Scenes from the class war

The Gospel takes away our right forever to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.”

“Does it surprise you that a disproportionate amount of rich people are dicks?”

“I think I have a little more empathy than Mitt Romney had.”

“And Republicans wonder why people think Republicans don’t care about the poor.”

The 2013 Housing Wage is $18.79, exceeding the $14.32 hourly wage earned by the average renter by almost $4.50 an hour, and greatly exceeding wages earned by low income renter households.”

“So Bachmann yet again earns Four Pinocchios. But there really aren’t enough Pinocchios for such misleading use of statistics in a major speech.”

“The Republican Study Committee budget would delay eligibility for Medicare and Social Security benefits to age 70, while calculating cost-of-living adjustments using chained CPI, which cuts benefits by $1300 a year for each recipient.”

“A Republican Congressman on the House Budget Committee whose car dealership has at least $2.5 million in debts insisted on Wednesday that companies and individuals must balance their budgets ‘every single day.'”

“Many politicians who advocate for cuts to vital programs and a dangerous Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution use the argument that government needs to live with in its means because everyone else does — but have debt of their own.”

“The budget will be balanced, if Ryan gets his way, through a campaign of thoroughgoing class warfare aimed at Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution in order to protect the interests of a small, high-income minority.”

“This is the moment to pass a big tax cut for employers who hire new workers, to rebuild our infrastructure at bargain- basement rates, and to help state and local governments reverse the deep cuts they’ve made in recent years. It’s not the moment to begin sequestration.”

“Senate Republicans will refuse to allow a vote until after Democrats agree to weaken consumer-protection laws.”

“Usury — specifically usury that is legal — is a rather important issue of fundamental fairness and justice that simply has not received the amount of attention and active emphasis that it is owed.”

“We said all that you can do is kill us. What else can you do? We’re not afraid of you.”

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  • TheBrett

    To be fair to the Car Dealership Republican, it could be that his business has taken on a fair amount of debt because he’s pushing it through an expansion, and needed to borrow money to do it. Still a bit hypothetical, but more understandable.

  • Lori

    Even if Car Dealership Republican took on business debt for a very good reason he’s still a hypocritical moron. Contrary to what wingers try to tell us, government debt can also be taken on for good reasons. Taking on debt to invest in infrastructure is basically the government version of a business taking on debt to expand.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think that for some moneyed interests, the government expanding is what they want to avoid.

    After all, to them the government is competition.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    That actually makes it worse, IMO. It demonstrates that the moron knows that you HAVE to SPEND money to MAKE money.

  • Random_Lurker

    Especially true of governments, who literally pay themselves (with a delayed return, admittedly) thanks to taxes..

  • Albanaeon

    There’s also the fact that we have a fiat currency and any government debt or surplus is just some numbers on a spread sheet. The sooner we realize that money is just a way of representing the will of a government, the sooner a whole range of imaginary (whose effects are real) problems go away and we can get things moving in the right direction again.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That was the primary argument of Robert A. Heinlein’s For Us, the Living, an excuse-plot short story designed to demonstrate the potential of an economic system wherein everyone is granted enough money to cover all their basic needs, meaning that employers must provide a better incentive to work than “or else you’ll die” (which means that employees are guaranteed far better wages and working conditions, as they always have the option to tell such employers to shove it without dooming themselves in the process).

    My main concern with the idea is that it seems like it would have some repercussions where international trading is concerned. What is the exchange rate for infinite monies to finite monies? Or do we assume that if one nation embraces this, they all follow suit? At the time Heinlein wrote For Us, the Living (1938), the United States was practicing isolationism and the global market wasn’t really a thing, so he never addressed these possible ramifications of his idea, and I haven’t seen anyone else do so either, making the imaginary money solution potentially nonviable.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    There can be consequences to over printing money, which is why the proposition must be approached with caution(and a more functional government than the one we have at the moment).

    This website has got the best collection of posts I’ve ever found on Modern Monetary Theory, which expounds on the possibilities and risks of fiat money.

    http://www.correntewire.com/search/site/MMT

  • Albanaeon

    This isn’t a prescription for infinite money and there are serious constraints in making sure that there’s not too much money chasing too few goods, but recognizing artificial restraints as artificial is important. We are having deficit reduction on this idea that we can run out of money, which we can’t. We are also laboring under the massive amounts of money the rich have offshore and in the stock market are good, when since they’ve more or less removed all that money from the economy as a whole, its terrible. We’re terrified of inflation due to decades of propaganda when it probably a good idea for a modest inflation considering the amount of debt the public holds (if inflation increases wages and the amount of debt you hold remains steady, it becomes easier to pay off that debt). And this all comes down to recognizing “money” as the instrument of a government’s will. If it were devoted to solving some of the real problems our society has, funding the policies that put money in people’s pockets and ceasing policies that hurt it would work. (ps I don’t know why Discus is not letting me make separate paragraphs right now. Sorry.)

  • hf

    International trading doesn’t seem like the main problem here.

    In any case, under the current system we recently saw something like US $14 trillion dollars in digital money (1.4 x 10^13) disappear because it originally came from the housing bubble. This led to a decrease in yearly demand of I think $1.3 trillion.

    Theoretically, we could just print money and give it to people (or hire the unemployed to fix our broken infrastructure) if we stop people from printing that money via bubbles the way they do now. For example, we could institute a marginal tax rate of 90%, kicking in after ten times the US median household income, on money earned from an investment bubble. This could be retroactive to the passage of the law. I’d also like to see a cumulative marginal tax on income made while one’s organization was heading for bankruptcy or government bailout.

    Should we decide that we want the money to disappear, like it did after the bubbles, we can start taxing people with poor business connections and anyone who can’t understand math (then burn/delete the money). This would have the same effect as what we have now.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I yield to the superior knowledge of those with a better grasp of economy than myself. XD

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Space Marine Becka

    The idea is called the citizen’s income and I think the UK green party make a good argument for it here http://younggreens.greenparty.org.uk/AboutUs/Policy/CitizensIncome

    As does this article here http://www.latentexistence.me.uk/why-does-everyone-have-to-work/

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hey! *wavewave* Why “Space Marine”? :)

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Space Marine Becka

    Did you hear about the Games Workshop Space Marine Trademark debacle? I’m a fan (and friend as it happens) of the author who’s book they got pulled from Amazon. Even after the book got reinstated after the EFF got involved a bunch of us are still Space Marines on Twitter and I use my Twitter profile to comment.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Cool. :) I didn’t know that. The asininity of some companies, I tell you. (>_<)

  • VMink

    Oh, so THAT’S what ‘Space Marine’ is about! I saw Ursula Vernon carrying that Twitter handle and I was wondering about it.

