose their jobs because salaries went up, they lost it because people wanted to use the teller machines. Printers at check printing companies did not lose their jobs because their wage went up, they lost it because people pay bills on line and use debit cards.

        To me the conservative talking points about the MW does not hold water. Job loses are going to happen regardless. And if a burger at McDonalds goes up 25 cents, so be it.

      • May 25, 2016 9:29 pm

        You are exactly wrong. If I am running a car wash, I am compelled to be price competitive. If I can find a way to produce a car wash for a lower cost I will do that.

        If you raise the wages of my 10 employees, it makes the technology solution much more attractive.

        That is the way it works.

      • May 25, 2016 7:11 pm

      • Roby permalink
        May 25, 2016 10:12 pm

        Ron, heh, I know who sue is but she steadfastly refused to interact with me or anyone other than her bad interaction with JB. So I disowned her, thus my ironic question, who is this sue person? My comment was meant as humor, but your description of her was priceless.

  140. May 25, 2016 5:49 pm

    jbastiat,

    You said today, above, a few minutes before 2 PM:

    “I have said countless times, there is clearly a role for government. IMHO, we have moved to a situation where that role is WAY over the line.”

    We’re not debating your 2nd sentence about government going over the line. Just as everyone will agree there is government corruption, error, and waste, many will also agree there is federal government over-reach.

    If President B. Obama and his minions are attempting to push more legislation that is government over-reach in your humble opinion, then what do you say about the Republican Senators and Representatives (and maybe some Dems) who are trying to stop the latest new attempt at over-reach? Are those public servants performing any civic function? Beyond grumbling that the situation shouldn’t exist in the first place, should those opposed to the over-reach just go away, roll-over and die? What do you suggest there?

    According to you, what should the role of government be? Is your opinion mostly out of the Libertarian camp–that government is mostly for a national army and local police? What, dear jabastiat, should the role of government be? Should federal, state, and local governments regulate anything, or does it just get in the way of free markets?

    You probably remember hearing about the Virginia Graeme Baker Act of 2002. Up until then, kids were getting trapped by pool filters and drowning. Their hair was getting caught, or their toes, and they were sucked underneath the water and drowned. One of the more extreme cases was a young girl partially disemboweled by a pool filter in 1993. Year after year the private sector did not rectify the situation on its own. The People had to act, through their government. Now sensible plastic screens are required over ports and inlets in swimming pools. Moms and Dads have to worry less about their young sons and daughters being caught in the suction of a pool filter drain or port. That’s a slightly better world.

    Now try not to get side-tracked here. Please spare us and don’t and start talking about the impossibility of making the world totally safe, blah blah, yada yada. That’s not the discussion.

    Is the Virginia Graeme Baker Act a good thing or not?

    • May 25, 2016 6:12 pm

      I have already answered this question in many posts. So, you cheery pick a law and ask me to opine. Sounds like a fine law. Are you suggesting that is the main activity of the federal government?

      I will give a question back:

      How many children are not on the planet as a result of the government’s decision that abortion was more than fine and dandy.

      How many soldiers died in Vietnam based on the government’s decision that this war was needed?

      Afghanistan, Iraq?

      And, when the government decided that war was not needed anymore, now many died when the soldiers left?

      Lost count?

      What did those wars cost? Good investment?

      If you want to play that game, I am totally up for it.

      Be careful what you ask for.

  141. May 25, 2016 7:02 pm

    Your point above is seemingly that government does bad things. We’ve established that fact a long time ago. We’re all on board with that, JB. As Roby pointed out above, your logic seems to be: because I can point to corruption and waste by government, then just about all government must be a bad thing.

    I asked you what you see as the role of government, but all I got was your typical pointing at rotten things.

    Yes I want to play “Bump the Grump”! (You more than deserve that jab, jbastiat. Now we can escalate into nastiness or we can stay objective.)

    I’m sure NASA was plenty “wasteful,” but was the Apollo 11 lunar landing a net positive for the United States? Does “global prestige” help for making business deals? Can national pride boost productivity?

    When the Eisenhower Administration stepped up the construction of highways, did this infrastructure aid our economy?

    I have lots of cherries to share. I hope you will be reasonable and not escalate the negativity.

    What should government regulate?

    • May 25, 2016 7:20 pm

      “Your point above is seemingly that government does bad things. We’ve established that fact a long time ago. We’re all on board with that, JB. As Roby pointed out above, your logic seems to be: because I can point to corruption and waste by government, then just about all government must be a bad thing.

      I asked you what you see as the role of government, but all I got was your typical pointing at rotten things.

