blueollie

Trump’s budget

Ok, President’s budgets are almost always DOA in Congress. But they do provide some insight into what the administration wants, will sign onto and…yes, competence. And yes, Trump’s budget has a yuge accounting error. This is the kind of mistake you might expect of high school students.

But there are other issues. For one, it cuts essential science including the NIH budget, some of which is used in disease prevention.

Think of it this way: there are certain, non-profitable things (things that won’t make money for a business) you want the government to do. Public safety is one of those things, and things like preventing the spread of disease, tracking and countering the mutation of things like the flu virus would be a proper function, right?

And basic science, in general, isn’t profitable enough to attract business funding. But it is still important and something the government should fund.

So what about Trump’s proposed cuts to the social safety nets?

Conservatives tend to support reforming welfare policies because they think that government programs trap families in a state of dependency, cutting them off from work and immiserating their children. In fact, research shows that the opposite is true. Several recent papers have found that the children of low-income mothers with access to prenatal coverage under Medicaid later had lower obesity rates, higher high-school graduation rates, and higher incomes in adulthood, and were less likely to receive welfare payments, like SNAP. Meanwhile, a Brookings analysis of SNAP found that 65 percent of mothers who receive the benefits would fall below the poverty line without the program. There is practically no question that reducing support for working parents by hundreds of billions of dollars will increase the number of children who grow up in poverty.

Tuesday’s proposal comes two months after the president released a so-called “skinny budget” previewing changes to discretionary spending, the 30 percent of government that is appropriated each year, unlike “mandatory spending,” like Social Security or Medicare. In that budget, Trump sought a big increase in military and border spending offset by cuts to science funding, the State Department, and environmental protection. The skinny budget was notable for shutting down some of the few economic programs that specifically help the Rust Belt and Appalachia, starving research universities of the funds that often power local innovation.

In short: Trump’s budget would almost certainly increase the number of uninsured Americans while hurting poor families, especially those that rely on government support in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. But that’s not all.

It’s critical to assess Tuesday’s budget along with the White House’s tax plan. Its centerpiece is a proposal to lower the tax rate on “pass-through” income to 15 percent. This change might seem like a middle-class tax cut, since most businesses are small pass-throughs, like small barbershops or sole proprietorships. But 80 percent of all pass-through revenue is actually taken in by the richest 1 percent of small business, which means a large rate cut for pass-through income turns out to be a windfall for the rich. According to the Tax Policy Center, the proposal “would add $2 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years, while distributing nearly all the benefits to the highest-income households.”

Yep, it is just more “trickle down” bullshit.

However, some of the discussion about this budget really turns me off, at least on an emotional level. Yes, money into safety nets is more effective stimulus than tax cuts (poor to lower middle class people spend what they get..so the money goes into the economy, whereas a wealthy person can buy only so many luxury items) and said money can actually reduce future dependence on public aid.

Nevertheless, what I’ve seen (appeals) have been emotionally unappealing; it is mostly “feel sorry for me” or “feel sorry for them” stuff. And the poor, statistically speaking, do exhibit quite a bit of social pathology (parents that make more kids without supporting the ones that they have; here is an extreme example) Poor people tend to be fatter (really!) and tend to smoke more.

Then there is personal experience: many (most?) families have that one moocher who ALWAYS has their hand out; they are the ones that you don’t pick up when they call because they call when they want something. And I think it is human to extend your own experience to a larger setting, where it …just does NOT apply.

And so, am I spend more in taxes to give them more money? Well, the truth it…our society is better off when we do exactly that. Sometimes, the best policy helps those that you do not care for.

And, the playing field is far from level. Yes, even with a level playing field, there will be some poor people. Some are there because of bad luck, some because of a lack of ability (think: “special needs” people), some are suffering from untreated mental and emotional health problems (which COULD be treated, IF they could afford it, or if we had single payer health coverage) and yes, some are just no good (every income group has a percentage of these).

So, how should we effectively “sell” funding anti-poverty programs? I try to bring out the spreadsheet but am not sure if that is an effective way or not. But I think that this method might answer the question that an increasing number of middle class people are asking: what is in it for me?

