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  #1  
Old 08-16-2011, 01:11 AM
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Default This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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Old 08-16-2011, 05:03 AM
jimM47 jimM47 is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

John says that Obama is not a fighter and laments that because of the Tea Party he needs to be. Glenn imagines a potential Obama as a Huey Long long and waxes poetic about a left-populist version of the Tea Party that never was. I am unconvinced.

Glenn starts out by talking about his mortgage. When the value of his house went down, he lost equity, but his bank doesn't lose anything on the credit it had extended. But this is just a restatement of the definition of equity-holder vs. creditor. The creditor doesn't get anything from rising values but doesn't take losses until after the equity-holder is wiped out. Those are the rules. The calls of Glenn's hypothetical left-populist to change them as things progress, tit-for-tat-style, because of the bailouts, don't sound like justice. They sound like deciding to change the rules unpredictably. They sound like giving some people two chances and sticking other people with the costs. They sound scary to a whole lot of Americans who have money, education, and the ability to organize politically, but not the security of a good sob-story to tell of the little guy, or the security of the political connections and economic rationalizations of the really big guy. If you want to frighten the bourgeoisie, just start messing with property rights; start putting the President in charge of every economic problem that crops up. Remind them of Mark Twain's aphorism that no man's life or property is safe while the legislature is in session. You'll have your populist revolt then, but not the one you wanted.

My sense is that this is exactly what happened. The Tea Party could generate anger at ObamaCare and it still had the energy to push an agenda on the debt ceiling, but I don't sense the same urgency, the same foreboding, that really animated the movement in its nascence. In the last year of the Bush there was a fear, crystallizing into a certainty in the first year of Obama, that the rules were being rewritten in unpredictably ways, and in ways that weren't going to benefit the middle and upper-middle class. We bailed out the banks with Treasury's gun to our head. We passed a stimulus in a never-waste-an-emergency frenzy. We bailed out the auto companies. We scrapped the "clunkers" that modest people buy used so that people who could afford it could buy "fuel-efficient" new toys. We started talking about running the banks and car companies by the whims of the political class, because, hey, didn't we have leverage over them now? When the BP spill happened, the President knew just who should get paid first, nevermind what the courts and the law would say. (And the post-mortems I have heard more recently paint these things as even worse than I imagined them when they were happening.)

These were the days when I remember the anger and the worry. I remember the surprise that suddenly other people were caring! If this was a trend that was going to continue, well dear god, where would it stop?! But stop it did. Maybe Obama learned something. Maybe he ran out of opportunities for easy mischief. But whatever the reason, the really scary shit stopped, and before it got to epic levels. I don't want to downplay what happened next, which is health-care reform. As I've made clear elsewhere on the board, I was deeply opposed to it, and my blood still boils a little every time one of its provisions is given form and effect. But a year-long legislative process implementing the long-time hobby-horse of a major political party, even if really bad policy, just isn't scary the way the early stuff was.

Maybe Obama's problem is that he should have gone all-out. If he was going to start messing with things, maybe he should have gone full Huey Long? I guess that is what Glenn is playing at advocating. But I think that would only have created an even bigger backlash. Right now the Tea Party is a burning flame. It could have been a powderkeg. If Obama had pursued a populist agenda, I can easily see huge opposition emerging, and mobilizing against any left-wing populists. The bitterness that could have ensued would have hurt Obama seriously, and the country even more.

But Obama didn't do that. He stopped finding emergencies. He stopped "taking charge." The pundits can call him weak all they want, but I don't count the President out by a long shot these days. If the Republicans are going to sweep into power in 2012, it is only going to be by reminding people how they felt in 2009. They need to feel like they are still staring at that precipice. And I don't see it. Sure, the employment numbers are living up to our worst fears, but the rule of law ain't unraveling the way it looked like it might. I don't think you can recapture that. When the price of gas goes up 2 bucks a gallon, people start worrying it will go up another 10, but only so long as it is still rising. Once it hits a ceiling and goes down a bit, the fears dissipate, even if in actual terms the price has experienced a large gain. The same goes for political fears. We know who Obama is now, and lots of Americans don't like what they see, but they also aren't afraid that he could turn out to be unimaginably worse anymore.

