Last Call

Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics has made his final call before the election. That’s it, above.

It’s not far from the predictions I’m on record as making other than Iowa and New Hampshire. My reasoning on New Hampshire is the high proportion of tax refugees in the state. My reasoning on Iowa is that they’re just fed up.

This is the scenario I’ve been calling “rearranging the deck chairs”. Remember: every sitting Congressman will have won his or her own election and has his or her own constituents and, if he’s re-elected, the President Obama won’t be running again.

104 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw

    This outcome, if it happens, suggests to me that there is no ideological consensus in this country and that the big picture outcomes are primarily determined by (1) encumbant advantage, (2) personality politics, and (3) district/state factors.

  • This outcome, if it happens, suggests to me that there is no ideological consensus in this country and that the big picture outcomes are primarily determined by (1) encumbant advantage, (2) personality politics, and (3) district/state factors.

    Which just underscores my belief that democracy is a horrid way of allocating resources…which we are doing more and more.

  • TastyBits

    @Steve Verdon

    Historically, self-rule is rare. The alternative is rule by the powerful, and the “philosopher king” is mostly non-existent. What would you replace democracy with?

  • If the American electorate votes for THIS status quo, then they deserve it. Unfortunately I’ll get stuck with the consequences of their bad decision.

  • To SV and TB: What about this system looks like a democracy?

  • PD Shaw

    Looking at Sabato’s Illinois Congressional predictions, he’s too generous to Illinois Democrats. There are six closely contested House races, which he gives Dems a five-to-one advantage. I think its more likely that they all will be too close to call and I predict it will probably be three-to-three.

    I really don’t know how people from other parts of the country can predict these smaller races without significant polling data. I am in the media market for one of these contested House seats and there has been a barrage of ads the last few days about the physician candidate being fired by a hospital for advocating and embracing dangerous and illegal practices (physician-assisted suicide). The ad could swing the election to the Republican or backfire.

    The interesting thing about the race is the Republican wants to get rid of Obamacare and the Democrat wants to replace it with a single-payer system by expanding Medicare to everybody. We have consensus.

  • We have consensus.

    Either option is preferable to what we’re getting. (That is not an endorsement of either of the other two proposals so much as a condemnation of the brand new status quo.)

  • jan

    If I was a newbie parachuting in from another planet, my impression of this race, from looking at the polls, would be conclusively that Obama was bound to win it. In other words, the current numbers, alone, favor an Obama victory.

    However, when looking at factors outside of these numbers, it’s another story. Obama’s economic record is dismal to many people. His foreign policy seems corrupt, with the increasing evidence of the Benghazi mishandling and cover-up — aided and abetted by the MSM looking the other way until now. His 2008 promises of government transparency, racial bridges, and across the aisle Congressional communication has failed to be realized. These disappointments, among others, has created a tremendous back-lash from people, many of whom supported Obama in ’08. His jewish constituency has diminished because of the growing gap between Obama and Israel. The youth are less energized and vulnerable to voting for him. AA’s have problems with his support of gay marriage. Catholics and religious groups are angry about the HHS regs. Seniors have not bought into his mediscare tactics.

    With these smaller coalitions of ’08 supporters, and a 4 year record that is in conflict with his original promises, I find it hard to believe his numbers from ’08 will stand up in ’12. On the other side of the political spectrum, though, you have a larger coalition of anti-Obama, pro-Romney supporters in ’12, as opposed to those for McCain in ’08, who are literally teething to defeat Obama. The energy of Romney’s rallies, his volunteers, accelerated and improved ground efforts from ’08, the expanding suburban and rural vote, the evangelicals who won’t stay home this year all add up, IMO, to a wave of unmeasured people…..which is why I am a poll-skeptic when looking at these polls who say otherwise.

    Maybe, I will be totally taken aback, in the days to come, if these conventional polls do prove to be an authentic reflection of people’s political sway. However, until then my prediction is as follows

    Romney/Obama = 291/247
    Senate = R’s+1-3 = R48-50/D52-50
    House = stays about the same, with a possible loss of 2-3 seats by the R’s

  • jan

    WSJ article projecting that, if Obama loses, this is who/what will be blamed, rather than Obama’s economic policies, Benghazi, or the public’s continuing dislike/distrust of his ACA:

    we’ll hear that he went down to defeat at the hands of America the Pathological—a country where bigotry, corruption and political dysfunction reign.

    Sad…….

  • TastyBits

    @Icepick
    To SV and TB: What about this system looks like a democracy?

    Depends upon what you mean by “democracy”. The US is a Representative Democracy, but the Constitution was designed to limit the power of the government. For many, the 10th Amendment provides few limits to the individual States, and this is usually the disagreements between the Democrats and Republicans.

    For a few of us, the 9th Amendment provides few powers to the Federal or State government(s), and I do not think it was a coincidence that the Individual’s rights precede the State’s rights. Unfortunately, the 9th Amendment was immediately tossed aside, and the individual has never been properly represented.

    For me, there is little choice. Occasionally, the politicians go too fast, and the populace takes notice. At these times, I have a little larger choice. Since the populace has noticed, one strategy would be to vote for the politicians who push too fast, but this could backfire.

    A long time ago, I was not as jaded as I have become, and I thought these times would last. I now know that they are fleeting, but I have a better understanding of people. Most people want to be left alone 100% of the time, but they are willing to accept 80%. When the interference drops below 80%, they will show up at the 100% party, but when it hits 80%, they leave.

  • jan

    Other reasons which have me questioning the veracity, or 100% predictive value, of so many conventional-wisdom polls:

    1) Republicans doing much better in early voting in the swing states. Dems doing worse.

    2) Romney carrying indies by as much as 22 pts in some polls.

    3) Reliability of a 9% polling response, with respect to what is going on with the 91% not answering the phone.

    4) WaPo saying Romney winning 13% of dems.

    5) The historical disproportionate split of undecideds who vote for the opponent on election day, over the seated incumbent.

    6) Dems going for high-propensity voters in the EV time span, whereas republicans are reaching for low propensity voters, assuming the high propensity ones will vote, without prodding, on Nov. 6th. This goes hand-in-hand with the Republican trait of voting, in mass, on election day, rather than early, as the dems tend to do.

    7) Lastly, and a current observation, is that Romney has large, turn-away crowds, oftentimes unreported or under-reported by the media. Whereas, Obama’s, with but a few exceptions, have been more modest, and below expectations. For instance, one rally just held in Madison WI was expected to top out at 30,000, with Bruce Springsteen giving a full concert to lure attendees. 15,000 showed up.

  • Historically, self-rule is rare. The alternative is rule by the powerful, and the “philosopher king” is mostly non-existent. What would you replace democracy with?

    No.

    Ice,

    To SV and TB: What about this system looks like a democracy?

    Well, it is a type of democracy (as TB notes, a representative democracy). You do get to vote. Now it is true that the probability that your vote will be decisive is extremely small. And it is true you’ll likely have significant “buyer’s remorse” after the election…but that is part of why democratic forms of government suck so much.

    The other reason they suck so much is that while various perfidious individuals will wax poetic about things like e pluribus unum and what not, Dave Schuler really got it right when he said it is better described as ad victorem spolias. You can see that especially now with our recent financial crisis. The bank bailouts, the auto bailout, the subsidies to preferred technologies, etc. And people fall for it. Stroll over to the comments at OTB and you can see people who think Obama is great for handing their cash to the banks, the auto companies, and various other companies promoting “renewable” energy sources (Solyndra anyone?). The same goes for Romney although I don’t know what website to direct you towards….is Power Line still around? Does Hot Air have comments?