    In case you’re curious, the name of the book is Spots the Space Marine, and it’s actually a pretty good read.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Space Marine Becka

    It’s a really good read. :-)

  • Lorehead

    This really has nothing to do with printing money. Giving people a minimum income costs money; you can fund that program in any of the ways you could fund any program. You could fund it through taxation. You could fund it through borrowing. You could fund it by creating money and using it to buy food for the poor rather than bonds. Each of these ideas has its disadvantages, some worse than others. That’s a totally separate issue from whether we should have a minimum income.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    While agreeing with that Wonkette article’s general thesis, I do take exception to some of the elements in it. Yes, rich people on average donate a smaller portion of their income than poor people, I do not dispute that. However, rich people also have a much larger income than poor people, and in absolute terms may well donate a lot more money on an individual basis, even if it is smaller terms relative to their income. I recall (possibly apocryphally) of Bill Gates sometimes saying that he was making more money than he could effectively give away (and this is a guy who now works full-time running an organization dedicated to giving away that money to various causes, eradicating polio from third world countries being a big one.) I am certainly not going to call him uncharitable for that, because the charity he is giving is still a heck of a lot and is being used effectively.

    As for the other elements, how rich donate to various causes based on their personal interest rather than wider social need, I also do not contest that assertion. However, someone has to keep things like art studios and universities well funded and equipped. Those things might not be as critical, but they are culturally valuable and worth preserving That said, it is no excuse for them to not contribute to actual necessary and pressing issues, usually through the form of taxation.

  • smrnda

    I attended a large research university that got lots of donations from rich alums. Most of the money got poured into the computer science department as they tended to pull in the most $$$.

    However, this ‘charity’ basically benefited people like myself; children from upper-middle class households who were going to get good educations through the high school level, whose parents could pay the tuition (pretty steep even with financial aid, and don’t even think you can survive competitive programs if you have to work 20 hours a week to pay your rent.)

    Yeah, it’s doing some good. It probably even benefits poor people since we all benefit from new technology.

    I also love the arts. It’s nice when I see someone donating 50,000 to an art gallery or theater. But hey, if there’s enough money for that, there ought to be enough money to make sure there aren’t hungry kids in this country.

    The other thing is rich people get to itemize deductions and poor people don’t, so every cent they ‘donate’ is a cent less they pay in taxes.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Fair enough. As a college student, I donated about $200 per year to one of the community college’s student clubs that I helped co-found. In accordance with the bylaws that govern all student clubs, all donations had to have tax-deductible receipts, which we gave out with each donation.

    However, I did not make enough money to actually pass the threshold that qualified me for those deductions. I am glad that the club got the money, but I feel like the government was telling me, “No, don’t donate, just be selfish” with the way the incentive structure worked.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah. I don’t even qualify for the tax credits for charitable/political donations, so even though some of the money I send in to the CCPA and the NDP qualify, I don’t even bother putting them on my tax forms.

    I can, in theory, carry the deductions forward but it’s worth so little at the end of the day it really won’t matter until my income doubles.

  • Mark Z.

    The other thing is rich people get to itemize deductions and poor people don’t, so every cent they ‘donate’ is a cent less they pay in taxes.

    No, it’s not. Every dollar they donate is, like, thirty cents less they pay in tax. It’s a deduction, not a credit. They would end up with more money if they just paid the tax.

    (And the reason the poor “don’t get to” itemize deductions is that they’re already allowed to deduct more than that.)

  • smrnda

    Thanks. I am obviously not an accountant :-)

  • Lori

    I’m also not going to call Bill Gates uncharitable. However, I don’t think the quality-control issues faced by the world’s 2nd richest person have much to say about the general giving habits of the wealthy.

    As yes, someone needs to support the arts, but there’s a “however” here too. One of the reasons the arts are so dependent on big bucks donors is that those same rich folks block any attempt to spend a reasonable amount of public money on the arts. They like the control and prestige they get from the current system, plus it allows them to benefit via tax breaks and self-dealing disguised as charity.

  • gpike

    As an actual functioning artist (the kind who draws pictures!) and a friend of many other artists, I can only laugh at this idea of “the arts”. As if any of us actually see any money from the money rich people put into “the arts”. If people want to support “the arts” they should BUY ART FROM ARTISTS or donate directly to their local theatre/symphony group or whatever.
    I seriously don’t believe I’ll ever be able to make a living from doing art – I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t HAVE to – many of my friends aren’t so fortunate.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “I’m also not going to call Bill Gates uncharitable.” that’s big of you

  • hf

    Eh? Certainly killing Bill Gates and distributing his money to the poor seems unlikely to improve the world. But most rich people are not Bill Gates. Killing them and distributing their money to the poor would, according to these numbers, increase the amount given to charity.

    I’m not endorsing that, but I also don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

    someone has to keep things like art studios and universities well funded and equipped.

    Seems like many conservatives would dispute this. Even I would prefer to sacrifice (some of) the funding for these if it meant funding more obviously efficient charities – though I would likely start with existential risk prevention.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’m not endorsing that, but I also don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

    More that I wanted to make a point to not simply uncritically accept everything that comes from a source simply because we agree with its sentiments or conclusions. Too many people do that already, and it messes with people’s understanding and gums up the political process (Fox News even makes a business of such things.) As usual, issues are more complicated than a few short sentences can make them.

    Granted, I would hope that for many people here that should go without saying, but I wanted to put a voice to it anyway so that the unremarked does not turn into the unconsidered.

  • hf

    I wanted to make a point to not simply uncritically accept everything that comes from a source simply because we agree with its sentiments or conclusions.

    In that case, let me point out that – contrary to Dorothy Day and the first link – the incoherent collection of stories we call the Gospel can’t take away anyone’s right to do anything. I strongly doubt I’d agree with any of the authors on issues such as usury, and whatever was supposed to justify violence against moneychangers. And while Fred tries to claim that the Bible develops toward a better morality as it goes along, the latest-written parts seem among the worst. (They also won the day for more than a thousand years, until people started groping towards the scientific method.)

    Yeah, I don’t think we’re uniform enough to be a proper cult.

  • Victor Savard

    I guess, this was not posted by the hackers if they exist but trust me, I did post “IT” in Fred’s last post. Anyway I’ll get on topic below this.

    (((They could not create the kind of society that they wanted in America (despite ostensibly loving it,) so they left it to create their own.)))

