Re: Democrats are from Mars, Republicans are scared of Mars

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My sense is that there's ample impending crises to be worried about as a latter day American. Stagnant personal incomes, long-term structural economic problems, and climate change and other environmental woes top my list, but there are a dozen others that can legitimately contend for top honors. Those who benefit, or think they benefit, from the status quo have long since cemented their grasp on the megaphones and are trying, and to some extent succeeding, in redirecting and focusing these general fears. The fact that they enjoy the most success among authoritarians isn't all that surprising.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:23 AM
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I spank my dogs but it isn't a disciplinary thing.

The problem is that this fear that They're Threatening My Lifestyle won't be calmed and put away

Don't you want to take large chunks of their Lifestyle away?

My new movie last night was Eastwood's Gran Torino. Amazing how multi-layered and evocative such a simple direct movie can be. One review said it was an allegory of American foreign policy. I was thinking about what the (Hmong) new immigrant kids will do without the secure entry-level industrial jobs, and how the cultures of extended families (traditions, respect for elders) can survive in post-modern society.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:36 AM
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How long did the concept of "secure entry-level industrial jobs" exist? Was it for just a 20-year period or so, or was it closer to a whole century?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:38 AM
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My Dad spanked me a few times. He did vote Republican in the past. Ford in 76, Anderson in 80, Reagan in 84 and Bush in 88. Don't know about 92 or 96. In 2000 there was a family crisis which kept him away from the polls, because he was out of state. I think that he was registered as a Republican then out of habit. He had agreed to vote for Bradley in the 2000 primary, but he couldn't because he had missed the date to change his registration.

George Bush and the current Republicans were beyond the pale as far as he was concerned, and he loathes Rush Limbaugh. And of course, he was clean for Gene in 68. Make of that what you will.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:39 AM
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Don't you want to take large chunks of their Lifestyle away?

I was thinking about this when I wrote the parenthetical "(even if there is something legitimate to fear.)" It depends on what they consider essential to their lifestyle. Racism, homophobia, intolerance, yes: there is legitamate reason to fear those becoming increasingly unacceptable. Lifestyles that include (legal, safe) guns, Jesus, Christmas, I do not actually feel the need to tamper with.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:44 AM
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People keep trying to make "authoritarians
discipline their kids/celebrate Halloween/drive like this, but nonauthoritarians compost/farm tangelos/recycle printer paper like this" the new "framing."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:44 AM
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6 - The authoritarian vs. non-authoritarian divide is really crucial to understanding US politics. It's not the only important axis, but I don't think you can understand what happened during the Bush years without it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:47 AM
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The obvious hole in my post is: Aren't we equally fear-based, just I'm afraid of Global Warming and greedy fucks on Wall-street?

Yes and no. Where we are fear-based, we do tend to lock down and become rigid. But looking forward and seeking changes to make things more positive is qualitatively different than looking backward and trying to hang on tight. (blah blah bland generalities blah.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:47 AM
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7: Really? Perhaps I'm looking for aestheticization-as-theoreticization in all the wrong places, but it seems a little self-serving, along the lines of Paul Fussell's "Category X" chapter in Class, to state categories that a naive reader could easily mistake for "cool" and "uncool."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:52 AM
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9: You just happen to be on a very cool site.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:54 AM
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10: That explains all the Lady Gaga talk, then.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:58 AM
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9: I'll just go ahead and assert that right wing authoritarians are uncool.

I'm not clear on how one generates categories that separate the natural followers and "do as I say because I'm the boss" style leaders from the people who want to see justification for policies in terms of facts and principles and view their leaders as primarily public servants without making the former seem uncool. The very definition of cool requires a certain independence that is lacking in authoritarians.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:02 AM
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8: Altemeyer's book on the subject has a number of rate-it-yourself scales. One is some like the Social Alienation Scale that measures fear of systemic breakdown and perception of the untrustworthiness of institutions and is closely correlated with scores on his Right-Wing Authoritarian scale. Most days, I have a fairly high score on that scale.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:03 AM
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Follow up: So it's a good thing I'm so cool, or otherwise I'd be spanking my kids and voting for Palin.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:04 AM
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For me the only times I'm not fearful are when I reach a Zen-like calmness as a result of utter despair.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:09 AM
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7, 9: This is actually a reason why I'm a fan of Haidt's analysis of American politics based on his five categories of moral intuitions. The system actually yields a *three* way division of moral cultures, although it is not always presented that way. As is repeated often, liberals focus on the first two classes of moral intuition (Care & Fairness). But there are also two separate focuses with the remaining classes of intuition. A focus on the second two classes (authority and loyalty) gives you what Haidt calls "An ethic of community." A focus on the fifth class (purity) gives you an ethic of divinity.