His supporters' sense of "hope" and "change" may be gone, but so are his detractors' sense of "fear" and "chaos."
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:14 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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Originally Posted by jimM47 View Post
We know who Obama is now, and lots of Americans don't like what they see, but they also aren't afraid that he could turn out to be unimaginably worse anymore.
And they really have no idea of what a republican will do. No one acts alone and no one is sure who is in the wings pulling the strings.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:47 AM
ledocs ledocs is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

JimM47 wrote:

Quote:
Maybe Obama's problem is that he should have gone all-out. If he was going to start messing with things, maybe he should have gone full Huey Long? I guess that is what Glenn is playing at advocating. But I think that would only have created an even bigger backlash. Right now the Tea Party is a burning flame. It could have been a powderkeg. If Obama had pursued a populist agenda, I can easily see huge opposition emerging, and mobilizing against any left-wing populists. The bitterness that could have ensued would have hurt Obama seriously, and the country even more.
First, could you tell me if you have me filtered or not? The reason I tell people that I am going to the filter them is so that they don't have to ask this question.

So I don't know what you are really saying in the above paragraph. My sense is that the Tea Party is maxed out in terms of number of adherents, and is actually in decline. That's what everyone says. Brink Lindsey was making the point, in talking to Loury, that all the grassroots passion in the country seems to be with the Right and the Tea Party. I think that an organization like MoveOn did everyone a great disservice by not organizing peaceful street protests at various strategic moments during this first Obama term. And the issue around which to organize would have been the redistribution of income from labor to capital that has been proceeding apace for about 20 years. A consensus is building among everyone on the so-called Left in America that this redistribution is a major cause of the lack of employment opportunity in America. But it's not really a left-right issue, isn't this the "philosophy" attributed popularly to Henry Ford, to put money into the pockets of people who can buy mass consumer goods?

And is the American public really so squeamish that it can't handle a little straightforward ideological conflict? You seem to be saying that the health of the polity depends upon the fact that only one side, the Right side, exhibits passion. What possible justification, in principle, could there be for such a position? It makes no sense whatever to me, a priori. I realize that politics does not belong to the a priori, but I still have no idea what you are really saying here. I see no problem whatever with the idea that the "Left" should organize and shout on the streets and from the rooftops about its interpretation of what ails us.

On some of your other points. I haven't heard this dv. Loury is completely incoherent on economics, which is one of the more bizarre phenomena to be observed. However, the point might be that one can have an idea about the just way to handle the foreclosure crisis in principle, i.e. to honor the intention of contracts, and another idea about what would be beneficial to the economy, if honoring contracts doesn't seem to be too practical, or is not working out too well. This is especially so because the contracts to be honored mostly relied on an asymmetry of information between debtor and creditor. The creditors had more information, and should therefore bear more of the burden of sorting out the mess. I understand that you want the private contracts to be in some sense inviolate, that there is a very important principle at stake, but there is also an argument to be made that the contracts should not be inviolate, because a lot of them should never have been made and validated in the first place. If lenders want their mortgage contracts to be inviolate, they should behave with a lot more prudence and rectitude.

On the BP oil spill, I don't feel the same way. There, I am inclined to think that you probably have a good point, although I know nothing about the legal specifics. On the other hand, I thought it was really bizarre that there was not more organized street protest about the mere fact that this spill occurred. And it's not that I don't understand that accidents are bound to happen when drilling for oil at these depths. But the purpose of protests could have been to put into bold relief the nature of the situation that humanity is in with respect to fossil fuels. That is a necessary part of educating the electorate. I just heard a very interesting episode of "This American Life" about drilling for natural gas in the shale of rural Pennsylvania. There is clearly a very concerted and largely successful attempt by the drilling industry to conceal from people the environmental dangers of what they are doing, I really don't think there can be reasonable debate about this. And I don't think that private property rights extend this far, that people should have the right to lease their "private" underground mineral rights without regard for the externalities to everyone else, including future generations of humans.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:15 AM
KingFish KingFish is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

For some reason this diavlog keeps cutting out at 20:19...anyone else have this problem?
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2011, 09:18 AM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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For some reason this diavlog keeps cutting out at 20:19...anyone else have this problem?
Yes, I downloaded the .wmv file.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:24 AM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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Originally Posted by jimM47 View Post
John says that Obama is not a fighter and laments that because of the Tea Party he needs to be. Glenn imagines a potential Obama as a Huey Long long and waxes poetic about a left-populist version of the Tea Party that never was. I am unconvinced.
What you go on to say reminds me quite a bit of Matt Welch's analysis of the TP. Not because it's similar in content -- it's not, particularly -- but because there's a certainty that what's really motivating the TP are your own hobby horses. Maybe you are right, but I am unconvinced.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:10 AM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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So I don't know what you are really saying in the above paragraph.
Jim can answer, of course, but my suspicion is that it's about the role of populism in what's happening and the growth of the TP. Many people, including me, and apparently Loury, see the TP as an expression of RW populism and one of the failures of the Obama administration's response is the Dems' rejection of populist rhetoric for the most part, even the kind of mild populism that it's usually adopted. Given the popularity of populism in bad economy times and its prevalence in even the right-wing TP rhetoric (from gov't hands off our Medicare to freak outs about TARP and big business and the efforts by many in the TP to link the anger to welfare to the rich and the poor, paid for by the middle class, etc.) it seems apparent that one of the failures of the Dems politically was being completely unable to channel any of this anger to their own support.

