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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 29, 2015, 09:22:48 AM
Latest poll: Trump down to 21% of Republicans, still first place. 79% of Republicans not sold. Losing to Hillary by 10%!

NY Times today, Joe Nocera, Trump can't handle losing, will be out before Iowa.
Pat: "Right now, 45% of all the US pays NO federal tax. None. Zip. Nada. The Trump Plan increases that to 50%.

   - No. Trump says it "removes" 75 million.  Others say it removes 31 million that currently pay.  In any case, (as Crafty and others suggest) going over 50% is a BIG deal politically.  "We will buy your vote" is not a winning mantra for the Republicans or the Republic.

"Can Trump or any Republican get elected by promising to increase federal tax rates on those who are currently paying nothing?"

   - That is not the only alternative to not making a bad situation worse.

"This is the situation that we face today. It is impossible to restore the tax cuts on the 47% at this time. And Trump knows it."

   - The lower income earners kept their Bush tax cut and the higher earner ones lost theirs under Obama.  The way you get more people to have skin in the game is to leave the floor the same and grow the incomes past that threshold.

"Next question. How did we get here with 47% not paying taxes in the first place?
The reason for where we are now is the stupidity of 43 and the policies enacted after 9-11.
When 9-11 occurred, the economy fell back into recession almost immediately. Something was needed to be done to stimulate the economy. So Bush instituted a plan that would reduce tax rates, give every tax payer a $600 rebate and also had the Fed cut interest rates. And guess what? It worked!!!
The tax cuts lowered the rates by 50% on low income earners. Over 80% of the dollar amount of the tax cuts hit the low income earners. This led to the 47% of wage earners not paying any taxes by 2010.
The tax cuts were not sustainable however. In fact, that was the purpose of "sunsetting" them 10 years later, in 2012.  Of course, this was also after presidential elections through 2008 which would have found it likely that a Dem would have been elected anyway.  (Just like Obamacare not fully enacting until 2016.)
There was a small cadre of conservative republicans advocating that the cuts be discontinued by 2005, long before the sunset date. They understood that the cuts were otherwise unsustainable and that the budget would begin to experience larger and larger deficits otherwise. This would be greatly enhanced if Dems got into power, which actually occurred in 2006.
In 2012, the sunsetted tax cuts were supposed to expire. But the Republicans found out very quickly that it was impossible to allow them to be restored, and so they were left alone to stay in place. Attempting to restore the taxes would mean complete unelectability of Repubs everywhere."

   - It started with a (rare) mistake Reagan made, W learned nothing and made worse and Trump is determined to complete, playing perfectly into the leftist hand.  Don't worry you poor working people, we will have the rich pay all your expenses.  Also like W, we see all tax rate cut with no spending rate cut.  ("Big Government Conservatism"?)

The Bush tax rate cuts were given a sunset because of antiquated, static economy, congressional rules, not because they were unsustainable.  In 2005 revenues were growing at double digit rates.  They became unsustainable when Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Hillary, Biden et al took majority in congress with the promise to raise rates back up.  At that point, income was still taxed at the lower rate while investors were making pullback decisions based on the higher, future marginal rate, and growth collapsed.

"How to stimulate the economy and accomplish this goal? Make businesses economically viable again. Get businesses to return the capital that is overseas and reinvest it. Cut taxes on business so that they can invest more capital into their businesses from the decreased tax rates.
Also, cut capital gains, eliminate the estate tax and other things as pointed out in the Trump Plan. Then attack government regulations. Also of this together should reinvigorate the economy and create a new era of expansion."

   - This is exactly right.  Trump hit about the right percentages for the high end needed to grow the economy.  But then why lead with the worst part of the plan that plays right into your opponents' hand?  As pp has said, any tax plan is a starting point.  Like 1986 immigration 'reform', people will lock onto the free ride up to 50k even if the pro-growth, higher income rate cuts never materialize.  They can that with any Democrat.
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Pope Francis' Economics on: September 28, 2015, 11:02:18 PM
 In 1896, income per person in the United States and Argentina, two of the richest countries in the world, was about identical. Argentina subsequently eschewed the free market, replacing it with trade protectionism and other corporatist policies intended to help the poor by redistributing wealth. By 2010, Argentine income was a third of that of the United States.   - Ian Vasquez, Cato

53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left - A previous Pope schools Pope Francis on: September 28, 2015, 10:52:56 PM
"The fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property. A person who is deprived of something he can call "his own", and of the possibility of earning a living through his own initiative, comes to depend on the social machine and on those who control it. This makes it much more difficult for him to recognize his dignity as a person, and hinders progress towards the building up of an authentic human community."


Hat tip Steve Hayward
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump and the 48k earner on: September 28, 2015, 10:30:15 PM
PP,  I have tenants with similar financial challenges.  But the point of tax reform (IMO) isn't for more people to escape paying a share.  The point is to grow opportunities and incomes so they can pay their own bills and part of ours.  The Trump plan does that, but this isn't the feature that grows the economy.  I was pointing out a small glitch but it turns out it is the center of his sales pitch.  Trump rhetoric misses the point.  

BTW, the federal tax on that family is less than $200/mo.   Eliminating that does not solve their problem.

W Bush had the same problem Trump is showing here.  By the time his tax rate cuts were fully in place, federal revenues started growing at a double digit rate, growing over 33% in 3 years.  But W didn't understand his own tax plan even after it was in place and couldn't articulate how or why it worked.  The result was Pelosi, Reid, Obama, and the unraveling of everything that worked.  Now here comes our frontrunner selling his plan by touting the only non-growth aspect of it.  

I'm not arguing for higher taxes on anyone - or more free rides.    The burden of big government is the reason why people don't make more and why 48k doesn't support a  family anymore - even in North Dakota - and we need to fix that.  Unfortunately, that isn't Trump's message.
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 28, 2015, 05:33:44 PM
"So if Trump proposes an income tax on those who do not now pay, how does he get elected?"

I'm not the one pretending to be a straight talker beholden to no one.  If you're going to buy off 75 million votes (or households as they keep mixing up the terms), just say so.

Another approach would be to do no harm.

Reagan made a mistake on immigration and Trump learned from it.

Reagan made this same exact mistake, bragging that he would take millions of Americans off the tax roll altogether, and it grew to DOMINATE our politics.  Everything about Obama and Hillary in campaign mode is to grow services and make you think someone else will pay for it.  Trump is happy to open that hole even wider, not because it's right, but as you say, to get elected.

To answer your question, YES, he could say that every dollar of income is going to face SOME tax, and that if you need help from the government - that needs to be dealt with on the spending side.  At a bare minimum, the stated goal could be to not tax your first dollars of income so that people will move up and out of low income status, not to avoid taxes altogether (YOU WIN??!!).  Under pro-growth policies, we have seen 86% of low income people move out of that status with 10 years.  It is counter-productive IMHO to ask people to support this with the static economic idea that 75 million 'benefit' from this because of their (presumed permanent) low income status.
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury: Reps should provoke and TAKE CREDIT for a shutdown. on: September 28, 2015, 04:36:22 PM
That is an odd approach.  More simply, they could perform their constitutional responsibility according to direction given to them by the voters who elected them, and then refuse to let Obama escape blame for vetoing reasonable and generous funding bills.

The last one was a 17% partial shutdown for 16 days and cost us a net gain of 10 Senators.  If both sides were resolute, it would last considerably longer.
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 28, 2015, 04:25:17 PM
They will still pay Federal Taxes in one way or another. Gas taxes, FCC communication taxes and others will still apply. Plus they will be paying state and local taxes. So it is not as if they are getting anything for free.

Pat,  All true.  I'm not saying this group is under-taxed.  I'm saying they are being sold on the idea that they can get something (everything) for nothing and Trump is perpetuating that.  Note the way he is selling his plan by highlighting its worst feature (IMO), playing on gullability and false populism.

Just within your list, (Health Care expenses, Rent, Utilities, Food Costs, Auto Payment, Auto Expenses, Insurance, Phone/Other, Child Support, Misc Expenses), government is driving up the base cost by possibly double with hidden taxes including the tax of over-regulation.  My home phone tax was 60% by the time I let it go.  No one with a low income could pay that; instead they are offered a cell phone for free.  We could have removed the outdated tax instead but didn't.  Go figure.

After all the government escalation of basic living costs, housing, healthcare, college, etc., lower income people are sold the false promise that someone else will pay their basic living expenses, from cell phones, to healthcare, to transportation, to child care, with no end in sight. 

Democrats drive up the 'demand' for services and Republicans keep driving up the idea that people don't have to pay in at all, much less their fair share.

The federal income tax is a big deal and the state income taxes are based mostly on the same formula.  The whole payroll tax / social security system is another can of worms, and excise taxes, but no one is going there yet.
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 28, 2015, 01:32:17 PM
" $25k per year for a single person is equivalent to just over $2k per month. Forgoing TRS taxes, but leaving in state and FICA, figure about 10% deductions would still remain. Figure $1,900 per month for living expenses for a single person. From that amount of money, subtract:

Health Care expenses
Food Costs
Auto Payment
Auto Expenses
Child Support
Misc Expenses

The end result is that a single person is left with very little income per month for savings or other emergencies. Now, if that person has a child or children, there is nothing left over. Take out even a small amount of taxes, and the situation becomes much worse."