When Haidt talks about politics, he lumps all conservatives together as people who use all five classes of intuition, but really there are other cleavages that you can pick out using the system.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:09 AM
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Is it because you worry you taste like a stale marshmellow? Don't worry, you have eternal shelf-life.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:10 AM
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A focus on the second two classes (authority and loyalty) gives you what Haidt calls "An ethic of community."

Interesting. I tend to associate appeals to "community" and pressure for communal decision with Kingdom of Mom-type progressives.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:15 AM
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13: If you're an authoritarian follower you ought to know I'm recruiting. I'm a pretty chill Fuhrer, so no need to sweat on that account. No uniforms or marching or oppressing people. Just be nice to cats. That's pretty much the only rule.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:16 AM
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You're more like the Furrer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:18 AM
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18: He's intentionally using a nice word like "community" in order to be maximimally sympathetic to the world view. The community here is actually defined in a very Mary Douglas grid/group sense, where the integrity of the community is based on people playing very specific roles inside it and the community having an outside border that is very clearly drawn.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:21 AM
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I'm conflicted here. On the one hand, I like the research and think the authoritarian-follower interpretation could explain a lot of the past decade; on the other, I'm a priori wary of narratives that treat opponents as agency-less reactors to stimuli. It seems not too many steps removed from opponents-as-vermin narratives and eliminationism per Neiwert. Maybe the actual books address this.

At the same time, I wonder if psychological advances may be in the process of forcing us to rethink our many pieties about agency / free will.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:21 AM
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12.1:But left wing authoritarians are way cool.

Why don't the authoritarians submit to Obamism and get all whirly-eyed? I mean, damn, you just can't trust the followers anymore.

I fear systemic breakdown and don't trust institutions, like, constantly.

"Respect for elders" was a little complicated in Gran Torino. 2nd generation in the neighborhood adored Kowalski, all the offerings. Thao obeyed his mother. Like Kowalski during his child-rearing years, fathers were nowhere around. Granny on the porch hated him, but Granny was ignored. Granny might have been right.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:23 AM
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19: I'm willing to stop deliberately kicking cats, but only if I get a nice uniform out of it. I really don't understand why I'm expected to get up every day and pick a whole different set of clothes than I wore the day before. I'm more than happy to change my clothes, I just don't see why I can't buy ten sets that look exactly the same so I don't have to make decisions that make my wife wince at breakfast.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:23 AM
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17: It goes deeper than that. I know in my heart that I am a stale marshmallow.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:24 AM
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At the same time, I wonder if psychological advances may be in the process of forcing us to rethink our many pieties about agency / free will.

The debate seems already to have reached the pop-crisis thriller of ideas level, if that's any help.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:24 AM
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At the same time, I wonder if psychological advances may be in the process of forcing us to rethink our many pieties about agency / free will.

Many think the pieties have already been disproven. I've started reading this book, which looks to be mostly about reconstructing the agent as a product of social interaction, with the specter of eliminationism about the self lurking in the background.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:26 AM
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I'm curious how Haidt would characterize someone such as my roommate, who actively cheerleads financial and governmental collapse, but also really enjoys going for long walks in our relatively safe community.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:49 AM
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28: You should e-mail Haidt and get back to us.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:54 AM
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I was thinking about what the (Hmong) new immigrant kids will do without the secure entry-level industrial jobs

bob, you really need to internalise the fact that these 'secure entry-level industrial jobs' existed in the US only for about 20-30 years after the war, because the US was undergoing an industrial boom caused by every other industrial nation in the world having been blown up to some extent. That's not going to happen again any time soon.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:58 AM
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Libertarians don't play out neatly in this scheme, but I have my own pet theory, which comes mostly from the experience of trying to read Ayn Rand. I was struck not only by how limited her emotional range was, but by what emotions she was limited to: admiration and contempt. In Haidt's terms, the only moral instinct for her is authority/hierarchy. This means, among other things, that all the talk about independence and individualism for her is just a lie. I suspect that is true of huge swaths of her followers as well.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:58 AM
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caused by every other industrial nation in the world having been blown up to some extent. That's not going to happen again any time soon.

