Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Economic falsehoods...

For this posting, I am simply handing the stage over to my friend, Russ Daggatt, who has compiled more "ostrich ammo"... or irrefutable evidence to push (relentlessly) into the faces of every "decent conservative" you can find. NOT evidence that Bush et al have betrayed America, or decency or honesty or the Enlightenment...

...but evidence that they have betrayed conservatism... dragging it down paths of utter lunacy and irresponsibility that can no longer even remotely be called conservative, by any previous or sane standard.

This should be one of the Democrats' main thrusts. They should assign oe of their convention speakers to stand there and address the decent conservatives of America. It would take a solid hour to finish just a summary list of why decent, life-long republicans should finally stand up and say enough, making temporary alliance with decent moderates and liberals to end this great klepto raid...

...so that we can all get back to arguing in goodwill, among honest folk, HOW to make a better country and civilization and world.

On to Russ:

Let's leave aside for the moment the Iraq war, and the "War on Terror," and illegal warrantless wiretapping, and torture, and the US attorneys purge, and all of the other topics dominating the current list of Bush crimes. Let's go back to the "pre-9/11" Bush administration. Bush's first big initiative was his tax cuts.

Polls at the time, in 2001, showed that the public was not clamoring for tax cuts. If you asked them, yes or no, would you like to have your taxes cut, they said yes. But if you asked them whether you would rather have their taxes cut or ... almost any major spending priority -- balancing the budget, fixing Social Security, etc. -- they strongly favored the alternative to a tax cut. But Bush managed to threaten and cajole ... and lie ... to get his big tax cuts.

Among other things, Bush and his cronies insisted that the tax cuts would not turn the budget surpluses they inherited from Clinton into budget deficits. Remember, the rationale for the tax cuts at the time Bush proposed them was that he was only "returning a quarter of the projected budget surpluses to the American people" -- leaving three-quarters of the surpluses intact.
BUDGET-DEFICITAlmost immediately (a couple of weeks) after Bush forced his tax cuts through a reluctant Congress, the Bush White House changed its forecasts to show ... surprise! ... deficits. Then the rationale changed from "returning a quarter of the surplus" to "the tax cuts will generate so much economic activity that they will pay for themselves in the long run" (the theory that his dad twenty years earlier labeled "Voodoo Economics"). (This practice of changing the rationale for their policies when they fail instead of changing the policies themselves was later perfected with respect to the Iraq War.)

Now Bush and his apologists and enablers claim that his tax cuts “worked” (just like the “surge” in Iraq is “working”). So let’s look at the forecasts in Bush’s FY2002 budget and compare those with what actually happened (Bush reduced the duration of these forecasts from the 10 years that had previously been the case to only five years, so the FY2002 numbers only go out through 2006):

(Note, formatting may not be very good, posting to blogger.)

George W. Bush’s surplus/(deficit)
year . projected
. Actual . Difference

2002 . . $231 . ($158) . ($389)
2003 . . $242 . ($378) . ($620)
2004 . . $262 . ($413) . ($675)
2005 . . $269 . ($318) . ($587)
2006 . . $303 . ($248) . ($551)

Total . $1,307 . ($1,515) . ($2822)

[Source: White House Office of Management and Budget]

By their own measure, they were over $2.8 TRILLION dollars off in their budget forecasts (for just five years). Yet they claim their tax cuts "worked" as planned. Are they lying or merely delusional? It's not a factual question. The numbers aren’t in dispute. Their tax cuts were supposed to stimulate so much economic activity that they would pay for themselves. Clearly, that didn’t happen. But that apparently doesn’t have any effect on their narrative.

[I should note that the deficit has been greatly understated in recent years by netting out the Social Security surplus against the federal government's operational budget. It was less of a problem in past years because the SS surplus wasn't that big. But with baby boomers in their peak earning years, it has increased to where it is quite large relative to the operational budget. The surplus in Social Security and other federal government retirement accounts is currently running around $180 billion/year and is projected to rise to ~ $260 billion by 2011 before starting to head back down. Which means the federal budget deficit should really be increased by that amount. All the more reason it is inexcusable to be running long-term structural deficits six years into an economic expansion after the mildest recession in modern American history and when the baby boomers are in their peak earnings years.]

