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4 Reasons Why Socialism Is Becoming More Popular

Posted by freedomforall 10 months, 2 weeks ago to Philosophy
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There is no easy answer, of course, but I would suggest that the radicalization of academia is the lynchpin issue. If we could succeed in reversing that tsunami, many dominoes would fall: we would be addressing the university monoculture that systematically distorts research, sends students veering hard left and graduates generations of left-orthodox clones who find their way into journalism, government, education, entertainment and other influential sectors driving public opinion and shaping the other three downstream issues factoring into socialism’s rise: government policy, educational philosophy and the manner in which history is taught. Many have observed that our universities are in crisis, but that crisis also represents an opportunity to avert the much larger socialist cataclysm that threatens to engulf us all.
SOURCE URL: https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/4-reasons-why-socialism-becoming-more-popular


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  • 13
    Posted by 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    Factor #1: Ignorance of History
    The first cause of socialism’s popularity, especially among the young, is an obvious one: having grown up at a time after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of Europe’s Eastern Bloc and China’s transition to authoritarian capitalism, “these kids today” — those 18 to 29 year-olds who were born around the last decade of the 20th century — don’t know what socialism is all about. When they think socialism, they don’t think Stalin; they think Scandinavia.

    Americans’ — and especially young Americans’ — ignorance of history is well-documented and profound. As of 2018, only one in three Americans could pass a basic citizenship test , and of test-takers under the age of 45, that number dropped to 19%. That included such lowlights as having no clue why American colonists fought the British and believing that Dwight Eisenhower led the troops during the Civil War.
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    • Posted by $ Dobrien 10 months, 2 weeks ago
      These snowflakes don’t think. They couldn’t tell you where Sweden is on a globe 🌏. Lucky if they know the globe represents the planet they live on.
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      • Posted by $ allosaur 10 months, 2 weeks ago
        Based on the ignorant answers Fox News Watters received for asking college kids Veterans Day weekend questions last night, me dino believes Watters could redraw the shape of the world's countries and even continents (eliminating Hawaii, Australia and Antartica) and successfully pass it off as "How The World Looked In 1849 When We Beat China During World War 2."
        Bet he could convince some of those bobbleheads that World War 2 was also known as The Boxer School Rebellion due to our Japanese allies beating up Chinese kung fu schools with karate schools who got sneaky with samurai swords.
        I can just hear it now. "Oh, wow, man. I didn't know that."
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        • Posted by exceller 10 months, 2 weeks ago
          Watters' interviews of these snowflakes are horrifying.

          I watched quite a few of them and the level of knowledge let alone understanding of history both of the US and the world triggers a deep fear of what these people will do with their lives in a total oblivion.

          No wonder they absorb any nonsense their teachers are telling them. Where are their parents? When I was in school, I learned most of the ideology governing my life later from my parents, no matter what some of my teachers were trying to impress me with. We had long discussions in the evenings and I never digressed from their sage directions.

          What do these kids learn from their parents?
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  • 12
    Posted by 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    Factor #3: Universities’ Ideological Monoculture
    The supporters of socialism are not simply the young, but rather, disproportionately those among the young who are college-educated. And the more college they have, the hotter for socialism they get. According to a 2015 poll , support for socialism grows from 48% among those with a high school diploma or less to 62% among college graduates to 78% among those with post-graduate degrees.
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  • 11
    Posted by 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    Factor #2: Government Bungling
    When we try to explain the socialist urge, we cannot lose sight of the fact that our government keeps interfering in the economy in ways that give people every reason to think the system is corrupt and needs to be trashed.
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  • 10
    Posted by 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    Factor #4: Coddled Kids
    The young have always been more inclined to embrace pipe dreams — a lack of familiarity with the complicated way in which the world actually works, coupled with the college fix described above, will do that to most anyone — but there is a reason the mindset of today’s young’uns is particularly susceptible to the red menace.
    When we are raised in the belief we are wonderful just as we are, we never learn the critical life skills of self-soothing, working through anxiety, facing obstacles and overcoming adversity. The predictable result, as Haidt and Lukianoff observe, is a demand to be safeguarded — safe spaces, free speech crackdowns and so on.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    I always ask socialist fans three questions:
    1) What is socialism?
    - none I've asked have a clue about what it is
    2) Can you identify a successful socialist country?
    - they usually misidentify Sweden, which is less socialist than we are
    3) Why are you attracted to socialism?
    - the usual response is "because it's more fair."

