Asymmetric Arrogance

Over at Ezra Klein’s new venture, there is a fascinating piece about how politics make us stupid. Klein details experiments that show that both liberals and conservatives have a tendency to interpret facts so that they reinforce their own pre-existing biases. Or, more accurately, that people tend to interpret even objective scientific evidence in ways that support the ideas of their political tribe. It is worth your time.

Of course, the Left Wing never likes to be reminded that they are people just like the rest of us, not some uber-evolved ultra-enlightened homo superior. So Klein’s piece is being attacked by various left wingers, most notably Paul Krugman:

But here’s the thing: the lived experience is that this effect is not, in fact, symmetric between liberals and conservatives. Yes, liberals are sometimes subject to bouts of wishful thinking. But can anyone point to a liberal equivalent of conservative denial of climate change, or the “unskewing” mania late in the 2012 campaign, or the frantic efforts to deny that Obamacare is in fact covering a lot of previously uninsured Americans? I don’t mean liberals taking positions you personally disagree with — I mean examples of overwhelming rejection of something that shouldn’t even be in dispute.

Off the top of my head? I can think of the entirety of the Cold War, where massive factions of the Left Wing pretended that communism was not the evil oppressive regime that it was, that murderous communist guerrillas were engaged in a noble struggle and that Ronald Reagan was crazy to call a nation that murdered millions of its own people an evil empire. But if you want to go with current things, here is a short list of bullshit that the Left Wing believes. I will stick to thinks that are not really in factual dispute, rather than points of disagreement (e.g., Keynesian economics works).

  • Many believe that GMO crops are dangerous and should be banned despite overwhelming evidence that they are safe.
  • Many believe that vaccines cause autism despite overwhelming evidence that they are safe and the research that linked the two was fraudulent. Yes, some right wingers believes this. But it has for more respect and attention from the Left Wing.
  • It is almost universally believed on the Left that gun violence is worse than ever and mass shootings are on the rise despite massive drops in overall violence. I’ve done a series of pieces disputing Mother Jones’ completely bogus analysis of gun data. Mother Jones is not a fringe publication; it is one of the main voices of the Left.
  • Many lefties believe that the United States has been taken over by “rape culture” despite an 85% drop in sexual violence over the last 40 years.
  • Paul Krugman specifically claims that governments have cut spending, when spending has, in fact, increased. He has since claimed that the German government eschewed austerity despite their enacting more “austerity” than the supposedly skinflint UK. Krugman also used to push the idea that Herbert Hoover cut spending. For the record, Hoover jacked up spending so far that FDR denounced him as a socialist.
  • Many Left Wingers still believe that overpopulation is a problem. Almost no scientist believes this anymore. Yet Paul Ehrlich is still respected. Many also believe we are running out of landfill space and that recycling/composting are objectively good for the Earth. The evidence on this is mixed, at best.
  • On the subject of global warming, liberals might accept the science. But they are more than happy to engage in pseudo-scientific feel-good solutions to the problem that often do no good and sometimes make things worse. Examples: food miles, carbon offsets, “organic” farming, hybrid cars. All of those have been objectively shown either do little for the environment or even harm it, in the case of food miles. But a real solution to the problem, like nuclear power? Lefties claim it is a menace despite the astounding safety record of the nuclear industry, even if you include Fukushima and Three Mile Island.
  • And on the subject of Obamacare? I’ve spent the last week besieged by liberals claiming that Obamacare enrolled seven million uninsured (it enrolled seven million total; maybe two million were uninsured). Or that it has now covered thirty million people (ten million at best, possibly significantly fewer) or that it will decrease the deficit (the CBO now disputes this).
  • While we’re on the subject of the CBO, it analysis is praised when it supports liberal policy, condemned when it doesn’t. Krugman himself has done this.
  • Liberals spent years claiming that Bush as “gutting” spending, despite the most massive spending increases in American history. They spent years claiming Bush was “deregulating” despite Bush passing more regulations and more invasive regulations than any prior administration. This is not a matter of opinion. These are facts.
  • Lefties, like many Right Wingers, believe the United States has a massive sex slave trafficking industry despite a complete absence of any evidence to that effect.
  • The most popular Left Wing documentarian — Michael Moore — was so famous for his inaccuracies, distortions and outright lies that entire websites sprang up to dispute them. You may have heard of one.
  • And speaking of “unskewed polls”, many Left Wingers floated conspiracy theories about the 2000 and 2004 elections, which they lost. Many still claim that Al Gore would have won the recount, despite most studies concluding Bush would have won anyway.
  • That’s just off the top of my head. And not a single one of those is a judgement call. In all cases, liberals are refusing to accept facts — falling gun violence, falling sexual violence, the uselessness of food miles, the fiscal and regulatory record of George Bush, the safety record of nuclear power, the safety of GMO’s, the fiscal policies of European countries.

    I might be willing to concede that the Right Wing is a little crazier right now. But that’s mostly a manifestation of Jane’s Law (“The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.”). Eight years ago, it was far different and far uglier. And, frankly, the Left Wing has recently starting to sound a little bit crazy even when they are still in power. The obsession with the Koch Brothers, the increasing calls to silence global warming skeptics, the wild claims about Obama’s economic and healthcare record. I can only imagine how bad it will be if the GOP has the reigns of power again in 2016.

    Anyway, Krugman’s piece is pathetic: a desperate attempt to convince himself that his political tribe is better than everyone else’s. We all have our biases and we all tend to find ways to reinforce those biases. Changing someone’s mind is hard; changing your own mind is even harder. It does happen. But it does not happen when someone, like Krugman, thinks they are magically immune to human nature.

    Comments are closed.

    1. Hal_10000 *

      I left that out on purpose because there is still a lot of debate about that. I wanted to stick as close as I could to things that aren’t really arguable.

      Hot! Thumb up 4

    2. AlexInCT

      •Liberals spent years claiming that Bush as “gutting” spending, despite the most massive spending increases in American history. They spent years claiming Bush was “deregulating” despite Bush passing more regulations and more invasive regulations than any prior administration. This is not a matter of opinion. These are facts.

      You finally said something about the evil genius Boosh, a.k.a Chimpy McHaliburton – a man the left accused of being both an evil genius, capable of planning 9-11 and hiding this from everyone, as well as being a dumb draft dodging coke head, with daddy issues – we can both agree upon. And thanks for not making me have to defend this guy yet again.

      It is a horrible state of affairs that Black Jesus is making a mediocre president look like he was downright awesome, though.

      •The most popular Left Wing documentarian — Michael Moore — was so famous for his inaccuracies, distortions and outright lies that entire websites sprang up to dispute them. You may have heard of one.

      Another dude that made himself stinking rich praying on the envy and greed of the collectivism loving masses. Moore may act like a communist shitweasel, but he sure made that crony-capitalism system the left create pay him good. What does it say about people so stupid they made this guy rich to feed them their bowl of ass-porridge in their echo chambers? Know what I am saying?

      Thumb up 5

    3. Seattle Outcast

      I left that out on purpose because there is still a lot of debate about that. I wanted to stick as close as I could to things that aren’t really arguable.

      What debate? Nobody can even bring in weak evidence, such as a mild correlation between “stimulus” spending and recovery. But you can always point to the fact that it never produces the results as “predicted”; since it continually fails to produce predictable results you have to discount it as a viable theory and move on.

      As the only solution for the inadequacies of the predicted results to match the actual outcome is “more stimulus”, Keynesian stimulus spending can accurately be compared to throwing gasoline on a fire with the intention of putting the fire out.

      Thumb up 3

    4. Seattle Outcast

      CM, nobody pays any attention to what you post except to roll their eyes, so just pretend you aren’t here like the rest of us do.

      Thumb up 5

    5. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 4

    6. Biggie G

      Lefties, like many Right Wingers, believe the United States has a massive sex slave trafficking industry despite a complete absence of any evidence to that effect.

      Weird fringe nutjobness.

      Jimmy Carter just said at a conference that 100,000 women were sold into sex slavery last year in the US. Is he now a fringe nutjob to the left?

      Thumb up 2

    7. Biggie G

      I don’t know and don’t particularly care. Hal used the fear of white slavery as an example. You said people who believe that are fringe nutjobs, I said Jimmy Carter believes it. Is he a fringe nutjob?

      Whether the number is accurate or not doesn’t matter for this argument. If the actual number is 6, would it change anything?

      Thumb up 3

    8. Hal_10000 *

      Jimmy Carter just said at a conference that 100,000 women were sold into sex slavery last year in the US. Is he now a fringe nutjob to the left?

      This number is complete bullshit. Carter is not the originator of it — a lot of media types repeat it. But it is a misquote of a “study” that claimed 100-300,000 underage girls were “at risk” of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation was defined so loosely that simply viewing porn qualified. And “at risk” was defined so loosely that being near the Mexican border qualified.

      Thumb up 3

    9. Xetrov

      Jimmy Carter just said at a conference that 100,000 women were sold into sex slavery last year in the US. Is he now a fringe nutjob to the left?

      Pretty sure he’s been a “fringe nutjob” since before he entered public office.

      Thumb up 4

    10. Iconoclast

      We’ve been through this a number of times SO. There are multiple studies of the recent stimulus which conclude that it did make a positive difference to the economy. There are few, if any, that find the opposite.

      How Stimulus Fails: A case study of federal waste in Silver Spring, Maryland

      Why It’s So Hard to Figure Out What the Stimulus Did

      How Effective Was The 2009 Stimulus Program?

      Federal Spending: Killing the Economy With Government Stimulus

      Why Keynesianism Works Better in Theory Than in Practice

      The argument that we might be even worse off without the stimulus is nevertheless valid. Unfortunately, we might never know, as macroeconomics currently lacks the tools to measure counterfactuals. Economists who study the business cycle are at a disadvantage because they lack controlled experiments and they are dealing with an unusually complex, interrelated system.

      Still, a doctor whose remedy frequently fails can always say that things would have been even worse without it, but at some point he also has to be open to the possibility that his prescription is wrong.

      Remember that the estimates of the number of jobs “created or saved” by the stimulus that we have seen used by the Congressional Budget Office, Mark Zandi, and others are not direct measurements. Rather, they are based on simulations where the effectiveness of the program is assumed a priori by applying a so-called multiplier to deficit spending. As Stanford University economist John Taylor points out: “You learn virtually nothing about the efficacy of a stimulus package if you use the same models to evaluate its impact ex post that you used to predict its impact ex ante.”

      The bottom line is that those “studies” you repeatedly hawk really don’t mean much. One can always say it worked and one can always say it didn’t, and there is simply no reliable objective means of making the determination. That’s the “beauty” of it: if it didn’t “work”, one can always say, “well, it wasn’t enough“…

      And one can always say, “things woulda been worse without it”, but again, there is no objective way to make that determination. Maybe the crash itself would have been harder, but maybe the recovery would have been a lot stronger without government meddling. We simply don’t know, and there’s no sense in pretending we do.

      Thumb up 16

    11. AlexInCT

      That’s the “beauty” of it: if it didn’t “work”, one can always say, “well, it wasn’t enough“…

      Krugnuts is that you?

      Thumb up 8

    12. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 1

    13. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 4

    14. Iconoclast

      Seattle is the one making a definitive claim, pretending we know, and wants it used as an example.

      Perhaps, but I think the overarching point is valid: Many liberals pretend to “know” that it did work, even though there is no objective evidence to that effect. Hell, even you imply as much by repeatedly citing your “studies” which claim it did have a “positive effect”.

      So I’m confused as to why you’re directing this at me.

      Yes, of course, but it would be more accurate to say that I was directing my comments at those studies. You just happened to be the one who brought them up. Again.

      Going back to SO’s “definitive claim”, we were told that the Stimulus would keep unemployment below 8%, and that unemployment would skyrocket up to 9% or higher if the Stimulus didn’t pass. Well, it passed and unemployment still shot up to ten percent and beyond, so by that particular metric, it clearly did fail. That is not even disputable.

      “Well, the Global Financial Crisis was simply worse than they thought…”

      Sure. But that simply tells me that “they” were caught off-guard, that “they” under-estimated the problem at hand and over-estimated their ability to deal with the problem. None of that should inspire confidence in their abilities to lead a nation.

      Nah I’m not really, that was a lie.

      Yes, of course…

      Thumb up 13

    15. AlexInCT

      Going back to SO’s “definitive claim”, we were told that the Stimulus would keep unemployment below 8%, and that unemployment would skyrocket up to 9% or higher if the Stimulus didn’t pass. Well, it passed and unemployment still shot up to ten percent and beyond, so by that particular metric, it clearly did fail. That is not even disputable.

      You are talking about liberals here Iconoclast, so you should know better. They had a party the other day to celebrate Obamacare’s great success when what is called for is a funeral. And remember, it failed because the money they alllocated to do it was too little….

      Thumb up 8

    16. Seattle Outcast

      Jimmy Carter just said at a conference that 100,000 women were sold into sex slavery last year in the US. Is he now a fringe nutjob to the left?

      Carter’s still pretty much what he always was; politically weak, deluded, well-meaning, revisionist, generally ineffective, thin-skinned, and best ignored.

      It’s amazing how much he won’t shut up any longer, but I guess he sees Obama as some sort vindication as he’s been bumped down a spot on the list of “worst presidents ever”…

      Thumb up 7

    17. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 1

    18. Seattle Outcast

      Those would be all the metrics that you either find inconvenient, don’t understand, or prove your talking points to be sheer idiocy.

      Got it.

      Hot! Thumb up 8

    19. Iconoclast

      You know, you really should learn how to use quotation marks. If your intent was mere mockery, you succeed in rendering your own statements impotent. When you quote the word “is”, you imply the opposite. Same with the word “being”.

      Your forthcoming disagreement is inconsequential.

      There “is” objective evidence, “being” the findings of the “research” carried out (and it was carried “out” using a variety of methods).

      As I recall, you cited a review of the nine best studies on the subject, which cited two methods, modeling and econometric. Four used modeling, and it should come as little surprise that all four indicated “success”…

      The remaining five used the econometric method, and three indicated success while two indicated failure. So it’s hardly conclusive of anything. The “objective evidence” is questionable at the very least. Hence, “the studies really don’t mean much”.

      There “is” objective evidence…

      And again, the use of scare quotes around the word “is” suggests otherwise, or at the very least suggest that you believe otherwise (forthcoming whines to the contrary notwithstanding). And again, based on the studies, there is objective evidence that it didn’t work, as well. So I stand partially corrected — I think the overarching point is valid: Many liberals pretend to “know” that it did work; even though there is no objective evidence to that effect, there is also objective evidence that it failed.

      So even with the correction, the point still stands: liberals cannot really “know” that is worked. They can only choose to believe such.

      “As” for the effects of the crisis “being” worse than considered at that point….well yes, it was, that’s inarguable/”indisputable”. And the “only” response to that seems to be one “you” gave, which suggests that they (the “leaders” shouldn’t bother doing anything unless they can judged, with the “beneifit” of hindsight, of getting it perfectly “correct” (or close to it).

      Blah blah blah. If it were Bush or a President Romney who did something comparable, they’d be utterly reamed for it. Case in point: WMD in Iraq.

      When a Republican does it, there is no mercy. When a Democrat does it, well, what they originally said is irrelevant and it takes “a hard core partisan” to bring it up…

      Gotta love those double standards.

      Only a hardcore patisan would judge something by a metric which was rendered irrelevant a long time ago.

      As I was saying…

      “Rendered irrelevant” by whom, exactly? Besides Obama sycophants, that it?

      Thumb up 12

    20. Iconoclast

      Oh, and are Obama’s utter lies about Benghazi and Obamacare likewise “irrelevant”? And does it likewise take a “hard core partisan” to mention them?

      Thumb up 10

    21. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 1

    22. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 1

    23. Iconoclast

      Seattle did make a definitive call. Your attempt to question that by putting it in quotation marks is the impotent part of all this.

      Okay, I see the problem. When I quoted “definitive claim”, my intent was simply to quote your choice of wording, not imply that it wasn’t true, or that it was in doubt. My follow-up explanation of how quotes are typically used certainly didn’t help.

      So, a misunderstanding. Will you accept that? Or will you insist that I really did mean to cast doubt, by insinuating that I couldn’t have possibly meant otherwise?

      Why bother with such obvious nonsense?

      Well, it wasn’t intended to be “nonsense”, but merely a benign quote. Again, since I did use scare quotes as well, the misunderstanding is understandable.

      Well I don’t think the comparison is valid, as explained.

      Yeah, no surprise there. I used a different set of parameters than you did, apparently. I simply looked at it from the point of view of the President making an honest mistake, but you managed to find a way to make Obama’s mistake seem somehow benign while implying such couldn’t be the case for Bush’s mistake. Convenient.

      By anyone being reasonable.

      Uh-huh. Agree with CM’s position and you’re “reasonable”. Iconoclast, on the other hand, is a “hardcore partisan”. Nice and circular.

      Nobody gets to freeze conditions in time and therefore have their response judged according to that frozen state.

      Certainly seems to apply for liberals, not so much for conservatives….

      Judging what happened to (un)employment on the best assessment of conditions *in the distant past when conditions were different* just smacks of desperation.

      Your squirming is what smacks of desperation. Obama & Co. misjudged the situation, but that’s “irrelevant”. Bush misjudged, but he’s a liar and a despicable human being.

      And we’re talking about whether the stimulus succeeded. Obama & CO. did go on record with their predictions and therefore set up their own standard of success. To bad, so sad, but they did. Calling that “irrelevant is what smacks of desperation. They went on record to sell a package. Period.