So, then, did Bush’s tax cuts at least stimulate economic growth? Of course, our economy isn’t a controlled experiment, so you can’t really separate out Bush’s tax cuts and measure their impact on the economy. But you can compare real GDP growth following Bush’s 2001 tax cuts with GDP growth following Clinton’s 1993 tax increases: 

GDP1994 4.0
1995 2.5
1996 3.7
1997 4.5
1998 4.2
1999 4.5
2000 3.7
2001 0.8
2002 1.6
2003 2.5
2004 3.6
2005 3.1
2006 2.9

Real GDP growth averaged 3.3% annually during Clinton’s eight years. By contrast, real GDP growth has averaged only 2.8% during Bush’s first five years. [In an over-abundance of intellectual fairness to Bush -- not a practice the right generally reciprocates -- I stuck Clinton with FY 2001 (which included the last recession) even though Bush was president during most of that year. If I take 2001 away from Clinton and give it to Bush, and give Clinton 1993, the numbers are even better for Clinton: 4.2% annual GDP growth vs. 2.5% for Bush.]

Obviously, this doesn’t prove that Clinton’s fiscal responsibility helped the economy or that Bush’s fiscal irresponsibility hurt the economy. But it sure as heck refutes the notion that because the economy has grown under Bush that is proof that his tax cuts deserve the credit.

Oh, and federal spending as a percentage of GDP was 21.4% when Clinton took office and 18.5% when he left, but is now back up to 20.8%. So it is not the case, as the right wing claims, that “if you send the money to Washington they will just spend it” – Clinton raised taxes and reduced the size of government. Nor is it the case that cutting taxes will “starve the beast” and reduce spending – Bush cut taxes and increased the size of government.

How about recent stock market highs? Don't they prove Bush's tax cuts are "working"? The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 3253 when Clinton took office and 10,587 when he left -- for an increase of 325% during the Clinton years. By contrast, the Dow Jones closed yesterday at 13,468 -- for an increase of 27% during the Bush years. Taking a broader measure of the market -- the S&P 500 -- it was 435 when Clinton took office and 1342 when he left -- for an increase of 309%. It closed yesterday at 1468 -- for an increase of 9.4% under Bush.

So, then, what is the factual basis for the assertion that Bush’s tax cuts “worked”? The budget deficit got worse, government got bigger and growth was slower than in preceding periods.

Leaving us with the question that started this discussion: Is Bush (and his apologists and enablers) lying or just delusional? Which is worse? (And is there any discernable pattern that transcends individual issues.)

Meanwhile, what is currently the greatest threat to the economy? An ongoing "credit squeeze." In classical economic theory, federal borrowing results in the "crowding out" of private borrowing. Under Bush, the federal debt has increased by over $3 TRILLION. According to every objective economic analysis I've read, the "crowding out" effect of increased federal borrowing more than offsets any alleged "incentive" effects of the Bush tax cuts, resulting in a net economic loss. We're six years into an economic expansion -- when is this stimulative effect supposed to kick in and eliminate the deficit? But don't worry. According to Dick Cheney, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." And I suppose the deficits are in their "last throes."


Oh, what has happened to conservatism?

Who are today's wastrels, living for the moment and spending their grandchildren into poverty?

And who are the new puritans, wagging their fingers at us to "waste not" and to save a "stitch in time"? Preaching what used to be old standard values like "let's try to crap less in our own house?"

While proclaiming "family values" which party is rife with candidates who disposed of marriages like tissue paper, amid betrayal and spite? And which - despite expanding their tolerance of different ways - shows a panoply of leaders who are mostly monogamous-hetero-committed-boring?

Which party now relies on "gut" instinct for just about everything, while bullying or harrassing every professional who dares to disagree... and which one calls for a return to relying upon the advice of apolitical and knowledgeable experts? And which of these images would you have guessed to be "conservative"?