All true, but that doesn't address my objection.

There are many ways to get to income just under 25k/yr.  Here is one example:  50 hours/wk x 50 weeks/yr x $10 = 25,000
So the under 25k bracket is for people working very hard, sometimes 2 jobs or more PT jobs at near minimum wage.
God Bless them.
We also learned that 12% of minimum wage workers live at or below the poverty line as a household.
Young workers often share living expenses with family or friends until they are able to make it on their own or marry.
For older workers making not much above minimum wage, sharing a household with family or friends is also common or necessary.
A married couple and a single person pay roughly the same rent or house payment.
No one is saying the low end or starter level of income affords one his or her own house.
Yet we let them lower income earners live in America and vote equally with everyone else. 
So give them SOME stake in income and expenses of running our government.
My 2 cents.  )
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump Tax Plan on: September 28, 2015, 11:35:50 AM
Thanks PP for getting this posted so quickly.

I approve of this plan - it is far better than the status quo.

It moves Trump out of the fog and into clarity as a serious candidate.  We will see how well he can sell it and how what kind of opposition he runs into.

There is a chasm between Trump's earlier rhetoric and this plan.  A person making 150k, pretty normal pay among my contemporaries, pays at the same rate as the guy making trillions.  I'm okay with that but it is Trump who has to explain it to the liberal, redistributionist, mainstream media.  I hope that goes well for him.

The thing he gets wrong is to repeat Reagan's mistake:

"If you are single and earn less than $25,000, or married and jointly earn less than $50,000, you will not owe any income tax. That removes nearly 75 million households – over 50% – from the income tax rolls. They get a new one page form to send the IRS saying, “I win,” those who would otherwise owe income taxes will save an average of nearly $1,000 each."

That sounds great for selling the plan.  Reagan used the same line.  The problem is that adding 75 million workers to the 94 million adults who don't work at all makes two thirds of the electorate who don't have a stake whatsoever in the size, scope or cost of government.  That model doesn't work for governing.  We need more stakeholders.
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential - John Kasich: Life is about balance on: September 28, 2015, 10:55:24 AM
He hasn't earned his own thread yet, but Kasich is moving like a turtle toward the nomination.  If we assume the top 3, Trump, Carson and Fiorina will fizzle, and Jeb Bush too, and that Cruz isn't electable, that leaves Rubio and Kasich.  Rubio is young, articulate and charismatic.  Kaaich is older, wiser and more experienced (at compromising).  Take your pick.

Kasich says he will focus on New Hampshire and then sweep the country (good luck with that.)  Yet this powerline sighting was in Council Bluffs Iowa on Saturday:

In the first place he [Kasich] has decent poll numbers. The Real Clear Politics average has him at 10 percent or fourth in New Hampshire. Nationally, Bloomberg has him at 4 percent. The second point to consider is that he has been a successful governor of the large and electorally important state of Ohio. He claims to have taken an $8 billion dollar state deficit and turned it into a $2 billion dollar surplus. But then again Scott Walker and Rick Perry had at least equally impressive records and they are both out.

John Kasich appears to be a happy warrior. It’s a quality that has appeal to many voters.

The event at the county fairgrounds was well-attended with the largest contingent of local elected officials at any GOP event I have been at. It is easy to forget that in Iowa and New Hampshire the endorsement and campaign infrastructure of the locals can be critical to success. Congressman David Young was in attendance. He did not endorse Kasich but spoke favorably of him.

At the outset Kasich reminded the crowd of his blue collar roots and his father’s occupation as a mailman. He said he would speak for the people who have no one to speak for them. Bear in mind, however, that he used to work as an investment banker and has friends on Wall Street. Kasich therefore has a background in three worlds: politics, media (at FOX News) and finance.

One of his strengths is his background in budget and spending issues in the state and federal government. He claims to have written the first balanced federal budget since roughly forever. He claims to have left Congress with a huge fiscal surplus surplus, but “the GOP spent it.” Not the Democrats, but the Republicans. He used the line: “When you know the budget, you know everything.” Look for that in the next debate.

He said he will restore defense spending but will be prudent about it. Kasich claimed credit for stopping the spending on the legendary $800 hammer.

Government shutdowns are in the news again and he was part of the first one. He said he supported the Clinton-era shutdown because he “knew he could bend Clinton.”

His populist message was expressed in his desire not to exclude anyone. Kasich’s happy warrior message was conveyed with his promise to compromise without compromising principles.

Kasich took up Pope Francis’s visit. He attributed the Pope’s popularity to a message of hope. Kasich avows that his campaign for president is meant to lift us up and stop the negativity.

I asked him about his reputation as a moderate Republican. Kasich asserted that today Ronald Reagan would be considered a moderate Republican. The other aspect of his moderate reputation is one of tone. He will talk publicly about average people’s problems and his work to solve them. He claims: “I’m a mainstream conservative and a reformer.”

In  answer to a question about the overbearing EPA he worked in the assertion that Hillary is most fearful of him winning the nomination. He seeks to remind voters that the nominee needs the votes of many voters who are middle-of-the-road. He puts it this way: “Life is about balance.”
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Scott answers our Doug on: September 24, 2015, 08:10:24 AM
I asked Scott for his response.  Here it is:

"The first step to fixing the debt is to fix the deficit. We’ve done that. If current trends persist, the burden of debt (debt/GDP) will decline. At 72% currently, the debt is big but not an existential threat. It’s also important to remember that it’s not debt that is the problem, it’s spending. Spending is inevitably paid for by taxation. Spending saps the economy’s productivity, squanders resources, and feeds corruption. Get spending under control and the existing debt becomes irrelevant on the margin. We have made great progress in that direction. Things may deteriorate in the future, but for now there is genuine progress and reason to be hopeful."

We didn't fix the deficit as I understand it because a) with Obamacare the deficit was scheduled to go back up, and b) with the sequester, defense spending is putting us in a readiness deficit that will cost $2 (a concession on social spending) for every $1 of defense restoration. c) Tax rates are at unsustainably high levels. CBO rules are not fully dynamic.  Significant tax rate cuts will require further spending cuts. d) entitlement disaster, e) unfunded liabilities partly within the above. f) Workforce participation rate not just worst ever but still declining, f) the birth dearth. g) The coming rise of interest rates applied to our massive debt.

Our fiscal house is still a complete mess. IMHO.

Scott is obviously correct on spending  but existing debt does not become irrelevant on the margin when you apply 20 trillion to a doubling, tripling or more of interest rates.  Instead it is existing debt that makes future budget balancing impossible.

I will be hopeful AFTER power and political direction changes in Washington.  Even then I am skeptical.
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: September 22, 2015, 10:58:04 PM
If there isn't a thread for this Pope, I'll put it here.

The Left Has Its Pope
(Franco Origlia/Getty)

September 22, 2015 12:00 AM

 Pope Francis has created political controversy, both inside and outside the Catholic Church, by blaming capitalism for many of the problems of the poor. We can no doubt expect more of the same during his visit to the United States.

Pope Francis is part of a larger trend of the rise of the political left among Catholic intellectuals. He is, in a sense, the culmination of that trend.

There has long been a political left among Catholics, as among other Americans. Often they were part of the pragmatic left, as in the many old Irish-run, big-city political machines that dispensed benefits to the poor in exchange for their votes, as somewhat romantically depicted in the movie classic, “The Last Hurrah.”

But there has also been a more ideological left. Where the Communists had their official newspaper, the Daily Worker, there was also the Catholic Worker published by Dorothy Day.

A landmark in the evolution of the ideological left among Catholics was a publication in the 1980s, by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, titled “Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy.”

Although this publication was said to be based on Catholic teachings, one of its principal contributors, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, said: “I think we should be up front and say that really we took this from the Enlightenment era.”

The specifics of the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter reflect far more of the secular Enlightenment of the 18th century than of Catholic traditions. Archbishop Weakland admitted that such an Enlightenment figure as Thomas Paine “is now coming back through a strange channel.”

Strange indeed. Paine rejected the teachings of “any church that I know of,” including “the Roman church.” He said: “My own mind is my own church.“ Nor was Paine unusual among the leading figures of the 18th century Enlightenment.

To base social or moral principles on the philosophy of the 18th-century Enlightenment and then call the result “Catholic teachings” suggests something like bait-and-switch advertising.

But, putting aside religious or philosophical questions, we have more than two centuries of historical evidence of what has actually happened as the ideas of people like those Enlightenment figures were put into practice in the real world — beginning with the French Revolution and its disastrous aftermath.

It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining.
Both the authors of the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter in the 1980s, and Pope Francis today, blithely throw around the phrase “the poor,” and blame poverty on what other people are doing or not doing to or for “the poor.“

Any serious look at the history of human beings over the millennia shows that the species began in poverty. It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining. Poverty is automatic, but prosperity requires many things — none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.

Geographic settings are radically different, both among nations and within nations. So are demographic differences, with some nations and groups having a median age over 40 and others having a median age under 20. This means that some groups have several times as much adult work experience as others. Cultures are also radically different in many ways.

As distinguished economic historian David S. Landes put it, “The world has never been a level playing field.” But which has a better track record of helping the less fortunate — fighting for a bigger slice of the economic pie, or producing a bigger pie?