      Yes I want to play “Bump the Grump”! (You more than deserve that jab, jbastiat. Now we can escalate into nastiness or we can stay objective.)”

      I don’t know what bump the grind means and I have not been nasty. If you are feeling nasty, it must be because you can’t find examples of government excellence.

      “I’m sure NASA was plenty “wasteful,” but was the Apollo 11 lunar landing a net positive for the United States? Does “global prestige” help for making business deals? Can national pride boost productivity?”

      I don’t know and you don’t either. Did our global prestige take a big jump after Vietnam?
      Doubtful.

      “When the Eisenhower Administration stepped up the construction of highways, did this infrastructure aid our economy?”

      Probably. Did I suggest government should not be involved in road building?

      “I have lots of cherries to share. I hope you will be reasonable and not escalate the negativity.”

      I am sure what you mean? Negativity towards the Feds? No, I will not agree to that.

      “What should government regulate”

      Since you are the advocate for government meddling, you should answer your own question. You will like that answer that much better than my answer.

      I would suggest that refrain from regulating rest room etiquette in every school in the US.

      How is that for a start. They can also stop with wedding cake regulation as well.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        May 25, 2016 8:18 pm

        ah, I’m very disappointed in your responses. I ask you to give an opinion on something good that the government has accomplished, and you respond by bringing up another negative example. Hmm. I’m sorry. I over-estimated you. You responses above seem a bit juvenile. Bringing up wedding cake regulation is desperate. We’ve already established and agreed on government over-reach and the fact that many examples exist of government mistakes, etc. You just won’t put that aside and look objectively at the good examples. I’m sorry. You may be a nice person in real life, but based on your responses above I detect some kind of character flaw on your part. I’ll let my other posts below stand, but you shouldn’t continue being so negative on TNM. If you continue to just be negative on TNM, then you are just being a troll. This is The New Moderate, not The Anti-Government Troll. I expected better, but now I feel a little bad, like pushing a guy back and finding out he’s challenged.

      • May 25, 2016 9:35 pm

        You can feel however you feel. It seems important to you that I validate your point of view. Sorry, no can do.

        That is what free exchange is all about. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to play. No one is forcing you.

  142. Pat Riot permalink
    May 25, 2016 7:08 pm

    Are U.S. workers safer today than they were 50 years ago or a hundred years ago? Is that important, or is it all about GDP and productivity?

    Did a private company come along and end child labor in coal mines, or was it government? You and me are supposed to be the government, JB. That’s the way it’s supposed to be in this country per our Constitution. Unless you think monarchy and oligarchy are a better way to go for humanity.

    • May 25, 2016 7:24 pm

      You continue to conflate and ascribe to me things I did not say.

      Stop that.

      I am advocating for less central power and you accuse me of wanting a dictator. Give me a break.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        May 25, 2016 7:49 pm

        I didn’t say you want a dictator. I’m giving you opportunities to admit that all government is not as disastrous as you make it out to be. Disastrous yes. Inefficient yes. All disastrous, NO. Needed, yes. Room for much improvement, yes.

        I also want LESS government than we have now. I want us to steer some of the money that’s being used for empire overseas and re-direct it to our own U.S. infrastructure, physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, monorails alongside overcrowded highways, and social infrastructure such as increased pathways to education.

      • May 25, 2016 9:32 pm

        On that we agree. I simply see the much more impending issues that will bring this government down. The problem is 60-70T and growing.

        Am I making this up? If so, a lot of smart economists are also wrong with me.

  143. Pat Riot permalink
    May 25, 2016 7:12 pm

    How about the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990? There’s a cherry for you! Do you want to live in a world that says, “ah, screw those people, it ain’t my problem…” or a world in which people add ramps to concrete sidewalks for people in wheel chairs. It’s not all about economics, JB.

    • May 25, 2016 9:24 pm

      There must be a million laws on the federal books. Are you going to scroll through each one?

  144. Pat Riot permalink
    May 25, 2016 7:16 pm

    Oh and please don’t retreat to posting a bunch of links for us to read. I want to hear YOUR answers to the above questions.

  145. Pat Riot permalink
    May 25, 2016 7:26 pm

    Libertarians see how the private sector typically outperforms government activities. We all get how the private sector is the best economic engine. Then some Libertarians make the faulty leap in logic that the private sector can do everything. It can’t. It doesn’t. It won’t.

  146. Pat Riot permalink
    May 25, 2016 7:44 pm

    Industries that make “visible products” are more readily self-regulating. As everyone knows, a company that produces bicycles, dump trucks, or laptops will eventually be in trouble if their products fall apart much more quickly than the competition. The customers will choose the better companies. Just a basic example of self-regulation. Yep, it exists. Now don’t make a faulty leap and assume everything or even most things will self-regulate. Those kinds of logic leaps are beneath educated persons.

