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  1. #271
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    Or if you prefer time series:


  2. #272
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    This is a pretty good article from The Atlantic that I think many here could learn a bit from:

    Yes, Dan Mitchell, There Are Conservatives Worth Following on Twitter



    Writing in SF Weekly, Dan Mitchell argues that there are no conservatives or libertarians worth following on Twitter or other social-media platforms. "I've always been open to all sane, honest opinions, including from the right," he assures his readers, noting that he frequently read William Safire, William F. Buckley, George Will, James Kilpatrick, and Robert Novak in print, but that this new era just hasn't produced anyone on the right that isn't "nearly all nonsense" or "outright insane."

    I'm afraid I've seen these symptoms before: Mitchell is infected with an advanced case of epistemic closure, a condition described in the peer-reviewed Web journal JulianSanchez.com in 2010. Its spread to San Francisco is no surprise, given the conditions in which it thrives. Upon closer examination, it's clear that Mitchell himself was engaging in some very high risk behavior.

    As he put it:

    I see a lot more different kinds of stuff now than I did when all I had was print and broadcast news. That includes conservative opinion journalism. I see a lot more of it than I used to. The difference is that now, it's nearly all nonsense -- and that's when it's not outright insane. I don't see it by seeking it out, it just makes its way into my feed, usually when it's being made fun of by one of the normal, smart people I follow.

    Would you believe that I've conducted some research on this very subject? The conclusion I've reached is that liberals who tweet the most inane things conservatives say in order to highlight and ridicule them are not in fact disseminating a representative sample of conservative thought.

    Said Mitchell a bit farther on: "You might think someone like Erick Erickson might offer something of substance, at least sometimes, given that CNN decided he was worth that network's money and airtime." Yikes. Outsourcing your judgment about substance in political commentary to U.S. cable news executives is another major risk factor for acute epistemic closure.

    There's more.

    "I tried some libertarians such as the once-very-good Reason magazine and its writers and editors, but among their many other problems, they have allied themselves with the likes of John Stossel, who is about as big a buffoon as a person can be without actually putting on a clown suit," Mitchell writes. Perhaps its a mistake to write off the entire staff of a magazine whose work you respect because they're friendly with the only broadcaster in America friendly to their ideas?

    And finally, there's this:

    I tried David Frum, who to his credit is willing to disagree with his ideological cohorts -- even to the point of being labeled an apostate and cast out. But when it comes to it, he's just as much of a witless propagandist as any of them. The New York Times today published an astonishing report by Kurt Eichenwald revealing that the Bush administration was warned far more before 9/11 about an impending attack by al Qaeda than had been previously known. Frum responded with an appalling bit of hackwork that doesn't even really acknowledge Eichenwald's revelations -- whereupon I dumped Frum from my Facebook feed.

    Again, perhaps it's a mistake to cease reading a writer whose work you generally found worthwhile on the basis of any single blog post, even if it is actually flawed. On a wide array of subjects, David Frum writes with valuable insight. And while I have no opinion about the merits of the post linked above, surely his whole body of work isn't rendered valueless if he is biased in favor of the proposition that the president for whom he was formerly employed wasn't culpable for 9/11. There is hackery, and there is understandable bias. That is an example of the latter.

    Suppose for a moment that I'm wrong about Reason, its entire staff, and David Frum too*. I am nevertheless prepared to cure Mitchell of his epistemic closure. The medicine I hereby prescribe is disseminated via time-release capsules called Google Reader and TweetDeck, and includes conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals who don't all consider themselves conservatives, though my sharp diagnostic eye discerns that patient Mitchell would. I'll exclude folks who made their name in print, though George Will and David Brooks and Heather MacDonald and Peggy Noonan and Matt Labash and Andy Ferguson (despite his latest!) are all worth reading.

    Who else?

    Take a weekly dose of Ross Douthat with occasional supplements.

    Draw on Virginia Postrel's glamorous archive as needed.

