Tag Archives: Liberal

The Anti Tea Party


My biggest concern about Trump is that he mimics Obama and trounces the constitution, expands the scope of the Federal government and inches ever closer to a “too big to fail” executive.

My second biggest concern about Trump is the pendulum – the swing back to a liberal majority.

Perhaps I’m wrong in fear number two:

But what made the tea party successful, according to Theda Skocpol, a Harvard professor whose field studies of the tea party movement became a 2011 book, was a particular climate on the political right. “We thought of the tea party as a set of several intersecting forces that were leveraging each other and helping to build each other’s clout to change and use the Republican Party,” she said. Self-organizing grass-roots groups, top-down professional advocacy and money groups, such as FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, along with right-wing media, swirled together to make the movement a success, according to Skocpol. It remains to be seen if the climate on the left will prove to be hospitable for the growth of a similarly effective movement.

Personally, my belief is that the Left is made up of fringe groups – each with their complaint.  It might be the environment, or women’s rights, racism, the poor or refugees.  Almost always the group is made up of people who themselves are not injured, but instead are people *representing* the injured.

Further, these groups don’t advocate policy that would require themselves OR the aggrieved to bear responsibility for the work to be done to fix the problem.  THAT responsibility falls on someone else, usually the rich, the white or the man.

As such, because they don’t feel it their responsibility, combined with the fact that it is not them impacted, they will never dig deep enough to do the work.

I shouldn’t fear the professional ‘outrager’, but I admit to some lost sleep.

Minimum Wage Loss – Not A Progressive Bug But A Feature

Minimum Wage

It is well understood among economists that minimum wage laws drag employment.  There may be debate surrounding the net cost/benefit analysis, but that isn’t the point here.

I saw this over at Coyote Blog.

The point is that among the Left, the loss of jobs is a BENEFIT in and of itself.  Because you know who loses out when wages rise above productivity levels?  The least productive among us.

Imagine how horrified I was to learn that this was a feature:

Progressive economists, like their neoclassical critics, believed that binding minimum wages would cause job losses. However, the progressive economists also believed that the job loss induced by minimum wages was a social benefit, as it 212 Journal of Economic Perspectives performed the eugenic service ridding the labor force of the “unemployable.” Sidney and Beatrice Webb (1897 [1920], p. 785) put it plainly: “With regard to certain sections of the population [the “unemployable”], this unemployment is not a mark of social disease, but actually of social health.” “[O]f all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites,” Sidney Webb (1912, p. 992) opined in the Journal of Political Economy, “the most ruinous to the community is to allow them to unrestrainedly compete as wage earners.” A minimum wage was seen to operate eugenically through two channels: by deterring prospective immigrants (Henderson, 1900) and also by removing from employment the “unemployable,” who, thus identified, could be, for example, segregated in rural communities or sterilized.

The notion that minimum-wage induced disemployment is a social benefit distinguishes its progressive proponents from their neoclassical critics, such as Alfred Marshall (1897), Philip Wicksteed (1913), A. C. Pigou (1913) and John Bates Clark (1913), who regarded job loss as a social cost of minimum wages, not as a putative social benefit (Leonard, 2000).

Columbia’s Henry Rogers Seager, a leading progressive economist who served as president of the AEA in 1922, provides an example. Worthy wage-earners, Seager (1913a, p. 12) argued, need protection from the “wearing competition of the casual worker and the drifter” and from the other “unemployable” who unfairly drag down the wages of more deserving workers (1913b, pp. 82–83). The minimum wage protects deserving workers from the competition of the unfit by making it illegal to work for less. Seager (1913a, p. 9) wrote: “The operation of the minimum wage requirement would merely extend the definition of defectives to embrace all individuals, who even after having received special training, remain incapable of adequate self-support.” Seager (p. 10) made clear what should happen to those who, even after remedial training, could not earn the legal minimum: “If we are to maintain a race that is to be made of up of capable, efficient and independent individuals and family groups we must courageously cut off lines of heredity that have been proved to be undesirable by isolation or sterilization . . . .”


The End Game Of Liberalism


To e sure, it’s a slow drip.

The intentions are noble.  The individuals who claim to be liberal, I firmly believe they are engaged in what they think is the good work.

