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Keith Wilson
06-02-2015, 02:09 PM
This is it. In other times it was different - democracy vs. monarchy, slavery, established religion, the rights of the citizen - but today, this is at the heart of most of our arguments, and the question that will decide the path of our civilization for quite a while. Jonathan Chait is getting better and better. I'm going to paste it in its entirety, charts and all, leaving out a somewhat inflammatory photo. The original is here (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/06/study-shows-obamas-right-you-didnt-build-that.html), with links to the original studies and quotes.



Studies Show Paul Ryan Is Wrong and Obama Is Right: You Didn’t Build That.
By Jonathan Chait.

There are a handful of moments when President Obama, a skilled writer who is normally very careful and measured with his words, has provoked his political opponents into full-blown outrage. In the final days of his 2008 campaign, he entered into a casual back-and-forth with a voter in Ohio, and said, “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” (The ad-lib was deemed so outrageous that his interlocutor became “Joe the Plumber.”) In 2012, he described the Republican fiscal strategy as “thinly-veiled Social Darwinism,” an epithet that especially outraged Paul Ryan, the strategy’s author. Later that year, again speaking off the cuff, Obama mocked those rich people who deem their success entirely the product of their own intelligence or hard work, in a riff that worked up to his infamous line, “you didn’t build that.”

The connective tissue uniting all these episodes is that Obama pinpointed the core philosophical issue dividing the two parties in American life today, and framed the distinction in unusually stark terms. Republicans consider the distribution of wealth produced by the market economy to be sacrosanct, or at least quite fair. ("Social Darwinism" does not describe a belief that poor people should be killed but that the free market is a perfect mechanism for rewarding merit.) Democrats consider that distribution to be shot through with unfairness. From these differing assumptions, the two parties proceed to their radically divergent approaches to the redistribution of income.

The degree to which one presumes people deserve to keep their market income is a question of values. But it is also connected to questions of fact. Conservatives and liberals build their differing beliefs about the sanctity of market income in part on empirical observations about the importance of hard work and skill versus luck. And a large and growing body of literature shows that this question can be resolved in liberals’ favor.

In his “you didn’t build that” riff, Obama began by explicating his belief that intelligence and hard work alone do not create success:

"I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there."

This frank argument that the United States is nothing like a meritocracy provoked deep and genuine disagreement on the right. Arthur Brooks, president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, replied with a column headlined “True fairness means rewarding merit, not spreading the wealth.” Brooks argued:

"It’s almost impossible to argue that American success is not earned. We can all think of times when our hard work has gotten us ahead or when we’ve been punished at work or in life for making poor decisions. Even if America’s not perfectly meritocratic, we all see how hard work pays off."

In his acceptance speech at the 2012 convention, Ryan expounded on these themes, citing his own life as evidence:

"Listen to the way we're spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate. It's the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That's what we do in this country."

Note that both Ryan and Brooks (his close adviser) argue on the basis of intuition. Obama is wrong, they say, because they see it with their own lives and have personally experienced the impact of talent and hard work on success.

Empirical study tells us otherwise. Susan Dynarski, a professor of economics, education, and public policy at the University of Michigan, writes up a new study in today’s New York Times showing the interplay of talent and economic advantage. The study compares students at four different quartiles of math ability in their sophomore year of high school and tracks them according to their family’s socioeconomic status. Math ability certainly plays an important role in success. At every income level, higher-scoring students are more likely to complete college than lower-scoring students.
http://img1.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2015/06/02/02-advantage-of-wealth-in-college.nocrop.w529.h307.2x.png
But family income matters more than math talent. Among the poorest students, the two highest-scoring groups stand just a 23 percent and 41 percent chance of graduating college. That is about equal to the two lowest-scoring groups among the richer children. That is to say, poor children must show unusually high proficiency at math by their sophomore year just to have the same chance to graduate college as the academically mediocre children of rich families.

That finding is best understood in conjunction with another study of academic attainment and family wealth, by the Pew Charitable trusts in 2012. That study compared the incomes of children born into different income quintiles, from highest to lowest, and distinguishing between college graduates and non-college graduates.

