Sunday, November 25, 2012

Conservatives and Evidence

In my experience the relationship conservatives and liberals have with evidence is quite different.  Having been a conservative that has transitioned to a liberal my relationship to evidence has changed.  I want to talk about why I think that is.

Many people raised as evangelicals have a very black and white view of the world and I was no different.  There's God and the devil.  Good and evil.  I'm on God's side naturally so the things I and fellow God believers think are naturally the God view of the world and the opposite would be the devil's view.  So what is my approach to evidence?  It's one characterized by confirmation bias.  I already know the answer.  I go to the evidence to confirm what I already know.  Why even bother going to the evidence?  A lot of work and nothing to show for it.  We already know the answer.  Be on the side of good, not the side of evil.

The difference between me though and typical people is that I enjoyed debating with others.  So I did read books from the other side to understand their arguments.  I never read thinking my opinion would change.  I read already knowing they were wrong but wanting to be able to refute them better.  I can thank my friend HP for opening my eyes a bit.  I read his Catholic sources (I was Protestant) and was surprised to discover that Catholic views sometimes made sense from their perspective.  This rattled me.  I started to come to understand that I should treat evidence differently.  First go to the evidence.  Then formulate a conclusion.

I think you can see that here on my blog.  For instance you didn't see me claim that Obama would win the presidency.  You don't see me claim that the Hostess bankruptcy was due to bad management.  You don't see me claim that on net Romney destroyed jobs.  Whether I believe those things or not I'm not familiar enough with the evidence to make that kind of a judgment.  If I haven't looked at the evidence how would I know?

But conservatives know.  Conservatives tell us that Romney created jobs and unions are to blame at Hostess.  Global warming either isn't happening or isn't man made.  Or if it is we shouldn't worry about it.  Where is the evidence for these claims?  Often none comes.  Other times rationalizations comes, but not in the form of evidence.  Conservative economists have devised means of providing arguments.  But they aren't evidence based.  They create stories.

Take a look at this one (via HP).  Wal-Mart workers should be grateful they are paid so poorly.  If they were paid more this would harm them.  Well, that seems pretty strange.  What evidence is offered?  We could look to evidence.  What happened when Henry Ford raised wages well above what they had been?  Did the poor suffer?  Or when 40 hour work weeks, weekends, and safe working conditions were earned after years of struggle.  Did this harm the poor?  There are so many countries we can look to that have been subjected to even lower wages than what you see at Wal-Mart.  Wages that don't threaten to displace them with higher skilled people.  Has this helped bring them out of poverty?  These are the kinds of things one would look to if he was interested in proving a claim like this with evidence.

In fact what we get is nothing of the sort.  It just makes sense to the conservative economist.  Higher wages would attract people with better skills, displacing the poor and leading to their suffering.  No need to look at what actually happened.  We've crafted a story that makes sense to us.  The evidence is no longer needed.

This is coming from the same Bryan Caplan that says if you have a problem with high CEO salaries the solution is to worship them.  Sing songs to them.  Praise them.  What really is in the best interest of the poor is more ass kissing to the rich and lower wages for the poor.

Also for Caplan democracy is horrible.  The masses are asses.  The evidence is not that they are wrong.  The evidence is that they disagree with economists.  The people that say lower wages for the poor and more ass kissing to the rich is the real path towards helping poor people.  There's no evidence needed.  It just makes sense to Bryan Caplan.  It's so strange that the poor don't understand they are better off with low wages.  They don't understand these sophisticated things.

I provide a lot of data at this blog.  Plenty of links to sources.  I plan to keep doing that.  But I truly think for many conservatives it just doesn't matter.  Evidence just doesn't move them.  The conclusion is the starting point.  You can go to evidence to justify that conclusion or failing that just craft stories that may or may not apply to the real world.  I think that's how the Republican brain works and I think that partly because I think that's how my brain worked.


Examinator said...

Have a read of this .... Is this why Romney wouldn't release his tax return?

This makes a mockery of the Conservative argument that taxes are too high.
Who said the rich are moral individuals...hmmm? take a look at some of the names involved.