But it doesn’t change the fact that the Liberal feels that they are better able to decide what is good for you than you yourself are.  Further, they conflate the problem using numbers that are sound scary:

I want to write about risk.  Drum and Carroll are taking the high ground here, claiming they are truly the ones who understand risk and all use poor benighted folks do not.  But Drum and Carroll repeat the mistake in this post which is the main reason no one can parse risk.

A key reason people don’t understand risk is that the media talks about large percent changes to a small risk, without ever telling us the underlying unadjusted base risk.   A 100% increase in a risk may be trivial, or it might be bad.  A 100% increase in risk of death in a car accident would be very bad.  A 100% increase in the risk of getting hit by lightning would be trivial.

In this case, it’s probably somewhere in between.  The overall lifetime risk of melanoma is about 2%.  This presumably includes those with bad behavior so the non-tanning number is likely lower, but we will use 2% as our base risk understanding that it is likely high.  The 5-year survival rate from these cancers (which by the way tend to show up after the age 60) is 90+% if you are white — if you are black it is much lower (I don’t know if that is a socio-economic problem or some aspect of the biology of darker skin).

So a teenager has a lifetime chance of dying early from melanoma of about 0.2%.  A 50% increase to this would raise this to 0.3%.  An extra one in one thousand chance of dying early from something likely to show up in old age — is that “so, so, so, so, so, so, so bad”?  For some yes, for some no.  That is what individual choice is all about.

But note the different impacts on perception.

  • Statement 1:  “Teen tanning increases dangerous melanoma skin cancer risk by 50”.
  • Statement 2:  “Teen tanning adds an additional 1 in 1000 chance of dying of skin cancer in old age.”

Both are true.  Both should likely be in any article on the topic.  Only the first ever is included, though.

The whole sell of the Liberal State is that some Angel knows more about your well being than you do.  And to make it worse, they aren’t representing the numbers correctly.


Conservatives And Charity

While searching for “charity” images for my last post I stumbled upon this tidbit:

The Fraser Institute has released their latest report on charitable giving in the U.S. and Canada, and once again North America’s leaders in charitable donations from the Rio Grande to the Arctic Circle reside overwhelmingly in red states. This has been the case for some time, and the reason for it almost certainly comes down to a difference in philosophy regarding charity and the role of private/public institutions in its application. It’s unsurprising that conservatives – who by and large believe in the sovereignty of the individual, particularly in terms of fiscal decision-making – choose to give of their own net incomes to charitable causes and organizations that they find worthwhile. It’s also unsurprising (and stereotypical) that liberals choose to give less of their own net income to charity, instead leaving that responsibility to the government, which replaces the individual as the evaluator and benefactor of charitable organizations and endeavors.  Based on that philosophy of charity and responsibility, it’s no surprise that some liberals have been calling on the government to reduce or eliminate the charitable giving tax deduction.

Based on 2009 data, the Fraser Institute found that the top ten states by percentage of aggregate income donated to charity are: (1) Utah, (2) Georgia, (3) Alabama, (4) Maryland, (5) South Carolina, (6) Idaho, (7) North Carolina, (8) Oklahoma, (9) Mississippi and New York.

Conservatives think that charity means taking one’s own money and contributing to the relief of the deserving.

Liberals think that charity means taking other people’s money and contributing to the causes of their liking.

Entitlement Programs

Julia Mom

Entitlement Programs

The welfare state is a divide between the Liberal and the Conservative.  In fact, it’s one of the main fault lines that defines the two ideologies.  Imagine what could be accomplished if the two sides would try and come together.

1.  It would take the right to acknowledge that there is a place for a safety net for the nation.

2.  It would take the left to treat the problem in the same way that organizations treat problems.

First, we have to admit and acknowledge that there are folks living around us who, through the normal vagrancies and winds of life, find themselves in need.  Little or no money, food is a struggle and a home safe from the elements is a luxury.  For the spiritual, our faith calls us to come to the aid and assistance.  For others, it isn’t a matter of faith, it’s simply the mark of a moral and caring human being.

Regardless of how you get to the conclusion, the reasonable individual wants to help those in need.

The Divergence.

There are three aspects of the programs that, in my mind, create and fuel the differences between the two sides.  They are:

  1. How do we measure
  2. Do they end
  3. Are they moral and consistent with the concept of Liberty

The first divide is crucial in my mind.  Given that we are all invested and wanna help, it now becomes important to identify strategies that work and separate them from the ones that don’t.  In my world, failing ideas are shut down and thrown away allowing the resources engaged in those activities to be re-purposed into the programs that DO work.

