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1  General Politics / Economics / Re: More evidence on the advantages of universal benefits (cc: Torie) on: June 25, 2017, 07:55:30 pm
Going the universal route rather than means testing, is a very expensive way...

Er... no. Universal benefits are pretty much always considerably cheaper than targeted benefits, even if the payments are set at the same level. Sometimes even if the universal ones are more generous. Why? Administrative costs. Means testing is expensive and often frankly uneconomic.

Shockingly, things become cheaper to administer per-person when there is no need to screen beneficiaries. Ensuring that redistribution takes place with universal benefits is incredibly easy, merely requiring shifting the tax code in one way or another and, when this is done, money is saved.

How much cheaper?  And is there a way to finesse the issue of those who want to use their own money to get better service, or a doctor they like better, even if more expensive, which they pay for as to the added expense with their own funds?  What I am getting at, is that I don't like one provider for anything. I want choices, and want folks to want to please me to keep my business. When I face a cold unitary bureaucratic facade, where I feel powerless, I tend to get hostile. Which is why I understand why many of those who feel powerless  about most aspect of their lives, often feel angry. It is just so degrading. It's horrible.

Er, you could grant universal benefits to people while also granting them choice, no one claimed that we need to copy the NHS...
2  General Politics / Economics / Re: More evidence on the advantages of universal benefits (cc: Torie) on: June 25, 2017, 05:15:33 pm
Going the universal route rather than means testing, is a very expensive way...

Er... no. Universal benefits are pretty much always considerably cheaper than targeted benefits, even if the payments are set at the same level. Sometimes even if the universal ones are more generous. Why? Administrative costs. Means testing is expensive and often frankly uneconomic.

Shockingly, things become cheaper to administer per-person when there is no need to screen beneficiaries. Ensuring that redistribution takes place with universal benefits is incredibly easy, merely requiring shifting the tax code in one way or another and, when this is done, money is saved.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Atlantic: How Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration on: June 24, 2017, 12:41:41 pm
If Democrats moved sharply to the right on immigration, as requested by Beinart, and maintained their current stance on economic issues, I'd probably stop voting. Why would I vote for a hawkish, neo-liberal party that also panders to the racist right on immigration? I could not bring myself to vote for CEOs who talked about "controlling our borders", I'd rather die than do something so undignified.

Beinart supported the War in Iraq. I'd suggest that his ability to prognosticate is very limited and that his intellectual capabilities aren't very impressive either or, worse, he's very intellectual dishonest. I'm far from an expert on the economics of immigration - I'm barely a dilettante - but many of his statements are opinion posing as fact or conventional wisdom. Many labor economists would dispute his claims about the affects of immigration on the wages of the low-skilled/native-born - the conventional wisdom that Beinart portrays simply isn't present and quoting Krugman - a trade specialist - and Borjas - a very controversial figure to say the least - does not lend much credence to his claims.

It's fine for Beinart to inveigh against the accepted wisdom within the professional class in the US that immigration is good, beautiful and so on but he'd be better off making the case that we simply aren't honest enough about the difficulties associated with diversity and tolerance rather than arguing that immigrants strain the welfare state - they don't, that's nonsense - or that low-skill immigrants saddle the economy - has he looked at the manner in which housing prices are skyrocketing and the problems facing farmers in California? Immigration generates tremendous economic benefits. This is inarguable, it is settled science, it is a fact comprehensible by 7 year olds etc. The question is how we use these benefits; we have failed miserably to put them to good use but this is not an argument against immigration, it is an argument against the failed centrist dickheads who control the Democratic Party and the reactionary troglodytes on the right.

Immigrant led families absolutely strain the welfare system. The claim that they don't is based on the fact that children of immigrant led families are often citizens but they wouldn't be citizens if their parents weren't allowed to immigrate either legally or illegally in the first place.