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May 24, 2017 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics | | Leave a comment

Politics: a candidate I would support would help those that I do not like

I’ve linked to these articles before. One is about Trump supporters remaining loyal to Trump..while being horrified by cuts to programs that they depend on. And I am ashamed to say that one of my deep down reactions was…”hmmm, maybe I should support Trump for reelection since he is sticking it to these bastards”.

But of course, that is terribly shortsighted; after all, people that I do not like spend money that helps the economy overall, and the evidence tells me that demand side economics works. So it is in my long term interest to vote for someone who will benefit people that I do not like.

But my gut reaction to vote to punish is a strong one, and one that others feel as well.

And this is why I think of this notion of “let’s turn to Bernie Sanders” is bullshit. Raising the minimum wage won’t help most right away; besides who wants to spend their life at a minimum wage job anyway? Who wants to be stuck on Medicaid? And, even worse, who wants to face up to the fact that, for at least an uncomfortably large minority of us, that is as good as it is ever going to get?

Now before you scold me, yes, the minimum wage should probably be higher; it hasn’t kept pace with inflation. I believe that there is an optimum minimum wage, and that optimum is probably higher than it is now. But my point is that these issues will NOT create some social tsunami that will lead Democrats back to power. That will NOT happen unless things get a whole lot worse, as in Depression Era worse. We are talking about 25 percent unemployment followed by a world war.

But, if we can elect a candidate who can explain how a “bottom up” economy and “demand side” economics works; that putting more money in at the bottom will make it easier for businesses to have more customers…MAYBE we can peel off just enough support to tip those swing states back.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Weather aches, hypocrisy and football

Paul Krugman noted that economic conditions are different (no longer zero interest rates..and companies are interested in borrowing and employment is up) and so we should look at deficits differently. Yes, public investment should be done, but not upper end tax breaks. OF COURSE, the right wing is calling him a hypocrite. And OF COURSE, they are wrong.

The idea that the best thing to do often depends on the situation is not a subtle concept. Why do conservatives have so much trouble with it?

Think of it this way: ask ANY football fan “what is the best play for a team to run” and they will tell you: “it depends on: down, distance, field conditions, time in the game, the score, the defense, the strengths and weaknesses of the respective teams, etc. Obviously, 3’rd and goal from the 1 with 1 minute to go in the game is different from 2’nd and 15 from your own 20 in the middle of the second quarter.

Of course, there are different philosophies; some teams are option teams, some are running teams, others are passing teams, and the play call also depends on the philosophy of the team (pass on 3’rd and 1 vs. run on 3’rd and 1). But the call is very situational. No one disputes that.

So why is this hard when it comes to economic policy?

Speaking of hypocrisy, why is hypocrisy bad? After all, if a coach has a good reputation for developing an athlete, I won’t call the coach a hypocrite for being a bad athlete and a workout slacker himself.

The article I linked to offers the following answer: those who say one thing and do another often use their moralizing to bring credit to themselves; a kind of PR. So when they don’t live up to their preaching, we get angry for them for putting up a false front. In the “out of shape coach” case, the coach is NOT billing himself as a good athlete when he coaches you. The moral scold who is themselves immoral IS billing themselves as a moral person, and that is where the resentment comes in.

Weather Yes, at one time, I bought into this “knee aches with weather changes” stuff. But more studies have been done…and I’ve come to understand I’ve run reasonably well during some very rainy days. It turns out there is no solid evidence that weather changes causes joint pain.
runtoremembercrop1

January 14, 2017 Posted by | economics, economy, science, social/political, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

An economy based on jobs, self esteem, automation and all that…

Donald Trump was elected, in part, to bring good paying jobs back to America. Sure, the Obama administration has shown some job growth, but, in general, the new jobs simply didn’t pay as well as the jobs shed under the Bush administration. And there are some real questions with regards to Trump’s promises. He has promised faster economic growth which can occur either by making workers more productive (and thereby reducing the need for having as many) OR by increasing the size of the workforce (which will mean more immigration).