    I hear ya Fear less Son but long story short, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PgfQpJFYp8

    I hear ya NOW! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bRJLkNqNXI

    Go Figure folks!? :)

    Peace
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    (((While agreeing with that Wonkette article’s general thesis, I do take exception to some of the elements in it.)))

    FearlessSon,
    True that me, myself and i don’t always agree on a LOT that I’ve kept a secret but on this I must say that “I” agree with you when you say in so many kind words that we shouldn’t be picking on rich people cause we are all God’s Children. I could tell you stories of when our Canadien family was growing up and how I fought to keep our Canadian Children’s family allowance from being de-indexed and long story short, just when I was almost successful, the graduate student who was helping out got offered a job by our government and took “IT”. The good news there is that she is still working and helping the poor and “I’M” not about to start naming names but I will say that if anyone thinks that they will quiet me down from starting another blog when our Canadian Fed…. election starts, well they better find themselves a silver bullet if ya get my drift NOW?

    By the Way Fred! I did also look at that clip and long story short, “I” must say that “The U>S (usual sinners) card is still being quietly played”! Well for what “IT” is worth, that’s how “I” see “IT” NOW!

    I hear Ya! There’s nothing wrong with YA Victor, “IT” is the rest of the world.

    Go Figure sinner vic! :)

    Keep praying NOW

    Peace

  • Bnerd

    Yes, rich people have a *much* larger income and that’s part of the problem. Inequality has made it so the rich have untold sums of money to play with while the vast majority of the population lives paycheck to paycheck; and yet as we see those with less are willing to give more of what they have. Slice it however you like, but it would seem the poor understand generosity more than the rich. (As a side note, I don’t begrudge anyone having money, but I certainly begrudge a system which stacks the deck against the people who need help the most).

    I don’t mind charity either, whether it be from rich or poor. But you know what would help more than charity? Livable wages. And how many wealthy philanthropists who own these multinational companies are lining up for that idea right now? Some. But not enough. That says a lot.

    As for the arts, you should perhaps put an asterisk there. They do support it, but usually their support does not help local artists or low income people striving to break into the scene.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    In related news: Tennessee is working on a bill (which shows every sign of passing the House and Senate) which would tie welfare payments to a child’s academic performance, allowing them to reduce payments to families whose children are doing poorly in school. Notably, they do not intend to ensure that every child gets an adequate education.

  • Lori

    I wondered what they were going to do to screw the poor after their drug testing scheme didn’t actually allow them to kick large numbers of people off welfare. Now I know.

    This is obviously genius. They couldn’t actually shoot poor people up with drugs so that they could be kicked off welfare, but they can underfund schools so that poor kids can’t get an education so that their families can be kicked off welfare. Less money for school + less money for the poor = more money for the rich = WIN!

  • c2t2

    Wow.
    I’m deeply horrified, but I can’t help being impressed. No fictional evil genius can hope to achieve such brilliance. I hadn’t even made the connection until you pointed it out.

  • http://integralchristianity.blogspot.com/ PrickliestPear

    I’m not American, and I’m not really sure how your system works, so I’m not sure if I’m understanding you correctly; do you mean that people who aren’t educated are kicked off welfare?

  • P J Evans

    NO, what they want to do is kick people off welfare, and they’re using children’s grades as an excuse – never mind that kids who don’t get enough food have a hard time learning, and homelessness is another straw on that camel’s back.

  • Jenny Islander

    Note that this is on top of the USDA “reform” of the school meals program. The new program, in the name of preventing obesity, keeps children too hungry to concentrate on their schoolwork. I did the math: a high schooler who can’t count on any food besides school breakfast and lunch is receiving fewer calories per day than the volunteers in the Minnesota Semi-Starvation Experiment. Even the little K students are underfed!

    So these kids, already wobbly and distracted with hunger, must drag through the day knowing that if they slip, nobody at home gets any food.

    Tennessee residents, PLEASE write to your legislators!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Can you provide a link to that, I’m wanting to post it to my tumblr, but I can’t find it. Thanks!

  • Jenny Islander

    USDA school meal guidelines: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/legislation/LAC_03-06-12.pdf

    Guidelines for feeding children, from a group that actually takes care of children instead of freaking out about fat:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/117/2/544/T3.full

    Minnesota Semi-Starvation Experiment: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/6/1347.full

    In summary: The school meal program was founded on the factual observation that children who are hungry cannot concentrate on schoolwork. The school meal program appears to have been “reformed” by people so obsessed with thinness that they regard hunger as a failing of the weak. Denying hungry children food sets them up to fail. Denying hungry children food when the meals you make may be the only meals they get sets them up to starve. Denying hungry children food and then threatening to deny their families food as well if they don’t manage to perform to your specifications is a bully’s game.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Thanks!

  • The_L1985

    Indeed. The reforms are excellent regarding the types of food to be offered, but regarding amounts, I think the only kids who’d be satisfied eating nothing but school food all day are people like me–I was both below the 5th percentile for height through most of my school years, AND I ate like a bird. The huge amount of calories needed to recover from starvation, as per the MN experiment, just makes the food stamps restriction on poor students doubly cruel.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Space Marine Becka

    The Minnesota Semi-Starvation experiment is interesting but it would be interesting to see it repeated with different food balances because the diet they were on was not just low in calories but also rather nutritionally restricted (though Potatoes are awesome – you can’t quite live adequately on potatoes and dairy but you can come pretty close). I suspect that a calorifically similar but otherwise more nutritonally balanced diet might have different effects but it’s just surmise because no one has tested it. (And no one is likely too, I guess, because nowadays there’d be ethical concerns).

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Not to be outdone, a Missouri lawmaker now wants to tie welfare to school attendance and sets a rather high number: 90%. This, of course, specifies nothing for medical absence, only physical disability… so one good case of mono and even an otherwise normal, healthy child is suddenly responsible for their family losing benefits. And don’t get me started on something like leukemia…

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Michigan has already passed such a law as well, but these days, we expect Michigan to be the worst state in the entire country.

  • whengreg

    Thus creating an incentive to come to school sick.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Which goes hand in hand with Republicans advocating policies which completely eliminate their access to health care, so once one person’s sick, they’re all sick — and no one gets better.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’m fairly sure when I went to school you needed all kinds of special dispensations if you had less than 90% attendance. This is a ridiculous and terrible law, but I don’t think the actual attendance rate they’re demanding is especially draconian.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    My school was absurdly strict with their absences policy and only permitted eight days of absence for any reason (including medical) before you got in serious trouble and likely wouldn’t be given credit for the semester. All the same, there’s a difference between “I have to repeat Earth Science” and “My family no longer gets to eat.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Mielke/100001114326969 Marc Mielke

    I’d see that tainting the grading process as well. Any teacher with a heart is going to give everyone a C just for showing up, and maybe not even that.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Hey, I just remembered where I heard of the guy behind this before. He’s the same guy who said that AIDS was caused by an airline pilot screwing a monkey.

