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The Death of Conservatism?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, November 21, 2008

In this week's US News and World Report, Grover Norquist babbles on under the title "Conservatives Will Rise Again" about how this has all been seen before (after Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush). After each defeat, conservatism was declared dead. Norquist believes it is only a matter of time before Americans again tire of big-government Democrats and their collectivist schemes and conservatism begins to rise again.

James Pethokoukis, on the other hand, thinks that if certain things come to pass, conservatism may indeed be dead. Interestingly he thinks that a particular Obama nomination may be the harbinger of that death - Tom Daschle:
He'll be the guy shepherding President Barack Obama's healthcare plan through Congress via his probable role as secretary of health and human services. At the core of Daschle's thinking on the subject is the creation of a "Federal Health Board that would resemble our current Federal Reserve Board" and ensure "harmonization across public programs of health-care protocols, benefits, and transparency." ... And the subject of that "harmonization" would be a $100 billion to $150 billion a year plan that would let individuals (and small businesses) buy insurance from private companies or from a government plan.
The upcoming recession ends up being an opportunity instead of a problem for the targeting of health care reform under government auspices. That's because, as Pethakoukus opines, shaken Americans are going to be looking toward any program that will give them some modicum of economic security. And it isn't like struggling businesses wouldn't love to shed the cost of paying for and administering health care as well. Apparently, the insurance companies are seeing the handwriting on the wall too:
The industry's trade organization now says it would accept new rules requiring them to cover pre-existing conditions as long as there was a universal mandate for all Americans to have health insurance. On top of all that, Obama clearly wants to make healthcare reform a priority in his first term, as evidenced by the selection of a heavy hitter like Daschle. And even if he wasn't interested, Congress sure is, with Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy readying a plan in the Senate.
The result of such a shift in the health care world as it pertains to government involvement? Two almost irreversable things would happen:
1) Passage would be a political gamechanger.

2) Shrinking government would get exponentially tougher.
Addressing the first bullet, it would be the tipping point.

Again, even after seeing the results elsewhere, conservatives (and Republicans) were unable to articulate a compelling narrative to point out why allowing government to involve itself in healthcare was both dangerous and not in the best interests of the public at large.

So if Democrats are able to actually pass their plan into law, the resulting sea-change will be such that, as Pethokoukis says, it is a "gamechanger". Norman Markowitz describes how passage of National Health Care changed the UK forever - and few will argue, for the better:
"After the Labor Party established the National Health Service after World War II, supposedly conservative workers and low-income people under religious and other influences who tended to support the Conservatives were much more likely to vote for the Labor Party when health care, social welfare, education and pro-working class policies were enacted by labor-supported governments."
The obvious point is that once the change is made, you're staring bullet number two right in the face. The chance of ever shrinking government again, is mostly right out of the window (and the Republicans chance as a party, to ever get the opportunity, may be as well).
Republicans would face the same problem with healthcare that they currently do with Social Security, persuading people to trade one in the hand (the current system) for two in the bush (a reformed system) ... And remember that fewer and fewer people are paying the incomes taxes that would help pay for increased government services. That breakage of the linkage between taxes and government "benefits" creates toxic incentives for more of both — and an economy more shackled than ever by taxes, debt, and regulation.
It seems a bit silly to argue we can overcome this lurch to the left, given the experience of the rest of the world in this regard. As Pethokoukis points out, Social Security is an abysmal savings/retirement system, is technically a Ponzi scheme and is insolvent to boot but the chances of 'reforming' it are slim and none. Just as we've learned from the financial crisis we're now undergoing, government rarely reacts to such things until the problem has collapsed around its ears, and it then rides to the rescue claiming everything and everyone not connected with government are at fault for the failure.

There is an answer to the health care insurance problem which I've talked about for years and the McCain campaign tried but failed to successfully put forward during the presidential campaign:
... [H]is plan would have smartly reduced healthcare costs by getting companies out of the healthcare benefits business and empowering individuals to buy insurance on their own. This would have helped fix what economist Arnold Kling calls the insurance vs. insulation problem: "Insulation relieves the patient of the stress of making decisions about treatment. The patient also does not have to worry about shopping around for the best price. The problem with insulation is that it is not a sustainable form of healthcare finance."
In other words, just like every other insurance instrument in the world, you'd buy it, tailored to your needs, on a national market (and within a national pool) and forever eliminate portability as a problem.