The promise of increased automation might lead to an interesting quandary: what if this means that even more well paying blue collar jobs disappear? So assuming that we will still make new human beings (else where is demand going to come from?) this can lead to some serious issue. How can one who doesn’t have the rarer high tech jobs make ends meet? One answer might mean that governments might provide some sort of universal basic income.

Now, of course, this can lead to some issues as well. Here is one big one: in our society, you ARE what you DO, so what if you “do nothing”, even if your basic income needs are met? I can see this being a devastating emotional development for males (though females who have suffered long term job loss have reported self-esteem effects to me). One might even call this a “spiritual crisis“. Now, I don’t agree with some of what the article I linked to says; after all, part of the blame for the rift in our society…perhaps most of it (?) can be laid at the feet of our overglorified “white rural/working class”. The idea that THEY are “real America” and the rest of us are some type of “guests” is bullshit. But, the main point, and yes, Rep. Ryan made this, is that there is some type of dignity that comes with a good job (still...not a good reason to cut safety nets).

So, while there will always be a need for some to work (and I sure hope that I am one of them!), are we approaching a time that goes beyond “everyone has a job” era?

There is a lot to think about here. I probably won’t live to see the “post job” era and I might not want to see the “growing pains” period, if one such era indeed comes.

Now as far as the self esteem thing: yes, people will be drawn to successful people; there is really no way around that. That, IMHO, is harsh reality. You might think of yourself as having all of these wonderful attributes. But ultimately, at least for males, you are what you do. You are your performance; “you are your W/L record” as they like to say in the NFL.

On the other hand, well, one’s success is often tied to factors well beyond one’s talent and one’s willingness to work hard.

Of course, there is society itself. For example if most of one’s day is devoted to gathering food and finding shelter so as to survive another day, one is not going to have the time and resources for “self improvement”. And there is era. Example: Larry Bird is certainly wealthy, and he was known as a hard working basketball player who developed his talents. But what if he were born, say, 80 years ago? It is highly unlikely he would be such a success; professional sports (save baseball) were not that big of a deal then. The ace computer programmer or the successful hedge fund manager would probably not have flourished 100-200 years ago.

So there is the factor of having a “talent suited for the times” as well.

In my case: yes, I am affected by the choices I made. I chose a lower paying, lower stress path for my specialty (pure math rather than applied math or engineering). But I had the type of talent needed for this time; there was a market for college mathematics professors. Yes, I worked hard to exploit my talent, and I was fortunate to have a public university and NSF money to help me along the way. I am doing ok, though that could change in a flash! And I believe that most who are doing ok to “much better than I am” fall into a similar category.

Others have skills that are less marketable in this era, or have had bad luck (e. g. serious illnesses, accidents).

Don’t get me wrong: some don’t have much talent, and some have made some terrible choices, and some of the “good for nothing” crowd (most?) will not accept responsibility for their own actions. I know such people; they are not pleasant to be around. We’ll always have those: I might call them “members of the basket of deplorables”.

But that is hardly everyone who is struggling. And many good people are down on themselves.

Note: I have no answers and make no predictions; many of these ideas are new to me and I have not thought them through.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Why “normalizing Trump” might be a good idea (and what that means)

I was struck by memes of the following variety:

hedoesnotknowwhy

I found myself shaking my head. (yes, I am aware of the argument that Trump was merely mocking a generic clueless reporter and not lampooning the disability of a specific reporter)

But, let’s assume that he was mocking a specific reporter who has one arm with a curled up wrist.

Now some might find that funny, and many might find that rude and boorish. But disqualifying? (*)

Think of it this way: suppose that President Elect Trump were to “bring back” good job, establish 5 percent growth in our GDP, bring up median wages to new heights, keep us at peace, repair our infrastructure, see increases in longevity, reduce poverty and get everyone decent health insurance (even institute a good single payer system)?

If that happened, I think that he would be “reelected” (sort of) in a landslide, no matter how boorish his personal mannerisms were. Many people are willing to overlook such things if the rest is good.

Think about it: suppose you had a rare condition that most surgeons could not fix, but there is this one extraordinary one who had a 95 percent cure rate. But he was going to be let go by the hospital because, say, he made a racial slur on Facebook. And so, the only ones left to operate were those who had, say, a 5 percent success rate. How would you feel?