Dynarski’s study, above, shows that poor children who manage to graduate from college have beaten the odds. They require, on average, more academic ability in order to obtain a college degree than a more affluent child. Through some combination of talent and hard work, in addition to luck, they have overperformed. A child from an affluent background who fails to graduate college has also beaten the odds, in a negative way. Through some lack of hard work or talent or, of course, luck, they underperformed.

http://img1.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2015/06/02/02-upward-mobility-chart.nocrop.w529.h373.2x.png

And yet a child from a poor background who beats the odds to graduate from college is still less likely to wind up in the top fifth of income earners than a child from an affluent background who failed to graduate from college. The number highlighted in the upper left is the proportion of children who grew up in the lowest-quintile, graduated from college, and earn in the highest quintile: just 10 percent. The number highlighted on the right is the proportion of children who grew up in the highest quintile, failed to obtain a college degree, and wound up earning in the highest quintile anyway: 25 percent.

None of this is to say that inherent ability or hard-work have no bearing — they data suggest they do. Nor is this to say that we should stop advising people to try their hardest and do everything within their power to advance themselves — of course we should (and Obama does so regularly). But the conservative belief that our income mostly reflects merit is not just a philosophy to which they’re entitled to subscribe, it is the simple denial of reality.

Norman Bernstein
06-02-2015, 02:13 PM
The key sentence:


But the conservative belief that our income mostly reflects merit is not just a philosophy to which they’re entitled to subscribe, it is the simple denial of reality.

See my thread 'worth reading' for an explanation clear enough for anyone.

http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?192999-Worth-reading

Keith Wilson
06-02-2015, 02:17 PM
That's it. I'd seen that one before. It will not, alas, be clear enough for everyone. The Just World Fallacy is powerful, particularly among those who got a good throw of the dice.

johnw
06-02-2015, 02:28 PM
I like Charles Barkley's line when discussing this: "I've been blessed."

He certainly knows how hard he worked to succeed, but he also knows that he has physical gifts others don't, and that people helped him along the way.

I'd say one sign of maturity is gratitude. It was also one of the big differences I saw between the Republican and Democratic conventions in 2012.

RonW
06-02-2015, 02:35 PM
Ahh, so the answer is equality, socialism at it's zenith........

So if we are all equal, who will mow the grass, wait on tables, wash the dishes,laundry,car and weed the flower bed, who will pump out the septic tank, or fix the roof.
you could never climb the ladder of success, all ball games won't have score keepers so there are no losers......boring.hum drum..

I enjoy living in a tiered society, too bad you guys don't, well limousine liberals do though....

johnw
06-02-2015, 02:38 PM
Ahh, so the answer is equality, socialism at it's zenith........

So if we are all equal, who will mow the grass, wait on tables, wash the dishes,laundry,car and weed the flower bed, who will pump out the septic tank, or fix the roof.
you could never climb the ladder of success, all ball games won't have score keepers so there are no losers......boring.hum drum..

I enjoy living in a tiered society, too bad you guys don't, well limousine liberals do though....

Boring and predictable. You can do better than this.

Keith Wilson
06-02-2015, 02:41 PM
Ahh, so the answer is equality, socialism at its zenith........Straw man fallacy. You obviously didn't read what I said about Marx. (look here, post #12 (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?192966-Karl-Marx-Was-On-to-Something))

TomF
06-02-2015, 02:46 PM
It is fairly obvious, too, why children from wealthier families appear to have these advantages. I can see it with my own kids, despite being nothing like in the 1%.


Wealthier families have more resources and choices to keep their kids in school. So the kids are not as reliant on scholarships or bursaries, and certainly wouldn't rely on 100% scholarships. When cash crunches come, the kids are less likely to have to drop out to pay rent, or because they can't pay for tuition and books.

my kids got and maintained great scholarships, but also had financial and in-kind support both from us and grandparents that helped them stay in school. Reduced the # of part-time job hours also, which often detracts from study time. So they kept their scholarships, and graduated near the top of their Bachelors' classes.


Wealthier families often have, through work or etc., a broader network of connections to help support their kids in in-kind ways.

For us, it's meant connections into the cities where the kids will do post-grad work, setting up good living arrangements, introductions, mentoring.
It's also meant a broader introduction to different kinds of professionals and professional opportunities, to help match skills/talents with areas of professional study. Our kids benefitted from talking to people in our network.