HispanicPundit said...

You write, Take a look at this one (via HP). Wal-Mart workers should be grateful they are paid so poorly. If they were paid more this would harm them. Well, that seems pretty strange. What evidence is offered? We could look to evidence.

The point here is more subtle. Let me try to unpack it for you, so that atleast if you disagree, you disagree with its true point.

The argument is that the poor would be different poor people. It wouldn't be the same poor people. This seems prima facie true to me. Walk into a Wal-Mart and you will quickly notice that the employees are different than say the union run grocery store employees.

The Wal-Mart employees don't speak English as clearly. Their customer service isn't as great. Their ability to work the cash register isn't as efficient. In fact, many people cite the poor quality of Wal-Mart employees as a reason NOT to go to Wal-Mart (see related examples, here and here).

In other words, the employees at Wal-Mart are less skilled than other, higher paid employees.

So the argument being made states that the more you pay, the higher you move up the quality labor pool. Higher wages, higher quality labor. Wal-Mart pays low wages yes, but it also targets the bottom of the labor pool - precisely the people that everybody else has forgotten. Precisely the people that have the least available job options.So are higher wages good? Sure, for higher quality labor. But less so for lower quality labor. Which poor people are you talking about then becomes important. If you are talking about the people at the bottom end of the labor pool, higher wages seems to be a bad thing - as it pushes them out of the labor force.

Second, you write: Or when 40 hour work weeks, weekends, and safe working conditions were earned after years of struggle. Did this harm the poor?

There is another trade-off here that I am not sure you are weighing correctly. When you tally "40 hour work weeks, weekends, and safe working conditions were earned" as a clear positive, what do you put in the negative column? Anything at all? I want to know the level of economic comprehension you are bringing to the conversation here. :-)

Jon said...

That's the same thing I said. If Wal-Mart raises wages then the presently poor at Wal-Mart are displaced by others and this harms them. These are different people. So the particular workers at Wal-Mart should be grateful that they are paid poorly. If they are paid better they lose their job to others.

And what I'm saying is this is the story that is being told. Where is the actual evidence that it works this way?

Because here's another story. Wal-Mart raises their rates and suddenly the better educated and better skilled are attracted to these jobs. But the welding company doesn't want to lose their skilled welder. Now that Wal-Mart is paying more the welding company has to pay more to retain the welder. A larger share of revenue shifts from ownership to labor. And the laborers condition is improved, not just at Wal-Mart but among other skilled laborers. Maybe that is what would happen.

But you really can't know by contriving a story. That's just a story. To evaluate it you have to look at what happened. Maybe the Ford case. When Ford raised wage rates on Caplan's view this is tough on the poor. Now skilled people are going to displace the others that are at Ford. So you look at the overall impact on poverty or try to evaluate the historical data in some other way. This is what conservatives won't do, and I think the reason is very simple. The data almost without exception contradicts the stories they contrive.

So when you say what do I put on the negative column are you asking me to contrive a story that would theoretically lead to a negative? I can accept Caplan's story for what it is. A story. I can contrive other stories. Now ownership has a reduced share of revenue. Capital expenditures must decline. Capital intensive industries, particularly when you are on the cusp of technological advancement, are less able to grow than they otherwise would. Kind of like the trickle down theory. Less in the pockets of the rich is bad for investment and this in turn is bad for creation of productive capacity.

There's a negative AS A STORY. But stories are just stories. What has actually happened? That's where I go look at the third world. That's where I have more respect for Ha-Joon Chang who actually goes and looks at the historical facts and notes that with just 2 or 3 exceptions (he points to Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and I think Switzerland) countries actually became rich by violating free market orthodoxies. All of the stories conservative economists tell about how government intervention is bad and tariffs are harmful must be made in the absence of reference to history.

Jon said...

Note that I know it's not Caplan's story, but I just don't want to look up the name of the guy that wrote it. Caplan of course agrees.

HispanicPundit said...

Question Jon: how do you explain the quality labor pool difference of Wal-Mart employees vs other employees? That is "what is", why?