    While I would like to ask more questions in hope of getting more of their brain cells active, the conversation usually ends there, often with derogatory comments aimed at me as a capitalist pig. We live in disturbing times.
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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    As long as other universities continue their tripe, I will continue the alternative at Florida Tech.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 10 months, 2 weeks ago
      Wow! I knew nothing about Florida Tech. Is it really different?!
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      • Posted by $ jbrenner 10 months, 2 weeks ago
        Floirda Tech is a small private university that focuses mostly on engineering, but we realize that invention and innovation require the proper philosophical basis. I advertise in the Gulch to attract future Galts.

        I made enough money on prior ventures that I do not need to seek funding from government sources any more. I can't say that about all my colleagues, but we do prefer working with industry over government.

        https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

        I am not Atlas Shrugged's Quentin Daniels, but there certainly are a few parallels.
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  • Posted by chad 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    One critical factor in getting people to accept socialism is the idea that wealth is a zero sum game and that in order for everyone to benefit there must be some way to make it uniform for everyone; enter socialism and the exclusive use of violence by the state to remove property from those who have created it and spread it around.
    If all the money of every billionaire in the world was distributed among the people of the world the people would be amazed at how little it was, they would immediately squander it on a meaningless party and complain that there wasn't more.
    Wealth is created every time someone puts forth effort to produce or create something. When more efficient means of production are created the cost goes down and the availability goes up, everyone becomes wealthier even if not as much as some who created more.
    When violence is employed to create a state of equality the least moral of the people are the ones to rise to the position of power and they employ murder and plunder to gain more instead of creativity and effort. The result is the same no matter who is in power. There are no munificent dictators or kings waiting to guide their people to the promised land. A great fear is that an 'outside' force will take over the promised land and murder the subjects so they submit themselves to a leader who will murder more of them and tell them they are happier and better because of it. There always seem to be a majority of people who accept this lie.
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    I suggested to our re-elected republican First Selectman that we make all our schools in town, "Alternative" Schools and use the programs offered by Hillsdale College. It would be cheaper, could be Unionless and we'd be the only town in CT with well educated kids

    Like all politicians, he said he'd look into that, "sounds like a great idea", he said.
    He is not getting away that easily, I'll be checking up on the progress. .

    Just like they turned America into crap, one kid at a time, so should we, turn it back to gold, one kid at a time.

    PS...memes up and a post on geocentrism.
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  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    Moral relativism and multiculturalism. Once someone believes everything is okay depending on circumstances they tend to make excuses, blaming others, for their inability. Then they learn that everyone everywhere is just the same, going through the same things and, minus the drive to overcome, settle on their knees, hands outstetched and cupped waiting for someone to provide sustinence and a direction for success.
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    • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 10 months, 2 weeks ago
      Morality and ethics is a good place to start.
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      • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 10 months, 2 weeks ago
        While its unclear who came up with the quote, this one does apply
        "If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for Anything"

        The nature of the attacks on this country and its foundational beliefs is such that exceptionalism (not elitism) must be erased to the extend it is unknown, shunned, or ridiculed. In nay way America has been exceptional we can see the corrosive elements of those abroad brought into our lives through our school. Family, prosperity, individual accomplishments, simple pride in our achievements as individuals and as a nation are all, and have been for many years, relentlessly attacked. The recent generation(s) have no pride in the our nation, our people, and no direction they can plot for themselves. They feel guilty or boastful for simply taking pride in their own achievements. Instead of being the optime of the American promise, they schlep it off to good fortune based on the happenstance of their birth.

        Its disgusting. I know this because one of mine, the one who achieved the most and should be beaming with pride..isn't. It breaks my heart.
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  • Posted by Casebier 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    Our problem is that the current generation has never had to want for anything, and perhaps more importantly never had to sacrifice for anything. Our MIC and the politicians they support are happy for us to fight wars with borrowed money, not taxes, so no one feels the pain of having to give up something to fund a national priority. We just print more money and lay on more national debt and no one feels any effects, Young people are so spoiled that they don't even know they're spoiled, and only measure their own condition against the condition of those who are better off: "My God! I'll never get this education loan paid off! It's unfair that I had to borrow money to get to go to college when my high school bff's rich parents paid for hers out of their pocket. The government needs to make it a level playing field by paying my debts so I don't have to sacrifice."