    This is the man who wants children to starve if they aren’t sufficiently well educated.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    He’s also said that AIDS doesn’t transfer through vaginal sex, ridiculed preparation for Hurricane Isaac, said that Akin’s remarks (“the body has ways of shutting that down”) were correct, and has a threat on his website to sue anyone who copies anything from it for $1,000 USD per word.

    He’s also the one who wants to not only ban any discussion of homosexuality from schools, but wants schools to be forced to out kids to their parents.

    His rebuttal toward all the complaints about this bill? “If you don’t like it, don’t apply for benefits. You’re not legally entitled to steal my money.”

  • Victor Savard

    Sorry Fred! “I’M” going to read all of this post NOW!

    I know! I know! Some times, sinner vic can be a fuckup too.

    I hear YA! How about Victor NOW?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/diaryofawimpycatholic/2013/03/why-im-catholic-in-200-words/comment-page-1/#comment-39532

    God only knows for sure about “ME”, “ME” and “ME” NOW!?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qqus079lUz8

    Keep praying folks

    Peace

  • stardreamer42

    I was surprised and pleased to see that Baptists were taking on the “payday loans” scam. Then I clicked thru and saw that it was the New Baptist Convocation, not the Southern Baptists or any of the other major Baptist organizations. Still better than nothing, but not by a long shot the cause for jubilation that I’d hoped for.

    My parents, who were well-off but by no means rich (and who never lost their Depression-era penny-pinching habits, and considered my approach to money criminally wasteful) were extremely fond of the aphorism “You don’t get rich by giving money away.” I’m sure they donated to their church, because that’s what people in their social class did, but aside from that I would have been surprised to learn that they gave to any charity.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The so-called “paradox of thrift” as presented in the video is debunked at
    http://mises.org/daily/3194 and http://mises.org/daily/4193

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ah, you’re drinking the Chris Hadrick kool-aid.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Explain, please.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    He thinkls all he has to do to make his points is link to mises.org. Uh yeah, appeal to the neoclassical theory which basically boils down to “Trust us, businesses totally will act like perfect competitors if the government just gets out of the way! (^_^)”, and “Monopolies and oligopolies? Pshaw! (^_^)”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I do like to link to mises.org to make my points. Though I renounced libertarianism sometime in 2010-11, I still view many issues through the lens of free-market economics. The Mises Institute is Austrian, not neoclassical- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_School . The Mises Institute views the vision of “perfect competition” as unrealistic- http://mises.org/daily/1988 . I have a print copy of Mises’s Human Action with Bob Murphy’s study guide at home and read it when I have the time. I read Bob Murphy’s blog http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog every time it is updated. The Mises Institute is, indeed, opposed to antitrust legislation [citation not needed]. I still do not see antitrust legislation as necessary.

  • https://pjevansgen.wordpress.com/ P J Evans

    Then you don’t know anything about it.
    Anti-trust legislation is about *preserving competition*.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It doesn’t matter what a policy’s stated goals are. Communism “is about” liberty and making work pleasurable. That doesn’t mean it accomplishes its stated goals. Besides, what’s the evidence antitrust legislation is good for consumers?

  • P J Evans

    Besides that they haven’t been enforcing it, or we wouldn’t have ‘too big to fail’?

    That’s not what communism is about: it’s about owning stuff in common, at its root (which is ancient).

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    True, but irrelevant.

  • JustoneK

    If it’s irrelevant, why did you make it a part of your point above what you thought communism is? You’re getting less coherent. o.O

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I’ve typed ten trillion words on this site, I don’t just link to mises.org articles. I mostly link to charts

  • Lorehead

    Having read that, what meaningful argument is there? There’s a lot of sneering in those two articles. There’s a lot of assertion that other prominent economists are or were stupid for saying things I think are correct. But the basic errors I see are all on Mises’ side. (For example, the second article denies that when people in the U.S. sell bonds to China and receive dollars from the Chinese, those dollars end up in the United States instead of China; yet this is obviously true.)

    Is Murphy even denying a paradox of thrift, or admitting that one exists but claiming that the root cause is “uncertainty?” Think about what a paradox of thrift is, and what he says “uncertainty” causes to happen. Does the uncertainty explanation at all fit the facts of 2007–2008? I don’t see how. The markets have in fact shown extremely high confidence that inflation will remain low and that there will be no debt crisis. No rational person really believes that tax rates lower than during the Clinton administration would wreck the economy. Is there in fact a high level of “uncertainty” now? About what? What is the evidence for believing so?

    And supposing it were true, wouldn’t a patriot, who cared more about reducing uncertainty than about keeping taxes low for the wealthy have struck a bargain on taxes early in 2009, not forced the country through a series of last-minute hostage negotiations that produce only short-term deals and another crisis a year down the road?

    There’s also a nod to the idea that government can’t stimulate the economy, only overheat it, but if that were true, A: it would also prove that tax cuts can’t cause economic growth, which Austrians do not believe, and B: the Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus would have had the effects he described and been inflationary. But instead, inflation remains at historic lows.

    This is exactly what Paul Krugman predicted in advance and the Austrians said could not possibly happen. And how do they explain that? They don’t. They do not once demonstrate that any event in the past few years fits the predictions they made better than the predictions made by Paul Krugman (who, before you repeat that urban legend, thought the stimulus was too small and predicted unemployment would rise above 9% as a result). There is literally nothing in either article that addresses this specific recession. The only thing either article says is that this is what our theory has to say about recessions, and it must be true because our theory says so.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    We’ve exported a lot of our inflation to China. Also, Austrian economics doesn’t subscribe to the quantity theory of inflation that more printing wil always lead to inflation, just that there is a strong correllation. Krugman and others have also CALLED for inflation saying it will be good for the economy.

    The idea that the stimulus would have been effective if only it were bigger is a little like the neocons in iraq saying we need to “take the gloves off”. if it a was a good idea it would work without having all the money in the world behind it.

    edit: also isn’t it odd that Krugman and other left leaning economists loathe gold and strongly approve of the role of central banks in society, yet central banks all around the world are buying tons literally of gold?