      And there is always the fallback of, “Well, things were desperate, they had to act fast, we were careening over a cliff, time was short, the situation was drastic”, yadda yadda yadda. That is a foolproof excuse that cannot be questioned because there is simply no counterfactual that can be used for comparison. We will never know if doing nothing could have been a better solution, or maybe reducing regulations and shrinking government instead of doing the opposite. There are arguments that the recovery from the 1929 crash was strong, but made weak by FDR’s New Deal meddling, which themselves cause what we now call The Great Depression. Like I said, the crash may have been hard, but there is historical reasons to believe it could have been followed by a strong recovery if government would simply leave it alone and not meddle. Obama’s continued meddling has resulted in the weakest recover in our history, while other countries are doing better.

      To be “likewise” there would need to be a different subsequent condition on which to judge the initial decisions/action.

      There you go again, dictating your own criteria for MY arguments/examples. I am simply talking about a President saying something that later turns out to be incorrect. In these particular cases, however, the President knew beforehand that what he was saying was incorrect.

      Thumb up 9

    24. Seattle Outcast

      Black Tuesday was pretty much entirely the fault of the Fed, which pumped far too much money into the economy the previous decade, causing a massive bubble that had to crash in proportion to how much it was propped up. With the Fed then massively shrinking the money supply combined with FDR closing banks and attempting to start up a Soviet style economy via the National Recovery Administration, and spending like a drunk sailor, the Great Depression was made deeper, longer, and contained two recessions within the depression.

      The perfect example of Keynesian economic theory in action – not only does it not work, it is a recipe for extended misery for anyone fool enough to follow through on it.

      What should be noted that the Great Depression was the simultaneous abject failure of two great icons of the left: The Federal Reserve, and a government run economy.

      That the Fed still exists at all is amazing, that we still have hold-overs from the New Deal screwing up agriculture is just stupid. That anyone would believe that FDR wasn’t an abject failure at anything except getting elected when he should have been in prison for a large multitude of felonies is willful ignorance.

      Thumb up 5

    25. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    26. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    27. Iconoclast

      A difference of opinion doesn’t necessary make anything ‘convenient’.

      Not necessarily, no, and I would never claim that it does. But sometimes, things just are convenient, and I would never claim that something necessarily made them so. So we can chalk up Straw Man #1.

      That suggests I just make things up according to some doctrine, or partisan hatred of a leader, rather than reach a conclusion via an argument that I actually believe.

      Yet that argument that you actually believe simply cannot be convenient, as well? And one is not allowed to observe as much?

      Do you hold such a view of all people, all those to the left of a certain position far on the right, or just me?

      Nice attempt to demonize me, chief, but as we can see, the attempt is an epic fail. You utterly failed to establish that I hold “such a view” at all, but simply assume as much in an attempt to score points. And it’s based on a straw man to boot.

      I also don’t know how you conclude that Obama’s stimulus was a mistake.

      I never said it was. What I said was the Obama Administration’s assessment of the situation was an under-estimation, and that their ability to handle it was an over-estimation. That doesn’t necessarily translate into “Obama’s stimulus was a mistake”, although I’m confident you will try to argue that it does. Straw Man #2.

      I certainly wouldn’t characterise the invasion of Iraq as a ‘benign mistake’…

      For the love of Marx, at times like this, I seriously wonder if English is your native tongue. I never said the invasion of Iraq was a “mistake” of any kind. No, What I said was that Bush’s assessment of Iraq’s WMD was a mistake. Not the same thing. Straw Man #3.

      I don’t do this out of hatred for Bush, so please spare us that lazy nonsense already.

      Straw Man #4. I never said you personally hated Bush. And as far a “lazy nonsense” is concerned, I’d consider erecting an army of straw men to be a rather lazy way to argue.

      Holding someone to a standard/metric when all the parameters change is unreasonable.

      I am merely observing that, in spite of their “predictions” or “promises” or whatever you want to call their sales pitch, unemployment shot past their worst-case scenarios even with the stimulus in place, and make the qualified observation that, based on the sales pitch, the product failed to deliver. If you want to call that “hard-core partisanship”, knock yourself out, but it reeks of “hard-core partisanship” on your part if I cannot make a simple observation without getting your feathers all ruffled.

      A despicable human being?
      Now you’ve left the reservation entirely.

      Nonsense. Bush was compared to Hitler with appalling regularity, and was routinely castigated. A movie was made about his assassination. Celebrities lined up to demean and insult him. Keith Olbermann called him a liar and a fascist. And so on.

      They went on record to sell a package based on the best sober economic analysis at the time.

      How do you know it was “sober”, or the “best”? Looks to me like your just giving them the benefit of the copious doubt.

      Are you trying to tell me that they sold it as ‘fact’, rather than a best guess…?

      Sure seemed that way at the time. We were told that unemployment would skyrocket without it and that the stimulius was necessary to keep unemployment below 8%. I don’t recall anyone talking about “guesses”. But, being politicians, they probably did do some CYA by proclaiming that unemployment would skyrocket to 8% or higher without the stimulus, thereby implying that such wouldn’t be the case if it passed, without actually comitting themselves to it. That is certainly possible. But that 8% certainly was bandied about as some sort of magic number at the time. And unemployment still shot right past that magic number even though the stimulus passed. Therefore, the perception of failure is valid, no matter how “hardcore partisan” you insist it to be. It doesn’t require “holding” anyone to anything, just making observations, that’s all.

      Thumb up 10

    28. Iconoclast

      I’m still searching for the explanation of how this would have actually worked.

      The Great Depression According to Milton Friedman

      As a result of examining more closely the key years between 1929 and 1933, Friedman and Schwartz first concluded that the Great Depression was not the necessary and direct result of the stock-market crash of October 1929, which they attribute to a speculative investment bubble. … In fact, they believed that the economy could have recovered rather rapidly if only the Fed — the central bank of the United States — had not engaged in a series of disastrous policies in the aftermath of the crash.

      Friedman and Schwartz argued that all this was due to the Fed’s failure to carry out its assigned role as the lender of last resort. Rather than providing liquidity through loans, the Fed just watched as banks dropped like flies, seemingly oblivious to the effect this would have on the money supply. The Fed could have offset the decrease created by bank failures by engaging in bond purchases, but it did not.

      At all times throughout the 1929–1933 contraction, alternative policies were available to the system by which it could have kept the stock of money from falling, and indeed could have increased it at almost any desired rate. Those policies did not involve radical innovations. They involved measures of a kind the system had taken in earlier years, of a kind explicitly contemplated by the founders of the system to meet precisely the kind of banking crisis that developed in late 1930 and persisted thereafter. They involved measures that were actually proposed and very likely would have been adopted under a slightly different bureaucratic structure or distribution of power, or even if the men in power had had somewhat different personalities.

      This is the most worrisome fact. The institution failed because of the people within it. And given the immense power and influence it had over the economy, its failure was disastrous. It is important to understand that the Great Depression could have been avoided if the Fed had not so badly botched its monetary policy. In fact, Friedman and Schwartz claimed that the depression would not have been a Great Depression if there had been no Federal Reserve in the first place: “[I]f the pre-1914 banking system rather than the Federal Reserve System had been in existence in 1929, the money stock almost certainly would not have undergone a decline comparable to the one that occurred.”

      Thumb up 8

    29. Iconoclast

      In the decades following Friedman and Schwartz’s work economists started examining other government-policy failures in the aftermath of the crash. They have found an abundant supply of them. Here are several key examples of these bad policies: 1) In response to a sharp decrease in tax revenues in 1930 and 1931 (caused by a slowdown of economic activities), the federal government passed the largest peacetime tax increase in the history of the United States, which clearly applied the brakes on any recovery that could have taken place; 2) the federal government also passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930, substantially increasing tariffs and leading to retaliatory restrictions by trading partners, which resulted in a considerable decrease in demand for U.S. exports and a further slowdown in production (not to mention a loss of mutually advantageous division of labor); 3) the federal government also instituted all sorts of “public works” programs, beginning under Herbert Hoover and increasing dramatically under FDR; the programs removed hundreds of thousands of people from the labor market and engaged them in economically wasteful activities, such as carving faces of dead presidents into the sides of a mountain, preventing or delaying necessary labor-market adjustments; 4) another federal policy that prevented (labor and other) market adjustments was the price and wage controls enacted under the National Recovery Administration and in effect from 1933 until 1935 (when ruled unconstitutional); this policy massively distorted relative market prices, impairing their ability to function as guides to entrepreneurs; 5) the Fed was not blameless after 1933 either. It increased bank-reserve requirements in three steps in 1936 and 1937, leading to another significant decrease in the money supply. The result was the 1937–38 recession within the Depression, adding insult to injury.

      Thumb up 8

    30. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    31. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    32. AlexInCT

      Thanks for all the Friedman stuff. I went to the link and read the whole thing. I don’t see anything in there that explains how the US government doing nothing during the recent GFC would have been better for employment

      Not surprised. If you can’t see why raising the minimum wage will kill exactly the kind of starting jobs most young people need, or help drive manufacturing offshore, or incentivize businesses that can automate to do that instead of paying unskilled labor what they are not worth, or how something like Obamacare will destroy the incentive of small businesses to stay in business or grow, all key things that impact economic growth and job creation (negatively), I am not surprised you remain unconvinced that government spending is the key to things.

      Me, I am now convinced that had there been no stimulus or “too big to fail” bailouts, but more importantly, no Dodd-Frank or Obamacare, that things would have temporarily gotten hard, but that in a very short term the economy would have rebound. See the Savings & Loans crisis in the 80s. Instead we got more FDR after the 1929 crash, so we will have negative economic growth while racking up massive debt we can’t possible ever repay, all while straddling the people with an even greater burden than ever, leading to an economy languishes for decades. That’s a bad investment, and I am being kind with my word usage here.

      It doesn’t describe the specific mechanism(s) which would have stopped the plummeting unemployment rate, or provide any indication of where it have ended up at.

      Wrong thing to focus on. The fact is that we got sold a bullshit story about unemployment numbers going south without this expendature, only to piss away a shitload of money (most of which ended in the pockets of connected people) and still get plumetting numbers. That’s the thing to focus on. At this point the real lesson to take away here was that had they done nothing at all, understanding that they had predicted that the drop in numbers would have been the same, that the right course of action was to do nothing. We would not have wasted a couple of trillion dollars (stimulus and other government spending and bailouts) to have the same result. Of course, doing nothing would not have lined the pockets of connected people or the demcorats that pushed this stuff. And no, things would not have been worse had they done nothing. That should be obvious by now as well. I would not be surprised however that you don’t believe that is the case, and that like Krugman, you think what should have happened was that even more money was pissed away and transfered to the connected…

      Thumb up 6

    33. Iconoclast

      You cannot be serious in suggesting that you believed that the graph showing what might happen was ‘fact’. Come on now, that’s just silliness.

      Yes, it is silliness, on your part. I have yet to actually use the word “fact” in this thread at all, and only implied the use of the term when I replied “Sure seemed that way at the time.” when you asked, “Are you trying to tell me that they sold it as ‘fact’, rather than a best guess…?”

      Try to get it into your head that I am talking about general perceptions. Joe Sixpack isn’t a politics wonk, and probably never read the report or looked at the graph. No Joe simply listened to what all of the talking heads were saying to him on the six o’clock news. Of course the Ivory Tower academicians can cough up studies that show the stimulus had a “positive effect”, but that means nothing to Joe Sixpack, especially if he’s been unemployed for months on end and has all but given up looking for full-time work.

      As for me, I am already on record as saying we simply cannot know whether it “worked”. I am simply saying that, from Joe’s point of view, the perception that it didn’t work is valid. If you want to attribute that to “hard-core partisanship”, then knock yourself out, but from my perspective, that’s nothing more than your indulging in mental masturbation.

      The rest of your bone-headed and obtuse reply is ignored for the flotsam it is. Have a nice day.

      Thumb up 9

    34. Xetrov

      Obama trying to get the Stimulus passed –

      Millions more Americans will lose their jobs. Homes will be lost. Families will go without health care. Our crippling dependence on foreign oil will continue. That is the price of inaction.

      I believe that legislation of this enormous magnitude, that by necessity we are moving quickly — we’re not moving quickly because we’re trying to jamb something down people’s throats. We’re moving quickly because we’re told that if we don’t move quickly, that the economy is going keep on getting worse, and we’ll have another 2 or 3 or 4 million jobs loss this year.

      Obama signed it into law half-way through February, so I’ll spot him that. After February there were 3,478,000 jobs lost in 2009. To somehow try to minimize the promises that the administration made to get this shit sandwich passed vs. the actual results is disingenuous at best.

      Thumb up 9

    35. Seattle Outcast

      I’ll take exception to the thought that these debt can’t ever be repaid – there is a time tested method for getting a government out of deep, unthinkable dept that has been performed repeatedly.

      You simply devalue the currency and pay it off pennies on the dollar. Sure, it screws over the little guy, but you can always blame it on someone else – and if people don’t play along, just make ownership of bullion illegal like FDR did……

      Thumb up 8

    36. Iconoclast

      You’re clearly the one here trying to “score points”. You’re LITERALLY adding them up as you go. Wow.

      Yes, I am, against your arguments by noting that they’re straw men (your denials notwithstanding). In marked contrast, your method amounted to a character assassination attempt.

      “Wow”, indeed.

      Thumb up 10

    37. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    38. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    39. Iconoclast

      “Ivory Tower academicians”
      “can cough up studies”
      Nice. Implyng they are flawed, when in fact they were published and presumably peer-reviewed. And they contain discussions about their own limitations. But no, because they don’t reach the conclusions you like, you need to denigrate the people and their work.

      As always, you are free to read in whatever hard-core partisan nonsense you want to into what I actually say. “Ivory Tower” implies detachment. And yes, by carefully choosing your parameters, you can affect how your data is interpreted. That holds either way, for studies I “agree with” and those I don’t. Which is why I don’t place too much stock in “studies”. When you get right down to it, “studies” can pretty much say whatever you want them to. And yes, the scientific enterprise is just as prone to politics and corruption as any other human endeavor.

      As I observed already, only three of the nine in the article provided a non-modeling positive conclusion. Four used modeling, which was discredited by an article I cited early on, and the remaining two used non-modeling methods to obtain a negative conclusion. So one can “cough up” studies to pretty much support any position.

      Such obvious partisan nonsense. Funny how you don’t do that with studies that have outcomes you agree with.

      I just did, up above. The studies I “agree with” are just as irrelevant to Joe Sixpack as the ones I don’t “agree with”. Joe Sixpack doesn’t give a damn about academicians, who are presumably tenured and gainfully employed when they do their “studies”. Were those studies taxpayer-funded, by any chance?

      But you can “cough up” the Joe Sixpack of your own choosing, to suit.

      Yup, there are LITERALLY millions of chronically unemployed Joe’s to choose from.

      Is this the same Joe Sixpack moron who was given the impression that Saddam was involved in 911?

      If it makes your masturbation better, sure, but you should be more careful about letting your elitism shine so radiantly…

      So that’s what you’re doing.

      Whatever makes you sleep better, dude.

      Says the guy who just said “Ivory Tower academicians”.
      Good one.
      Is hypocrisy your middle name?

      Nope — is non sequitur yours?

      Thumb up 5

    40. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    41. Iconoclast

      The only thing I “advocate” is minimizing government meddling with the economy. It was government meddling that created the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis in the first place. And sure, many “benefited” from the Stimulus — those who were politically connected come to mind. Obviously somebody is going to benefit when millions of dollars are being handed out. But Joe Sixpack ain’t one of them. And it doesn’t help matters when Joe is looking for a job and hears Obama laughing it off. “Those ‘shovel-ready’ jobs weren’t as ‘shovel-ready’ as I’d hoped (laugh)”. And it doesn’t help when the President is hosting Paul McCartney concerts in his back yard when Joe is pounding the pavement.

      “Try and save Joe’s job”. The point is, for millions of Joe’s, IT DIDN’T. Oh sure, it may have saved Joe’s BOSS’ job, or Joe’s boss’ boss’ job, the execs pulling down million-dollar bonuses and such, those who donated to the Democrat Party campaigns. But Joe didn’t get much out of it.

      And it comes as no surprise that you say shit like, “But while the optimistic studies do, in fact, support the conclusion that the stimulus worked, there is some reason to doubt that the pessimistic studies support the conclusion that it failed.” Ain’t that always the way?

      When millions of workers have given up looking for work, they can conclude that the Stimulus did nothing for them. The fact that you find that so deeply and profoundly offensive only shows up your own hardcore partisanship.

      And yes, your post was indeed more flotsam.

      Thumb up 6

    42. Xetrov

      The actual unemployment rate exceeded 8% in February 2009. By October it has exceeded 10%.

      Which does nothing to disprove losing 3.4 million jobs after ObamaStimulus was signed, despite his promises to save those jobs by the passing of the Stimulus.

      However the plunge stopped in the second quarter of 2009

      Yeah, not quite. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_losses_caused_by_the_Great_Recession

      January 2009 – 818,000 jobs lost
      February 2009 – 724,000 jobs lost
      March 2009 – 799,000 jobs lost
      April 2009 – 692,000 jobs lost
      May 2009 – 361,000 jobs lost
      June 2009 – 482,000 jobs lost
      July 2009 – 339,000 jobs lost
      August 2009 – 231,000 jobs lost
      September 2009 – 199,000 jobs lost
      October 2009 – 202,000 jobs lost
      November 2009 – 64,000 jobs created
      December 2009 – 109,000 jobs lost

      The CBO estimated 2.1 million jobs were saved in the last quarter of 2009

      That the same CBO that has had to eat crow repeatedly on their Obamacare estimates?

      So if the famous chart that Obama touted around and talked about like it was the Gospel was not a promise to keep unemployment low if the Stimulus was passed, what was the purpose of it?

      Thumb up 5

    43. CM

      The only thing I “advocate” is minimizing government meddling with the economy. It was government meddling that created the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis in the first place.

      Well that’s certainly some cherry-picking right there.

      And sure, many “benefited” from the Stimulus — those who were politically connected come to mind.