But we'll keep trying!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:01 AM
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32: The problem is we keep blowing-up non-industrial or pre-industrial nations.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:02 AM
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28:
I don't know from Haidt, but in History we call that point of view millenarian (if I'm extrapolatng from your other descriptions of your roommate's beliefs correctly). It usually shows up in folks in really desparate circumstances, so it's a curious variation to see it in communities that are physically and materially comfortable, but feel culturally excluded.

See also armchair Marxists/anarchists.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:04 AM
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In Haidt's terms, the only moral instinct for her is authority/hierarchy. This means, among other things, that all the talk about independence and individualism for her is just a lie. I suspect that is true of huge swaths of her followers as well.

I really don't get this vibe from libertarians I know. From them, I get a giant "Leave me the fuck alone" vibe. They're not on board with the Jesus and Family values bent of Republicans, and they don't want to pay taxes and they don't believe public services can ever be good.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:04 AM
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By "good" I mean that they don't believe public services can ever be done well.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:04 AM
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I should note that I am a Marxist and I do own an armchair, but I hardly ever sit in it.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:04 AM
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37: Because you're saving it for the use of The People?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:06 AM
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2:
bob, the author of the sceenplay came up with the Hmong gang element of the story from his experience working warehouse jobs (the post-industrial equivalent of a factory job) with Hmong guys in NE Mpls in the 1990s.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:07 AM
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38: yes, if by "the people" you mean my cat.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:08 AM
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"The People" is a great name for a cat!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:10 AM
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31, 35: Ayn Rand had her own brand of crazy, which doesn't all carry over into libertarians generally. The thing Rob noted is more than a lie, it's a paradox, or if Objectivism were Catholicism I'd call it a mystery. Her whole deal is that free independent individual choices are the most important thing in the world. But there's an "objective" right answer to any possible choice, and anyone who disagrees with that right answer on any question down to interior decoration or what light reading you like is a bad, bad person. So, complete independence and individuality, but absolutely condemnation of any departure from complete uniformity.

(Look, I read the books in high school when Dr. Oops was dating an Objectivist, and spent some time thinking about the crazy.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:10 AM
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God damn it. I really hate dealing with managed care referrals when practice staff are incompetent--even though I believe in true managed care.

I wanted to get an IUD inserted. My PCP gave me the name of an OB/GYN. Referral fine. I had the appointment, and the doctor couldn't do it, so she referred me to a specialist family planning clinic. (BTW, the docto0r seems kind of cool; she's done research on contraceptive choices in Afghanistan.)

I call the PCP's office. First time the insurance person says that when it's in the hospital, that department OB/GYN is supposed to get it. Second time, I call to ask whether the referral had gone through. A new person told me that it hadn't, and it was OB/GYN's job. Then I called the original doctor's office, and she said "No,it's not. What I was tol sounds totally wrong." Then I called the family planning clinic, and the woman there didn't handle insurance and knew noting, but would call me today.

I called the PCP's office and got the competent woman I've dealt with before, and she said that it was a 3-5 day turnaround. Problem is that I was able to get an earlier appointment for this Monday. You know, I called 2 weeks ago, but no. Maybe I can snag the appointment the week after or go back to January when my insurance changes (but what is supposed to be my first day at a new job).

And the big problem is that my PCP, whom I love, is only in the clinic on Thursdays, because she spends the rest of her time doing research.

God damn it! I totally disapprove of uncoordinated care, but I'm glad that I'm going on a PPO in January, and I'll just coordinate my own damn care with annual updates to my PCP.

And I'm dead sure that she'll approve it.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:10 AM
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The cat united, will never be re-seated.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:10 AM
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From them, I get a giant "Leave me the fuck alone" vibe.