In 1900, only 3 percent of American homes had electric lights but more than 99 percent had them before the end of the century. Infant mortality rates were 165 per thousand in 1900 and seven per thousand by 1997. By 2001, most Americans living below the official poverty line had central air conditioning, a motor vehicle, cable television with multiple TV sets, and other amenities.

A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much-criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the Left.

Pope Francis’ own native Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions he is now promoting around the world.

— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His website is © 2015 Creators Syndicate Inc.
Did you like this?  

63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 22, 2015, 08:55:52 PM
Q: Are you making the perfect the enemy of the good here?

Yes. I still like Ben Carson, smart guy obviously.  All I ask is that he preface his proposal with:
'Minimum wagie is bad law, hurts the people it intends to help, but IF you're going to do it here's how I propose we do it.'

To be a conservative Presidential candidate and not know federal minimum wage law is bad law, to me is a scary level of economic ignorance.  To know and not say so tells something else counter to be what we believe about his candidacy,  IMHO.
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 22, 2015, 04:50:45 PM
While they chase the Muslim shiny object, they missed Dr. Ben's mis-step on minimum wage.

Federal minimum wage is:
a. popular,
b. counter-productive, and
c. unconstitutional by any reasonable reading.  Powers not granted to congress are left to the states and to the people.  No?

If Dr. Ben is so principled, why is he pandering on this?  Or does he not see that federal minimum wage laws don't lift wages, they change who decides them and prohibits employment below that value.

We want compensation decisions made by government, and at the federal level?  Really??

This issue of freedom isn't brain surgery.
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Walker out, etc. on: September 22, 2015, 11:18:05 AM
It seemed to me Walker and Perry were running by looking in the rear view mirror.   Others are guilty of it too.

Perry had an amazing economic record in Texas, outperforming the whole rest of the country and he didn't mind telling us..  That didn't translate into people believing he could do the same with the country especially if he was seen as unelectable.

Walker took a strong stand against the wrongful public employee unions in Wisconsin and won.  He won 3 statewide elections in Wisconsin in the last 4 years, and he told us and told us.  Did that mean he was ready to win nationwide or even carry his own state in a national election?  No.  Breaking the federal employee unions isn't the heart of what is wrong.  Foreign policy, immigration and economic plans are.  I would say his work in Wisconsin isn't done.  Wisconsin still has big government and old economy problems, its economy has not passed up its Democrat-led neighbors yet, they don't have the tax rates of SD, TX or FL yet and Walker is still young.

Chris Christie might as well drop out too.  He is touting accomplishments in a state still burdened by big government problems and leftism.  He hasn't moved New Jersey away from voting left except for his own election.  How he would prosecute the war on terror is interesting, but doing for the country what he did for NJ is not a compelling story.

Kasich has a heck of a track record.  If this was a resume election, he would win.  It clearly isn't.

Conventional wisdom says we tend to elect Governors to be President while Senators get bogged down in wonkiness and procedural talk.  This year is different.  We have 31 (?) Republican Governors available plus some great former governors.  In the race are (or were) the Governors from the biggest states and biggest swing states possible, Ohio, Florida, Texas, even New York, plus NJ, LA and Wisc.  None are catching on so far.

The Senators running are not the type we normally think of as Senators running for Peresident.  All are junior Senators.  All are first term.  All are leaders of a movement more than they are proceduralists and compromisers from the smoke filled rooms of Washington.  Rand Paul is trying to strike a balance between libertarianism and reality, carrying the torch of the Ron Paul movement, the smallest but most energetic wing of the conservative movement.  Paul also carries the Republican torch for anti-interventionism.  (Carson leans that way too.)  Ted Cruz is closest (other than Paiul) to being a pure conservative and consitutionalist.  Rubio is the conservative leader of the pro-freedom, pro-growth wing, in my view. These are philosophical leaders, not people who made their careers in the Senate.  None of them suffer from the conventional problems of being a Senator except for the lack of executive experience and having their campaigning constrained by vote roll calls in Washington.

Carly had kind of a tough time running the world's largest tech company through tumultuous times.  She touts those accomplishments only when confronted with the bad sides of it.  Her rise is based on her focus on the task ahead, leading America.  She may have learned more out of that executive experience than if she had led the company during a time when everything they touched just turned to gold.

Trump is more of a project manager than a CEO as I see it.  Carson is a unique case outside of known rules.

Walker led in April, was second on Aug 1, did almost nothing wrong, and is now out.  This race is fluid.

With everything now upside down, Trump is now where Bush was supposed to be when he entered.  There was the Bush support, known and measured, and there was the rest splitting the anti-Bush sentiment.  The best Bush could do was hold his ground and he didn't.  He under-performed.  Now there is Trump support, from low 20s to the 30s, back to low 20s.  He is the most known now so everyone inclined to prefer him already does.  As he gets more specific on issues, some of his support could erode.  If he looks unelectable, more support erodes.  Not too many who are now anti-Trump now are going to change their mind and back him for the nomination as I see it.

Disclosure, my prediction accuracy rate is not very good and the candidates I like best tend to lose.  (
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gov. Scott Walker on: September 21, 2015, 11:17:54 PM
Some might stay in without a chance of winning.  Jeb won't.  He is hating this process.  It isn't going at all the way he expected.  Jeb isn't going to wait for his poll numbers to go to zero.

The base is now the establishment. Everything is upside down.

67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 21, 2015, 10:44:59 PM
"Who the hell says Fiorina is faltering?"

I assumed the voters all saw pp's post.  It was a little premature to write that so I take it back - for now.
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 21, 2015, 07:56:41 PM
I saw the relevant portion of the interview and I would summarize it thusly:

Carson speaks about his Christianity.  The question came if that would be a litmus test for his administration.  Fair enough.  In his answer Dr. Ben said as long as religious beliefs were consistent with our C., then all was well.

IMHO the formulation of his answer pretty much invites the question that followed about Islam.

Right.  From the small portion I heard that's what it sounded like.  Reagan and even Clinton won by keeping a laser-like focus on their issues, not by philosophizing on whatever obscure thought goes through their mind on the campaign trail.  Now here we go with another turn off into the irrelevant.

There isn't a Muslim running for President.  Keith Ellison (who supports gay rights and debt) is a phony, so there isn't even a Muslim in Congress.  There isn't a Muslim President issue in the campaign.  But there are media and opponents everywhere you go that would love to see the subject changed and the candidates sidetracked.  In tennis, and maybe all sports we call these unforced errors, and they can negate all of your good qualities.  DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN.

With Trump, Fiorina and Carson faltering, where are we to turn?   
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 21, 2015, 07:54:25 PM
I saw the relevant portion of the interview and I would summarize it thusly:

Carson speaks about his Christianity.  The question came if that would be a litmus test for his administration.  Fair enough.  In his answer Dr. Ben said as long as religious beliefs were consistent with our C., then all was well.

IMHO the formulation of his answer pretty much invites the question that followed about Islam.

Right.  From the small portion I heard that's what it sounded like.  Reagan and even Clinton won by keeping a laser-like focus on their issues, not by philosophizing on whatever obscure thought goes through their mind on the campaign trail.  Now here we go with another turn off into the irrelevant.

There isn't a Muslim running for President.  Keith Ellison (who supports gay rights and debt) is a phony, so there isn't even a Muslim in Congress.  There isn't a Muslim President issue in the campaign.  But there are media and opponents everywhere you go that would love to see the subject changed and the candidates sidetracked.  DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN.

With Trump, Fiorina and Carson faltering, where are we to turn?   
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gov. Scott Walker on: September 21, 2015, 07:40:35 PM
NY Times and Drudge reporting that Walker is out.  Has no money.

Where will his supporters go?

Who does George Will's wife go to? She was on his staff.

I can't tell when pp is joking but Walker didn't have enough supporters left to matter.  Still he was part of the top 3, other than the outsiders, Jeb, Walker and Rubio.  With Jeb out next and Walker out now, that could eventually favor Rubio. 

But Walker was most certainly a Washington outsider, so the 10-20% that he never got already went to the outsiders.

I don't that Mari Will is a big force; it's just an ethical requirement that he keep disclosing her employment as he covers the race.  It means that it wasn't his job to rip Walker' someone else can so that.

I predict she also goes to Rubio.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gov. Scott Walker on: September 21, 2015, 07:29:00 PM
Apparently a good and decent man of substantial political courage in WI, but just wasn't cutting it on the national stage.

If I recall, your first reaction was 'boring white guy'.  Turned out to be true in the context of this high stakes, big market race.

To that I would say:
a) Why not boring, if he could manage the economy well, keep us safe, and appoint the right kind of judges, etc.?  Who says that celebrity status, hip and exciting make a better Commander in Chief.  Nobody asked or cared if Scott Walker wore boxers or briefs.
b) Why not white?  70-something % of the country is still white.
c) Why not a guy?  Almost half the country and most of the ex-Presidents were guys?

Somewhere unspoken in that is 'midwesterner', likely under boring, white guy.  Regional differences are part of this.  I liked Scott Walker.  I liked Tim Pawlenty.  Both would have made good Presidents, better than Obama and probably better than Bush, McCain and Romney that were nominated.  Too bad.

One good side is that Scott Walker may have mobilized the left better than he would have mobilized the right. 