    And more and more, the State is taking on more of a role in people’s lives and it will likely increase. So it is kind of silly to expect people to make informed decisions about how to be ruled as people are more and more willing to give up more and more control of their lives. To be clear, I’m not talking about the boot-in-the-face kind of thing here, but the softer form of control. You should do this because it is good for you (and for some it may very well be true). Or don’t do that because it is bad for you (again for some it might also be true). But the notion that people figure these things out for themselves is not even considered an option.

    Michael likes to say that my view is that I don’t like being told to clean my room. Well no shit. Unlike him I’m a 44 year old man not a 10 year old child. I can make decisions for myself even if he cannot. Yes, I know I might make the wrong ones and that is on me, but I’m fine with that. I don’t need to be told what to do on a day-to-day basis and that Michael needs that…well he should be ashamed of himself for being such and abject failure. It is well past time he grew up.

  • I get that this is notionally a representative democracy. But most of the people getting elected all have a lot of similarities with each other and not very much with me or anyone I know.

    Alan Grayson is a shady New Yorker with high powered connections in the Democratic Party who made millions doing … no one is really sure what he did and he won’t answer questions about it. He spent a good deal of his adult life in DC and all of a sudden he’s running for Congress from my district in Florida. I haven’t checked this time around but back when he was my Congressman I did some digging around. No one had any idea when he had come to Florida. He showed up in 2006 with a boatload of cash from the DNC to run for Congress. How the fuck was that drunk-driving (not charged, by the Democratic Chief of Police, or course), carpet-bagging, thieving, lying sack of amphibian shit in any way representative of my district? Ah, apparently he had once vacationed here as a child!

    He lost in 2006, but won in 2008. The last time I voted in my old district I had the distinct pleasure of voting him out of office. But now he’s back running in another district down here. What the Hell? He even got boatloads of money from out of state so that he could hand-pick his Republican challenger. (He ran more ads in the Republican primary than all the Republican candidates combined, based on what I personally observed.) Guess what, Grayson wasn’t interested in choosing the strongest possible challenger.

    Representative democracy? Representative of what?

  • michael reynolds

    Steve V:

    I’m going to guess the “Michael” referred to is me.

    I filed my 2011 taxes a couple weeks ago — I’m always late. Disorganized, behind, etc… It seems between feds and California I owe about 200 grand. Ouch. It’s been a tough year in the sense that I’ve caught up on a lot of old tax payments (seriously, I have the accounting and management skills of a three year-old) plus, under the supervision of a hired grown-up, staying at par on 2012. So, once I find the 200 (not as easy as you might think) I’ll be all caught up and life will be sunshine and happiness.

    Still. 200 grand. I make a good living, but damn.

    Tomorrow I’m going to my polling place (I’ll figure out where it is, or my wife will,) and I will vote for a president who will raise my federal taxes. And I’ll vote for a state proposition that will raise my state taxes.

    Why do you think I’m going to be doing that? Because I think I need the government? Well, kind of. I mean, I’m capable of going broke, no question. I’ve been poor so I’m always feeling that possibility looming up behind me. But the reality is I’ve been in the 1% for something like 20 years now. And given that I have more offers of work than I can actually handle, I’m probably not going to be on the streets any time soon.

    So maybe we can agree that I’m not the likely recipient of my own taxes. And I think we can probably also agree that since my taxable income last year was 750k and will most likely be higher in 2012, and that 100% of that is the result of my work and my wife’s work, and we are not in health care or defense or any other government business, that I probably don’t really feel that I need government to subsidize me or direct my labors. Right?

    Here’s why I’m going to vote to get hammered even harder next year: because if you or your daughter (IIRC) gets sick, and you lose your job, and lose your insurance, I don’t want you bankrupted and living in a cardboard box.

    Now, you are of course free to rail at me for condescending or for taking your possible burdens on myself. I don’t care. Your inability to imagine a bleak future is irrelevant. I still don’t want you sick and homeless. I don’t care what you think of it, because it’s not really about you, it’s about the world I want to live in and raise my kids in. I don’t want my children growing up as citizens of a country that doesn’t give a shit about its citizens.

    This is 2012. This is the richest most powerful country on earth, indeed in the history of planet earth. So whatever Galt fantasies you may have, I don’t want my country to turn its back on people who get shit on by life. Hopefully you never need it, I never need it, Dave never needs it. Hopefully we’re all drinking excellent Scotch at some dimly-lit bar and having a great time when we’re 93. But the country that lets you lose everything because you throw an embolism or grow a tumor is not the United States I want to live in.

    I will pay for the schools and hospitals and old folks and even the stupid crap because I can. Because life dealt me three aces on the first deal. Because I have a better life than I deserve, a better life than I have earned, and I would deserve the mythical fires of hell if I took that to mean that I should do nothing more than line my pockets and ensure my own comfort. It may well be that despite my atheism my Christian upbringing and Jewish heritage left their mark on me. I don’t believe in God, but I believe in good and evil. And evil would be me making my life about nothing but me and saying to hell with everyone else. That’s not how you build a civilization, it’s not how you strive toward virtue, it’s not how you discharge your responsibility, and that’s not the man I’m going to be.

    Now, none of this costs you a damn penny, unless you’re doing very well. None of this limits your freedom. I’m putting a safety net under you but if you don’t want to fall into it my advice is: don’t. I would love that. If you need me to be indifferent to your fate in order to face up to your own responsibilities, well, you have bigger problems. I’m personally going to bust my ass not to need that selfsame safety net, and I assume you’re as determined as I am on that score.

    But whatever your position, Steve, I’m going out tomorrow and vote to support my government, my country, my fellow Americans, and assorted fcked-up foreigners, hangers-on and losers. If it’s any comfort to you, I won’t enjoy it.

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    The reason that your taxes are not higher is loopholes. If you were to take the standard deductions, your tax bill would increase substantially, and it would simplify your tax return. All the deductions you have itemized are loopholes.

    Unless the loopholes are eliminated, your upper income will still be protected from the higher tax rates, and therefore, any increases in those rates will have minimal impact upon you. If the impact is too great, some evil Republican will create a new loophole for you to use, and you can piss and moan about the horror of it all.

    Newsflash: You live in a country that does not give a sh*t about its worse off citizens. Their condition is only relevant as a political issue. Hurricane Sandy occurred too late to be of much use in the 2012 elections, and the 2014 and 2016 elections are too far away. They will quickly learn that the country does not give a sh*t about them.

    What is facing them as they try to rebuild and put their lives back together is unimaginable. Billions of dollars will be spent on their behalf, and they will receive little benefit from it. The country will pat itself on the back and walk away.

  • Dixville Notch is predicting DOOM!

  • You have to read Engineer Scotty’s comment here, Ice.

  • You live in a country that does not give a sh*t about its worse off citizens. Their condition is only relevant as a political issue. Hurricane Sandy occurred too late to be of much use in the 2012 elections, and the 2014 and 2016 elections are too far away. They will quickly learn that the country does not give a sh*t about them.

    Oh, TB, the worse off people already know that the country doesn’t give a shit about them. The revelation this time around will be that a lot of middle class people will discover that their lords and masters don’t give a shit about THEM, either.

  • Anyway, it’s Daniel Larison’s last blog piece at TAC.

  • Busted link, Janis.

  • You must mean this:

    The GOP, or specific factions therein, are the heirs to Jackson, and have been for some time.

    But the reason conservatives are being “taken for a ride by Romney” is a simple one–they utterly dislike the President, and are willing to vote for anyone on the ballot who is Not Obama. Out of nearly 300 million Americans who possess the qualification of being Not Barack Obama, however, the GOP got stuck with Willard Romney.