    Let’s forget about VGB drain covers (Virginia Graeme Baker), but lets go back to public and semi-public swimming pools. Semi-public pools include hotel pools–it’s the 200 guests at the hotel that are able to use the pool, not anybody off the street. Right now, here’s how it works in most states: The hotel must hire an objective 3rd party lab to grab water samples and test for harmful bacteria. The State Health Departments view the lab results and also inspect the pools. This works. We can’t see the bacteria in the pools. Most people wouldn’t know. Even really nice hotel workers wouldn’t know. Even really nice hotel workers would get lax. Hotel owners and the labs might get a little too comfy with each other. The way it is now, nobody wants to jeopardize their job. It’s a system of checks and balances, and it works, and nobody is complaining about it.

    Do I really need to go find charts and tables about the decline of water-borne illnesses?

    C’mon man. There are many governmental functions that help our society. How many examples will it take before you admit that your view of government is 99% focused on the failures, and stubbornly turned away from what quietly works?

    • May 25, 2016 9:30 pm

      You are quite persistent although quite wrong. I never said that government has no valuable functions. I simply argue for much less of it.

      You are a slave to your beliefs. I hope that makes you happy.

  147. Pat Riot permalink
    May 25, 2016 7:56 pm

    I estimate I’m only about 1/10 of the way in on this. I have a delicious dinner next to me in this still great but suffering country of ours, and I’m just getting warmed up. Will you modify your extreme negative (non-moderate) position about government? You don’t have to recant your displeasure with the failures of government. You just have to admit that you have become habitually prone to seeing the bad and not the good. That’s all. Will you admit this?

  148. Pat Riot permalink
    May 25, 2016 8:22 pm

    Checkmate, JB. Be a man.

  149. May 25, 2016 10:59 pm

    jbastiat, you don’t stay on point. You go back to other points that are not being debated. You don’t discuss. You are evasive. You don’t answer direct questions. Here’s a direct question: Was the ADA a good thing that our federal government accomplished? Now if it’s a discussion you respond to THAT, and then we go back and forth politely. You are free to respond to the question, and to explain your answer as best you can, but if you dance around and say that the government passed a lot of laws, or the government took us to Viet-Nam, then you’re not answering the question. Then you’re being evasive. I’ve pointed out several areas where I agree with you, but you want to revisit those areas of agreement.

    I asked you what you think the role of government is? It would have helped elevate this exchange to an actual discussion if you would communicate to me what you think the proper role(s) of government is (are).

    • May 26, 2016 7:57 am

      This is a pointless exchange. Are you going to trot out each federal law and have an up and down vote on whether I think a particular was a good or bad law?

      How would I know. If you ask someone with a disability, they would say, well of course. If you ask someone else if they think the overall cost was “worth” it, they might say no.

      So, it is a normative question and the answers you get depend on who ask. Why does my opinion matter anymore than yours or vice versa. Those laws are passed and they won’t be revoked (of that you can be sure).

      The fact is that the fed reach increases each and every day, no matter what we peons think or do about it. It is inevitable.

      So, you guys who love government should be happy, right?

      • Roby permalink
        May 26, 2016 9:35 am

        There is a difference between loving the government and not despising it. I’m sorry JB, I have a wonderful life in an excellent place, my America is still very lovely, albeit I have to listen to music of a different era and avoid the TV and news and modern culture in general. I can’t remember the last time the Feds ruined my day. Reading too much ideological news seems to lead to that “feds ruining my day” syndrome, which is sure as hell a major major source of division. If we are worried about sources of division, look to your news sources, they are profiting from your anger and misery.

        I pay my taxes, I get roads, schools, medical advances etc. in a rather stable society in return. I’ve seen and lived in other societies with other governments, I choose this one. I accept my government and am grateful for the long-term stability it has brought to America, where I was fortunate to be born.

        Not to be oblivious, I also get rapidly rising costs of health care and education and have to read about continuous military actions and school shootings. So I am not in polyanna mode.

        Having the government dictate that a baker has to bake a gay wedding cake (BTW, WTF is a gay wedding cake?) seems rather odd but I am not going around collecting rather petty reasons to get bent out of shape. The trans rest rooms crisis will blow over in a year and people will likely find some common sense compromise. Its a beautiful day, I have ducks in my ponds and hummingbirds in my feeders. I have tennis to play and gigs tonight and tomorrow night. Let someone else have a large throbbing vein in their forehead about transgender bathrooms; I have a massive number of projects and pleasures to lose myself in. And my kids could care less about gay wedding cakes or fed interference with their lives.