    Don't miss Daniel Larison on foreign policy and domestic politics. Or Rod Dreher on culture, broadly construed. Or Michael Brendan Dougherty. Or Daniel McCarthy. Or much of the AmCon group blog. Noah Millman is stretching my loose definition of conservative or libertarian, but still.

    No one site can contain Reihan Salam, whose bandwidth surpasses us all, so go here, here, here, and for the old stuff, here.

    James Poulos can be enjoyed here and here.

    The whole gang at Outside the Beltway is recommended.

    Tim Carney's work on corporate cronyism is vital.

    David Boaz, Julian Sanchez, Gene Healy, and many others at Cato do important work.

    Radley Balko writes with impact on police and the criminal justice system.

    Megan McArdle has a new home.

    Alan Jacobs is a national treasure.

    Add Matt Lewis to the RSS.

    And if you don't think Eugene Volokh and Tyler Cowen are worth following you're a terminal case.

    I'm leaving out a lot of excellent writers whose work I enjoy tremendously. I know because my method was to scroll down through the people I follow on Google Reader and Twitter -- but here I am, only halfway through my lists, realizing that neither you nor I have the patience for an exhaustive accounting. And, of course, the conservatives and libertarians I follow aren't themselves an exhaustive list of quality, non-hackish commentary from a right-leaning perspective.

    Unfortunately, none of the people I've mentioned is as influential as, for example, Rush Limbaugh. That's a problem for the right, and especially for the conservative movement. But it in no way excuses liberals who erroneously conclude that folks outside their ideological camp are bereft of good arguments or valuable ideas.

  3. #273
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Or if you prefer time series:

    How is the calculated?
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #274
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    How is the calculated?
    I'm really not sure what you're asking for...

    It seems self-explanatory.

  5. #275
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    So labor participation has been dropping since 2000. I wonder what caused that.

    I think the real unemployment rate is much higher than 11%. I wouldn't be surprised if it was higher than 20%. Our economy is an rotten husk and I don't think any president can do anything about it. This country is going down the toilet regardless of who wins in November.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  6. #276
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    So labor participation has been dropping since 2000. I wonder what caused that.
    Yeah, I've been saying for a long time that America peaked in 1999-2000.

    And even that was due to a speculative bubble.

    In a lot of ways, since the 60s and 70s things have been getting bad.

    Our getting off Bretton Woods in '72, imo, is really a sign of globalization starting to kick our ass.

    Ever since, low-skilled labor has essentially stopped accruing any of the benefits of productivity gains...




    ...and inequality reversed its prior trend and has continuously gotten worse...



    ^ not the exact chart I was looking for, but it'll do

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I think the real unemployment rate is much higher than 11%. I wouldn't be surprised if it was higher than 20%.
    It depends on how you measure it.

    If you include people who are underemployed, I've seen upwards of 16%.

    I'm not sure whether that took into account the drop in the participation rate, either.

  7. #277
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    The Fed is on board:



    Bernanke saying what I said in posts 263 and 266.

    Also, if you read the title bar, and really the Fed's entire announcement today, it basically points to what Disco brought up in post 216.

    @reason and I have talked about this recently as well: looks like the Fed is getting on board with straight monetizing the debt.

    This is really the only solution I've been able to come up with as to how to optimally handle our situation.

    Funny thing is: first person I heard this from was a successful hedge fund manager. ~5 years ago.

    His line: "the only way out of this is to inflate our way out"

  8. #278
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    The Fed is on board:



    Bernanke saying what I said in posts 263 and 266.

    Also, if you read the scroll bar, and really the Fed's entire announcement today, it basically points to what Disco brought up in post 213.

    @reason and I have talked about this recently as well: looks like the Fed is getting on board with straight monetizing the debt.

    This is really the only solution I've been able to come up with as to how to optimally handle our situation.

    Funny thing is: first person I heard this from was a successful hedge fund manager ~5 years ago.