  • I don’t see why conservatives should be held as the only ones being taken for a ride. Obama has been worse than Bush on civil rights, he’s done nothing for the poor in the country while supporting corporate (and union leadership) welfare, and he keeps looking for more countries to bomb, more women and children to blow up. Blacks are doing worse now than they were four years ago. (This I can see every day when I see all the abandoned houses in my neighborhood as I open the curtains every morning.) But guess who’s going to go out and vote for Barry?

    Face it, it’s all about the rich and powerful people in this country deciding how the spoils get divided. Everyone else is just chattel. All we get to do is decide who gets to fuck us over.

  • Neither my brother nor I have yet heard back from Sunoco. Rocky Swine won’t call back. Oh, wait, that’s “Swain”.

  • I’m wearing my red, white and blue multi-stranded Indian beaded necklace today. I call it my “warpath” necklace.

  • TastyBits

    I followed the link from Daniel Larison’s post, but I could not get past the first paragraph. Nixon was a liberal. The EPA was his creation, and he was trying to get price controls in place.

    Nixon’s victory was vitiated by Watergate and quickly revenged by Woodward and Bernstein …

    Nixon was a scumbag, and he should have been tarred and feathered. Michael Walsh is an idiot.

  • PD Shaw

    I’m wearing my Abraham Lincoln tie.

    It seemed like the polling place was more crowded than usual, but it may merely reflect the fact that there are 30% fewer polling places this year.

    The interesting story to me was student early voting. State law this year required public universities to have early voting booths for several days in high traffic areas on campus. The U of Illinois at Springfield campus totalled 23 votes over six days for a cost of approximately $100 per vote. The campus has 5,000 students plus staff. I can’t find the final numbers for the main campus of U of I (Champaign-Urbana), but it was only 516 votes cast midway through early voting. The school has 43,000 students and 11,000 staff. This is so far off of what my expectations would be.

  • This necklace goes really well with the red Noconas.

  • Hope, change and a C-note per vote.

  • PD Shaw

    Walsh is conflating conservatism, populism and Jacksonian populism. Nixon might be considered a populist, or at least he utilized the tools of populism far better than the Democratic Party of his era. Jackson had an ideology rooted in the intrinsic value of the common man sprinkled with a desire to punish political enemies. Nixon might be a Jacksonian populist.

    William Henry Harrison was an anti-Jackson populist, whose ambitious powerpoint presentation at his inaugural went on too long, killing him. Romney might be more in the mold of this type of populist, someone who is more optimistic about the virtues of free market capitalism, belief in religious virtue, and a role for government in self-improvement.

    But frankly Romney only appears populist in comparison to Obama, and probably wouldn’t even appear so at all if he were the incumbent and Obama was the challenger.

  • Who knows what Romney is?

  • You know, if I drove down to Baton Rouge, it’s just a puddle jump to Houston, where Rocky boy is. Heck, I could be back in time to feed the birds dinner.

  • michael reynolds

    Tasty:

    Unless the loopholes are eliminated, your upper income will still be protected from the higher tax rates, and therefore, any increases in those rates will have minimal impact upon you. If the impact is too great, some evil Republican will create a new loophole for you to use, and you can piss and moan about the horror of it all.

    I wish I knew what loopholes you’re talking about. I don’t seem to have any of them. The notion that higher tax rates don’t affect upper incomes is a lie perpetrated to breed a sense of helplessness in less well-off folks. The above-quoted tax bill isn’t my full amount, it’s my overdue amount. The effective fed tax rate is about 1/3, give or take. When I paid taxes in the Clinton years it was 39%. No loopholes.

    In fact, if you apply a bit of logic you may wonder why if the rich are not affected by higher tax rates so many seem so desperate to avoid higher tax rates. If they didn’t matter, “we” wouldn’t care. Right?

  • whose ambitious powerpoint presentation at his inaugural went on too long, killing him.

    That’s a serious danger with any long powerpoint presentation.

  • Yard sign update: Today I’ve seen several Romney signs around Pine Hills and not just at the polling places. My polling place had a couple of Romney signs and a BUNCH of Obama signs. The polling station over on Clarcona-Ocoee Road had nothing but Romney signs. That’s on the fringe of Pine Hills and probably serves Clarcona, Lockhart and Rosemont.

    And not only have I seen Romney signs on the roadsides, but two houses _in_my_neighborhood_ have put up Romney signs. I took a picture of one yard. One house not only had a Romney/Ryan sign, but a “FIRE OBAMA” sign in his yard. What guts! Maybe I’ll get out this afternoon after the schools let out. I won’t be surprised if they’re all ripped down by 5 o’clock.

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    Every penny over the standard deduction is a loophole designed by someone to shield their income. One man’s tax incentive is another’s loophole. The mortgage interest deduction is a loophole to the renter. Home office, business expenses, heavy vehicles, llama farms, charity, etc. are all loopholes.

    These loopholes allow income to be adjusted at the top not the bottom. This allows less money to be subjected to the top tax rates. Eliminate the loopholes, and the rich will begin to pay their fair share.

    My problem with raising the taxes on the rich is that I will soon be defined as rich. At one time a millionaire made $1,000,000 a year. Now a millionaire makes $250,000 a year, and soon it will be $100,000 a year.

    The tax rate argument is political. The rich Republicans know they will create more loopholes to avoid the increased taxes. They whine about taxes to garner votes. The rich Democrats know the Republicans will create more loopholes for them to use. The Democrats while about taxes to garner more votes.

    If the Republicans had any sense, they would agree to raise the rates if the loopholes are eliminated, or the loopholes could shield the bottom income. Like you have noted, the Republicans are retarded. If you think you are working towards some higher goal, you are retarded also.

    I do not care how much or how little you pay. I care about my wallet, and the wallets of those people like me. We are all being feed a sh*t sandwich, but yours has a lot more bread. I do not have a problem with that, but please do not patronize me. Taking some bread away from your sh*t sandwich means eventually I will pay for it.

    Just to be fair, I want the Republicans out of my life. I do not care about their social issues, and I damn sure do not want them in my bedroom. They can go f*ck themselves also. Ensuring my sandwich only contains sh*t from straight animals does not make my sh*t sandwich any more tasty.

    It’s about power and money. It always has been, and it always will be.

  • Michael,

    Yes, I was referring to you.

    Now, none of this costs you a damn penny, unless you’re doing very well. None of this limits your freedom.

    Sure it does Michael. If you favor more government, and if most people in the U.S. favor more government and with that more rules, regulations and laws that necessarily means less freedom. Less ability to make choices. Because of 9/11 and Bush and the Patriot Act photography is practically a crime these days for example.

    And evil would be me making my life about nothing but me and saying to hell with everyone else.

    This is where you need to be whacked with a 2×4 with the word clue carved into it. I have nowhere said that you should adopt this philosophy. There is nothing in libertarian/minarchist/anarchist philosophy that suggests this is the view to hold. This is purely something your infantile mind has made up as a way to justify insulting people like me.

    To put it mildly you don’t know what the f*ck you are talking about when you talk about the libertarian (broadly defined) philosophy. It isn’t about trying to screw everyone over all the time or even part of the time. Ultimately it is about trying to minimize the reliance on force and violence to get things done. To promote voluntary interactions instead. Seriously, what is wrong with that?

    That’s not how you build a civilization, it’s not how you strive toward virtue, it’s not how you discharge your responsibility, and that’s not the man I’m going to be.

    Please, you aren’t a man. You are a child who needs to be told when to clean his room. Sorry couldn’t resist.

    Seriously though, I know that isn’t how you build a civilization. I’d also argue it isn’t good to build a civilization by expanding the use of force and violence. That is ultimately what government is. It is force and violence. “Don’t do this, or else.” That is a threat…a threat of force and/or violence. I’m saying we should be trying to go in the other direction.