Also, why are you bringing up the housing crisis? That's counter intuitive. There's a housing crisis because of immigration. If there were less people, the price of housing would go down. That's not even economics, that's just basic math.

Well, what is the "welfare system"? If we use a very restricted notion of the welfare system that only encompasses benefits for prime-age workers/residents, you'd be correct, but these benefits are pretty miniscule and, frankly, compose a pretty insignificant share of federal/state outlays. The "real" outlays go to the elderly and immigrants, without question, help us maintain SS/Medicare and, more importantly, push down the cost of elderly care, healthcare costs etc. If you look at the budget and ignore second-order effects, I'm sure that you can produce a result that shows that immigration isn't fiscally prudent but this isn't economics. It's the work of fools. Immigrants can be treated as factors in production processes that generate output which composes the economy and that, in turn, is taxed along the way. It's hard to estimate the degree to which immigration fosters this process, which is why it's easy for people to believe in misconceptions that you promote, but the effects are real and inarguable.

Economics is counter-intuitive: yes, immigrants need housing but if they disproportionately are a factor in the production of housing, they actually push housing costs down. Simultaneously, if you haven't noticed, demand from immigrants for housing is reduced relative to native-born Americans. You are the one who is uneducated on these topics.

For sociological reasons, I'm willing to consider constraining immigration but, there isn't an economic argument against immigration. If you want to expand output, both in the US and abroad, the best thing you can do is to expand immigration. The "quality of life" outcomes can be debated, the effects on politics of immigration can be nasty and we can discuss these things but the arguments you are making are wrong.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Atlantic: How Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration on: June 24, 2017, 12:30:01 pm
After looking up income inequality data and immigration data I simply could not find a chart with both sets of data put together to really see how they changed in relation to each other over time. So I had to use the raw data and put together my own chart.



http://imgur.com/a/YZdWq

While I do agree with Democrats over issues like tax rates and the decline in labor unions on their impact on income inequality, they simply refuse to bring up the issue of immigration on income inequality.

Edit: Is there a reason that imgur pictures don't show up?

http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Atlantic: How Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration on: June 22, 2017, 08:35:26 pm
I'd venture a guess that the vast majority of people wish poverty didn't exist, but the real issue is how to address it and how much of our resources to devote to fixing it. Given the way the world is, there has to be limits. Further, it's not even like the entire country wants to fix everyone else's problems. Sure, you can disagree with them, but you must strike a balance. You can't just ignore their wishes entirely. It is their country too, and those that wish for America to play a limited role are no small bunch.

It's one thing to deport those here already and another to further lock down the borders and prevent a situation in the future where we have another 10 - 12 million undocumented immigrants. The idea that that we can have some sort of border security, but then say, "well, if they manage to sneak in, they can stay" seems kind of ridiculous. Give the people already here at this current point in time citizenship, and work to prevent a similar situation in the future.

It honestly perplexes me how this isn't the viewpoint of 90% of people.

It is the viewpoint of 90% of people...
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Atlantic: How Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration on: June 22, 2017, 08:05:14 pm
If Democrats moved sharply to the right on immigration, as requested by Beinart, and maintained their current stance on economic issues, I'd probably stop voting. Why would I vote for a hawkish, neo-liberal party that also panders to the racist right on immigration? I could not bring myself to vote for CEOs who talked about "controlling our borders", I'd rather die than do something so undignified.

Beinart supported the War in Iraq. I'd suggest that his ability to prognosticate is very limited and that his intellectual capabilities aren't very impressive either or, worse, he's very intellectual dishonest. I'm far from an expert on the economics of immigration - I'm barely a dilettante - but many of his statements are opinion posing as fact or conventional wisdom. Many labor economists would dispute his claims about the affects of immigration on the wages of the low-skilled/native-born - the conventional wisdom that Beinart portrays simply isn't present and quoting Krugman - a trade specialist - and Borjas - a very controversial figure to say the least - does not lend much credence to his claims.