Will no one else notice that roles have reversed utterly, with liberals now the prune-faced, penny-pinching, chiding, earnest believers in most of the old puritan virtues (without the intolerance), while neoconservatives seem to feel that momentary spasms of utter self-indulgence are the way to deal with a world on onrushing change?

Is there ANYBODY out there willing to confront the American people with a little bit of good, old-fashioned irony?


David Brin said...

One of you cited:

In A FAREWELL TO ALMS, Gregory Clark, an economic historian at the , Davis, believes that the Industrial Revolution — the surge in economic growth that occurred first in England around 1800 — occurred because of a change in the nature of the human population. The change was one in which people gradually developed the strange new behaviors required to make a modern economy work. The middle-class values of nonviolence, literacy, long working hours and a willingness to save emerged only recently in human history, Dr. Clark argues...."

I find it intiguing... and I have long believed that evolution continues. See CHILDREN OF PROMETHEUS by my friend Christopher Wills. My own take is that the discovery of beer swifty made human beings LESS addictive, since drunkeness is so debilitating, until a large majority in most populations are now ABLE to say "enough."

Still, one aspect worries me about Clark's argument... that it could be seen as justifying CONTINUED breeding domination by elites. Read the article and ponder.

reason said...

Part of my dissent on another blog...
I wonder if he has kids? Surely, he couldn't have failed to notice that hard work, non-violence and prudence require constant indoctrination and are not inborn.

But then an afterthought...
just thought, maybe I stumbled on the answer. It is more determined parenting that has been selected for.

Anonymous said...

I don't see it. The chief values of Europe's medieval aristocracy - who, at least to start with, were the richest class - included being skilled at violence and not working (in the normal sense of earning a living) at all. How does people like that having more kids lead to "nonviolence, literacy, long working hours and a willingness to save"? And surely examining wills to determine the number of kids people were having just means you don't get any information on people too poor to need wills? Hopefully he addresses these points in the book; if anyone has it, I'd be interested in his answers.

Of course, in the modern industrialised world we observe a fairly strong correlation between number of kids and "fundamentalist" religiosity, as with Mormons in the US or Haredim in Israel (the future implications of which are worth pondering.) I've never seen any statistics on that for pre-modern societies, but if it held true then too, then maybe modern Brits are disproportionately descended from Puritans - which would at least explain the "literacy, long working hours and a willingness to save", if not the "nonviolence". I wonder if his book gives the relevant statistics.

Anonymous said...

Paul Krugman could have told you all of that in 2003 and probably earlier and he did.

Oh, what has happened to conservatism?

Nothing! Conservatism ,at least in my lifetime, has always been about the "business elite" stealing every thing that wasn't nailed down and handing the bill to the suckers.
Do the words S&L Crisis ,Silverado Savings and Loan, Enron or the California energy crisis ring a bell?

Had you paid attention to the Onion, you would not be in the least bit surprised by the last six years, Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'.

WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"


Bush concluded his speech on a note of healing and redemption.

"We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

"The insanity is over," Bush said. "After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad."

It's a sad day when the Onion, the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are the most honest source of news.

You forgot to mention that it now cost $1.40 to buy a Euro whereas it was roughly at.90 a Euro when Shrub came to power. Not a real surprise considering that we keep break new records in the realm of Trade Deficit and Federal Budget Deficits.

Now, how is that De industrialization going America? Working out for you? Wages Crashing? Not Yet!!! Just let Geoge and his cronies run the show for a few more years...

Personally, I am far more worried about the Real Estate Market crashing and taking down a good chunk of the Financial Industry ( Not that I have any great love for them) as seems to be happening in front of our eyes in Slo Mo.

Anonymous said...

You said "The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 3253 when Clinton took office and 10,587 when he left -- for an increase of 325% during the Clinton years. By contrast, the Dow Jones closed yesterday at 13,468 -- for an increase of 27% during the Bush years. Taking a broader measure of the market -- the S&P 500 -- it was 435 when Clinton took office and 1342 when he left -- for an increase of 309%. It closed yesterday at 1468 -- for an increase of 9.4% under Bush.

