Re: We're all wacky caricatures

1

Ugh. People like Posner, Sunstein, and Nussbaum really fucking piss me off.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
2

I don't hate rich people, I hate people who unfairly exploit others, which as it turns out is one way to get rich.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
3

I'm tempted to think that the increasingly shrill nature of these "But...but, you can't think badly of the rich! It's not fair! The billionaires are good and wise and just like you except they work harder! Honest!" pieces is a good sign, as it suggests that people are getting nervous.

But I'm probably grasping at straws.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
4

3 - I hate-enjoyed all-purpose hack Greg Mankiw's article about how if we think inequality is bad we must hate Robert Downey Junior. (In which he also said that the reason the finance sector gets paid so much is that banking is critical to the world economy.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
5

I don't hate rich people, I just take a side in the class war.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
6

Christ, what an asshole.

2: This is a good response to the terrible Mankiw op-ed in the Times defending the wealthy, with Robert Downey Jr. as the prime example of a wealthy person who you don't hate so why hate any of them? I nattered on about "ownership of the means of production" but that's much better. (Oh hai comment 4, looking directly at me while I type this.)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
7

Angry liberals who wanted to punish bankers for causing the financial crisis had trouble accepting the government's view that it can't chase away the people who know how to run the banks at precisely the moment when banks are failing.

If those people were any good at running banks, the whole damn industry wouldn't have been crumbling.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
8

The bankers didn't fail. The economy failed the bankers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
9

6: kind of an underwhelming response, I thought.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
10

The "liberals just hate the rich" line comes from the same mindset as "Islamic countries hate us for our freedom".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
11

I'd argue that "liberals just hate the rich" is no more or less true than the "they just hate us" post heebie put up before.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
12

10 is true.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
13

11: "they" being old tattoos?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
14

I recall the GWB years as something of a high time for people telling other people how angry they ought to be about something, everything, anything. Maybe some of the "You can't take our privacy/crappy urban neighborhoods/guns/mythical Midwestern manufacturing-adjacent middle class!" high temperatures is attributable to those grooves in the big wax cylinder of the public mind.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
15

If those poor people hadn't defaulted on their mortgages, the banks would have done fine! Stupid poor people ruining it for everyone by not having any money.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
16

3: But I'm probably grasping at straws.

Yeah, I think so. These kinds of responses are meant to provide the masses citizenry with an alternative narrative, a response to income inequality rhetoric, just in case they thought maybe the angry liberals had a point, or couldn't figure out a response themselves.

Are prominent liberals publishing any widely circulated responses to the "But, but, but ... hating rich people is class warfare, is anti-individualist, un-American!" columns of late? I haven't noticed, but maybe? It always seems to end with a blast of this Posner-style bullshit, critiques of it showing up in relatively obscure places (the types of places only political junkie liberals read), and that's the end of it.

The obvious form of response is to distinguish between individual income disparities -- wealth inequality between and among individuals -- and structural inequality built into our system. Obviously. Erm, I know many people can and do make this point, but it's not really splashed all over the front page. Or is it? Maybe I'm just frustrated.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
17

I don't hate rich people, just rich conservatives.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
18

Shorter Posner #1: Don't hate the player; don't hate the game.

Shorter Posner #2: Chill dude, it's all about the trends.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
19

Shorter Posner subtext: I'm doing alright.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
20

I haven't noticed, but maybe?

Krugman is using his blog to deliver the mocking laughter -- although not the kick to the groin -- that Mankiw's article deserved. I don't think anyone gives a crap about Eric Posner or Slate.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
21

Huh. I haven't really been following Nussbaum in recent years, but the linked Posner thing in the OP goes to a Nussbaum abstract which says:

On the other hand, recent years have seen three noble and successful freedom movements conducted in a spirit of non-anger: those of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela -- surely people who stood up for their self-respect and that of others, and who did not acquiesce in injustice. My lecture argues that a close philosophical analysis of the emotion of anger can help us to see why it is fatally flawed from a normative viewpoint -- sometimes incoherent and sometimes based on bad values. In either case it is of dubious value in both life and the law.

That's apparently about a very recent lecture. Is anyone more familiar with it? Is there any pushback to the notion that Mandela in particular was not fueled by anger? Trying to be fair to Nussbaum here: transformational justice is a fair and sound notion, and Posner may be misappropriating what Nussbaum has to say. I have no idea what her 'close philosophical analysis of the emotion of anger' is supposed to be or mean.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
22

Another good response to Mankiw's article was Dean Baker's at Beat the Press


Posted by: Idp | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
23

I haven't followed the Nussbaum link either, but I'd guess she's getting at what Christopher Lasch called "the spiritual discipline against resentment" in The True and Only Heaven

But Lasch wanted lasting social change, not to dis those fighting for it to defend the status quo.