So, for me, as much as I don’t like Mr. Trump, the real issue is that he is bringing incompetent people to his administration and that he is going to double down on trickle down economics.

And THAT is why I claim that we should focus on failed policies (provided, of course, they fail):

One is to what extent we should regard Trump as deliberately using social media controversies to distract attention from other issues. The other is to what extent political actors should be pressured to not “normalize” Trump — remaining focused on what is outlandish, offensive, and bizarre about him rather than doing boring things like writing about his humdrum pick for transportation secretary.

Normalization, in this context, is typically cast as a form of complicity with Trump in which the highest possible premium is placed on maintaining a rigid state of alert and warning people that he is not just another politician whom you may or may not agree with on the issues.

But several students of authoritarian populist movements abroad have a different message. To beat Trump, what his opponents need to do is practice ordinary humdrum politics. Populists in office thrive on a circus-like atmosphere that casts the populist leader as persecuted by media and political elites who are obsessed with his uncouth behavior while he is busy doing the people’s work. To beat Trump, progressives will need to do as much as they can to get American politics out of reality show mode.

Trump genuinely does pose threats to the integrity of American institutions and political norms. But he does so largely because his nascent administration is sustained by support from the institutional Republican Party and its standard business and interest group supporters. Alongside the wacky tweets and personal feuds, Trump is pursuing a policy agenda whose implications are overwhelmingly favorable to rich people and business owners. His opponents need to talk about this policy agenda, and they need to develop their own alternative agenda and make the case that it will better serve the needs of average people. And to do that, they need to get out of the habit of being reflexively baited into tweet-based arguments that happen on the terrain of Trump’s choosing and serve to endlessly reinscribe the narrative of a champion of the working class surrounded by media vipers.

That is what happened in other countries that have elected these sort of wacky authoritarian populists; they have been stopped by appeals to policy. It really should not be that hard.

goodjoblibtards

And seriously, how did these ads work?

(*) For the record, I find having proper deportment to be a prerequisite to be President of the United States, I don’t want an easily agitated, easily baited, hothead in charge of our military.

December 1, 2016 Posted by | economics, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | 3 Comments

So Trump won. Why and what now?

goodjoblibtards

Yes, billionare (so he says) ran as a billionare and as a champion of working people …someone who lives in guilded areas and has a record of stiffing those who work for him…ran…and won. Yes, the holdiays are coming up…

To that I say: What. The. Fuck.

Now, yes, there are possible “silver linings” (e. g. the Republicans now have to govern, and they are much better at opposing than they are at governing.)

And yes, we have friends and family that voted for Trump:

But what happened and what can we do better?

For one thing, we can get a better handle on what pitches sell better than others. For one, much of the working class, at least the part of the working class that votes, simply doesn’t care about some of the issues that Democrats champion:

Understand That Working Class Means Middle Class, Not Poor
The terminology here can be confusing. When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”

“The thing that really gets me is that Democrats try to offer policies (paid sick leave! minimum wage!) that would help the working class,” a friend just wrote me. A few days’ paid leave ain’t gonna support a family. Neither is minimum wage. WWC men aren’t interested in working at McDonald’s for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is what my father-in-law had: steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life to the 75% of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Trump promises that. I doubt he’ll deliver, but at least he understands what they need.

Understand Working-Class Resentment of the Poor
Remember when President Obama sold Obamacare by pointing out that it delivered health care to 20 million people? Just another program that taxed the middle class to help the poor, said the WWC, and in some cases that’s proved true: The poor got health insurance while some Americans just a notch richer saw their premiums rise.

Progressives have lavished attention on the poor for over a century. That (combined with other factors) led to social programs targeting them. Means-tested programs that help the poor but exclude the middle may keep costs and tax rates lower, but they are a recipe for class conflict. Example: 28.3% of poor families receive child-care subsidies, which are largely nonexistent for the middle class. So my sister-in-law worked full-time for Head Start, providing free child care for poor women while earning so little that she almost couldn’t pay for her own.

And the emphasis on the social issues…just stop it already:

The local chairman feels very strongly now that Clinton could have won Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan if she had just kept her eye on economic issues and not gotten distracted by the culture wars.