It's fine for Beinart to inveigh against the accepted wisdom within the professional class in the US that immigration is good, beautiful and so on but he'd be better off making the case that we simply aren't honest enough about the difficulties associated with diversity and tolerance rather than arguing that immigrants strain the welfare state - they don't, that's nonsense - or that low-skill immigrants saddle the economy - has he looked at the manner in which housing prices are skyrocketing and the problems facing farmers in California? Immigration generates tremendous economic benefits. This is inarguable, it is settled science, it is a fact comprehensible by 7 year olds etc. The question is how we use these benefits; we have failed miserably to put them to good use but this is not an argument against immigration, it is an argument against the failed centrist dickheads who control the Democratic Party and the reactionary troglodytes on the right.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Atlantic: How Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration on: June 22, 2017, 07:52:04 pm
The tragic thing about the Democrats on immigration is that they somehow ran a campaign in 2016 which inspired both anti-immigration swing voters and pro-immigration portions of their base to believe that the party supports open borders and believes that deportations are always immoral.

This is odd enough in itself, but it becomes downright surreal when poised against their outgoing president’s record, which involved millions of deportations and demonstrated a much stronger interest in creating refugees than in hosting them. (How is that for Obama’s inspiring moral leadership?)

Hispanics don't believe that the party supports open borders nor do they believe that the party thinks that deportations are always immoral. White liberals might think this but they don't matter because they'd vote for Democrats even if they droned every Mexican in the US. Immigrants and their children, particularly those who are younger and in their 20s, moved sharply towards Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein for a reason.
8  General Politics / Economics / Re: Will someone teach me the basics of economics? on: June 13, 2017, 05:54:39 pm
I'm not sure why the old bromide that economics is just "common sense" continues to be used when that's clearly not the case considering the inordinate math demands placed upon aspiring economists. To the laymen who has taken econ 101, this statement makes a great degree of sense but it makes no sense to me because I've encountered graduate-level econ, which is totally detached from what they teach you at the undergraduate level.

If I have pointers, they are as follows:
1. recognize that outside of banal and straightforward theories that are understood by 3rd graders (higher prices -> less quantity of a good demanded by a consumer) that economic theory consists of a series of interpretative devices that help you make sense of the world. they do not describe the world, they help you understand it. do not try to cite economic theories when arguing for or against something. do not do this: micro/macro theorists know nothing about the world, they simply know how to make models that could prove to be useful in understanding the world. if you recognize this, you will have taken away what i see as the purpose of the field. economics at the undergraduate level can provide students with a set of tools/mindset that allow them to "think like an economist".
2. if you want to understand recessions, do not take economics courses. the average person thinks that economists can explain why recessions occur or can predict them and can give a great deal of insight into how they should be addressed. the former is nonsense, economists tend to treat recessions as short-run fluctuations rather than as events that are part of some cycle. the latter is true but it's critical to recognize that short-run macroeconomic policymaking can be based on, as stated above, many different lenses. if you take an international macroeconomics or international economics course, you'll learn that the flow of capital and goods between countries can explain recessions and ought to guide the response to recessions and this might point in the direction of pursuing deflationary policies that would never be prescribed in the classroom by a professor teaching an undergraduate macro course, which deals with closed economies.

Of course, the above post relates to the field of economics, which is, without question, a social scientific field of study that has practitioners in high places and powerful methodologies/tools. The above post bears little relation to the economy. If you want to understand "the Wealth of Nations", and the traditionally outsized questions of political economy, I recommend reading a lot of economic history books, history books in general, anthropological studies of trade etc. The economy is a subject studied by many fields and there are many authors who write about the economy who aren't economists. Some of these authors have more profound things to say about the economy than the vast majority of economists.