I get a huge "I have Daddy issues" vibe from them. They'd refuse to breathe if someone told them they had to.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:10 AM
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From them, I get a giant "Leave me the fuck alone" vibe.

Libertarians have to vibe "Leave me the fuck alone"? One would think the stale odor of gun magazines and Gor novels would be sufficiently off-putting.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:17 AM
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44:
Well, he'll move, but looks at you all mean-like for it. It's his version of everyday resistance. Plus there are the occasional jacqueries with the biting.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:17 AM
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45: Boy is that spot-on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:20 AM
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I need to figure that out more. California is trying to get everyone to conserve 20% of their water, and libertarians are all, Don't Ration! Jack the price until people buy 20% less water.

Which I don't get at all. Either way, people have to cut back their watering and fix leaks. Why is it better to do that because your water bill went up $150 that month than because your district told you how much water you have to use next month? The only reason I can figure is that they feel purchasing is autonomous, and rules remind them of Daddy. Which I don't find a persuasive basis for making policy.

(There's lot more complexity, and actually, the two approaches tend to converge. But.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:34 AM
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49: That's actually the kind of area where libertarian views make more sense to me. What are you going to do with it's the 20th and somebody used all of their water allotment? Tell them to drink Fanta?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:39 AM
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Oops. "When it's the 20th"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:39 AM
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Clacks teeth, intending to be jaunty, but comes across as menacing: The Fountainhead starring Skull Force, from a very strange site.

My main experience of watching people turn conservative out of nowhere is in watching my parents get old. They are terrified of how different the world is, and as changing times press ever closer to the little fortress of 1959itude they've built for themselves they must continually redraw the borders of what is OK; not just what's OK to believe or to think but to discuss, to bring up, to mention in passing. They sit around forwarding right-wing conspiracy theory emails to their oldest friends and pretending not to hear Rah's name or see my nephew's tattoos. Yes, the old distinction of 'conservative authoritarians are just scared and want everyone else to shut up so they can ignore them' is a little cliche but I think it's gotten that way not by being overstated but by consistently proving to be true to the point it's basically a given.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:39 AM
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Which I don't get at all. Either way, people have to cut back their watering and fix leaks.

Because that way someone who doesn't really need to use much water at all (fond of landscaping with cactus and enjoys her own body odor) can cut back to 40% of her current use and be rich! rich!, and the extra she cuts back allows a wealthy swamp-fancier to spend some extra money and keep his Bog-In-The-Desert estate running. Same total amount of water usage, but happier people.

Once you get into the real world details, sometimes rationing may make more sense, but the argument that rationing through price is the way to go isn't an empty one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:42 AM
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I'm a pretty chill Fuhrer, so no need to sweat on that account. No uniforms or marching or oppressing people. Just be nice to cats. That's pretty much the only rule.

if you join my regime, you can be mean to cats. But income tithing is involved.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:43 AM
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Well, that's why they converge. What you do it sell them much more expensive water. At the end of the month, it is hard to tell the two approaches apart. At the beginning of the month, though, the approaches can be characterized differently. Which is another reason I find the hatred of rationing silly. But it is there, so I want to understand it better.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:44 AM
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the argument that rationing through price is the way to go isn't an empty one.

Yes. What makes the libertarian view bizarre is that they forget just how much policy and government it takes to get a market that can actually do something like that. That are how many things they want to ration by price.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:45 AM
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Same total amount of water usage, but happier people.

Only true if people value their own money the same (which they don't, because it wasn't allocated evenly at the beginning).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:47 AM
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57: True.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:48 AM
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54: An Enemy! Awesome! It's so hard to be Fuhrer without an enemy. Thank you PGD.

P.S. I will crush you. With cats!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:48 AM
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55: Psychologically, people will see "rationing + high rates if you go over" as punishment. That will irk plenty of people who aren't libertarians. It's why movie rental places now have things structured to charge more for the more days you have a movie without using the word "Late Fee." If it comes out the same in the end, rationing is the harder sell.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:48 AM
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From them, I get a giant "Leave me the fuck alone" vibe.