But that is a more free market approach which helps preserve your liberty - and that is decidedly not where we are headed.

The question is, can we ever get back that part of our liberty?
 
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You should really retitle this.

Because it is not just the "death of conservatism" at stake here, but in a real sense, the death of this country as we currently know it.

And regardless of the GOP’s inability to articulate on this issue, the fact is that the people should know better.

But so many of us aren’t Americans anymore as they are pigs at the trough.

I just wish they’d admit it instead of wrapping it up in their bullsh*t noble terminology.

At least that ignorant (and typical) Obama voter who opined she was voting for Obama because he was "going to pay for her gas and mortgage" had the honesty to admit she wanted a life of leeching off others.

Though man oh man would I like to see her face when the leeches start to live off her.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark is correct. We’ve dug ourselves into a deep hole and Obama wants us to dig faster.

The federal government will not voluntarily shrink itself, but what if the shrinking is involuntary? With over $10 trillion in debt and $50 trillion in unfunded entitlement obligations, how much longer will the U.S. be able to borrow money? Raising tax rates will lower revenues, so that won’t work (not that they won’t try it). At some point the economy and government will just collapse.

Some nations have been able to get away with this statist/socialist nonsense because they have minuscule defense budgets and higher taxes overall. Others are small enough for the World Bank or IMF to prop up when they fail. We have no such luxuries, but the idiots in Washington won’t acknowledge this and the public doesn’t care.
 
Written By: Bill
URL: http://
Speaking of.....I see that Oclinton has added a few more Clintonistas to his cabinet including the harridan herself.

Change!

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
That trillion dollar war to liberate some towelheads sure seems like a good idea now huh.
 
Written By: TomD
URL: http://
The question is, can we ever get back that part of our liberty?
In real terms, the liberty we are looking is purely economic, the choice to do with our dollars what we want, and if what we want is gold plated health care, and we can afford it, then that’s what we get, if we don’t want to insure ourselves at all and pay out of pocket (or not at all), we are free to do that as well. The objection, and I understand it, is that by taxing to pay for healthcare costs, while we might be free to go out and spend our own dollars on any private care we choose, we are paying twice for healthcare. I get how that can be frustrating. It’s the same with education, we pay for public education, and have no choice to opt out, even if we choose to pay for a private education.

But here’s the thing about healthcare. As a society, we have long made the decision that we will treat people whether they can or will pay for the treatment. SO between Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, indigent care costs, and unpaid medical services costs, the result is over a trillion dollars of medical costs paid for by taxpayers. Universal healthcare is already here, it’s just convoluted and messy, but anyone that needs healthcare gets it.

If the new healthcare system provides people with care they consider to be equal in quality to the care they recieve today, and the cost, between premiums and taxes, is no more than they are paying today, and we have 100% coverage, then the system will be a stunning success.

I know there seems to be some contradictory elements in these goals, but all of it is possible, and really, what it comes down to is what I have been saying for years, that it will be irreversible, whether is succeeds spectacularly, or fails miserably, and I would implore people who are generally opposed to a universal healthcare system to accept the fact that it’s coming, and start trying to help influence the design of the system into something that can work. Because in the future, you will be paying for national healthcare, the only question is whether it will suck so bad you’ll be paying again for health services that don’t suck.

This is not a issue you want to say will fail and enjoy the bragging rights of saying you said so, because those bragging rights are going to cost you a fortune. Better to influence the policy with good ideas rather than just cover your ears and say "la la la, I’m not listening, this will fail" and leave it all up to the liberals.

There, I’ve said it, the last thread I argued this one went on for 150 comments, I’m not doing that again. (you’re welcome)

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Some nations have been able to get away with this statist/socialist nonsense because they have minuscule defense budgets and higher taxes overall. Others are small enough for the World Bank or IMF to prop up when they fail. We have no such luxuries, but the idiots in Washington won’t acknowledge this and the public doesn’t care.