      There is evidence that this is what happened? The only study I can find suggests otherwise.
      http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/03/20/stimulus-in-2009-not-politically-driven-or-particularly-efficient/
      Yes yes I know you don’t like studies.

      And it doesn’t help matters when Joe is looking for a job and hears Obama laughing it off. “Those ‘shovel-ready’ jobs weren’t as ‘shovel-ready’ as I’d hoped (laugh)”. And it doesn’t help when the President is hosting Paul McCartney concerts in his back yard when Joe is pounding the pavement.

      Totally agree with you there.

      And it comes as no surprise that you say shit like, “But while the optimistic studies do, in fact, support the conclusion that the stimulus worked, there is some reason to doubt that the pessimistic studies support the conclusion that it failed.” Ain’t that always the way?

      Is it more or less surprising that I fucked up the quotes and those aren’t my words?

      The fact that you find that so deeply and profoundly offensive only shows up your own hardcore partisanship.

      I find none of this deeply or profoundly offensive. I am astounded by the disingenuous attempt to hold Obama to a ‘promise’ of what that graph indicated, and the casual (mocking) dismissal of the reason why it was never going stand a chance of being correct. Nothing even remotely partisan about that.
      The passing of the stimulus wasn’t even a partisan political issue. The only disagreement of any significance was the size of it, and how much of it was a tax cut. It was an economic move, rather than a political one.

      In conclusion, you, Hal and I all disagree with Seattle Outcast.

      Thumb up 1

    44. CM

      Which does nothing to disprove losing 3.4 million jobs after ObamaStimulus was signed, despite his promises to save those jobs by the passing of the Stimulus.

      First, as outlined, it very clearly wasn’t a promise. It was a projection. Second, if the economy was in far worse shape by the time it was signed (which it was), then does it not stand to reason that the projected job losses (had they been able to be projected at that specific time) would have been much higher? How could it not?

      Yeah, not quite.

      Ah, you’re right. It was the economy which stopped plunging then, but unemployment continued. This was from 2011, when the Department of Commerce revised some of its previous estimates. I misread the source (and didn’t provide it either)
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/aug/01/us-debt-deal-washington-unemployment

      There was another interesting item in the revised data. It showed that the economy was plunging even more rapidly than we had previously recognised in the two quarters following the collapse of Lehman. Yet, the plunge stopped in the second quarter of 2009 – just as the stimulus came on line. This was followed by respectable growth over the next four quarters. Growth then weakened again as the impact of the stimulus began to fade at the end of 2010 and the start of this year.

      In other words, the growth pattern shown by the revised data sure makes it appear that the stimulus worked. The main problem would seem to be that the stimulus was not big enough and it wasn’t left in place long enough to lift the economy to anywhere near potential output. But none of this was being discussed in Washington.

      That the same CBO that has had to eat crow repeatedly on their Obamacare estimates?

      Has the CBO assessment on this been debunked, or revised in any significant way?

      So if the famous chart that Obama touted around and talked about like it was the Gospel was not a promise to keep unemployment low if the Stimulus was passed, what was the purpose of it?

      To get the stimulus passed, so that far less jobs would be lost than if it wasn’t. Are you suggesting that if it were known at the time that the economy was much worse (and going to get worse), the argument being made for the stimulus would actually be weaker? I think the argument would likely have been that the stimulus would need to be larger (that’s certainly an opinion of many economists).

      This is weird – it’s almost as if you know that they knew that their numbers were bullshit.

      Thumb up 0

    45. Xetrov

      Has the CBO assessment on this been debunked, or revised in any significant way?

      I sure hope so. Because if they are right, and the Stimulus only saved 2.1 million jobs, then it cost the country $374,761.00 for each one of those jobs saved ($787,000,0000,000.00 / 2,100,000). Only the government could spend that kind of money on something, and consider it a success, when they could have handed each one of those 2.1 million people $100,000-$300,000 and come out well ahead of where we ended up.

      To get the stimulus passed, so they could give money to their buddies.

      Fixed. http://www.aei.org/article/politics-and-public-opinion/obamas-stimulus-became-a-special-interest-feeding-frenzy/

      Are you suggesting that if it were known at the time that the economy was much worse (and going to get worse), the argument being made for the stimulus would actually be weaker?

      I’m suggesting if all they cared about was creating jobs, they could have given a tax holiday to companies that hired people, and they would have done more for unemployment while spending less without the Keynesian and favoritism bullshit. Are you suggesting that the Administration didn’t use the stimulus to reward liberal-backed causes and lobby’s?

      Thumb up 3

    46. Iconoclast
      The only thing I “advocate” is minimizing government meddling with the economy. It was government meddling that created the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis in the first place.

      Well that’s certainly some cherry-picking right there.

      Yeah, of course it is…

      Facts show Fannie, Freddie led mortgage market to the collapse

      Bloomberg said, “it was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress, who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. … They were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will.”

      The Culprit Is All of Us — The government’s meddling got us into this mess.

      Our present crisis began in the 1970s, during the Carter administration, with passage of the Community Reinvestment Act to stem bank redlining and liberalize lending in order to extend home ownership in lower-income communities. Then in the 1990s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development took a fateful step by getting the GSEs to accept subprime mortgages. With Fannie and Freddie easing credit requirements on loans they would purchase from lenders, banks could greatly increase lending to borrowers unqualified for conventional loans. In the name of extending affordable housing, this broadened the acceptability of risky loans throughout the financial system.

      Financial Crisis: Clinton Rooted, Bush Fed, Obama Watered

      While the Financial Crisis Commission points fingers in many different directions, I believe it can be fairly said that the root cause of the crisis was government meddling. FHA arm twisting to promote affordable housing led to trillions of dollars in bad mortgages. Federal Reserve laxness in setting low interest rates allowed a housing bubble to form.

      Who caused “the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression?”

      “The Community Reinvestment Act” (see here for more).

      * The original Community Reinvestment Act was signed into law in 1977 by Jimmy Carter. Its purpose, in a nutshell, was to require banks to provide credit to “under-served populations,” i.e., those with poor credit.

      The buzz word was “affordable mortgages,” e.g., mortgages with low teaser-rates, which required the borrower to put no money down, which required the borrower to pay only the interest for a set number of years, etc.

      * In 1995, Bill Clinton’s administration made various changes to the CRA, increasing “access to mortgage credit for inner city and distressed rural communities,” i.e., it provided for the securitization, i.e. public underwriting, of what everyone now calls “sub-prime mortgages.”

      Bottom line? It forced banks to issue $1 trillion in sub-prime mortgages.

      $1 trillion, i.e., a thousand billion dollars in sub-prime,i.e., risky, mortgages, in order to push this latest example of social engineering.

      But wait: how did it force banks to do this? Easy. Introduce a federal requirement that banks make the loans or face penalties. As Howard Husock, writing in City Journal way back in 2000 observed: “Bank examiners would use federal home-loan data, broken down by neighborhood, income group, and race, to rate banks on performance. There would be no more A’s for effort. Only results—specific loans, specific levels of service—would count.” Way back in 1994, for example, Barack Obama sued Citibank on behalf of a client who charged that the bank “systematically denied mortgages to African-American applicants and others from minority neighborhoods.”

      Book Review: Bad History, Worse Policy: How a False Narrative about the Financial Crisis Led to the Dodd-Frank Act

      Wallison doesn’t mince words. Throughout the book he makes plain that the driver of the eventual meltdown was “government housing policy” whereby government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, affordable housing legislation from Congress, and tax incentives fostered an excess of housing consumption that would never have occurred in a free market. But for those who might presume his account is a partisan one, they needn’t worry. As Wallison asserts early on, “The Bush administration was at least as culpable as the Clinton administration when it came to setting the stage for the eventual crisis.”

      Wallison’s purpose in the book, which is mostly a collection of research reports he wrote on housing and banking from 2004 to 2012, is to change the popular narrative about what happened. As he notes, “Winners write the history,” and with President Obama’s ascendance to the White House in 2009, a narrative about what occurred has taken hold that deregulation, or a lack of proper supervision of private sector banks, caused the crack-up on the way to passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

      Feel free to demonstrate how all of this constitutes “cherry picking”, and how the popular narrative (“deregulation” and “greed in the private sector” caused the problem) doesn’t.

      And sure, many “benefited” from the Stimulus — those who were politically connected come to mind.

      There is evidence that this is what happened?

      Harvard economist says stimulus was designed to reward Democrat constituencies

      Hans Bader at the Competitive Enterprise Institute comments on a new published paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which explains why the stimulus failed to stimulate the economy and to create more jobs.

      The paper is here. (PDF)

      Excerpt:

      What’s interesting about Dr. Miron’s critique is that he shows how the stimulus was a failure even if you take for granted liberal assumptions about economic policy (such as Keynesian economic theory), since it was so badly designed and executed that it failed to achieve its goals, spending wastefully while failing to revive the economy. Indeed, the stimulus was so poorly tailored to the economy (and the goal of reducing unemployment) that Miron concludes that it was designed to reward politically connected “constituencies” and special-interest groups, like public-employee unions, rather than being focused on “economic stimulus.”

      George Mason University professor Veronique de Rugy looked at recovery.org and found that Democrat districts got more stimulus money than Republican districts.

      She writes:

      …based on my new analysis of the Recovery.org data, Democratic districts are getting 1.8 times more money on average than Republican districts. Using Recovery.gov data, and cleaning it up seriously to be able to use it, we find that Republican districts are getting on average $260.6 million in stimulus awards while democratic districts are getting on average $471.5 million. The average is award per district is $385.9 million.

      Interestingly, my data also confirms that the stimulus funds are not allocated based on unemployment rates or even variations in unemployment rates. So basically, if the administration believes that government spending can create jobs, the allocation of the funds doesn’t show it.

      Obama’s stimulus became a special-interest feeding frenzy

      Obama’s partisans claim the stimulus helped the economy. It certainly helped companies like Solar City. It may have cushioned the impact of the recession.

      But it also made one thing clear: Special-interest lobbying would be very lucrative in the Obama years.

      Yeah, I know, “extreme” and “hard-core partisan” and “narrative” and “fringe”.

      Oh, and “IDEOLOGY“, Marxdamnit.

      Thumb up 5

    47. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    48. Xetrov
      Are you suggesting that the Administration didn’t use the stimulus to reward liberal-backed causes and lobby’s?

      Not according to these economists who looked at exactly that.
      http://www.brookings.edu/about/projects/bpea/papers/2014/arra-political-economy-discretionary-spending#recent/

      Opening statement from your article:

      Members of Congress don’t appear to have successfully used their influence to send stimulus-funded projects to their districts

      I’ll let you figure that one out.

      Thumb up 3

    49. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    50. Xetrov

      Further down…

      They also look at the extent to which parties directed funds for their own partisan benefit. Neither Democrats nor Republicans sent more money to swing districts where the money might be considered most effective in obtaining an electoral advantage.

      Which still does nothing to discount the Administration directing funds to liberal-backed causes. Did you need a refresher on the difference between the Executive (“The Administration”) and Legislative (the representatives with “districts” that the paragraph you quote is talking about) branches of the US Federal Government?

      But ok, feel free to provide support for the argument you seem to be making. How exactly did the Administration use the stimulus to “reward liberal-backed causes”.

      Previously provided: http://www.aei.org/article/politics-and-public-opinion/obamas-stimulus-became-a-special-interest-feeding-frenzy/

      Section 1603 largely benefitted big business. The ten largest projects subsidized by Section 1603 (nine wind farms and one solar farm) pocketed $2.5 billion of the total $20.3 billion given out by the program. (This probably low-balls the actual share of the ten largest projects because of the Treasury Department’s opaque reporting.)

      Often politics – rather than worthiness – seemed to determine who got the stimulus money. Most famous was solar-panel maker Solyndra, which went bankrupt after getting a taxpayer-backed loan guarantee of more than a half billion dollars through a stimulus program.

      One of Solyndra’s lobbyists was K Street firm McBee Strategic, an epicenter of green stimulus lobbying. The firm’s founder, Steve McBee, was a former top aide to senior House appropriator Norm Dicks, D-Wash. Energy lobbyists told me that McBee crafted the stimulus provision that loosened lending standards for green-energy programs, thus paving the way for Solyndra’s guarantee. “We definitely were pretty involved in that,” a McBee spokesman told me at the time.

      Did you really forget about Solyndra?

      But if that’s not enough, let’s look at some stats…

      http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/03/23/where-did-stimulus-money-really-go/

      The stimulus money may have failed to go to the states the president promised, but a clear pattern does emerge. Stimulus dollars were highly correlated to which political party controlled the state: Having an entirely Democrat congressional delegation in 2009, when the bill passed, increases the per capita stimulus dollars that the state receives per person by $460. In addition, the states that Obama won by the largest percentage margin in 2008 got the most money.

      http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/stimulus-501352-money-obama.html

      So where did all that sweet stimulus money go? Of the money spent in swing state Wisconsin, 80 percent went to public sector unions – those with already locked-in jobs. In fact, right-to-work states got $266 less per person in stimulus money than heavily unionized states. Where Democrats had a vast majority of representatives, their states got $460 per person more.

      When Obama signed the stimulus bill in 2009, he promised it would provide “help for those hardest hit by our economic crisis.” Clearly, it did not. The states hurt the most, the ones with more foreclosures, unemployment and bankruptcy, got less money than richer states closer to power. Washington, D.C. got the most stimulus money: $7,602 per capita.

      But go ahead and post how Congress didn’t do any of that, so it’s ok or something.

      Thumb up 4

    51. Iconoclast

      Attempting to bypass the Moderator queue…

      The only thing I “advocate” is minimizing government meddling with the economy. It was government meddling that created the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis in the first place.

      Well that’s certainly some cherry-picking right there.

      Yeah, of course it is…

      Facts show Fannie, Freddie led mortgage market to the collapse

      Bloomberg said, “it was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress, who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. … They were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will.”

      Thumb up 5

    52. Iconoclast

      The Culprit Is All of Us — The government’s meddling got us into this mess.

      Our present crisis began in the 1970s, during the Carter administration, with passage of the Community Reinvestment Act to stem bank redlining and liberalize lending in order to extend home ownership in lower-income communities. Then in the 1990s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development took a fateful step by getting the GSEs to accept subprime mortgages. With Fannie and Freddie easing credit requirements on loans they would purchase from lenders, banks could greatly increase lending to borrowers unqualified for conventional loans. In the name of extending affordable housing, this broadened the acceptability of risky loans throughout the financial system.

      Thumb up 5

    53. Iconoclast

      Financial Crisis: Clinton Rooted, Bush Fed, Obama Watered

      While the Financial Crisis Commission points fingers in many different directions, I believe it can be fairly said that the root cause of the crisis was government meddling. FHA arm twisting to promote affordable housing led to trillions of dollars in bad mortgages. Federal Reserve laxness in setting low interest rates allowed a housing bubble to form.

      Thumb up 4

    54. Iconoclast

      Who caused “the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression?”

      “The Community Reinvestment Act” (see here for more).

      * The original Community Reinvestment Act was signed into law in 1977 by Jimmy Carter. Its purpose, in a nutshell, was to require banks to provide credit to “under-served populations,” i.e., those with poor credit.

      The buzz word was “affordable mortgages,” e.g., mortgages with low teaser-rates, which required the borrower to put no money down, which required the borrower to pay only the interest for a set number of years, etc.

      * In 1995, Bill Clinton’s administration made various changes to the CRA, increasing “access to mortgage credit for inner city and distressed rural communities,” i.e., it provided for the securitization, i.e. public underwriting, of what everyone now calls “sub-prime mortgages.”

      Bottom line? It forced banks to issue $1 trillion in sub-prime mortgages.

      $1 trillion, i.e., a thousand billion dollars in sub-prime,i.e., risky, mortgages, in order to push this latest example of social engineering.

      But wait: how did it force banks to do this? Easy. Introduce a federal requirement that banks make the loans or face penalties. As Howard Husock, writing in City Journal way back in 2000 observed: “Bank examiners would use federal home-loan data, broken down by neighborhood, income group, and race, to rate banks on performance. There would be no more A’s for effort. Only results—specific loans, specific levels of service—would count.” Way back in 1994, for example, Barack Obama sued Citibank on behalf of a client who charged that the bank “systematically denied mortgages to African-American applicants and others from minority neighborhoods.”

      Thumb up 5

    55. Iconoclast

      Book Review: Bad History, Worse Policy: How a False Narrative about the Financial Crisis Led to the Dodd-Frank Act

      Wallison doesn’t mince words. Throughout the book he makes plain that the driver of the eventual meltdown was “government housing policy” whereby government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, affordable housing legislation from Congress, and tax incentives fostered an excess of housing consumption that would never have occurred in a free market. But for those who might presume his account is a partisan one, they needn’t worry. As Wallison asserts early on, “The Bush administration was at least as culpable as the Clinton administration when it came to setting the stage for the eventual crisis.”

      Wallison’s purpose in the book, which is mostly a collection of research reports he wrote on housing and banking from 2004 to 2012, is to change the popular narrative about what happened. As he notes, “Winners write the history,” and with President Obama’s ascendance to the White House in 2009, a narrative about what occurred has taken hold that deregulation, or a lack of proper supervision of private sector banks, caused the crack-up on the way to passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

      Feel free to demonstrate how all of this constitutes “cherry picking”, and how the popular narrative (“deregulation” and “greed in the private sector” caused the problem) doesn’t.

      Thumb up 5

    56. Iconoclast
      And sure, many “benefited” from the Stimulus — those who were politically connected come to mind.

      There is evidence that this is what happened?

      Harvard economist says stimulus was designed to reward Democrat constituencies

      Hans Bader at the Competitive Enterprise Institute comments on a new published paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which explains why the stimulus failed to stimulate the economy and to create more jobs.