We'll that's the stated ideology. My hypothesis is that for many the emotional underpinnings of the worldview are actually in direct conflict with some of the stated doctrines.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:51 AM
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57: Rationing plus higher fees for going over isn't going to be different in terms of how easily people with more money can skip out of it, is it? At least not based on what you said in 55.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:53 AM
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Thing is, I'm not sure about that (genuinely, it is still something I'm trying to sort). Rationing might be the harder sell to people in my economic class. But price increases, even ones that I think are trivial ($20/month, say) freak people out. Little old ladies come to district meetings and cry and say they'll be eating cat food next month because of the water rate increase. From what I read in the papers, I think price increases are more alarming than I would expect.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:54 AM
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how easily people with more money can skip out of it

Depends on how you structure the policy. If the only penalty is money, then rich people can pay the penalty and it all comes out the same. Like I said, the approaches converge.

But if your policy is something like, go over three months in a row and you'll get a flow restrictor on your main, then rationing would be different than a strict price approach. (I don't know of anyone who does this.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:58 AM
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High rates plus a rebate if you use below a certain amount (or progressively larger rebates the less one uses) is the way to go.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 10:59 AM
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Little old ladies come to district meetings and cry and say they'll be eating cat food next month because of the water rate increase.

Depending on the current system, the little old ladies might be getting the raw end of the deal under the old system. At least for us, there is no real difference in the water/sewer bill between my family of three (where the dishwasher runs daily, the flowers get water all summer, the washing machine bi-daily, and the water runs while the little one takes five minutes of running water after he pees) and the little old lady who lives alone, sends her clothes out, and only flushes once a day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:01 AM
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But if your policy is something like, go over three months in a row and you'll get a flow restrictor on your main

That would make me a libertarian (who pees in the backyard after dark).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:03 AM
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Mountain laurels for some! Tiny American flags for everyone else!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:11 AM
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But I'm not sure how we can get people to stop watering their lawns in the fucking rain short of outlawing lawns.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:14 AM
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If the only penalty is money, then rich people can pay the penalty and it all comes out the same.

And, as a bonus, you get rich peoples money to go do something constructive with.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:15 AM
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69: make these mandatory?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:20 AM
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These days, you can hook their irrigation control panel up to weather satellites that choose when and whether to turn on the sprinklers based on what the weather has been. The homeowner doesn't do any scheduling at all.

Motch, I love that idea. I'm going to think wistfully about it more before I remember that it wouldn't be legal in California because of stupid, stupid Prop 8 (which makes it illegal to charge more than the cost of conveyance) because of the that fucking asshole Howard Jarvis and his Taxpayers' Association.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:20 AM
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Because parodies of Ayn Rand amuse me more than almost anything else, another link: Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Current Financial Crisis: "Your mind gives me the biggest boner, Dagny Taggart."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:21 AM
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make these mandatory?

NEVER! That would be INTRUSIVE REGULATION! Just raise prices enough and people will figure out to stop water in the fucking rain all on their own! Which is an autonomous decision and somehow better!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:22 AM
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How did I fuck up the link in 71? These.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:22 AM
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Not Prop 8, which I also hate. Prop 218.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:23 AM
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What California really needs is a tax on Props.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:31 AM
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I would support strict rationing of initiative propositions. One every three or so decades, say.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:35 AM
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Would you let rich people buy extra propositions? I mean, we could use the money.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:37 AM
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This is the perfect example of "They're Threatening My Lifestyle" politics.

Well, as long as you agree not look too closely at corporal punishment rates in the most consistently Democratic voters: African-Americans.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:39 AM
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Because, you know.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:41 AM
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I'm sure you could put together a very telling graph showing the relationship between decreases in traditional corporal punishment in this country and increases in active furry cultural organizing. Parents: Spank your children, otherwise they might wind up with a really creepy fetish.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:42 AM
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Poorer whites, Asians and Blacks tend to be Authoritarian parents. Middle and upper class whites tend to be non-Authoritarian parents. Guess who writes the parenting guides.

The thing the guides suggest is a Goldilocksian Authoritative parenting style. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. No duh. But even then there is no twin study evidence that that kind of intervention makes a long term difference for the kids.

Given that 70 or so years ago pretty much everybody was an Authoritarian parent and things turned out OK, I can't get worked up about current parents with Authoritarian parenting styles.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:43 AM
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80: You think corporal punishment is disproportionate among black people? Racist!