    What we need is for each generation to get out of the US-Canadian rich country bubble and see what the rest of the world is like, including that our "poverty level" is considered "wealthy" by a majority of the rest of the world.
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  • Posted by term2 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    Socialism seems to rear its ugly head when things are bad (like in the depression), and when things are good (like now where money is flowing and can be taken and used to give freebies)
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  • Posted by mia767ca 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    you can vote your way into socialism....you have to shoot your way out of it...

    it is not "socialism" they are in favor of today...it is "communism-fascism"...win the battle by NOT referring to it as socialism...call it what it is...define or be defined...
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    From what I understand, it isn't only in the universities. I believe that young people are conditioned, in grade school and high school, not to think independently, but to be collectivists, long before they get to college.--But the home-school movement may do some good; ultimately, the answer is abolition of public education.
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  • Posted by RevJay4 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    I've thought that federal funding needed to be pulled from the universities and allow them to sink or float on their own. Why should we, the taxpayers, support a system which is seeking to destroy our way of life.
    Just like any other business. They need to be funded by their success at producing a product which can add to the overall well-being of our nation.
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    I agree, education, or lack thereof, is the chief factor in making socialism look good. If you have not studied hitory or philosophy, you might have only the talking points of others go go by. Research among the millennials is lacking, they want the short answer. They have not stuided Mao, or Marx's life, or the flip side of any of it. They do not read Rand, even though they could read "anthem", I hope. Our colleges are included in this lack of academic content. They push gender studies, pro socialism stuidies, diversity, but little that would prepare the student to make educated decisions. Not one logic course is required usually. as a Philosophy major, I staffed the logic help room - no kidding. It was amazing how hard that sujbect was to some. One boy had a panic attc in a metaphysics class, and was hauled off by ER when the idea of forming a researched idea, or free thought was suggested.
    Mao would have been proud. My own brother, miitary, took a college class, Big 10, where he was forced to read Mao's Little Red Book, and encouraged to embrace the ideas. He was not happy. I read it, more than once, in the same way I read "Rules for Radicals", know you enemy.
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  • Posted by GaryL 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    My wife is the director of marketing at her company and the company demands a college education before she can hire a new employee. She hires and fires on a very regular basis and the one rule that saves her bacon is she can hire from within the company individuals that have a proven work ethic but do not have the required college degree. According to my wife she is easily able to train those who are not adorned with a Pig Skin. Her very best marketing specialists have a HS education and maybe a few college credits but need the job and are willing to work and learn the marketing techniques.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    The four reasons it suggests seem plausible, esp #1 and #4. I have two other suggestions:
    5. Unskilled wages have stagnated while return on equity has gone up. There are some signs the trend will continue. Socialism is not a good response to this, but it's easy to see how people with a simplistic understanding could hear the "rich are getting richer" and respond that we need to take their wealth.
    6. Branding - People who don't know much about socialism (see reason #1 in the article) hear the incorrect claim that socialism is the opposite of President Trump's mean-spirited clown show. This makes socialism sound kind, optimistic, and intelligent.
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    • Posted by mccannon01 10 months, 2 weeks ago
      "...mean spirited clown show." is a false claim.
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      • Posted by RevJay4 10 months, 2 weeks ago
        The "clown show" is on the opposite side of the aisle, with some help from the rinos.
        If it appears to be "mean spirited" its because tough love has to be strict to be effective.
        And, Trump's policies are effective, thus far.
        Its that rising tide thing.
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      • -1
        Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months, 1 week ago
        "'...mean spirited clown show.' is a false claim."
        To me he's the archetype of taking reality show nonsense into politics, exploiting the deplorables with drunken antics. But even if I'm wrong, it doesn't affect my suggested reason for people falling for socialism. In fact, the one data point of myself is a counter example, since I reject clown show and socialism.

        I can't see a way to test my guess because it's possible the causal vectors go the other way. Maybe people adopted socialism for some other reason, and then they see President Trump as a clown because he's supposedly against socialism. Maybe one test, which I hope we don't carry out, is electing Bernie Sanders president. He's socialistic and clownish. If my hypothesis is correct, if he were president support for socialism would decrease because people not that knowledgeable about socialism would oppose socialism just in rejection of the Sanders clown show.

        None of this would be scientific, though, because it's impossible to say who sees these figures as clownish, esp when separated from their parties and policies. So it ends up just being my unscientific gut feeling that some people are more open to socialism because Trump is supposedly against socialism. If they learned what socialism is about and how Trump is actually supportive of elements of it, depending on which ways the vagaries of his unstable mind lead him on a particular day, they would find socialism less appealing.
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    • Posted by $ blarman 10 months, 2 weeks ago
      Why should anyone pay for unskilled workers? If they are unskilled, it means they bring zero value to your company. You pay to train them into something useful, i.e. profitable. And for a while, they are using that profitability just to pay back the costs of the training. That doesn't change no matter what economic system you adhere to. The question is merely who pays to do the training: the potential worker, the potential employer, or society more generally. Personally, I'd rather that be worked out between the employee and employer because you have the two most affected parties negotiating based on fairly concrete benefits to each side. As soon as one starts getting distracted or abstracted, you start to lose focus and objectivity.