Some examples of topics that are poorly understood/researched by economists:
-the role of the household/"household economics". Much of economic life is governed by non-market forces of the family/kinship groups. In the past, the household was the economy(hence the term, which is derived from the term "oikos", greek for household). Economists lack the tools to discuss or research household management, deliberation etc. Becker did a fine job at proposing an Econ-type way of studying these issues and his "shadow price of children" model of fertility is excellent but, look, there's a lot to be desired here.
-more generally, economics are good at fashioning terms that describe causal factors + variables that govern how we marshal our resources and make choices as individuals but they don't even pretend to be able to explain why these factors/variables matter. as an example, economists will use the term "moving costs" to describe both the intangible/tangible factors that prevent people from seamlessly moving from one place to another in search of better living standards + jobs. that's fine when constructing a model but it doesn't really help us understand immigration/migration.

I've probably made a fool out of myself here but ag isn't around anymore so w/e.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: June 02, 2017, 05:03:19 pm
Maybe this makes me crazy but the idea that this would move anyone's vote strikes me as wishful thinking on the part of the right, unless Trident is some sort of Shibboleth for something else, I fail to see why the refusal to commit a "tit for tat" policy of murdering millions of innocents is scandalous, particularly considering that the Cold War ended 25 years ago.

So, I watched a clip of the entirety of this exchange. A woman interjected that "I don't understand why many in this audience are so keen on murdering millions of people" and received enthusiastic/excited applause for saying this. The year is not 1987, it's not a salient or relevant question and, frankly, if you are concerned about this, I'd suggest that you're a sadist and a sick freak.
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: June 02, 2017, 04:55:48 pm
Corbyn won't retaliate to a nuclear attack that isn't going to happen? outrageous!

Things can change a lot in 5 years. People deserve to know that if we are attacked, we are not just gonna sit back.

yea man, i'm sure that the irradiated zombies living in the rubble of post-nuke london would be primarily concerned about britain's ability to incinerate moscow or pyongyang and not about the fact that they are  dying a horrible death.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: June 02, 2017, 04:53:07 pm
Maybe this makes me crazy but the idea that this would move anyone's vote strikes me as wishful thinking on the part of the right, unless Trident is some sort of Shibboleth for something else, I fail to see why the refusal to commit a "tit for tat" policy of murdering millions of innocents is scandalous, particularly considering that the Cold War ended 25 years ago.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: June 02, 2017, 04:33:32 pm
Tonight's BBC debate was one of the best in this campaign..
May struggled in social care.. and Corbyn was destroyed in Trident...

Jeremy Corbyn is asked about Trident

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWt3rS27vzY

"Would you nuke another country?"

"No, you sick freak."

wow owned
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: May 31, 2017, 12:19:44 pm
Regarding the Survation poll of Jewish voters... polls of specific minorities are problematic. Particularly when the minority is diverse, not very concentrated and quite small. I suspect the sort of figures Survation showed in 2015 and this survey are about right for people who are at least technically Orthodox, subscribe to the JC and are at least vaguely involved in community organisations (which is hardly a coincidence as unless their methodology has changed then that's basically the only people they're polling anyway). Not uninteresting,* but, as I said, obviously problematic as one of the main political dividing lines in British Jewry has always been Orthodox/Secular (note for Americans: in Britain the former are the majority, not a relatively small minority). Some attempts by other firms have been made in the past for a much broader sample, but I'd guess that'd either be crazy expensive or heading deep into voodoo territory. There have been similar issues with e.g. surveys of Sikhs etc. Not that there's much doubt that Corbyn-as-Leader is not great news for Labour candidates in certain constituencies.

*But in the same way that e.g. specific surveys of regular Anglican churchgoers - which are sometimes wheeled out during elections as well - are.

Interestingly, the JC released a survey of Jewish voters in 2010 that showed Labour with 30% of the Jewish vote. Presumably, this was a much stronger and robust survey that took more secular voters into account. It's unfortunate that JC dropped the ball here because it would have been very interesting to have some vague idea of how Corbyn has been received by Jewish Labour voters. Is he driving them away from the party or are they willing to hold their nose?