      The paper is here. (PDF)

      Excerpt:

      What’s interesting about Dr. Miron’s critique is that he shows how the stimulus was a failure even if you take for granted liberal assumptions about economic policy (such as Keynesian economic theory), since it was so badly designed and executed that it failed to achieve its goals, spending wastefully while failing to revive the economy. Indeed, the stimulus was so poorly tailored to the economy (and the goal of reducing unemployment) that Miron concludes that it was designed to reward politically connected “constituencies” and special-interest groups, like public-employee unions, rather than being focused on “economic stimulus.”

      George Mason University professor Veronique de Rugy looked at recovery.org and found that Democrat districts got more stimulus money than Republican districts.

      She writes:

      …based on my new analysis of the Recovery.org data, Democratic districts are getting 1.8 times more money on average than Republican districts. Using Recovery.gov data, and cleaning it up seriously to be able to use it, we find that Republican districts are getting on average $260.6 million in stimulus awards while democratic districts are getting on average $471.5 million. The average is award per district is $385.9 million.

      Interestingly, my data also confirms that the stimulus funds are not allocated based on unemployment rates or even variations in unemployment rates. So basically, if the administration believes that government spending can create jobs, the allocation of the funds doesn’t show it.

      Thumb up 5

    57. Iconoclast

      Obama’s stimulus became a special-interest feeding frenzy

      Obama’s partisans claim the stimulus helped the economy. It certainly helped companies like Solar City. It may have cushioned the impact of the recession.

      But it also made one thing clear: Special-interest lobbying would be very lucrative in the Obama years.

      Yeah, I know, “extreme” and “hard-core partisan” and “narrative” and “fringe”.

      Oh, and “IDEOLOGY“, Marxdamnit.

      Thumb up 5

    58. AlexInCT

      Alex, you’ve clearly read nothing I’ve written about the minimum wage. As for “Wrong thing to focus on”, that’s yet another avoidance.

      You mean I have avoided the bullshit made up leftoid crap they feed the too-stupid-to-know-better-envious-masses whenever they need political support to get their union buddies more money to funnel back to their campaign coffers, and actualy focused on the real effects of the minimum wage?

      Raising the minimum wage, which primarily affects extremely low skilled begginer type jobs and union workrs with their pay tied to the minimum wage, means that the people forced to pay more for the unskilled labor will seek alternatives. I am going to completely ignore the argument that this idiotic idea causes the cost of things to go up, too often resulting in an increase that costs the employer business as well, because economics illiterate leftoids just can’t seem to grasp this, and focus on what happens with the employees of businesses now forced to pay unskilled labor far more than the labor is worth. When pushed to overpay, businesses will demand more efficiency from the employee they are forced to compensate far beyond what they feel his labor value is, and when the cost becomes too much – which we are already seeing – they will opt for the ultimate efficency: automation. Anyone pretending this reality shouldn’t be the primary concern and actually shovels the other shit, is an economic illitrate marxist moron. It’s the age old discusion of the idiotic marxist idea that labor is what is valuable, and people need to be making “living wages” which can simply be explained away by the example of a turd polisher. People are only willing to pay so much for something before they opt for something else. Nobody will pay a turd polisher a living wage. It’s ludicrous.

      Something to remember when talking economics in the real world with your usual class warrior liberals:

      Wilford Brimley: [on tape] Hi. This is Wilford Brimley. Welcome to Retardation: A Celebration. Now, hopefully with this book, I’m gonna dispel a few myths, a few rumors. First off, the retarded don’t rule the night. They don’t rule it. Nobody does. And they don’t run in packs. And while they may not be as strong as apes, don’t lock eyes with ‘em, don’t do it. Puts ‘em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming “No, no, no” and all they hear is “Who wants cake?” Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

      In case there are any doubts, the retarded being talked about are the people that think they can violate the laws of economics with their “social justice” ideology without consequences. There is no nice way to refer to anyone that thinks they can will away how the real world works.

      Thumb up 6

    59. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    60. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    61. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    62. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    63. Xetrov

      It’s completely unrelated to Obama’s stimulus. It was one of the first to get approval under Bush’s energy loan guarantee programme.

      Check again.

      http://www.factcheck.org/2011/10/obamas-solyndra-problem/

      The loan guarantee program that provided financing for Solyndra, however, does not predate Obama.

      In a March 2009 press release announcing a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, the Energy Department said: “This loan guarantee will be supported through the President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provides tens of billions of dollars in loan guarantee authority to build a new green energy economy.” Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, confirmed that Solyndra’s funding came solely from section 1705.

      (Just a suggestion – be careful in regards to claims about ideology based reasoning when you don’t even have a clue where the funding for Solyndra came from.)

      So where is the evidence that the Obama administration allocated that money?

      Again, did you need a refresher on the structure of the US Federal Government?

      Vice-President Biden had a direct oversight role written into the law.

      The law also allowed Obama to create “The President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board” charged with the administration of the act.

      Obama also created another board called the “Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board” to monitor administration of the act filled with various Inspector Generals (otherwise known as part of “The Administration”)..

      Solyndra something…

      Thumb up 5

    64. CM

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/nov/17/david-plouffe/solyndra-loan-george-w-bush-david-plouffe/

      And so the meaningful difference is? 1703 and 1705 fall under the same program. Bush went out of his way to try and get the Solyndra deal done. Could you pick a worse example?
      Bush can dedicate “more than $18 billion to developing clean and efficient technologies” but when Obama funds it he’s just favouring his own special interest groups?

      That’s nice that Biden had a direct oversight role, and that there was an advisory board. Still isn’t evidence of the claim (let alone proof). Which specific projects were funded because they were Obama funders or special interest groups of Obama’s?

      Solyndra something indeed.

      Thumb up 0

    65. CM

      “Indeed, the stimulus was so poorly tailored to the economy (and the goal of reducing unemployment) that Miron concludes that it was designed to reward politically connected “constituencies” and special-interest groups, like public-employee unions, rather than being focused on “economic stimulus.”

      Except if you actually read the ‘essay’ (it’s not a paper in any sense) it doesn’t conclude this. It just claims this as fact, at the beginning, and simply references a full spending breakdown at the WSJ.
      Lame idelogical ‘reporting’ of an ‘essay’ which makes ideological claim that it hasn’t even attempt to prove {e.g that it’s “true goal” was to “reward it’s constituencies” – I can tell you that part IS in the conclusion because I’ve actually read it).

      Thumb up 0

    66. Iconoclast

      The financial crisis was triggered by a complex interplay of policies that encouraged home ownership, providing easier access to loans for (lending) borrowers, overvaluation of bundled sub-prime mortgages based on the theory that housing prices would continue to escalate, questionable trading practices on behalf of both buyers and sellers, compensation structures that prioritize short-term deal flow over long-term value creation, and a lack of adequate capital holdings from banks and insurance companies to back the financial commitments they were making.

      What this Wiki article is trying not to admit is that the trigger was indeed government meddling. It was those “policies that encouraged home ownership” that were the foundation to everything else. Wiki does a fine attempt at obfuscation, but it was government meddling with the market to effect a desired outcome (more “poor” people buying houses) that cause the rest of these items to take place. In a free and open market, many of these things simply would not have happened. And this article ignores the fact that banks were coerced into making those sub-prime loans. Coerced by government.

      The second paragraph essentially has a couple of government reports claiming it was government’s fault only in that there wasn’t enough regulation, holding to the popular narrative. Color me surprised.

      So much more complex than ideologically simplistic mantras…

      Only if you hold to ideologically-driven cherry picking and obfuscation. Like I said, the fact that banks were forced to make sub-prime loans is totally ignored in your article, which actually tries to make government meddling sound noble and caring.

      Except if you actually read the ‘essay’ (it’s not a paper in any sense) it doesn’t conclude this.

      Sure, it is probably more accurate to say that it argues this. Which it does, effectively, your knee-jerk disagreement notwithstanding.

      I’ve actually read it…

      Good for you, not that you actually comprehended it, though….

      Thumb up 3

    67. CM

      “The existence of housing bubbles in a number of large countries, each with vastly different systems of housing finance, severely undercuts the thesis that the housing bubble was a phenomenon driven solely by the U.S. government.”

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704698004576104500524998280

      How did I not comprehend it? Or are going to employ that lame tactic of unsupported accusations in addition to “knee jerk” nonsense?

      It doesn’t even remotely argue that. The author doesn’t think the stimulus was designed properly, and therefore assigns purely ideological motives due to……nothing. There is argument about why he didn’t agree that specific parts of the package were the best method to achieve the stated purpose, but nothing is argued about rewarding friends. It appears that his “conclusion” on that, although stated as fact, is just a guess. Which is pure partisanship. No wonder you liked it. No wonder you’re starting to throw out your desperate “knee jerk nonsense. There is a pattern there.

      Thumb up 0

    68. Iconoclast

      “The existence of housing bubbles in a number of large countries, each with vastly different systems of housing finance, severely undercuts the thesis that the housing bubble was a phenomenon driven solely by the U.S. government.”

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704698004576104500524998280

      I don’t have a paid subscription, so I cannot verify the quote or determine its context. How convenient. The byline reads, “Congress’s inquiry commission is offering a simplistic narrative that could lead to the wrong policy reforms”, so if the quote is actually from the commission’s report, it is called into question. Like I said before, it comes as no surprise that government reports would claim government innocence.

      The author doesn’t think the stimulus was designed properly, and therefore assigns purely ideological motives due to…nothing.

      Your ideological opinion is noted.

      There is argument about why he didn’t agree that specific parts of the package were the best method to achieve the stated purpose, but nothing is argued about rewarding friends.

      From the essay:

      The realization that government is handing out pots of money generates rent seeking and other unproductive behavior, leading to crony capitalism (for example, a semi-nationalized auto industry).

      The lion’s share of the transfers, however, was to public education. The stated goal was to reduce teacher layoffs, and that undoubtedly occurred to some degree. Yet many school districts have excess personnel (assistant principals, specialists for everything), and layoffs might be appropriate. Some of the federal money will end up as higher wages for unionized teachers.

      And so on.

      No wonder you’re starting to throw out your desperate “knee jerk nonsense.

      Nothing “desperate” about it — just a simple observation of predictable, reflex behavior.

      Thumb up 2

    69. Iconoclast

      “The existence of housing bubbles in a number of large countries, each with vastly different systems of housing finance, severely undercuts the thesis that the housing bubble was a phenomenon driven solely by the U.S. government.”

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704698004576104500524998280

      I don’t have a paid subscription, so I cannot verify the quote or determine its context. How convenient. The byline reads, “Congress’s inquiry commission is offering a simplistic narrative that could lead to the wrong policy reforms”, so if the quote is actually from the commission’s report, it is called into question. Like I said before, it comes as no surprise that government reports would claim government innocence.

      The author doesn’t think the stimulus was designed properly, and therefore assigns purely ideological motives due to…nothing.

      Your ideological opinion is noted.

      There is argument about why he didn’t agree that specific parts of the package were the best method to achieve the stated purpose, but nothing is argued about rewarding friends.

      From the essay:

      The realization that government is handing out pots of money generates rent seeking and other unproductive behavior, leading to crony capitalism (for example, a semi-nationalized auto industry).

      The lion’s share of the transfers, however, was to public education. The stated goal was to reduce teacher layoffs, and that undoubtedly occurred to some degree. Yet many school districts have excess personnel (assistant principals, specialists for everything), and layoffs might be appropriate. Some of the federal money will end up as higher wages for unionized teachers.

      And so on.

      No wonder you’re starting to throw out your desperate “knee jerk nonsense.

      Nothing “desperate” about it — just a simple observation of predictable, reflex behavior.

      Thumb up 4

    70. AlexInCT

      Not sure why those block quotes got so bollixed. Apologies.

      That was not caused by the blockquoting Iconoclast. You copied & pasted from a site that had hidden formatting characters laying out the text, and that carried over. A good practice to avoid carrying over these types of annoying characters is to copy & paste to a text editor like Notepad that strips them out, and then recopying and pasting the cleaned text to your comment pannel here.

      I fixed it for you by doing just that, btw. Hope you don’t mind.

      Thumb up 0

    71. Iconoclast

      No problem, Alex — thanks for fixing it. And feel free to remove the duplicate posting (my attempt to fix the problem).

      Thumb up 3

    72. Iconoclast

      “The existence of housing bubbles in a number of large countries, each with vastly different systems of housing finance, severely undercuts the thesis that the housing bubble was a phenomenon driven solely by the U.S. government.”

      This is nothing but a clever sleight of hand. Just because “a number of large countries” have “vastly different systems of housing finance”, that doesn’t preclude the possibility of government intervention in each of those cases, and it certainly has no bearing on what took place in the U.S. market. Even if some other agent cause a bubble in a different market, that doesn’t disprove the U.S. government’s culpability in the U.S. market, no matter how desperately the author of that statement might want us to believe that it does.

      Thumb up 4

    73. Xetrov

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/nov/17/david-plouffe/solyndra-loan-george-w-bush-david-plouffe/

      The Obama Administration is trying to blame something on the Bush Administration? The hell you say.

      1703 and 1705 fall under the same program.

      You said

      Not at all. It’s completely unrelated to Obama’s stimulus.

      Which is totally incorrect. The guarantee was approved and funded 100% by ObamaStimulus.

      Could you pick a worse example?

      I couldn’t have said it better. From your own source –

      The program grew under the Obama administration, which ultimately awarded Solyndra’s loan guarantee under a new section of the law created by the stimulus.

      Checkmate.

      Thumb up 8

    74. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    75. Iconoclast
      I don’t have a paid subscription, so I cannot verify the quote or determine its context. How convenient.

      Neither do I.

      Way to miss the point, dude. I was unable to find the “The existence of housing bubbles in a number of large countries…” quote, which begs the question: From where did you get it?

      Yes, as I say, he sets out why he didn’t like it. No argument there. He wants charter schools and vouchers. He doesn’t like what the stimulus did and wants the standard ideological preference of the right.

      Well, that’s your particular ideological spin on it, yes. Another way to see it is that he explains how the alleged goals of the stimulus could have actually been met if different decisions were made. Since those decisions were made the way they were made, the logical conclusion is that “stimulus” wasn’t really the goal (just like “affordable health care for all” wasn’t really the goal of Obamacare). So what was the goal, then? Based on his analysis as an economist, and who got the benefit of the money and tax breaks, he argues that the politically connected were the intended recipients.

      It does increasingly appear to be your desperation move, whether you care to admit it or not.

      How it “appears” to you is irrelevant. Hell, your repeated implications of “desperation” on my part look to me like actual desperation on your part.

      Whether you care to admit it or not.

      But the govt didn’t set up or force leverage ratios at the five major investment banks as high as 40 to 1, meaning for every $40 in assets, there was only $1 in capital to cover losses.

      The meltdown explanation that melts away

      It is certainly true that leverage at the investment banks zoomed between 2004 and 2007, before the near collapse. And this narrative of the rule change has plenty of appeal — it serves up villains. Stupid SEC people! Greedy bankers! It also suggests regulators were in the pockets of the big banks, and it offers support for the narrative of financial deregulation that many put at the center of the crisis.

      There’s just one problem with this story line: It’s not true. Nor is it hard to prove that. Look at the historical leverage of the big five investment banks — Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The Government Accountability Office did just this in a July 2009 report and noted that three of the five firms had leverage ratios of 28 to 1 or greater at fiscal year-end 1998, which not only is a lot higher than 12 to 1 but also was higher than their leverage ratios at the end of 2006. So if leverage was higher before the rule change than it ever was afterward, how could the 2004 rule change have resulted in previously impermissible leverage?

      Thumb up 6

    76. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    77. Iconoclast

      However it doesn’t require a paid subscription to open the WSJ link.

      Obviously not, but opening the link only provides the first couple of lines of the article. A subscription is required to obtain the rest of it.

      He’s not relying on any evidence.

      He’s relying on his knowledge as an economist. We could say he’s relying on historical evidence, of what works and what doesn’t.

      As agreed, we can’t categorically say that the stimulus didn’t work, so therefore we can’t say it failed, and thus his premise is flawed.

      This is equivocation. From his point of view, it did fail, and he explains why. We are, of course, free to reject his explanations.

      There is no actual ‘need’ to search out an alternative explanation, because the stated explanation hasn’t shown to fail.

      Again, this is based on equivocation. He is explaining why it did fail. Like I said, we can reject his position and his explanation, but there is nothing internally inconsistent about either one from his perspective.

      The goals were to stop plummeting economy and unemployment. Not long after the stimulus was passed those things stopped plummeting (unemployment took a little longer).

      Unemployment took a lot longer. It still hasn’t recovered, according to whom you talk to, and according to how you determine the number.

      And what exactly does “stop plummeting economy” even mean, anyway? Nothing can “plummet” forever. Eventually, any kind of “plummet” has to stop as a matter of course. It’s quite debatable whether any possible “cushion” massive deficit spending might provide is worth it, if it severely impacts the recovery process.

      He’s entitled to his opinion, but that’s certainly all it is.

      That’s all any of this is, really. Including yours, or those of the people you cite.

      Also, the author doesn’t suggest that leverage had nothing to do with the crisis, just that a rule change in 2004 had nothing to do with it.

      But the point is that high-ratio leveraging took place in the past without dire consequences, so there is little reason to assume the leveraging was the culprit this time. Again, it’s about market forces. The leveraging did go down after the late 1990’s, presumably due to market forces. Like the author said, the rule change of 2004 had nothing to do with it.

      Market forces are always acting on the market. When government tampers with those forces to force a desired outcome, that’s when things go awry. Sure, that’s my “hard-core partisan extreme ideologue” opinion, if that’s what it takes to make you sleep better.

      Thumb up 3

    78. Iconoclast

      He’s not relying on any evidence.