“Look, I’m as progressive as anybody, okay? But people in the heartland thought the Democratic Party cared more about where someone else went to the restroom than whether they had a good-paying job,” he complained. “‘Stronger together’ doesn’t get anyone a job.”

At least there are come calls to move away from such identity politics. I thnk it isn’t a moment too soon. Things in these states have changed. Remember that Hillary Clinton is the first Democrat to lose Wisconsin since Walter Mondale!

And the issue about “getting a woman elected” really isn’t that big of a deal to many women:

 Class differences among women are an all but taboo subject. But scholars such as Leslie McCall have found that economic inequality among women is just as large, and has been growing just as fast, as economic inequality among men.This economic divide among women has created one of the most significant fault lines in contemporary feminism. That’s because professional-class women, who have reaped a disproportionate share of feminism’s gains, have dominated the feminist movement, and the social distance between them and their less privileged sisters is wide and growing wider. In the decades since the dawn of the second wave, educated women gained access to high-status jobs, but working-class women experienced declining wages and (because of the rise of divorce and single parenthood among the working class) shouldered an increasingly heavy burden of care. Yet mainstream feminist groups and pundits have consistently stressed the social and cultural issues that are most important to affluent women, while marginalizing the economic concerns of the female masses.

The class divisions between women came to a head in the 2016 election, when Big Feminism failed women, big-time. Mainstream feminists sold women a bill of goods, arguing that the election of a woman president would improve the lot of women as a class. Echoing Sheryl Sandberg’s dubious thesis, they claimed that leadership by women will as a matter of course produce gains for all women—though actually, the social science evidence for this claim is mixed at best. There was also a lot of talk about how having a woman president would “normalize” female power.

The class divisions between women came to a head in the 2016 election, when Big Feminism failed women, big-time.
But if you’re a woman living paycheck to paycheck and worried sick over the ever-diminishing economic prospects for you and your children, you’re unlikely to be heavily invested in whether some lady centimillionaire will shatter the ultimate glass ceiling.

Of course, not all of the issues are economic; we won’t win them all over. But we need to lose this group by a closer margin.

Now wait…yes, I claimed that actual policy did not matter that much in this election. I believe that. I see it this way: Trump says “I am going to bring back your jobs”. That really isn’t a policy statement; that is an issue he is championing. The “how will do do that” is the policy part..and well, that is important, when it comes to governing. Making the voters believe that is your issue is campaigning, and we did not do that.

Oh sure, I agree that Trump promises are somewhere between “highly improbable” to “impossible” to achieve; the clock is not going to be turned back:

he entire Trump movement is about anger, and in truth it is easy to understand why these people are angry. I live in the Rust Belt. I have spent all but a sliver of my life here. Outside of a small number of major cities that have weathered the storm (but have their own serious problems) economically, people live in small towns or minor cities that have declined steadily since 1960. People who have spent long lives in these places remember when things used to be better – when the city wasn’t half-empty, when there were enough jobs, when the jobs that were available didn’t pay squat with terrible benefits, and when the side effects of poverty and neglect hadn’t turned the physical city into a decent setting for a modern post-apocalypse film. They are mad and they have a reason to be mad.

The reality is, the version of their communities that they remember is NEVER coming back. It’s not. It’s gone. It’s never coming back because we cannot recreate the context that allowed it to happen – a post-World War II environment in which the U.S. was the sole industrial power on the planet that wasn’t teetering on collapse and / or reduced to rubble. Eventually the rest of the world caught up, and we felt the beginning of the decline in the 1970s. The embrace of neoliberal trade policy in the Reagan and post-Reagan years only accelerated trends that were already established. All the while the GOP didn’t lift a finger to ameliorate any of this. They offered tax cuts (which would magically create jobs, but didn’t) and helpful reminders that if you’re poor it’s because you don’t work hard enough.

