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Maybe it's just me, but I had a hard time figuring out what Davidson's beef was.
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One more data point supporting the argument that the WaPo would be improved if Bezos fired everyone to do with the editorial and op-ed pages at the Washington Post, and started over from scratch.
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This is actually a comment about the Chris McDaniel post, but comments don't seem to be enabled for that one. 1) From a legal perspective, there's no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat in Mississippi. There are just people who vote for Republicans or Democrats, and people who vote in Republican or Democratic primaries. So the notion that "35,000 Democrats crossed over" is nonsensical. There's no such thing in Mississippi. 2) "Many... did vote in the Democratic primary just three weeks ago which makes it illegal." Now, that would be illegal, but I'm sure it's a straightforward task to match the voter rolls for Tuesday's runoff with the voter rolls for the Democratic primary three weeks previously. So this is a question of fact, and will either be proved or disproved in short order, I'm sure. 3) "We... have a... law... that says you cannot participate in a primary unless you intend to support that candidate." A law of dubious constitutionality that nobody's ever bothered to attempt to enforce. So shaddup, bozo.
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Let's see: we're in the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the 100th anniversary of WWI, and the 70th anniversary of WWII. As Tom Lehrer said, a good year for the war buffs. We're also in the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war. Not such a good year for the war buffs.
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" Number of Texas residents left without health insurance by his stand: 1.1 million..." Why do Republicans hate Americans?
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Lifetime pension of 2/3 of the pay he'd have gotten as a naval officer - what a lucky bum he was! And a real jerk, to write the stuff he did, and not have the decency to forfeit that sweet cushion that his fellow citizens gave him. My opinion of Heinlein continues to sink.
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If years from now, I remember only one thing from this blog, it will be to always remember that the Cossacks work for the Czar.
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Indeed. While I think the Dems' first need is a clear, positive theme to run on (I like "more, better-paying jobs" but anything as long as people can immediately see its relevance to them), a direct attack on GOP evil is a necessary corollary. I'm for a slogan of "Why do Republicans hate Americans?" with campaign commercials and online stuff providing all the for-instances you could need.
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Let's see: the free market left some guy unemployed for long enough that he desperately needed a helping hand. We libruls gave him a helping hand, in the form of unemployment insurance. So rather than being angry at the forces that left him impoverished and desperate, he's mad at the people who helped him out in his hour of need. Lord knows I don't expect the run-of-the-mill citizen to be a Vulcan, but the hell if I know what one does about this level of illogic. Apparently, though, it's something we need to figure out if we're ever going to have a healthy body politic.
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"As we’ve argued before, the world is beset by a capital crisis not a debt crisis. There is too much capital and not enough productive use for it — at least not in western markets. At least nowhere near enough to guarantee the sort of returns “savers” have become accustomed to over the last few decades. The truth is that nowadays all savings come with risk. Yet most capital investors are simply not prepared to accept that. This is where the problem begins." This is where multiple problems begin. For instance, I've concluded that this imbalance is the driving source of bubbles: in the absence of enough productive uses for capital that produce the sorts of returns investors expect, 'hollow' investments of various sorts will spring up to meet investors' desire for high returns, and their belief that investments exist out there that can provide them. At any rate, it's nice to here someone more credentialed than I say those first three sentences, because I've been saying them myself for awhile, and arguing that they're important.
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I agree that the property tax lien would be a simple way of keeping Granny in her house. I'm sure, though, that politically the problem was that Granny's heirs wanted to have their cake and eat it too - that they wanted to keep Granny in her house at little cost, *and* inherit the full value of the house. My attitude at the time was that there really wasn't a problem in need of solving. This was a dilemma of affluence, rather than one of poverty, and dilemmas of affluence are generally solvable; it's just that the solution might not be what you'd regard as perfect. If Granny's house had appreciated to the point where she couldn't afford the property taxes, then she was much wealthier than she'd ever been, but the wealth was tied up in the house. So Granny just needed to sell her gold mine of a house, and move somewhere cheaper. But again, people wanted to have it both ways: Granny shouldn't be saddled with property taxes she couldn't afford, AND she shouldn't have to move. Well, Granny, there are lots of people in this world with worse problems; why should the government be expected to intervene to solve yours?
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Thanks for the explanations, everyone. Ignorance fought. :) I think if I were designing an initiative process, I'd want it to create statutes that could be repealed by the legislature, but not easily, and not until they were in effect long enough for people to get an idea of how they were working out. One solution would be to require the legislature to vote twice in favor of repeal in order to make repeal happen, but require the votes to be at least two years apart. If people were upset enough about the first repeal vote, they'd have a chance to vote out a bunch of the legislators who voted for repeal. And term limits are an abomination for sure. It's hard to believe people back in the 1990s thought it was a great idea.
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Can someone explain to someone like me (i.e. someone who's never lived in a state with voter initiatives like California's) what the legal status of these voter initiatives is - particularly, why they're so hard to get rid of? Because it seems to this outsider that the problem isn't that the voters can speak through the initiative process, or that they can be manipulated by the special interests into enacting things that the legislature never would. Rather, the problem is that the fruit of successful initiatives aren't laws, but rather super-laws that can't be repealed by the people who are actually responsible for governing, no matter what.
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And while I've largely stayed out of the debate over Larry Summers, here's my summation: In five years of being the main man for Obama's economic policy, and sufficiently esteemed by Obama that Obama wanted him to be Fed chair, either: a) Obama's policies were Summers' policies, and there was little daylight between them, or b) Summers did an appallingly bad job of convincing Obama to have a better set of policies despite Obama's high regard for him, and went along with what he knew to be a weak set of economic policies for five years without resigning or complaining. It's pretty plain which alternative is more believable. But either way, Larry Summers doesn't come out so well.