      Emphasis added:

      Before adopting a fiscal stimulus, therefore, it is imperative to consider the evidence for the Keynesian model’s validity. As it turns out, the empirical support for the Keynesian view is far from compelling.13 The model implies that the impact of increased spending should be greater than the impact of tax cuts, but the existing evidence suggests the opposite.14 Indeed, some empirical evidence finds minimal impacts of spending, but most research finds a robust impact of tax cuts.

      Thus, even if one takes the basic Keynesian framework as given and accepts that government should stimulate during recessions, existing evidence suggests that an effective package should consist of lower taxes, especially decreased tax rates.

      And so on…

      Thumb up 3

    79. AlexInCT

      Market forces are always acting on the market. When government tampers with those forces to force a desired outcome, that’s when things go awry

      This simple and unavoidable reality consistently and continuously escapes the envious idiots that the class warriors exploit, with the promise of free shit other people pay for, to buy the votes that give the class warriors the political appointment they then use to enrich themselves with. And every time the shit hits the fan, they tell the same idiots that the problem wasn’t their idiotic attempt to circumvent and tamper with the laws of economics, but the fact they didn’t do enough of that.

      What’s the definition of insanity again?

      Thumb up 0

    80. CM

      Obviously not, but opening the link only provides the first couple of lines of the article. A subscription is required to obtain the rest of it.

      The whole thing opens for me and I don’t have a paid subscription. I’m not sure why it’s different for you.

      He’s relying on his knowledge as an economist. We could say he’s relying on historical evidence, of what works and what doesn’t.

      Sure, he’s relying on his knowledge as an economist to explain he thinks it could have been done better. But he’s not relying on his knowledge as an economist when he guesses that they didn’t do it how he could have liked because they just wanted to reward their friends.

      This is equivocation. From his point of view, it did fail, and he explains why. We are, of course, free to reject his explanations.

      He never actually makes the case that it failed. He just argues that it should have been structured differently (and then makes the leap to make a definitive conclusion that it must have been designed like that to reward friends).

      Again, this is based on equivocation. He is explaining why it did fail. Like I said, we can reject his position and his explanation, but there is nothing internally inconsistent about either one from his perspective.

      As above, he hasn’t demonstrated it’s failure. Or that it was designed to reward friends. He’s simply provided an opinion of how he thinks it should have been structured.

      Unemployment took a lot longer. It still hasn’t recovered, according to whom you talk to, and according to how you determine the number.

      True. Although I was referring to the key reason behind the stimulus, which was to stop the plummet.

      And what exactly does “stop plummeting economy” even mean, anyway? Nothing can “plummet” forever. Eventually, any kind of “plummet” has to stop as a matter of course.

      True, and I’m yet to read any responses to my questions about where the plummet would have ended if the ‘do nothing’ approach had been followed.

      It’s quite debatable whether any possible “cushion” massive deficit spending might provide is worth it, if it severely impacts the recovery process.

      That was certainly something that was looked at at the time (effects on private investment), and attempts were made to measure it later. It’s not as though it was ignored. Of course analysis can’t go into the long-term effects of massively greater unemployment (and particularly long term unemployment) right through society. Much is made of those who stopped looking for work (and therefore don’t get counted as unemployed), but how many more would have been in that category if the ‘do nothing’ approach had been taken? Obviously we’ll never know.

      That’s all any of this is, really. Including yours, or those of the people you cite.

      Which brings me right back to my initial point – which was that Seattle Outcast was the one making the definitive claim. There is certainly sufficient evidence to pour cold water on any such a definitive claim. Which is why Hal didn’t include it.

      But the point is that high-ratio leveraging took place in the past without dire consequences, so there is little reason to assume the leveraging was the culprit this time.

      Again, nobody is suggesting that it was ‘the’ culprit.

      Market forces are always acting on the market. When government tampers with those forces to force a desired outcome, that’s when things go awry. Sure, that’s my “hard-core partisan extreme ideologue” opinion, if that’s what it takes to make you sleep better.

      I’m totally aware that government actions make a difference, and interfere in the market (which is why I’m against subsidies ). I’ve also always thought that making loans to people who can’t afford them is stupid and inevitably disastrous. However none of these actions occur in a vacuum, and the market can only operate effectively with certain regulations in place (in the finance sector the most important probably being anti-monopoly and reporting regulations). It’s a matter of getting the regulations right, rather than having none at all (which of course is the hard-core ideological stance).

      Emphasis added:
      ……
      And so on…

      My point was that he’s not relying on any evidence to conclude that it must be that Obama was rewarding friends. Not that he wasn’t relying on evidence to argue why the stimulus wasn’t structured properly. So that appears to be one of your Straw Men.
      If the package was designed by taking the advice of a range of economists who don’t agree with Miron’s assessment of ‘the empirical support for the Keynesian view’ (which is clearly the case) then that simply explains the design of the stimulus (as opposed to ‘they just wanted to reward friends’) . It was designed according to what was going to provide the greatest ‘bang for your buck’
      See and analysis here, particularly on Pg 6 and 7.
      https://www.economy.com/mark-zandi/documents/2012-02-07-JEC-Payroll-Tax.pdf
      The projected effect of those multipliers were predicted in this 2008 piece:
      https://www.economy.com/mark-zandi/documents/assissing-the-impact-of-the-fiscal-stimulus.pdf
      Again, it doesn’t matter too much if you dismiss that assessment. That was the assessment used to design the stimulus, which explains the stimulus.

      The package did consist of lower taxes. They made up a significant portion of the package (at least 1/3). I’d be interested to see how well it actually fits a ‘Keynesian model’?
      Miron argues that there were the wrong types of tax cuts and instead suggests the abolition of the corporate tax rate entirely. But the whole point was to get money flowing through the economy as quickly as possible. Whereas getting rid of the corporate tax rate sounds like an argument for a medium-to-long term economic boost. Businesses can only hire if there is increased demand for their goods and services. But demand was plummeting.
      BTW, I think corporate taxes should be much lower. However I understand governments try to keep them similar to personal rates to stop tax avoidance.

      Miron appears to see the stimulus package as a missed opportunity to right the wrongs of the existing tax system. His conclusion on tax cuts and the transfer increases: “The Administration missed an excellent opportunity to reduce or eliminate these undesirable features of the current tax code”.

      Not only does Miron not make the case for motivation, he doesn’t even attempt to.

      Thumb up 0

    81. ilovecress

      Klein details experiments that show that both liberals and conservatives have a tendency to interpret facts so that they reinforce their own pre-existing biases.

      Thumb up 0

    82. CM

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 0

    83. AlexInCT

      I thought you’d left the thread, having completely failed at attacking me over the minimum wage issue

      Not just stupid, but delusional as well.

      Thanks for the laugh CM!

      Thumb up 1

    84. CM

      Klein details experiments that show that both liberals and conservatives have a tendency to interpret facts so that they reinforce their own pre-existing biases.

      Except in this case pre-existing biases are being reinforced not by ‘facts’ but by pure speculation about motivation. Even though the design of the stimulus was determined by a number of obvious factors, one being the work and advice of the economic advisors (Zandi was actually McCains advisor, who got involved via Kevin Hassett, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute) as well as changes made to get it passed).

      Thumb up 0

    85. richtaylor365

      CM, FYI, WSJ links are temperamental. I have a subscription to the WSJ, yet when I link to them in a written post, invariably it only reveals the first few lines, with a pop up attached that basically says ,”Hey, you deadbeat, you want to read our stuff, ante up and pay for the privilege”. Posts written using them as a main link has gotten bollixed by posted quotes that readers can’t even access. So now I pull them from other sources, easier that way.

      Thumb up 1

    86. Iconoclast

      He never actually makes the case that it failed.

      Actually, he does, but we are talking about two different perspective of what “failed” means. For starters, he isn’t saying that the Stimulus “failed” in the past tense, but predicts that it will “fail” in the future, assuming we let “fail” mean “have minimal positive impact”:

      My own prediction, however, is that the programs
      adopted will generate large distortions and substantial
      waste, with minor stimulus impact. This is a pity because much
      better alternatives were available.

      What he’s describing as “failure” in the present tense is the decisions that were made in its construction, and why those decisions will result in overall “failure” of the package, again, “failure” being defined as having minimal positive impact while manifesting large amounts of waste.

      Now we can debate whether his prediction came true, but again, there is nothing internally inconsistent with his postion and arguments. He does make his case.

      My point was that he’s not relying on any evidence to conclude that it must be that Obama was rewarding friends.

      From the essay:

      Instead, the Administration used the
      recession and the financial crisis to redistribute resources to favored
      interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education)
      and to increase the size and scope of government.4

      4. See WSJ.com, Getting to $787 Billion, http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/STIMULUS_FINAL_0217.html (last visited Jan. 27, 2009) (listing more
      spending on the environment than on tax cuts).

      Now you can disagree all you want that the evidence supports his argument, but to say he is “not relying on any evidence to conclude that it must be that Obama was rewarding friends” is simply not accurate, unless you wish to equivocate over what “rewarding friends” means. He does state explicitly that “favored
      interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education)” were beneficiaries, and cites the monetary breakdown to support the claim.

      Of course, you are free to repeat that he “doesn’t make the case” and “he doesn’t rely on any evidence” over and over until the universe burns out, but that won’t make it true.

      Thumb up 4

    87. Seattle Outcast

      He never actually makes the case that it failed.

      You have to make the case that it succeeded. The default position is that your action does not produce the desired result, so anything less than clear evidence that it has succeeded is, by definition, failure. Your theory either works, or not – any gray area in the middle that you want to hang your hat on is also failure.

      Comparing economic downturns and recovery and the amount of “stimulus” money shoved at each of them shows that larger amounts of government spending has no more actual effect than smaller amounts, or none at all. Since this is a cornerstone of Keynesian economics, any assumptions based on stimulus spending being effective have to be dismissed.

      Thumb up 4

    88. CM

      Actually, he does, but we are talking about two different perspective of what “failed” means. For starters, he isn’t saying that the Stimulus “failed” in the past tense, but predicts that it will “fail” in the future, assuming we let “fail” mean “have minimal positive impact”:

      That’s true, he was making a prediction in early 2009 based on his own economic expertise and opinion. He had already determined ‘failure’ because he would have structured it very differently, including doing things like scrapping corporate tax altogether. What’s the bet that’s his opinion anyway, unrelated to any economic situation?

      What he’s describing as “failure” in the present tense is the decisions that were made in its construction, and why those decisions will result in overall “failure” of the package, again, “failure” being defined as having minimal positive impact while manifesting large amounts of waste.

      And as we’ve already agreed, nobody can claim that is what happened. Not with any degree of certainty anyway.

      Now we can debate whether his prediction came true, but again, there is nothing internally inconsistent with his postion and arguments.

      Well I never claimed he was being inconsistent. I’m saying he makes arguments about why it should have been structured differently, but then drops in ‘the motivation was to reward friends’ out of nowhere.

      He does make his case.

      CM:

      My point was that he’s not relying on any evidence to conclude that it must be that Obama was rewarding friends. Not that he wasn’t relying on evidence to argue why the stimulus wasn’t structured properly.

      Again, he’s saying that because it wasn’t designed how he would have designed it, it must have been designed to reward friends. But there is no actual evidence to make this link.

      Now you can disagree all you want that the evidence supports his argument, but to say he is “not relying on any evidence to conclude that it must be that Obama was rewarding friends” is simply not accurate, unless you wish to equivocate over what “rewarding friends” means. He does state explicitly that “favored interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education)” were beneficiaries, and cites the monetary breakdown to support the claim.

      There IS no evidence that supports that argument. Opinion isn’t evidence. He’s just saying ‘it’s not ideal, so that must be the motivation’.
      If renewable energy and education (and other sectors) have been determined to meet the criteria for stimulus funding (and again that involves a number of factors), then the ‘rewarding friends’ argument is just politically convenient. But just for arguments sake, in the breakdown he cites, which is the specific money that is going to ‘friends’ and what proportion of the overall total is it? Is anyone connected to anything related to Education considered a ‘friend’ (or ‘favored interest group’)? What would fall outside the definition of ‘favored interest group’? The NRA? Interest groups which advocate for zero corporate tax?
      Do you consider rich and powerful right-wing politicians to be simply ‘rewarding friends’ when they advocate policies that will make rich people richer and even more powerful? I bet you don’t. But can’t someone ‘make the case’ just by showing (using their own expertise and opinion) that you’re wrong, and therefore they are just ‘rewarding their friends’?

      Of course, you are free to repeat that he “doesn’t make the case” and “he doesn’t rely on any evidence” over and over until the universe burns out, but that won’t make it true.

      Never gets any less lame when you do that.

      You have to make the case that it succeeded.

      No I don’t. You were the one that made the definitive claim. I simply pointed out that a number qualified people have looked at the issue in detail and many have determined that it did work. There was very very little in the way of expert opinion against a stimulus. Many experts don’t believe it was large enough (of course the size was largely determined by the projections).

      The default position is that your action does not produce the desired result, so anything less than clear evidence that it has succeeded is, by definition, failure. Your theory either works, or not – any gray area in the middle that you want to hang your hat on is also failure.

      Binary nonsense.

      Comparing economic downturns and recovery and the amount of “stimulus” money shoved at each of them shows that larger amounts of government spending has no more actual effect than smaller amounts, or none at all. Since this is a cornerstone of Keynesian economics, any assumptions based on stimulus spending being effective have to be dismissed.

      Please provide your complete analysis. Anything less than clear evidence of your theory being 100% correct must be considered to be failure.

      Thumb up 0

    89. CM

      In order to determine that the motivation was to “redistribute resources to favored interest groups’, Miron really needs to demonstrate that they knew the funding analysis was wrong and/or designed specifically to justify “redistribut[ing] resources to favored interest groups”. Otherwise his argument is just convenience, and nothing more than the bog-standard allocation of motivation simply because of ideological difference (i.e. little different from Alex’s and Seattle Outcast’s SOP).

      Thumb up 0

    90. Iconoclast

      Do you consider rich and powerful right-wing politicians to be simply ‘rewarding friends’ when they advocate policies that will make rich people richer and even more powerful? I bet you don’t.

      It depends. Do those “policies” involve massive government giveaways, funded by taxpayers? Do they involve the expansion of government? Do these policies not help the middle and lower classes? Do these policies have a negative impact on employment, or fail to target the unemployed? Do these policies involve choosing specific industries to receive the benefits based on politcal correctness rather than overall economic benefit and viability (e.g. “green” energy)? If so, then you would lose that bet.

      If these policies involve lowering taxes (for everybody), if they involve the reduction of government spending and reduction of the deficit, if they involve shrinking government’s role in people’s personal lives, and if the “rich and powerful” still managed to get even more “rich and powerful” while the middle and lower classes languished, then maybe you would have a point. But if those lower classes also benefited in demonstrably significant way, even if the “income gap” didn’t shrink or even got bigger, then you would have a rather hard time making your case.

      But can’t someone ‘make the case’ just by showing (using their own expertise and opinion) that you’re wrong, and therefore they are just ‘rewarding their friends’?

      If I were holding the position you are trying to force upon me, then yes, they could. But again, you have yet to demonstrate that I would hold that position.

      Never gets any less lame when you do that.

      Irrelevant non sequitur noted and dismissed.

      Thumb up 4

    91. Iconoclast

      In order to determine that the motivation was to “redistribute resources to favored interest groups’, Miron really needs to demonstrate that they knew the funding analysis was wrong and/or designed specifically to justify “redistribut[ing] resources to favored interest groups”.

      No, he doesn’t, and that is actually an unreasonable thing to demand. Basically, you are demanding an admission from the Administration that “they knew the funding analysis was wrong”. Miron has already argued how it was “designed specifically to justify ‘redistribut[ing] resources to favored interest groups'”, your rejection of said argument notwithstanding.

      Seriously, how do you “demonstrate” that someone knows something is wrong, unless they actually admit as much?

      Thumb up 4

    92. CM

      But if those lower classes also benefited in demonstrably significant way, even if the “income gap” didn’t shrink or even got bigger, then you would have a rather hard time making your case.

      Actually, based on Miron’s case, all I need to do is to make a case that different policies would be better to meet that I interpret as the purpose of public policy. I don’t need to consider your arguments. I don’t even need for anything to be demonstrated. I ignore all that and move right to concluding that because you differ from me, and because the rich will be able to get more powerful, your motivation must be rewarding your friends.

      Irrelevant non sequitur noted and dismissed.

      That also never gets less lame.

      No, he doesn’t, and that is actually an unreasonable thing to demand.

      I disagree because he’s the one making the grand accusation.

      Miron has already argued how it was “designed specifically to justify ‘redistribut[ing] resources to favored interest groups’”.

      It’s impossible for me to reject an argument that hasn’t been made.
      I’m not even rejecting the argument that he HAS made – that the stimulus should have been structured differently in order to better meet the goals. I don’t need to reject that in order to point out that he’s making accusations that have not been demonstrated.

      Seriously, how do you “demonstrate” that someone knows something is wrong, unless they actually admit as much?

      An example could be when Obama said “you can keep your plan” even though there is evidence that he should have known that for many people that was not going to be the case. In this case it appears that the Adminstration was following advice in terms of ‘best bang for your buck”. A successful argument demonstrating why that advice was wrong doesn’t inherently provide proof that following that advice was due solely to political motivation. Just because someone can make a cogent argument against the invasion of Iraq, that doesn’t inherently mean they get to conclude that oil or revenge was therefore the obvious motivation. Just because someone doesn’t like what climate change might mean in terms of public policy, doesn’t mean they get to conclude that it’s just mass fraud and conspiracy.

      Alternatively he could do something like reveal some communications between the Administration and their special interest groups which confirms that they’ll ensure they get the funds ahead of equal or more deserving (according to the criteria) recipients.

      You can say “seriously” to that again, but this is the standard that should be required before motivation accusations are made. Well by a professional who that wants to be treated as any kind of objective observer anyway.

      Thumb up 1

    93. Iconoclast

      I ignore all that and move right to concluding that because you differ from me, and because the rich will be able to get more powerful, your motivation must be rewarding your friends.