      Branding? I agree with you here. Most people - especially those <40 - have no idea what socialism is, being ignorant of history. The reality and ugliness and barbarity of socialism from Lenin and Stalin to Hitler to Mussolini to Mao to Castro and beyond are lost on the illiterate. What is perhaps even worse is that they refuse to learn when given the opportunity.
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      • -1
        Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months, 1 week ago
        "Why should anyone pay for unskilled workers? If they are unskilled, it means they bring zero value to your company. "
        I don't mean unskilled = unwilling to work. In any case, it's a question for those trading work and money. I'm not telling other people to pay, work, or do anything. I'm saying the market price of unskilled work (willing to work and learn but don't know something like welding, reworking circuit boards, etc) has stagnated or gone down and the price for top producers (the most amazing teacher who can teach around the world on the Internet or a top CEO) has gone up. At the same time return on investment has gone up. "The rich get richer" is the over simplification. My claim is this environment makes it easier to sell socialism.
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        • Posted by $ blarman 10 months, 1 week ago
          The willingness to work is indeed valuable, but not very much so. There are billions of people on the planet willing to work. Skill is what separates the craftsman from the apprentice and it is the desire to gain valuable skills that is much more valuable than merely the willingness to work. For me, this is what is lacking in many of today's privileged youth. I have two of them at home who have never had a job and despite having chores their entire lives still don't understand the value of a dollar.

          This is mirrored in one of my older daughter's experiences working in fast food where she was consistently the only one there on time, working hard. The assistant manager did nothing but sit in the back watching movies on his cell phone - even during their busiest times. My daughter was grateful that she was able to secure an internship doing food safety and did such a great job that they offered her a raise if she would come back the next summer - which she did. She was surrounded by very low-skilled workers (of many ages I might add) putting bags into boxes and boxes into shipping containers. Those workers were content to do nothing more than keep doing that day after day even though there were opportunities in that high-turnover atmosphere to move up into other positions.

          The fact is that a given job is only worth as much as it can generate in revenue + profit. Not coincidentally, that's all the owner can afford to pay someone to perform that job. Government meddling through price controls and minimum wages can't change that. I fully support paying my workers (if I had any) a wage commensurate with their productive capacity and performance, but the numbers don't lie: anything more than that and I will either have nothing to take home for myself or I will go out of business and put everyone out on the street.

          Now has return on investment really gone up? The stock market is a game of cards right now. Much of it is overpriced because two of the other fundamental legs of the stool are wallowing: bonds and housing. The best bonds on the market pay less than 2% even for a five-year bond. Savings accounts are similarly only paying about 1% annually - if you can find one that good. That's ridiculously low - so low that investors are abandoning bonds to take their chances in the stock market. All that money just artificially raises stock values; it isn't that P-E ratios justify the insane gains. All that gets hid by the improving economy which was recovering from stagnation under Obama, but it is a mask for more severe, fundamental problems.

          If you are an unskilled worker: find a skill. Whether you develop it by apprenticing yourself and learning on the job or whether you go to school, find something you can do well and do it! Differentiate yourself and develop value! Those who do this don't worry about the minimum wage because their skills provide more value. You can complain or you can do something about it.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months, 1 week ago
            ^^If understand this, all of this but paragraph 4 says exactly what I was saying. Hard work and learning marketable skills is valuable.

            Regarding #4, I am slightly less bearish. I have only 25% exposure to stocks, the lowest ever. I see the economy as doing amazingly well, but as you said valuations are really high. Plus I feel like we're "due" for a recession after ten years of expansion. I do not believe the economic cycle is affected at all by who is president.
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            • Posted by $ blarman 10 months, 1 week ago
              "If understand this, all of this but paragraph 4 says exactly what I was saying. Hard work and learning marketable skills is valuable."

              Glad we agree. The way I was reading your comments, I thought that you were advocating for higher minimum wage laws.

              "I do not believe the economic cycle is affected at all by who is president."

              If the President did nothing (ie enacted no new laws, didn't engage in international diplomacy, etc.) then yes, he would have no effect. The fact is, however, that nearly every President - because of his support for specific policies - has had a tremendous effect on the economy. Does some of the blame/accolades get attributed unjustly? Absolutely. But not all.