Second, you made an argument that "40 hour work weeks, weekends, and safe working conditions" are indisputably good for workers. I agree. I put this in the positive column. But from an economic perspective, what could said "goods" come at the expense of?

Jon said...

1-Other places have better working conditions (pay, treatment) and therefore attract the better candidates.

2-I did answer this question above with what I'm calling stories. That is, hypothetical problematic consequences. Reduced revenue to capital. I can add more stories. So we can retain Caplan's story. Safe working conditions attract higher quality people, displacing the former workers that had less skills, leading to their suffering. We could propose that limiting child labor is a hardship for families because they now lack that child's income. I'm sure these hypotheticals were proposed by the wealthy 100 years ago in this country.

What do you think of my distinction though between hypothetical negative consequences and real negative consequences? You say "put it in the negative column." But we have two negative columns. One for hypothetical negative consequences. Stories, like the one from Caplan. Does it belong in the "real" negative column. Real meaning when we look to history we can see that broadly speaking these activities harmed poor people. Maybe Henry Ford is the test case. Safer working conditions, overtime pay, ending of child labor. When economies adopted these policies we can see an immediate increase in suffering amongst the poor broadly. Now we have professors taking jobs on the assembly line, the lower skilled line workers now out of work and struggling. At what point do we move from creative stories to the historical record? We have plenty of history to draw from.

HispanicPundit said...

I was looking for the answer of " a reduction in actual worker wages",. When vacation time, safety, benefits etc goes up, wages go down. To many this is a bad thing. This is the economic trade-off to such "pie in the sky" positives you claim above.

But of course you know all of this, since you know economics. :-)

Do said economic views have backing power? Start here for a good beginning point. Another good example showing the trade-off is here.

Examinator said...

There appears to be several problems with your argument.

The first being that it is a 'bubble reasoning'. i.e. that it's a self contained, discrete in and of its self. Implicit in this tactic is the false assumption that macro economic issues (national) issues are simply a straight line extrapolation of micro economic ( enterprise or industry ones). The reality (Jon’s 'evidence') disproves that presumption.

Your assertion that higher wages don't have positive economic circumstances on the individuals is demonstrably wrong.
e.g. It is proven fact that if you pay people better i.e. they have more disposable income the more discretionary spending they can do ...follow the profit potential market demand logic....i.e. Walmart would fail in the burbs of Dhaka ( Bangladesh) too up market.

It's also fact that lifting a family from poor to middle class reduces the medical and criminal propensity. It also leads both they and their children become better educated more productive members of society. This in turn reduces the call on government for health costs, social security, police the list goes on

Consequently your argument tends to become non seq. As a principal more a highly qualified (caveated) perspective. Ergo unsubstantiated opinion.

A fair observational comparison between Conservative and Progressive thinking is largely in the perspective of the objectives (goals).

Conservatives always argue with the primary objective being in the first person me, my goodies,lifestyle family, community anything that relates to me First. The implicit assumptions are that the majority is like me therefore my reasoning is ubiquitous and omnipotent.

Progressives (sic) tend to think on a larger pallet in that they understand that The straight line extrapolation between the micro and macro is specious. The wider the perspective is the more variations (demographics) one must consider/ satisfy.
i.e. A Conservative might view a shade pavilion BBQ or bike paths at the cities Beach a waste of “their” ( rates) city taxes because they don't use them. The money should be spent on more important facilities (that they might use). Or cut services they don't use.

Where as a progressive might argue that all the city taxes (rates) that same conservative has paid over the last 20 years wouldn't pay for the road from their house to the end of the Street. i.e. it is a community fund and as such the council has to address different demographics' priorities.

I should point out that no matter how much conservative huff and puff about economics it still can't predict with any real degree of accuracy

HispanicPundit said...

Notice that my arguments are backed by peer reviewed studies by reputable economists.

What does Examinator provide? In the words of Jon, "stories that make sense to some", without, you know, proof.

Jon said...

I thought we were talking about Caplan's story, which posits rising wages for Wal-Mart workers. I thought you were asking me what the consequences of that would be. You can see from my answers that I took rising wages as a given. That's why I say we can put Caplan's story in the negative column (lower skilled people are displaced due to the increased wages, less money available for capital expenditures). So no, on my understanding of your question you can't have falling wages. I thought your question was based on the assumption of rising wages.