      • May 26, 2016 10:07 am

        “There is room to pay people better, its a matter of finding the best lever.”

        Roby, this is exactly what JB is talking about. Not despising government ~ despising the consequences of federal government interference in areas where it doesn’t belong. You are making the case, and very well.

        So, I have to tell another YMCA story ( soon I will have to post video of The Village People):

        Tuesday night, I attended a board meeting of the Y where I volunteer, The new salaried overtime directive (decree?) announced by the Obama administration, along with the $15 minimum wage, was the main agenda item. So, this Y has 4 full time salaried employees, eligible for benefits. The Director of the Y makes about $75K , and her 3 Program Directors (Aquatics, Child Care and Membership) make about $35-40K each. All of them often work 50-70 hours a week.

        Starting December 1st, the 3 Program Directors must be paid overtime for any hours over 40 p/week. Or have their salaries raised to $47,500K, which is the new minimum salary NOT eligible for overtime. This was raised from $23,660.

        In addition, the Y has to plan for the $15 minimum wage for its 61 part time workers – mostly day care providers, swim instructors, day camp counselors, front desk workers, etc., the majority of them high school and college kids, currently making anywhere from $8.50-10 p/hr.

        The Y Director basically said that the Y will not be able to continuing functioning under these regulations – at least not the way it functions now. It’s already running on a shoestring, serves many families that cannot pay for the services rendered (mostly day care) so are “scholarshipped” in. It will have to stop that, cut back on essential staff, and find huge new – and unlikely- sources of revenue.

        The Y is essentially a small non-profit business ~ all Y’s are independently run. The national Y is an association to which they belong, but it provides no financial assistance. Some Y’s get local government subsidies…this one does not.

        It’s screwed under these regulations, as are the hundreds of people it serves. Screwed. By “well-meaning” government regulation. That’s the big government problem that conservaterians talk about.

        Don’t even get me started on the ADA….

      • May 26, 2016 11:17 am

        Oh, Priscilla, that is just a detail for the little people to work out. What is important is that progressives feel wonderful about themselves by passing a law which have negative consequences for others.

        Don’t be such a Debbie Downer or you will be criticized as being cranky and miserable.

      • May 26, 2016 4:25 pm

        Priscilla, what are you doing? You are posting information that is making me rethink my position (somewhat).

        And here in lies that whole dang problem with government (once again) making rules that apply across the board where it is of benefit to those employees being taken advantage of and hurting those where there is a community benefit that they are filling.

        This just shows how out of touch these jokers in Washington are. People have bought into the argument about lost jobs and then the GOP uses the McDonald worker or other fast food workers losing their jobs. I could care less if the illegals working at McDonalds lose their jobs. They should not be employed anyway. And when they can’t speak English, there is a very good chance they are illegal!!!

        Now if the morons in the GOP had used the examples you gave then maybe I would have bought the argument in the first place.

        So how should that be addressed. How about asking for information from non-profits how the rules will impact them. Since you brought up the counselors wages at the Y, how about training wages at the Industries for the Blind where $15.00 may impact their ability to train people. And any other industry where they train people while giving them a temp job during training.

        I still support a higher minimum wage and the new OT rules. It just needs tweaking for organizations that provide a not-for-profit community benefit. And for those that say exceptions can not work, yes they can. The nursing rule of an 8-80 time period works. OT for any day over 8 hours regardless of the total for the week and OT over 80 for any two week period, meaning one could work 6 days one week and 4 the next and not be paid OT unless one of those days was over 8 hours long.

        You, JB, Roby, Pat etc, etc could all sit down and in a short period of time come up with rules that would cover most any situation fairly because we all have a different perspective and life experiences. When you make rules in a vacuum, everything gets screwed up!

      • May 26, 2016 11:14 am

        I love the way you assume that I am angry and miserable because I am not a huge fan of increasingly large central government. Actually, I live a wonderful life and am quite happy and fulfilled.

        I just don’t think I owe that all (or most of that) to the Federal Government. We have a wonderful nation, thanks largely to a blessedly designed Federalist based democracy, strong work ethic, and until recently, the freest markets in the world.

        You guys seem to need agreement or you get bent out of shape. Try to work on that.

      • Roby permalink
        May 26, 2016 2:12 pm

        “You guys seem to need agreement or you get bent out of shape. ”

        Not me, I have no desire to change you or anyone here, waste of my time. Sorry, JB, but you Are angry and miserable, at least when you talk politics here. Rather like Sue, also angry and miserable at least when talking politics here. Doesn’t mean that that you guys aren’t happy in some other context, but here you are clearly angry and cranky and not the least bit happy. Its not my problem. If it were my problem I’d take that Vette or Triumph out and crank up the Beach boys and turn off the news. But its not my problem.