These places are dead and dying because economically there is no longer any reason for them to exist. They were established at a time when their location near resources or now-outdated transportation links made them important. Now, and no politician will ever admit it in public, there simply isn’t any reason for Altoona or Youngstown or Terre Haute to exist anymore. The jobs are never coming back. Nothing is coming back. The Democrats have not given the white Rust Belt working class an answer to their problems because there is no answer. Nothing will resurrect these places, all of which have long since crossed the point of no return in their economic and population decline. Automation, union-busting, outsourcing (much of it within the U.S., to impoverished Southern states) and race-to-the-bottom subsidy wars among state and local governments are ensuring that the situation isn’t about to improve.

And here’s the kicker: Trump didn’t offer any solutions either

So there we are.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

Trying to understand each other is bad politics

I am not opposed to negative political ads. After all, what is to stop a politician from embellishing his/her record or from making unrealistic promises? Heck, even I can promise to cut taxes and increase services.

But the reality is, you can’t win a race without getting your people to the polls; Senator Sanders got a cruel reminder of that in California. The kids flocked to his rallies, but not to the voting booths. That can be a problem for liberals.

david-horsey-cartoon-2014-elections-squishy-Democrats

So what do the politicians do?

Republicans remind their base that Democrats are evil and stupid people. We want to take away money from hard working people and give it to people like this:

Who, in turn, just have more kids and end up in jail:

And, of course, we try to “keep out God” and are attempting to bring in Sharia Law and just let all of these other second rate nations just walk all over us.

But the Democrats remind US that the Republicans are evil and stupid people. Republicans reject science and embrace racism and misogyny; they want a “return to white America” and to turn our country into a theocracy.

So, the political rhetoric we hear isn’t designed to persuade but rather designed to get our people to show up and vote.

And yes, I understand why they do that. But while I love politics and love following it, I regret not having the kind of policy based discussions that I could have with those who see things differently from the way I do.

And, unfortunately, when people try to make a point, too often it is made in a way that attacks rather than invites discussion:

gettofamily

Yes, WalMart: the idea is they pay their workers too little to live on, so the public, in effect, subsidizes them with public aid. And of course, there is corporate tax break and oil subsidies.

Now one might argue that corporations employ people, do some basic research and make things for us. But then, one can also argue that public aid IS stimulus to the economy.

Think of it this way: suppose I got 100,000 dollars. I’d end up looking for a good, safe, long term investment. On the other hand, if 20 poor families got 5000 dollars each, they’d spend it on things (food and other items) thereby putting the money directly into the economy.

But, because we are too busy yelling at the other stupid, evil people, we don’t have this discussion often enough.

June 11, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, racism, social/political | , | Leave a comment

A couple of “maybe Trump would be better than Clinton” thoughts …and one reason Trump is doing well…

Workout note: 8.1 mile “run” in 1:31:11 46:37/44:33. Perfect weather; legs were shot from the get go so I kept it easy and attempted to pick it up a bit at the end. Really couldn’t.

Could Trump be better than Clinton?
A couple of “famous” people said “maybe so”, but get a load of their reasoning:

James Webb (former Democratic Senator and Secretary of the Navy):

Former Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton, but he hasn’t ruled out casting his ballot for Donald Trump.

Webb, who briefly flirted with an independent bid before deciding against it, said on Friday morning that the Democratic front-runner wasn’t inspirational.

“I would not vote for Hillary Clinton,” Webb said on MSBNC’s “Morning Joe.”

When asked whether he’d vote for Trump, Webb said he wasn’t closed to the idea. “I’m not sure yet. I don’t know who I’m going to vote for,” he said.

He said Clinton would simply continue President Barack Obama’s policies, but that with Trump, things would change — but he’s not convinced it would be for the better.

“If you’re voting for Donald Trump, you may get something very good or very bad,” Webb said. “If you’re voting for Hillary Clinton, you’re going to be getting the same thing.”

Emphasis mine. Note that I actually agree with Sen. Webb on one thing: Hillary Clinton would be close to a continuation of Barack Obama; it is just that I see that as a good thing. He does not.