HispanicPundit said...

Your post was more than Caplans story. I was attacking two parts of it...

Jon said...

OK. In that case I did not understand your question properly so I apologize.

But the question for you remains. Caplan has a story for why increased wages for Wal-Mart workers is harmful to the workers presently there. Do you consider the point proved on that basis or do you think some consultation with history is required?

Because you can propose that added safety measures, worker protections, weekends, holidays can lead to reduced wages. Makes some sense. But the world is complicated and that's why I think you have to ask the obvious question. Have we actually experienced these consequences as a result of these changes? If not, does that matter?

Examinator said...


I was simply making the distinction taught in universities in economics based degrees. i.e. that micro economics is about enterprise or industries and that macro economics is about nations.
It is fundamental to understanding economics. I thought you were well versed (educated) in economics.

Black Friday is a retail phenomenon, not one that directly involves the National Accounts .... It is NOT a strategy of Federal Treasury. The central Bank buying US $ or interest rates, tax etc are Federal Economic levers.

Arguing retail strategies etc are legitimate MICRO economic strategies. And yes there are many peer reviewed theories on how this is supposed to work.
My point was that the uninitiated tend to confuse the two i.e. what seems to work at the corralled micro level doesn't necessarily work at the nation debt level. Economics 3rd semester 1st year. THIS IS UNcontroversial !

The NATIONAL ACCOUNTS differentiate between Private and public debt although both effect them.
The relationship is complex and the Fed's 'levers' are limited, retrospective (like driving by looking only in the rear mirror) and blunt instruments they aren't surgically precise. i.e. the employment figures have already happened last month, last quarter et al. The Government can't test if the circumstances that gave the figures are still the same....if they stimulate or retard then they can either overheat or stall the economy by the time the next figures come in, (hence the rear mirror perspective).
How much of a genius does one have to be to conclude from these FACTS, that Economics is largely an untestable and therefore a largely unpredictive discipline. So far this is all Incontrovertible fact.

It is Sociology 101 that says that with higher income there is a measured by-product of better health, educational and drop in poverty determined crime. That too is incontrovertible.

Economists have also determined that the above by-products actually reduce government's expenditure in the given areas. Again this is NOT opinion it is basic university Economics.

In that light the theory you put up about Walmart is myopic... the perspective of corporations which aren't interested in anything that doesn't directly and immediately effect their bottom line. (note the focus is on themselves not what is best for the nation). Ask Walmart if they care about Chad's business they'd say no unless it had a direct influence on their profit . If Chad's steel company's profits were to adversely impact on Walmart's they'd put the knife in PDQ.

Chad's/ conservative's rationale are similar to business self focused and tend towards themselves to the exclusion of others rather than inclusion (see ALEC's model laws to RESTRICT those who may vote Liberal).

Now HP, you tell me what part of the argument you dispute.

Do you really want me to dissect Walmart's business model and why It wants more lowest common denominator demographics? It simply couldn't exist the wealth of the poor and middle class were to improve.
For that you'd need to have basic marketing, and behavioural psychological knowledge .

HispanicPundit said...

My post was two parts. The first part was defending the Caplan quote. Second part was attacking your "safety, weekends, and 40 hour work week is pure positive" argument as too simplistic, not looking at the full picture. Though two parts, they are both related and both share the same response.

I defended the Caplan quote by making the following points:

A. Explaining it better. Showing that if you think about it further, it just plain makes sense.

B. Showing that the quote explains modern labor markets. Wal-Mart pays its employees less, so you would expect to see a less talented labor pool. Exactly what you see when you walk into Wal-Mart. Higher paid employees = more talented employees.