Anyway, there are plenty of white Republican states, like Utah and Wyoming, that fit this trend.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:48 AM
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Given that 70 or so years ago pretty much everybody was an Authoritarian parent and things turned out OK,

I know everyone acts as though this is conventional wisdom, but it really doesn't fit any of my four grandparents. (I mean, the four who raised my parents, which is a slightly different set than I've mentioned here, elsewhere.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:50 AM
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Given that 70 or so years ago pretty much everybody was an Authoritarian parent and things turned out OK,

Also, we ended up with a bunch of idiots who vote based on their fears which are fanned by Glenn Beck, so not everything turned out totally OK.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:51 AM
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But that's the point: the analysis only holds up as long as you're willing to ignore minorities.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:54 AM
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87 to 84.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:54 AM
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That is to say, I suspect the correlation isn't between corporal punishment and voting patterns, but corporal punishment and income, such that corporal punishment gets more common as you move down the income scale. But poor minorities overwhelmingly vote Democratic, while poor whites trend Republican.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 11:57 AM
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I suspect that, controlling for income, you're also likely to find a correlation between corporal punishment and religion. That's what I got from the graph; evangelicals vote for Republicans and spank their kids, not for particularly related reasons.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:00 PM
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90 makes sense too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:01 PM
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evangelicals vote for Republicans

White ones do, anyway.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:02 PM
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92: well, yeah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:03 PM
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I know everyone acts as though this is conventional wisdom, but it really doesn't fit any of my four grandparents. (I mean, the four who raised my parents, which is a slightly different set than I've mentioned here, elsewhere.)

According to Murray A. Straus (2000), in the United States, for example, between the years 1968 and 1998, "the percent agreeing that a 'good hard spanking is sometimes necessary' dropped from near unanimity to 55 percent" (p. 206).

Even parents who don't believe in spanking kids still spank their kids:

Since the late 1940s, when the first national surveys in the United States were published about spanking, it has been consistently found that almost all parents in the United States have occasionally spanked their children. The data have also shown that over 90 percent of children and adults remember being spanked as children. Because so many parents spank their children and the percentage has remained high over the years, most consider spanking to be a cultural norm in the United States. In fact, according to studies in Britain, Canada, China, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Korea, South Africa, and the West Indies, most parents in most countries around the world spank their children at least occasionally.

They probably spank their kids less though.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:07 PM
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Even parents who don't believe in spanking kids still spank their kids

This is true. I've hit my kids on multiple occasions, but it's been a single swat on the butt with my hand out of frustration. I know it can't actually be that painful because I hit them that hard on the butt when we're just playing around and they'll laugh. Mostly, I think I'm just frightening them, but that's not a good thing either and I shouldn't do it. We are imperfect beings. On the other hand, it really is qualitatively different from the ritualized stand against a wall and get hit with a belt spankings that I got in my childhood, which just seem to me sadistic and pathological.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:20 PM
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74: I wouldn't at all be concerned about a law against watering lawns. You can see the lawn from the street (it's where I keep the plastic toys that are too ugly for in the house). But having to wait for a guy to come install a water-restrictor is like waiting for the cable guy, except to take something away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:24 PM
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Instead of hitting your kids, why not tell the misbehaving kid that instead of punishing them, you're going to punish their siblings, then take the siblings in the other room and stage a mock execution for the misbehaving kid's benefit. Everybody learns to behave, and nobody has to get spanked!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:24 PM
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...it's been a single swat on the butt with my hand out of frustration.

Like hypothetically, if the kid was to dart out in the street and was presisting even though you'd already said "stop" and grabbed them. Sometimes children make you prove that you want to keep them alive.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:26 PM
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I wasn't spanked as a kid and don't spank at all. Doesn't mean I don't lose my temper in ways I shouldn't -- when I do, it tends to be a grab-the-kid-by-the-shoulders-and-shout moment. But literally smacking a kid on the butt isn't something I have any direct experience with, and so it just doesn't occur to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:30 PM
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contraceptive choices in Afghanistan.

Possibly a sadly short dissertation.

