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.”

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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://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?

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • P J Evans

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

  • 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.

  • 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 . . .

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

    True, but irrelevant.

  • 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?

  • 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://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Thanks!

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    Think ‘Great Depression’ on steroids.

  • P J Evans

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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://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

  • 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?

  • 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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/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.

  • 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.

  • 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://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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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