  • P J Evans

    Evidence for your statements not found (as usual).
    (Krugman has been calling for SPENDING, not for inflation.)

  • Lorehead

    Krugman has in fact called for the Fed to raise inflationary expectations so that real interest rates can fall and the economy will no longer be stuck at the zero lower bound.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    the interest rates are at zero. How can they fall?

  • Lorehead

    That is exactly the problem of the Zero Lower Bound! However, as Austrians often say in other contexts, the real interest rate is the one after inflation. If inflation rises, the interest rate falls. Therefore, by raising inflationary expectations, the Federal Reserve could effectively make interest rates negative.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    He also failed in his debate with the scary mathematician and nuclear scientist Joe Scarborough.

  • Lorehead

    Nothing you have said makes any sense. According to the Theory, monetary stimulus was supposed to produce inflation and could not possibly raise output. The opposite happened. What kind of excuse is, “We’ve exported a lot of our inflation to China?” If anything, the opposite is true. Was that even anything the Austrians predicted would happen? Is that why your second link has to pretend that, when China spends dollars in the U.S., those dollars go to China and not the reverse?

    What is with the obsession about inflation, anyway? I realize it was an actual problem in 1980, and for some people it is eternally 1980, but inflation is incredibly low. And yes, Paul Krugman does think inflation at the levels of Reagan’s second term, 4% or so, would be better for the economy than inflation below 2%. Since even a glance at Europe proves that the Austrians are wrong about monetary policy, and you don’t believe 4% inflation in the late ’80s caused any problems, why do you think this is some kind of gotcha?

    As for your third paragraph, no, there’s nothing odd about it, and I don’t think you even understand what Krugman’s position is. Gold can be a good investment even if the gold standard is a terrible idea.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    So you think central banks are buying gold as an investment?? That’s absurd. They’re buying it to support their currencies.

    Yes we have exported inflation to China. Their currency is pegged to ours so when we print they have print.

    “What is with the obsession about inflation, anyway?”

    uhh, it’s theft.

    “Since even a glance at Europe proves that the Austrians are wrong about monetary policy”

    ?? Yeah Greeces problem isn’t that it’s more or less impossible to start a business there, it’s corrupt to the gills and no one pays their taxes, the problem is the EU monetary policy is too tight.

    currency isn’t a thing you lower or raise at will, it’s a medium of exchange. If the government want to do things they should raise taxes and if people say no then too bad. and they stop stealing their peoples money and calling it policy.

    http://krugman-in-wonderland.blogspot.com/2013/02/austrians-and-predicted-inflation-my.html

    ^another explanation of why we haven’t had super hyper inflation

  • Lorehead

    1. Central banks want to support their currencies with something that will retain its value, although they don’t particularly care whether they make a profit on the trades. Perhaps I should have chosen a different word.

    The bottom line: there’s no contradiction in saying that the United States has gold reserves but should not have a gold standard, although one could also argue that the U.S. should sell all its gold and hold something else in reserve instead. Holding gold is largely a matter of tradition by this point.

    2. The renminbi hasn’t been pegged to the dollar since 2010, although neither does it freely float. I don’t see how that could explain why monetary expansion has not produced inflation in the U.S. The phrase “exports inflation” implies that some policy of ours is reducing inflation here while increasing it in China, but that is not what happened. If China had to make its own monetary policy more expansionary, that would not lower inflation in the U.S.

    3. The claim that inflation is “theft” is absurd. Inflation, high or low, has winners and losers. Is it unacceptable to you that investors, and only they, ever lose money in a recession? Would a massive wave of bond defaults somehow be more acceptable than a fall in interest rates that allowed those businesses to stay in operation? Should the Federal government guarantee not only the nominal value of every bank account, but also its real return, bailing out the depositors at any cost to the rest of the economy?

    The central bank’s ethical responsibility is to all citizens, not to creditors alone, and the consequences of rates at the zero lower bound have turned out to be disastrous.

    4. Do you have an actual argument that monetary policy is not a major cause of Greece’s problems?

    5. From your most recent link, “I do believe that when one makes apocalyptic comments, one gets what he deserves if the predictions don’t pan out.” I see an argument that the total failure of all the Austrians’ predictions does not necessarily invalidate their Theory, and an observation that some prices are rising, but not much of an explanation.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    China and Russia are buying Gold because of tradition? ridiculous.

    The “tradition” they are taking part in is the tradition of currency backed with gold!

    2. here’s Jim Rickards on exporting inflation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQobHUKaM_g

    3. “creditors” = Any American who isn’t in debt. People whose profit margin depends on gas prices being below a certain amount. senior citizens on fixed incomes.

    4. Yes, my actual argument is that Greece is a badly run country. THAT is why they are in the situation they are in.

    5. So you agree that stagflation totally disproved Keynes.

  • Lorehead

    1. China keeps only 1.7% of its reserves in gold, although that’s still a large number. Russia keeps less than 10% in gold. A gold standard is superstition, but owning some commodity so that you can sell them to purchase your currency can be useful and in no way validates the idea. Gold happens to be traditional, for obsolete historical reasons.

    2. You get your economic news from a site called NewWaveSlave? Glad you’re keeping things in perspective. Anyway, this is another case of Austrians making claims without evidence that don’t fit economic history. Jim Rickards tells a story about how QE2 did not, he admits, export inflation, but the price of something rose, and that must be the fault of QE2.

    Except it was food, and that was after a major drought and a diversion of food crops to biofuels. Here, that gives us another empirical test. The Theory says that, since the Fed is now running open-ended QE3, and QE is what caused food prices to increase, food prices will continue to increase. (To the extent that the Theory predicts anything at all; the food crisis was nothing Austrians expected to happen.) But mainstream economists, who think that food prices spiked due to a shortage of supply, see that this year’s harvest is at a near-record high, and expect them to decline.

    I’ll make the following prediction: the price of something will go up, and Austrians will point to that and say, “See? The Theory isn’t really wrong.”

    3. What’s your point? The Theory constantly falls into pseudo-moralism: if something is virtuous according to folk-wisdom, good outcomes must result. But refusing to create jobs because that might as a side-effect reduce the incomes of creditors is an immoral policy.

    4. Again, a glance at Europe shows that the Theory is wrong. Greece is a badly-run country, and therefore is in a particularly bad position, but countries stuck with a contractionary monetary policy are doing much worse than those that control their own currencies whether they’re badly-run or not.

    5. I certainly agree that the Phillips Curve broke down in the ’70s. So does Paul Krugman, which is one reason he calls himself a neo-Keynesian. Again, it’s incredible how many people think it’s forever 1980.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    again, what is the “tradition” that is being taken part in in buying gold?