      • May 26, 2016 2:20 pm

        I have no problems worth mentioning. If you don’t like the tone of my posts, don’t read them.
        I am sorry I am the bearer of bad news, but hey, sticking your head in the sand was never my strong suit.

        Maybe that is why I am not whining for someone to come along and deliver “fairness.” (Like our friend, Sue)..

        There is no such thing in life, it is just a concept.

  150. May 26, 2016 6:54 am

    Restrooms/bathrooms: most people are using their own private bathrooms. Most people are not transgender. Thank you, plumbers, for our indoor plumbing!

    President Obama had another opportunity to unite, but he chose again to be divisive.

    • May 26, 2016 7:59 am

      On that latter point, we agree 100%, which has always been his contention. Community organizers only have one tool in the box: Grievance!

    • May 26, 2016 12:50 pm

      OK JB, I was going to take a break from this discussion since this is the same as our discussions months back about abortion. I said we were agreeing to disagree and then we moved on. But I will respond to this information.

      About two to three years ago our local Chili restaurants installed Kiosks at each table. You walk in, the hostess sits you at the table, you look at the menu (either one handed to you or one on their tablet and once you decide what you want you select it and complete the order. The order is cooked, an individual delivers the food and once you are finished, you swipe the credit/debit card and pay. Little to no human interaction.

      This was well before talk of a minimum wage increase really took off. It was all brought about by a few reasons. The younger generation wants more technology and less human interaction. This improves that orders are correctly filled. And most importantly to Chili’s, people tend to order more when using a kiosk than when wait staff takes the order.

      And guess what that did to employment.. Yep cut the number needed and it all was due to reasons other than minimum wage increase.

      Technology is going to take jobs one way or the other. The GOP needs to get off their dead asses and stop arguing about things like this and start addressing the real issues about jobs and that is the crappy trade agreements like NAFTA and TPP that only support their corporate partners and not people.

      Yes I am sounding like a bleeding heart liberal. But what I am really doing is using common sense and looking what I see as the problem. Up to the late 80’s, American manufacturing dominated the economy. GM, Ford, Chrysler dominated car sales. Sylvania, Zenith , GE, RCA dominated electronics. GE and a couple other companies dominated small appliances, Frigidare, Maytag and a few other dominated large appliances. All of these were produced in America, Then came NAFTA and everything changed. Ross Perot’s sucking sound became a hurricane wind with companies moving.

      Economist say you can not protect manufacturing as other countries will put tariffs on our products. Well hell, if you don’t produce anything, then what little we do make makes no difference. Protect the jobs in America and it offsets the few lost due to the differences in trade agreements. BUT IF smart people do what is right, then agreements can be worked out that helps everyone and NAFTA and the TPP sure did/does not do that.

      (God help me, I sound like Trump)

      • May 26, 2016 1:12 pm

        You do sound like Trump. Good for you.

        Clearly, technology is on the march. That said, the use of technology is impacted by any number of factors, including consumer preference.

        Cost ALWAYS enters into the equation. If the cost of labor increases, the calculus changes. I know, I used to do it all the time. Sorry, but the experience on wage levels and technology adoption is very clear.

        Don’t blame me, I didn’t create this, I am only reporting on it.

  151. May 26, 2016 8:36 am

    Oh, the horrors of unintended consequences! Maybe the feds can pass a law to make robots illegal. Yeah, that ought to do it.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/minimum-wage-offensive-could-speed-arrival-of-robot-powered-restaurants/2015/08/16/35f284ea-3f6f-11e5-8d45-d815146f81fa_story.html

    • May 26, 2016 12:59 pm

      Well I would rather use a robot. They can’t understand me when I order anyway because English is almost Greek to them and they can’t make change without a computer.

      ……I love messing with their minds. Let them ring an order, hand them paper money, let them enter it and once it shows the change, I give them the pennies to round to the next coin. That just blows their mind!!!!

      • May 26, 2016 1:13 pm

        Yes $15 per hours for someone who can’t do fourth grade math. What a bargain!