              It was Obama who championed the ACA - a universal disaster that has led to constriction of services and higher prices for healthcare in the United States. It was Obama through executive actions (DACA) which allowed millions of illegal migrants to take jobs away from Americans. It was Obama through executive policy on energy which stifled coal-based energy with the open intent to drive up energy prices and put the coal industry out of business. It was Obama through executive policy and interpretation of the "Waters of the United States" act which had a constrictive effect on farming. It was Obama's championed "Cash for Clunkers" program which took nearly 700,000 used vehicles off the streets and destroyed them just to artificially inflate new car sales and benefit automobile worker unions. And I can go on. President Obama was a HUGE meddler in the economy, which is why under him it stagnated.

              And let's just look at the proposals by some of the current Democratic candidates? Elizabeth "Fauxcahontas" Warren's plan is so bad even staunch Democratic backers are telling her openly to back off her insane plans. Same with senile Bernie "Feel the Bern" Sanders, who embraces AOC's disastrous "no cows no cars" plan (which should be called the "no brains" plan). Francis "Beta Male" O'Rourke talked openly about firearm confiscation. All of them have embraced amnesty for illegals and open borders and other universally disastrous economic policies.

              Do I wish for more laissez-faire Presidents like Calvin Coolidge? Absolutely! Won't happen coming from a socialist, however, and every single one of the Democratic candidates is a socialist.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months, 1 week ago
                "Do I wish for more laissez-faire Presidents like Calvin Coolidge? Absolutely!"
                I really wish for this. I'm not sure if it should come from the president. I don't know how it should work. I'm cautiously open to amending the Constitution to specify limited government.

                ewv says no piece of paper can do the job. The citizens have to have a philosophy of liberty.

                I jokingly wonder how it would poll if you asked people about changing the constitution to say all powers no specifically granted to the federal gov't by the Constitution are reserved for the states and local gov't.
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                • Posted by $ blarman 10 months, 1 week ago
                  "ewv says no piece of paper can do the job. The citizens have to have a philosophy of liberty."

                  That's probably one of the few things we agree on. Many Americans have been misled into believing socialism is the key to a prosperous future - and its a big lie. And we've become accustomed to the heavy hand of the Federal Government in nearly everything we do. We are already heavily shackled and don't realize it.

                  "I jokingly wonder how it would poll if you asked people about changing the constitution to say all powers no specifically granted to the federal gov't by the Constitution are reserved for the states and local gov't."

                  Hehe. I bet you'd find fewer than 5% who would go "Wait a minute, isn't that already in our Constitution?" I would love to see this as one of those Will Witt things on college campuses. I think the percentage would drop to less than 1%.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months, 1 week ago
                Thanks for the thoughtful msg.
                “I thought that you were advocating for higher minimum wage laws”
                I think minimum wage is mostly a political trick. They set it roughly at the lowest going rate for labor and don’t index it for inflation. Then every few years they have a political battle that gets attention. To the extent they set it high enough to have any effect, the effect is mostly bad.

                “nearly every President - because of his support for specific policies - has had a tremendous effect on the economy.”
                I would only say tremendous if you’re counting things Congress does that the president supports. Even then, I don’t think the policies cause the economic cycle. In my adult life we’ve had the recessions of 91, 01, 08-09. Those recessions or the expansions that came after them are no one’s doing. It’s just the way the modern economy works. Some people suggest it might be different if we didn’t have a central bank and modern banking system, and I’m intrigued by that possibility. I am interested in crypt-currencies obviating central banks, but I’m cautious b/c I used to think everyone having a printing press would lead to better public discourse.

                I have thoughts on the policies you mention, but I don’t see them causing expansions or recessions.

                “the ACA”
                I think this was mixed bag, a solution to a real problem, but with too big a role for insurance companies and the govt, not enough market forces, i.e. customers and providers having a reason to know or care what prices are. I am concern that inept politicizing of it will lead to socialized medicine.

                “Obama through executive actions (DACA)”
                I think it’s a great common-sense policy that’s good for everyone. My understanding is the president was on shaky legal ground doing something that was supposed to be the role of Congress. Increasing executive power has been problem since WWII. I think it’s dangerous. No matter how beneficial DACA is, I don’t see how it’s worth undermining the checks and balances of the Constitution. Congress should pass immigration laws making it much easier to work and visit the US and providing a path to citizenship for people who came as kids or who lived here for a long time under the radar.