C. Peer reviewed studies showing that there are wage/safety, wage/benefits, etc trade-offs that DO happen.

So I gave you the logical and the empirical support for said argument. Your response, was basically this:

Because here's another story. Wal-Mart raises their rates and suddenly the better educated and better skilled are attracted to these jobs. But the welding company doesn't want to lose their skilled welder. Now that Wal-Mart is paying more the welding company has to pay more to retain the welder. A larger share of revenue shifts from ownership to labor. And the laborers condition is improved, not just at Wal-Mart but among other skilled laborers. Maybe that is what would happen.

Which is true. No economist will dispute that this will lead to price competition for higher skilled labor. This certainly benefits, say the union run employee - ie the employee with more skills. This is why unions are so in favor of the minimum wage, it tilts the favor to them. But my emphasis here is with regard to the lower skilled labor pool. If you start from the fact that companies want to maximize revenue, you will see that no company in its right mind will pick a lower skilled employee when a higher skilled employee is willing to work for the same wages. With time, this increase in wages will dispel lower skilled workers.

My second point was to attack your pie in the sky statements of "Did the poor suffer? Or when 40 hour work weeks, weekends, and safe working conditions were earned after years of struggle. Did this harm the poor?"

My argument is that these gains came at a loss of wages. I mean, this is one point you should agree with me: wage decline is a big problem. It's a big negative. It's something to worry about. My point was to say, hey, that's on the negative column with such "gains". They have to be factored into "net good" or "net bad" claims.

How did I argue that? In addition to the first arguments responses - where I explained it better and showed real world labor markets match theory - I showed you peer reviewed economists saying such trade-offs are real.

Your response?

Examinator said...

Sorry but again the argument exists only in a hermetically sealed bubble of the micro economics (enterprise perspective). The argument presented assumes a static situation.

Once upon a time profit came from making something. Then selling it.
The reality today is that manufacturing has largely been off shored and with it so too the semi-skilled and unskilled jobs.
Those manufacturing jobs that still remain are becoming more automated ...Detroit is going like Japan Robots cad/cam. again unemployment is increasing.

If you want reality, look at the trend towards on line sales. How many book stores have gone on line. News papers hard copy are are dying becoming syndicated and/or going online. Where their business models are failing. Again more unemployed. Not to mention printers paper manufacturers the list goes on.
PS I started working as an apprentice in the printing trade. Fortuitously I was sacked 'smart arse' 4 years later the trade had gone technology did the same job with 1/5 of the workers . That is 4/5 people unemployed and many unemployable. When I was in early high school the industries I worked in simply didn't exist.
NB The replacement industries required HIGHER levels of education and competence.

Take a look at any five shopping malls what do you see an increasing dominance of (the same) Chains, loss of choice (the Pareto effect) but even they are under pressure from on line. The next industry to go will be retail shops .

How does does the argument deal with the inevitable changes in technology and off shoring of jobs? It doesn't. All the peer reviewed economics theories of the job market et al are merely mental exercise when the jobs for semi-skilled and unskilled are simply obsolete gone.

Capitalism currently about the reduction of a business' biggest recurrent cost. Labor...costs. The most profitable industries are the financial industries. And even a lot of share trading is done by AI programs.

If there is lessons here it is that jobs at the lower end are getting fewer and being replaced (?) by ones that require greater skills and education. Ergo from a macro economic perspective we can no longer afford a large low or no skill population...
Common-sense suggests we need to become a more educated nation to do that the low end employees need to be able to improve them selves i.e. wages/ wealth needs to be better distributed.
NB that doesn't account for the gap between the burgeoning population and available jobs.
As Sir Richard Attenborough rightly said anyone who believes in endless growth in a finite world is either insane or an economist.


Jon said...

Second part was attacking your "safety, weekends, and 40 hour work week is pure positive" argument as too simplistic, not looking at the full picture.

I never said it was pure positive. I said in order to evaluate Caplan's argument we need to look at what happened, not concoct stories.

Explaining it better. Showing that if you think about it further, it just plain makes sense.

I explained it exactly as you did. One group of poor would be displaced and harmed by increased wages.

Showing that the quote explains modern labor markets.

Yeah, but nobody disputed that.

Peer reviewed studies showing that there are wage/safety, wage/benefits, etc trade-offs that DO happen.

Likewise nobody disputed that there are trade offs.