    Here let me try this…..

    In the past you have argued that he growing power of corporations is a bad thing. I agree with but with some caveats I’ll get to in a bit. Okay, I’m going to assume you, like me and probably everyone here, think that monopoly is a bad thing. Monopolies raise prices, lower output (which is how they raise the price), and don’t hire as many workers/inputs as they otherwise would. There isn’t much of anything good with monopoly.

    Now, I’m going to also assume that you, like me, think force and violence are not good things (generally speaking, self defense is one obvious exception). Now, why is it good to have an entity that has a monopoly on force and violence and to grant it more and more of a role in our lives? That seems like doubly down on bad to me.

    I agree that helping out the less fortunate is a good thing. The idea of a safety net is appealing. What is objectionable is the force and violence in obtaining that outcome. Maybe it can’t be done except by force and violence, but if that is the case we shouldn’t just be blithely increasing the power an scope of government. Yes our government is pretty good by comparison, but it still relies on force and violence or at least the threat there of. Spend a couple of weeks reading <a href="http://www.theagitator.com. Go back through the archives under the categories “police professionalism”. “police militarization”, “police informants”, and “general criminal justice”. I’ll warn you now it is extremely depressing. It isn’t the money that is the issue for me. It is the growing reliance on force and violence (or the threat of) that bothers me.

    Which brings me to corporate power. I agree it is a problem, but mainly when there is a government that is overly influence by corporations….which is what I see today…under both Democrats and Republicans. I see it as an inherent problem with an activist government. So yes, I want in many ways less government. I don’t want government telling me what to buy, what to eat, etc. Because I see that as being something absolutely wonderful for corporations (at least the one’s that win the influence game anyways–i.e. mostly big ones) and absolutely horrible for individuals and small businesses.

    Now really, do I sound like somebody who simply doesn’t want to be told clean my room and is looking to fuck everyone over? If you answer yes, then just don’t bother responding. Simply go away as we have absolutely nothing to talk about.

  • My BIL has gracefully volunteered to take on my little problem. He’ll find something out. He has made a lot of money representing Exxon from time to time.

  • Yeppers, I voted for GJ at 8:30 this morning.

    Louisiana requires photo ID. No one bucks at it. I believe it’s because we have well-oiled GOTV orgs down here that will work with that elderly black man to acquire one.

  • Or white woman, or whatever.

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    If your beloved Democrats were so concerned with having the rich pay a little more, why did they not do something about it? They had the House, a filibuster-proof Senate, and the White House. I guess they are like my stepson. They forgot to do something. This provided them with a political issue, but that was just a coincidence. Yeah, right.

    They could have let the Bush Tax Cuts expire. They could have passed legislation to increase taxes on the rich and to retain the tax cuts for the middle class, and this would become effective when the Bush Tax Cuts expired. They could have increased tax cuts on the rich, and left the Bush Tax Cuts in place.

    Democrats are out for themselves. It is time to grow up and realize that Democrats and Republicans work together. They are playing you and your Republican counterparts. If the game seems to stop, it’s a setup, and you are the mark.

    It’s all about power and money. That’s the game, baby, and it don’t never end.

  • PD Shaw

    The Glittering Eye awaits with trepidation:

    Of course, it wouldn’t be a Chicago election without soused judges. At least two — I’ll pass on the names, if I get them — have been removed from their posts so far and presumably sent somewhere to sleep it off.

    Chicago Business

  • Steve V, that Radley Balko is somebody. I have a lot of admiration for him. He saves lives.

  • Janis,

    No kidding, he was one of the people directly responsible for saving Corey Maye. Without Radley’s reporting on Corey Maye’s situation he probably would have been executed.

    He doesn’t get into the economics of libertarianism too much, but he sure has helped me solidify some of my views like on the death penalty.

  • I like his taste in music, too. And his photographs. And his dogs.

    Even his girl. She looks like a nice one.

  • Like I said, extremely depressing.

    For those of you that are new to Balko’s site, he dug up Hayne several years ago. Hayne was involved in the Corey Maye case, but Hayne was a veritable gold mine for a journalist.

    Hayne did something 1,500 of autopsies a year. That is way more than the American Board of Pathology recommends (I think the maximum number recommended is like 250-300/year). To give you an idea that is about 4 autopsies a day for every day of the year. In other words Hayne is doing sloppy and rushed work. See these two case for example,

    Levon Brooks
    Kennedy Brewer

    Hayne was involved in both of those cases and brought in his buddy Michael West a dentist. West testified that he found bite marks in both cases, in the Brooks case West testified that Brooks bit the young girl while rapping her and who was later killed. Similarly in the Brewer case West claimed he found evidence that Brewer bit the young girl while raping her and she was also later killed.

    Notice something about those two cases…they are extremely similar….like the same person did both crimes. But Brooks and Brewer were never connected to each other and after all West said each man was responsible for the killing of the girl they each knew. Brewer was sentenced to death and Brooks life in prison.

    Turns out that both murders were done another man, Justin Albert Johnson, one of the original suspects. So Hayne’s slipshod methods and outright deceptions along with the fraudulent methods of his accomplice Michael West put two innocent men in prison, one on death row, and let the real killer go free for years. All of this was aided and abetted by the district attorney Forrest Allgood who up until the point of Johnson’s confession and the DNA evidence linking him one of the cases insisted on the guilt of both Brooks and Brewer.

    A complete and utter failure of the justice system because of a greedy, incompetent sleaze bag who has no problem giving cops the answers they want to hear. And remember, Hayne has done 1,500 autopsies for over 2 decades. Do the math, there are possible tens of thousands of cases that could potentially need to be retried with new forensics work (if it is at all possible) due to this guys…evil. And this guy works for the government.

    Michael is right, evil exists. And when evil people get into government it is worse than when they get into business. Business does not have the legal authority to execute people….in this country government does.

    And if anybody is tempted to say, “yeah it is just two cases….” sorry Balko has found many instances of where Hayne’s testimony has been nearly unbelievable such as his claim that by the bullet wound he can tell if one or two people held the gun, and his shoddy work in the Corey Maye case. It isn’t just two cases, it is dozens if not hundreds and quite possibly even thousands where people have been wrongfully convicted.

    If Hayne was in business making some sort of product there would have been a massive recall years ago and he’d be out of business. Unfortunately he just keeps right on going because fuck it…government doesn’t even have to play by its own rules.

  • Big turn out at the four precincts I drove by today. Two in Pine Hills have long lines. Those lines are comprised almost entirely of black people. There is a VERY long line at Calvary Church in Winter Garden – reports speak of waits up to four hours long. Those folks will vote heavily for Romney. The Clarcona-Ocoee Road location (the one near OBT, there are probably others) had long lines around mid-day, didn’t drive by them this evening. Saw another house for Romney in my neighborhood this afternoon, at the house a friend of mine (Plasmaball!) used to live in. He and his father will be happy to hear that. Lots of Romney bumper stickers have appeared today in Pine Hills. I bet they disappear tonight, one way or the other.

  • steve

    “And when evil people get into government it is worse than when they get into business. Business does not have the legal authority to execute people….in this country government does.”

    In a Westphalian state, only the government has the legitimate use of violence. Hence, this is a bit like blaming women for having all of the miscarriages in our nation. Anyway, does govt. get credit for the lives it saves? The vaccinations, the antibiotics discovered, police, fire departments, military, etc.? If we compare living standards in places w/o govt and those with, how do they compare?

    Steve

  • steve, how about places where the government is the whole show? How about Stalinist USSR? How about Maoist China? After all your argument is that government is a net good, so maximal government must be the way to get the maximal gain.