                I think of the nation state as a disappearing concept. I don’t even consider US a “nation” in the sense of the word that comes from Latin natus (to be born). Most nations are based on a group born there, e.g. there is a Japanese race and a Japanese nation. USA is different. USA is an idea based on philosophies of personal liberty. We should make it as open as possible for trade with everyone who respects the rights of others. It should be as open as practical for citizenship to anyone who swears allegiance to the US Constitution.

                “stifled coal-based energy”
                I agree with the spirit of getting away from polluting energy, but I think it should be through revenue-neutral taxes (i.e. reduce taxes on something else, e.g. work and investment) that are calculated to be an estimated cost of the pollution. That way it’s not a hard rule that outlaws some invention that produces $10 of value for every $1 of pollution cost.

                "Cash for Clunkers"
                My most loathed program ever, paying people to put sand in perfectly usable engines until they’re unusable. Even if you accept the goal of gov’t paying people to buy new cars (I sure don’t), many people who received the money would have bought cars anyway. The part that I find unforgivable is trashing perfectly good motors.

                The economy was great when Obama was president, but it certainly wasn’t due to this policy. It was just the recession of ‘08-09 ended. The borrowing helped. But this is all short-term. They should get the structural deficit under control before there’s another financial crisis.

                I don’t have any comment on the name-calling parts about the Democratic party nominees. I am concerned at how normalized victim-thinking, scapegoating, and huge borrowing have become. I am concerned how people will react if interest rates rise and all these handouts are mathematically impossible to provide.

                Regarding all my neoliberal dreaming above about an open society, I am not that optimistic it will happen in the US. US feels ex-empire to me, like UK. It has a history of pioneering things the world takes for granted. It’s a safe and affluent place to live. But future pioneering will happen elsewhere.
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                • Posted by $ blarman 10 months, 1 week ago
                  "I think minimum wage is mostly a political trick."

                  I agree. There shouldn't be a minimum wage - at all. Multiple economists such as Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell and others have demonstrated that minimum wages have only two real effects: to drive up the prices of basic goods and to put low-skill workers out of jobs.

                  "I would only say tremendous if you’re counting things Congress does that the president supports."

                  Uh, except that in the policies I mentioned, they were priorities of the President - not Congress. Does Congress play a part? Certainly. But you have to look at who is championing things. Same with Reagan's tax cuts. The ACA wasn't pushed by Congress - it was Obama constantly stumping for it.

                  "Those recessions or the expansions that came after them are no one’s doing."

                  I'd strongly recommend you read more history and economics. Government policies are directly responsible for every major market downturn in this nation. Great Depression? Caused by the Fed setting interest rates. Housing Crisis? Caused by mismanagement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Great Recession? Caused by Democratic policies. You cite me a downturn and the data is there showing it was caused by government meddling. About the only possible exception would have been the problems in the late 1700's and those were a result of the Revolutionary War and our debt burden.

                  "I think it’s a great common-sense policy that’s good for everyone."

                  The American people didn't see it that way. The Democrats controlled all of Congress and the Presidency and as soon as they brought this up, the American People cried out "NO!" and the Democrats immediately backpedaled. "Shaky legal ground"? Even Barack Obama admitted before he did it he had no authority.

                  "USA is an idea based on philosophies of personal liberty. ... It should be as open as practical for citizenship to anyone who swears allegiance to the US Constitution."

                  Mostly (they have to obey the laws as well) however it is that last part that is missing among many of these refugees/immigrants. I simply look at people like Reps. Tlaib and Omar to see those who openly revile those critical principles. And these are elected Representatives. Good grief, socialism isn't an American value either yet the majority of college students (who don't have any idea what real socialism is) embrace the concept. We have problems with our own citizens - why on earth would we want to import more historically-illiterate, wanna-be slaves? Oh, right - because those are precisely who the Democrats want voting.

                  "I agree with the spirit of getting away from polluting energy, but I think it should be through revenue-neutral taxes"

                  Uh, you do realize that "revenue-neutral taxes" is an oxymoron, right? Taxes are never revenue neutral because they pervert the market. All you would be doing here is further subsidizing an already subsidized market in alternate energy sources. Not to mention the fact that these alternate energy sources can't provide the necessary power. It's simply impossible.

                  "The economy was great when Obama was president..."