This points towards reducing our military as a partial solution. The problem is, we don’t know what a world without Anglo-Saxon naval dominance would look like; no one has seen such a world since before 1805, except for the South Pacific for about 6 months in the early 1940s . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
But here’s the thing about healthcare. As a society, we have long made the decision that we will treat people whether they can or will pay for the treatment.
Yes, it appears we have lost sight of the fact that theft is immoral.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I would love to get up on a soapbox and yell that universal healthcare is not a right. The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to pay for it, yada, yada, yada. The reality is that CaptinSarcastic is right. We already have a form of universal healthcare in the US that we all are paying for. I think it is a horrible idea for the government to be involved, but it is, and will be even more soon.

The Republicans should fight tooth and nail to limit the damage that the democrats plan on doing. It is the most we can hope for, for at least the next two years. However, given the fact that 52%+/- voted for Obama, I think the population will welcome universal healthcare with open arms, despite its failures in countries that have it.

I think the natural trend is for governments to get ever bigger and more intrusive. Not sure how we can reverse that.
 
Written By: jjmurphy
URL: http://www.allthatisnecessary.com
...it will be irreversible, whether is succeeds spectacularly, or fails miserably, and I would implore people who are generally opposed to a universal healthcare system to accept the fact that it’s coming, and start trying to help influence the design of the system into something that can work.
And if we believe the laws of economics prevent a ghost of a chance of success for universal healthcare, and guarantees the "fails miserably" outcome, well then, just bend over and take what we’ve got coming anyway?

Sorry, sir. No sale. The volatility in the current governmental and economic environment is far too extreme for you to make such an unqualified prediction. The way things are going in Washington right now, they may have about ten disasters that take priority over healthcare, and by the time the dust settles, the appetite for more government may have been replaced by nausea. I’m not saying that’s the most likely outcome, but it’s far from an impossible one.

And it would be a serious dereliction of duty for we who know exactly what universal healthcare will do to our grandchildren to just bend over and take the f**king that you statists want to give to us.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://qando.net
Well, we had an effort for universal healthcare here in California, and even the Democrats realized it wouldn’t work, based upon budget woes.

Frankly, I’m not interested in giving in to communism. If we get it anyway, I’ll sure as h*ll be saying "I told you so" when it’s a big mess.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I think its time for a "Sister Soldier" moment for Libertarians and Conservatives on the universal healthcare issue.

Captain Sarcastic is correct in his post, the US already has some form of Universal Healthcare, why not be part of the solution and infuence the shape of whats to come rather than being on the outside looking in?

This is an issue I struggle with. As a Canadian, I appreciate and loathe our healthcare system at the same time. I loathe it because of rationing that takes the form of long wait times. I loathe it because my income taxes are high (50% of my earned income)...due in large part healthcare to costs. The lack of innovation, accountability, waste and bureacracy is painful to behold.

Objectively speaking, these issues have to be balanced with the benefits of Universal Healthcare to society at large.

I have an image in my minds eye of old Russian women begging on the streets of Moscow after the collapse of Soviet Russia. In Canada, we have the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security which both act as a forced savings programs and a social safety net..very similiar to your Social Security. The truth is I don’t want to live in a country where our Grandparents and Parents are reduced to begging to live. This is an emotional argument. We may hate having our productivity punished by having a large portion of our incomes taken by force from us, but there is a comfort in knowing that a distateful misery is eliminated or significantly reduced.

Please understand me, I am a hardcore dynamist in Virginia Postrel’s mould, Atlas Shrugged radicalized me and I am strong believer in free markets. But not all citizens are as confident about their ability to "go it alone" and be self sustaining. And a significant (growing?) portion of every modern population simply can’t.

As much as we rail about the erosion of our rights and the ever increasing size of government, times change and a growing portion of our society is unable to make rational decisions about how to live their lives...they quit school even though it is free, have children they cannot raise, have affairs when it is not in their best interest to do so and engage in destructive activities that cause them to be disabled or worse and have no health coverage or a means to pay for their healthcare.

We are both emotional and rational beings. Sometimes I think Libertarians (especially) only live in the rational world and ignore the emotional one. I think this is why sometimes Liberals and Conservatives often talk past each other...they don’t "live" in the same place intellectually. Perhaps this is why women tend to vote for more collectivist policies than men do.

