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.”

"They've got more than one picture of railroad tracks that somehow ended up bent to ..."

LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’
"It would be nice to see Negasonic Teenage Warhead being both tough and touching. The ..."

LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’

LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’
">.>/,,/ Satan is pretty metal so... I mean..."

LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The_L1985

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

  • 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

    “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.

  • 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.

  • 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%.

  • 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.

  • The_L1985

    That happened to me too.

  • Nay!

  • 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

    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.”

  • “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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • It’s a really good read. :-)

  • 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).

  • The_L1985


  • The_L1985

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • So why are you defending it?

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • Lorehead

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

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • DC isn’t main street, it’s the one percent literally

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.)

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

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

  • That was a comma, not a colon.

  • whengreg

    Thus creating an incentive to come to school sick.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”