Susan Sarandon (“activist”/actress):

The actress and activist has been a powerful surrogate for Sanders on the campaign trail over the past few months, and during an interview with MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes Monday night, she said she doesn’t know if she can bring herself to vote for Clinton if it comes down to it.
“I think, in certain quarters, there’s growing concern that the folks that are into Bernie Sanders have come to despise Hillary Clinton or reject Hillary Clinton and that should she be the nominee, which is as yet undetermined, they will walk away,” Hayes said.
“That’s a legitimate concern,” Sarandon replied. “Because they’re very passionate and principled.”
“But isn’t that crazy?” the host asked. “If you believe in what he believes in?”
“Yeah but she doesn’t,” Sarandon shot back. “She accepted money for all of those people. She doesn’t even want to fight for a $15 minimum wage. So these are people that have not come out before. So why would we think they’re going to come out now for her, you know?”

“All those people”? Ok, IF you are talking about “taking money from Wall Street” and you are talking about the official Clinton campaign, remember that individuals have a limit. Wall Street is in New York and Sec. Clinton represented New York. It would be like President Obama getting a lot of money from people who worked in industries that are based in Illinois.

But look at the two situations: one doesn’t like Clinton because of her being too close to being like Obama; the other doesn’t like her because she isn’t progressive enough.

Why is Trump doing so well anyway? Well, one reason is that he is appealing to the white working class, a group that even the National Review is attacking:

The National Review, a conservative magazine for the Republican elite, recently unleashed an attack on the “white working class”, who they see as the core of Trump’s support.

The first essay, Father Führer, was written by the National Review’s Kevin Williamson, who used his past reporting from places such as Appalachia and the Rust Belt to dissect what he calls “downscale communities”.

He describes them as filled with welfare dependency, drug and alcohol addiction, and family anarchy – and then proclaims:

“Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster, There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. … The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.”

A few days later, another columnist, David French, added:

“Simply put, [white working class] Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate. No one is making them do it. The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin.”

Both suggested the answer to their problems is they need to move. “They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.”

Downscale communities are everywhere in America, not just limited to Appalachia and the Rust Belt – it’s where I have spent much of the past five years documenting poverty and addiction.

I have to laugh. People like William Julius Wilson and Paul Krugman said that this split would eventually happen:

Lately inequality has re-entered the national conversation. Occupy Wall Street gave the issue visibility, while the Congressional Budget Office supplied hard data on the widening income gap. And the myth of a classless society has been exposed: Among rich countries, America stands out as the place where economic and social status is most likely to be inherited.

So you knew what was going to happen next. Suddenly, conservatives are telling us that it’s not really about money; it’s about morals. Never mind wage stagnation and all that, the real problem is the collapse of working-class family values, which is somehow the fault of liberals.

But is it really all about morals? No, it’s mainly about money.

To be fair, the new book at the heart of the conservative pushback, Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” does highlight some striking trends. Among white Americans with a high school education or less, marriage rates and male labor force participation are down, while births out of wedlock are up. Clearly, white working-class society has changed in ways that don’t sound good.

[..]

One more thought: The real winner in this controversy is the distinguished sociologist William Julius Wilson.

Back in 1996, the same year Ms. Himmelfarb was lamenting our moral collapse, Mr. Wilson published “When Work Disappears: The New World of the Urban Poor,” in which he argued that much of the social disruption among African-Americans popularly attributed to collapsing values was actually caused by a lack of blue-collar jobs in urban areas. If he was right, you would expect something similar to happen if another social group — say, working-class whites — experienced a comparable loss of economic opportunity. And so it has.

So we should reject the attempt to divert the national conversation away from soaring inequality toward the alleged moral failings of those Americans being left behind. Traditional values aren’t as crucial as social conservatives would have you believe — and, in any case, the social changes taking place in America’s working class are overwhelmingly the consequence of sharply rising inequality, not its cause.

Gee, maybe the “moron” in this meme is finally catching on.

voterepublican

March 29, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, running | , , , | Leave a comment

Nevada, Sanders, and the personal upswing continues

Weight before lifting: 183.5.
rotator cuff
pull ups: 15=15-10-10
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 10 x 170 (strong sets)
incline presses: 10 x 135 (easy)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 55 (singe arm dumbbell)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, moving bridge recoveries, headstand (easy)

Swim: 500 free, 500 drill/swim, 5 x 100 (25 fly, 25 free, 25 back, 25 free), 3 x 100 (alt side, free) 100 pull, 100 free, 100 pull, 100 fins.
It was sort of a play-day swim.