Posted by: Idp | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
24

20: I don't think anyone gives a crap about Eric Posner or Slate.

Oh, good. My sense of Slate's readership is pretty hazy. And while we know Krugman is teh awesome, the average citizen has no idea who he is.

Media access and dissemination is becoming even more of a problem than it has been, it seems to me: I don't read the NYT any more, because subscription. Krugman's reach is really, really limited. I want to see a response in, oh, USA Today, or Time magazine. I think average people read those.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
25

9: I was referring to comment 2 as a neat response to Mankiw, not the Slate piece as a response to Mankiw.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
26

I don't hate Perkins, I am not even angry with Perkins. He is the enemy, and I don't particularly need to demonize the enemy.

But Perkins' statement about one vote per million dollars should make it clear that the class war is a war, not politics. Patton didn't hate Rommel or Rommel's troops. He definitely knew that Rommel and his troops needed to be all fucking dead, and said so.

The problem, as is understood through martial history, is the troops on my side who won't fight and destroy, either because they are frightened or think they are saints or think this is not a war but an philosophical argument. The troops on your own side who won't fight will definitely get a lot of good people killed.

See comment 1


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
27

Perkins, you magnificent bastard, I read your ex-wife's books.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
28

Well-played, 27. (This is why they call Perkins "the Sand Hill Fox".)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
29

Much much love to 27.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
30

Danielle Steel? Really? I had no idea.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
31

She has a nice hedge.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
32

31: She showed it to you?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
33

If I said you had a big hedge, would your ex-husband hold it against me? Apparently so.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
34

She showed it to everybody.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
35

Since this is the political thread, I hear there was a big hullabaloo, allegedly 80,000 strong, in North Carolina last weekend.

The Moral March on Raleigh, organized by the North Carolina NAACP, was the eighth annual march of what is known as the Historic Thousands on Jones Street People's Coalition (HKonJ), and a continuation of the Moral Monday demonstrations that took place in 2013, in which nearly 1,000 people (including my 81-year-old mother, a retired educator) were arrested.

The writer observes that "Since the region's peculiar contradictions -- and triumphs -- were on full display Saturday, let me share a bit of perspective from one who grew up in these parts."

Okay!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
36

Well, I am super angry about the cover story from the Sunday Globe. 23 year-old paranoid guy with schizophrenia basically pummeled to death by the guards. No grand jury, no disciplinary action. This despite the fact that his death was initially classified as a homicide by the ME and the disabled persons protection commission determined that it was, by a preponderance of the evidence, abuse.

Just grotesque.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
37

I have no idea what her 'close philosophical analysis of the emotion of anger' is supposed to be or mean.

Probably something similar to what she did with "goodness".


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
38

Here's a small grab-bag of ideas for changing the trend that perhaps our sage Slate contrarian might consider:

- get behind a non-Rube Goldberg universal healthcare system
- get behind sensible education reform to bring prices out of the stratosphere*
- get behind a minimum guaranteed income (hell, even Friedman liked that one)
- get behind sensible progressive taxation
- stop trying to dismantle SS and Madicare/caid

None of these are radical**. What's that? "Trends" won't allow it? Ahem.

* I saw a proposal to make college free and take a percentage of post-grad income in payment, which, without thinking about it too much, seemed interesting. Anyone have thoughts on that?

** Lots of people think a guaranteed minimum income is way too communist for the US. I'd just like to point out that Sarah Palin's Alaska has what amounts to a sovereign wealth fund.


Posted by: grumbles | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
39

I'd just like to point out that Sarah Palin's Alaska has what amounts to a sovereign wealth fund.

That's true, and worth noting, but it was set up long before the Palin era, when Alaska was a very different place. Also, while this sort of setup could in theory support a GMI, the actual dividends in Alaska are way too small to live on, even though there's a lot of money in the fund and there aren't very many people in Alaska.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 10:07 PM
horizontal rule
40

39-

Yes, I was just being snarky by mentioning everyone's favorite grifter.

And no, you can't live on just that. I was using it simply as an existence proof that such a thing could exist in the US. I imagine that, were a GMI to happen, it wouldn't be via a soveriegn wealth fund.


Posted by: Grumbles | Link to this comment | 02-17-14 10:49 PM
horizontal rule
41

This conversation did remind me that I hadn't filed for my dividend yet this year, so I just did. Thanks for the reminder, Grumbles!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 1:50 AM
horizontal rule
42

21: MLK and Gandhi were hardly anger-free, even if it was anger without spite.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 2:40 AM
horizontal rule
43

I saw a proposal to make college free and take a percentage of post-grad income in payment, which, without thinking about it too much, seemed interesting.