I think it is a mistake for Republicans to fight the Universal Healthcare juggernaut. This is one of the great issues of our time and Libertarians need to be in the room, so to speak, so important issues are addressed, such as:

1)Will Americans be able to purchase private insurance so they can opt out of the public system and obtain speedier/superior care?
2)How will the new system promote innovation when taxpayer money (other people’s money) is being spent?
3)Preventing the dogooders from regulating or banning every form of lifestyle that does not conform to what is deemed "healthy". This is a big one, from personal freedom perspective.

There is a prescident: Republicans were on the right side of the slavery issue, and I think Republicans, Conservatives and Libertarians must be on the right, moral side of this issue, warts and all.
 
Written By: JasperPants
URL: http://
Captain Sarcastic is correct in his post,
Is this QandO?
Atlas Shrugged radicalized me and I am strong believer in free markets.
Billy Beck is going to call you names and tell you...
The question is closed, sir. It is not to be subjected to any "vote" in the first place.
Which of course, it has, and will.

Good luck Jasper
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
The Death of conservatism?
Hmmm.

Wasn’t all that long ago, we heard it was the death of liberalism, was it, now?

That was when Jimmy Carter had to pay extra to get his butt cheeks surgically removed from his shoulder blades from the butt kicking he took in 1980. This image that liberalism was dead was bolstered when Reagan, being Reagan, did OK with it all.

Then came the moderate Bush 41, who proceeded to tilt to the left in an effort to broaden "the tent."

The American people responded by electing Bill Clinton. Despite this, liberalism was still perceived as ’dead’ because Clinton ran as a ’new Democrat’, not a liberal Democrat. Leave aside, of course what he did while in office.. And, whom. Elections, after all are about perception, and what people are WILLING to perceive. The whole thingw as viewed with a wink wink nudge nudge, know what I mean?. OK, bad pun.

Bush 43 came along, and like his father, he proved to be a moderate, not a conservative... his father’s footsteps... to the point where the Republican brand got damaged.

That, in it’s turn, has resulted in Obama’s election, and cries of ’The Death of Conservatism’.

And so the circle goes around again. The problem of course is we’re talking about the great corrupter... Government. Once in a while, we get a Reagan. Usually, we get somewhere between Bush and Clinton with which people get disenchanted, and start making noise about change. As they did following four years of Carter, and more recently after 8 years of the press selling to us how bad we had it under Bush.

Mark this one well... the whole thing will go around again.

But the question is, as Bruce says; can we ever get back that part of our liberty that we gave up by electing liberals?

In this case, I doubt it. If what is offered as a conservative is in fact a moderate, and what is offered by the Democrats is the single most left-leaning Senator in American history, the results can go nowhere but left, whoever wins.

So, the answer is ...some, likely. All? No.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I think Republicans, Conservatives and Libertarians must be on the right, moral side of this issue, warts and all.
The "right, moral" answer is no. No one has a right to healthcare.

The McCain effort was something of a compromise, but that’s dead now. What we have left is whatever Obama, Pelosi and Reid et al come up with. And frankly, I hope it proves really, really bad fast so we can ditch it and move on to a sane idea.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don, you misunderstand my use of the word "right". It was used merely as an opposite of "wrong".

A "right" to healthcare is a false right, because it requires the confiscation of treasure and labour of one segment of society to another.
 
Written By: JasperPants
URL: http://
Let education be run from the left for several decades.
Let the media be run by liberals for several decade.
Increase government employment as % of GDP to very high numbers.

Result: a public that cannot be educated easily on these subjects, a public that won’t be able to hear your arguments no matter how loud you shout, and lots and lots of voters unaware of how market-forces operate.

The good news is that we have seen Communism fall. We have seen Sweden make some reforms that are not possible here despite a similar situation of entrenched statism. So a rollback is possible. Might take 80 years.

The GOP also faces a few more problems:

1. Any plan of their own will be met by skepticism due to their supposedly "pro-rich" position. A basic universal tax credit to cover on catastrophic insurance would have been a possibility, while leaving the actual system privatized. Yeah, I know that’s sort of already in place, but somehow the media and the Dems can convince people that we don’t actually have any safety nets when we do.