I am satisfied that Scott Walker was sufficiently conservative, strong integrity, a good manager, loving husband and father and all of that.  My question from the beginning is, who from our side will be best to represent our view and present it most charismatically and persuasively to the persuadable, who should be nearly everyone in this time where leftism is most obviously failing?  The answer was not Scott Walker.

Speaking of boring, midwestern, white guy, pay attention to Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who is a successful businessman, manufacturer, and rode the tea party wave to beat far left incumbent Senator Russ Feingold in 2010.  He could use your help - (to everyone who may be reading).  If you don't like congress now and don't like what the Senate is not doing to stop the far left, Obama agenda, try taking out one of the best Senators and putting in his place one of the worst as we fight to hold the Senate, repeal Obamacare, reform the tax code and confirm judges.  That race may be as important as the top of the ticket.  (Yes I will post it in the other thread when I can.)
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 21, 2015, 01:51:36 PM
He simply said "I do not advocate". 

I don't either, , , and neither do you  cheesy

Rather than Muslim as a (peaceful) person, name or group, think of Sharia Law.  One has to renounce either the US Constitution or Sharia Law, do they not?

I recall a lame joke McCain told.  He hoped the next President would be Christian.  One of my Jewish friends (Harvard MBA educated) was offended.  He didn't get that McCain was just saying he hoped to be the next President.  His first choice for VP (next President) at the time was considered to be Joe Lieberman, coincidentally Jewish.

As CD pointed out, Carson said specifically he isn't advocating for a Muslim - he is advocating for a Christian.

Not much of a big deal here, until the ADHD, OCD media gets totally fixated on it.

Also an example of how these perverse questioners can quickly change the playing field.  About 0.00% of the debate was spent on how each candidate would like to lead the nation.
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson, minimum wage on: September 21, 2015, 08:18:47 AM
Carson was half right on Min Wage in the debate.  We need two rates, one for starting and one for sustaining.

No we don't.  Even with two, there isn't one rate for each that is right for all regions and industries.

May I suggest he hire Thomas Sowell, author of Basic Economic, before the next debate.
74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ukraine, Putin winning or losing on: September 21, 2015, 08:10:17 AM
The American Interest

Is Putin Winning or Losing?
Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine don’t think they’re getting enough support from the Kremlin, and are openly wondering if Putin still wants to help them win.

Ukrainian separatist leaders say their hopes of full integration with Russia or greater independence are fading as the Kremlin tightens the reins on their rebellion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appears unwilling to risk broadening his conflict with the U.S. and European Union over Ukraine, senior separatist officials said in interviews this month, meaning the rebel regions’ future is more likely to resemble Transnistria, the Russian-backed breakaway area of Moldova, whose fate is still unresolved more than two decades after fighting subsided.
Russian nationalists want to bring Ukraine back into the fold; there should not, some Russians feel, be an international border between Moscow and Kiev. Yet there’s little sign that Putin has ever made this his goal. For one thing, Ukraine’s economy is in such bad shape that Russia would have to subsidize it heavily. That’s not something Putin is eager to do. Even the nationalists’ fallback position—a Ukraine so committed to Russia’s version of the European Union (the “Eurasian Union”) that further EU integration is impossible—would require heavy Russian support.

On the other hand, Putin cannot tolerate a Ukraine that is fully integrated into the West. A democratic Ukraine that was traveling the road taken by Poland and the Baltic States to become increasingly economically successful, ultimately to join the Western institutions of the EU and NATO, would be a crippling defeat for Putin for two reasons: First, because the Russian nationalists who are an important part of Putin’s coalition would turn against him in anger and disappointment if Russia were seen to have ‘lost’ Ukraine in this way. Second, because the core arguments that Putin uses to defend his methods and regime would be gravely weakened.

Putin’s argument to the Russian people is that Orthodox Slavs are part of a different civilization from the West: Russia isn’t like France or Germany, England, or even Poland. Western democracy, Western economic organization, and Western ideas about personal autonomy and freedom are foreign to Russia and don’t work. Look what happened in the 1990s when Yeltsin tried to move the country Westward, the argument goes. Russia almost fell apart! Then, when the kind of strong government that Russia needs was restored (by Putin) things got better. Western pressure to democratize is part of a plan to defeat, dismember and humiliate Russia. The West’s true hope, Putin contends, is for Russia to fall apart the way the Soviet Union did.

The trouble for Putin is that a successful Ukraine, democratizing and Westernizing, undercuts this argument. If Ukraine were to start looking more like Denmark, or even Poland, that would be an important sign that an Orthodox Slavic culture (and remember, Russian nationalists consider Ukraine and Russia to be deeply similar) really can succeed on the basis of liberal economic and political ideas. Russia doesn’t have to be isolated, undemocratic and poor. If the Russians get rid of Putin and his cronies, they too could have a better life.
Putin’s core concern with Ukraine, then, is defensive. He considers its Westward aspirations to be a serious danger to his power. His goal isn’t to conquer all Ukraine or even part of it; his goal is to spoil Ukraine—to prevent it from taking the Westward road with success. Conquest or integration of Ukraine into the Eurasian Union is something he can’t afford and doesn’t particularly want. But keeping Ukraine from assimilating into the West: that’s vital.
Long term Russian control over Crimea and a poor, corrupt, Ukraine run by greedy and unpopular oligarchs is pretty much Putin’s dream scenario. And it’s better still if this crippled entity is subsidized by the West—if the EU and the U.S., for example, end up helping Ukraine pay its oil bill to Gazprom and otherwise have to prop up its staggering economy.

That’s not a perfect situation for him; there are, for example, important defense plants in eastern Ukraine that Russia would like to have back under his control. But given that Russia is a weaker power, and that the oil price collapse has exacerbated Russia’s weakness, what we see now is pretty much a status quo that Putin can live with—as long as Ukrainian reforms fail and its economy flounders.

So the important battle line in Ukraine isn’t actually in the east. The important battle in Ukraine is political and economic. Can the West and pro-Western Ukrainians reform the economy and build a competent, honest and modernizing state, or will the oligarchs and the legacy of Soviet corruption drag Ukraine down?
Putin hopes (not without reason) that time and inertia are on his side. Ukraine has never been able to build a Western style state, and its oligarchs remain in charge. The West’s goals for Ukraine are harder to achieve than Putin’s goals; this is why Russia, a fundamentally weaker power than the West it opposes, has a chance at getting its way in Ukraine.

Therefore, the purpose of the badly organized and poorly-led mafias and militias in the Russian dominated chunks of eastern Ukraine is to keep Ukrainian politics on the boil. By controlling when and whether Donetsk militias fight, Putin can create a political crisis in Ukraine at any moment. This frozen conflict (which Putin always has the option of unfreezing) helps deter foreign investors who fear the risk of renewed unrest. It pushes Ukrainian nationalists toward more radical politics in ways that Putin hopes will further unbalance Ukraine’s precarious political order. It forces Ukraine to borrow money for military defense. It confirms the impression of people inside Russia that their country is surrounded by implacable enemies and needs a strong leader to defend it.

Meanwhile, Putin has other tools he can use to make the task of reform inside Ukraine harder. There are oligarchs whose loyalties are divided, and who want to keep on good terms with the Kremlin while keeping the EU and the reformers from changing the way they do business. Some members of parliament and of Ukraine’s government and security forces are susceptible to Russian bribes or blackmail. Some groups in Ukraine fear that reform will undercut their power and privilege (like the masses of corrupt civil servants and judges who will ultimately be sidelined and marginalized if the New Ukraine really takes shape). And there are others who, for reasons of sentiment or interest, want Ukraine to look East rather than West.

For all these reasons, Putin doesn’t need military success in eastern Ukraine or further advances into Ukrainian territory to get his way. This is a political struggle for Putin more than a military one, and from his point of view, the situation in Ukraine looks reasonably good. Success isn’t guaranteed, of course, but the odds against a successful state building effort in Kiev remain long.

Posted: Sep 20, 2015 - 3:49 pm
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 20, 2015, 12:38:43 PM
I wonder how hard the media will hit this comment by Carson. As far as I am concerned, this rules him out completely. There should be no litmus test on religion for running for any office, even if it is Islam.
... CARSON: I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that

Agree.  I'm not sure who he offends but his honesty keeps getting him to answer irrelevant questions.

Reminds me of this one:

If he is not the nominee or the VP choice, I hope he can still continue to make an impact on public thought on racial and economic issues.
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 20, 2015, 12:24:52 PM
Recent Poll results after the debate
Trump: 24%
Fiorina: 15%
Carson: 14%
Rubio: 11%
Bush: 9%
Walker < .5%   ...

The outsiders hold all of the top 3 places and one of them may win.  Trump's upward momentum is stopped, but first by a lot is still a good position in a crowded field.  The other question is who is winning among the Senators and Governors in case the outsiders fizzle (as expected) as we get deeper in the process.  As a Rubio fan, I like the slow speed that he is moving up, gradually impressing almost everyone who hears him.  He is in a much better position than Bush and Walker, and most of the others aren't getting traction either.  I hope he is ready for when the scrutiny is all aimed at him. 

77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Carly Fiorina on: September 20, 2015, 11:57:03 AM
Carly is getting big bucks from Univision for her campaign.  Bothers me, how about you?

No, but it may indicate what you posted earlier, that she is perhaps furthest 'left' on the compromise path of immigration.