  • Wow. The American people are voting for 8% unemployment (with historically low participation rates), 46 million people on food stamps (and rising), declining median incomes, dead ambassadors and divided government that can’t get anything done. Wow. The exact same cast of characters from the last two years will be in charge for at least another two. Wow.

  • steve

    No. I was just disputing Verdon’s idea that govt is always bad. I think that govt is like lots of things in life. Not enough is bad, too much is bad and we have a hard time figuring out where we should be in the middle.

    FTR, I think Verdon probably believes this also, but it would be hard for him to admit that govt has ever done anything good, at least in public. I have read Balko for years, and frequently cited him. I have no problem admitting that individuals within govt behave badly. But, especially within the judicial/legal system, I dont see that making govt smaller is the answer. They are often the most corrupt at the local level, as he cites above. I think the better approach is to figure out what we want govt to do, then not have it do anymore. It should only be stuff that we are willing to pay for.

    Steve

  • It should only be stuff that we are willing to pay for.

    And that explains why you’re for the party of institutionalized trillion dollar deficits how?

  • So the American people have voted for increased spending (Obama & a Democratic Senate) and no new taxes (a Republican House). Boehner has already given his speech tonight stating that he has been given a clear mandate to oppose Obama on any and all tax increases. No doubt later tonight Reid and Obama will give speeches where they correctly declaim their mandates to increase spending and raise Michael and Drew’s tax rates to 100%.

    So what’s going to happen? We’re going to go over the cliff. We’re going to get big tax hikes on everyone and somewhat deep spending cuts. The exact opposite of what the American people have voted for is what they’re going to get.

  • SO I flip over to the Ball State-Toledo football game. Naturally, it’s a tie late in the game.

  • Well, the Ball State game is no longer tied, and neither is anything else.

  • Good news for Michael tonight. I will never work again, and I guess I may as well quit trying. He and his party can proceed with crushing the white middle class in favor of poor minorities.

    Good news for steve tonight, the government will keep funneling trillions into his profession. (Although honestly, that was going to continue regardless.)

    Good news for Steve V. tonight, he didn’t waste his time in line.

    And the best news of the night is for Drew. He can retire now, as there’s no point in working any more.

  • If the Republicans would develop the sense to not run my friends, family, and me down, they might have a better chance next time.

  • TastyBits

    @Icepick

    … raise Michael and Drew’s tax rates to 100%.

    Both of them know that the tax rate increases will be offset by additional loopholes. I cannot afford solar panels, electric car, home office, “business expenses”, or a llama farm.

    You might want to get a copy of Sheila Bair’s book. I am less than half way through it, but it is confirming everything I knew and a few things I suspected. I am making a naughty list, and Timmy Geithner is definitely on it.

  • I want to read that book. I read an excerpt the other day.

  • TastyBits

    @Janis Gore

    The Republican partisans are saying that Mitt Romney was not conservative enough. Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, etc. will now double-down in an effort to win you over.

  • That should be fun for them.

  • Janis, TB, you’re both wrong, and so are those saying Romney wasn’t conservative enough. It’s a very simple result. Single women voted for the party that will give them goodies. Minorities voted for the people that will give them goodies. Government workers voted for the party that will give them more goodies. Rich corporate types voted for the people that will give them more money. Unions voted for the party that will give them goodies. People living in broken homes voted for the party that will give them goodies.

    There’s more of them now than there is anyone else. So the people that hand out goodies and admit it and revel in it won. The party that doesn’t give out as much and doesn’t revel in it (except for defense spending) lost. It’s Democrats all the way from now on. No Republican will ever win the Presidency again. Nor will anyone that doesn’t promise to tax those rich people into poverty so that they can give out more goodies to everyone else. The Republicans will never take back the Senate. They’ll lose ground in the House steadily from now until the next re-apportionment. (Unless they lose it in a landslide.)

    The only time we won’t get trillion dollar deficits will be maybe next year when we go over the cliff. But even there, revenues will likely fall as the economy tanks. Once that drubs the Republicans enough in Congress we will double down on stupid. We will have a two trillion dollar deficit before Obama’s new term is over. Reynolds will tell me how wonderful that is. (And I remember when Reynolds told me Obama would have unemployment under 6% by March of 2010. Hah! Like he or Obama ever wanted anything but a ruined economy to increase the vote totals for the Democrats!)

    Last week I was speaking to my crazy neighbor. He’s a conspiracy theorist. He believes that all the people that lived in the now vacant houses in our neighborhood were sent to FEMA-run death camps. No shit! That’s his opinion of the government. THIS government, run by THIS President!

    Anyway, last week we were standing in the yard as his youngest son (almost two) and my daughter (almost two and a half) examined each other. He asked me when we were going to give my daughter a little brother. I told him we couldn’t afford it. He looked at me funny and said “The government will pay for it!”

    Just like that. He believes in FEMA death camps, but he is also on the dole and doesn’t understand why I’m not. He’s got four children and the government is paying for most of their upbringing. (One by a previous wife, three with his girlfriend.)

    Tonight I feel like a fool that Kim and I even try to stay off the dole. What the fuck, why not give up? Reynolds wants us all on welfare, and his party is working to make certain that’s what happens. And now I’m looking at never working again the rest of my life. There’s no hope, and the country likes that there’s no hope. Revolting.

  • Meanwhile, a message we’ve heard from Reynolds over and over again: “Fuck white people!”

  • Finally, I was hearing tonight about the improving economy. About six weeks ago a friend went dark on facebook with a cryptic message that she needed to get away from it for a while. Turns out her husband, who had regained his old job earlier this year after almost four years of unemployment, had lost his job again. Turns out there wasn’t enough business to rehire people.

    Two weeks ago a friend of Kim’s found out she’s being laid off after 20 years with her company.

    Three days ago Kim got a call from her mother. Her mother is losing HER job after 20 years with her company. She’s in California. There’s little chance she’ll get another job, and she needs to work for another few years before she can retire.

    This is what America just voted for more of. This is what Obama is proud of. He’s glowing right now talking about what a fantastic job he has done as President and promising to do more of it to us. Fantastic.

  • Romney could have had my vote had he publicly repudiated a lot of the nonsense that his fellow Republicans were carrying on with, but he didn’t. And, in some cases didn’t want to. He named Paul Ryan his vice-president. I’ve said time and again that I have a visceral dislike for the man.

    That’s why Gary Johnson got my vote.

  • TastyBits

    @Icepick

    The pissed-off voters were always going to vote for Mitt Romney. They are center-right and right voters, and their positions on social issues and some foreign affairs are the same as President Bush’s during his Presidency. They did not vote for John McCain. Most did not vote, and some voted for Barack Obama.

    The election was always about who could get the Clinton Democrats. These are center-left voters, and their positions are the same as President Clinton’s during his Presidency. Given the choice between left or right, they pick the left, but given the choice between left or center-right, they will pick center-right.

    When a question about abortion came up, Romney took a center position, but due to the carping by the right, he moved right. He was beginning to attract the female Clinton Democrats, but this move lost a lot of them. Had he stood up to the right, he may have been able to keep them, but this would have caused the right to get louder.

    The right is clueless about the center-right voters much less these center-left voters. The left does not fully understand these voters, but these voters will default to the left. The right will now alienate both these groups in an attempt to win them over.

    —-

    Most of the people getting government assistance do not want goodies. They are scared. The unemployed are scared of losing the unemployment, food stamps, Medicare, etc. They have little prospect of getting a job any time soon, and they are barely making it. The Republicans tell them to “buck up”, “apply themselves”, etc., and they talk about eliminating these programs.

    This is the same for many people on the lower end. Going “on the dole” is easy, but getting off it is not. It is like crack. You can hit the pipe occasionally, but if you keep it up, you will be turning tricks for “daddy”.