Now, I hate populism -- it's one thing that freaks me out about the TP, although not the only thing -- and I've been generally glad since the '90s that the Dems have rejected it, but I can't help but see that this happened at a political cost to the Dems. And, more significantly, and what's probably changed my mind about its use by the Dems, it doesn't go away if the Dems don't play that card. It just gets channelled in an even uglier way, as by the TP.

Anyway, would some TP-like force have existed if Obama had played that card? Hard to say, and there are huge forces against him doing so (the donors in the Dems). It obviously wouldn't have been the same people (which Loury wasn't claiming), but it might have taken some of the wind out of their sails. It seems to me that a lot of those people and their hangers on are much more able to claim that the Dems don't care about their middle class economic concerns any more than the elites in the Republican Party do with more certainty than they would have if the Dems had pursued a more populist line. But I'm also not so convinced that reality matters with regard to this kind of thing, vs. perception. And there's a fervent perception here that's immune to reality.

Quote:
I think that an organization like MoveOn did everyone a great disservice by not organizing peaceful street protests at various strategic moments during this first Obama term. And the issue around which to organize would have been the redistribution of income from labor to capital that has been proceeding apace for about 20 years. A consensus is building among everyone on the so-called Left in America that this redistribution is a major cause of the lack of employment opportunity in America. But it's not really a left-right issue, isn't this the "philosophy" attributed popularly to Henry Ford, to put money into the pockets of people who can buy mass consumer goods?
Yes on Henry Ford, but I remain skeptical that protests, even peaceful ones, really convince people to adopt a cause. If they are by people that you generally feel akin to, maybe they convince you that you should care more or get you excited. But that seems long odds. Granted, I'm probably projecting too much here.

More generally, I think the redistribution problem suffers from the same problem as the health care reform. People may be angry about what's going on, but there's no simple solution to push for. (This is also, I think, why the Dems haven't played populism. In favor of what?)

This relates to Glenn's suggestion that it could have worked because people were upset about their lost equity. But anything solution to promote would have been unpopular, because it would have either seemed unfair or seemed to benefit others who didn't deserve it over you, in the eyes of many. Heck, that's something the TP played up initially -- both with the opposition to TARP and the rant at the CBoT. When there's not an easy solution to deal with the basic inequities (as I think is the case now), it's often easier to pit the less advantaged groups against each other. You may not get what you think is fair, but you can prevent someone else from getting something you think you won't. IMO, taking advantage of this sentiment is the most significant force in the growth of the TP.
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:01 PM
SteveD SteveD is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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Originally Posted by jimM47 View Post
Glenn starts out by talking about his mortgage. When the value of his house went down, he lost equity, but his bank doesn't lose anything on the credit it had extended. But this is just a restatement of the definition of equity-holder vs. creditor. The creditor doesn't get anything from rising values but doesn't take losses until after the equity-holder is wiped out. Those are the rules. The calls of Glenn's hypothetical left-populist to change them as things progress, tit-for-tat-style, because of the bailouts, don't sound like justice.
You're missing his point. Creditors are supposed to assume risk, due to the possibility of default; but if government picks up the tab to ensure that banks are immune from this risk (via 'toxic asset' bailouts), then it is a redistribution of income from the general public to bankers, whereas homeowners don't get this benefit, because they don't have the influence over both parties that bankers do. Banks are "too powerful to fail," whereas middle class homeowners are not. That's his point.
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:22 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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You're missing his point. Creditors are supposed to assume risk, due to the possibility of default; but if government picks up the tab to ensure that banks are immune from this risk (via 'toxic asset' bailouts), then it is a redistribution of income from the general public to bankers, whereas homeowners don't get this benefit, because they don't have the influence over both parties that bankers do. Banks are "too powerful to fail," whereas middle class homeowners are not. That's his point.
To which JimM, I assume, would say, "Why did you let government pick up the tab?"
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:36 PM
jimM47 jimM47 is offline
 
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First, could you tell me if you have me filtered or not?
I can see your posts, if that's what you mean. But I don't come remotely close to reading every post in the forums, and I try to limit my post volume.

