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« Good eats downtown | Main | To be Frank »

May 25, 2011

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polifrog

Andrew Brod:

None of those issues that Frog mentioned was the primary selling point for the Bush tax cuts.

You did not ask for a history lesson in selling points. You asked:

So how do we explain the fact that the expansion of 2001-07, whose signature domestic policy was a series of tax cuts that favored the rich and were sold by claiming the rich would increase productivity and investment, had the slowest growth in investment spending of all 10 post-WWII expansions?

For which I supplied an answer.

My answer was not ideology; it was just fact. Ideology is changing the question at hand when the answers challenge your ideology.

Bruce

Comment redacted; One alias per person per thread, please.

Bubba

"Saying, as Bob did, that one is offering context by taking something out of context is laughable because of its semantic absurdity, not because of some partisan explanation you concoct."

That is absolute, unadulterated horseshit, from a clown who doesn't understand the language he supposedly studied in school and supposedly speaks.

My use of the word "context" was totally proper and correct, by definition, whether you like or not.

Your tortured misunderstanding of the english language is amazing.

Bubba

"Odd, but there it is."

Odd that you, a supposed "professor" of economics, doesn't understand actual causes and effect of a program like Medicare Advantage.

On the other hand, my life experiences have taught me that biased, narrow minded, so-called "educated" people are often like that. I illustrated a great example of that sad fact in my last post regarding another poster who falls into that category.

Andrew Brod

Frog, all I did was read your comment. You said "these policies were intended to" do various things, which implies that what follows was how they were justified. If you're now saying that the dotcom bust and 9/11 are the ex post reasons why the expansion of 2001-07 was the weakest of the post-WWII era, then... ohhhkay. I mean, it's wrong, but it's an answer.

As for the "more fundamental long term issues brought to light in late 2008," it's true that the housing boom was a misallocation of resources. This isn't a crazy point to make. What's not clear is that it was such a misallocation that it suppressed other activities while it was happening. The boom, once busted, hurt the economy after 2008, but there's ample evidence that it did much to goose the economy upward in 2001-07.

Andrew Brod

Now, about this: "In contrast, Medicare, Medicade, Social Security, in short, most social programs depend on pitting Americans against one another based on non egalitarian criteria such as race, wealth, and age."

This is also wrong. The definition of an entitlement is that it's available to everyone. Anyone reaching the age of 65 is eligible for Medicare, regardless of race and wealth. Age is a different thing, but if that's really your argument, then by the same reasoning, the public schools are discriminatory (or "nonegalitarian" in your terminology) because they refuse to educate people above the age of 18.

Medicare and the rest are as open to all Americans as the national parks and the nation's highways.

Perhaps your revised argument will be that not everyone needs Medicare and SS, hence they discriminate against the fortunate. But not everyone needs the national parks, or the same number of miles of highway. Moreover, the average income of those who visit our national parks is well above the average. And yet to you, those parks are egalitarian. I'm confident that you won't see the contradiction.

Terry

One revised argument might be that if benefits are available to all equally the cost of those benefits should be born by all equally.

Billy Jones

"conservative productivity"

Talk about a contradiction in terms....

?

Could you please explain that Billy, either independently of or in contrast to "liberal" productivity?

polifrog

Andrew Brod :

Perhaps your revised argument will be that not everyone needs Medicare and SS, hence they discriminate against the fortunate. But not everyone needs the national parks, or the same number of miles of highway. Moreover, the average income of those who visit our national parks is well above the average. And yet to you, those parks are egalitarian. I'm confident that you won't see the contradiction.

There are no government regulations that exclude anyone from any national park.

But if I want SS I am excluded; if I want Medicare I am excluded; if I want Medicade I am excluded not due to my choice but because government defines me out of the program due to who I am.

Arguing that we all age into and out of certain programs, therefore they are available to all, is a theoretical argument that ignores the moment to moment reality of politics and the desire to protect ones current place at the trough.

The reality is that at any moment in time these programs pit groups of citizens against one another. Thus we have the AARP fighting for their group of government recipients against the rest of America. Thus we have teachers unions fighting for their group of government recipients (not the children) against the interests of the rest of America. Thus we have the NCOA defending their pigs at the trough and so on and on and on.

National Parks, though, take from all and return to all and do so at all times thus not dividing America. There is virtue in this egalitarianism.