  • The_L1985

    “Currency isn’t a thing you lower or raise at will.”

    Actually, currency is an imaginary system that we made up because it’s easier to save and trade paper bills, metal coins, and digital forms of currency than it is to bring larger goods to the market every time you need something.

    Gold, physical currency, and the digital readout from your local ATM don’t have any intrinsic value. You can’t eat them, wear them, or shelter yourself with them. They only have value because human society agrees that they do. Society agrees to use currency, and to accept the currently-dictated values of that currency, out of convenience.

    Try this thought experiment: You’ve gone back in time to the Paleolithic era. You’ve brought with you a wicker basket, an apple, a nanny-goat, a lump of gold, a $100 bill, and a gleaming ruby. You go to the nearest group of Stone-Age people with this assortment of stuff. Which items do you think they will find valuable? Which items will they consider pretty, but worthless?

    The obvious answer is that the gold, gems, and paper money wouldn’t mean a damn thing to Stone-Age people other than “hey, you found some shiny stuff,” because they aren’t directly useful at meeting people’s physical needs. It’s only because bartering is complicated and unpredictable that humans decided to assign set values to gold and other metals, make coins and other forms of currency, and use that instead.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I agree, but humans assigned value to gold for a number of reasons: it’s relatively scarce, it’s portable, etc Someone at some point offered gold as a medium of exchange and someone accepted it. Other people did for the same reasons the first ones did. At some point it became the de facto medium of exchange and didn’t lose it’s value with respect to the country it was from.

    There are tons of currencies that don’t exist any more even though they may have had very solid backing at one point. gold is the same thing it always was.

    If some scientist figured out a way to make gold it would become totally worthless, it’s not magical or something. It simply has more good qualities that make it a decent medium of exchange than the next thing thus it has been a de facto medium of exchange for a long time.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Paul Krugman did think the stimulus was too small. But where did he predict that unemployment would rise above 9% as a result?

  • Lorehead

    I was thinking of his column on January 6, 2009, which made a slightly weaker claim:

    I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.”

    In fact, not only did the administration water the plan down as he predicted, the Senate then watered it down from that, and the even smaller stimulus led to even higher unemployment. He’s not an oracle, but a few Republican commentators have been noticing for a while that Paul Krugman has been right in the past five years much more often than they have.

    So I again ask, what direct evidence do those two Mises Institute articles provide for their assertion that their Theory is correct and everyone else is stupid? I see an argument that the Theory is correct because the Theory says so, and one that von Mises himself proved for all time that the Theory is correct decades ago. What else is there?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How high do you think unemployment would have been had there been no stimulus or bailouts at all?

  • P J Evans

    Think ‘Great Depression’ on steroids.

  • Lorehead

    No bailouts at all would probably have caused another Great Depression. I don’t know the answer to the stimulus counterfactual, any more than you have any basis for your assertion that a larger stimulus couldn’t have worked. Most economists believe that the stimulus saved between two and three million jobs, but there’s no consensus.

    The fact remains that this is an empirical question, so harrumphing that the stimulus could not have worked because then the Theory would be wrong is not very convincing. And you don’t even believe it: much of the stimulus was tax cuts, which you do think could raise employment.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    The bailouts were the second biggest scam of my lifetime the first being the Iraq war. It was all about maintaining Goldman Sachs executive salaries. Iceland did it right

  • Lorehead

    It seems from context that you remember this, but since most people forget: TARP (which turned a profit) was signed by George W. Bush. It could have been structured as mortgage relief, or if that would create too much of a moral hazard, just mailing everybody a check that they could use to deleverage or, if they hadn’t gotten into debt, for whatever they wanted. What we got was a handout to the 1%.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    So why are you defending it?

  • Lorehead

    For the reasons I gave. It fell short of my ideal policy, but was far better than a total collapse of the financial system. Also, it turned a profit for the taxpayer.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    You like the current financial system? i wouldn’t cross the street to you know what if it was on fire.

  • Lorehead

    I don’t think that’s an accurate summary of what I said.

    I have other things to do and will be bowing out of this conversation now. Thanks for an invigorating discussion.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What, to you, would confirm the Austrian theory of the business cycle and disprove the Keynesian theory of the business cycle?

  • Lorehead

    Empirical evidence. A useful theory would make specific predictions that turned out to be correct, not a string of mispredictions to be explained away after the fact. And no, nobody in the field of economics is close to that ideal yet, but some people are willing to change their minds based on new evidence, and others aren’t. The latter tend to do things like point to mere reiterations of the Theory as evidence that the Theory is correct.

    I’d also expect the factors they consider important to be in some way quantifiable and match actual economic history. One might start by asking how we recognize “uncertainty” and “malinvestment” in some non-tautological way, as opposed to declaring that they must have been present if and only if a recession occurs.

    In addition, most formulations of the Theory have a serious problem with mixing up is statements and ought statements, such as when Paul Krugman says that inflation would lower real interest rates, and you respond by calling inflation “theft.” In a rational model of economics, that is no reason why it wouldn’t work.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I was looking for specific hypothetical examples, not a broad answer like “empirical evidence”.

  • Lorehead

    In case I wasn’t clear, if Austrian predictions about expansionary austerity and QE producing inflation had come true, that would be evidence that an Austrian model makes useful predictions about the economy of the past five years. In fact, it’s behaved much more like Paul Krugman’s model of an economy in a liquidity trap.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Have you ever read any Austrian economists? You seem to know one thing: some of them wrongly predicted there would be a lot of inflation due to all the money printing by the Fed.

  • Lorehead

    Now, now, don’t I also at least know that they predicted austerity would improve the economy by increasing confidence?

  • Lorehead

    Or let me take an example from the past 24 hours. Your first link, by Robert Murphy, contains the following falsifiable prediction:

    The essence of the paradox of thrift and the liquidity trap is the insight that businesses won’t expand operations if there is no demand for their product. But if Krugman and other pump-primers can see that the interruption in spending is only temporary, then so can the business owners involved. And to the extent that it is not temporary—for example, homebuilders are seeing much lower sales, and this isn’t simply due to irrational hoarding—then government spending to “fill the gap” only screws things up even more.

    During the fiscal cliff debate, New Keynsians predicted that the sequester and the payroll-tax hike the Republicans demanded and got would harm the economy, whereas Austrians insisted that this could not possibly happen. Cutting government spending through the sequester would only increase the confidence of business owners, and the payroll-tax increase was not a real tax increase at all, and neither was the tax increase on incomes over $400K, because these were merely the expiration of temporary tax holidays. However, making the Bush tax cuts permanent on income below $400K was a real tax cut that should help the economy.