Later: saw the Bradley women lose to Indiana State; they were within 4 late in the game 68-59. They were within 4 late in the game, but ISU knocked down some huge 3 point shots late in the game to put it away.

Posts
The Democratic Nevada Caucus is tomorrow. In the betting line, HRC is a 8/13 favorite, with Sanders at 11/8.

nevadacaususodds

But I’ll say this: Nevada is very hard to poll, so I see that race as a toss-up:

For starters, when it comes to surveying public opinion, Nevada is still very much the Wild West, and pollsters may be unwilling to gamble their reputations on the state: Nevada is among the hardest places to poll in the nation, with a spotty track record to prove it. Going into the 2008 Republican caucuses, the polling average gave Mitt Romney just a 5-point advantage over John McCain; Romney ended up winning by 38 points. In 2010 when Republican Sharron Angle challenged Harry Reid, then Senate majority leader, for his seat, the polling average showed her beating the incumbent by a 3-point margin; she lost to Reid by nearly 6 points.

According to Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster who’s done extensive work in the state on behalf of Reid, caucus polling is “excruciatingly difficult” to begin with, but the fact that Nevada’s caucuses are relatively new makes polling them even more fraught with uncertainty. After the 2004 election, the parties moved from primaries to caucuses, and Nevada was bumped up to a higher spot in the primary calendar, a play to incorporate a broader swath of the American electorate in the candidate-winnowing process.

But that means that Nevada populace’s is still pretty unfamiliar with caucusing, making for difficult polling work. “

So I take this with a grain of salt:

demnevada

And Trump is a prohibitive favorite to roll in South Carolina.

Now back to Sanders vs. Clinton.
Things have gotten ugly. And yes, those who say “his assumptions just don’t add up…they are not plausible assumptions are vilified as being Hillary shills and the like. Guess what: not having power doesn’t make you right. I know: I graded undergraduate student exams today. If anything, the line to support Sanders’ numbers is a much shorter one.

Look for yourself at what Sanders is assuming:

021916krugman2-tmagArticle

Seriously, we’d be rolling our eyes if Republicans made such assumptions.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, economics, economy, politics, politics/social, swimming, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

No, Democrats are not necessarily rational….

Paul Krugman appears to be worried that some liberals are willing to part ways with reality if the like the message:

Matthew Yglesias says that the Sanders campaign won’t care about the warnings from top Democratic economists that its numbers are nonsense, and that it doesn’t need to care. That may or may not be true — my guess is that making growth claims that are even more outlandish than those of the Republicans, and having made it impossible for progressive policy experts to offer a full-throated defense of your position, would do more harm in a general election than he imagines.

But leave the political gaming on one side for a moment: I just want to say how much of a shame it will be if a good piece of the Democratic party’s left wing decides that progressive wonks are the enemy. And yes, I have a vested interest in this business — not because I’m a Hillary shill, not because I’m a corporate stooge, but because wonkdom is a key part of who I am and why I think I can play any positive role.

So, about wonks and progressive values: the reason the joke about facts having a liberal bias rings so true is that this really has become a defining difference between the two sides of our political chasm. On the right, allegiance to voodoo has become obligatory — leading Republican economists fell right in line when Jeb! announced his 4-percent solution. On the left, real policy research and political positions have marched hand in hand. The push for higher minimum wages, to take a not at all arbitrary example, has been mightily helped by the research literature showing that higher minimums don’t cost jobs, a line of research pioneered by Alan Krueger, one of the signatories of that open letter.

And in general, progressivism in America has valued intellectual integrity and openness to evidence, while conservatism increasingly rejects all of that — which is why scientists overwhelmingly lean Democratic.

Yes, scientists do lean Democratic. But the liberal base: well, look at the GMO issue. All too many liberals buy into the woo-woo and claim that scientists that try to explain that fears over GMOs are exaggerated are called “shills for Monsanto” and the like.

So, as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, conservatives have no monopoly on anti-intellectualism.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | economics | , , , | Leave a comment