I'm surprised that nobody has brought up the possibility of conservatism in relation to hitting children - I mean, in the sense that your ideas don't "move with the times". In bygone days (up to the late 19th century), all children were beaten, including, as far as I know, the children of people who regarded themselves as extremely progressive generally. It was how you did it. Most of us have fortunately moved on, but for people whose circumstances mean that they have been excluded from the debate, it's still just how you do it. No conscious ideology; no especial fear - merely the belief that what was good enough for my parents is good enough for my kids.

With urban poor people, it's a completely different thing. These are people at the end of their rope, for whom the idea of "quality time" would evoke a hollow laugh. They're going to do whatever brings the kids to heel quickest, because they have other stuff to do.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:33 PM
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All I know is that I was spanked through my childhood, and it took me years to figure out that violence was actually a counterproductive means of problem solving.

I got into fights just about every day in elementary school... I had no conception that that wasn't actually a perfectly normal thing to do.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:38 PM
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We have a law against watering lawns now, rain or no. It isn't allowed on weekdays in the winter. It isn't widely known of. There isn't any money to enforce it. Hence my lawn ban. Of course, our other attempts to outlaw plants haven't been very successful.

So what else? Punitive taxes (with carding and, hell, fingerprinting) for all purchases of Weed n' Feed? Vigilante earth salting gangs? Elite goat squads?


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:39 PM
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our other attempts to outlaw plants haven't been very successful.

Once the liberal plan to destroy the sun has been successful, the plants will follow like.... [evil laughter] the night follows the day.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:41 PM
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I forgot to mock the Californians over water. I live within walking distance (sort of, as there is no easy path down to the water) of a river big enough to support barge traffic. Arid losers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:45 PM
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90: I think the relationship is simple and direct: People who believe in an authoritarian asshole God are more likely to both support authoritarian assholes and to be authoritarian assholes.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:45 PM
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104: people really shouldn't live in an area as obviously uninhabitable as California.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:48 PM
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We have a law against watering lawns now, rain or no. It isn't allowed on weekdays in the winter. It isn't widely known of. There isn't any money to enforce it.

You could try spanking violators. That would be cheap.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:55 PM
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having to wait for a guy to come install a water-restrictor.

No need to wait for anyone. We got easements, man. We can handle this from the street without you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 12:56 PM
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I strongly dislike out local water and sewer people. They basically got churned by bond issuers and stuck us with the bill. (Because the interest savings from using a bond insurance company will offset all of the fees from refinancing. Unless anything happens to the bond insurance company. And that's crazy talk.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:00 PM
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"out local water and sewer people" s/b "our water and sewer people." I strongly support the rights of people of all sexual orientations to become half-assed, incompetent local officials.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:01 PM
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I should mention that I've only ever heard about a district putting a flow restrictor on a line once. That was in 92, in Santa Barbara. The homeowner was a superrich Texas guy who wasn't even in residence in SB but wanted his lawn green. Kept defying the watering ordinances and paying the penalties. After they put a flow restrictor on his line, he (or his property manager) trucked in water from a commercial water bottler (like Crystal Geyser or something) to continue watering his lawn.

Must be nice.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:04 PM
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I do think the sewer people should handle enforcement. The first time a homeowner sees a pasty, eyeless face emerging from a manhole in front of their house to hassle them about their water usage, those leaks are going to get fixed right sharp.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:06 PM
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Instead of hitting your kids, why not tell the misbehaving kid that instead of punishing them, you're going to punish their siblings, then take the siblings in the other room and stage a mock execution for the misbehaving kid's benefit.

I plan on putting the kids in separate rooms and telling them that if one of them turns states' evidence against the other, he or she will get a reduced sentence. But if neither of them squeals, they'll get off scott free. And there's a catch in there, somewhere.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:06 PM
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...a superrich Texas guy who wasn't even in residence in SB but wanted his lawn green.

My concrete patio turns green from time to time. If I don't sweep it, moss grows. If I do sweep it, I just get something that is green, but not thick enough to be moss.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:11 PM
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If the sewer people are amphibious, they're facing a conflict of interest, aren't they? Less water in the sewers means less habitat for them.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:12 PM
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The sewer people favor brown lawns and hi-flow toilets.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:18 PM
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Unless anything happens to the bond insurance company. And that's crazy talk.

