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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Constituents Jeer Rep. Dan Lungren’s (R-CA) Support Of Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich

At a town hall last Wednesday attended by ThinkProgress, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) was asked why he supports the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy since America has lost millions of jobs since its passage. When Lungren deflected, saying that everyone benefits from the Bush tax cuts and that Obama supported extending them, , several people began jeering him. Lungren, who at one point threatened to leave the Carmichael town hall, said he doesn’t know of any economists who support raising taxes during a recession.

Lungren should have been asked why leaders of his caucus want to increase taxes during a recession. He defines allowing a temporary tax cut to expire as a tax increase. Paul Ryan definitely argued against extending the payroll tax holiday. Other prominent Republican congressmen have gone mealy mouthed when asked, but, as far as I know, no Republican has endorsed not increasing the payroll tax during a recession.

If they have any problem with raising a tax not paid by rich people during this recession, now would be a great time to tell us.

Also the bit about Bush's tax cuts helping everyone first assumes that deficits never create any problems (so why not just eliminate all taxes) and second feebly attempts to mislead those who might have forgotten that the question was about the Bush tax cuts for the rich (the one's whose extension Obama opposed) not about the Bush tax cuts which apply to non rich people too (whose extension Obama supported). His claim about Obama is false as stated. He could only have made a true claim by distinguishing the cuts for the rich alone from the cuts for non rich people too. Obviously he'd rather pretend to be unable to understand plain English than do that.

Basically he took the Molotovian approach and interpreting "for the rich" as an assertion that Bush tax cuts were all strictly for the rich and not as a qualifier. To clarify my violation of Goodwinsky's law, the other case of such a dodge was the claim Stalin's foreign ministry made about the correct way to interpret the Yalta treaty.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kevin Williamson managed to get links from almost all the guys I really wish would link to me by arguing tthat Perry's rejection of science doesn't matter (and besides the liberals he doesn't quote by name do it too so there). I don't know who Williamson is, so I decided that he is a genuinely amazingly remarkably stupid person.

That's what makes the fact that he was one of few linkers who didn't fall for the Krugman Google+ hoax so depressing.

I still think that he is an idiot. However, there seems to be lots of worse idiots out there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Opinion leaders share opinions on Washington Post opinion leaders

Mark Sumner

George Will spent last week moaning about how Kennedy lost the Cold War and this week making comparisons between Chris Christie and Woodrow Wilson. Has anyone done a Turing Test on Will's writing lately? I do believe this stuff is being cranked out by tacking together random urls from Wikipedia with a handful of javaScript. This is one step from gibberish -- and not always one step in the right direction.

Jon Chait

Reading a Charles Krauthammer column used to be a challenging exercise. To be sure, it frequently involved sophistry, but the deception was always clever. You read through the column nodding your head until the conclusion, and you'd have to read through it a second time to discover the trick, like a condition which was possibly true in the third paragraph had become necessarily true by the seventh. It was like having your money taken by a skilled three card monte artist. But those days are long gone, and now Krauthammer just hits you ever the head and takes your wallet.

Come on Mark and Jon tell us what you really think.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bring back Ballance all is forgiven.

I have accused the Washington Post and, especially, the headline person(s) of Ballance, but I really wish they would make their hatred of Rick Perry a little less obvious.

Perry’s ‘Texas miracle’ helped by government

Michael A. Fletcher 9:23 PM ET

The federal government’s role in the state’s prosperity contrasts with the “go-it-alone” image cultivated by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who credits lack of government interference with fostering a business-friendly environment.

Call em like you see em sure, but please please look at something other than Rick Perry before you make me puke.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Cyberdog Wrote These Posts

The Cyberdog devoured Paul Krugman's comments and won't allow comments on two of his posts.

So here they are.

How can we convince S&P to downgrade stock ?

Krugman is surprised that people say that S&P downgrade had a big effect, since the price of the downgraded securities has increased. It turns out that their evaluation of Treasury securities matters for stock prices and not the prices of Treasury securities. This is a parody of post hoc ergo propter hoc. It oculd be worse, at least the timing is right even if the signs are wrong.

I am reminded of assessments of the effects of QEII. The policy consisted of buying 7 year Treasury notes. Their price went down. To me that suggests that the policy didn't work. But some (e.g. Martin Feldstein) decided that one should look at the price of stock to determine the effect of purchases of 7 year notes. He isn't quite at the level of the people Krugman denounces, because he was casual about the timing. It was enough that two things happened in the same half year to convince him.

Krugman notes that the words "British economist John Maynard Keynes" are used without any reference to the writings (or speaches) of British economist John Maynard Keynes.

Mike Shedlock blames Keynes for over generous pensions, over large defence bailouts and, coddling bankers (we alll know how much Keynes liked bankers). This is quite funny. I propose a rule. How about requiring that assertions about the beliefs and proposals of John Maynard Keynes be based on quotes of Keynes.

Sad to say, I was pretty sure that Krugman wouldn't totally appreciate the comment by the time I read all the way down to "Comments are no longer being accepted." Krugman does not discuss Keynes. Instead he discusses "the Keynesian model" and goes on to explain

Keynesianism, in particular, is not about chanting “big government good”. It’s about viewing recessions through the lens of an economic model under which temporary increases in government spending can, under certain circumstances, help reduce unemployment. Indeed, not all recessions call for fiscal stimulus; it’s the special conditions of the liquidity trap that make it essential now

That's not Keynes. Keynes mentioned the liquidity trap twice in "The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money" but it was not at all central to his theory. I have no trouble identifying the leader of the school of thought whose doctrine is monetary policy except when in a liquidity trap then use fiscal policy" -- Paul Krugman. "It all depends on whether we are in a liquidity trap" is Krugmanian not Keynesian. I mean Keynes didn't even get to any mention of nominal quantities until after the chapter entitled "The General Theory Restated."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Frontiers of Spam

I received an e-mail with the wonderfully paranoid subject header

"Re: The Federal Reserve Cartel: Freemasons and The House of Rothschild - by Dean Henderson"

(note the Re: which means "this is spam")

It turned out to be a teaser for this message

"Anybody need a kombucha scoby? I got some. Free to a good home."

What is a kombucha scoby ? Hmm it sounds zoogleal.

I have no idea how one can separate people from their money by offering paranoid Rothschild haters a free kombucha scoby. I will investigate further (that's it get people to investigate further -- reach through their monitors and eat their brainnss).

OK goes to a site about "John Biggs" who claims to be a journalist and hawks watches. Clearly either he is a spammer or can't manage internet security. Either way his claim " After spending four years as an IT programmer, I switched gears and became a full-time journalist" does not convince me.