I'll try to respond substantively when I have time to do so, if others don't say it first. But the post probably won't make sense without the specific context of the idea that Glenn was entertaining. (It's not clear to me he was advocating it, so much as trying it out for size.) The editors have dingalinked the relevant section as "Glenn envisions..."
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:36 PM
SteveD SteveD is offline
 
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To which JimM, I assume, would say, "Why did you let government pick up the tab?"
I'm not a banker or a CEO, so obviously I don't get to tell the government what to do.

88% of Americans believe that "Big Companies" have "too much power and influence in Washington." 85% believe that about "Banks and financial institutions." Only 13% believe that "public opinion" has too much power and influence in Washington. (From a 2011 Harris poll.)

Sometimes Americans show they understand more about their government than others give them credit for. The funny thing is, these ideas would be considered outrageous and extremist if anyone dared to utter them on 'Meet the Press' or 'This Week,' etc., where you have to pretend that "voters" dictate the choices made by politicians.
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:51 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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To which JimM, I assume, would say, "Why did you let government pick up the tab?"
The argument, which the Bush administration seems to have accepted, was that not doing so would cause an economic calamity. You know, too big to fail and all that.

Now, could be this was wrong. But if not, and I tend to think it wasn't, is the principle that banks should feel the effects of their bad choices in this one particular instance so important that it's worth allowing an economic collapse that would hurt numerous people who played no role in the problematic loans?

In any event, Glenn was talking about the attitude of people after this bailout occurred. Glenn's idea doesn't actually make sense -- it makes more sense to force the banks to repay the money given (which we are) and regulate them in a way that would address the problem (which the TP seems to oppose). I think what Glenn is talking about, though, is that there's a lot of anger by people who feel that they've been indirectly harmed by the stupid and irresponsible behavior of the banks. That anger wasn't really addressed much at all by the Dems/Obama. It was addressed by the TP, and directed not at the banks but mostly at the people who defaulted.

I'd bet that part of this can be related to ideas about strong emotion and how the fact of the emotion is a lot more fundamentally than ideas about how to explain it or its cause. I'm thinking of studies where people were given adrenaline and then stimula of different kinds. Depending on the stimulus, they might conclude they were angry or scared or so on, and attribute it to different causes.
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:55 PM
jimM47 jimM47 is offline
 
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You're missing his point. Creditors are supposed to assume risk, due to the possibility of default; but if government picks up the tab to ensure that banks are immune from this risk (via 'toxic asset' bailouts), then it is a redistribution of income from the general public to bankers, whereas homeowners don't get this benefit, because they don't have the influence over both parties that bankers do. Banks are "too powerful to fail," whereas middle class homeowners are not. That's his point.
If that's all Glenn were saying, I would agree. I don't think it is. It seems to me his thought experiment is one in which Washington says "we changed the rules to benefit the Banks once, now no one can complain when we change the rules again to hurt the Banks and help our new friends." Two wrongs, which on net leave some at zero, some ahead, and some behind. I posit that the potential for populism among those who fear being put behind in that scenario is just as great, if not greater than the potential for populism that Glenn is sketching.
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:57 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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I'm not a banker or a CEO, so obviously I don't get to tell the government what to do.
Sure you do. It's just you have to vote like the rest of us. Collectively, we get exactly what we want the government to do: too much.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:02 PM
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Sure you do. It's just you have to vote like the rest of us. Collectively, we get exactly what we want the government to do: too much.
Do you really beleive that a CEO of a large company or a bank has no more influence than an average voter?
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:08 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Do you really beleive that a CEO of a large company or a bank has no more influence than an average voter?
Of course they have major influence over politicians, just like Big Labor does with Dem candidates. When a person has to spend a $1 billion on an election, something's wrong.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:15 PM
basman basman is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

This doesn't cut out on Firefox.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:30 PM
basman basman is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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You're missing his point. Creditors are supposed to assume risk, due to the possibility of default; but if government picks up the tab to ensure that banks are immune from this risk (via 'toxic asset' bailouts), then it is a redistribution of income from the general public to bankers, whereas homeowners don't get this benefit, because they don't have the influence over both parties that bankers do. Banks are "too powerful to fail," whereas middle class homeowners are not. That's his point.
What you say is so but I thought the argument for the bail out, which I don't have the competence to assess, is that sans bailout there would've been a national financial melt down with frightening global implications, (which specter looms ominously now.)