    Was gonna start a thread, but I've been busy as shit.

    Glad that they've tied the programs sunset to economic performance this time.

    I was talking about this a while ago with that podcast I posted.

  9. #279
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    The Fed's new policy does not monetise the debt. In fact, they're not even buying U.S. Treasuries, but rather mortgage-backed securities. In theory, this means fewer asset purchases, because mortgage-backed securities are worse substitutes for money. That is, aggregate demand will increase more for each dollar spent, and so the Fed will reach either its employment or inflation targets with fewer asset purchases. Perhaps more importantly, the Fed is finally managing expectations of the future path of monetary policy. If the market finds this new policy commitment credible, then in the coming months it will increase aggregate demand independent of the Fed's asset purchases. Why? Because credible expectations of higher aggregate demand in the future tend to increase aggregate demand in the present. One hopes that the Fed will be able o halt its asset purchases rather soon, because most of the heavy lifting, at it were, will be achieved by market expectations rather than brute monetary easing.

    How will this effect fiscal debt? Like everybody else, governments have been having more difficulties servicing debts during the recession and its lukewarm recovery. Higher aggregate demand just means more total nominal income and, in turn, more tax revenues. This will tend to ease the debt burdens of governments just like everybody else, because nominal income will rise relative to nominal debts.

    The long-term fiscal situation still looks rather bleak, because it is a systemic issue with the government. If the Fed really were monetising the debt, then it would have to commit to purchasing government debt come what may. That is, they would need to tolerate whatever level of inflation is necessary to "pay off" the debt, but they are not about to commit to such a policy any time soon. The current policy, if successful, will only offer temporary respite to the fiscal authorities, but it may also help return the nominal economy to a more stable path.

    Personally, I would prefer the Fed to commit to a nominal GDP level target, perhaps 3% each year with some catch up to compensate for the previous decline. This is not what the Fed is doing, but the new policy certainly seems like an improvement.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  10. #280
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    From The Daily Beast:

    Gallup Poll Revealing Distrust of Government Activism Could Help Romney

    A new Gallup poll reveals widespread distrust of activist government, particularly among independent voters. It’s a sentiment that could pave the way to a Romney victory, writes Michael Medved.

    In the midst of a blizzard of confusing and contradictory polls (“Romney sinks far behind Obama;” “The president quickly loses his convention bounce”; “The race remains essentially tied, as it has for six months”) one unheralded recent survey suggests a decisive issues edge that could determine the final electoral outcome.

    A Sept. 17 Gallup poll shows a commanding majority of Americans reject Barack Obama’s pitch that the people need a more activist government to solve the nation’s problems. By a margin of more than 2 to 1, the crucial independent voters say the government already tries to do too much. On a separate question, the representative sample of 1,017 adults shows an even bigger edge (6 to 1) for those who think the government wields too much power, as opposed to those who believe our elected officials and bureaucrats need even more.

    Gallup’s been asking these questions for 20 years and only three times did Americans express a preference for bigger government: in the fall of 1992, just before Bill Clinton’s first presidential victory, early in 1993, right after the ambitious young president took office, and in October 2001, in the dark, desperate days following the 9/11 terror attacks. In the last 11 years, the desire for an expanded government role otherwise never matched the enduring distaste for a bloated state apparatus, not even during the financial collapse at the end of the second Bush term.

    The careful wording of the question shows its power in exposing public attitudes:
    “Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your view?”

    In the overall sample, 54 percent said government does too much. Only 39 percent wanted a more muscular, helpful state leading us “forward”—only 5 percent said they felt unsure or undecided in their perspective. Among independents, 62 percent identified with the small government side and only 29 percent wanted government to do more. Even among self-identified Democrats, 24 percent thought the government already gets involved where it has no business getting involved—raising potential problems for the Obama program of more “investment” and regulation.

    Even more striking was the response to a related question: “Do you think the federal government today has too much power, has about the right amount of power, or has too little power?”