So, then, what is the factual basis for the assertion that Bush’s tax cuts “worked”? The budget deficit got worse, government got bigger and growth was slower than in preceding periods."

An increase like the one you just cited is (was) not 'growth' but a bubble. I wouldn't point to that as evidence of anyone's economic policies working. See Japan's economic bubble of a while back. They're still struggling up out of the ruins of it.

And I am a lifelong liberal and yellow-dog Democrat, too.

Pat, still using up the massive losses of 2000 on my federal income tax.

Anonymous said...

If the Clinton economy was a bubble, why didn't the stock market drop back down to 3000 when it burst?

I already know the answer: only a thousand points of the rise was 'bubble'. The rest was real growth. Which still leaves BushCo in the dirt.

Don, don't confuse Republican Oligarchs for Conservatives. My grandfather called Republicans "The Party of the Robber Barons", a phrase he had picked up from his grandfather... If there is only one thing the Republican Party has been consistant on since it was founded, it is the willingness to do the work of the top 5%.

Anonymous said...

Completely unrelated (and sad) news:


The Chinese River Dolphin is now believed to be extinct.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Don about conservatives. I was barely a year old when Ronald Regan took office. The entire time I've been alive, and even moreso the entire time I've been old enough to pay attention to politics, the Republicans have been leading up to being what Bush is. He's the natural extension of their ideology, not some kind of aberration.

And focusing on how Bush has been a disaster and saying he's "not really a conservative" only helps the Republicans. Because then they can claim "Oh, Bush was bad, but he was bad because he wasn't a conservative! One of these new guys will get it right!" while the new guys the Republicans are running are, honestly, just as mad. John McCain sold his soul to the fundies, and sold his ideals to the warmongers and torturers, and now there's nothing left and he still won't be president. And the rest are anti-science, pro-any-war, and claim things in their debates that are flat out wrong. There's no help from that quarter.

This is what "conservativism" has become. If anything good is going to come from it again, the Republican Party and its current leaders are going to need to be politically destroyed (and jailed for crimes, for many of the leaders), and then maybe someone can salvage something from the wreckage, or something else will move into its place. But the current party isn't interested in anything but power and isn't motivated by anything except reflexive hate of "liberals". There's no there there.

SpaceGhoti said...

Bush was the Golden Child for conservatives from 2000 to 2005. It was only after some brave whistleblowers stepped forward to shed some light onto the corruption inherent in his administration that conservatives stopped singing his praises without reservation. To hear that he's not a "true" conservative now is a delicious irony.

Conservatives got exactly what they wanted when they elected Bush. They have only themselves to blame when things go horribly wrong.

Anonymous said...

Something you can do to help the country recover - whether or not you agree with the overall aims of the site :


JuhnDonn said...

Does Russ Daggett have a blog or column somewhere? I'd like to post a link to his stuff.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives are supposed to remember the past-- cf LBJ: you probably shouldn't start a major foreign war with out raising taxes, let along cutting them. The economic damage of the Vietnam war lasted well over a decade-- remember stagflation? One result of paying for a war by printing money.

But it gets worse: this morning, Chinese officials floated the idea of using what is referred to in China as the "Nuclear Option." China is holding a very large amount of US currency (well over a trillion, I believe), which has been propping up the US economy and inflating it's insane housing market for some time now. The US is pressuring China to revalue their currency. China threatens to start dumping US greenbacks. The US dollar is in trouble right now; if China does that the whole house of cards comes tumbling down, and the possible damage would go well beyond recession.

It's actually a fairly clear case of treason: the economic policies of this administration have given a (non-democratic) foreign government a gun pressed up against the US' head, economically speaking. The US is no longer free to set its own policy.

Which is particularly ironic, considering that the neo-cons' primary obsession is with facing down China (beautifully documented in Gwynne Dyer's "Future:Tense").