And yes, the parks are most definitely egalitarian, as the choice not to utilize a park or highway is individual, just as the choice not to earn the income to better utilize what is provided is individual.

This argument parallels equal access ... or have you liberals consigned that belief to the dustbin of social/racial history; another political tool no longer an asset?

Jim Langer

I actually do agree with polifrog on this point: "political bias in academia diminishes both academia and intellectualism." Although, I would say "intellectual curiosity", rather than "intellectualism". To be a very acute intellectual, one should eschew "intellectualism". Polifrog himself seems to make this point when he says he doesn't harbor "anti-intellectual and anti-academic sentiments". I commend him for admitting that he realized this after college.

What we should all try, as an experiment, is the approach of the better dialogists of Greece, whose desire was to discover the depths of their own ignorance, rather than the debate society that seeks "winning". Better Socrates dissatisfied than a pig (Charlie Sheen) satisfied.

polifrog

"Intellectual curiosity" is a far better choice of words than mine.

Your closing point though, knowing the unknown, is frequently beyond elusive and more frequently parodied. However, it should be respected by all.

Andrew Brod

But if I want SS I am excluded; if I want Medicare I am excluded; if I want Medicade I am excluded not due to my choice but because government defines me out of the program due to who I am.

How are you "excluded" from Medicare and SS? Are you not a U.S. citizen?

Or are you saying this because you're not yet 65?

polifrog
Or are you saying this because you're not yet 65?


I along with a majority of Americans I am currently excluded due to age.

Andrew Brod

Your comment needs no rejoinder.

polifrog

Bruce

How Polifrog does it.

Thank you!

I kinda like Hit Girl too, though


polifrog
Your comment needs no rejoinder.

I understand, it is difficult to argue that a thing is available to all when it clearly is not and as a result adds to division rather than unity amid the citizenry of a nation.

polifrog

I should add, Andrew, that I agree with you in that in the grand sweep of generational time there is a theoretical egalitarianism in SS.

The reality, though, is that during any period of time less than a generation SS creates government sanctioned haves and have-nots that add to the tensions we have grown familiar with within the SS debate.

Billy Jones

? asked, "Could you please explain that Billy, either independently of or in contrast to "liberal" productivity?"

What is there to explain? To assume either conservatives or liberals to be more productive than the other is pure farce. Politics from either side of the isle is the least productive service this country offers and to attempt to paint either side as more productive than the other is partisan at the least and stupid at its worst.

polifrog

It is not that liberals or conservatives are more productive than the other, but rather if the results of their divergent tax policies that lead to a more productive America or a less productive America.

One must ask who pays income taxes.

The only people who pay income taxes are income earners, but does that mean that the wealthy pay high income taxes? No. High income earners and the wealthy are not the same group. High income earners are attempting to become wealthy while the wealthy have already made their millions. A big difference between the two is that high income earners are still productive while the wealthy are not.

We know productive high income earners pay high income taxes, but what of the non productive wealthy? They are in effect shielded from taxes by the liberal bias toward taxing income. The wealthy, by investing in low interest bearing tax free loans to the government or other such tax advantaged vehicles, earn money but are protected from income taxes.

Between these two groups who is best served by liberals? The wealthy.

Thus the liberal penchant for income taxes results in taxing (punishing) productive high income earners while rewarding the slothenly wealthy.

Furthermore, by punishing high income earners through the income taxe a rung of the ladder to wealth is removed. Two types of poor are created. Those who cling to the American dream and those who give up on the American dream in the face ever more burdensome tax brackets.

Those poor who give up on the American dream join the unproductive constituency of the super wealthy in being represented by liberals.

Those who do not give up on the American dream join the productive constituency of high earners bludgeoned by income taxes represented by conservatives.

Lastly, the end result is in increasing the resistance to social mobility. The super wealthy's station in life is protected as their assets are shielded from taxes. The high earner's station in life becomes more limited due to the increasing difficulty in gathering wealth amid growing taxes. And the poor increasingly give up on the American dream as they see the next rung in the ladder toward wealth as unplatably over taxed.


Roch101

That is really laughable, polifrog. I half hope you are joking. If you are not, what you wrote is a terrific example of how to identify a broken ideology -- when its suppositions contradict reality. The best thing conservative icon Ayn Rand had going for her was objectivism, her belief that,

reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic...