You are not interacting with what I'm saying. Take this quote.

My second point was to attack your pie in the sky statements of "Did the poor suffer? Or when 40 hour work weeks, weekends, and safe working conditions were earned after years of struggle. Did this harm the poor?"

Not only is this not a pie in the sky argument, it's not an argument at all. It's a question. You take a legitimate question about how we should evaluate a claim (did the poor suffer when they got better working conditions) and turn it into an assertion I never made (the poor didn't suffer from better working conditions).

What would be awesome is if you would interact with what I actually say instead of putting arguments in my mouth I never made and rebutting them. What would be awesome is if you would answer the questions I put to you. That hasn't happened yet. I'm hoping it will.

HispanicPundit said...

Your question: But the question for you remains. Caplan has a story for why increased wages for Wal-Mart workers is harmful to the workers presently there. Do you consider the point proved on that basis or do you think some consultation with history is required?

My whole post is a response to this question. It is showing just how one should respond. With history. With logic. With studies. etc.

Yet another example of a discussion that wasted both of our times, I guess. Not very economically efficient of me to keep engaging...dont know why I do.

Examinator said...

Sadly your observations are an endemic fact with conservatives. They see everything from an overly simplistic perspective. More specifically they make absolute laws from the proverbial slivers of convenient factoids. e.g. The focus on A or minority of 'peer reviewed' paper(?) . What they don't seem to understand is that each peer reviewed paper is written to prove a very narrow point and in highly caveated circumstances. (jig saw effect)
The corollary of that is that the realistic view of a broad topic like the one you are trying to run with HP. is that it is made up of God(s)only knows how many other papers AND INFORMED REASONING.
One or two papers in isolation (out of their context) means very little.
It's a bit like their objection of AGW they find a paper like the one that says that the Antarctic ice is increasing (BTW that is hight in one place... not overall...albedo still decreasing) therefore AGW isn't happening. (simple job done).
The problem is that isn't an accurate depiction or reality.

They then tend to answer the question THEY THINK THEY UNDERSTAND ignoring the one asked or the point made.
HP faux argument to me was that I didn't back my statement with Peer reviewed paper(s) like him. He missed the whole point (as described above).
Chad has the same tendency. Basically Jon, their whole world view excludes the idea that there are some things that they or generally (practically speaking)either unknown or with current reasoning/ability unknowable. In their case they evoke the coverall fall back position of God or it's wrong, something they never are.
e.g. the republican Prez loss.... it was other (wrong) factors that stole the result never they simply miss read the majority view.
In a mandatory voting situation (like Aus) the cause of the defeat would have been more obvious. i.e. there would be fewer unknowns.

Chad said...

Yes EX we are stupid so please and I beg you and Jon with all my (our) hearts to allow us to run 25 states and you can run your 25 states. We will stay a Union, but each State must run on their own - no state can tax another state and we will engage in mutually beneficial transactions.

We will PAY for all the Liberals to relocate to your States and we will see which states live and which states die.

Please we beg you before ou steal everything we have to fund and pay for all you believe in.

Examinator said...

Have a listen to this.
Very thought provoking
I tend to agree with the prof

Examinator said...

Again you've missed the point.
I did NOT say you or the Republican (conservatives) are stupid.
Stop putting words in my mouth.
The absence of one extreme doesn't automatically imply the other extreme.
See if you can understand the differences that the professor is making in the first 5 minutes.

Chad said...

Oh and the big one, no State can borrow money from the Federal gov't or another country either.

When all the Liberals are cut off the nipple and have to earn to live - things will change in a damn hurry.

It would be a glorious day - glorious.

Chad said...


Your quote - not mine and that means exactly what your saying, we are uninformed and stupid is what your laying out their. Can't take that back.

Jon said...

HP, I just don't think you make an honest effort to pause and make sure you understand my argument. It's just sloppy reading. "We should look at evidence to see if conservative claims are right" morphs to "Conservative claims are not right." You don't read carefully, then you act exasperated that we don't make progress. Show me someone you disagree with strongly where you do make progress? I just think you have great difficulty interacting with people you disagree with. I make all kinds of progress with conservatives arguing with them, but I try hard to understand what they say and try to avoid rebutting straw men.