  152. Roby permalink
    May 26, 2016 9:07 am

    I have large doubts about raising the minimum wage. While in truth no one knows how that would come out, it is basic economics that jobs will be lost. How many? My guess is millions. Its not just a mere matter of paying 25 cents more for a hamburger. As well, inflation should result, how much, no one knows, in the end your $15 per hour may not buy that much more than your previous $10, if you are lucky enough to keep your job if considerable inflation were to result. Were a 15$ (or $14, or $13…) minimum wage to happen its a giant experiment. I am doubtful that it would not inflict huge levels of unemployment including people near and dear to me. But no one really knows and I have searched the web for discussions of this idea by middle of the road, non-ideological axe grinding economists and found little reading material. Almost all that I find is passionate ideological analysis. That is really disappointing.

    I actually think the great benefit to this workers revolt on the right and left this election cycle is the loud public discussion and growing level of anger at the way people are paid. I think the most meaningful results may well be adjustments in the private sector if a large enough portion of the public remains angry and finds a semi-intelligent way to direct their anger. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the government is good at imposing equitable salaries. For example the government regulations that stipulate how full time workers are to be treated just lead to a drastic reduction in the number of full time workers. Big Lots etc, just have 27 cashiers who work 12-15 hours a week instead of 10 who work 40, which just sucks for the cashiers.

    People should actually be directing their attention to the corporations themselves and finding effective ways to demand that they reward their workers better, more for workers, less for shareholders. There is no law that says that more money cannot be put into workers pay and less to shareholders. It seems that I’m talking myself into the need for unions here, heh, I know that’s a dirty word. I wish there were some other answer but federal regulation is probably not the answer so workers using their leverage is.

    The key to anything actually happening is workers channeling their anger into mechanisms that will actually produce better conditions. There is room to pay people better, its a matter of finding the best lever.

    • May 26, 2016 11:11 am

      “People should actually be directing their attention to the corporations themselves and finding effective ways to demand that they reward their workers better, more for workers, less for shareholders. There is no law that says that more money cannot be put into workers pay and less to shareholder.”

      If the Board decides that they should reduce profits/dividends and simply give workers more money, share prices would decline within minutes of the investor community (including me) found out. Capital seeks a return commensurate with the risk it takes.Investing in stocks is actually very risky and investors require a return to do so.

      If you want capital markets to work, you leave them alone. You plan has no legs, none at all.

      Basic econ and finance. Any board that did that would be replaced at the next shareholder meeting.

      Moreover, I think it quite humorous of you.

      I will toss it back to you. Are YOU willing to voluntarily pay a higher price for all of your good and services so that employees can get a raise?

      I bet not. I wouldn’t.

      • Roby permalink
        May 26, 2016 2:06 pm

        Are you a Union member JB? As I remember, the answer is yes.

        According to you labor is just screwed period, there is no recourse, not government not private. Just suck it up and let markets operate.

        And yet somehow I suspect that you like having your union look out for your financial interests.

      • May 26, 2016 2:16 pm

        “Are you a Union member JB? As I remember, the answer is yes.”

        No, we don’t have a faculty union here at the U. To the best of my recollection, I have never been in a labor union.

        “According to you labor is just screwed period, there is no recourse, not government not private. Just suck it up and let markets operate.”

        I assume that you are referring to compensation, correct?

        Labor (humans who sell their physical and intellectual capital) have choices. They can choose what skills to develop and market them as they see fit. They can join a labor union and use that as a way of negotiating markets. They can also start their own business.

        What else did you have in mind exactly?

        “And yet somehow I suspect that you like having your union look out for your financial interests.”

        As I have indicated, we do not have a union here at the U and I am not a tenured faculty member.. They can fire me any old time they want. That was also true in every job I have ever had.

        So far, so good.

  153. Roby permalink
    May 26, 2016 2:48 pm

    Ah Priscilla, too many posts, I am just going to respond at the bottom.

    You and I are in pretty good basic agreement on US military issues so I’ll make an analogy, we both favor a strong military and using it when needed. That is in spite of all the tragic mistakes and lost lives due to US military actions. The military is a blunt object and we are likely to do a lot of collateral damage but we both seem to believe that the situation is worse if one takes the antiwar position and says the military is just a disaster and that we need a minimum of it. Withdraw it for the most part.

    There are a lot of blunt instruments in humanity’s toolbox, capitalism, military actions, government regulation. Lots of human damage gets done by all these huge blunt forces.

    Regarding overtime, my daughter like Ron’s son, was one of those college grad managers that seemed to be making a good salary but are worked 60-70 or more hours a week year after year. No overtime, she was a manager. In my daughters case that wound up very badly, a huge life crisis occurred after 5 years of that life. The corporation she worked for simply lives in the amoral capitalistic framework of competition, get the most labor for the lowest cost. Guess what, I’m pretty sympathetic with the intent of that overtime directive. There is not a law or regulation that could be passed on working conditions that will not have unintended victims. Its the nature of the beast. There should be a process for fixing some of them over time.