A graduate tax? They're thinking about that over here. (Except in Scotland, where university's paid for out of general taxation.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 2:45 AM
horizontal rule
44

Grad taxes are better than interest bearing loans etc BUT not as good as general taxation, I think.

NZ has what is almost a grad tax now --- we have interest free loans coupled with minimum compulsory repayments calculated as a %age of income over a certain threshold --- and it's definitely better than other things but it is also kinda sucky in lots of ways.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 2:59 AM
horizontal rule
45

42: to the extent that is true, a philosophy professor would doubtless be capable of showing that their views were incoherent.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 4:17 AM
horizontal rule
46

44.2 is similar to what we have in England; the loans aren't interest free but they're low-interest and repayments are income dependent.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 4:28 AM
horizontal rule
47

In countries that used to have cradle-to-grave and now aren't one underlying thing about student costs is that by and large the previous generation had free provision and so there are (ahem) intergenerational equity issues as well as the whole "horrible class based inequality" thing.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 4:57 AM
horizontal rule
48

Patton didn't hate Rommel or Rommel's troops. He definitely knew that Rommel and his troops needed to be all fucking dead, and said so.

Bob, the movies are great and all, but in the real world, Patton never once faced Rommel or troops under Rommel's command in combat. Rommel had ceded command of Armeegruppe Afrika to von Arnim before Patton first saw action in Tunisia, and Rommel became permanently invalided before Patton's 3rd Army became operational in Normandy.

(27 was a better rejoinder, but indulge me here.)


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
49

Plus, Patton, though admittedly a bloodthirsty maniac, actually knew a little bit about war (unlike bob) and so didn't see his objective as killing every single enemy soldier. The objective was winning the war by defeating them in the field. Very different. What bob is fantasising about isn't victory in war, it's mass murder of unarmed non-combatants.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
50

Warning; Shameless violation of the analogy ban to follow!

Mother: Kid A, please give Kid B a chance to play with your toy.

Kid A: Mother! Why do you hate me????


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
51

What bob is fantasising about isn't victory in war, it's mass murder of unarmed non-combatants.

That's pretty much par for the course


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
52

51: Which one is it this time, should everyone in Japan be killed, or should Japan exterminate everyone else?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
53

I think there's the normal three options. First, kill yourself. Second, kill your manservant. Third, kill everybody!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
54

No one ever won a war by trolling blogs. You win a war by making the other poor dumb bastard troll...

Where was I going with this? Never mind.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
55

Never troll Asia by land. Especially in winter.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
56

The whole point of a manservant is to have them do your killing for you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
57

or should Japan exterminate everyone else?

A work in progress

Fukushima Update every Monday

Although God knows however bad the economy gets, however many people Tepco and other rich fucks enslave murder devastate the human race and the world...

...we must remain sweet and peaceful and meet their greed and malice and indifference with the power of love and flowers. And process liberalism. Cause it's working so well. Checked out the latest wealth income distribution numbers? Best Pres evah.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
58

Fukushima Airborne Plumes Radioactive Iodine ...US Map, EU funded study

West Coast of course, but also looks like the Carolinas got hit. Sometimes I am glad I live in Texas.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
59

||

When Felix Salmon is good, he is very good

Farhad Manjoo has the explanation for why this should be. Internet service is very cheap for the cable companies to provide, and it's also price-sensitive: if you reduce the price, more people will sign up. As a result, the cable companies would make more money from their broadband offerings if they reduced the price. So why don't they? Because right now, 91% of Americans with broadband also have cable TV (I think, I can't find the link for that right now), and the cable companies make their real money from TV, not broadband. The cable companies therefore have every incentive to price broadband as high as possible, so as to make the marginal extra cost of getting TV as well as small as possible.

In the US, cable TV rates are very high; as such, the best way to prevent cord-cutting is to ensure that broadband rates are also very high. That's bad for broadband adoption, but it's reasonably effective at keeping people paying very large sums for TV every month. In other words, high broadband rates are a bit like most newspaper paywalls: they're not so much a way of making lots of money themselves, as they are a way of persuading you to pay lots of money for something else. (Physical newspaper delivery, or cable TV.)

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
60

||
Is Czech Republic vs. Slovakia a grudge match, or are they all drinking buddies? (Trying hard to pay attention to this competition, but there isn't a single sport in it I'd cross the road to watch.)
|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
61

59: Indeed, we've never had cable, have no need/desire for cable, but Verizon's constant offers to upgrade our broadband to include cable have occasionally been tempting.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:13 AM
horizontal rule