That would be the same reasoning for real estate debt relief. The problem is larger, tragically larger, than the sanctity of contract; the problem is systemic with potential for a severe economic decline significantly worse than the latest contraction and it's on this overarching basis that relief from mortgage default and home forfeiture is needed.

As a side note I'd just add that when Loury said Obama is no Huey Long he also added sotto voce, "Thank God" or "Thank goodness" or some such.

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Old 08-16-2011, 01:52 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

Grim. Meanwhile over at Walter Russell Mead's blog (here and here) there is an avalanche of comment on the racial situation right now, some predicting there will be race riots if Obama is not re-elected.
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Old 08-16-2011, 02:40 PM
KingFish KingFish is offline
 
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This doesn't cut out on Firefox.
No, I was running Firefox when it cut out on me.
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  #22  
Old 08-16-2011, 02:58 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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No, I was running Firefox when it cut out on me.
The problem is unlikely to be related to the browser or anything else on the local machine.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:09 PM
Aryeh Aryeh is offline
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

Thanks for the report. This should be fixed now--try clearing your cache and reloading the video.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:11 PM
bevdude2007 bevdude2007 is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

I understand Loury's desire for an anti-banker populist from the left, a la Huey Long. But why invoke Long, an odious, autocratic demagogue? Throughout its history, the American left has had tribunes who retain an affinity for democracy. How about, say, Robert La Follette (or, to be more radical, Eugene Debs)?
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:06 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

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And the issue around which to organize would have been the redistribution of income from labor to capital that has been proceeding apace for about 20 years. A consensus is building among everyone on the so-called Left in America that this redistribution is a major cause of the lack of employment opportunity in America. But it's not really a left-right issue, isn't this the "philosophy" attributed popularly to Henry Ford, to put money into the pockets of people who can buy mass consumer goods?
The Russian-French Hegelian-Marxist, Alexandre Kojčve, thought that Henry Ford's "philosophy" of consumerism was the answer to Marx's apocalyptic scenario for the self-destruction of capitalism: give workers big enough salaries so that they can buy the things that they produce, and capitalism will last forever. End of history, end of story. Yippee.

Francis Fukuyama, neo-conservative Straussian, repeated this lesson. Have American conservatives already forgotten it?
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:13 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Francis Fukuyama, neo-conservative Straussian, repeated this lesson. Have American conservatives already forgotten it?
FYI--most American conservatives are not neo-conservative Straussians
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:29 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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FYI--most American conservatives are not neo-conservative Straussians
No doubt, But the Kojčve-Fukuyama lesson is still valid. If income is redistributed disproportionately upwards to owners of capital at the expense of labor, there will be excess capacity and underconsumption.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:10 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Florian View Post
No doubt, But the Kojčve-Fukuyama lesson is still valid. If income is redistributed disproportionately upwards to owners of capital at the expense of labor, there will be excess capacity and underconsumption.
The excess capacity is stored in capital, right?
Where is that capital stored?

If it's stored in banks, what do banks do with it?

If its stored in stocks, what do corporations do with that capital?

If it stored in loans, who is borrowing the money, and what are they doing with it?


Where else can it be stored? You tell me.
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  #29  
Old 08-16-2011, 05:34 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Maybe Obama just isn't a liberal

One reason Obama may not be the fighting champion that liberals hoped for is that he simply doesn't see himself as a liberal/progressive.

Maybe his self references in relation to Reagan goes deeper then simply a regard for Reagan's approach to politics. Sure Obama sees himself as the second coming of the Great Communicator, as reflected in his penchant for a speech. But maybe this regard for Reagan's communication skills reflects an overall regard for Reagan that would horrify liberal progressives.

Maybe Obama really is opposed to changing the definition of marriage.

Maybe he really does believe Petraes and the Military establishment folk he chose as his foreign policy advisers and cabinet members he held over from the Bush administration do have a more correct view of foreign policy

Maybe he really does think the wall street establishment people he chose as economic advisers have a better understanding of how the economy works best for everyone.

Maybe his bringing the business establishment in to have a considerable voice in the process, when he went for the one unambiguously liberal policy he's pursued, is a reflection his own hesitation at what he was doing.

Maybe his Christianity is not fake, as many liberals like to imagine. Maybe he sincerely believes in that Black Christian tradition as much as Michelle most definitely seems to. A christian tradition that is inherently conservative in many ways.