    I’m not disowning the US military, capitalism, or government regulation on work conditions, in spite of the difficulty that all of these forces have in doing exactly the good they should do and avoiding all the bad unintended consequences. The conservitarians are pretty close to just calling such regulation a useless burden. Complain about individual cases, don’t damn the entire enterprise.

    JB has got no path at all for labor to follow to have a better deal, not government regulation and not labor pressure on employers. There is no out whatsoever that he has mentioned for labor, just suck it up and accept the way things are, as far as I can tell. He goes too far in his let market forces rule philosophy, like Sue goes too far in her rage against the system.

    You know what, its fine with me that there are people like JB and Sue making an ideological battle out of the issues of compensation of labor, government regulation etc. Out of this struggle between right and left comes the basic structure of the country I love to live in. Myself, I prefer to try to see things from a more centrist perspective and enjoy my life without obsessing about the role of government. I think we have approximately the right amount for this place and this time. In spite of the mistakes and human cost it beats the alternative of abandoning the workplace to market forces pure and simple.

    I’m very sorry about the unintended consequences for the Y, perhaps you should rewrite your post and send it to your Senators, Representative, local papers letters to the editor, and, don’t laugh, Obama. Jump up and down a bit and ask for an exemption for non profits, I doubt you will be alone. Somehow I have a feeling that the process can be altered and the Y spared.

    • May 26, 2016 2:58 pm

      Apparently, you don’t read what I write, so I wonder why I bother. I specifically alluded to labor unions as a means for employees to negotiate for better wages, whatever. To my knowledge, it is legal to form and join a union and many people have done so.

      One can also negotiate on one’s own. Develop better skills, get a better job or a promotion. Or, start you own company?

      What else did you have in mind? Do you want a government tribunal that will set income for employees? Have you ever seen that work? Who will be these angels that will divine how much a particular job is “worth.”

      As was pointed out elsewhere, these $15 an hour folks can’t do simple math but are demanding a “living wage” whatever that is.

      Capitalism is not perfect, in that not everyone gets what they want. Sorry, but do you know of such a place here on Earth?

      Give me a break. I am sorry you are unhappy for the working man. If you are so unhappy, run for President.

      PS-I would suggest you read Metzler’s article that I posted.It may be more persuasive than I have been.

      • Roby permalink
        May 26, 2016 3:08 pm

        “Apparently, you don’t read what I write, so I wonder why I bother. ”

        Boy, do I know that feeling.

        “Do you want a government tribunal that will set income for employees? Have you ever seen that work? Who will be these angels that will divine how much a particular job is “worth.”

        Oh, the hedonistic joy of internet conversations. Above I posted my doubts about the effectiveness of the $15 minimum wage and related issues.

        Time for something more pleasant, like mowing the lawn.

  154. May 26, 2016 10:26 pm

    Some people are good at brainstorming to find solutions. It is interesting, even exciting, when people come together and brainstorm. Roby you were attempting to brainstorm with others here at TNM to take a fresh, honest look at American labor, etc.

    Others are nay-sayers who think inside boxes and are not creative. The nay-sayers often attack ideas even before the brainstorming has had a chance to get rolling.

    We should be able to brainstorm creatively and openly here at TNM without nay-sayers thwarting the discussion with their inside-the-box rigidity and negativity.

    Economics is not a science. Successful situations in one region very often are not transplantable to other regions because the factors are different. Practical experience outside of academia teaches this quickly. And so flinching reflexively to tenets of particular economic theory is not helpful unless the views are elaborated upon in a discussion-friendly manner.

    • May 27, 2016 7:56 am

      I spent 30 years in industry before arriving at the academy. I don’t live in an Ivory Tower as you might imply.

      Brainstorming here might make you feel better, but it won’t change the reality which is the federal government. What you often engage in here is”delusion” Progressives are quite good at delusion in my experience.

      Good luck, dream on!

  155. Pat Riot permalink
    May 26, 2016 11:21 pm

    Roby, Priscilla, Ron, I submit to you that there are thousands of aspects of our labor situation in America that haven’t been considered enough, haven’t been explored and written about–some that haven’t even been thought of yet. I say too many people, uneducated and educated, pick an existing “camp” and they get stuck there. We’ve talked about the amen camps. The devotees cheer when it matches their camp, shout it down when it doesn’t match. Some in these ideological camps have their heroes and messiahs, e.g. Adam Smith, Karl Marx, von Hayek, Keynes, von Mises, Milton Friedman, whoever…

    I love the scene in Good Will Hunting when Matt Damon’s character puts the snobby University student in his place: “Are you just going to regurgitate what you’ve read…or are you going to actually have some of your own thoughts?” (paraphrase)

    Here’s a damn good example of an aspect of our labor situation, where there is room for improvement, that doesn’t get enough attention. there’s a surprise ending…

    circa 2003. I was part of a team of industrial engineers and business consultants from Lehigh University that was hired to assist the 2nd-leading employer in a County. Their problem: extremely high turnover in their entry level machine operator positions was costing them a fortune in recruiting, interviewing, orientation and training CONSTANTLY! What was the problem? What would it take to reduce the high turnover and retain employees? Another dollar per hour? Added benefits?