2. Big Bang reforms are very hard to sell to the public. Try to explain a flat tax that’s progressive. Try to explain health care that doesn’t go through your company makes you more flexible to move jobs. Try to explain school choice. Its depressing. (Though you will find that there are actually many smart Democrats that agree with these ideas, they just want their party in charge to do them (see 1.) They don’t understand that their party won’t do them - hell the GOP won’t either so what.

(Though McCain’s plan was pretty good because it didn’t remove anyone’s benefits just extended the tax break to self-employed people and people who’s company didn’t provide health-care. So it wasn’t a Big Bang reform, but opened the door to one ever so slightly.)

My suggestions for the GOP, if they ever get back into power:

1. No withholding taxes.
2. Election Day is right after Tax Day. "No taxation without representation.)
3. The word tax credit to be replaced with "Public Subsidy" on every tax form, etc. Adding subsidies no longer is a "tax cut."

Not a single benefit or tax is cut with these reforms, but I bet that gives small government parties a 1-2% extra vote every single election and also increases responsible government.

They have to combat the education system and the media, and the best way is to remind everybody what they are paying. Bullsh!t sounds great until the bill comes.

My tag phrase for these reforms is "Unit Pricing for Government."
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Give up militarism.

Stop with the inane bit that somehow the "left" doesn’t understand reality, and accept that they have a legitimate perspective, even if it’s different than your own.

Focus on decentralizing power to states and localities, give up the ideological demonization of the left, and develop a positive message.

Also, recognize that the crass consumerism and materialism of the high budget and trade deficits of the last thirty years (encompassing Reagan and Clinton) have failed.

Embrace conservatism that isn’t mean spirited, demeaning of different ideas, able to emphasize community and positive engagement, and you’ll see it come back. Even the social conservatism of Mike Huckabee was popular for being less negative and vengeful. That’s the key.
http://scotterb.wordpress.com

I also wrote a blog entry about a "new conservatism":
http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/11/06/a-new-conservatism/

You need a dialogue, different ideas interacting to have a good polity. Whenever one side dominates and the other side is too weak things go bad.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Whenever one side dominates and the other side is too weak things go bad.
Well that’s going to be proven true over the next year or so, and I’ll give you credit for calling it out in advance.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
"Also, recognize that the crass consumerism and materialism of the high budget and trade deficits of the last thirty years (encompassing Reagan and Clinton) have failed."
So what, stop all imports? Tell people they can’t buy cheap goods from Asia? What are you talking about?
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Grimshaw, why do you rush to absolutes? We’ve had current accounts and trade deficits that were unsustainable, and it’s caused imbalances that need to be corrected: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/its-worse-than-you-think/

Getting this in balance doesn’t mean people "can’t buy cheap goods from Asia." It means that we recognize that hyperconsumerism built on debt and deficits is unsustainable, and we have to have a more conservative approach to economics — we have to produce as well as consume, we have to save as well as borrow. The recession is going to force this upon us, it’s not like this is going to be the government forbidding anything.
http://scotterb.wordpress.com
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott,

So what’s your plan to increase savings and investment and reduce consumption?

More conservative economics is to reduce taxes on savings and investment, and increase taxes on consumption, i.e. Republican platform. Good luck in getting that passed with how the electorate thinks the world works. "He’s going to pay for my gas and mortgage."

p.s. If you want to produce things, you probably need to build dirty factories and use more electricity and not use union labor, how is that going to be achieved in a system where more regulation makes those investment decisions harder?










 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Harun, I don’t think we actually need a plan to reduce consumption and increase savings, I think economic reality is going to force it on us; we’ve been partying in an unsustainable mountain of debt and deficits for almost three decades. I do believe decreased taxes on savings and investment are good, as are increased taxes on consumption. I also think we probably will have to rebuild some kind of industrial sector (again, I think the economy will cause that to happen, it doesn’t need to be a government plan!), though certainly it can be done with union labor. I’d like to see an effort to move from a confrontational union vs. business approach to more of "we’re in this together." The decline of the middle class over the last three decades (evidenced by the growing gap between the rich and the poor) can best be halted by having well paid workers. I don’t blame the Republicans any more than the Democrats for all of this, though I think we’ve not yet to really understand how costly the Iraq war has been for US power and to our economy. We’re in for an economic rebalancing, and I think all sides need to listen to each others’ ideas about how to respond. The American public chose Bush (the uniter, the compassionate conservative) and Obama because they each seemed to promise a way out of the talk radio ’the other side is evil’ crowd, and want to work together. Maybe Bush could have done that if not for 9-11 and Iraq, we’ll never know what the Presidency could have been. Now it’s Obama’s chance — can he deliver? We really don’t yet know.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://scotterb.wordpress.com
Sure, people love to build factories in Michigan rather than build them in China. Or Alabama for that matter.