One of her most instructive lines was,

"Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."
So what of these contradictions?

:: People are poor because they tried to work hard but gave up because of the taxes demanded them and decided they prefer a meager life on the government dole.
:: Factors highly correlated to poverty are educational level, involuntary job loss, age, family status and race. Income tax rates correlate poorly to poverty among states or country to country, however periods of increasing federal income taxes in the United States correlate to periods of declining poverty and vice versa.

One of the above is true, the other is a concoction demanded by polifrog's broken premises, a fantasy, a fingers crossed "oh, please, please, please, let it be so" little girl's fairy tale or, as Rand might observe, a notion that does not exist independent of polifrog's consciousness.

The rest of Poliforg's "argument" continues with the same suppositions of a world of make believe, one where high income earners are not wealthy and the wealthy do not engage in productive work, for example, or where the wealthy don't put capital to work in the private sector. But these must be true, his conclusion demands it.

This is what happens when you start with a conclusion and work backwards. It is not the inductive or deductive reasoning Rand champions, it is the lazy logic fallacy of begging the question.


polifrog

I will concede this: economy of space and a need for clarity lead me to craft my comment such that shades of grey are absent. This opened me up to valid attacks based my arguing from the perspective of all or nothing extremes:

The rest of Poliforg's "argument" continues with the same suppositions of a world of make believe, one where high income earners are not wealthy and the wealthy do not engage in productive work, for example, or where the wealthy don't put capital to work in the private sector.

I understand that there shades of grey. Mine is an argument of policy affecting the decisions individuals. I assume fluidity of outcome on the individual decision making level. Neither should the fact that I focus solely on a limited number of factors be construed as a rejection of others.

Contradictions...

People are poor because they tried to work hard but gave up because of the taxes demanded them and decided they prefer a meager life on the government dole.

Taxes are used as a deterrent repeatedly through society; cigarettes and alcohol for example. Arguments for increasing fuel taxes are proffered so as to reduce demand for fuel. The fact is taxes have an undeniable history of being used to affect change on a population through deterrence.

But according to you, despite a history of arguments otherwise by liberal social engineers, labor stands alone in that taxing labor does not deter it:

however periods of increasing federal income taxes in the United States correlate to periods of declining poverty and vice versa.

Your contradictory wishful thinking reminds me of a quote by Ann Rand that is often inaccurately bandied about:

Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.

Your reverse engineering based on wishful thinking what should be objective analysis results in poor and contradictory conclusions.

Bruce

Comment redacted; One alias per person per thread, please.

Ed Cone

One of her most instructive ridiculous lines was, "Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."

There, fixed that for you.

Contradictions and paradoxes and contrasting legitimate viewpoints abound in this world, which is one reason social policy discussions are messy and hard.

polifrog
Contradictions and paradoxes and contrasting legitimate viewpoints abound in this world, which is one reason social policy discussions are messy and hard.

Moral Relativism; the stuff of liberalism and social discord.

Ed Cone

Complexity exists. Acknowledging it, and searching for realistic, sustainable, and humane ways to deal with it, is not the same as moral relativism.

Or, as you yourself put it just over an hour ago, arguing in a way where "shades of grey are absent...opened me up to valid attacks based my arguing from the perspective of all or nothing extremes."

polifrog

Complexity exists.

Moral Relativism or as you put it: "contrasting legitimate viewpoints" add to that complexity to the point of discord while moral certitude helps in separating the chaff thus aiding in "searching for realistic, sustainable, and humane ways to deal with it."

Put another way, answers are not found in the extreme tie-dye like confusion of moral relativism in which discordant failed solutions like multiculturalism find a home.

Additionally, referencing my comment on the mechanics of writing a blog comment as though it were philosophical commentary is quite good sleight of hand on your part.

Andrew Brod

Moral relativism = contrasting legitimate viewpoints.

That assertion tells us all we need to know.

Ed Cone

You seem to be arguing with yourself, Froggie.

I agree with the you who said at lunchtime today that your simplistic, all-or-nothing arguments opened you up to valid criticism.

Moral certitude is not always the same thing as morality, much less workable economic policy in a Republic. I'm certain of my morals, as I'm sure you are of yours, and I'd guess they overlap to considerable degree, but neither provides some sort of magic answers to, say, the Paradox of Thrift.