When I get time I would like to delve deeper on my view of the immigration issue today.  Suffice it to say that if Trump's big burst was based on an immigration hardline, and if he falters, that support won't go to those who are softest on the issue.

I don't expect that she is going to win this.  We just like some of what she is saying and how she is saying it.  Especially for calling out Hillary Clinton.  I've never thought Hillary will be the nominee, so that matchup isn't as crucial as the question of how well you articulate our side of politics to the limited number of persuadable people who may sitting on the fence.  She is in the top two or three on that, not first.
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: September 20, 2015, 11:42:07 AM
How can that be?  Because it was bank reserves that were increased, not m-1 or m-2 etc much beyond the usual.

I owe Crafty a reply on this. 

Yes, this is the Wesbury and Grannis position.  After trillions of dollars of quantitative expansion of the monetary supply and a decade and a half of near zero interest rates, the monetary supply measured by M1 and M2, which by definition do not include bank reserves, did not go up.

Poverty measures don't measure poverty and our unemployment measures don't measure unemployment.  PP has pointed out how our housing measures don't measure housing.  It is not surprising that M1 and M2 don't measure the money supply. 

M0: In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, M0 includes bank reserves, so M0 is referred to as the monetary base, or narrow money.
MB: is referred to as the monetary base or total currency. This is the base from which other forms of money (like checking deposits, listed below) are created and is traditionally the most liquid measure of the money supply.
M1: Bank reserves are not included in M1.
M2: Represents M1 and "close substitutes" for M1  M2 is a broader classification of money than M1. M2 is a key economic indicator used to forecast inflation.[14]
M3: M2 plus large and long-term deposits. Since 2006, M3 is no longer published by the US central bank.  However, there are still estimates produced by various private institutions.
MZM: Money with zero maturity. It measures the supply of financial assets redeemable at par on demand. Velocity of MZM is historically a relatively accurate predictor of inflation.

If we concede the Grannis point, we should still consider the basics of fractional reserve banking in the context of escalating bank reserves.  Gasoline in the tank or even the carburetor doesn't affect  combustion when the engine is turned off.  Even though that money is sitting still, uncounted, isn't it already toothpaste out of the tube that will not easily go back in?  (My own Wesbury cliches and mixed metaphors.)

If my take on the current state of MV = PQ is wrong, then the right answer is that all 4 variables are flat and stuck.  Only if you like the status quo is that good news. 

Think of physics to understand economics.  When a huge, massive, giant object like the US economy is stuck in place with zero acceleration and near zero velocity, that isn't going to change sped or direction by taking a wait and see, leave-the-policies-the-same approach.  Like stagflation followed by Reaganomics, it will require a very large force.  But if and when we do turn a giant ship around, and demand, velocity and dynamism are all restored, the already escalated bank reserves will enter the monetary supply through fractional reserve system by way of a large multiplier effect.  That is when the effects of the policies of the last 15 years will show up in the monetary measures.  Not now.

No one knows how that will turn out.  What we do know is that these measures they point to now don't measure it.
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Grannis: Bad news, good news on: September 20, 2015, 09:58:17 AM

From the link:

The bad news: this is the weakest recovery ever; the labor force participation rate has been falling for 15 years; productivity growth is dismally low; our national debt is at a post-war high of 72% of GDP; race relations have deteriorated; tax and regulatory burdens are suffocating the private sector; savers and retirees have been severely penalized by seven years of near-zero interest rates; the rule of law has been weakened by the emergence of the Imperial Presidency; crony capitalism (a euphemism for corruption in government) is rampant; the tax code is a nightmare; and transfer payments are at record-high levels that correspond to 20% of personal income and over 70% of federal spending.

Powerful stuff.  The so-called good news can only be taken in the context of the above.  In other words, we can say all we want about the great re-arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic, but not honestly without also mentioning the iceberg.
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Republican Debate 2, CNN, full video on: September 20, 2015, 09:53:33 AM
A little late, but I finally took the time to watch the full video.  At 3 hours, it was long to watch when I had already heard most of it on the radio.

Some additional observations:

They all were winners in the eye of the beholder; every candidate played pretty well to their own strengths and therefore mostly pleased their own supporters.  In another sense, since almost everyone is really undecided, all the subtleties matter.

Even though all the questions were designed to pin down top candidates on their biggest weaknesses, they missed doing that on all counts, in my view.  Trump's blind spot to me is the Kelo/ takings question and no one pressed that on him except Rand Paul,  and Trump wasn't pressed to acknowledge or answer it.  For Fiorina, not the difficulties at HP but the tripling of her own salary during that time, it didn't come up  Rubio wasn't truly challenged on his weakness.  That will come when he is the frontrunner.

Rubio and Fiorina looked ready on national security and foreign policy.  Others leave open the question of being ready on day one. 

Bush didn't present himself that well, about equal to his poll numbers, but currently has perhaps the best economic plan and message, grow the economy and right to rise.  I say right message, wrong messenger.  I don't expect him to go the distance.

Huckabee looked good and touted the flat tax but didn't even mention that it requires repeal of the income tax amendment in order to not become one more way to take more from us and grow government even though that isn't his intention.  Carson said he was looking at all of that in addition to the flat tax with no details.  On another topic, Fiorina mis-spoke on how many states it takes to amend the constitution.  She said 2/3rds of the states, when it is 2/3rds in the House and Senate and 3/4ths of the state legislatures.  That is a big distinction because it means amendment can't be done without wide support in both parties.  It can't be done for things like repealing the income tax in our lifetime much less in the immediate term.  Therefore that tax plan is not a serious plan for day one or year 4.  Just bloviating.

40% of the questions were in some way about Trump.  Missed on radio and punditry were the visuals of Trump standing in the center of the stage and camera with expressions and gestures all the way through as if he was presiding over the meeting and challenging his subordinates.  That played fine I'm sure  to his strategy and supporters. He did so-so in terms of the substance of answering the obvious attempt to expose the frontrunner.  I agree with those who think this debate marks the peak of his candidacy.  He isn't going to either collapse or gain any further ground based on momentum or bandwagon.  His support will narrow to his fit with the electorate which is still significant.

Trump's strategy was to keep telling himself to be humble, hence the joke about his secret service handle.  But that isn't him and it isn't what got him here. 
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Carly Fiorina on: September 20, 2015, 08:40:15 AM
Great documentation on Carly by pp.  I like her but we knew she didn't come into this with a purely conservative record after running as a California moderate.

From the wsj link:
"Ms. Fiorina says she "probably" would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor, because most presidential Supreme Court nominees who are qualified deserve a presumption of support"

   - Running for Senate for confirmation vote responsibility is different than running for President for Supreme Court appointment powers.  We don't know what justices any of them will appoint.  Ted Cruz was the only one talking about it.  

From the SF chronicle link:  "Carly thinks we need to have the courage to examine the science of climate change, but knows that us acting alone will only put our companies at a severe competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace with no impact on the issue. First and foremost, Carly believes we need to expand and diversify our nation's energy portfolio - solar, wind, coal, natural gas - to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil."

   - That's not too bad for someone fighting for a California Senate seat.

From the Information Week link:  "Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and current chair of the board of directors for the Technology Policy Institute, said in a conference call with reporters that she finds it encouraging that Congress is spending substantial amounts of money on broadband infrastructure"

   - Trump supported the entire stimulus, so did Bush, Bernancke, Obama, and everyone else except me and maybe two others.  If you're going to have a trillion dollar government boondoggle, might as well have some of it go into information infrastructure.  This is about neutral on the political scale, not a flaming liberal smoking gun, not total austerity.

Carly wrote in college (Flash Report link)  "Where I began as a proponent of "States' Rights" in education, I have ended by believing that we will never meet our own expectations of public education unless the federal government is willing to play a consistent, long-term role; unless education truly becomes a matter of national policy, not just a matter of national rhetoric."

   - Not my view and maybe not hers now, but probably an electable stance for the general election.

Carly on immigration in Senate campaign (CBS link)  "I would support the DREAM Act because I do not believe that we can punish children who through no fault of their own are here trying to live the American dream."

   - Not acceptable to folks here but supporting illegal children with Dream and no other amnesty is a pretty common compromise stance out there.  For whatever we think of it, there would have been no point in running a California Senate as an immigration purist or hardliner.

This is all helpful.  I think she is more comfortable espousing conservative views than being a mushy, Calif moderate.  Either way she may have consistency and hypocrisy issues if she gets caught shifting now.  Others like the frontrunner may also find that getting pinned down on specifics can cost support.  

On other issues, like HP:  I buy the explanation that the layoffs are part of the business.  Outsourcing is too.  It was a tumultuous time in tech, for HP and for Lucent too.  She is sharp and looks like a strong executive with solid experience to me.  That said, this ad by Barbara Boxer did real damage:

You can explain the stock price drop and the jobs but you can't tell the median income earner that you tripled your salary and bought a million dollar yacht while that was happening.  I hope that she has a better response to it now than she did then. [I see Fox News Sunday played this same clip this am}
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: September 18, 2015, 11:41:30 AM
"Doug, First, the transaction occurred in Dec 2005 and not 2010. People were not picking up foreclosures at 15 cents on the dollar then."