    —-

    The Republicans will try to impeach President Obama over the Benghazi incident, and this will work as well as their last attempt. I think a lot of the Democrat’s animosity stems from this. I do not think that either party deserves to be in charge of the Senate or House, but I applaud gridlock. It keeps them out of my wallet, pantry, and bedroom.

    Personally, I do not care if a Republican ever wins the White House, but it doesn’t matter anyway. For all their bluster about each other, they seem able to pass legislation that benefits them. @michael reynolds, @jan, @steve, @Drew fight each other at the behest of the politicians, but these politicians are playing them.

    —-

    A resolution to the fiscal cliff will be worked out during the last week of December. The tax cuts for the middle class will be kept, and the tax cuts for the rich will be tossed. It will will include something to allow both sides to claim victory and bi-partisanship. There will be loopholes included, but these will be called tax incentives. The rich will not pay any more, and they may pay less.

    The economy will chug along, and the pace should pick up. Businesses can now plan for the next several years, and this will allow them to move forward. The stock market may tank initially, but it will come back quickly. The stock market is being propped up by the excess money sloshing around.

    Defense spending will be restored. They will probably pass a budget, and it may start to eliminate the deficits.

    —-

    @michael reynolds does not want everybody on government assistance. He only wants those who need it, but most people fall into that group. He assumes that people are helpless, evil, or enlightened, but a few are self sufficient. If you accept this premise, he makes sense. On the other hand, the Democratic politicians do want as many people as possible on welfare, but he has not figured this out.

    At the present rate, it will take about 10 years to get all of today’s unemployed back to work, and there is a good chance that you will never work again. Not being able to find a job makes you helpless, and @michael reynolds and the Democrats will provide government assistance for you. The Republicans are equally worthless.

    —-

    You were always going to get screwed. The Republicans were going to lube you, and the Democrats were going to whisper sweet nothings into your ear. You would rather the lube, but you are going to take it up the a$$ one way or the other.

  • Most of the people getting government assistance do not want goodies. They are scared.

    I don’t know, TB. I’m seeing people get very used to it. Especially since they don’t see any prospects for ever getting back on their feet.

    But your other stuff is irrelevant. This is about goodies. When someone going to one of the better known law schools in the country demands that the government give her all the condoms, sponges, spermicides and hormone pills she wants because she doesn’t want to buy them herself, then we’re lost. We’re talking about someone looking to get into six figure incomes quickly in life, but she wants free hand-outs from the government. A fucking joke, and that’s not just cursing.

    It’s all about goodies now.

    I knew I was going to get screwed regardless. I had written much about it. But then I had actually looked at budget numbers and various proposals and knew what was going to happen. But the American people on the whole didn’t do that, nor did they listen to those few like us who thought there wasn’t that much difference. Now, to the voters they were presented with a proclaimed path to dependency and a proclaimed path elsewhere. They choose dependency. It doesn’t matter than both roads led to the same place, because they didn’t know that.

    And now, for my troubles, I get to be called a racist for the rest of my life for opposing things I opposed before the black Jesus Mohammed came along.

  • At the present rate, it will take about 10 years to get all of today’s unemployed back to work….

    Please. Obama’s EPA is about to come down on the coal and natural gas industry HARD, especially after they didn’t vote for him tonight. Fracking is going to be ended soon enough too. So much for the energy boom and the possibility of a competitive advantage in manufacturing. Those of us out of work are never going to work again. I’m going to let the group I’ve been working with know I’m quitting. It’s depressing enough logging all the info on the newly unemployed members we get. Knowing that they’re all completely hosed is just going to make it unbearable. I can’t even remember the last time one of them got a full time job. The jobs just aren’t there any more and they’re never coming back.

  • The good news is that the chickens are already coming home to roost. I wonder if the President will even bother to talk to anyone in Congress or if he’ll just go on another vacation.

  • Ice, reorient yourself entirely.

    You are a homebound father of a little girl. You write well, you’re very funny, and you have the ability to be dead honest. That’s a winning combination.

    Put together an essay, and market it to the bazillion parent magazines out there. Become the original Daddy blogger. You can make a mint.

  • steve

    “And that explains why you’re for the party of institutionalized trillion dollar deficits how?”

    No, I stopped voting, mostly, for the GOP.

    “It’s all about goodies now.”

    Not entirely. Dave writes mostly about foreign policy and economic issues. He largely ignores social issues. My sense is that the social conservative really do worry a lot of women and young voters. I also know form years of practical experience that it is the women in the family who manage health care issues. In my corporation of physicians and nurses, almost none of the men actually know what is in their health insurance policies. It is almost always the women who understand the policy and also take the initiative to make sure everyone gets proper care.

    This doesnt necessarily mean that women would be bonded to the Democratic version of health care reform, but the GOP has never pursued it at all. When in power, they pretty much ignore the issue. If the GOP were to actively pursue the issue, and get the social cons to back down, they would get more of the young adult and female vote.

    Steve

  • And when you write, write for us here at this blog as your audience.

    You’ll have fun, you’ll do good, and I think you’ll make money.

  • Others are touching on the same thing, steve.

    I was 36 when I married the love of my life. I was not a virgin, I had used contraceptives for years, I had lived as housemate with my gay brother and his partner for 10 years, I had pursued my own education, and made my own career. I may be in my fifties, but I’m not a fifties woman.

    I was taught by excellent black teachers. I competed, sometimes unsuccessfully with black classmates.

    The current orientation of the Republican party turns my stomach.

  • No, I stopped voting, mostly, for the GOP.

    That’s disingenuous claptrap. That’s like Obama’s bullshit line about how he’s cut spending. A total fucking lie. And typical of a doctor to tell a complete bullshit story and expect people to buy it because you’re an MD.

    And yes, I’m sure the Republicans would do so much better if they did exactly as the Democrats do on every single issue. I’ll also note that what you are advocating is that the Republicans give more money to your profession.

  • Janis, Daddy blogging is already a thing, though not all that big a thing. No one gives a shit about fathers. I’d get a bigger blog audience as a meth-head prostitute with eleven children on welfare talking about her genital warts than as a daddy blogger. Fathers are so 1950s, as are married people, as are parents not on welfare, as are white Anglo-Saxon protestants (unless they’re gay). The only possible way I could be more out of touch and less fashionable is if I was rich, too. (Alas.) The country just doesn’t want me or people like me any more.

  • I do.

  • Janis, the country doesn’t have much use for you either. Look around. Why do you think you’re having so much trouble with a simple matter of paperwork? You’re out of fashion, too.

  • Honey, I was never quite in fashion.

  • Not even with your footwear?

  • I’m just catching up now.

  • And yesterday I was wearing my red Noconas with my warpath necklace, a denim workshirt and jeans, and driving ma red Tahoe.

    A black woman in the parking lot at the grocery store complimented me on the boots and said, “Girl, you got it goin’ on.”

  • TastyBits

    @Icepick

    Sandra Fluke is a partisan. She is trying to help the Democrats, and she would advocate amputating little toes if it would help.

    There will always be people who want goodies, but many of the people who want goodies today would prefer a prosperous future. You should be familiar with the unemployed. How many of these people would trade their government assistance for a good job with a chance for advancement. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not think the country is full of deadbeats and malcontents.

    For many of the people who want goodies, the choice was between barely hanging on and being kicked to the curb. With the exception of the first debate, Mitt Romney never explained how he was going to make life better for these people. Mostly, Republicans have written off blacks, and they take the white underclass for granted. They will spend some energy trying to attract women and hispanics. The 47% remarks resonant with center-left and center-right voters.