You know, because high capital gains taxes, corporate taxes, union rules, union wages, and heavy regulation = great investment environment.

I guess we could wait it out for China, India, on down the line etc. to become richer than us, and then we will be competitive, being the cheapest wages in the world despite these policies (worked for the communists in China.) But I somehow doubt this is the solution you are after.

A much weaker US dollar would do wonders, so if we can just borrow some more money, and then default, that should work as well.

I guess I could be wrong. I guess you could show me that people were pouring into the UK to invest in manufacturing before Thatcher broke the unions and made economic reforms. Or in Ireland. Please, I am here to learn.

I do agree that the economy will take care of itself - if the wrong incentives are in place it will stagnate until the incentives are changed.

By the way, an increase in the gap between rich and poor is not evidence of a decline in the middle class. Its evidence that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting richer. The middle class can be untouched while this happens.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
This is not a issue you want to say will fail and enjoy the bragging rights of saying you said so, because those bragging rights are going to cost you a fortune. Better to influence the policy with good ideas rather than just cover your ears and say "la la la, I’m not listening, this will fail" and leave it all up to the liberals.
F**k that.

The GOP doesn’t exist to give you someone to share blame with when this plan fails in epic fashion.

The GOP should exist to oppose it.

Period.

You see, this is a disaster in the making. Oh no. You’re going to own this failure 100%.

It will fail. And yes, I will be 100% rooting for it to fail in spectacular fashion.

This is all yours pal.

Choke on it
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Give up militarism.

Stop with the inane bit that somehow the "left" doesn’t understand reality, and accept that they have a legitimate perspective, even if it’s different than your own.
In short, become stupid.
I’ll pass, Erb.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Tell me something, Erb... Are you a vegan, by chance?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Gee, Bithead, you like to call names and insult, but I don’t see you actually showing any knowledge of how things work. I guess it’s easier to live in a "two legs bad, four legs good" kind of world, eh? I really think you’d find your horizons expanded if you actually listened rather than just hurl insults, and actually communicate. Here’s what’s going on with the economy:
http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/its-worse-than-you-think/

Harun, You can have strong economies with strong unions — it happens all over Europe. But you can’t have them if unions are essentially confrontational, as they were in the UK. They work better in a neo-corporatist model. But we’re in for an economic ride, and I do think that the realities of the situation will do damage to the ideological viewpoints of both the left and right.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://scotterb.wordpress.com
"Even the social conservatism of Mike Huckabee was popular for being less negative and vengeful. That’s the key."

Yep, it worked swell for him. He got his own TV show! What more could conservatives legitimately want?



"but I don’t see you actually showing any knowledge of how things work."

*snicker* Pot, kettle, etc.

"Here’s what’s going on with the economy:
http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/its-worse-than-you-think/"

Ah, that old logical fallacy, the argumentum ad spucatum tauri.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
After years of hearing that the sky was falling from the left, we are now hearing it from the right. How many leftists were screaming about how Bush had taken away our civil liberties and torn up the Constitution? Remember how the country was turning into a theocratic police state? It was all a bunch of hysterical nonsense that was laughed at by anyone with any sense. But now we have people on the right saying that the country is doomed because Obama got into power with a Democratic Congress. I’m not looking forward to the Obama administration, but he hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. How about we wait and see what he actually does?
 