Yes.  Busted on that.  How did you know when I bought mine, lol.  But in 2005 values were going nuts in the other direction.  My home went up 8-fold from purchase price in those years, and appraisers for the mortgages around me that were driving the values and property taxes were all snake oil salesman as far as I was concerned.

My take:  When I used to get a mortgage to buy a property, we already had the price set and the Purchase Agreement signed.  We always bought for what we believed was significantly below value - or wouldn't be buying it.  Yet the appraiser for the mortgage always came in at the exact purchase price.  Crookedly I think, they already knew the price and were really just giving it a yes or no that the value supports the mortgage.  They never said, you're buying it for x but we appraise it for x + 20%.  They magically always came in at the exact purchase price.

When I took out an equity line of credit around that time, it was done off of county assessed value, with no comparables and no appraisal.  You know the industry far better than any of us, but the equity lines in the runup to the crach involved far less scrutiny than a first mortgage.

If all you say is true, very possibly Rubio 'benefited' from the sloppiness in the industry - if it is a benefit to take on more debt and pay it back.  If it smells fishy, then good that it is brought out now than dropped on us a minute before the election.

"There have been FDIC and DOJ actions against homeowners, lenders and brokers for these types of actions throughout the crisis... "

Not much appraiser, lender, homeowner prosecution that I ever saw, and not much of a pattern here if he is accused of doing it once.  And now he has the Hillary commodities defense if he needs it, the statute of limitations has passed.

Contrasting, it would be interesting to apply this level of scrutiny to all of Trump's transactions, including loans he obtained where our ten-fold billionaire couldn't / wouldn't make the promised payments and used the legal system to escape his obligations, like only the most rich and powerful among us can.

I have friends who sold their businesses after the tech crash for a fraction a what they could have sold for before the crash and for less than what they owed, and then made good on those obligations over time with other business income.  No doubt they had to sign personally and plege other assets to get their funding.  Trump put his Trump name and Trump honor but not his Trump assets on those loans before defaulting.  Good for him, I guess.  A zero-sum win in those cases - what he won someone else lost.  Not much of a model for the economy, the federal government, or the nation.  The belief of Trump backers is that he (hopefully) won't govern the way he ran his businesses.

The larger point on Rubio and others making a serious bid for the Presidency is this:  When (if) he wins, he is no longer on some political climb.  All that he owes his backers is his word that he govern as promising.  And he does govern as promised and succeeds in turning the country around, he will have plenty of backing for reelection over the stark alternative of returning to big-government-leftism.
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: September 17, 2015, 11:56:49 PM
Are they saying he may have bought a house for less than full value, then borrowed against the higher value?!  And he made every payment on the mortgage and the equity line?  (No one alleged otherwise.)  Do they have any way of finding this guy and arresting him?

The article was July 22 2010.  In November he won a US Senate seat in Florida, beat the incumbent governor by a million votes and the Democrat by a million and a half, more than a 2-1 margin.  Did people not see how serious this is?  (hint of sarcasm)

I was buying houses for 15 cents on the dollar of value.  I hope they don't come after me next.

Following the pattern of attacking the source, I see the Miami New Times entertainment tabloid links directly to The Erotic Review for the reader's hooker booking convenience.  Nice story about lesbians at a strip club too - they don't just do real estate transaction analysis. 

From the article:

"It's no secret that Marco wants to be the first Cuban-American president," says Sen. Steve Geller, the top Democrat in the Florida Senate when Rubio was House Speaker. "He's smart, he's ambitious, and, candidly, I wouldn't want to be the guy that gets in his way. Because you'll regret it."

Sounds like of Trump describing Trump. 
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 17, 2015, 05:02:57 PM
"That was surpassed only by Senator Ted Cruz’s claim that he somehow opposed the nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court. If Mr. Cruz had some inner doubt about the Roberts selection in 2005, he didn’t advertise it at the time as far as we can find. The shameless rewriting of history to serve his latest political needs is becoming a Cruz hallmark."

Cruz pushed the for other guy (over Roberts) for Bush to nominate.  Then he supported confirmation of Roberts (over voting him down).   The underlying point is important; Cruz is saying he would appoint proven constitutionalists to the Court, and that Pres. Bush made a mistake.  But the confusion didn't play well.

The Rand Paul - Christy argument over pot was similar.  They kept muddying the question between how each feels about the underlying issue with what to do with the fact that these state laws are in conflict with existing federal law.  Rand Paul had it right but I don't think that came across well either.

40% of the questions were about Trump.  The rest were mostly about Bush's family and what do you think of anything controversial the others have said.  It was funny to  agreement break out in the climate 'skeptic' discussion.  At least two said, I like what Marco said.

No one won the early debate.  Some said Graham won; some said Santorum won.  No one won.

Rubio's vision of landing Air Force One in a free Cuba was a key moment, symbolizing the contrast between accommodating tyranny and advancing freedom.

I can't remember the details, but some controversial group endorsed Reagan and he survived it saying their endorsement of him did not constitute him endorsing them.  Same goes for Marco Rubio and the so-called GOPe.  Rubio might be as good of a find that the centrists will accept that can win.  That does not make him part of the 'establishment'. He is much closer to Reagan than he is to Rove, McConnell, Boehner.  PP may be right that establishment money and support intended for Bush will move to Rubio, but that does not make him beholden to them.  If he wins, he won't be someone's puppet; he will be President of the US and leader of the free world.  His debt and gratitude will be to the American people, not the donors.  His promise to them is simply to do his best.  And he would be the best advocate for freedom the world has had in a very long time.  (MHO)
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 16, 2015, 04:29:16 PM
The distinction here is the taking of private land for other, private ownership.  The power of the govt to take for public facilities like freeways, with compensation, is certainly constitutional, whether I like it or not.

The distinction is gradually lost as we nationalize all industries.
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 16, 2015, 02:08:52 PM
Thanks Pat. 

Where you see grey, I see right and wrong.  It isn't for the somewhat rare one who is taken from that we look out for their interest.  It is for all of us.

It isn't just for the .0047% of us that get murdered each year that we maintain all these laws, police, courts and prisons.  It is for all of us.
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: August CPI - Fallen Horse Econcomy on: September 16, 2015, 02:00:06 PM
Wesbury is speculating on Fed hikes, but in effect he is saying that in spite of trillion of dollars of accumulated QE rounds, we still see no price increases.  How can that be?

I wonder if Wesbury buys into Milton Friedman's monetary equation, MV = PQ.

Price and Quantity/output is flat, Money is up, then velocity - the speed in which money is spent - is still down.

If Economic Velocity is stuck in neutral, it means this economy is a Fallen Horse, not a Plow Horse.

Everyone but Wesbury and Obama seems to know this.
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump and the reverse Robin Hood effect on: September 16, 2015, 01:23:21 PM
pp:  "Doug,  Can you please point out where this has occurred? I must have missed it otherwise."

Yes.  1) It happened to us in Minneapolis.  PPL ("Project for Pride in Living") a phony, government "non-profit" used the City of Minneapolis Takings Power to take an apartment building from us instead of procuring it the old fashioned, consensual way.  The corrupt, quasi-government group advances "affordable housing" by kicking out low income tenants.  Go figure.

2) Minneapolis took prime, private, downtown properties to give title to preferred donor, Target, instead of making them buy it the old fashioned way, with the consent of the sellers.  Target is now facing major layoffs - just like 3) the Kelo house is an empty field.

4) In the suburbs here across from Mall of America, the City of Richfield forced out private businesses to make way for their preferred use, a new Best Buy headquarters.  Then the Best Buy chief left in a sex scandal and the company faces major layoffs.  Smart planning at its best.

5) Cconstruction of Coors field was almost complete before the City of Denver completed the taking of the real estate where home plate sits.  Take from a little old lady and to give to Major League Baseball.  Source: WSJ.  They didn't have to buy it or even try to entice her to sell because they are a preferred, private use.  They faced no backlash because everyone except the owner of the property preferred the new private use.

Just some examples I am aware of, all but one local.  I'm sure it goes on nationwide.  Because the mainstream media doesn't cover it doesn't mean that crony government companies aren't using their 1% leverage to bully ordinary people all the time:  Buy at our price or we will have government take it for us and you will get less - after lengthy and expensive court battles.

Victims of takings are paid their "value" calculated by looking back out the rear view mirror, but people hold an investment based on their projection of future value.  In these case of takings, the owner gets old value and the new owners takes the new value difference to the bank.  In our case, we held something for decades to get cheated out of ever receiving its real, intrinsic value, the reason for holding it all those years.  

The controlling authority of taking private property in America is not Connecticut law; it is the U.S. constitution.  Please see the multiple dissents in Kelo already posted here and in 'Constitutional Issues'.

Politically, having the Republican standard bearer take the crony government side boosts the standing of phony advocates of the little guy like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  The leftist justices favored it and the conservative justices opposed it.  Spineless Kennedy joined the left.  We will lose the general election over things like this when R's get caught supporting economic cronyism while the Dems (say they) support the little guy.

If Trump doesn't see the wrongness in this after doing it, and is inclined to make Supreme Court appointments in the direction of expanding government power and diminishing individual liberty as basic as private property rights, then I will do what I can to stop him.  I'll check back with you on this after the developers take your house or business without your consent.  

A corrupt third world kleptocracy is what you have after private property rights lose their meaning.  Don't go there.