    Big business and big government control the US. Mitt Romney may have been able to protect some of the smaller business, but that was a big maybe. Democrats can blather on and on about Wall Street fat cats, but if they were really concerned, Timothy Geithner is the last person you would put in charge. I did not realize how much he was in the pockets of those dirtbags.

    A lot of people read these comments, and often, I am writing for that wider audience. A few people reading my comments may begin to rethink what they think they know, and I was reminding you that you were always going to lose. I got used to it a long, long time ago.

    I have probably studied too much history, but great nations/empires/city-states come and go. The bigger the entity, the longer the decline and fall. When they finally collapse, they are usually not replaced until almost all remnants have been extinguished. I do not know if the US is in decline or not, but if it is, it will take a while to fully collapse.

    I have been called a racist by a few black people, and I was defended by other black folks who know me. My defenders were not my friends, and none of them liked me. If I got run over by a car, none of them were going to cry, but they know right from wrong. I have more knowledge of the conditions lower income black (and white) folks have to endure than all the white liberals combined. I am guessing you have a fairly good understanding also.

    Regarding @Janis Gore’s comments about your writing, you know my opinion, and it has not changed.

  • steve

    “That’s disingenuous claptrap.”

    Nope. I actually look at the real numbers, not what some news media tells me. I believe you took some math courses. I recommend you do the same. Where I am probably influenced as a physician, at least partially, is being open to the idea that countercyclical spending makes sense. When my patients are sicker they get more attention, not less.

    I have also learned some humility about the limits of my expertise. I dont try to tell other specialties how to manage their patients. I think this may translate into a preference that we not intervene so much in the internal affairs of other countries. We really cant understand them as well as we think, so we make too many wrong decisions.

    Steve

  • TastyBits

    @Icepick

    … I’d get a bigger blog audience as a meth-head prostitute with eleven children on welfare talking about her genital warts than as a daddy blogger. …

    Interesting. If I had the time and inclination, I would write with a Hunter S. Thompson or Henry Miller style.

  • steve

    “I have probably studied too much history, but great nations/empires/city-states come and go. The bigger the entity, the longer the decline and fall. ”

    Interesting, but previous empires have been authoritarian governments, mostly monarchies. We are blazing the way here. My thinking has always been that as the rest of the world turns to some sort of democracy and to some sort of market economy, that we are likely to see more global equalization among countries. I suspect individual cities or regions within countries will do better than others, but the large gap between the US and everyone else was bound to decrease.

    However, I think the Marxist critique still has some validity. If all of the benefits from markets accrue to a tiny number of people, which is the historical norm, then the ensuing social unrest will create chaos and all bets are off. In the past this meant replacing one dictator with another. I am not sure how this will play out in a democracy.

    Steve

  • Ice, you’re really smart and a great observer. Whoever is writing in that field is not as good as you can be, I know it in my bones.

    Set up a new blog. Make it private. Just try it out. It might be fun.

  • is being open to the idea that countercyclical spending makes sense

    My concern is how many people, possibly including yourself, believe that procyclical spending also makes sense. We are now in the recovery phase of the cycle.

  • She is trying to help the Democrats, and she would advocate amputating little toes if it would help.

    I can get you a toe by 3 o’clock this afternoon, with nail polish.

  • My thinking has always been that as the rest of the world turns to some sort of democracy and to some sort of market economy, that we are likely to see more global equalization among countries. [em-PHA-sis added]

    Hmm, where have I heard that before?

  • You should be familiar with the unemployed. How many of these people would trade their government assistance for a good job with a chance for advancement. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not think the country is full of deadbeats and malcontents.

    TB, every time I meet the same cast of characters a few more are giving up, especially the older ones. This election is going to cement the process of many of these people just giving up. After all, the country apparently loves deadbeats, so why not join them?

  • TastyBits

    @Icepick

    The Walter Sobchak character is right, but a little ganga is not a bad idea – at least in Colorado. I wonder how many Colorado Republicans are hitting the bong.

  • Interesting. If I had the time and inclination, I would write with a Hunter S. Thompson or Henry Miller style.

    I’ve dabbled with that little. That is a viciously hard style and viciously hard to pull off. I imagine it helps if one is vicious and unhinged to begin with. I’m merely mean and quick to anger.

    I’m a big fan of James Ellroy. One of the reasons I appreciate him so much is that he is capable of writing well in a variety of styles, though I don’t think very many people notice. But oddly enough I do find other fans in the strangest places.

  • I’ve got no interest in pot or other consciousness altering drugs. I like some hard liquor now and again for that nice warm glow in the belly. (When I drink I typically take things neat.) It’ll be cold enough for that tonight.

  • TastyBits

    @Icepick

    I am not disagreeing about the unemployed becoming permanently discouraged, but they are not alone. Romney may have provided a sliver of hope for an improved future, but Obama provides a sliver of hope for a non-catastrophic today.

    The economy needs to work off the debt before it has a chance to get going, but that requires the “fat cats” to take substantial losses. Timothy Geithner ain’t gonna let that happen. He is owned by the Wall Street dirtbags, but he is too stupid to make any money from it. The Democrats can scream about President Bush all they want, but if they gave a rat’s a$$, Timothy Geithner would not be in charge of Wall Street.

    The sad reality is that a large number of people are being written off by both parties. Democrats feel they are helpless, and Republicans feel they are worthless. The big difference between the two parties is that the Democrats will go into these communities. The Republicans are waiting for those communities to come to them.

    The Democrats will also go to Wall Street and work for those people. Republicans are like Br’er Fox, and the keep throwing Br’er Democrats into the tax patch.

  • TastyBits

    @steve

    Historically, self-rule has been rare, and it usually ends when the decadence begins. Athens and Greece gave way to the Macedonian Empire. The Roman Republic gave way to the Roman Empire. The British Empire gave way to the US, but The US could be considered an extension of the British Empire.

    The problem with self-rule is not responsibility. Freedom imposes uncertainty, and this is a problem for most people throughout history. A strongman (King, Emperor, Czar, Sultan, Khan, etc.) or strong central government provides certainty. At some point the uncertainty becomes too great, and the majority demand certainty.

    In economics, the free-market is no different, and uncertainty gives way to certainty. The powerful can provide the certainty, and corporations can provide that certainty. Marx is an idiot, and he has been wrong everywhere his theories have been tried. The free-market will give way to Fascism.

    Fascism is a really great system as long as you are not deemed unacceptable. Fascism parades as populism, and it demonises the rich. In reality, it demonises the unconnected rich. Poor Jews have never been a problem, but rich Jews are. If they were connected with power, their wealth would be secure. Unfortunately, they cling to their religion, and that leads to problems.

    American Jews have solved the problem by becoming secular and connecting with the powerful. The Israeli Jews have solved this problem by becoming powerful.

    It is always about power and money, and the game is obtaining and keeping both. Money can buy power, but power can take money and keep it. If you are given a choice, always choose power.

  • steve,

    legitimate use of violence. Hence, this is a bit like blaming women for having all of the miscarriages in our nation.

    Wow, that is piss poor reasoning since you exclude the part about being evil and then try to liken it to a natural event women have no control over….really?

    No. I was just disputing Verdon’s idea that govt is always bad.

    To the extent that government can use force and violence on its own citizens, it is in general a bad thing. Something, if we must have it, that needs to be used sparingly and with caution. But nowadays we are running headlong into expanding the size and scope of government. Don’t like something pass a law, regulation or rule make people stop.

    FTR, I think Verdon probably believes this also, but it would be hard for him to admit that govt has ever done anything good, at least in public. I have read Balko for years, and frequently cited him.

    I think you should see a doctor about that memory loss. I’ve already admitted good things have come from the government, but often they are accidental–e.g. the internet. When it was being dreamed up nobody foresaw what it wold be like today. It was just going to be another communication system for the military. But when businesses got involved….