    Of course our team mapped out the details of the jobs, compared the wages and other factors to similar jobs in the region, collected tons of data.

    In initial meetings with the company’s managers, this emerged: The frustrated managers basically said: what do we expect? The jobs suck. They’re repetitive, boring, lowly. Who would want to do them? (etc.)

    This consulting job was one of my finer moments. I said: well has anyone asked the employees what they think? Has anyone asked them what they like most about their job, what they like least, and what are the top ten things they would want to change?

    I made the questionnaires in English and Spanish and administered them to all three shifts of workers. The two top things the employees wanted: Respect and Air-conditioning. It turns out that the soccer moms and the 20-something guys actually liked a job that was repetitive and didn’t require them to interact with other people. You see the managers ASS U ME D that everyone would prefer a manager job like they had, but not all people are the same. What came out strongly was that the workers all felt unappreciated and looked down upon and treated like shit by the managers.

    The project was handed over to me. I halted the turnover almost completely with the following:

    a big sign at the exit that said THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORK.
    the company installed huge fans to cool off the place in lieu of AC
    a music CD-library in the break room for the many workers who wore headphones

    no raise. no change in bennies other than above

    So, one of the things that doesn’t get talked about enough:

    Improving existing jobs (using Voice-of-the-Customer data to improve understanding and communication).

    It makes a big difference when workers don’t HATE going to work!

    • May 27, 2016 7:59 am

      Let me see, you are the hero in this tale and the academic/consultants are the idiots.

      • May 27, 2016 9:10 am

        Common sense, creativity, and imagination were the heroes. Rigidity and following the same old script and assumptions were the villains.

        The running joke, voiced by the Executive Director at the Center, a PhD himself: “Please, only one PhD in the Project Group. We want to get something done!”

        If the old shoe fits…

      • May 27, 2016 9:18 am

        Nice try. I ran three companies over the span of 25 ys, all very successful and all profitable and growing.

        I earned my doctoral degree at age 60.

    • May 27, 2016 8:28 am

      Pat, it helps a lot when people don’t hate going to work. But what I’m talking about (and I think I’m on the same page as JB here, despite the fact that he can cite far more facts and statistics than I can) is the one-size-fits-all regulatory impulse of the federal government. Big government, by its nature, keeps getting bigger. It doesn’t care about fine points, or individual suffering, or individual satisfaction. It cares about power.

      I think my Y example was a good one, and, if I thought for one second that Cory Booker, Robert Menendez (poor man, he’s under indictment, so I wouldn’t want to bother him) , Bonnie Coleman or even Chris Christie gave a rat’s backside about private non-profits struggling under the weight of wage and salary mandates that they can’t afford, I would contact them. But, not only do they not care, they are fine with it. Private charities compete with government programs anyway~I’m not saying that the government is trying to deep-six them, but it does think that there is a better way. Its way.

      Your example of what can happen when a private company is left to its own devices, has talented managers and is left alone to decide how best to keep good employees is a good one. What happens when that company is told, “sorry, you need to pay these people 30% more and install air conditioning because it’s required under OSHA”? It might make the employees happy, true, until 30% of them get let go.

      I agree with Ron that McDonald’s and Walmart are cited WAY too often as examples of the folly of overregulation. Giant corporations of that size engender zero sympathy from anyone, and, really, how sorry can you feel for someone who has chosen to flip burgers as a lifelong career…many of them are illegals, and those jobs should be held by high school kids anyway.

      I’m don’t maintain that a raise in the minimum wage, or even the salaried overtime change is a bad thing, but it will destroy many small businesses. That is a fact, and American capitalism has always been animated by small business. Ron, you’e right, the GOP does not know how to message this. They tried in 2012 with the “You didn’t build this”, but that was a huge dud.

      In the end, I think that we are all arguing around the edges, and, as you have pointed out, we have many basic – and important- areas of agreement. The common question is, how do we elect people on the federal level who break the cycle of increasing regulation without concern for the little guy? I sure as hell don’t know.