Too often in the public sector a certain dogma exists within the programs creating an element of “faith” that becomes personal and results in long time failing programs to continue.  And, perversely,  it is never admitted that the program isn’t working.  Rather, the argument is made that not enough money has been funneled to the failed attempt.  This creates the very undesirable effect of funneling more and more money to the absolute worst ideas.

The second difference between the right and the left is the concept that, while life does present difficulties in ratios that can be difficult to manage, at some point the individual must assume responsibility for himself.  That is, any program designed to provide a “hand-up” must, by definition, end.


And the program needs to be built with that in mind.  Not only in its funding structure but in its charter goal.  Consider unemployment.  I can buy the argument that we should provide benefits. [though I wash that unemployment insurance could be managed privately] But the program must have a defined end date after which the individual leaves the program and is allowed to manage his own life again.

This isn’t just from a funding perspective, as I mentioned, but as a design element.  As part of the unemployment program, we should ask ourselves when designing it, “what is going to happen to Pino when the time is up?  Will we have prepared him or life without benefits?”

If those questions aren’t answered and addressed, we’ve not helped the man but rather delayed the inevitable condition of permanent joblessness.

Last is the concept of morality or of Individual Liberty.

I love seeing those cute pictures on Facebook from my Liberal friends.  The ones where Jesus is commanding us to feed the poor and care for the sick.  The message, obviously, is that programs like food stamps and Obamacare are explicitly our obligation.

I’ve always thought them funny though.  Because while we are required, as decent caring  human beings, to care for others, the whole concept is that WE care for the less fortunate.  It was never assumed that I would take money from my neighbor to the West and give it to my needy neighbor to the East.

In other words, while government necessarily requires the concept of a tax, there comes a time when the confiscation of wealth for my own charities shifts from proper and necessary government to theft.  No one would think it moral if 3 people to vote to “tax” of their companion’s money.

I would leave you with this.  By failing to address issue 1 we are left with a system that cannot handle issue 2.  And now it becomes a horse race every election to draw the line in issue 3.  The result?


Julia’s Mother.  A citizen who comes to the very rational conclusion that the perverse system has created incentives that are not normal:

The U.S. welfare system sure creates some crazy disincentives to working your way up the ladder. Benefits stacked upon benefits can mean it is financially better, at least in the short term, to stay at a lower-paying jobs rather than taking a higher paying job and losing those benefits. This is called the “welfare cliff.”

Let’s take the example of a single mom with two kids, 1 and 4. She has a $29,000 a year job, putting the kids in daycare during the day while she works.

As the above chart  – via Gary Alexander, Pennsylvania’s secretary of Public Welfare — shows, the single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income and benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income & benefits of $57,045.

The Pentagon Furloughs Hundreds Of Thousands


So, as a Libertarian, there is a lot to like in having the government shut down.  First, the guilty pleasure and second, the opportunity to display to the nation we can do without much of the government apparatus we have in place.

But here is a benefit that I would expect the Left to embrace:

Half of the department’s 800,000 civilian workers are slated for furloughs beginning Tuesday.

As far as I’m concerned, the Pentagon is just another government agency, although much more legit than many others, and is subject to bloat in the same way that all agencies are subject to bloat.


Why The Liberal Is Liberal

Without Comment:

Which is why successful people should be a lot more humble and willing to redistribute income to those who have not achieved the same in our meritocracy.  It’s totally not fair that I’ve succeeded, in very large part, due to having two great upper-middle class parents, who raised in me in a great community with great schools, and provided the DNA for high cognitive skills and impulse control.   I didn’t deserve that any more than somebody deserves to have been born to a 15-year old crack addict.  That’s why I’m liberal.

To which I added in the comments:

However, you aren’t interested in the “willingly” part of it – you want to mandate it by government fiat and force me to distribute my income. And not even in ways I see fit, but in ways YOU see fit.

You want me to spend my money on your programs while you keep your money to spend on your choices.


Gender Inequality

Gender Inequality

There has been a ton of talk about the “fact” that women earn less than men in the market place.

Let’s forget that men die more on the job than women.

Let’s forget that men work more hours than women.

Let’s forget that men travel more than women.

Let’s forget all that.