    Today’s jobs report appears to show that, as the New Keynesians predicted, this fiscal contraction harmed the economy and damaged job growth. Now, if next month’s report revises that number upward and also shows a strong recovery in April, even though the sequester and payroll-tax increase are really starting to bite now, I’ll have to eat these words, but: anyone who lived through the Nineties and Oughts has been told over and over again that things he’s seen with his own eyes are impossible, according to the Theory.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Austrians understand that, as capital is not a homogenous blob, shifting from one line of production (such as one dependent on government spending) to another is a time-consuming process. Thus, a decrease in government spending can be expected to slightly hurt job growth in the present in exchange for higher job growth in the future.

  • Lorehead

    Over what time scale? Is your answer consistent with economic history? Public-sector employment has been in decline for years, while private-sector employment has risen.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Why would anyone care if public sector employment was in decline? You want it to be in decline if one of the central reasons for your economy’s failure is that it’s too big.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The central reason the economy is failing is too much money on Wall Street and not nearly enough on Oak, Elm, and Apple Streets. Reducing public sector employment sucks money away from the teacher living on Oak, the cop living on Elm, and the data entry worker living on Apple; reduces the effectiveness of the education system, the police force, and the state agency; and improves precisely jack shit.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    DC isn’t main street, it’s the one percent literally http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-19/local/35496568_1_household-income-census-rankings-counties

    “Seven of nation’s 10 most affluent counties are in Washington region”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Why would anyone care if one of the largest employers started putting its employees out of work?

    Do you even think before you open your mouth?

    And the economy’s failure has NOTHING to do with public sector employment being too big. It has everything to do with the PRIVATE SECTOR sucking allthe money out of the economy.

    Or do you think that public sector employees just set fire to their wages rather than pumping them back into the economy? Do you think that public sector employees don’t own homes, pay rent, eat food?

    Anyway, I hope you will refuse the services of public employees in the future if your house catches fire, you are the victim of a crime, or you want to drive anywhere.

  • Lorehead

    I brought it up in this context because what we are discussing is whether the Theory makes predictions that are true. The Theory says, and you just confirmed, that shrinking government outlays and employment should be expansionary.

    But government employment has been shrinking for five years now (save for a brief spike in temporary census workers in 2010), so A: if this was supposed to improve the economy within five years, why hasn’t it, and B: if you always thought destroying government jobs would harm the economy for more than five years, why did you advocate that now? And why, in particular, would you do that and then complain about the unemployment rate?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    and one economist who’s talking outside his book is not “everyone else”

  • Lorehead

    But everyone who’s not an Austrian just doesn’t appreciate how brilliant their Theory is. It was all proven by philosophical arguments before the Depression, and no actual events since then are relevant to understanding it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “The budget will be balanced, if Ryan gets his way, through a campaign of thoroughgoing class warfare aimed at Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution in order to protect the interests of a small, high-income minority.”

    Ah, another ‘Ryan budget’, I see. How did this waste of space manage to keep his Congressional seat?

  • hf

    Didn’t you just quote the answer? Actually, I suspect gerrymandering as well. Look at those total numbers. The district map looks much better than some I’ve seen, but if Ryan’s district included even part of the 4th we could well have seen a different result.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Under Wisconsin election law, Ryan was allowed to run concurrently for vice president and for Congress and was not allowed to remove his name from the Congressional ballot after being nominated for the vice presidency. Ryan was reelected to the House in 2012 with 55% of his district’s vote.

    Oh, how convenient for him. *rolls eyes*

  • hf

    I actually meant the $5.4 million.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I… didn’t… quote… any monetary sums in my original comment.

  • Lorehead

    Here’s another:

    “[…] it is striking and discouraging to find female mortality rates on the rise in 42.8 percent of US counties [….]”

    What could predict worsening mortality rates, however, were socioeconomic factors.

  • smrnda

    I think it’s also worth asking how rich people got their money to donate. If you donate a bunch of money but you earn it by driving wages down to below the poverty level, you’re creating more problems than you’re solving.

    Kind of reminds me.. the local Wal-Mart has this sign about how they donated 2000 one year. I donate that myself, and I’m one person, and the real issue is why I’m being disproportionately compensated versus other people. Given every worker whose getting a screwing at Wal-Mart and how much money is getting sucked upwards in the corporation from keeping workers pay low, keeping them part-time so they can’t get benefits (and the attendant costs to the community either through government aid or the need for private charities), taking credit for this *generosity* is really laughable.

    On funding the arts, I know some artists, and believe me, the funding isn’t going to any artists I know. You know what would benefit artists? LIVING WAGES for the real jobs they have to do… and health insurance.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Dorothy Day was also an opponent of the income tax. social power > state power

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Space Marine Becka

    Well she was pretty much a distributist and an idealist so that’s not too surprising. I’m an idealist too and agree with distributism in principle but I tend to think how the **** will that work in practice? Because trying new economic theories is all very nice but it’s good to try and iron out the kinks first. Assuming things will work as you dream is a recipe for disaster. (That’s what happened with both capitalism and socialism. They both work fine on paper but they never survive contact with real people because they both assume that people will act in idealised ways and people are not ideals).

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Was Jesus an idealist whose ideas didn’t work in practice? and capitalism isn’t idealist that’s the whole point. It works very well with real people see: Steve Jobs, The Beatles, Caravaggio, virtually all of western civilization

  • Jenny Islander

    . . . the employees of Wal-Mart who are forced onto public assistance while working because they would starve otherwise, everybody who lost the job they thought would see them into retirement because the factory is now in some country where they don’t have to provide safety gear if they don’t feel like it, the workers who haven’t seen raises in five years of steadily increasing prices while the CEO’s golden parachute continues to grow . . .

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I don’t see how respect for private property caused those things to happen.

  • Jenny Islander

    Capitalism begins and ends at respect for private property? You said up the thread that you were talking about capitalism. Capitalism enables the owners of the capital to do whatever the law allows. And the law allows employers to force their own employees into poverty, move their private property to places where they can allow people to die on that property without fear of consequence, and enrich themselves at the expense of the people who produce the money they are hoarding away like so many dragons.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    how can an employer force their employees into poverty? The employees are free to seek a higher paying job at any time. If not, it’s slavery not capitalism

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, I could quit Walmart and find a high-paying position in a heartbeat. High-paying positions are everywhere, and there’s just so few applicants.
    (nb: I do not actually work at Walmart. thank fuck.)