Wealthier families are more likely to have "models" of someone in the family who's done it before. It's not a "new thing," and there's general confidence that the kids are not out of their league.

True in my household - as many generations back as frankly we know. My kids know post-secondary education, and professional work, is "normal." In fact, the trouble may be with my youngest .. who might be far better in another type of life, but who feels great shame at considering it. Despite what we say.



In a similar way, a big predictor of an adult's household income (even earned income) is the proportion of their family-of-origin's household income which came from investments. We tend to replicate what we've internalized as "familiar." Sometimes because we're given tangible stuff, sometimes because we assume attitudes about ourselves and our chances.

RonW
06-02-2015, 02:47 PM
Gobbledygook!


Boring and predictable. You can do better than this.

I enjoy tipping the little people, especially when they do a nice job and you give them a healthy tip and watch their eyes lite up.

I don't go to restaurants where you have to cook your own food, what would be next, clearing the table and washing your dishes, how common........

Life is but a big monopoly game, there are losers and sometimes a winner, kinda like the lottery.

Now who would want to win the lottery and then have to divvy it up amongst all your low life lazy inlaws......that ain't right........

Keith Wilson
06-02-2015, 02:58 PM
'The little people'. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen.

TomF
06-02-2015, 03:06 PM
'The little people'. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen.I dunno, Keith. I figure Ron thinks he's just lobbing in grenades so he can enjoy the frothing and general mayhem. "Little people" is a pretty obvious bait, after all.

OTOH, I wonder if Ron realizes what revelling in such trollish glee suggests about his actual attitudes. Might not be as far from his adopted persona as he'd like to think.

bobbys
06-02-2015, 03:10 PM
..."the little people"...

There are no "little people"!
.

Try telling snobs you do roofing and you will find out fast where you are on the social register...
.

I always felt a bit snubbed when I cashed their checks..

Keith Wilson
06-02-2015, 03:12 PM
"the little people"... There are no "little people"! As I said, the dispute at the heart of politics. In fact, Ron is demonstrating (or possibly just pretending) that he's firmly on the side of history that's been losing for the last millennium at least.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Even the 'little people'.

A song for you, Ron - Robert Burns, 1795:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ZraF0AYKg

CWSmith
06-02-2015, 03:14 PM
Boring and predictable. You can do better than this.

I don't know why you would think that. I have seen no evidence at all in any posting.

CWSmith
06-02-2015, 03:19 PM
Try telling snobs you do roofing and you will find out fast where you are on the social register...
.
I always felt a bit snubbed when I cashed their checks..

Try telling them you do an honest job and provide a well-laid roof that will last. I just got one and I am both grateful to the fellow who did it and rather annoyed that he failed to clean up as promised. Do an honest day's work that provides an important service to society and society will respect you for it. I know I respect my roofer (and my builder, my electrician, and the guy who pumps out the septic because they all do an honest job well).

Sky Blue
06-02-2015, 03:27 PM
The dispute at the heart of politics...

There are many disputes at the "heart" of politics. Reducing the variety of political issues and perspectives to a single us vs. them view on economic questions would hardly seem to be dispositive on the many issues that divide people politically.

While Chait may have an argument here, indeed it is grounded in the some of the enduring themes upon which this country was founded and given to us by the Puritans, his initial premises are partisan tropes and conflating them to some sort of foundational issue resting at the heart of virtually all of what divides us politically seems a bit of an overstatement.

Indeed, Chait isn't arguing that, nor would I expect him to. It is a pretty big leap. Nice idea, Keith, but overstated and largely unsupported by Chait's analysis.

S.V. Airlie
06-02-2015, 03:32 PM
..."the little people"...

There are no "little people"!Ummmm, There are! Now little minds are something else!

http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=JN.Xys5YKUTK5WGLKrGNU46PA&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0

John of Phoenix
06-02-2015, 03:39 PM
Ahh, so the answer is equality, socialism at it's zenith........

So if we are all equal, who will mow the grass, wait on tables, wash the dishes,laundry,car and weed the flower bed, who will pump out the septic tank, or fix the roof.
you could never climb the ladder of success, all ball games won't have score keepers so there are no losers......boring.hum drum..