    Just 8 percent of Americans say they want a more powerful government—51 percent said the government already possesses too much clout. The percentage holding that elected and appointed officials enjoy too little authority and influence has never gone above 8 percent in the history of the poll.

    These attitudes, reflected in similar surveys by other public opinion organizations, show why President Obama remains so maddeningly vague about his agenda for a second term. Given the widespread dissatisfaction with current conditions (a sizable majority still sees the nation headed down the wrong track), he can’t simply offer more of the same, and the deep-seated distrust of an expanded government role suggests he’ll get scant traction by proposing sweeping new programs. Instead, he prefers to discuss Mitt Romney’s gaffes, tax returns, and purported inability to connect with ordinary Americans. He warns that Paul Ryan’s budget would devastate the middle class without laying out any scheme to assist a middle class already deeply devastated. The one concrete initiative he promotes most frequently involves raising taxes on the top 2 or 3 percent of income earners, without explaining how the extra money thereby secured (which amounts to less than 8 percent of the current yearly deficit, according to the administration’s own figures) would actually improve conditions for citizens of more modest means.

    Rather than challenging the powerful public inclination against more expansive, activist government, President Obama deploys the rhetoric of compassion and assures voters in the most general terms that he will protect their interests and solve their problems. But doesn’t a president offering to “solve the nation’s problems” pledge precisely the sort of larger government role that most people—and huge majorities of independent voters—emphatically reject?

    No wonder that Democrats spend their energy demonizing cruel, uncaring Republicans and suggesting that greedy tycoons like Mitt Romney (who, by the way, gave 30 percent of his gross income to charity last year) want to leave the less fortunate “on their own.”

    In the upcoming debates, the challenge for Romney will be to force the president to get specific about how he intends to express the compassion he so frequently evokes—especially after four years in which poverty went up and middle class incomes declined sharply. The most important aspect of any presidency isn’t what the chief executive feels, it’s what he does. Doesn’t all Obama’s fine talk about lifting the downtrodden and protecting the vulnerable amount to the expansion of government that most Americans fear?

    They feel that fear for a reason, since the more power exercised by government the less power and—autonomy—enjoyed by individual citizens. It’s no accident that we call our great national holiday “Independence Day”—Americans have always cherished independence, not just for the nation but for ourselves. The opposite of independence is dependence.

    Rather than speaking about the 47 percent who pay no federal income tax (as he did, fatuously) Romney should highlight the one-third of all Americans (some 110 million of us) who now live in households that receive some form of federal welfare check—not including Social Security and Medicare, which are widely understood as pension programs to which working people contributed. Most of those who receive such benefits from Washington would, of course, prefer to stand on their own and to make progress in the free market—a fact that the candidate must emphatically acknowledge. He used a far better line on Friday than he has employed previously, promising that “in my administration, we’ll measure progress not by how many people get on food stamps, but how many people get off food stamps.” It’s not just the comfortable and the conservative who value the idea of independence.

    In the climactic weeks of a ferociously competitive campaign, President Obama seems to enjoy a slight but consistent lead in most swing states but Governor Romney retains a huge advantage on the key issue of spending, prosperity, and the size of government. He doesn’t need to convince people that growing government is a bad idea. He merely needs to drive home the point that this sort of expansion has already occurred in Obama’s first four years, with vastly more intricate and intrusive regulation and spending in every corner of the economy, and there’s much more on the way if there’s a second term.

    The simple question Romney must frame for the conclusion of this contest isn’t the Ronald Reagan formulation of “are you better off than you were four years ago?” It’s both deeper—and more decisive. The real choice is, do you want a government that’s bigger, more powerful, and more expensive, that tries to take on more tasks than ever before, in the name of addressing the nation’s challenges?

    Fortunately for the Republicans, a clear consensus has already emerged on this issue, with the American people answering—strongly—in the negative.

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