I guess we'll never really know because secular Jews aren't concentrated in particular neighborhoods in the manner that orthodox Jews are.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: May 29, 2017, 09:27:39 am
Breitbart is not antisemitic.

Corbyn, in many respects, is an unpleasant man and he's clearly a bumbling fool but it's pretty hard to argue that he doesn't have the right intentions or that he doesn't care for the welfare of people. He's clearly not someone who approves of violence and the right's insistence that this is the case comes across as hysterical and deranged.
He doubtlessly cares about the welfare of his people, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Hugo Chavez probably cared about his people too. As for Corbyn not being someone who approves of violence, surely you could see why some think that him speaking of his "friends of Hamas and Hezbollah" suggests otherwise?

My argument is that the right's anti-Corbyn isn't persuasive, not that Corbyn is Good (he is not) or that he's anywhere near my first choice. You'll have a hard time convincing anyone that he approves of Hamas or Hezbollah and their atrocities. A much more credible criticism is that he's a dunce who doesn't understand basic facts about the organizations and, thus, should not be PM.
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: CNN: 7th-grader gets 'Most Likely to Become a Terrorist' Award on: May 29, 2017, 07:42:53 am
I don't think that this is an example of racism so much as it is an example of low standards and incompetence in a non-white school where 3 quarters of the students are poor or working class as demonstrated by the fact that only 23% of the students are ineligible for free or reduced school lunches.

This is very unacceptable behavior and it points to systemic problems at this school district.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: May 29, 2017, 07:24:55 am
The smears of Corbyn amount to re-stating that he's on the "hard left" of the Labour Party. I'm not fond of the hard left and I think many of his actions were distasteful but nothing he's done crosses the boundary that lies between being a useful idiot and being actively malicious. The problem of the right is that, as of late, has decided that portraying him as a shadowy and malicious figure is a better tactic than portraying him as a bumbling simpleton. The latter portrayal is accurate and believable. The former portrayal is not.

Corbyn, in many respects, is an unpleasant man and he's clearly a bumbling fool but it's pretty hard to argue that he doesn't have the right intentions or that he doesn't care for the welfare of people. He's clearly not someone who approves of violence and the right's insistence that this is the case comes across as hysterical and deranged.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: When you knew Trump would win... on: May 27, 2017, 01:43:32 am
After FL was called and the OH early vote came in and only showed a narrow Clinton win, my gut told me that it was over. I had a "dark night of the soul" after this (yes, I cried, one of my parents is a Mexican immigrant, would you expect me to act differently?), though it was a cakewalk in comparison with the following month, where I might as well have been the walking dead. That night broke my heart and will forever be etched in stone as a point in my life when I stopped believing in the inherent goodness of people.

Interestingly, I'm far less unhinged than most liberals at this point and don't feel much personal animus towards Trump these days. This, I think, is the part of me that died. I have no expectations of our political class or, more specifically, the right. I see them as depraved locusts and expect them to act accordingly. It's hard to feel angry at a locust for behaving like a locust. It's part of their nature.

It's quite easy to be on the right and read a post like mine and scoff "snowflake" but, at some level, my tears related to the demise of my belief in the idea that norms of civility, respect for others and rules of decorum meant anything to anyone. There's nothing edifying about our political context. It's disgusting, nasty, toxic and abhorrent to anyone who isn't a manchild. Even the "victors" haven't won anything. You've won paranoia and a siege mentality that mirrors the paranoia and siege mentality of liberals/the left. We all lost on November 8th. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves.
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: May 26, 2017, 05:11:47 pm
Have the IRA hot take artists considered that the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer has the surname "McDonnell"? There's a very substantial number of people in Britain who have Irish ancestry or who are Catholic and they tend to be Labour voters. With this in mind, the idea that this issue is going to destroy Labour in its heartlands is very strange to me.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: MT - AL (May 25) Predictions Thread on: May 26, 2017, 02:32:12 am
Lol@the trolls' and Democrats' obsession with calling Gianforte a New Jerseyan. Other than the fact that it's not even true anymore (he moved to Montana 20 years ago) and completely irrelevant, it's like they're talking about nothing else anymore and giving Gianforte the opportunity to cast himself as the outsider in this race. No one cares.