Jon said...

And when I say make progress I don't mean show me someone you were able to persuade. I persuade people. I'm saying, when you lock horns with someone that has a decent understanding of the issues, disagrees with you, and yet maintains the disagreement when you are done, do you grow in understanding? Do they? Because I do. I don't walk away from conservatives without making progress because I'm there to come to understand them better. I try hard to make sure I don't caricature their views or argue things not in dispute. You say "Hey I provided evidence." For claims not in dispute. So what? You aren't grappling with what I say, and so naturally we aren't going to make progress.

Jon said...

Ex, I think for a lot of conservatives when you make an argument it's almost like they cannot hear the words. They think they know what you said, and they just don't. I remember someone criticizing Chomsky regarding his media analysis and they say "I hate to break it to Noam Chomsky, but these smoke filled rooms of powerful people pulling strings and telling media what to say, these rooms don't exist." Someone asks Chomsky to reply and it's like he's heard it all before. They WILL NOT cope with his actual argument. Of course he doesn't claim that such rooms exist. But he says for his critics when he makes an argument they just cannot hear the words. That's just their state of mind. So there's no point in replying.

Jon said...

Chad, you've already got your test subjects. It's called Africa. These are Republican fantasy economies.

BTW, the red states generally are takers. They receive more in government aid than they pay. It's the blue states that pay to fund the red. The red states generally are also more poor. More non-union. These are the places where conservative policies are more in force. Right to work, regressive taxation.

Once again I encourage conservatives to look at evidence. I know "right to work" makes sense to conservatives. They concoct these stories about how this will lead to more prosperity, never noticing that non-union places are the worst places in the world to live and the best places are more union (even though these great places, like the US, weren't so great prior to the emergence of unions). This is called evidence. Before ruining 25 states even more why not look to history and learn from the mistakes of the past?

I read recently that since the end of WWII tax hikes on the rich have been increased only twice. 1992 and 1996. Both came with dire predictions from Republicans, but of course they ushered in an enormous economic boom. Then came the Bush tax cuts, reversing what Clinton had put in place, with of course all the predictions from Republicans about how it would be so great. And it was the worst economic performance we'd seen since the Great Depression. Again, if you want to just concoct stories sans reality then you can do that. You can create plenty of stories that show Republican economic policies are great. But to understand the world I think at some point you have to leave the world of stories and enter the real world. The one that saw tax hikes on the rich usher in enormous economic growth.

Chad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad said...

Do we live in Africa? That is your argument is freaking Africa then you've already lost.

Red States are takers - why because they have Liberals or fake phony Repubs in the Legislation. Like I said - No Government Money Allowed. You must make ends meet with what you have - did you not read that?

Your history lesson is drug through the mud - what is your parameters? We've already discussed - Democrat Policies in 92 (affordable care act) blew up in 2007 - but you'll blame Republicans of course.

Like I said all I want is for your ideas to go into affect in your state - I will give you Michigan and I will take the next State. Without a moments hesitation my state with live, survive and thrive far beyond yours. Even if you took 100% control which you would - the bright would run to my state and the loafers to yours. You would be forced to adopt Conservative Principals to survive.

Funny irony, but fact.

And if it doesn't, at least I will die free and that will be a happy happy day.

Chad said...

Jon and Liberals are willing to control every aspect of producers lives for the better good, but neglect to use that power to regulate the poor.

You'll happily take more from one group (successful), but are disgusted by the thought of limiting the ability of the "poor" to conceive.

My wife and I decided that we could have 2 children, but Jon and Liberals they decide that since mother X decided to have 4 or 10 that I now should pay - classic.

It's okay to force by law to take money from me, but it is absurd to limit those unable to pay for children and themselves anything.

Who's backwards again?

Chad said...

BTW Jon Red States that take money hand it to the BLUE COUNTIES and CITIES. There is no federal money coming to my town - no sir, our money is being taken to other parts of the State and to the Federal over lords in Wash.