                  You're confusing the economy under President Trump with the economy under President Obama. From 2009-2016, we had upwards of 13% REAL unemployment and a stagnant economy because of all the government controls. From 2009-2012 we AVERAGED $1.3 TRILLION deficits. (Who was in control of Congress? Democrats!) Remember, this was Obama saying that we just had to deal with this stagnant economy as the new normal. The only reason the economy started to improve in 2014 was because the Republicans took back control of the House. The crash of 2008 was the result ALSO of the Democrats - between housing and financial controls.

                  The economy under Trump has been 4% unemployment and vibrant. Why? Because he rolled back the insane policies and restrictions which were costing about $2 TRILLION every year in administrative burden. Now I don't bring up the stock market all-time highs because I think these are the result of a good economy AND bad fundamentals (look at bond prices and the housing market). I also think that there are serious problems with debt - not just government but consumer debt. As soon as the economy starts to turn south, I think its going to be a long slide to the bottom and it won't matter who is in charge of government.
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                  • Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months ago
                    “You cite me a downturn and the data is there showing it was caused by government meddling.”
                    You can start with any desired fact and find evidence to support it. I know gov’t meddling is bad for the economy, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the economic cycle. To some extent the gov’t could affect the cycle by borrowing a trillion dollars a year as in 2009 and now, but eventually the hangover comes.

                    “Taxes are never revenue neutral because they pervert the market.”
                    We must be talking past each other because clearly taxes can changes can be an increase, decrease, or revenue neutral.

                    “You're confusing the economy under President Trump with the economy under President Obama.”
                    I just have a radically different view of what an “economy” is and where it is relative to politicians. The economy is people serving one another. Someone hand a need or want and someone else finds a way to meet it. When billions of people are free to build and own inventions and organization, that can create staggering amounts of value for one another.

                    Politicians are masters of taking credit and deflecting blame, whether in elected office or in private enterprises. They’re like Keatings of the world taking credit for the work of the Roarks. Those were extreme archetypal example of politicians and producers. No one in my experience is that extreme, but as archetypes they ring totally true for me.

                    Politicians’ rhetoric on the economy is actually offensive to me. It would do me good to ignore it. I’ve been through endeavors that create something new for customers and require more vendors and employees. Everyone is happy to play a role in creating value for their customers and for the money they’re making. I’ve seen things fall apart where vendors and employees get dropped suddenly. Suddenly feels slow motion for the decision makers slowly losing hope of turning it around. People involved always wonder if they could have done things differently. Politicans say things like “President Bush gave us the recession of ‘91, but then Clinton create millions of new jobs in the 90s.” What a crock of shit that is! Individuals putting in their own inspiration plus perspiration, sometimes forcing themselves to focus when they’d rather be playing with friends and family, are the economy that creates those jobs.

                    “As soon as the economy starts to turn south, [because of debt] I think its going to be a long slide to the bottom and it won't matter who is in charge of government.”
                    The level of bellyaching will be unreal. But the economy (i.e. people helping one another in trades) is really strong right now. So an apparent horrible slide to the bottom, by 2019 standards, will still mean more people in the world have way more opportunity and prosperity than people 50 years ago. The leverage gets unwound, with some people taking a haircut, and it’s time for the next boom cycle. Central banks play a role, but speculative mania and malinvestment have been around longer than central banks.
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                    • Posted by $ blarman 10 months ago
                      "I know gov’t meddling is bad for the economy, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the economic cycle."

                      Uhhhh.... You realize this is a blatant contradiction, right? It can't be bad for the economy and "neutral" with respect to an "economic cycle" - whatever that is. The only reason an economy would have a cycle is if one believed in the Keynesian notion of boom an bust cycles. The problem is that Keynesians are notorious for believing that government intervention in the economy via public policy is a necessary and proper role of government. And here's where we get back to the fact that if you have an irregular boom or bust, its going to be the result of bad government economic policy.

                      "I just have a radically different view of what an “economy” is and where it is relative to politicians."

                      I guess so. I agree with you that an economy is people being free to invent and organize and sell to one another. I just don't ignore the effects of public policy.
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                      • Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months ago
                        "It can't be bad for the economy and "neutral" with respect to an "economic cycle" - whatever that is. "
                        It most certainly can. It's hard for me to see why one would expect policies to have the same short-term and long-term effects, why they couldn't cause GDP to expand in the short-run but slow long-term growth or vice versa.

                        "The only reason an economy would have a cycle is if one believed in the Keynesian notion of boom an bust cycles."
                        Speculative mania predated central banks. I believe economic cycles (although I'm less clear on this point) predated central banks as well.