Anonymous said...

The Farewell to Alms piece is not convincing because of other studies I have seen that show at that time customs developed to encourage people to delay marriage until they were economically independent. The biological argument is not convincing to me. To me the explanation is more likely to be the religious toleration laws that allowed Quakers and other nonviolent dissenters to start the steel, banking and other industries that were still controlled by a poorly educated and corrupt aristocracy in the rest of Europe.

sociotard said...

I am the very model of a Singulitarian

(I found it amusing anyway)

Anonymous said...

It's actually a fairly clear case of treason: the economic policies of this administration have given a (non-democratic) foreign government a gun pressed up against the US' head, economically speaking. The US is no longer free to set its own policy.

You can't blame GW Bush for this. He is doing no more than following the economic policies of the last thirty years.

Don, don't confuse Republican Oligarchs for Conservatives.

I am not confusing them, one is the group of suckers who votes for the other who sucks the life blood out of America.

Anonymous said...


The threat from the Chinese is a form of economic MAD, and they know it; Japan played the same game with us in the late 80's and early 90's. China's entire economy is based upon producing goods for America, Europe, and Japan; they have a feeble banking system with little in the way of an internal consumer economy that could compensate for the dropoff of exports that would follow such a move. They'd have nothing to gain by it (except, perhaps, our humiliation, but I don't think that a bunch of pragmatic technocratic Dengists like Hu Jintao and his politburo care much for such things, especially in the face of their own prosperity), and everything to lose. Such a move would likely hurt China more than it would the U.S.

Fake_William_Shatner said...

Don Quijote said...
Oh, what has happened to conservatism?

Nothing! Conservatism ,at least in my lifetime, has always been about the "business elite" stealing every thing that wasn't nailed down and handing the bill to the suckers.
Do the words S&L Crisis ,Silverado Savings and Loan, Enron or the California energy crisis ring a bell?

>> I flirted with various political leanings. I voted twice for Ross Perot. Now I find myself Progressive and leaning more liberal all the time.

I have to say, that as much as it seems like a cheap shot and a rant, what Don Quixote is saying seems completely true in my book.

It's as simple as that.

When I read about the "alleged" attempted takeover of the FDR government, by Wall Street haves, in order that they go with a Fascist solution like Hitler -- it just seems that we have too much inherited wealth and privilege, that has created a walled community of very wealthy cretins.

As they promote people within their multinational corporations -- they look for people who echo their elitist philosophies. Rush Limbaugh must be a darling. He and Neal Boortz and many others espouse a philosophy of "useless eaters." A mythology of the lazy poor.

To them, all problems are caused by being "soft" on the underclass. If such a philosophy had ever worked, why the surfs of the Dark Ages in Europe would have been setting records bootstrapping themselves.

I just listened to another philosophy darling, in the mold of Ayn Rand, espouse the idea that people who don't pay taxes don't vote. He meant the poor. Those who live off the fat of minimum wage, or manage to have 25 children so that the government pays them -- despite the fact that children cost more money than you get in tax breaks -- especially if you don't have any money to get back.

This would also mean that MOST military service men could not vote -- because apparently they don't get paid enough to be in the "taxed citizen." I find it hard to breathe and not pay a tax -- but apparently, all they care about is Federal and State taxes -- not the ones in my car (and the healthcare costs that go into a car -- it's a tax because it is a benefit we must pay for), or the cost of my health care, or the cost of day care to actually go to a job. There are a lot of basic costs that keep increasing on the average family -- while luxury goods, keep getting cheaper. The extra costs I get by not controlling the market for infrastructure -- is worse than a tax, because instead of the money going to the government -- where I get a vote, and then being apportioned to someone to do the job, I pay directly for ME to get something that had the price jacked up, and I don't get the benefit of someone negotiating for me a volume discount (government).

The cost of natural gas to my home quadrupled once it was privatized. Then I see the bill, and they mention various obscure taxes. Strangely, when you change companies, they pay different amounts of these various taxes and perhaps invent a few -- as if these costs were pulled out of thin air.