JustCorbly

Moral relativism? I thought that went out the window when we decided to live and let live. Maybe some of us didn't.

Hard questions are hard, unless you are willing to see people suffer and die because they disagree with you.

People like Hitler and Mao and bin Ladin, et al, had all the answers. The point isn't whether or not they were right. The point is that their certainty of belief gave them carte blanche to be mass murderers. Certainty of belief, in whatever guise and in whatever person, is a very dangerous thing.

Even Jesus had doubts at times. He provides a better example.

polifrog

Andrew Brod:

Moral relativism = contrasting legitimate viewpoints.

Perhaps I am misreading "contrasting legitimate viewpoints" but I do not think I am --- allow me to reword: Different viewpoints, but all legitimate.

Not all viewpoints are legitimate; moral relativism solves that problem, thus the statement is based on moral relativism.

I could be misreading the statement, though. It would be helpful if you told me how I am, Andrew.

polifrog

Just Corbly:

Moral relativism? I thought that went out the window when we decided to live and let live. Maybe some of us didn't.


Moral relativism is the heart and soul of the Democrat Party, as it allows them to support Woman's Rights while at the same time turning their backs on the abuse of women in the Muslim world. The same can be said of gay rights.

Why is the Democrat Party so silent? Why have we heard nothing from the woman's rights movement or homosexual groups? The reason for their silence is their acceptance of moral relativism.


assumptions,
:: The Muslim world has different values than ours,
:: their values are equal to ours
therefore,
:: who are we to question their values
:: by extension who are we do defend their women and homosexuals from suffering?
solution,
:: We should leave the suffering to their suffering .
:: We should leave the people to be enslaved by tyrants

I reject this. A modicum of moral certitude allowed me to not only condemn the abuse of women in Iraq and to condemn the enslavement of the people of Iraq, but it allowed me to support action that would alleviate much of that suffering and all the enslavement.

On the domestic front the liberal reliance on moral relativism can be seen in its support for multiculturalism at the loss of American identity thus diminishing American values.

Some of you are already rolling your eyes and asking "What is an American?", "What are American values?"

These questions are rooted in moral relativism.

Under moral relativism all cultures are equal, none can be above another. America, though, with its attempt to bind disparate cultures together under a unified tread of American culture and values by definition superimposed those values over various immigrant and indigenous cultures. This is unacceptable under moral relativism thus the rise of multiculturalism adopted by the Democrat Party and the debasement of the common bond between Americans, American culture.

If moral relativism is at one end of a scale and moral certitude
at the other liberalism has slipped entirely toward moral relativism.

There is a moderate middle to be found on that scale. That midpoint would be a return to the Great American Melting Pot in which a degree of moral certitude allowed for the US to impose an overarching morality binding cultures as one while accepting the equality of different cultures through moral relativism.


So no, moral relativism did not go out the window.


Andrew Brod

I don't know if moral relativism went out the window or not, but you should be docked points for arguing at length about something so far removed from the topic of this thread, which is that society should pay for that which it consumes.

Brandon Burgess

Poli, you think democrats should do more to spread democracy and to encourage respect of human rights in foreign nations?

I ask because that seems to counter anti-interventionist rhetoric ,which I perceive to be a conservative value and I happen to agree with for the most part.

Not to mention, most human rights advocates in America are decidedly liberal.

Sorry for getting off topic but this guy is just all over the place and I want to see how far backwards he can bend. It doesn't look like you all are finding much common ground in this discussion anyway.

Terry

If you argue that it is a moral imperative to provide services that you deem necessary but that the recipients can not afford can you then dismiss moral arguments to the contrary?

polifrog

Seemed harmless enough on a slow day, Andrew.

polifrog

Brandon,

Poli, you think democrats should do more to spread democracy and to encourage respect of human rights in foreign nations?
In that respect I suppose I am a NeoCon, though I feel somewhat abandoned by them.

I ask because that seems to counter anti-interventionist rhetoric ,which I perceive to be a conservative value and I happen to agree with for the most part.
Not to a NeoCon.

However, in respect to Libya I couldn't get a square read on either party's sentiments. Concerning Libya the NeoCons and the Antiwar groups went silent while both were quite vocal during Iraq. Frankly two military incursions couldn't have been more similar than Iraq and Libya and as such the reshuffling of support between the two wars reveal more about American politics than we may like.