I enjoy living in a tiered society, too bad you guys don't, well limousine liberals do though....That's what you came away with? Did you actually READ that article? Understand the graphs?

You are really Rockin'.

TomF
06-02-2015, 03:42 PM
.

Try telling snobs you do roofing and you will find out fast where you are on the social register...
.

I always felt a bit snubbed when I cashed their checks..Damn. Try to get work with folks who appreciate what you do.

The guy who did our roof 2 years back was just a prince. Did a great job, worked hard, earned every dime. Young guy starting his own business, and going about it exactly the right way. He got 2 referrals from us.

A guy at the Cathedral is a retired contractor - and I have no idea how we'd manage without Ken. He's a goldmine of information about every aspect of the buildings we use, and will often pull in connections to exactly the right people to get stuff done well at a fair price. Sharpest head about business I've met too. He's 85 now, and my only complaint is that he started training his successors too late!

My next life, I'm gonna build stuff, like Ken.

RonW
06-02-2015, 03:51 PM
https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT3AOw1SY4f5rIl8nrB9nE58BUJhaQPX BsH05NWnIyo4T4x1M4T


https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTM3JSMww4r7VbZmg5SKA7-Okn7Bo0tK0MqgyNPMRwpVTZd4Fzz


https://voiceofthedba.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/corporate-ladder.jpg


http://secretsofthehire.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/eight-keys-to-climbing-the-corporate-ladder.png

John of Phoenix
06-02-2015, 03:57 PM
"I've got mine, screw you."

S.V. Airlie
06-02-2015, 04:03 PM
Nuff said except under "interests", nothing about boats on a WB forum.

About RonW

Location:S. Ohio Interests:Exposing the progressive agenda and Oligarchy and Plutocrats. Occupation:Freedom fighter

John of Phoenix
06-02-2015, 04:04 PM
Nuff said except under "interests", nothing about boats on a WB forum.

About RonW

Location:S. Ohio Interests:Exposing the progressive agenda and Oligarchy and Plutocrats. Occupation:Freedom fighterThat's hilarious. Thanks.

S.V. Airlie
06-02-2015, 04:07 PM
Right of the WBF! Look for yourself. I copied it, I didn't write it, he did!

Canoeyawl
06-02-2015, 04:42 PM
..."the little people"...

There are no "little people"!

Well, I'm not sure about that, my mother would occasionally refer to someone as a "small man" just from his words alone.

Osborne Russell
06-02-2015, 04:46 PM
What "politics" are depends on the cultural and historical context. School districts have politics.

Currently we have a spasm of enthusiam for laissez-faire capitalism as both expedient and moral. By the argument's own terms, capitalism would be expedient even if it were immoral. "There's nothing capitalism can do wrong that more capitalism can't cure, and there's nothing government can do that won't make it worse." Violently anti-historical, but at least it's not a moral argument, necessarily.

So what's the "and it's moral" argument about?

The moral argument comes with the assertion that individual liberty is morally superior to the interest of society, something the most libertarian "founding fathers" were careful not to say, because they didn't believe it, because they had education and experience in government.

So it's a new argument, historically speaking, with roots in religion as Sky Blue says. But as a political argument, it's new, born in America, after America was born. People outside the USA trying to push it are often met with incredulity.

Even domestically, so far from being consonant with our founding principles, it violates them. It is to preserve these rights that governments are set up, with the power to promote the general welfare, because promoting the general welfare is one avenue of preserving the rights. To say that the government must not act to promote the general welfare is anti-constitutional, in terms and in principle.

Of course you can say this or that effort to promote welfare is dumb, or that there is too much promotion going on, but those are different arguments.

Osborne Russell
06-02-2015, 04:49 PM
Damn. Try to get work with folks who appreciate what you do.

Get over your resentment of them or be enslaved and crippled by it. You're free, right? Who's stopping you?

hokiefan
06-02-2015, 06:26 PM
I used to think that I had created whatever success I have had through my own hard work. And yes there has been some of that, some days a lot of that. But I have also been quite lucky in many ways.