Maybe his considerable experience with liberal progressives has caused him to identify with them less rather then more.

Maybe there is a reason why a right winger like me is much more likely to vote for him then any other democrat during my life time.

Last edited by whburgess; 08-16-2011 at 05:45 PM..
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  #30  
Old 08-16-2011, 05:47 PM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

You might also want to check out this interesting site.
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  #31  
Old 08-16-2011, 05:57 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Maybe Obama just isn't a liberal

Quote:
Originally Posted by whburgess View Post
One reason Obama may not be the fighting champion that liberals hoped for is that he simply doesn't see himself as a liberal/progressive.

Maybe his self references in relation to Reagan goes deeper then simply a regard for Reagan's approach to politics. Sure Obama sees himself as the second coming of the Great Communicator, as reflected in his penchant for a speech. But maybe this regard for Reagan's communication skills reflects an overall regard for Reagan that would horrify liberal progressives.

Maybe Obama really is opposed to changing the definition of marriage.

Maybe he really does believe Petraes and the Military establishment folk he chose as his foreign policy advisers and cabinet members he held over from the Bush administration do have a more correct view of foreign policy

Maybe he really does think the wall street establishment people he chose as economic advisers have a better understanding of how the economy works best for everyone.

Maybe his bringing the business establishment in to have a considerable voice in the process, when he went for the one unambiguously liberal policy he's pursued, is a reflection his own hesitation at what he was doing.

Maybe his Christianity is not fake, as many liberals like to imagine. Maybe he sincerely believes in that Black Christian tradition as much as Michelle most definitely seems to. A christian tradition that is inherently conservative in many ways.

Maybe his considerable experience with liberal progressives has caused him to identify with them less rather then more.

Maybe there is a reason why a right winger like me is much more likely to vote for him then any other democrat during my life time.
yes, he is basically a republican. that really isn't news to most liberals. But I thought y'all were supposed to keep screaming "socialist" until he's out of office - this truth telling is not very strategic of you.
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  #32  
Old 08-16-2011, 06:13 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Maybe Obama just isn't a liberal

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Originally Posted by whburgess View Post
One reason Obama may not be the fighting champion that liberals hoped for is that he simply doesn't see himself as a liberal/progressive.
Ugh, what's a "liberal progressive"? To be fair to Cenk and Obama, it doesn't seem that either of them used that term.

Personally, I hate the term "progressive" and never use it for myself, so I'd be perfectly happy if Obama rejected it, but I don't think it's a particularly strong argument for some kind of fundamental disagreement between Obama and liberal values.

Quote:
Maybe he really does think the wall street establishment people he chose as economic advisers have a better understanding of how the economy works best for everyone.
Probably. Hardly surprising -- that he bought into that wing of the Dems was something anyone paying attention should have known from the beginning.

Quote:
Maybe his bringing the business establishment in to have a considerable voice in the process, when he went for the one unambiguously liberal policy he's pursued, is a reflection his own hesitation at what he was doing.
I don't think it's hesitation, I think it's -- again, unsurprisingly -- his view of how the process should work, what would make for a successful policy. He might be wrong, but given that this was hashed out in the primary, anyone surprised wasn't paying attention. It's not Dems who thought he was a Leninist, for the most part.

Quote:
Maybe his Christianity is not fake, as many liberals like to imagine.
Eh, I thought it was the right going around insisting that he's not a real Christian and nitpicking the theology of his comments to prove him a bad Christian.

But this idea that liberalism and Christianity are inconsistent rather confuses me anyway.
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  #33  
Old 08-16-2011, 06:30 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Maybe Obama just isn't a liberal

Quote:
Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
yes, he is basically a republican. that really isn't news to most liberals. But I thought y'all were supposed to keep screaming "socialist" until he's out of office - this truth telling is not very strategic of you.
Oh, I would never say this on national tv.
I don't think anything I say here helps or hurts Republican prospects.
I know many who post here do so in a manner that makes it seem they think they are helping their side get elected, but that's rather deluded and makes their posts not very interesting.
I see this as a place where fellow Americans share their different perspectives honestly.


Also--I wouldn't call Obama a Republican. I just don't think he's all that progressive (or liberal--depending on what you mean by liberal)

Last edited by whburgess; 08-16-2011 at 06:40 PM..
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  #34  
Old 08-16-2011, 06:36 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Maybe Obama just isn't a liberal

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Ugh, what's a "liberal progressive"? To be fair to Cenk and Obama, it doesn't seem that either of them used that term.
I know, I know Stephanie. Here is my hand to slap.