Not to mention, most human rights advocates in America are decidedly liberal.
Their work seems to stop at the American boarder.


polifrog

Terry

If you argue that it is a moral imperative to provide services that you deem necessary but that the recipients can not afford can you then dismiss moral arguments to the contrary?

Not sure what you are referencing.

Roch101

"Your contradictory wishful thinking reminds" -- Polifrog

Sir, you are going to have to step up your game. You fashion a contradiction by putting words in my mouth. Using something I actually wrote to contradict something your wrote and pretended you could attribute to me is not a contradiction, it is another logic fallacy. Put your mind in gear before engaging me or I'll ignore you except when I'm in need of some amusement.

Roch101

"Contradictions and paradoxes and contrasting legitimate viewpoints abound in this world, which is one reason social policy discussions are messy and hard." -- Ed

You may recall that, in Atlas Shrugged, Rand would have the advice against contradictions delivered to a character whose internal contradictions were standing in the way of understanding external reality, not as an argument against competing views among individuals, as you miscast it.

While I agree with F. Scott Fitzgerald that "The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time," -- indeed, that being necessary for the kind of concept formation championed by Rand -- what Rand was advising against was broken thinking where one's internal assumptions do not align with the objective reality available to observation by one's senses -- contradictions within the individual's notions of reality -- although I think she ripped some of that off from Aristotle.

Ed Cone

"Different viewpoints, but all legitimate."

I haven't seen anyone make that case, Froggie.

To the actual point at hand, obviously any system this side of fascism must balance competing economic and social interests. That's not moral relativism, that's democracy; in fact, the existence of multiple valid points of view is axiomatic to libertarianism.

As Brod somehow remembered, the topic was paying our bills. I don't think running the country on credit and racking up huge deficits ad infinitum is a legitimate policy option, or morally defensible.

Andrew Brod

Ed, that comment shows what a Keynesian you are... and that you tolerate abuse of women in the Muslim world. Don't see the connection? Get a clue, man.

polifrog

Roch101:

You fashion a contradiction by putting words in my mouth. Using something I actually wrote to contradict something your wrote and pretended you could attribute to me is not a contradiction, it is another logic fallacy.

You misunderstand the comment. My quoting your rewording of my words...

People are poor because they tried to work hard but gave up because of the taxes demanded them and decided they prefer a meager life on the government dole.
...was simply a tool by which to turn to the concept of contradiction.

I apologize for the confusion.

The body of the argument was:
Taxes are used as a deterrent repeatedly through society; cigarettes and alcohol for example. Arguments for increasing fuel taxes are proffered so as to reduce demand for fuel. The fact is taxes have an undeniable history of being used to affect change on a population through deterrence.

But according to you, despite a history of arguments otherwise by liberal social engineers, labor stands alone in that taxing labor does not deter it:

however periods of increasing federal income taxes in the United States correlate to periods of declining poverty and vice versa.

Your contradictory wishful thinking reminds me of a quote by Ann Rand that is often inaccurately bandied about:

Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.

Your reverse engineering based on wishful thinking what should be objective analysis results in poor and contradictory conclusions.

The bit in bold above are your words and they are indeed wishful thinking, as they contradict reality. You are attempting to pretend that taxes are not a deterrent in earning income when in reality taxes are used in exactly that way as my examples illustrate.

?

It's all right Poli, he only hates the ones unfazed by his guttersniping, which is the only objective reality he knows. He must have dropped acid before reading Shrugged. He ain’t been right since-- just made him even nastier.

polifrog

Andrew Brod

Ed, that comment shows what a Keynesian you are... and that you tolerate abuse of women in the Muslim world. Don't see the connection?


Could you elaborate in the interest of steering the thread toward more topical matters?

Roch101

"...as they contradict reality." -- Polifrog

Prove it.

Roch101

John, did you ever get around to reading it?

Bubba

"I don't think running the country on credit and racking up huge deficits ad infinitum is a legitimate policy option, or morally defensible."

Then why do you support policies whose effects run counter to your sentiment?

Bubba

"Prove it."

He doesn't have to prove it. You need to prove it's not correct.

polifrog

Bubba:

Then why do you support policies whose effects run counter to your sentiment?

I believe he likes the nice things the productive class pay for.

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