Official taxes are only a tiny part of the story.

No, the economics of the Republicans, don't work in practice. It isn't about just having "low taxes" I don't think that me paying more taxes fixes problems -- it's about responsible government and what the government should be doing.

For instance, the government spends about 1 to 2% on Welfare, while about 50% of the tax revenues go to the military (some of that is Veterans benefits). I contend, that most of what the military does, is to secure the interests of Multinational Globalists around the globe. If they merely stole for my country -- it might have some benefit. No, meanwhile, my government subsidizes corporations outsourcing work.

When you look at a country like Mexico -- there is actually a lot of wealth and natural resources. But the 25 super wealthy families control it all. Taxes are very low (but, heavens, mostly paid for by the wealthy -- because nobody else has money (I'd trade)), there is little infrastructure, health, public services, and the police work off a system of graft, that seems only slightly less barbaric than our own impound the criminals belongings without due process policy in this country.

We go through cycles in our history, when things fall apart, and everyone comes together in adversity and realizes that the only way to get out of it is to start doing things that benefit the common good. After the success of these efforts, the wealthy and powerful, who ever struggle to control the media and bend government to their will, inexorably compromise the apologists, and promote the crony, and we end up with everyone forgetting that Rich people don't need support groups -- their Rich, fool. So, eventually, the corporatists get everything they want, foisting Get-richer-faster-quicker schemes on the public like the S&L crises, and a looming Derivatives and Sub-Prime Housing Market (and million-dollar homes in paved-over swamp land on almost every coast with government insurance. We bail out bad policies of the banks and insurance companies, and they can give credit cards to college students with no jobs -- but if I pick the wrong stuck, it's tough luck, right?

So we will bail out these jerk-offs so the whole game doesn't go belly up, and we will get wiser for a time -- until the cycle repeats.

David Brin said...

It depresses me that I can convince so few people to view the Bushite/Cheneykleps as a criminal gang, and not emblematic of the actual character of half of our nation. I refuse to accept that Red Americans are inherently the same as these monsters... let along the "pink" folk whose milder conservatism does not make them liars and thieves.


Do you know if folks can access their Yahoo or SBCglobal/Yahoo email accounts from China.

I know that Blogger accounts aren't accessible there. Hence, while I am there, you can expect my screeds to take a welcome holiday.

Anonymous said...

Brin predicts again...

The cover story of this month's Scientific American says that saccades (tiny eye movements) not only allow us to see, but quantify on what we are focused when looking at a scene.

Is Citizen-testing far behind?

Some fun optical illusions to learn about how your eye works too.

Tony Fisk said...


The outer google suggests you try pinging for various websites from the Great Firewall of China.

(I'm afraid http://earthbydavidbrin.pbwiki.com isn't visible :-(

Mind you, even if you do find a way to send a note, I think you'll have more interesting things to do!

Tony Fisk said...

... Your website is also considered naughty (maybe they haven't heard about the style update).

However, worldchanging is available, if that's any consolation.

Anonymous said...

It depresses me that I can convince so few people to view the Bushite/Cheneykleps as a criminal gang, and not emblematic of the actual character of half of our nation.

In 2004,knowing exactly who Bush-Cheney were, 50% of the voting public voted for these people.

I refuse to accept that Red Americans are inherently the same as these monsters...

Obviously haven't spent enough time reading LGF, Free Republic or quite a few other Right Wing Web sites.

let along the "pink" folk whose milder conservatism does not make them liars and thieves.

Boston Review - Why Are So Many Americans in Prison? Race and the transformation of criminal justice Glenn C. Loury

something interesting seems to have been going on in the late 1960s regarding the relationship between attitudes on race and social policy. Before 1965, public attitudes on the welfare state and on race, as measured by the annually administered General Social Survey, varied year to year independently of one another: you could not predict much about a person’s attitudes on welfare politics by knowing their attitudes about race. After 1965, the attitudes moved in tandem, as welfare came to be seen as a race issue. Indeed, the year-to-year correlation between an index measuring liberalism of racial attitudes and attitudes toward the welfare state over the interval 1950–1965 was .03. These same two series had a correlation of .68 over the period 1966–1996.