  • The_L1985

    It WAS respect for the private property of the CEO’s, and for increasing said property, even if it was at the expense of the lives of their workers.

    Unregulated capitalism is literally killing people.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Was Jesus an idealist whose ideas didn’t work in practice?

    We don’t know. Nobody’s ever put Jesus’s ideas into practice.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Of course they have. We all do every day. it’s western civlization.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Aside from things like the emphasis on capitalism, denial of health care and human rights, our astonishingly high prison population, the violence and advocacy of how important it is to live by the sword (in this case, guns)… yeah, other than that, it almost has things in common with the message of Christ.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    capitalism has nothing to do with any of that stuff. They are typical devices of the state which exist under any economic system.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That was a comma, not a colon.

  • The_L1985

    Actually, Jesus’s ideas are so socialistic, they make the early days of the USSR look extremely capitalist by comparison.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    No, Jesus didn’t rely on coercian. Anyone who was following Jesus could leave at any time.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon
    Was Jesus an idealist whose ideas didn’t work in practice?

    We don’t know. Nobody’s ever put Jesus’s ideas into practice.

    Jesus is kind of like Karl Marx that way.

  • AnonaMiss

    FUCK DISQUS IN THE ARSE

    It’s now removing comments you’ve already seen when you click “Load more comments”, so you can’t even follow a goddamn conversation!

  • hidden_urchin

    The change to Disqus is a perfect example of what happens when you think you have to constantly improve your product to look like you’re being productive. You fix what isn’t broken and it turns out worse than before.

    When companies learn that you don’t always have to have something new to please consumers- maintaining a decent service is great too- then the world will become a much nicer place.

  • Winter

    It’s like they have something against discussions that last more than an hour or two. The threading already makes it difficult to find new posts if you’re away for longer than half a day and that ridiculous new post alert thingie they have going can’t find its own arse with two hands, a mirror, and a copy of Gray’s. It either does nothing or digs up the same bloody posts every couple hours.

  • P J Evans

    And you have to tell it, every effing time, ‘oldest first’, because it doesn’t seem to sort them by anything except ‘up’ ranking.
    Nothing like breaking something that was sort-of-working.

  • Lori

    I wonder why this is happening for you. I have mine set at “newest first” and it seems to be able to manage that every time. It occasionally treats very old comments as if they were new, but that seems to be a glitch and not related to rankings.

  • P J Evans

    I have to do it with ‘newest first’ also. Because whatever it’s sorting by, it isn’t date/time first.

  • Lori

    Really? You set it to newest fist and you get older subthreads at the top? Remember that Disqus doesn’t sort by individual comments, it sorts by the first comment in each subthread. So, newest first puts the most recent subthread at the top. If the most recent comment is part of an older subthread it will remain lower down the page since Disqus doesn’t sort on individual comments and having the newest comment doesn’t change the subthreads position in the “queue”. (Did that make sense?)

    All of which is stupid and makes it pretty much impossible to keep up with the conversation. IOW, Disqus sucks so much.

    I have so many questions about the suckage, the most important is, why does Disqus not know that this sucks? Why do they (apparently) think this is a good idea? Also, can Fred chose another commenting system? If so, what do we need to do to make that happen? If it’s a money thing I’ll contribute. If it’s a tech thing I have to believe that there are people here who could help and would be willing to do so in order to get rid of New Disqus*.

    *Amazingly worse than Old Disqus and giving New Coke a run for it’s money.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Plus the e-mail notifications are now clunkier and less informative. They used to tell you blog name and thread title, now they have “A new comment has been posted on [thread title]” and leave off the blog name until you open the e-mail.

  • The_L1985

    Even more fun:

    I once posted a Disqus comment on Weebl’s blog. (You know, the guy who does stupid but kinda funny Flash animations.)

    I got an email notification the other day that had 5 Slacktivist threads and, at the bottom, 1 new comment on Weebl’s blog. The email subject was “New conversations on Weebl’s Stuff.” WHAT?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Yep… it seems like every change they’ve introduced in the last few weeks has been negative, with very few fixes for bugs or even the newer bugs they’ve introduced with this “upgrade.”

  • The_L1985

    This isn’t the first such incident since the upgrade, either. I’ve gotten “New Comments on Rachel Held Evans’s Blog” emails with 3 Slacktivist threads, 2 Escher Girls threads, and 1 RHE thread.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That’s okay. Last week or so, Disqus notified me of having 100 new comments. They were all posts made by Ginny Bain Allen months ago.

  • The_L1985

    That happened to me too.

  • Lori

    It’s not removing them, it’s just putting them were you can’t see them at the moment. They’re still there and if you reload the page you’ll see them. But then when you load more comments again they will once again be too high up on the page for you to see them without reloading.

    Disqus sucks so much.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Can we please, please, pretty please voluntarily commit to NOT THREADING replies? Use the post box exclusively as a stopgap measure until Disqus fixes its shit?

    I, for one, will resolve to use this method in the NRA post due to come any time today now.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Nay!

  • The_L1985

    New problem! There are still comment pages on long threads, but now they’re invisible! Disqus must hate us all.

  • Lorehead

    At Coelho Middle School [… s]tudents were told if they didn’t have enough money on their pre-paid lunch cards they had to throw out their food.”

  • The_L1985

    :(

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “At Coelho Middle School [… s]tudents were told if they didn’t
    have enough money on their pre-paid lunch cards they had to throw out their
    food.”

    That has to be the sheerest dick move of dick moves I’ve yet heard of (>_<)

  • Lori

    That has to be the sheerest dick move of dick moves I’ve yet heard of (>_<)

    Privatization. Ain’t it grand? This of course being the entirely predictable outcome of privatizing school lunch service.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Dave Hagstrom of Montana just took the cake. http://mtstreetfighter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Letter.pdf

    His five recommendations are perhaps the worst thing I have ever, ever read from someone who is supposed to be representing people.

    My recommendation is this;
    – First, you accept that not everyone, including yourself, needs to live as long as they currently do, or as “comfortably” as they currently do.
    – Second, you accept the fact that you and your neighbor are going to have to work harder than ever, maybe take a second or third job and live on less.
    – Third, that you plan to take your own health seriously and assume it is your responsibility to be healthy by getting more exercise, watching less TV, and eating cleaner, cheaper, healthier food than you have been.
    – Forth, that you manage the relationships in your life by removing those friendships that are abusive and destructive.
    – Fifth, that you begin taking into your life those family members who need help even if you could pawn them off on the government.


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