                        "The problem is that Keynesians are notorious for believing that government intervention in the economy via public policy is a necessary and proper role of government. "
                        In addition to it possibly being not necessary and proper, I question it for these reasons: 1) Can it be practically implemented? It depends on someone shutting down the open bar just as the party's getting started. 2) Malinvestment - Sometimes unused productive capacity is really just creative destruction. 3) Moral hazard - i.e. the "Fed chair put".

                        Regardless of whether monetary/fiscal policy makes the cycle of expansion/contraction of GDP better or worse, in the world today we do have central banks setting monetary policy and we do have expansion/contraction cycles.

                        Structural (non-cyclical) growth is what matters. An average growth rate on 1% higher compounded over years makes a staggering difference.
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                        • Posted by $ blarman 10 months ago
                          "It's hard for me to see why one would expect policies to have the same short-term and long-term effects..."

                          That's precisely what the discipline of Economics examines - both long- and short-term effects of various policies. That's precisely why people like Hayek, Friedman, Sowell, and others devote their life's attention to these things. That being said, however, one shouldn't confuse long-term effects with short-term ones or even say that both will be equivalent.

                          Some policies are great in the short term for specific industries and deleterious in the long term. Take for example the protection of steel industries via import tariffs - first initiated back in the early 1900's. The rationale was that we needed to have domestic production of steel in case of war. So the policy was to jack up tariffs on steel imports so as to favor domestic steel production. In the short term, this was great (for the steel industry) in that it protected their ability to get established and produced some measure of stability for what was deemed a critical industry. The side-effects in the short term were slightly higher prices on raw steel and goods manufactured with steel.

                          In the long term, however, these policies have certainly had a host of downsides. A century later, the US Steel industry is hopelessly behind technologically: those very tariffs and protections encouraged steel manufacturers not to modernize and remain competitive. Now, those very corporations would collapse if the tariffs were removed because foreign producers can manufacture and ship steel at better prices than can be domestically produced.

                          Other policies are just all-around bad, such as minimum wages. Sowell in particular has studied these in depth and all the end up doing is putting unskilled workers out of jobs and raising the costs of goods and services reliant on the minimum wage. The best government policies regarding the economy are to stay out of the mess entirely!

                          "Speculative mania predated central banks."

                          True, but with the centralization of banks, what were once regional phenomena became national phenomena. It should also be pointed out that Andrew Jackson was instrumental in stopping the renewal of the first central bank in the 1830's and so the US relied on regional banks until the early 1900's when the Federal Reserve was created. And only a decade after the Fed's founding, the so badly bungled their first policy edict that they dragged the entire nation into the Great Depression.

                          "Structural (non-cyclical) growth is what matters. An average growth rate on 1% higher compounded over years makes a staggering difference."

                          I completely agree, but we will never see this as long as the government/Fed controls the reins of the money supply and has an instituted goal of 2% inflation.
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                          • Posted by CircuitGuy 9 months, 4 weeks ago
                            "I completely agree, but we will never see [higher long-term growth] as long as the government / Fed controls the reins of the money supply and has an instituted goal of 2% inflation."

                            My thought is all the things you said at the beginning (tariffs, minimum wage) stifle growth, and what we use as a medium of exchange in unimportant in comparison. I'm like other media of exchange like cryptocurrencies competing with state-backed currencies. I do not see anyone lacking a medium of exchange in the modern world.

                            Gov't spending and the psychology that comes with a large and intrusive gov't, OTOH, have costs that are huge and hard to measure.
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                            • Posted by $ blarman 9 months, 4 weeks ago
                              Any kind of government intervention is going to have a restrictive effort on free trade. That's why when governments presume that they can control an economy they do so arrogantly and in complete disregard for the demonstrated side-effects of their policies.

                              I would also point out that even the medium of exchange is market-driven. We continue to use "money" because of its convenience. One could certainly argue that alternatives such as cryptocurrencies provide a viable alternative, but the recent hacks of those has called into question one fundamental cornerstone of the notion of money: confidence. I'm not going to accept "money" in exchange for my labor unless I am confident that I can turn around and use that "money" to acquire something I need in exchange. We can certainly develop alternatives (this was fairly common practice in the early US when there were regional banks) - the question remains one of confidence in interchangeability.

                              "Gov't spending and the psychology that comes with a large and intrusive gov't, OTOH, have costs that are huge and hard to measure."

                              No question that there are costs and that they can be huge. Hard to measure? Maybe, maybe not. Currently, the costs of government rules is tracked at over $2 trillion to the economy in general. Those are just the compliance costs. If you allude to the moral costs to society of these policy edicts, we agree that they can have long-lasting and non-empirical costs.
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