And there is your pink America...

To put it crudely, a large proportion of Americans would rather eat shit than give a nickel to a n**ger.

Anonymous said...

The willingness of some people to vote against thier own economic best interests in the name of racism, religion, homophobia, and guns amazes me, but doesn't surprise me.
It also amazes me how little the 'elite' has to do to get thier votes; a half hearted defense of marraige act that means almost nothing, a ban on a rare form of abortion, etc. and they sell out thier birthright. And they don't even get any porrige for it.

TheRadicalModerate said...

I think it's interesting that quite a few of you immediately inferred that the urban rich in medieval England would be the aristocracy. I assumed that they would be mostly tradesmen.

The aristocracy had annuitized incomes (from rents) and inheritance laws that prevented those incomes from being diluted. Tradesmen had neither of these and hence were more likely to have their wealth diluted and their heirs "pushed-down" into the lower levels of society.

It'll be interesting to see Clark's evidence for his genetic hypothesis. Note that the hypothesis will stand whether the underlying mechanism is genetic or cultural.

Francis said...

What happened to the conservatives?

I have a different but related answer to Don's.

Looking across the pond, I see that the US has one conservative party and one radical party and this has remained the case since 1945. The Conservative party (the party of individual freedom, balanced budgets, low spending) is the Democratic party. The Republican party for that entire period has been radical reactionaries who merely claim to be "conservative" but instead of wanting to preserve want to recreate the Guilded Age and the Roaring 20s. (And you guys don't have a left wing or progressive party at all).

So any so-called conservatives voting for the Republican party are either dishonest robber barons or dupes of them.

Rob Perkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Perkins said...

While David's (and Daggatt's) basic conclusion (Bush's fiscal policy is nothing less than pandering insanity, and is not not not not conservatism) is completely correct in my opinion, I don't think Daggatt's case completely supports the conclusion.

They're still living in the world which believes that adjusting tax policy causes both macro- and microeconomic change...

In refutation, I offer this countering anecdote: For a number of years, there was a tax credit on the Toyota Prius. Thousands of dollars, if you bought one early. Less for buying one in the later years of the credit.

After the tax credit sunsetted, Toyota lowered its price on the Prius. The tax credit turned into a deferred price incentive for a niche vehicle, all of which accrued to Toyota, and not to taxpayers, because they factored the credit into the price of the vehicle, enabling them to collect more money on it.

Toyota, does not need government assistance to sell its cars in the U.S. Would they have set a lower price on the Prius earlier if the tax credit, which was never high enough to cost-justify the delta of increased efficiency? (And still isn't! My Corolla gets 40 mpg highway... the Prius is only marginally better for an extra $10k)

In such a climate, is it really wise to say that tax policy is useful as economic incentive? The numbers certainly don't bear it out! Clinton raised taxes, and then lowered them, but the economy grew for seven years of his term and faltered in the eighth. Bush lowered them, and the economy faltered in the first two years, and is now growing again.

And the total federal debt never *never* decreased in all the years there was a "surplus" anyway, whatever the SS surplus was, so what is it that we were talking about again?

Oh yeah. Bush Evil. Betrayed Conservatism. Tax cuts didn't stimulate the economy.

Neither did tax increases depress it. But the rightest conclusion is that smart people factor in the taxes and set prices accordingly and other things than government policy are the root cause of macroeconomic change.

Now, sure, I imagine that if we abruptly changed the upper bracket back to 70%, that would influence economic decision, but that's not what they're proposing in any of these sorts of changes, is it?

TheRadicalModerate said...

Rob, you're arguing that tax policy as a behavioral incentive and tax rate policy are the same thing. They have nothing to do with one another. Tax policy as an incentive is subject to all sorts of unintended consequences and rent-seeking behaviors. I'm sure you could come up with all kinds of horror stories, but the Prius example is a fine one.