      You erroneously presuppose that this is what Miron is doing, but you are simply incorrect. Of course, I will never be able to persuade you otherwise, for you apparently don’t want to see the argument. Such is the way of stubborn and obtuse willful blindness.

      That also never gets less lame.

      Neither do your incessant denials.

      I’m not even rejecting the argument that he HAS made – that the stimulus should have been structured differently in order to better meet the goals.

      But what you utterly refuse to comprehend is that built into that statement is the assumption that stimulating the economy was the goal. It may have been the stated and publicized goal, but by now we should all realize that this Administration lies through its collective teeth on a regular basis. The real goals of the Administration have been “change”, whatever that is supposed to mean on any given Sunday.

      I don’t need to reject that in order to point out that he’s making accusations that have not been demonstrated.

      The languishing of the middle and lower classes is the demonstration. The lingering unemployment, transfers of money to green energy boondoggles and expansion of government are the demonstration, your forthcoming knee-jerk denials notwithstanding.

      In this case it appears that the Administration was following advice in terms of ‘best bang for your buck”.

      That’s precisely what Miron is arguing against, hence the conclusion that stimulus was not the goal, hence the inference that wealth redistribution was the goal.

      Alternatively he could do something like reveal some communications between the Administration and their special interest groups which confirms that they’ll ensure they get the funds ahead of equal or more deserving (according to the criteria) recipients.

      Which would be tantamount to an admission by the Administration that such was the goal, which is precisely what I stated you were demanding in my previous post.

      Thumb up 3

    94. CM

      You erroneously presuppose that this is what Miron is doing, but you are simply incorrect. Of course, I will never be able to persuade you otherwise, for you apparently don’t want to see the argument.

      So then quote the parts where he bridges the chasm between explaining what he would have done, and concluding that because they didn’t do that, they must have designed it to reward their friends (i.e. political corruption). I.e. the same thing that anti-war idiots did with Bush/Cheney.

      Neither do your incessant denials.

      I always explain myself, so this lame tactic continues to make no sense (i.e. it fails).
      Disagreeing and explain why isn’t always a denial. And explain why I disagree isn’t remotely ‘kneejerk’.
      Not that pointing this out will make any difference.

      But what you utterly refuse to comprehend is that built into that statement is the assumption that stimulating the economy was the goal.

      Well then he should have built a case that it wasn’t, rather than just concluding it following his ideological wish-list. Again, the whole basis of his argument is simply that it wasn’t designed how he would have designed it (notwithstanding that’s he’s included a number of fundamental long-term ideological changes, rather than specific short-term stimuli. E.g. eliminating zero corporate tax entirely).

      It may have been the stated and publicized goal, but by now we should all realize that this Administration lies through its collective teeth on a regular basis. The real goals of the Administration have been “change”, whatever that is supposed to mean on any given Sunday.

      Sure you (and Miron) can speculate, and base that speculation on what you see has happened elsewhere. But that’s all it is, and lying elsewhere provides no evidence of motivation in this case. Let’s not pretend it’s anything more. I asked for evidence, but you’ve provided an economist who has provided a conclusion based on speculation, following an ideological wish-list.

      The languishing of the middle and lower classes is the demonstration. The lingering unemployment, transfers of money to green energy boondoggles and expansion of government are the demonstration, your forthcoming knee-jerk denials notwithstanding.

      The accusation is that the stimulus was just a way of rewarding and funneling money into interest groups favored by the Administration. That MAY have been the case, but Miron and you are a long way from proving it. There is obviously scant evidence, which is why you’re trying to dress up speculation as evidence (and Miron is trying to pass it off as actual proof).

      The lower and middle classes have been languishing for 2 or 3 decades.

      That’s precisely what Miron is arguing against, hence the conclusion that stimulus was not the goal, hence the inference that wealth redistribution was the goal.

      Miron is suggesting they would have gotten greater ‘bang for their buck’ by doing things differently. As we’ve already agreed, we just can’t know whether an alternative (do nothing, or his recipe) would have been better or not. We can speculate, which is what Miron was doing and what you are doing.
      It’s ideological speculation. That Obama wants to expand government and does bad things is your already-reached conclusion. You’ve simply worked backwards from that. Even after acknowledging that we can’t know whether the stimulus worked you’re relying on Miron’s prediction that it wouldn’t in order to ‘prove’ motivation. Your forthcoming knee-jerk denials notwithstanding.

      Which would be tantamount to an admission by the Administration that such was the goal, which is precisely what I stated you were demanding in my previous post.

      That’s an example. Something that would constitute proof would be ideal. Or any evidence that isn’t based on ideology-based speculation would be helpful in supporting the case. Or you can just admit that what is obvious.

      Thumb up 0

    95. Iconoclast

      So then quote the parts where he bridges the chasm between explaining what he would have done, and concluding that because they didn’t do that, they must have designed it to reward their friends

      A second problem is that energy-efficiency programs are not likely to use unemployed resources. Instead, they merely shift employment from existing uses to government uses.

      Some infrastructure spending merely shifts employment from other activities, rather than putting the unemployed to work. Political influences promote the projects in districts of key congressmen rather than those with the greatest ratio of benefits to costs.

      Some of the federal money will end up as higher wages for unionized teachers. States, moreover, could improve education on their own via charters and vouchers, reducing costs without federal infusions. Thus transfers to states would have been defensible if unconstrained, but they mostly were not.

      A significant component of the stimulus bill was increased expenditure for scientific research.23 The incentives to invest in research are potentially insufficient from the perspective of society overall, and the case for government subsidies is reasonable. But the right question is whether the United States needs substantial additional government funding relative to its 2009 funding levels. The Administration offered no evidence to support this claim. It just assumed that because research is good, more is better. Research spending is again unlikely to use unemployed resources and instead enriches those already employed while shifting research activity from the private sector to government.

      Of course, you will proceed to dismiss all of this as “opinion”…

      The lower and middle classes have been languishing for 2 or 3 decades.

      Yes, of course. Strange how I am middle class but did feel like I was languishing until Obama took office…

      Klein details experiments that show that both liberals and conservatives have a tendency to interpret facts so that they reinforce their own pre-existing biases. Or, more accurately, that people tend to interpret even objective scientific evidence in ways that support the ideas of their political tribe.

      Of course, this applies to every but you, rught?

      Thumb up 2

    96. CM

      Of course, you will proceed to dismiss all of this as “opinion”…

      That’s a very funny thing to read from a guy that spends so much time pre-emptively dismissing any response I give (including that very comment), in addition to dismissing so much after the fact with your whole ‘knee jerk denial’ nonsense. Brilliant.

      It’s inarguable that it’s his opinion. Whether it bridges that chasm is another question. Taking each in turn:

      A second problem is that energy-efficiency programs are not likely to use unemployed resources. Instead, they merely shift employment from existing uses to government uses.

      I’m not sure I understand what he is saying here. Is he suggesting that people were taken out of an existing industry (a separate one, where they already had a job) so that they could work for the government? Or is he simply suggesting that it’s not ideal to have people change the industry they work in? What about someone who has been laid off and is looking for any work, and this money enables companies involved in energy efficiency to employ more (even for a short while).

      This is the specific spending on energy efficiency:
      $3.2 billion toward Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants.[47]
      $3.1 billion for the State Energy Program to help states invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy
      $602 million to support the use of energy efficient technologies in building and in industry
      $300 million for energy efficient appliance rebates
      $300 million for state and local governments to purchase energy efficient vehicles
      $250 million to increase energy efficiency in low-income housing
      $110 million for the development of high efficiency vehicles
      Total: $7.8 billion out of the $27.2 billion going into Energy (or 28.7%), or 0.3% of the Stimulus. Hardly a very significant proportion.

      Notwithstanding his argument that the government shouldn’t pull people who already have a job from other industries (are they really?), how does this provide evidence that Obama was just giving money to his friends?

      Some infrastructure spending merely shifts employment from other activities, rather than putting the unemployed to work. Political influences promote the projects in districts of key congressmen rather than those with the greatest ratio of benefits to costs.

      The first sentence seems to be the same argument again. And he’s qualifying it by saying ‘some’? How much? Is it significant? Does the degree of significance relate to motivation? The claim in the sentence has been looked at as I noted earlier in this thread, and it was found that political influences at state level weren’t of any significance. Xetrov asked whether I needed “a refresher on the difference between the Executive (“The Administration”) and Legislative (the representatives with “districts””, even though grants to states was significantly larger than direct federal spending.

      Of the total $862 billion in the ARRA stimulus package, the amount allocated to federal government consumption summed to only $24.2 billion in the two years 2009 and 2010. The amount allocated to infrastructure investment at the federal level was $5.6 billion in 2009-10, or only 0.6 percent of the total ARRA.

      http://media.hoover.org/sites/default/files/documents/2009-Stimulus-two-years-later.pdf

      Some of the federal money will end up as higher wages for unionized teachers. States, moreover, could improve education on their own via charters and vouchers, reducing costs without federal infusions. Thus transfers to states would have been defensible if unconstrained, but they mostly were not.

      I have been unable to find anything which suggests that the states had to raise the wages for unionized teachers. How much is “some” and is it sufficient to be evidence for his claim? For a start something like that would need to be demonstrated.
      Suggesting charters and vouchers is the same as suggesting the abolition of corporate tax. They are core parts of an ideological wish-list, not mechanisms designed to deal with a specific situation. He would suggest those at ANY point in an economic cycle. It sounds much like Romney during the election campaign and debates. All economic answers were just mantras, they weren’t at all related to specific situations or issues.

      A significant component of the stimulus bill was increased expenditure for scientific research.23 The incentives to invest in research are potentially insufficient from the perspective of society overall, and the case for government subsidies is reasonable. But the right question is whether the United States needs substantial additional government funding relative to its 2009 funding levels. The Administration offered no evidence to support this claim. It just assumed that because research is good, more is better. Research spending is again unlikely to use unemployed resources and instead enriches those already employed while shifting research activity from the private sector to government.

      $7.6 billion out of $787 billion is less than 1%.
      How is that “a significant component” in any language or by any measure?
      That’s less than the ‘Other’ category ($10 billion).
      Even adding energy efficiency and scientific research together comes to 4%.
      Saying that the Administration offered no evidence to support this claim may be true, but he’s doing exactly the same thing.
      Which research would shift from the private sector to government? How does this claim bridge the gap?

      Yes, of course. Strange how I am middle class but did feel like I was languishing until Obama took office…

      Let’s examine it then. Exactly what happened to you financially as soon as Obama took over?

      Of course, this applies to every but you, rught?

      Everyone.
      In this instance though, it’s applying very clearly to you.

      Thumb up 0

    97. CM

      BTW those perecentages would have been even lower if I’d used the ‘actual’ total spend of $825 billion. I used $787 billion to be conservative.

      Which itself is a link to a DailyKOS twitter feed.

      Tells me all I really need to know — I sure glad you think you’re immune…

      Yeah because that was the conclusion reached by Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule wasn’t it. Oh hang on, no, that’s irrelevant. Perhaps you can also find a grammatical error too!
      Also, I like how you asked me a question at the end of your previous post and have now answered an entirely invented response at the end of this one. That’s awesome.

      Thumb up 0

    98. Iconoclast

      That’s a very funny thing to read from a guy that spends so much time…

      …making predictions that come true:

      It’s inarguable that it’s his opinion.

      QED

      …how does this provide evidence that Obama was just giving money to his friends?

      No one is saying, “Obama was just giving money to his friends”. That’s just your straw man interpretation. The argument is that the politically-connected are benefiting while the middle and lower classes are not so much. Also, it falls in line with the leftist agenda of expanding government at the expense of the private sector.

      I have been unable to find anything which suggests that the states had to raise the wages for unionized teachers.

      Maybe they weren’t “raised”, but the stimulus clearly had an effect of some sort… (emphasis added)
      Obama’s Stimulus Reaps Rewards: Major Education Union Begins 2012 Endorsement

      The National Education Association’s decision on Friday to begin the formal process of endorsing President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign may be the most vivid demonstration to date of the political benefits of the stimulus package passed by the president.

      A Democratic operative who consults with education-reform groups said that while the timing of NEA’s announcement was a bit peculiar, the explanation was simple politics. “The stimulus saved a ton of their members’ jobs and the extension of state money last year has kept a ton of their members in the states employed,” the operative said.

      Since you seem to have such trouble discerning links, the NEA is the National Education Association, which is a teachers’ union that benefited from the stimulus, and repaid the President with an early endorsement for his second term. So maybe, maybe wages weren’t raised, but it should be evident that being a unionized teacher was a form of being politically connected. That was my original claim, after all.

      And again, millions of non-union non-teachers did indeed lose their jobs. Many have yet to find full-time work.

      Exactly what happened to you financially as soon as Obama took over?

      We are not discussing my personal life, thank you. Whatever happened to me, you would probably find a way to blame it on Bush anyway. Or deflect blame from Obama at any rate.

      “But you brought it up in the first place, Iconoclast.”

      Only because you tried to tell me I was already “languishing” prior to Obama.

      Yeah because that was the conclusion reached by Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule wasn’t it.

      That you think you’re immune? What a complete non sequitur.

      Perhaps you can also find a grammatical error too!

      And the non sequiturs continue…

      The rest of your repetitive noise is ignored.

      Thumb up 3

    99. Iconoclast

      Suggesting charters and vouchers is the same as suggesting the abolition of corporate tax. They are core parts of an ideological wish-list, not mechanisms designed to deal with a specific situation. He would suggest those at ANY point in an economic cycle. It sounds much like Romney during the election campaign and debates. All economic answers were just mantras, they weren’t at all related to specific situations or issues.

      And this mini-rant only shows up your own ideology. You tend to dismiss ideas from the right as “ideology” quite consistently. You just above dismissed them as “core parts of an ideological wish-list”. The point is that “wish-list”, as you do cavalierly refer to it, is based on historical evidence, where cuts in tax rates do encourage economic growth, where increases in corporate taxes have the opposite effect, where school vouchers increase choice in education (and provide relief from the tyrannical monopoly of unionized public school mediocrity), and so forth. That you give all of this such a cavalier dismissal clearly indicates your opposition to such. If the economy is tanking, why not employ idea that have successfully stimulated economies in the past? Why not allow voucher programs to proceed without the need of federal cash infusions? The whole point is that the stimulus was a product of left-wing thinking and ideology. But, since the Earth didn’t stop turning, this product of leftist ideology must have worked, yes? Thus “validating” left-wing ideology.

      Even if these ideas could be employed “at ANY point in an economic cycle”, how does that prove that the ideas in the stimulus could not be? And how does that prove that the ideas would fail under the specific circumstances of the GFC?

      All you appear to be doing is applying misdirection to dismiss and discredit conservative ideas as a matter of course, while validating liberal ideas, thereby displaying your own ideological biases.

      Thumb up 4

    100. AlexInCT

      All you appear to be doing is applying misdirection to dismiss and discredit conservative ideas as a matter of course, while validating liberal ideas, thereby displaying your own ideological biases.

      Did you just arrive at the conclusion I made about CM within a few months of actually giving him the benefit of the doubt and trying to reason with him, just now Iconoclast? Cause that’s what it comes down to with him. He, of course, will tell you that you are the one that has the issue. Everyone but him is driven by ideology, and the wrong ideology at that, but his highly ideological and suspect marxist-fascist, class warfare beliefs, are grounded in facts and logic. Only there is very little fact or logic involved.

      Thumb up 4

    101. CM

      QED

      But it’s inarguable, so it’s meaningless. It is inarguably his opinion. This is isn’t a mathematical equation.

      No one is saying, “Obama was just giving money to his friends”. That’s just your straw man interpretation. The argument is that the politically-connected are benefiting while the middle and lower classes are not so much.

      The questions/claims:
      Are you suggesting that the Administration didn’t use the stimulus to reward liberal-backed causes and lobby’s? (Xetrov)
      ‘Harvard economist says stimulus was designed to reward Democrat constituencies’ (link provided by you)
      ‘George Mason University professor Veronique de Rugy looked at recovery.org and found that Democrat districts got more stimulus money than Republican districts.’ (provided by you – her analysis does not appear to be online anywhere)
      ‘Obama’s stimulus became a special-interest feeding frenzy’ (yours)
      ‘Which still does nothing to discount the Administration directing funds to liberal-backed causes’ (Xetrov)
      ‘ Since those decisions were made the way they were made, the logical conclusion is that “stimulus” wasn’t really the goal (just like “affordable health care for all” wasn’t really the goal of Obamacare). So what was the goal, then? Based on his analysis as an economist, and who got the benefit of the money and tax breaks, he argues that the politically connected were the intended recipients.’ (you)
      ‘Now you can disagree all you want that the evidence supports his argument, but to say he is “not relying on any evidence to conclude that it must be that Obama was rewarding friends” is simply not accurate, unless you wish to equivocate over what “rewarding friends” means. He does state explicitly that “favored interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education)” were beneficiaries, and cites the monetary breakdown to support the claim.’
      ‘Instead, the Administration used the recession and the financial crisis to redistribute resources to favored interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education) and to increase the size and scope of government.’ (Miron, via you)

      The claim has very much been that the stimulus wasn’t designed to do what the stated goals were, but simply to funnel money to favoured interest groups and friends.
      Now it appears that you want to move the goalposts – by claiming that this is about how the poor and middle class – the non-connected – aren’t benefiting very much from the economy in general (given that the stimulus is over). And yet you have the gall to accuse me of misdirection. Do they hang down to your knees?

      Maybe they weren’t “raised”, but the stimulus clearly had an effect of some sort… (emphasis added)
      Obama’s Stimulus Reaps Rewards: Major Education Union Begins 2012 Endorsement

      Wow, really? That is your argument?!

      It seems to have had an effect of pumping money into education via state governments, who were pulling money out as they ran out of it.