First I was born with the ability to be good at math and science, and the capability to enjoy those things. There are people better, but quite honestly its a small fraction of the population. That is nothing I did anything about, that is good luck in the gene pool. Yeah I spent many hours learning to use those abilities, but without the basic luck it wouldn't have mattered. I was also born to parents that made a good enough living that they could spend time helping me learn in my early school days. Those hours in the evening are invaluable, especially as they set the tone for their expectations. I was expected to do my homework, and expected to do it well. I was also expected to get good grades. Why? Because they figured out I could. I was lucky they set that tone, because I would rather be out throwing the ball with my buddies.

There was also the expectation that I would go to college, and the understanding that they would pay for it. It was never really discussed, that's just the way it was. I was capable, so I was going. Because I was lucky with the genes and lucky to have parents that made me do the work I got into a good engineering school. And while I was screwing up my junior year and trying to flunk out via drinking and chasing the girls, I was lucky enough to meet someone special. She helped me get my $h!t together and eventually graduate. While I was in school I worked in the maintenance department of the paper mill where my dad worked, it was a benefit they extended to employees in effect. It was outstanding training for a budding engineer, and on top of that I made excellent money, lucky again to have a connection.

After 3 summers in maintenance the HR department called me and offered me a summer internship in the Process Control Department. Can anyone say connections again? It was significantly less money than the maintenance gig, but Dad said he would make up the difference because the experience would be very valuable. Lucky again that he was in a position to do that. Was a great summer, learned a ton and met some really great folks. Including the local supervisor for the Process Control vendor who supplied and maintained a number of computer control systems in the paper mill. Who ended up hiring me in my first job out of school as a Technical Representative, doing hardware and software maintenance on 8 different systems. Connections again. That job btw, was a blast.

Another person I met that summer was a Senior Process Control Engineer who moved to Corporate Engineering and did some work in the company's mill in Savannah, Ga. When they had an opening he asked me about it and when I was interested he hand delivered my resume with a nice recommendation. When they offered we jumper all over it. It got us away from my hometown, to a nice coastal city, and a 50% raise. Connections are nice. :d

Anyway, that's enough of my rambling. Yeah, I've worked hard along the way. But I have had some great help, especially getting started. I didn't build that.

Cheers,

Bobby

CWSmith
06-02-2015, 07:20 PM
Yeah, I've worked hard along the way. But I have had some great help, especially getting started. I didn't build that.

I am keenly aware of the debts that I can never repay and I'm forced to pay it forward.

Canoez
06-02-2015, 07:53 PM
I am keenly aware of the debts that I can never repay and I'm forced to pay it forward.

Yep. We should all be mindful of those who have supported us and to do the same for others.

Sometimes, the best measure of a person is a person who gives of themselves to others knowing they'll never be able to recieve repayment for what they've given. There are few truly selfless folks.

leikec
06-02-2015, 08:10 PM
I enjoy tipping the little people, especially when they do a nice job and you give them a healthy tip and watch their eyes lite up.

I don't go to restaurants where you have to cook your own food, what would be next, clearing the table and washing your dishes, how common........

Life is but a big monopoly game, there are losers and sometimes a winner, kinda like the lottery.

Now who would want to win the lottery and then have to divvy it up amongst all your low life lazy inlaws......that ain't right........

Make sure you wipe down the slurpee machine before your shift ends, Ron... :D

Jeff C

Keith Wilson
06-02-2015, 08:40 PM
Make sure you wipe down the slurpee machine before your shift ends, Ron... :D:d:d

S.V. Airlie
06-02-2015, 08:42 PM
Make sure you wipe down the slurpee machine before your shift ends, Ron... :D

Jeff CI suspect he will have an illegal immigrant do it! Or, one of the little people!

RonW
06-02-2015, 09:30 PM
Society works best when managed in a orderly and proper fashion..




https://voiceofthedba.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/corporate-ladder.jpg

S.V. Airlie
06-02-2015, 09:47 PM
Go for it! RonW.!

About RonW

Location:S. Ohio Interests:Exposing the progressive agenda and Oligarchy and Plutocrats. Occupation:Freedom fighter

Keith Wilson
06-02-2015, 09:48 PM
Society works best when managed in a orderly and proper fashion..Sure does.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/R%C3%A9ception_du_Grand_Cond%C3%A9_%C3%A0_Versaill es_(Jean-L%C3%A9on_G%C3%A9r%C3%B4me,_1878).png

Or a bit more recent example:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/aAbI6hNo1Iw/maxresdefault.jpg

RonW
06-02-2015, 10:00 PM
.
.