Here is that GOP establishment puppet, Heritage Foundation, caught reading the forum:
Cronyism at Its Worst. A developer can use the government as its middleman to seize properties and avoid paying what likely would be their true costs. Cronyism is bad enough when favors are provided to politically connected interests through subsidies and other special treatment. Kelo has made it easy for government officials to benefit their friends and politically connected businesses using the awesome power of eminent domain. A family’s home could be demolished and their property rights trampled to help a developer. On top of that, the government can use this power in a haphazard manner, with the court unlikely to question the merits of the takings, regardless of how unnecessary or poorly conceived the takings might be.

pp, An aside for the housing thread:  I am right that the loan default use of this that you pointed to is way of treating the symptom, not the problem, of lenders being blocked by government from their necessary, contractual right to take back property when the required payments are not made?  Why not fix the problem instead of committing additional crime in the coverup?
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Bernie Sanders, the foreign policy mayor on: September 16, 2015, 11:30:53 AM
As mayor of Burlington, Vermont during the Reagan administration, Burlington City Hall hosted a foreign policy speech by Noam Chomsky. In his introduction, Sanders praised Chomsky as "a very vocal and important voice in the wilderness of intellectual life in America" and said he was "delighted to welcome a person who I think we're all very proud of."
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Bernie Sanders explains the 18 trillion cost on: September 16, 2015, 11:22:21 AM
Where is the Republican fast response team on this?  The view of Bernie Sanders, Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Cass Sunstein, etc. is a threat to the republic as we knew it.  Better be able to explain why they are wrong (rather than just wait for Hillary to implode).

It is naive (or just stupid) to think Sanders is too left to win in America, when the furthest left Senator before him just won twice.  Of course ha can win - unless we have learned something.

Republicans are going to face intense scrutiny and ridicule in the msm and leftists like this are going to get a pass.  Until we figure out how to change that, we play under their rules.

Sanders says he is just shifting private spending to public spending, and will tax the productive sector of the economy to death without figuring in any negative impact from that.  So  what's the big deal?

MITCHELL: Now, today's "Wall Street Journal" itemizes what they say would be the price tag of what you are proposing, the social programs.  $18 trillion over ten years. Is that sustainable given the economy, given where the budget is and the deadlock in Congress?

SANDERS: Andrea, that is not the reality. We will be responding to "The Wall Street Journal" on that.

I think most of the expense that they put in there, the expenditures have to do with the single payer health care system. They significantly exaggerated the cost of that and they forgot to tell the American people in that article that that means eliminating the costs that you incur with private health insurance.

The truth of the matter is right now, as a nation, we spend far, far more on health care per person than do the people of any other nation and yet we continue to have about 30 million people who have no health insurance, many more who are underinsured and we pay, again, by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

No question to my mind that moving toward a Medicare for all single payer program is the most cost-effective way to provide health care to all of our people.

Second point, which they really didn't get into, is we are going to demand that the wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country do start paying their fair share of taxes.

When we have massive income and wealth inequality, when 58 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent, when you have major corporations in a given year paying zero in federal income taxes, yes, we need real tax reform to bring in substantially more revenue so in fact that we can make sure that every kid in this country who has the ability can go to college, because we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free.

"58 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent"

Oddly, that is what happens under leftist taxation, wealth by crony government stimulus, and leftist limits on economic freedom, not what happens under the old Dem idea that 'a rising tide lifts all boats'.

Economic studies consistently show the inability of redistribution tax and spend policies to change inequality.  (See political economics thread)  Whether it is Hillary, Sanders, Biden or whoever, the mantra is: 'double down on failure'.
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nate Silver on Donald Trump's chances on: September 16, 2015, 11:00:55 AM
Nate Silver, who was the whiz kid of Obama era poll analysis, says Trump has about a 5% chance of winning Republican nomination.

This should be an easy one for pp to shoot down.  )

Glenn Beck (already discredited?) explains his view that since Obama and Trump are offering many of the same empty platitudes, those members of the Tea Party who claim to oppose Obama and support Trump might be the actual racists in the GOP.

This is why I don't like blanket generalities.  Trump is not like Obama but is using the blank canvas strategy of letting the voters paint their own picture of how great he will make America. 

Anti-Republican establishment group, Club for Growth, has an anti-Trump ad running based on the Kelo decision.  Kelo to the regular voter is just some obscure, inside baseball, Supreme Court decision of the past until someone puts it in front of them, explains it and spells out the consequences of it.  This is a very powerful argument to those who are not fans of big, powerful, crony government.

Still waiting for an explanation from Trump (or pp) as to how we can enjoy the benefits of having our government redirect the ownership of private property for the greater good, (defined by them) without inviting abuse of that power.  Why have private ownership if government knows the best use?

Watch for a debate question on this tonight.
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 14, 2015, 04:37:12 PM
"Doug,  I guess that Trump can rule out you voting for him............"

  - He's got some explaining to do.  As already posted, the Kelo thing is huge to me and supporting Pelosi-Reid means you're not on my team.  The differences between the Republicans are subtle compared to that.  Blowing me off is his choice, not mine.

"If Trump falls out, watch the GOP attacks on Carson begin........."

  - That's right.  Don't be the frontrunner too early.  Ask Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann about that.  I wish Herman Cain had been President the last 4 years.

Carson may not stumble under pressure.  He's probably studying for the exam the hardest of all of them.
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 14, 2015, 04:29:09 PM
Powerline is owned by Salem, which is in the tank for Bush.

As to Bush and Rubio, I must ask:

What is the "payoff" to Rubio for running? Here is why I ask:

1. Rubio is a sitting Senator, who is up for election. If he is so strong, then he could get easily reelected.

2. Bush has been the "chosen one" since last year. Until Trump, he was the overwhelming favorite to win.

3. Rubio knew that Bush was the Chosen One.  Why would he announce to run when it was "obvious" at the time that Bush would be the one? Did he know something that Bush did not know?

4. Why would Rubio "stab" Bush in the back by announcing?

5. What is the benefit to Bush by Rubio  running?  (It splits anti Bush voters.)

This does not make any sense at all unless Rubio has been promised something. Why would he give up a sure thing for nothing?

Also, the key criteria for me, immigration, both are alike. And both are supported by the GOPe.

If a person does not accept the idea that the GOPe is looking to do anything to key Bush or another "favored son" in the running, while keeping control of the party and going against the wishes of the base.

Rubio is running to win, IMHO.  If they are the same as you say, he splits the Bush vote, not the anti-Bush vote.  The Rubio view no doubt is that Jeb and others are splitting HIS vote.  Jeb isn't going to win; maybe Rubio was first to know that.  I think the publications you list know that.  I don't see anyone breaking their back for him.  The game theory aspects of why so many are running and splitting different votes I'm afraid have not been fully contemplated by any of the candidates - except for Trump who instantly capitalized on that.

Every Senator thinks they should be President.  Not many have won a swing state by a million votes.  Rubio believes we aren't going to have a country to save if he waits for 'his turn' or for someone else to do it.  When Bernie, Biden, Hillary or Grandma Warren reach out for the youth vote, they will have to reach about 40 years back.  I would love to see Rubio go head to head with any of them.  Unlike Trump importing his third trophy wife, Rubio is stuck with his first wife, high school sweetheart, (Miami Dophins cheerleader), mother of his children.  NY Times photo:
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 14, 2015, 03:51:21 PM
"John Fund is GOPe. He is supporting the Bush/Rubio wing. Same as the entire National Review, Federalist, Hotair, Powerline and other websites."

Bush and Rubio are not at all the same to me and they were running against each other before this became all about Donald.  I post from Powerline here (and have contributed there).  John Hinderaker and Steve Hayward in particular make a lot of sense to me.  Powerline ripped Rubio mercilessly over immigration in at least a dozen posts by Paul Mirengoff, some linked below, and no one there supports Jeb, fyi.  GM links to Hotair quite quite a bit.  There is not a great deal of general election political space to the right of our GM, I am afraid to say.  It is better if we judge specific content rather than just label and exclude authors and entire publications, IMHO.

One pro-Trump photo (from Powerline):

95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 14, 2015, 03:19:06 PM
My own concern with Carson is only that he doesn't this kind of managerial experience, as many of them don't.  If we are going to take a chance on someone, and we are, I would be happy to see it be Carson.

1. It is very unfair (IMO) to connect Ben Carson with George W Bush politically just because they both used the same word, compassion.  Bush added programs and increased spending.  ..."let’s expand the government social contract'...  Carson has made it clear he wants to do exactly the opposite.

2. True, he came out softer than what Trump said about what to do with people that are already here.  Does anyone really believe Trump is going to win and send them all back ?

3.  I also favor keeping guns away from criminals and the mentally ill.

4.  Carson will probably be the best of all of them on healthcare and will likely be offered to be HHS Secretary if any of the rest of them win.  I wish the answer was no government involvement with healthcare but that is not the state of the politics today.  See pp's rule - forget about purity.

5.  He compared taxation to tithing.  What he was saying is that a flat tax works there just fine and 10% is plenty.  That won't be the end product but is a good starting point.

6.  God talk.  He gives God credit while Trump thinks God owes him a thank you for all that Trump created.  With all the diversity out there, God talk is better (politically) than Jesus talk.  If it's the heart of where he's coming from and the purpose of his speeches and interviews are to get to know him, then it is (presumed) honesty that the listener can judge for him or herself.