      As if the Teacher’s Union would back whoever the Republican candidate would be (later, or then) if there had been no stimulus?

      Seems to me that ANY increase in public education funding (or any attempt to alleviate what would otherwise be cuts by the State) will inherently end up at least partially benefiting a union. How would that be avoidable (unless a whole new system of funding education was set up – how on earth can that be carried out immediately at the bottom of a huge financial crisis)? There seems to have been two choices in that situation: give funding to education (and therefore inevitably indirectly assisting the education union financially) or give no assistance to public education.

      Since you seem to have such trouble discerning links, the NEA is the National Education Association, which is a teachers’ union that benefited from the stimulus, and repaid the President with an early endorsement for his second term. So maybe, maybe wages weren’t raised, but it should be evident that being a unionized teacher was a form of being politically connected. That was my original claim, after all.

      The funding was provided to the States, but to meet certain goals. Which specific goals meant that the teacher’s union benefited (above and beyond the natural result of the union retaining their dues money is the number of teachers aren’t cut, or getting more if there are more teachers)?Remembering that state governments were slashing education funding.

      And again, millions of non-union non-teachers did indeed lose their jobs. Many have yet to find full-time work.

      Why did state governments direct the funding to specifically assist union-affiliated teachers? Did they have no choice? Where are the details behind this claim (which implies that teachers who lost their job were dis-proportionally non-union affiliated, for political reason)?

      We are not discussing my personal life, thank you.

      Not any more apparently. ;-)

      Whatever happened to me, you would probably find a way to blame it on Bush anyway. Or deflect blame from Obama at any rate.

      I’m not a rabid Bush-blamer. I was employing simple logic. If it coincided with Obama taking office, it would be good to know exactly what he did to cause it.

      “But you brought it up in the first place, Iconoclast.”

      Only because you tried to tell me I was already “languishing” prior to Obama.

      I wasn’t talking about you specifically. You decided to take it personally. You didn’t need to.

      Anyway, that’s fine, I would never expect anyone to feel obliged to offer up personal information if they don’t want to. From personal experience it gets taken advantage of and abused anyway. I can totally see why people would refrain.

      That you think you’re immune? What a complete non sequitur.

      I was being sarcastic. Obviously you didn’t pick up on that.

      The rest of your repetitive noise is ignored.

      By which you mean examining the actual detail behind the specific claims you’ve promoted.
      What was that you said earlier?…..’Tells me all I really need to know’.

      And this mini-rant only shows up your own ideology.

      Ah right, of course. Because I don’t agree with you I must be a complete ideologue.
      Yeah, that classic ideology which requires welfare to be completely transparent and accountable with tough standards about looking for work, that doesn’t think raising the minimum wage is any sort of solution (because of the reasons put forward by the right), that largely accepts the right’s arguments on gun-control in the US, that thinks government should reduce spending, that is against subsidies as a general rule, that doesn’t think people should have any more kids than they can financially support, that believes unionism should never ever be compulsory and that there should be strict rules around pressuring or threatening people to be part of a union of any kind, etc etc. What’s it called again? Stalinism I think.

      You tend to dismiss ideas from the right as “ideology” quite consistently.

      Ideas or arguments based solely or primarily on an ideological playbook should absolutely be identified as such. Whether they come from the left or the right. IMO anyway.

      You just above dismissed them as “core parts of an ideological wish-list”.

      My point is that they were not ideas tailored specifically to meet the goals of the stimulus.

      The point is that “wish-list”, as you do cavalierly refer to it, is based on historical evidence, where cuts in tax rates do encourage economic growth, where increases in corporate taxes have the opposite effect, where school vouchers increase choice in education (and provide relief from the tyrannical monopoly of unionized public school mediocrity), and so forth. That you give all of this such a cavalier dismissal clearly indicates your opposition to such.

      Its entirely arguable that an objective assessment of historical evidence would support the wish-list. Which is why other economists could reasonably disagree with him and not be wrong.
      But of course my point was that Miron’s evidence to support his accusation is that the Administration didn’t put together a Stimulus which followed the right-wing recipe for success. It’s not as though he came up with anything that would have been politically viable. Presumably his suggested fundamental changes would not require any funding or time to prepare properly?

      f the economy is tanking, why not employ idea that have successfully stimulated economies in the past?

      I

      Which specific economies, at which specific time? Did it stimulate them immediately? Did the ideas require time to get right and explain to the public (and did that cost money)?

      The whole point is that the stimulus was a product of left-wing thinking and ideology.

      The accusation is that the stimulus was specifically designed to further the goals of the Obama Administration, rather than the stated goals.
      As noted a number of times, a third (even up to 38% apparently) was tax relief. The vast majority of the rest was provided to the States to direct in a variety of areas. Yes those areas were determined by the Administration, so then it’s a matter of getting into that detail. But no, apparently you’re not interested.

      But, since the Earth didn’t stop turning, this product of leftist ideology must have worked, yes? Thus “validating” left-wing ideology.

      That’s certainly not a claim I have made. Straw man.

      Even if these ideas could be employed “at ANY point in an economic cycle”, how does that prove that the ideas in the stimulus could not be?

      Again, my point was that Miron is making the claim that “the Administration used the recession and the financial crisis to redistribute resources to favored interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education) and to increase the size and scope of government” but his only supporting ‘evidence’ is that they didn’t use his preferred formula. One big difference is that the stimulus was a serious of short-term measures, rather than a way of making permanent changes in strict accordance with left-wing ideology.

      And how does that prove that the ideas would fail under the specific circumstances of the GFC?

      It doesn’t but the claim is motivation. He’s claiming motivation but you’re suggesting that the same claims of motivation wouldn’t apply to him (given what he was proposing)? Give me a break.

      All you appear to be doing is applying misdirection to dismiss and discredit conservative ideas as a matter of course, while validating liberal ideas, thereby displaying your own ideological biases.

      That’s likely because you appear to have missed large parts of what I wrote (particularly the detail behind the claim you are using). You’re now attempting to portray a single observation as something more significant. I made no assessment about whether Miron’s suggestions were bad or not (other than to wonder if long-term fundamental changes would have an immediate effect, which was the whole point of the stimulus, and therefore not an unreasonable question to ask).

      Misdirection would be to ignore the detail behind the claims you’re supporting, and instead do what you’re doing now.

      Thumb up 0

    102. CM

      Did you just arrive at the conclusion I made about CM within a few months of actually giving him the benefit of the doubt and trying to reason with him, just now Iconoclast? Cause that’s what it comes down to with him. He, of course, will tell you that you are the one that has the issue. Everyone but him is driven by ideology, and the wrong ideology at that, but his highly ideological and suspect marxist-fascist, class warfare beliefs, are grounded in facts and logic. Only there is very little fact or logic involved.

      Alex in this very thread you wrote a rant based on your incorrect assumption that I’m supporter of raising the minimum wage. And then when I point that one you just did it again.
      Two quick questions for you:
      1. Are you simply incapable of embarrassment or shame?
      2. Are you based on a “Three’s Company” character/plot?

      I do like the idea that I’m following “the wrong ideology” though. As if a strict and blind adherence to ANY ideology is a good idea.

      Thumb up 0

    103. Iconoclast

      But it’s inarguable, so it’s meaningless. It is inarguably his opinion.

      That’s just your opinion.

      Now it appears that you want to move the goalposts – by claiming that this is about how the poor and middle class – the non-connected – aren’t benefiting very much from the economy in general (given that the stimulus is over). And yet you have the gall to accuse me of misdirection. Do they hang down to your knees?

      Wow, what an utterly hopeless dipshit you can be! My claim is that the lower classes did not benefit from the stimulus, which would indicate that those who did benefit were the politically connected. Now you come along and try to tell me that my argument is that the lower classes “aren’t benefiting very much from the economy in general“? Talk about gall!

      Wow, really? That is your argument?!

      Wow, really, that’s your rebuttal?!

      That public employee unions and Democrats are in bed together is common knowledge. This article is just an example.

      There seems to have been two choices in that situation: give funding to education (and therefore inevitably indirectly assisting the education union financially) or give no assistance to public education.

      The USA has some of the worst-performing public education students on the planet, yet we continue to throw billions of dollars into public education. Obviously, it ain’t helping the students any. And Democrats tend to oppose voucher programs and other programs that provide choice to students. By all appearances, educating our students is not the priority of public education, regardless of what is advertised. And yes, a lot those billions of dollars being tossed into public education end up as salaries for unionized employees, whether teachers or administrators. But again, the students don’t seem to benefit so much. Voucher programs are seen as a threat to public education, which is run by unionized employees. There are many examples of Democrats and liberals opposoing school vouchers while sending their own kids to private schools.

      The Empirical Evidence on School Vouchers

      • Ten empirical studies have used random assignment, the gold standard of social science, to examine how vouchers affect participants. Nine studies find that vouchers improve student outcomes, six that all students benefit and three that some benefit and some are not affected. One study finds no visible impact. None of these studies finds a negative impact.

      • Nineteen empirical studies have examined how vouchers affect outcomes in public schools. Of these studies, 18 find that vouchers improved public schools and one finds no visible impact. No empirical studies find that vouchers harm public schools.

      Before you try to accuse me of “misdirection” again, the point here is that voucher programs did not get any stimulus funding, but, as you yourself conclude, unionized public education employees did get “inevitable” stimulus funding. This is precisely the type of thing I’ve been arguing, while you continuously barf up questions that appear to be meant to distract and misdirect. Seriously, you’re like the little three-year-old who keeps repeating “Why?” to the exasperated adult ttrying to explain something/anything to him. No matter what the adult says the kids just repeats, “Why?”

      I wasn’t talking about you specifically. You decided to take it personally.

      What utter bullshit. You were trying to tell me about my own circumstance, whether you care to admit it or not. I am a member of the middle class, and yes, you were trying to tell me what that was about.

      Ah right, of course. Because I don’t agree with you I must be a complete ideologue.

      Well, you keep implying that I am such. Funny how that works. But regardless, I can admit that Miron could have made a stronger case, but you keep repeating that he. Made. No. Case. AT. ALL. That’s a rather extreme thing to claim.

      Yeah, that classic ideology which…

      …consistently gives the benefit of doubt to liberals while not doing the same for conservatives, dismisses conservative ideas as “ideology”, etc.

      You may or may not adopt that laundry-list you rattled off, but your overall behaviour leaves me skeptical. I think you rattle those things off just to give the impression that we’re “on the same side”, but again argue otherwise.

      My point is that they were not ideas tailored specifically to meet the goals of the stimulus.

      Which again assumes that the goal was to “stimulate”.

      And why must they be “tailored”, anyway? Why can’t they just be ideas that worked in the past, like reducing tax rates?

      Which specific economies, at which specific time? Did it stimulate them immediately? Did the ideas require time to get right and explain to the public (and did that cost money)?

      “Why?” “Why?” “WHY?”

      The Real Reagan Economic Record: Responsible and Successful Fiscal Policy

      President Ronald Reagan’s record includes sweeping economic reforms and deep across-the-board tax cuts, market deregulation, and sound monetary policies to contain inflation. His policies resulted in the largest peacetime economic boom in American history and nearly 35 million more jobs.

      JFK’s Lasting Economic Legacy: Lower Tax Rates

      The point is that the stimulus didn’t reduce tax rates, but Miron argued that reducing tax rates would have been the right thing to do. But then, that’s just his “opinion”…

      Again, my point was that Miron is making the claim that “the Administration used the recession and the financial crisis to redistribute resources to favored interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education) and to increase the size and scope of government” but his only supporting ‘evidence’ is that they didn’t use his preferred formula.

      But he explains why it is “preferred”. You merely dismiss that as “opinion”.

      Thumb up 3

    104. CM

      Wow, what an utterly hopeless dipshit you can be! My claim is that the lower classes did not benefit from the stimulus, which would indicate that those who did benefit were the politically connected. Now you come along and try to tell me that my argument is that the lower classes “aren’t benefiting very much from the economy in general“? Talk about gall!

      You initially said: “The argument is that the politically-connected are benefiting while the middle and lower classes are not so much.”
      So is it “are” as you said initially, or “did” which you’re saying now? Because the stimulus spending was completed a long time ago now. If you’re talking about the way the economy is structured in general (which is what Miron very clearly has issues with) then that’s not specifically just about the Obama stimulus.

      Wow, really, that’s your rebuttal?!

      No, my response came directly after my surprise at how lame your response was.

      That public employee unions and Democrats are in bed together is common knowledge. This article is just an example.

      And therefore ANTHING that directly or indirectly assists the public employee unions is inherently sufficient evidence of motivation. Case closed. Got it.
      Lame. But at least things are a little more transparent.

      The USA has some of the worst-performing public education students on the planet, yet we continue to throw billions of dollars into public education. Obviously, it ain’t helping the students any. And Democrats tend to oppose voucher programs and other programs that provide choice to students. By all appearances, educating our students is not the priority of public education, regardless of what is advertised. And yes, a lot those billions of dollars being tossed into public education end up as salaries for unionized employees, whether teachers or administrators. But again, the students don’t seem to benefit so much. Voucher programs are seen as a threat to public education, which is run by unionized employees. There are many examples of Democrats and liberals opposoing school vouchers while sending their own kids to private schools.

      Let me say that I personally don’t have a position on school vouchers or charter schools. I don’t know enough about them to form an educated opinion. I know enough to know that there are strong arguments on both sides though. And there appears to be contrasting assessments about whether they work:

      The Empirical Evidence on School Vouchers

      But then….

      http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=Usher%5FVoucher%5F072711%2Epdf

      Before you try to accuse me of “misdirection” again, the point here is that voucher programs did not get any stimulus funding, but, as you yourself conclude, unionized public education employees did get “inevitable” stimulus funding.

      It certainly makes more sense to me to just assist states with sudden huge shortfalls in their education budgets. It is surely less expensive to ensure funding for existing systems/programs than to start up new ones (notwithstanding that there doesn’t appear to be definitive or conclusive evidence to say that those alternative systems ARE better). A logical argument in favour of what they did (make up a massive shortfall of funding to stop existing schools potentially closing or operating at a very low level) is enough to cast doubt on definitive claims about alternative motivation (which is based on a failure to do something else). Allowing public schools to fail (which is what the decision would have meant) and instead directing that money elsewhere would, IMO, have been an extreme move. Was there another public sector of such importance that was in an equivalent situation?

      Also, did funding to the states specifically prohibit spending on voucher programs (it may have, I’m not sure)? It may have been that the directives were so specific that vouchers programs were indirectly excluded. Guess these willjust be dismissed as more ‘why why why’ questions though huh….stupid details….

      This is precisely the type of thing I’ve been arguing, while you continuously barf up questions that appear to be meant to distract and misdirect.

      You mean like asking how less than 1% could ever be described as “a significant component”?
      Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Because Miron’s case hasn’t been important to your argument or anything has it….

      Seriously, you’re like the little three-year-old who keeps repeating “Why?” to the exasperated adult ttrying to explain something/anything to him. No matter what the adult says the kids just repeats, “Why?”

      The reason you’re feeling that you’re not getting anywhere is that you’re not making your case. It’s not that I don’t understand what you’re saying, or what Miron wrote. Your case is very weak, it’s still only based partisan/ideological speculation. My questions are primarily trying to reveal or pry out the detail behind the specific claims being made.

      What utter bullshit. You were trying to tell me about my own circumstance, whether you care to admit it or not.

      Wow. Super-weird. I certainly didn’t mention ANYONE personally. Not even remotely or via a hint. Whereas your response was exclusively about you personally. So I naturally enquired, as you appeared to be offering yourself as an example, And now you’re trying to turn it into this? Bizarre.
      But ok, I’ll back away very slowly…..

      I am a member of the middle class, and yes, you were trying to tell me what that was about.

      Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Because whatever has specifically happened to you has specifically happened to everyone else in the middle class (oh and the poor as well). Yeah that makes perfect sense. You were all doing so well until Obama took office. Unemployment wasn’t going through the roof at all.
      Being an “utterly hopeless dipshit” would appear to be your “personal circumstance” on this one.

      Well, you keep implying that I am such. Funny how that works.

      Sometimes the arguments and claims you are making certainly are. (I was going to go back and look specifically at my ‘implications’ but most of my posts are hidden so the browser search function won’t work)

      But regardless, I can admit that Miron could have made a stronger case, but you keep repeating that he. Made. No. Case. AT. ALL. That’s a rather extreme thing to claim.

      Yet again, my observation was that he made no case about motivation. He only tried to make a case about how the stimulus could have been structured to better meet the stated goals. And on closer examination some of his claims about that are silly (e.g. he’s overstated the significance of spending on the few areas he looks at, such as scientific research, which is not very professional).
      Where do you think his case could be stronger? I would be interested to know.

      You may or may not adopt that laundry-list you rattled off, but your overall behaviour leaves me skeptical. I think you rattle those things off just to give the impression that we’re “on the same side”, but again argue otherwise.

      Ah, here we go again, This is the third time you’ve tried this “you’re just pretending” tactic now. If you can’t accept that people who think differently from you can hold genuinely-held beliefs or opinions, why would you bother even engaging with them in a way that suggests you’re taking it seriously?
      I also like how you take offense at my ‘wish-list’ but you’re only too happy to call what I said a ‘laundry-list’.

      Which again assumes that the goal was to “stimulate”.

      Well that IS what we’re talking about here. That’s the whole point – was the Obama stimulus designed to stimulate, or was it designed to funnel huge amounts of money to the well-connected and/or friends. This whole back-and-forwards is about the definitive claim that it was the second one. You’ve not come close to making that case about motivation. It’s all still based on speculation.

      And why must they be “tailored”, anyway? Why can’t they just be ideas that worked in the past, like reducing tax rates?

      Because the goals were specific, and so was the time-frame. The stimulus didn’t just come at a random time.