Written By: David C.
URL: http://unreligiousright.blogspot.com/
It will fail. And yes, I will be 100% rooting for it to fail in spectacular fashion.
... something about noses, faces, and spite

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
David C. is right that the left and the right alike tend to overstate the danger of the other party having power. We have elections every two years, for the Presidency every four, and the public can react, that makes our system self-correcting over time. I recall the right charging the left with wanting failure, which they said was un-American and dishonest. Yet now some on the right similarly are desiring to see failure. That’s definitely putting partisanship ahead of country. The fact is that we are seeing real crisis and economic failure, and its the result of the way both parties have gotten addicted to deficits and debts over the past three decades.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://scotterb.wordpress.com
Excerpt from: 5 Myths About the Poor Middle Class

2. The middle class is shrinking.

True, fewer people today live in households with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000 (a reasonable definition of "middle class") than in 1979. But the number of people in households that bring in more than $100,000 also rose from 12 percent to 24 percent. There was no increase in the percentage of people in households making less than $30,000. So the entire "decline" of the middle class came from people moving up the income ladder. For married couples, median incomes have grown in inflation-adjusted dollars by 25 percent since 1979.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/21/AR2007122101556.html
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
How about we wait and see what he actually does?
Ah, because everything he’s said to this point is "just words"?!

Since that’s all he’s ever done - talk - that’s all that I have by which to judge him ... unless you’re saying we shouldn’t believe what he’s said he’ll do.

Yeah, I know - Catch 22.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"Ah, because everything he’s said to this point is "just words"?!"

Pretty much. He hasn’t done anything yet, other than some Clinton administration retread cabinet appointments.

"unless you’re saying we shouldn’t believe what he’s said he’ll do."

I take everything Obama said with a big grain of salt. I’m not arguing that we should expect him to be better than he sounded — he could easily be a lot worse. But he hasn’t even been sworn in yet. Many conservatives seem to be panicking in advance. A lot can happen during the next four years. For all we know, Obama could screw up royally and turn the country against liberal policies.
 
Written By: David C.
URL: http://unreligiousright.blogspot.com/
So the entire "decline" of the middle class came from people moving up the income ladder. For married couples, median incomes have grown in inflation-adjusted dollars by 25 percent since 1979.
Psst — adjust for inflation. Also, you can’t deny the increasing gap between the rich and the poor:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/29/business/income.4.php

Relevant excerpt:
The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.

While total reported income in the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005, the most recent year for which such data is available, average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent.

The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent.

The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.
The article goes on to describe how these levels of wealth disparity can mean social instability. But in a democracy as advanced and culturally engrained as ours, it usually just means a major political shift, as we’ve seen.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://scotterb.wordpress.com
Erb,

If you have one million dollars and had to invest in a factory making cars, but with the caveat that it had to be GM managed (to achieve ceteris paribus), would you choose a plant in Michigan with UAW labor, or a plant in Alabama, without?

Also, I am curious how you would achieve better union-management relations in the labor culture of the USA? I don’t think its possible without adjusting the incentives, which means giving more hire and fire power back to the owners of the company. Watered down unions would sort of defeat their purpose, no?

Europe has real problems with its labor markets and lack of new companies forming (due to unions, etc.) Sweden’s still dominated by the big corporations that existed when it started its experiments, and I think that will be the case in many other countries where taxes, regulations, and unions rule. New companies are not formed, or at least not in those markets most affected like manufacturing.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
But he hasn’t even been sworn in yet. Many conservatives seem to be panicking in advance.
Panic?

It’s a question, premised on a likely event (if you believe what he’s said and you have understanding of how he’s setting up his cabinet (Dashle’s mission isn’t something their hiding).

There’s no panic in that. If the premise is valid then, in fact, just as it happened in the UK, there’s a good chance the same thing would happen here. And what happened in the UK hasn’t exactly been the conservative’s utopia, has it?

So it’s a valid question, based on a seemingly valid premise and waving it away as "panic" doesn’t answer the question, does it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Erb ’suggests’:
Psst — adjust for inflation
When quoting a part of the article that says:

median incomes have grown in inflation-adjusted dollars
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
Anonymous: read the article I linked. It makes clear that the premise of your claim is dead wrong. The above $100,000 income is only the top 10%, hardly the "middle class." If you want to say having only 10% in middle and upper class is good, then you’ve got to justify that claim.