And then we have the liberal/progressive answer to the needs of society..



http://us.123rf.com/450wm/rivansyam/rivansyam1302/rivansyam130200027/17953992-robin-hood-stood-smiling-and-holding-a-bow.jpg

S.V. Airlie
06-02-2015, 10:03 PM
What do you care about people, boats fears, happiness of others, healthcare, or anything else except yourself? Here, I'll answer for you, NOTHING!

John of Phoenix
06-02-2015, 10:20 PM
Watch out Bubba.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/NIkf_ST5Sgha7ckwsSpFVrsft7i0ZwfNPGZ88ek2Rzc=w382-h679-no

David G
06-02-2015, 11:02 PM
There are many disputes at the "heart" of politics. Reducing the variety of political issues and perspectives to a single us vs. them view on economic questions would hardly seem to be dispositive on the many issues that divide people politically.

While Chait may have an argument here, indeed it is grounded in the some of the enduring themes upon which this country was founded and given to us by the Puritans, his initial premises are partisan tropes and conflating them to some sort of foundational issue resting at the heart of virtually all of what divides us politically seems a bit of an overstatement.

Indeed, Chait isn't arguing that, nor would I expect him to. It is a pretty big leap. Nice idea, Keith, but overstated and largely unsupported by Chait's analysis.

You seem to have missed a key part of the OP. Chait does not say that this issue is at the heart of politics... once, now, and forever. He says it's the key issue today.

And, as it happens, it is. Speaking from the perspective of economic history... it's the failure to retard the swing of economic practice - before it edges too far toward the laissez-faire end of things - that is the root cause of most of societies current ills... and the politics that reflect them.

Below is a post of mine from back in 2008. You will note that the correction I called for has NOT happened yet. And the current state of dysfunction (political and economic), income inequality, and polarization reflects that fact --



Mr. McColgin,

I've come late to this thread, but I have to say I think you have touched on the core phenomenon. One of the long term patterns inherent in our system of market capitalism (combined with democratic elections) is an ongoing pendulum swing between the extremes of laissez-faire capitalism on one hand, and Scandinavian-style "market socialism" on the other.

Full disclosure: I'm non-doctrinaire, but tend to lean toward the progressive side. However, my undergraduate work was in economics w/graduate work in economic history & economic development.

To elaborate: market capitalism is a very efficient system for fostering innovation, accumulating capital, and developing economies. This powerful engine is driven by a particular side of human nature: the ceaseless dynamo of human need and human greed. Don't think I'm condemning. I'm not. For the most part market capitalism does a great job of channeling this drive into productive avenues.

However, it is also true that - left unchecked - market capitalism has some built-in destructive tendencies. Historically, the continued accrual of more & more capital & power into fewer & fewer hands has led to an inefficient funtioning of the economy. More speculative bubbles. More oscillations. Eventual instability. One example is the Great Depression. Hoover was an absolute True Believer in the notion that "The business of America is business". He thought the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer was good for the country. He was not the only one. The process began before him. He was just the Final Fool before the fall in that particular episode of the drama.

What followed the Great Depression was a rapid swing of the pendulum to the far end of the spectrum. Roosevelt instituted Social Security; Unemployment Insurance; WPA programs; and a bevy of other programs which were the antithesis of Hoover's approach. Socialism, all of it. Don't think I'm condemning. It worked, and it has a place in our society. We are a far more stable economy now - with these programs in place - than we were before.

I could go on and on with the variations, ramifications, and permutations of the pattern. Also about the dangers if the pendulum swings too far (we're close right now) toward laissez-faire (think Weimar Germany and Adolph Hitler). Instead, I'll sum up by saying it is not - as Keith so wisely notes - a case of "us vs. them". It is a case of recognizing where we are in the pendulum swing, and accepting whatever corrections are in order... even if that leads away from your particular ideological island.

Right now, as I mentioned, we've swung a good long way toward unchecked capitalism. It's time for a correction. Conservatives should not howl at the prospect. They should welcome it as a normal, desirable, adjustment (think "market correction" if it makes you feel better). Liberals should not think that the answer is to swing to the other end of the spectrum and stay there. That place has its own problems, dangers, and inefficiencies.