Er, that's the point of the attack, Gianforte is an outsider in the sense that he's not a Montanan. This actually matters a great deal. Unlike, say, Idaho, Montana hasn't had the sort of out of state migration that has meant that a city like Billings is filled with non-natives who dominate the state. Montana is very insular and it's a state with a very particular political culture.

The reason why Democrats focus on public lands is straightforward: it highlights how Gianforte isn't a Montanan. No one from the West fully recognizes how seriously people out here take the idea of public access to streams/lakes. It's seen as an entitlement. Whenever the rich block access - fairly common - it's anathema to basic sentiment of the region.


With this in mind, here is my prediction:

Gianforte 53%
Quist 45%

Quist, as it turns out, is a very flawed candidate. However, I'm looking forward to Gianforte losing like a dog in 2018!

as it turns out, this was a pretty solid prediction! let's hope gianforte loses in 2018 also.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: THE ORB on: May 21, 2017, 07:22:14 pm
I don't think backing the Saudis over Iran is necessarily such a silly, wrongheaded policy (clearly a (((globalist)))), but fraternizing with them like this is just pathetic and unnecessary.

I don't think it's (((globalist))), it may be [[[globalist]]] or <<<globalist>>>.

it is a long-standing (((globalist))) stance to prefer saudi arabia to iran.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump approval ratings thread 2.0 on: May 21, 2017, 06:46:34 pm
CBS/YouGov poll of adults:

I am a strong Trump supporter, period - 19%
I am a Trump supporter, but to keep my support, he has to deliver what I want - 22%
I am against Trump now, but could reconsider him if he does a good job - 19%
I am strongly against Trump, period - 40%

Not exactly an approval poll, but if you grouped the people who say they support him and those who are against him, it's 41/59.

Also, deporting illegal immigrants and banning Muslims are more important to Trump supporters than cutting taxes.

And job creation is vastly more important to Trump supporters than either of those issues...
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Al Green threatened with lynching for saying Trump should be impeached on: May 21, 2017, 05:14:05 pm

bro people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones: if you whine like a lil b when people point out that you look like gollum of lotr maybe you shouldn't compare black people to apes??
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Al Green threatened with lynching for saying Trump should be impeached on: May 21, 2017, 04:14:47 pm
...

classic "reformed" white nationalist sanchez!
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Pew: 1/6 newlyweds are married to someone of a different race/ethnicity on: May 21, 2017, 03:50:45 pm
Whites and hispanics intermarrying is no surprise.  It's only the forces of the hard left that want to see Hispanics kept in a box.

Further proof that white Hispanics are no more of a minority group than Italians are.  In 30 years, society will probably see it that way (technically, America is actually getting whiter with each passing day).

And yet the candidate that you voted for insisted that Mexicans, who identify as "white Hispanics" on the census, are rapists, criminals and good-for-nothing. We aren't going to be forgetting this treatment anytime soon.

I'm half-white and half-Mexican. Society does not see me as white, I do not see myself as white etc. Maybe this will change at some point but I'll never forget that those who loved the Republican Party always put me in the beaner box. There's hundreds of thousands of other Mexicans like me.
25  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Pew: 1/6 newlyweds are married to someone of a different race/ethnicity on: May 21, 2017, 03:47:51 pm
Whites and hispanics intermarrying is no surprise.  It's only the forces of the hard left that want to see Hispanics kept in a box.

The President of the United States ran a campaign founded on putting Hispanics in a box and pummeling them. Those who insist on making the inclusion and integration of Hispanic immigrant communities in the United States into a political issue are Republicans.
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