Harun, there is no reason to believe unions bad. In fact, without unions the factories can exploit workers to the point that the gap between rich and poor gets unsustainably large, like in the US. Unions are a way to make sure workers interests’ get represented. Look at labor history, and what things were like before unions. You can’t just trust the industrial elites to be just or humane. The people will hold the wealthy accountable, whether through unions or elections, after all.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://scotterb.wordpress.com
What claim exactly is that, Erb?
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
above $100,000 income is only the top 10%
I’m sure everyone will be shocked to see that Erb is wrong, once again. 20% of households made over 100K in 2007.

40% of households made between 40K and 100K in 2007. That seems a pretty good "middle" and "upper middle" of the income scale.

I’d also argue that above 100K is hardly out of the middle class when two married public school teachers in southern Indiana easily make that much.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Nothing in the IHT article, however, contradicts what anonymous said. Further, someone who claims to be a scientist, even a political one, should be able to cite better sources than an IHT article almost two years old.

"The article goes on to describe how these levels of wealth disparity can mean social instability."

No, it doesn’t. This is what it actually says;

Emmanuel Saez, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who analyzed the Internal Revenue Service data with Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, said such growing disparities were significant in terms of social and political stability.

Hardly a description.

" Also, you can’t deny the increasing gap between the rich and the poor:"

What is the relevance of that? Any increase in economic wealth will increase the gap between rich and poor. Unless of course it is redistributed.


Do you actually bother to read the articles you cite? Given your record, I think not. On the plus side, you actually gave a link to something other than yourself.


According to the census bureau the mean household income in each quintile has been increasing for some time now, including that of the lowest quintile (except for 2001-2003).

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/h03AR.html

I have provided this and other links to Census and Fed. data many times. It ain’t that tough, and it sure has more credibility than something like the Guardian or an old issue of the IHT.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Gee, Bithead, you like to call names and insult, but I don’t see you actually showing any knowledge of how things work
I know enough to know what you offer ain’t it, and what... and who... is deserving of my utter contempt. Guess who that might be? Mind, I have contempt for very few.
"two legs bad, four legs good" kind of world, eh?
Laughable, coming from someone who has never been able to bring himself to see any good in the right, who at the first sign of American military action, starts chanting the exact mantra that Blair was writing about.




 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Laughable, coming from someone who has never been able to bring himself to see any good in the right,
Not true. I’ve been voting GOP in Senatorial elections for the last ten years.

And my point still stands about the growing gap between rich and poor. We have a dwindling middle class. That’s one reason why this election was so dramatically for change!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Not true. I’ve been voting GOP in Senatorial elections for the last ten years.
Snowe?
She doesn’t qualify as the right, Erb.
Not even close. RINO is as close as it gets.

It’s not even a good try, Erb.
We have a dwindling middle class.
Whatever makes you feel good, Erb. Just don’t expect anyone else to buy in.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I have a feeling you’re going to get awfully lonely in your ’little tent,’ Bithead.

But whatever makes you feel good. As you can see, most of the country isn’t buying it. The times, they are a-changing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://scotterb.wordpress.com
But whatever makes you feel good. As you can see, most of the country isn’t buying it. The times, they are a-changing.
Wait until reality hits, erb.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
By the way,, Erb, since you seem so very confused, let’s have a look, by way of Stacy McCain, at the kind of change Obama’s voters wanted:
Rather, Obama succeeded by capitalizing on the kind of boundless Hope that prompted a Florida woman, Peggy Joseph, to her memorable declaration after a late-October campaign rally: "I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car; I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he’s gonna help me."

Such irrational expectations are inevitably followed by disillusionment. No prediction of what the next four years might bring is safer than this: The yawning gap between Hope and reality will produce a bumper crop of ex-Democrats.
Like I said... when reality hits....



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
The Fool Without A Name:
"... something about noses, faces, and spite"
It will be vindicative of those with working faculties to watch this blow up in your face. The retributive value of justice in action is all that’s left now.

You are dead wrong, and this will be proven, if not to you. There is solace to be taken from that because it validates the immutability of facts and the ability of the human mind to work with them.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I think Scott Erb would like a conservatism that has been de-balled. You know, a conservatism of "Uncle Daves" (after David Brooks) who will always be polite to Massa Lib’ral, and never, ever threaten the Plantation.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
Exactly, Billwick.
And a look at Bushes 41 and 43 and Mccain, will show where that leads. Exactly what the left wants.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us

 
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