But you know not all of us are as sophisticated as you are in the nuances of political labels. But I am learning a lot from you.
Please don't misunderstand me, I am being absolutely sincere with no intent at sarcasm at all.


Quote:
Personally, I hate the term "progressive" and never use it for myself, so I'd be perfectly happy if Obama rejected it, but I don't think it's a particularly strong argument for some kind of fundamental disagreement between Obama and liberal values.
Ok. But 'progressives' really do exist. They are in coalition with liberals, and it's going to take some time for me to stop equating the two. Please be patient.

Quote:
Eh, I thought it was the right going around insisting that he's not a real Christian and nitpicking the theology of his comments to prove him a bad Christian.
Can you believe the demagoguery!?

Quote:

But this idea that liberalism and Christianity are inconsistent rather confuses me anyway.
Probably not as much as the idea that Christianity is compatible with progressivism or liberalism is to some in your coalition.
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  #35  
Old 08-16-2011, 06:54 PM
ledocs ledocs is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

Q&A with WH Burgess:

Quote:
The excess capacity is stored in capital, right?
Where is that capital stored?

If it's stored in banks, what do banks do with it?
Buy T-Bills. Repurchase stock.

Quote:
If its stored in stocks, what do corporations do with that capital?
Sit on it. Repurchase stock. Buy T-Bills. Pay dividends. Expand in emerging markets.

Quote:
If it stored in loans, who is borrowing the money, and what are they doing with it?
Apparently, net new loans are few and far between anywhere. This is the problem.
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  #36  
Old 08-16-2011, 08:11 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Progressive and the Progressive Caucus

Quote:
Ok. But 'progressives' really do exist. They are in coalition with liberals, and it's going to take some time for me to stop equating the two. Please be patient.
I am really intruding on a conversation I haven't had the time to follow in any detail, but I think it's worth clarifying that some of us embrace the "progressive" label. Today it means "the American left," which means the left wing of the Dem. party and Greens and others who won't affiliate with Dems. at all.

There is a Progressive Caucus in Congress co-chaired by Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison. It has 83 members.

It was co-founded (along with Maxine Waters, Bernie Saunders and others) by my old Congressional Rep. the great Ron Dellums in 1991.
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  #37  
Old 08-16-2011, 09:24 PM
jimM47 jimM47 is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Florian View Post
If income is redistributed disproportionately upwards to owners of capital at the expense of labor, there will be excess capacity and underconsumption.
No doubt. Though the word "disproportionately" is unnecessary to the truth of that statement. Any time the distribution of surpluses from production moves toward owners of capital away from controllers of labor, the basket of consumption and investment goods demanded by those with purchasing power will change. If the shift happens rapidly, it will cause a mismatch: the economy's resources will be optimized to produce one basket of goods, but another basket of goods will be demanded. There will be too much capacity to produce the goods that labor desired, but there will be not enough capacity to produce the goods that capital requires. But the same is true of a shift away from capital toward labor. The basket of consumption and investment goods demanded by those with purchasing power will change there as well. And if the shift happens rapidly, it will also create a mismatch. There will be not enough capacity to produce the goods that labor desires, and there will be too much capacity to produce the goods that capital requires.

So, change is what is disruptive. Any balance between capital and labor can be found at equilibrium. Which is to say that no particular balance between capital and labor is a priori most desirable. What should determine the balance between capital and labor is the relative scarcity of the inputs of production. If capital is more scarce, it should receive a higher return in order to induce more effort directed at the formation of capital (at the expense of currently productive labor). If labor is more scarce, it should receive a higher return in order to induce more effort directed at laboring (at the expense of capital formation).

Note, of course that capital and labor are somewhat artificial constructs here. Capital comes in many varieties, and it is not uniform: most laborers in a modern economy are the owners of a(n increasingly) large amount of social and educational capital; most producers have much more than financial capital and capital goods, they also have reputational and organizational capital. A notable feature of many of these forms of capital is that unlike financial capital and capital goods, they require a significant amount of time to make come into existence. So with that in mind, why not ask what type of capital is reaping disproportionate benefits? A quick look at interest rates and stock performance suggests that it isn't the owners of financial capital, per se. So it must be the owners of some other type of capital. A few plausible candidates chosen to represent larger categories are: entities lucky enough to own capital goods whose value has increased due to shifts in demand, entities that have extremely good creditworthiness, entities with greater access to some necessity of production.