However, it's much harder to play games with the tax rate system and still follow the law. The rate is what the rate is. You can either choose to generate income or not. Beyond that, things are out of your control. The rate is a global forcing function on a whole bunch of things, not the least of which are government revenue, economic health, and individual welfare. It's important not to confuse the two different effects.

Rob Perkins said...

Of course, in the modern industrialised world we observe a fairly strong correlation between number of kids and "fundamentalist" religiosity, as with Mormons in the US...

You have conflated Utah with Mormon. The average family size of an American Mormon family is slightly less than four. Is "four" a "large family"?

sociotard said...

Rob Perkins said . . .
Is "four" a "large family"?

It's sometimes considered a large family, yes. Average US family size was ,Listed Here as 2.57. There's a big difference between that and a little under 4, making mormon families "Big".

Don Quijote said...
Obviously haven't spent enough time reading LGF, Free Republic or quite a few other Right Wing Web sites.

Do you read these sites? I used to post to FR before I was banned for being a troll (yes, I admit it. You can read what I said here if you care to. and it was trollish and wrong of me.)

I just did a search on "Bush" on FR. The first article was "Poll: Republicans starting to stand by Bush again" Here a few of the responses:

Not for long. He's starting to squawk about the need to open our borders wider. . .

No we’re not. . .

I will not stand by that man, . . .

I totally disagree with Bush on immigration, excess govt spending, and I think he communicates his message poorly. . . .

The only ones "starting to stand by Bush" are the RINOs and other assorted silk sock, country club, Big Tent wusses who never left. Try to find some conservatives--long gone. . . .

Over all the comments (18 not very many) I found 11 comments that seemed to dislike the president (mostly because of his poor performance with illegal immigration) and excessive (they used the word liberal to describe it. Try not to be offended). Most seemed to approve of his WoT, but on everything else he got poor marks.

So I agree with Dr. Brin's original statement I refuse to accept that Red Americans are inherently the same as these monsters... let along the "pink" folk whose milder conservatism does not make them liars and thieves.

The posters on those boards do want conservative policies! They don't like the way Bush puts us in debt, and they notice when he does it. The only issue they seem blind to is the terrible way has handled the war and treated our troops.

They have a hard time going over to the democrat tent even when Democrats really do create smaller government and strong military. Personally I blame the Democrats for not selling those virtues well enough.

There is racism on those boards. You can see some moderately nasty anti-mexico stuff on the link I just gave. Still, I don't think
they are monsters.

Acacia H. said...

With what's been going on lately in Iraq and other parts of the world, I pull out this quote I ran across earlier today at work (writing abstracts).

"We have learned too that the democratic ideal needs a foundation of sound economics—and that the economy of no one nation is sound unless all others are." -- New Republic, 6/16/1941, p. 809

Or in other words, we cannot defeat insurgency and conflict through force of arms. We can only do so by building up their economy and showing them what they can have, should they work within the system.

We conquered Japan at the end of World War II... and then rebuilt its economy. The Japanese people easily could have turned against us, had we just occupied and treated them as a captive nation. Instead, we worked to build up this nation and make it a cooperative part of the world market... and today Japan is not a military threat to the U.S.

The politicians of today should look at the after-effects of the wars of yesteryear to chart a course through these troubled waters, lest we continue to stumble and turn all sides against us.

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews

Anonymous said...

Numbers are proving that Bush is lack in strategy, responsibility, management and everything. Totally he's unfit for the post...
UK emergency roadside services

Ugh said...

I have a natural affinity toward Democrats and liberals, I find them to be intelligent, witty and creative. Being a little older now I remember Democrats who weren't socialists - I was one of them. I started voting for conservatives because self-loathing Americans turn my stomach. One can only stand so much America is bad, America is evil, everything about you Americans is vile. I can't associate with self-impressed Jon Stewart/Bill Maher smirkiness, such people are a real turn off. Yes, I am disillusioned by Repug-licans but I cannot vote for socialists.