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Coalition maintenance is very much part of the President's job. Maybe it can't be done in the same way as in LBJ's time, but it has to be done. One thing that Obama lost sight of, from the very beginning, was the fact of elections in non-Presidential years being base elections - that is, with winning dependent on turning out your base, rather than winning the median voter in an election where most everybody shows up. He pretty much blew off the Dem base right from the get-go, by ignoring voices to his left such as Krugman, by not taking seriously things like the public option, which a hell of a lot of liberal activists really wanted, by 'pivoting' towards dealing with the deficit when unemployment was still astronomically high, by not giving a s**t about the Employee Free Choice Act, and above all, by treating the debates over the Affordable Care Act and cap-and-trade like some inside-baseball thing, rather than doing things in a way that rallied support. We paid for all that in 2010, and we'll be paying for it all decade, thanks to redistricting. Which reminds me, does anyone have a sense of what the Democratic Party is trying to do at the state level? In Virginia, a half hour away from me, they're having an election in five weeks, and I have no idea what the Democratic Party is trying to make it about, or what candidates for state legislature it would be helpful to send money to.
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I still can't see this blog from work, and my home life has been complicated by various things lately, so I have to apologize for my continuing absence from the discussion here. But on the whole, life is OK. I suspect that this week will bring some free time to deal with various things, as I don't see the GOP backing down on the shutdown, and the Dems damned well better not.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2013 on More Gun Madness and Open Thread at Cogitamus
Why do they hate Americans? NPR's Morning Edition had a piece Friday morning about how Rick Perry was doing his best to leave the citizens of Texas ignorant of the very existence of the Federally-run health insurance exchange for his state, including the 2.6 million Texans who would be eligible to sign up for insurance through that exchange. He would rather see them go without insurance, which means that many of them will go without needed health care, than abandon the ideological struggle against Obamacare. And you know it isn't just him, that this is playing out in GOP-controlled states across our nation. They are evil. They are putting principle - and not much of a principle at that, just 'it's Obama's program, so we're against it' - ahead of people's lives and well-being. People will die because of this who don't need to die anytime soon. It's time the Dems called a spade a spade, and called evil by its name.
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Brad, your caution about cap-and-trade seems only to apply to the kind where we give a property right to those who are already dumping carbon into the atmosphere. It wouldn't seem to apply to a fully auctionable cap-and-trade regime. My problem with the carbon tax is that it will need regular upward adjusting to be effective in combating global warming, but there will always be intense opposition from entrenched interests to such adjusting. We do not know now how much tax it will take to reduce carbon output to the levels we'll want in 2030, so we can't set that tax now. Better to set the levels in advance through a fully auctionable cap-and-trade regime, and let the prices take care of themselves.
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"We need more immigration. It is much easier, worldwide, to move the people to where the institutions are already good than to make good institutions where the people are." That applies equally to internal migration. While I frequently give Matt Yglesias a hard time about many things, he's absolutely right that limiting further development in our most vibrant cities is a big mistake. We should want more Americans being able to take advantage of living and working in New York City and Washington DC and Los Angeles and San Francisco and our other great cities.
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"Manage the macroeconomy to match aggregate demand to potential supply." YES. Wealth needs to be sufficiently widely distributed so that there are enough people who can afford to buy all the goods and services we can produce.
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I would dispute the notion that libertarians have political power of their own. Reason magazine is the organ of the Reason Foundation, which is funded by the likes of the Kochs and Scaifes. I don't think we're in a world where libertarians would matter at all, if billionaires weren't using libertarians to further their interests.
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"But, if we do build the bridge by taking tax money away from somebody else, and using that to pay the bridge builder -- the guys who work on the bridge -- then it's just a wash. It has no first-starter effect. There's no reason to expect any stimulation. And, in some sense, there's nothing to apply a multiplier to. (Laughs.) You apply a multiplier to the bridge builders, then you've got to apply the same multiplier with a minus sign to the people you taxed to build the bridge." There's a second reason why this is wrong. You've got to consider whether the people you're taxing, and the people you're paying, are going to spend the same fraction of that money. As we all know, there is only so much in the way of goods and services that a rich person can consume. If I'm earning a million bucks a year, and I have to pay $100,000 of that money in taxes, that's $100,000 that I probably wouldn't have spent. I would have put it into an index fund and forgotten about it. When the money is taken from me by the taxman, the multiplier it would have had is pretty close to zero. Maybe some small fraction of that money will make it possible for someone to invest in plant and equipment, but most of it will simply push stock prices up, and that'll be the end of it. Now, when that money goes to pay two construction workers $50,000 a year to work on that bridge, they're going to spend the vast majority of that money on goods and services. The people they bought those goods and services from are going to be that much richer, and buy more stuff themselves, and so forth. Even if the multiplier isn't big, it still generates way more economic activity than if the money had stayed in my index fund.
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Of the Austen canon, I've only read Sense and Sensibility, but I remember thinking Austen lost an argument with herself in that one. And that's the point at which I tune out, unless the writer finds a particularly interesting way to do so. Austen didn't.
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I get the rest of this, but what's the deal about the car with 'well over 100,000 miles' on it? This is 2013, not 1983. Unless you bought a lemon, it's not that big a risk factor anymore to drive a car with that sort of mileage.
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