From the depths of impending unemployment, my soul whimpers.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:18 PM
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And there's a catch in there, somewhere.

You've only got one kid?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:19 PM
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Hmm, is there anything toxic to grass but safe for humans that can be added to the water?


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:19 PM
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117: Sorry about that and good luck. But, I'm still irked about AIG.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:20 PM
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119: New Round-Up Light?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:24 PM
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Data point (she's an Ohio Democrat, by the way).


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 1:35 PM
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There's a reason why James Dobson wants you to spank your kids senseless, y'know. Every spank is a vote.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 2:22 PM
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There's a reason why James Dobson wants you to spank your kids senseless, y'know. Every spank is a vote.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 2:45 PM
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If the purpose of a water tax is to modify behavior and not to raise funds, it seems to me that you can overcome a lot of objections simply by returning the funds raised. Raise everyone's water tax and then take the proceeds and return them as a block amount. People that use less water will actually come out ahead in the deal and people that use more will have incentive to modify their behavior.

The only obvious problem with this for apartment complexes and all that. Truthfully, though, I can't remember the last time I didn't have to pay for water as a renter. Maybe for those complexes that include water, you can have a per-unit block amount?

(I haven't necessarily thought this through with water. I had been thinking of it more in the context of gasoline taxes. So I may be overlooking something)


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 3:46 PM
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If the purpose of a water tax is to modify behavior and not to raise funds, it seems to me that you can overcome a lot of objections simply by returning the funds raised. Raise everyone's water tax and then take the proceeds and return them as a block amount. People that use less water will actually come out ahead in the deal and people that use more will have incentive to modify their behavior.

I wonder if, psychologically, you could make it even more popular by prebating at a rate equivalent to, say, 80% of the previous year's usage. That would require a state government that could borrow money, of course but it would give people a more immediate sense of how their usage compared to average (if, the first month, your bill goes up by $10, but you get a check for $200 you know you're probably doing fine. If your bill goes up by $50 and you get the same check -- time to invest in some water savings).

This idea is completely off the top of my head and probably unworkable for some obvious reason.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 3:53 PM
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||

Reid and Obama slip annual and lifetime coverage limits back into healthcare bill, creating a health insurance reform that covers people who don't much need health insurance. This is recission, folks, by another name.

Dorgan is fighting the WH on drug reimportation.

Ezra Klein

FDL is all over this and better, but...whatever. They are so angry over there at FDL over people dying and going bankrupt and stuff. Better the calm rational wonks like Klein.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 4:04 PM
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Agggggggggh, it all just makes me want to lie face down on the ground and die. Or for Harry Reid to.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 4:10 PM
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it seems to me that you can overcome a lot of objections simply by returning the funds raised. Raise everyone's water tax and then take the proceeds and return them as a block amount. People that use less water will actually come out ahead in the deal and people that use more will have incentive to modify their behavior.

Economists have been proposing just this for quite a while as the basis for a carbon tax. I love it, but it has gotten zero traction among non-wonks -- it's still a tax and no one trusts the government to return their money.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 4:20 PM
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The trick would be to distract people with bright and shiny objects until they start getting checks in the mail.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 8:59 PM
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I got spanked by my parents as a kid. Good solid liberals who always vote Dem, in spite of serious annoyance with DFH's routinely explaining to them how much more democratic and free their home country was after they arrived in the US in the late sixties.

On water and fines, do it the Finnish way - make the fines proportional to income. The founder of Nokia got himself a six figure speeding ticket since it was set at two weeks income.


Posted by: [incautious teraz kurwa my] | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:22 PM
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Uggh, any way of changing my name above to my normal tagline?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12-11-09 9:22 PM
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My little patch of grass does pretty well year-around with no watering ever. But the rainfall patterns of this particular valley don't generalize.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-12-09 9:14 AM
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132: I'm happy to do so, if you'll clarify that you mean 131. If you're still checking this thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-12-09 3:07 PM
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Fixed, teraz. Uh, sorta.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-12-09 7:39 PM
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There may be a herpesvirus named after teraz.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-12-09 7:50 PM
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136: I'm very concerned. I've heard it may cause a condition called "Pole Lock". Given my own family history, I could contract it at any time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-12-09 7:56 PM
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