    But business is bad and dangerous!!!!!

    (Relax, I’m being sarcastic there in that last comment)

    My problem isn’t that government can’t help (a unified legal system is a good thing, national defense probably a good thing…when used for defense and not wars of aggression like now, and things like sewer systems and roads). My problem is that government is more intrusive than ever with virtually no limits when you sit down and think about what the current interpretation of the commerce clause fully implies and then couple that with the government’s reliance of force and violence. You clearly see the threat of force and violence and even the application of it as non-problematic.

    Ice,

    So the American people have voted for increased spending (Obama & a Democratic Senate) and no new taxes (a Republican House).

    Not at all surprising when you think about voting mechanisms and how they lead to intransitive preference orderings at the societal level. Yes it is coherent…welcome to my world…

    This is why I think guys like steve are well meaning but a bit daft. You look at all of the literature on voting mechanisms and they are replete with failures, incoherent outcomes, inefficient outcomes, etc. The very few “good” outcomes depend on very special cases (e.g. a single issue election, with a distribution of voter preferences that is symmetrical about the median–toss out that asymmetry and you get either too much or too little of what is to be provided).

    We don’t want government doing more and more for precisely this kind of reason. Add on the force and violence aspect of government and it becomes much worse.

    Good news for Steve V. tonight, he didn’t waste his time in line.

    Nope, had a good time blowing stuff up in World of Tanks instead. When somebody popped into the team speak channel saying Obama won it reminded me today was election day.

    TB,

    Most of the people getting government assistance do not want goodies. They are scared.

    I would interpret the “goodies” as the government’s “help” in regards to the economic situation.

    steve,

    Where I am probably influenced as a physician, at least partially, is being open to the idea that countercyclical spending makes sense.

    And exactly when has that ever been done? Counter cyclical spending is you run deficits during recessions and surpluses/balanced budgets during expansions.*

    I think this may translate into a preference that we not intervene so much in the internal affairs of other countries.

    Then you explain Obama’s policies in that regard and your support for them…how? As Dave has noted, if the final objective of a military endeavor is withdrawal, then continuing the endeavor is morally bankrupt. So bring home the troops from Afghanistan. Stop killing people in the rural regions of Afghanistan/Pakistan…stop terrorizing them.

    However, I think the Marxist critique still has some validity. If all of the benefits from markets accrue to a tiny number of people, which is the historical norm, then the ensuing social unrest will create chaos and all bets are off.

    Clearly not all benefits accrue to a tiny minority since inputs to the production process are paid their wage. However, there is a problem when markets are not competitive. In this case, there is the deadweight loss imposed on society and some of the consumer surplus is transferred to the firm(s) in that market. Now, what is one of the ways to reduce competition? Rent seeking–i.e. using the government.

    TB,

    The economy needs to work off the debt before it has a chance to get going, but that requires the “fat cats” to take substantial losses. Timothy Geithner ain’t gonna let that happen. He is owned by the Wall Street dirtbags, but he is too stupid to make any money from it. The Democrats can scream about President Bush all they want, but if they gave a rat’s a$$, Timothy Geithner would not be in charge of Wall Street.

    I’ve made a similar argument for a long time. That one of our biggest problems is the incestuous relationship between D.C. and Wall Street.

    But what do I know I just want to fuck everyone over.

    In economics, the free-market is no different, and uncertainty gives way to certainty. The powerful can provide the certainty, and corporations can provide that certainty. Marx is an idiot, and he has been wrong everywhere his theories have been tried. The free-market will give way to Fascism.

    Well, Schumpeter would disagree and say the free-market will give way to Socialism. Alexis de Toqueville said pretty much the same thing. I think they are right. But to be clear, it will be a type of authoritarianism, just a nice soft squishy type…so long as you don’t get to uppity about it (in which case they wont shoot you behind the chemical sheds they’ll just institutionalize you for your own good).

    It is always about power and money, and the game is obtaining and keeping both. Money can buy power, but power can take money and keep it. If you are given a choice, always choose power.

    Sadly, I have to agree. I myself don’t want power over other people because I don’t want to have to do what is necessary to keep that power (that force and violence thing again). This is why I despise people like Romney and Obama…they don’t have the problems I have with acquiring power. To me it is this quality that makes them despicable.

    *Expansions are usually longer than recessions so you might not need to run a surplus every single year.

  • steve

    “And exactly when has that ever been done? Counter cyclical spending is you run deficits during recessions and surpluses/balanced budgets during expansions.*”

    It is what we did until 1980. We never let our growth in debt exceed GDP growth. That is how that over 100% of GDP in debt after WWII shrank. It also happened a bit when Clinton was in office.

    “Then you explain Obama’s policies in that regard and your support for them…how? As Dave has noted, if the final objective of a military endeavor is withdrawal, then continuing the endeavor is morally bankrupt. So bring home the troops from Afghanistan. Stop killing people in the rural regions of Afghanistan/Pakistan…stop terrorizing them.”

    It is a binary choice. The neocons, whom I saw as dominating Romney’s advisers, were counseling for a longer stay in Afghanistan. I supported the initial expansion in Afghanistan since the people I trusted thought that we had retained enough trust among the people there to make things work. They, and I, were wrong. I agree that we should get out. I also think that we need to do it in a controlled manner. I would accelerate our withdrawal, but it cant be immediate. The logistics there are awful.

    “Clearly not all benefits accrue to a tiny minority since inputs to the production process are paid their wage. However, there is a problem when markets are not competitive. In this case, there is the deadweight loss imposed on society and some of the consumer surplus is transferred to the firm(s) in that market. Now, what is one of the ways to reduce competition? ”

    It is also clear that the returns to labor are diminishing. The returns to capital have increased. The returns to creative finance? Off the charts. The returns to management? Also off the charts. The return we get from the increased return to management and finance? Not in line with the rewards. You know as well as I do that businesses dont want to compete. Smith figured that out long ago. We continue to have pro-business and pro-businessman policies that are not leading to social good. I think you will agree with at least some of this.

    your solution seems to be that we make govt smaller and weaker. Then, for some reason, businesses will behave. I dont see it. A smaller govt just means fewer people to buy. It means fewer people to investigate when you do things wrong. It means a focus on the short term with no vision for the long term. It means a decrease in long term innovation.

    I dont know what the right size of govt we should have. We should just figure out what it should do, pay for it, then stay out of everything else. I think the only way we have to resolve that right now is through a market. A market of voters. We have advertising (campaigns) that are surely no more dishonest than that employed by advertisers in our current media. (Seen the penis enhancement ads?) I think we have to trust the voters as much as you are willing to let consumers and producers trust them when it comes to commerce.

    Steve

  • TastyBits

    @Steve Verdon

    I was trying to distinguish between people “on the dole” and people “down on their luck”. I think most people would rather have a job than an unemployment check, but with only an unemployment check, they are scared of losing it. Same for most government assistance – food stamps, housing assistance, medicare, etc. There are long term welfare people, and they are growing.

    Historically, I tend to see more violence or a threat of violence, but I agree that Socialism is the kinder, gentler form of authoritarian rule. Socialism is more money buying power, and Fascism is more power taking money. Fascism can be brutal, but it is not necessarily racist. I do not endorse either.

    I am reading Sheila Bair’s book, and I thought Geithner was mostly an idiot. I was totally wrong. He was trying to protect the CDS dirtbags from having to pay off their gambling losses. This is why Wall Street was paying themselves the bonuses President Obama and crew were decrying. I expect the Republicans to protect them, but I get a little tired of Democrats justifying it (@steve) or looking the other way (@michael reynolds).

    I just want to be left alone. I want them out of my wallet, pantry, and bedroom.

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