Let’s ask women:

Denied Promotion

When women were asked if they EVER have felt that they have been passed up for promotion because of gender, the answer is “No”.

There is no group o f women that even comes close to even 20% that feel they have been discriminated against based on gender.

Except one:

Denied Promotion.Liberl.Conservative


Liberal women feel that they have been denied promotion more than twice the rate that conservative women do.

Why am I not shocked?

Obama’s Legacy

Barack Obama

I think that Harsanyi is on to something here:

One of the most seductive parts of President Barack Obama’s political message (and the message of progressive Democrats in general) is sympathy for the poor and a willingness to talk about the disparities of capitalism — about the rich being too rich and the poor being screwed. In some ways, it’s the predominant message of the Obama era.

Now, if you’re heavily invested in the market, life is peachy. A confounding fact, no doubt, when one considers that nearly every economic indicator known to mankind has been pretty abysmal of late. We are experiencing high unemployment, a shrinking labor force, stagnant gross domestic product growth and rickety consumer confidence. A disconnected market, though, has been on a historic boom. So if we need any more proof that life really isn’t fair, think about this: The rich have the Federal Reserve, and you have Harry Reid.

What does it mean in substance? According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data, thanks to a robust stock and bond market, coupled with a lousy housing market, the recovery has meant that households with a net worth in the upper 7 percent have seen their net worth rise, on average, by nearly 30 percent in the years after the recession and that everyone else’s net worth has dropped by an average of 4 percent.

The economic gap between whites and minorities is even worse. According to the Urban Institute, whites, on average, have two times the income of blacks and Hispanics and six times the wealth, and that gap is accelerating.

This is going on, if you can imagine, even after a tax hike on the wealthy.

The brutal and bitter reality of liberal policy is that the very people they claim they are helping are getting hammered.  And just as those very folks who are getting screwed by the democrats go to vote, they are going to hear that it’s all because of the republicans.

In all of history, nothing has improved the lot of the ordinary man in the way that a freer and more open market has.  Increased government regulation leads only to the poor remaining poor.

Entitlement Programs

I’m gonna step in the mind of a bigger state thinker for a second.

In this mind, the goal is to identify all individuals and/or families that are in some sort of need.  This need could be based on a scale of sorts; usually income based.  That is, if income is too low, programs should be created or funded in order that some definition of “basic needs” is met.

These basic needs could be supplemented by straight cash, tax breaks, food programs, rent programs, energy programs or any other such program.

Okay, I may disagree with that mindset, but for now, that’s the mindset I’m in.  Now, given this reality, the goal, as a criteria for success, would be to make sure that all qualified individuals and/or families, would be identified and enrolled.  We don’t want a shadow population of folks who are in need of assistance or care, to exist.

In this aspect, I get that the bigger state thinker would want to expand the rolls of these programs.  I get that, right?

To the point that we want to include all qualified individuals in the program, I understand why someone would want to make sure the program “grew”.  I can even see the logic behind expanding the criteria of “need” to include an ever growing population.  What I am NOT sure about, and what I really truly guard against, is, “Do our goals change when all qualified individuals are enrolled?”

In other words, when all the poor and less fortunate have been enrolled in these programs, is there any effort to get them UNqualified?  For example, give them what ever it is that is needed to be able to create a level of income that allows them to leave the program.

To me, there are two kinds of charitable giving, two kinds of programs that can be set up.  One is where resources are gathered and distributed just to make the ends meet.  Food to feed the hungry, coats to warm the cold.  Stuff like that.  I think of that as “give a man a fish” kinda program.

Me?  I’m interested in the “teach a man to fish” kinda programs.  And I just don’t see the rigor, the discipline, the will or, frankly, even the desire on part of the policy makers to craft such steps into their programs.  I don’t see a willingness to exhibit the tough love that even parents engage in with their own children.  A love that says, hell-demands, that by paying your rent and your heat and your car payment, I am not helping you in life, I am, in fact, hurting you.

Liberals often claim that the right cares more about the unborn than about the orphan or the single mom or the poor.  There may be something to that, maybe.  But given that it’s the conservative that is more charitable than the liberal, I don’t buy it.  Rather, I see it that the programs favored by the conservative more resemble the “programs” that they teach and enforce upon their own children.  Namely sacrifice, hard work, goal deferral and plain old “do the job right”.

I just don’t get how feeding and housing a person for years and years helps them.

Am I wrong?