The first answer is depressing but not unsettling. In means there is a lot of malinvestment out there, and we just need time for people to wind up their old commitments and move on to more productive investments. The second answer is a bit more unsettling. Once upon a time we had financial institutions capable of assessing risk allocating financial capital to productive resources that were not bottlenecked by a lack of reputational capital for creditworthiness. Those institutions have probably been under-cautious in recent years, and we can expect them to take some time to readjust. But until they do, that is a major part of the economic engine that is out of commission. The third answer is potentially quite unsettling. One fears that the access we are talking about is access to a non-productive resource: a license, a government bail-out guarantee, a regulatory assurance, an artificial monopoly. I think it is fair to say that each of these three answers must be true to some degree, and moreso now than at other times.

Now, I have left myself open to a criticism in this story, because I discuss the distribution of surpluses between capital and labor in a static economy at equilibrium. But, of course, economies are not static. In a healthy growing economy where technology is advancing and producers are engaged in risk and information discovery, the economy is constantly getting knocked out of equilibrium. (Indeed it probably never reaches the equilibrium point before the equilibrium point changes.) So, you could ask not only whether a distribution of surpluses between capital and labor is optimized for current demand, but also whether the distribution is optimized for a particular level of economic dynamism. It is a basic truism both that people are risk averse, but that on the margin people become less risk averse as they become more wealthy. Risk aversion is an impediment to change and information discovery. So if a new technological change requires that, for the economy to be most productive, the people at the bottom of the income scale need to make adjustments and assume entrepreneurial risk, all else being equal, a society with a more equal income distribution is going to be able to respond more quickly than a society with a less equal income income distribution.

So there's an intellectual case to be made for the idea that income inequality is inhibiting long-term economic prosperity. But I'm unconvinced empirically. And while I don't know enough continental philosophy to comment on Kojčve, I don't think Ford was commenting on economic dynamism -- he was trying to sell consumer goods!
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  #38  
Old 08-16-2011, 09:33 PM
jimM47 jimM47 is offline
 
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Default Re: This Cutting Edge (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

As so substance, SteveD prompts me toward brevity and probably greater clarity here, stripped of anecdote, remembrance and speculation.
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  #39  
Old 08-16-2011, 09:36 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Progressive and the Progressive Caucus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
I am really intruding on a conversation I haven't had the time to follow in any detail, but I think it's worth clarifying that some of us embrace the "progressive" label. Today it means "the American left," which means the left wing of the Dem. party and Greens and others who won't affiliate with Dems. at all.

There is a Progressive Caucus in Congress co-chaired by Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison. It has 83 members.

It was co-founded (along with Maxine Waters, Bernie Saunders and others) by my old Congressional Rep. the great Ron Dellums in 1991.
Thanks for the clarification, Wonderment.

No offense intended, but I think your coalition is the reason I call myself a Republican rather then an independent or a Democrat. I think if all Democrats were like Stephanie or Obama, I probably wouldn't be a Republican.
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  #40  
Old 08-16-2011, 10:14 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Posts: 2,186
Default Re: Maybe Obama just isn't a liberal

Quote:
Originally Posted by whburgess View Post
One reason Obama may not be the fighting champion that liberals hoped for is that he simply doesn't see himself as a liberal/progressive.

Maybe his self references in relation to Reagan goes deeper then simply a regard for Reagan's approach to politics. Sure Obama sees himself as the second coming of the Great Communicator, as reflected in his penchant for a speech. But maybe this regard for Reagan's communication skills reflects an overall regard for Reagan that would horrify liberal progressives.

Maybe Obama really is opposed to changing the definition of marriage.

Maybe he really does believe Petraes and the Military establishment folk he chose as his foreign policy advisers and cabinet members he held over from the Bush administration do have a more correct view of foreign policy

Maybe he really does think the wall street establishment people he chose as economic advisers have a better understanding of how the economy works best for everyone.

Maybe his bringing the business establishment in to have a considerable voice in the process, when he went for the one unambiguously liberal policy he's pursued, is a reflection his own hesitation at what he was doing.

Maybe his Christianity is not fake, as many liberals like to imagine. Maybe he sincerely believes in that Black Christian tradition as much as Michelle most definitely seems to. A christian tradition that is inherently conservative in many ways.

Maybe his considerable experience with liberal progressives has caused him to identify with them less rather then more.

Maybe there is a reason why a right winger like me is much more likely to vote for him then any other democrat during my life time.
No. No... No! Nooooooo!
These are lies... lies... LIES!!!!!!
It's a bit much to accept politicians at face value.
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