      “Why?” “Why?” “WHY?”

      Yeah, details are ALWAYS annoying to partisan ideologues.

      The point is that the stimulus didn’t reduce tax rates, but Miron argued that reducing tax rates would have been the right thing to do. But then, that’s just his “opinion”…

      And the point is that deciding not to make a permanent reduction in tax rates (and abolishing the corporate tax rate entirely) doesn’t prove motivation. It’s part of a case that could be made for a stimulus that would have met the goals better, but that doesn’t in any way prove that the stated goals were fake.

      But he explains why it is “preferred”. You merely dismiss that as “opinion”.

      As other economists could easily respond and explain why they ‘prefer’ something else, how can it be anything else other than his opinion? It’s a professional opinion of course, but that doesn’t magically turn it from ‘opinion’ into ‘fact’. But you need it to be ‘fact’ though, for your argument to work.

      Thumb up 0

    105. Iconoclast

      You initially said: “The argument is that the politically-connected are benefiting while the middle and lower classes are not so much.”

      No, I didn’t “initially” say that at all — I subsequently said it after over a month of arguing over the matter. In hindsight, yes, I should have used past tense, but as we have been arguing over the stimulus this whole time, it just didn’t occur to me that you would be such a tool as to use my use of present tense as an opportunity for a character assassination attempt. Since the context of discussion is the stimulus, my discussion of what my argument is shouldn’t have to rely on tense to be understood. Or so I thought. In this thread, I don’t ever recall discussing the economy, per se, except to discuss government meddling in said economy, and certainly don’t recall ever discussing how any given class is fairing in the economy in any general sense, yet you manage to assume that such was what I was doing in order to indulge in your character assassination nonsense. “Do they hang down to your knees?”

      And therefore ANTHING that directly or indirectly assists the public employee unions is inherently sufficient evidence of motivation. Case closed. Got it.

      Jumping to idiotic conclusions again, I see. No it isn’t “inherently sufficient evidence” of anything, but it is a data point that can serve to help build a case.

      But then…

      But then…what, exactly?

      It is surely less expensive to ensure funding for existing systems/programs than to start up new ones (notwithstanding that there doesn’t appear to be definitive or conclusive evidence to say that those alternative systems ARE better).

      Well, an undeniable reality is that the “existing systems/programs” are doing damned little to actually educate and prepare our kids for entering the work force. Like I said, our students are among the worst-performing on the planet, which is absurdly tragic and inexcusable, given how “rich and powerful” we are as a nation. It should be obvious that these “existing systems/programs” are fundamentally broken. To not see as much smacks of ideological partisan willful blindness.

      Allowing public schools to fail (which is what the decision would have meant) and instead directing that money elsewhere would, IMO, have been an extreme move.

      Maybe, but sometimes “extreme” measures are indeed called for. Losing a few million public-sector union jobs may have been extremely painful in the short-term, but lancing a wound is a painful process. Maybe the nation as a whole could have been better off if a few million union jobs were lost, and a few unions made powerless. Even if “there doesn’t appear to be definitive or conclusive evidence to say that those alternative systems ARE better”, it certainly doesn’t seem that they could be much worse…

      The reason you’re feeling that you’re not getting anywhere is that…

      …you’re recalcitrant and obtuse?

      The reason you’re feeling that you’re not getting anywhere is that you’re not making your case.

      Well, that’s just your opinion. The real reason is that you attack data points in isolation and apparently refuse to connect the dots in order to see the larger case. An example is the snarky comment, “ANTHING that directly or indirectly assists the public employee unions is inherently sufficient evidence of motivation. Case closed. Got it.” Another example is the flagrant ignoring of data points, which I will address next…

      Yeah, details are ALWAYS annoying to partisan ideologues.

      Which may explain why you sometimes ignore them when I present them. Case in point: the two historical examples I presented of tax rate reductions serving to stimulate the economy under Presidents Kennedy and Reagan, the former a Democrat and the latter a Republican. Yet you cling to your own ideological position that reductions in tax rates lead to economic growth is just an opinion. The point you ignore is that this “opinion” is indeed backed by historical evidence.

      And the point is that deciding not to make a permanent reduction in tax rates (and abolishing the corporate tax rate entirely) doesn’t prove motivation. It’s part of a case that could be made for a stimulus that would have met the goals better, but that doesn’t in any way prove that the stated goals were fake.

      Another historical reality is that Democrats tend to favor increases in tax rates and oppose their reduction, while Conservatives (not necessarily Republicans, only the conservative ones) have the opposite view. So it’s arguable that resisting the call to lower tax rates is ideological, and therefore it isn’t just a question of “what would stimulate the economy better”, because ideology comes into play. Again, the historical evidence is that rate reductions can have a profound positive effect. So Obama and his advisors either deliberately ignored the historical evidence or were genuinely ignorant of it. Neither option is very attractive or encouraging.

      As other economists could easily respond and explain why they ‘prefer’ something else, how can it be anything else other than his opinion? It’s a professional opinion of course, but that doesn’t magically turn it from ‘opinion’ into ‘fact’. But you need it to be ‘fact’ though, for your argument to work.

      Well, it is an historical fact that reductions in tax rates have been instrumental in effecting strong economic growth and recovery, so an “opinion” based on this fact should carry far more weight than you are allowing. By consistently dismissing this view as an “opinion”, and implying that it’s nothing more than “opinion”, you yourself are displaying hard-core partisan behavior.

      So yes, I do indeed grow weary of having to connect the dots for you, since you petulantly refuse to do so yourself. And given that you do sometimes ignore evidence I present, I grow weary of being expected to jump through the hoops of answering your question barrages.

      Thumb up 2

    106. CM

      but as we have been arguing over the stimulus this whole time

      Nice try but more recently you’ve been arguing that general changes should have been used as stimulus, and that the nature of the economy isn’t relevant to what is actually happening. “Why can’t they just be ideas that worked in the past, like reducing tax rates?”

      it just didn’t occur to me that you would be such a tool

      Wow they’re starting to come thick and fast now. Along with increased levels of utter nonsense.

      Since the context of discussion is the stimulus, my discussion of what my argument is shouldn’t have to rely on tense to be understood.

      Tense is important. See above.

      I don’t ever recall discussing the economy, per se, except to discuss government meddling in said economy….

      That’s EXACTLY what you moved to. That you are trying to claim otherwise is patently ridiculous.

      Jumping to idiotic conclusions again, I see. No it isn’t “inherently sufficient evidence” of anything, but it is a data point that can serve to help build a case.

      It’s very, as you said before, ‘convenient’ The government funds public education and the conclusion is that they are rewarding the unions. That is partisan nonsense. Yes, that is likely an indirect result, but to claim it’s the motivation without any evidence is very weak, and very transparent.

      Well, an undeniable reality is that the “existing systems/programs” are doing damned little to actually educate and prepare our kids for entering the work force. Like I said, our students are among the worst-performing on the planet, which is absurdly tragic and inexcusable, given how “rich and powerful” we are as a nation. It should be obvious that these “existing systems/programs” are fundamentally broken. To not see as much smacks of ideological partisan willful blindness.

      And yet if the Democrats don’t use a series financial crisis with millions of jobs being lost to fundamentally fix an education system, then it’s evidence of motivation.
      Dumb ideological garbage. Just as it would be for someone on the left to do the equivalent.

      Well, that’s just your opinion. The real reason is that you attack data points in isolation and apparently refuse to connect the dots in order to see the larger case.

      I’m dealing with the arguments being made. It’s always very revealing when someone doesn’t want the details of the individual arguments to be assessed. The ‘larger case’ is entirely circumstantial, which means the ‘dots’ are all-important
      It’s essentially a concession that this is all very shaky. Which it has been from the start and it’s not getting any better now.

      An example is the snarky comment, “ANTHING that directly or indirectly assists the public employee unions is inherently sufficient evidence of motivation. Case closed. Got it.”

      It’s SUCH a lame attempt at an argument though. My slight exaggeration doesn’t alter or misrepresent the argument being used. It’s just an accusation and speculation and it assigns motivation purely from an ideologically partisan point of view. It’s bewildering that you cannot see that.

      Which may explain why you sometimes ignore them when I present them.

      You’re the one who ignored my response to Miron’s paragraphs that you provided.

      Case in point: the two historical examples I presented of tax rate reductions serving to stimulate the economy under Presidents Kennedy and Reagan, the former a Democrat and the latter a Republican. Yet you cling to your own ideological position that reductions in tax rates lead to economic growth is just an opinion. The point you ignore is that this “opinion” is indeed backed by historical evidence.

      Misrepresentation. The ‘opinion’ was that using permanent tax cuts would have been the right thing to do in the circumstance to meet the specific goals.

      So it’s arguable that resisting the call to lower tax rates is ideological, and therefore it isn’t just a question of “what would stimulate the economy better”, because ideology comes into play.

      I would go so far as to say that it’s FAR more likely that Dems would resist lowering tax rates as part of an attempt to stop the country sliding into a full scale multi-year Depression (if that’s what the fear was). But that still isn’t any sort of evidence to be able to say that the motivation behind the Obama stimulus was not consistent with the stated goals, and in fact the motivation was to reward friends and the well-connected (and therefore to screw over everyone else).

      Again, the historical evidence is that rate reductions can have a profound positive effect.

      But the analysis is far too simplistic to be able to say that it would apply at any time, under any conditions. For example, the conditions Obama faced when he arrived in office.

      So Obama and his advisors either deliberately ignored the historical evidence or were genuinely ignorant of it. Neither option is very attractive or encouraging.

      That doesn’t follow. You’d need to demonstrate that tax rate decreases would have had a profound positive effect given the conditions, and would be obviously preferable to any alternative, given the specific goals of the stimulus. You’d also need to demonstrate that they didn’t consider anything like reducing the tax rate.

      Well, it is an historical fact that reductions in tax rates have been instrumental in effecting strong economic growth and recovery, so an “opinion” based on this fact should carry far more weight than you are allowing.

      Your two examples were at specific times when conditions were quite different. Tax rate reductions don’t occur in a vacuum. So what else was going on (was Reagan actually undertaking massive spending at the same time? etc etc etc)?

      By consistently dismissing this view as an “opinion”, and implying that it’s nothing more than “opinion”, you yourself are displaying hard-core partisan behavior.

      Misrepresentation again.

      So yes, I do indeed grow weary of having to connect the dots for you,

      Is that right Michael Moore.
      You’re struggling because the dots really stand up on their own, let alone connect.

      And given that you do sometimes ignore evidence I present,

      That’s very rich.

      I grow weary of being expected to jump through the hoops of answering your question barrages.

      Yes, all very flowery wording. Doesn’t change the fact that you’ve misrepresented what I said, and still haven’t remotely begun to make the case. You’re still to turn a whole lot speculation into ‘when you add it all up there really is only one conclusion you can reach’. I.e. what Michael Moore does.

      Thumb up 0

    107. Iconoclast

      And yet if the Democrats don’t use a series financial crisis with millions of jobs being lost to fundamentally fix an education system, then it’s evidence of motivation.

      You know, it occurs to me that I never made any claims about “motivation”. This whole “motivation” thing is your bag, not mine.

      And sure, many “benefited” from the Stimulus — those who were politically connected come to mind.

      Iconoclast, April 22, 2014 8:30 AM

      My only claim is that the politically connected benefited from the Stimulus. I made no claims about motive. Regardless of whether Obama was virtuous or deceitful, a brilliant genius or bumbling incompetent boob, it wouldn’t matter a whit to whether my claim is true.

      Your response:

      There is evidence that this is what happened?

      CM, April 22, 2014 4:48 PM

      All you asked for was evidence that the politically-connected benefited, and, like it or lump it, the news article about the NEA is evidence that it happened. Now you can argue anything you want, you can argue that Obama had no choice, that the whole system is such that if the politically-connected didn’t benefit, the world would have stopped turning, that Obama did everything humanly possible to prevent this sort of thing, but all of that would be a red herring. Either the politically-connected benefited or they did not. I provided evidence that they did. Yo can dismiss the evidence if you want, but dismissal is not refutation.

      QED

      Thumb up 3

    108. Iconoclast

      Correction: By citing the Miron paper, it can be argued that I did argue motivation. My error. My original claim didn’t involve motivation, and I should have cited the NEA article up front.

      Thumb up 2

    109. CM

      My only claim is that the politically connected benefited from the Stimulus.Regardless of whether Obama was virtuous or deceitful, a brilliant genius or bumbling incompetent boob, it wouldn’t matter a whit to whether my claim is true.

      If your claim is that they benefited disproportionately then I guess that depends on how you define “politically connected” and how you determine how the spending ended up where it did (as the vast majority was handled by the states, not the federal government, albeit with directions). And you need to explain how the 38% of it which was tax relief was an example of what you are claiming. Or if you’re not claiming that, how that 38% can be set aside it’s ok to support a claim that less than 1% (spent on scientific research) is “significant”.
      Unless proportionality isn’t relevant. If it isn’t, I’m not sure what your point is.

      All you asked for was evidence that the politically-connected benefited, and, like it or lump it, the news article about the NEA is evidence that it happened.

      You don’t even need that. That money went into public education immediately proves your ‘case’. A simple link to the wiki page on the stimulus tells us that.

      Notwithstanding that, the Huffington piece, beyond the attention-grabbing editorializing headline and opening paragraph (which is presumably what you are relying on), actually looks to be fairly balanced by providing the NEA’s explanation for the timing, and noting that ” NEA has much to gripe about with respect to the Obama administration, chiefly, an educational reform agenda that puts heightened demands on teacher performance”.

      That aside, as you said earlier: “…by carefully choosing your parameters, you can affect how your data is interpreted.” Obviously any money going to anyone you deem as politically connected will immediately ‘prove’ your case, if that is indeed your case. But it’s a meaningless case because……it doesn’t actually mean anything. Miron’s case means something because he made a very specific and serious accusation.

      Now you can argue anything you want, you can argue that Obama had no choice, that the whole system is such that if the politically-connected didn’t benefit, the world would have stopped turning, that Obama did everything humanly possible to prevent this sort of thing, but all of that would be a red herring.

      Right, because your case (now, anyway) is that “the politically-connected benefited”. Presumably to any extent. I would certainly stand alongside you on that argument. Well, I would do if there was any point to it.

      Either the politically-connected benefited or they did not. I provided evidence that they did. Yo can dismiss the evidence if you want, but dismissal is not refutation.

      I’m not even attempting to dismiss something that is very clearly impossible to dismiss.

      Correction: By citing the Miron paper, it can be argued that I did argue motivation. My error. My original claim didn’t involve motivation, and I should have cited the NEA article up front.

      Well I do certainly appreciate the admission. That’s certainly how I took it (and it carried on from there). We’ll never get those hours back now….still, at least we can surely put this to bed now.

      Thumb up 0

    110. Iconoclast

      Obviously any money going to anyone you deem as politically connected will immediately ‘prove’ your case, if that is indeed your case. But it’s a meaningless case because…it doesn’t actually mean anything.

      Well, I never claimed it was a “case”, per se. The argument was on the stimulus, and whether it was “beneficial”. My off-the-cuff observation was, yeah, some people did benefit. The politically connected immediately come to mind. That is almost a verbatim repeat of my original remarks. My other observation was that somebody obviously benefits when the government is giving away truckloads of cash. And again, your response was to ask whether there was any evidence that the politically connected benefited, so I provided some. I never really meant for it to be a “case”. If anyone made it one, you arguably did by asking for evidence. Why ask for evidence if it’s “meaningless”? That’s the question that comes to my mind at this point.

      Thumb up 3

    111. Iconoclast

      Your two examples were at specific times when conditions were quite different. Tax rate reductions don’t occur in a vacuum. So what else was going on (was Reagan actually undertaking massive spending at the same time? etc etc etc)?

      Reagan inherited a struggling, recession economy from Carter. Reagan passed across-the-board rate cuts early on. In order to curb spending, he agreed to minimal increases to business taxes, but not increases in rates, and therefore signed TEFRA into law, a move he later regretted but one that liberals tout to this very day (liberals are always for tax increases of any kind, by all appearances). The regret was due to the fact that the tax increases didn’t reduce the deficit, and the agreed-upon spending cuts never occurred. Regardless, the across-the-board cuts in tax rates were instrumental in the recovery, which was one of the strongest ones on record.

      Right, because your case (now, anyway) is that “the politically-connected benefited”.

      Well, AGAIN, that was my ORIGINAL claim — this whole “motive” thing was an unfortunate digression that I admittedly caused, but am now correcting. You seemed all-to-willing to argue endlessly during that digression, presumably because you had the upper hand (proving “motive” is extremely difficult barring an outright admission, which you all but demanded yourself). Now you appear to be willing to walk away, but not before deeming the whole “case” to be “meaningless”. I find that to be rather interesting…..

      Thumb up 3

    112. CM

      And again, your response was to ask whether there was any evidence that the politically connected benefited, so I provided some. I never really meant for it to be a “case”. If anyone made it one, you arguably did by asking for evidence. Why ask for evidence if it’s “meaningless”? That’s the question that comes to my mind at this point.

      I did assume you meant they benefited to a degree that meant something. That is true.

      Well, AGAIN, that was my ORIGINAL claim — this whole “motive” thing was an unfortunate digression that I admittedly caused, but am now correcting. You seemed all-to-willing to argue endlessly during that digression, presumably because you had the upper hand (proving “motive” is extremely difficult barring an outright admission, which you all but demanded yourself). Now you appear to be willing to walk away, but not before deeming the whole “case” to be “meaningless”. I find that to be rather interesting…..

      Brilliant, I was too into it, and now I’m not into it enough….
      As you’ve corrected it (to something which couldn’t be disputed even if someone wanted to), why couldn’t that be a good place to finish the discussion? Do you feel motivated to continue? I never get the impression that you get any actual enjoyment out of your discussions with me.

      Thumb up 0