7.   "Raised Democrat. Turned Independent. Remains so today.  So what does he really stand on things?"

    - Oh good grief.  If he hadn't stayed independent, he wouldn't have been invited to the prayer breakfast that launched all of this. Carson has caught on BECAUSE he says exactly what he believes, at whatever the consequence.  Compare with Trump (since that is who we are really talking about here).  Trump said he helped elect the Pelosi-Reid Congress in 2006 (how did that help immigration and the 2nd amendment?) to "ease the gridlock" when the facts were exactly the opposite; electing the Pelosi-Reid Congress brought us divided government - before it brought us one party leftist rule, Obamacare and Justices Kagan and Sotomayor.  Trump said by ugly face on the television screen he meant "persona".  And a woman acting like she's having her period is "bleeding out of her wherever" - well he meant "her ears".  Really?  "I will have Mexico pay for that wall, mark my words."  So marked.  As said with the Clintons, they lie with such ease.
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 14, 2015, 11:01:45 AM
Karl Rove needs your contact number. He wants to bring you aboard to attack Trump! 

Funny.  Maybe he already has my number.  wink   But I'm not attacking Trump, I'm just taking the time to read him.

National Review, Karl Rove, Townhall, Red State, Club for Growth and Ben Carson are all too far left and not deserving of our trust...  but not Pelosi, Reid and Obama?!

I don't happen to believe Trump will send back all otherwise law-abiding illegal aliens (11 million?) even though he gave us his word.  That removes a major distinction (to me) between Trump and others like Carson and Rubio. 
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rbt Samuelson, Deadweight Losses, Special Interests Are Shrinking Your Income on: September 14, 2015, 10:40:59 AM
Please read.  This deserves serious discussion.  Productivity gains comes from private investment, absolutely necessary for incomes to increase.  Our demand for public services is greater than our willingness to be taxed.  More resources to special interests means fewer resources to productive activity, holding down everyone else's income.  Breaking this cycle won't be easy.

Historic productivity increases have been 2% per year since the late  1940s.  It has dropped to 0.5% last year as Obama's policies get fully implemented.  (Did Wesbury report that?) You don't raise median incomes or anything else by choking out investment and productive activity.

September 14, 2015
Special Interests Are Shrinking Your Income
By Robert Samuelson

Amid all the new government programs and tax cuts that have been proposed by the various presidential candidates - or will be as the campaign unfolds - there lurks a nasty statistic that suggests how difficult they will be to achieve.

The statistic is 0.5 percent.

That's how much U.S. productivity increased in 2014, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Greater productivity - reflecting advances in technology, management and worker skills, among other things - is the wellspring of higher incomes. Since the late 1940s, gains in labor productivity (measured as changes in output per hour worked) have averaged 2 percent annually. Last year's gain was a quarter of this average; even so, it was slightly better than in the previous three years.

Worse, most or all of these small increases will probably be siphoned off in government benefits for the expanding elderly population and in higher health costs. Other income improvements will result only from either (1) a rebound in productivity or (2) redistribution of income and wealth from one group to another. As a crude generalization, Republicans emphasize improving productivity and economic growth while Democrats focus on redistributing from the rich to the middle class and poor.

The causes of the productivity collapse are unclear. Some economists say that productivity isn't measured properly - Internet benefits are allegedly undercounted. Other economists contend that U.S. technology and innovation are lagging. Still others argue that weak business investment after the Great Recession explains lackluster growth.

To this list should be added another plausible candidate: the dead weight losses created by special interest groups, as explained by the late Mancur Olson (1932-1998).

Although an economist, Olson revolutionized thinking about the political power of interest groups. Until Olson, conventional wisdom held that large groups were more powerful than small groups in pursuing their self-interest - say, a government subsidy, tax preference or a protective tariff. Bigness conveyed power.

Just the opposite, Olson said in his 1965 book "The Logic of Collective Action." With so many people in the large group, the benefits of collective action were often spread so thinly that no individual had much of an incentive to become politically active. The tendency was to "let George do it," but George had no incentive either. By contrast, the members of smaller groups often could see the benefits of their collective action directly. They were motivated to organize and to pursue their self-interest aggressively.

Here's an example: A company and its workers lobby for import protection, which saves jobs and raises prices and profits. But consumers - who pay the higher prices - don't create a counter-lobby, because it's too much trouble and the higher prices are diluted among many individual consumers. Gains are concentrated, losses dispersed.

This was Olson's great insight, and it had broad implications, he said. In a 1982 book, "The Rise and Decline of Nations," he argued that the proliferation of special-interest concessions could reduce a society's economic growth.

"An increase in the payoffs from lobbying . . . as compared with the payoffs from production, means more resources are devoted to politics and cartel activity and fewer resources are devoted to production," he wrote. "This in turn influences [a society's] attitudes and culture."

The dilemma for democracies is clear. Voters expect governments to cater to their needs and wants - and one person's special interest is another's way of life or moral crusade. But if governments cater too aggressively to interest groups, they may undermine (or have already done so) the gains in productivity and economic growth that voters also expect.

So this is another possible explanation for the productivity slowdown, which afflicts many advanced countries. These societies are riddled with programs and policies promoted by various interest groups that "can increase the income [of the groups' members] while reducing society's." If he were alive today, Olson might well add that higher psychic income - the feeling of "doing good" - also motivates many interest groups.

Regardless, the productivity slump endures. Because there's no agreed-upon cause, there's no simple "fix" - though there are many familiar proposals that might make a long-term difference (better schools, more research, higher infrastructure spending). But assuming productivity doesn't spontaneously revive - which it could - the slowdown will haunt the next president.

It connotes scarcity: too little income growth to satisfy the mass craving for higher private and public spending. Even with a jobless rate of 5.1 percent - getting close to "full employment" - the Congressional Budget Office projects a 2015 federal deficit of $426 billion. That's one measure of overcommitment: Americans desire more government than they're willing to pay for in taxes.

During the Obama years, the White House and Congress sidestepped many unpopular choices. It's doubtful the next president will have the luxury of doing the same.
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump, no apologies, never been wrong on: September 14, 2015, 10:11:02 AM
One followup point on Trump's old economic positions, socialized medicine, wealth tax, private takings, liberal judges, big spending, economic growth through trillion dollar government stimulus, etc. versus his new positions.  He told us he would apologize if he was ever wrong and hasn't, so all old positions stand - by his own math.

Trump gave big money to elect the Pelosi Reid congress.  He did it to "ease the gridlock".  Good for him, as Elizabeth Warren might say.  No apology means he wasn't wrong about that, according to him.  Fair enough, but I wouldn't forgive him if he did apologize.
99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 13, 2015, 11:28:34 PM
"Sean Trende of RCP has the math on winning after a two term Presidency.  Call this election gift wrapped for the Republicans - unless they don't nominate the best Republican."

Correction.  Author is: Jeffrey H. Anderson.    Here is the link:

Very well researched article.  Democrats have huge odds to overcome just based on Obama's job disapproval rating.
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 13, 2015, 11:19:37 PM
If you accept that Wall Street and Big Money are behind all the political manuevering, then here is something to consider from Sundance at Conservative Treehouse.
1. Wall Street and Big Money are pulling the strings, along with groups like the COC.
2. The plan was to get Jeb into the presidency, and if not him, settle for Hillary.  (They are one and the same.)
3. Bush is failing because of Trump. They must get Trump out if they can.
4. If they cannot get Trump out and he proves inevitable, then they must get Hillary out because Trump would take her out as well.
5. This leads to the movement to get Biden in, with Warren as VP. It  is believed that this could thwart Trump.
Of course, if you do not believe that our politics is manipulated, then all of this means nothing.

My 2 cents on that. 
Jeb isn't the same as Hillary.  He is wrong on two issues; she is wrong on everything.
Groups and terms like The Establishment, Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street, Big Money, RINOs, have been around for a long time, formerly known as Rockefeller Republicans and Country Club Republicans. They are a legitimate, competing faction, by whatever name they go by or that we call them.  They need to be defeated in the primaries without burning the bridge to win their vote and turnout in the general election.  All out war within the party filled with irreparable personal hatred isn't the answer, but winning somehow is.  Ronald Reagan won 93 states without ever being RINO establishment.  In 1980, defeated Republican moderate John Anderson ran as an independent, won 6.6% of the vote,  6 million votes, and Reagan still carried over 50% of the vote and won 44 states.,_1980   In Florida in 2010, just ten years after the 2000 deadlock/recount fiasco, moderate Republican Charlie Crist, a sitting Governor, lost the primary and stayed in the race as an independent, but Rubio carried Florida by a million votes.  These people can be beat without all the bravado and name calling.

They talk about Hillary's (paid) organization on the ground now and Bernie Sanders has almost none of it and is leading her.  In the end it is the votes, one per person, not money or power. We have a Governor who bought his way in.  The Dayton family started Target, (ex) wife, largest contributor, is a Rockefeller, not from here.  He has zero charisma, is a drug addict, but still - he got the votes.  Sometimes the big money backfires.  Trump is leading now I think with his media personality, not his money.  There are plenty of examples of big money and big organizations failing when the candidate doesn't connect with the people.
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