So - it's time for all of us (you too Milo<g>) to embrace a bit of "socialism" and step back a bit from the dog-eat-dog wing of capitalism. We will possibly over-correct (this system is a positive feedback loop, and they have that tendency). Then it will be time for all of us to embrace a little more market control. "To everything, Turn turn turn, There is a season, Turn turn turn..."

I hope this rant has been useful to someone, and not simply a bit of blather that only an economist could put up with.


"When there is an accumulation of money and power into fewer and fewer hands, people with the mentality of gangsters come to the fore. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" -- Lord Acton <Keep in mind that he's British, and he said this in 1877. This is not the first time the pattern has played out>

leikec
06-03-2015, 12:43 AM
There are many disputes at the "heart" of politics. Reducing the variety of political issues and perspectives to a single us vs. them view on economic questions would hardly seem to be dispositive on the many issues that divide people politically.

While Chait may have an argument here, indeed it is grounded in the some of the enduring themes upon which this country was founded and given to us by the Puritans, his initial premises are partisan tropes and conflating them to some sort of foundational issue resting at the heart of virtually all of what divides us politically seems a bit of an overstatement.

Indeed, Chait isn't arguing that, nor would I expect him to. It is a pretty big leap. Nice idea, Keith, but overstated and largely unsupported by Chait's analysis.

Well it certainly would suck to go around conflating a trope in a dispositive manner... :D

Jeff C

David G
06-03-2015, 01:09 AM
Well it certainly would suck to go around conflating a trope in a dispositive manner... :D

Jeff C

Well... it certainly would. I also speak both 'legaleze', and 'pretentious academic'.... but I try to only do so in private - amongst consenting adults.

One thing I've noticed about those who stand on shaky polemic ground is that they sometimes get wordier and more stilted in their language. Of course... I've noticed the same behavior from those who seem to be trying to keep from lambasting some idjit. Maybe that's what up with SB???

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
06-03-2015, 01:58 AM
Legalese?

Donn is probably asleep.

Gerarddm
06-03-2015, 02:43 AM
It is SUCH a relief to have RonW on Ignore.

ishmael
06-03-2015, 05:22 AM
I scored a 1390 on my SAT test. It wasn't because I liked the stuff, it was because Mr's Prange forced me to study.

skuthorp
06-03-2015, 05:24 AM
Ron is one of the penalties we pay for the privilege of the internet. But it's a world of diverse voices out there, and we don't have a lot of it here.

Keith Wilson
06-03-2015, 07:22 AM
Chait does not say that this issue is at the heart of politics... once, now, and forever. He says it's the key issue today. As did I. I listed several others from previous eras, in fact. But one way or another, SB's argument's a quibble. One could say 'An issue at the heart of politics', allowing room for others, but either way, this issue has indeed been at the heart of American politics since industrialization in the late 19th century.

But again, that's a quibble. One common argument of those favoring a more laissez-faire economic policy is that the market as currently constituted tends to distribute wealth fairly - i.e. more or less proportional to individual skill, effort, and initiative. This is, like most falsehoods that are passionately defended, partly true. Lazy, stupid, and incompetent people rarely get rich, and effort and initiative is necessary for economic success. But there are a lot of smart hardworking people out there, and we're starting to get enough data to show that class and parents' wealth, accidents of birth, have an enormous influence on one's chances, and that pure luck plays a very large role as well. The objective reality is that our economy and society are not anywhere near as meritocratic, not anywhere as fair, as most conservative claim they are - nor as they say they ought to be.

Now one can, of course, take Ron's tack, and say that an arbitrary and unfair distribution of wealth and power is perfectly fine; "I've got mine, bub, so screw you" (while he wipes down the Slurpee machines :D ), but that's not Paul Ryan's (or Ayn Rand's) argument at all.

ishmael
06-03-2015, 08:02 AM
I think it's a good question. 'Whom do we take care of, and why?" If they are capable of caring for themselves go find a job

If they aren't, care for them.

David G
06-03-2015, 08:07 AM
Legalese?

Donn is probably asleep.

Yes... absolutely. That too ;)