If I am wrong and there is federal or state money coming back into this town then I say God Bless the people that make that happen - we pay so much in we SHOULD get something out.

Why is it that the Conservative Movement is shrinking? Not from a philosophy standpoint per say, but from a serious n,hers stand point? Could it ( and I believe is 100% BTW) that conservaties have individual responsibility and therefore we have only the number of children we can support? Your growing your base through birth!

Like I said we all hate seeing the children in X country starving so why aren't you in favor of sterilizing a women after 2 children. Instead it's okay to pop out 4-10 kids with no means to pay for said kids because they are liberal voters and we can take from people to pay?

You want to control what we make or ow much we make, what we eat and what we drive, but to stop the birth of children (before they are born) is somehow bad?

Chad said...

Apologies, but got my bonus today (super sweet) until I talked to the accountant who spoiled my day with the news that the takers wanted X percent.

Thankfully I have a very aggresive accountant and the RV is in sight (signing on it Saturday) but why do I need to fight for my damn money?

Examinator said...

Feel better now Chad?
You should all that BS off you chest.
Might I humbly suggest you research your fantasy about who has the most children.... I think you'll be surprised by the actual facts.

I think I posted some where a site that reviewed the behavioural and neuro psychological findings of the way declared "Conservative" process data ....very interesting.

What did you think of the what the prof said? in my last posting.
I had to agree with his differentiation.

Chad said...

Gosh I hope your right Ex, but when 95% of blacks voted democrat this year and what 75% Hispanic votes democrat it certaily feels right, you give me ope and a smile!

I thought it was rather genius actually - get right to the point - you want to end hunger and help the poor and I want to do the same so lets get to the root of the problem. Stop allowing people who are not capable of taking care of kids from having kids - that would be a great start right. I mean you and others are happy to take away from my personal freedom to take my cash to pay for someone else's poor decisions so lets work together to stop the bad choices at the base level - how would that be bad?

You have to be 21 to drink alcohol in this country so let's make a similar rule about children? You and I hate abuse of children right, so why not laws to imprison/fine irresponsible people who have these children when they have no means to pay for them?

Not sure why it is BS?

That way we (as a Nation) can begone rebuilding. How would you like 3% unemployment, highly educated people and a very small poor class that we can really help?

HispanicPundit said...

My responses provided examples of evidence. Of evidence for the "conservative economic case" (which really is the economic case, look at the studies - even "liberal" economists make the argument).

I was BOTH addressing the "do conservatives show evidence for their beliefs" and "showing evidence" argument. The responses are not mutually exclusive.

Regarding persuading people. Look at my blog. Many of the comments come from liberals. We often come to agreements.

For example, you have seen me interact with LaurenceB. The dude is pretty libbie. And in almost every discussion, we come to a resolution quickly - even when we misread each other, we figure it out within one post or two (of course you know this, but the fact that you can't even remember LaurenceB as a counterexample testifies to your strong confirmation bias).

The same is generally true of my other commentors. Many of them have become friends on FB, where we discuss issues.

Contrast that to your blog. I dont see much agreement or resolution between you and your conservative commentors. In fact, you have even banned conservatives (where is Darf?). I've never felt the need to ban anyone from my blog.

Jon said...

Well crap, I've got egg on my face. I went back and read your links. Based on the verbiage you had around them I assumed they were provided in support of a claim that was not in dispute. I can see now that this is not true. They are relevant to the claim. My mistake.

I'm not going to argue the point here because my point is only to say that evidence matters and a lot of conservative claims come without evidence. The fact that you provided evidence, whether I think it adequately justifies the claim or not, shows that we are in agreement. Evidence matters, you are prepared to provide it, so we can shake hands and agree. Let's call that progress.

HispanicPundit said...

Yay! Progress! See Jon, I get all pissed off, than you do something like this and it makes me think it's worthwhile to dialogue with you as well!

Love yah man!

Chad said...

This article surges hurt the climate control arguement.


Jon said...

Chad, watch Al Gore's movie. They actually predict colder temperatures in Europe. Has to do with the effect of melting Greenland's ice and what that does to the ocean current.

Chad said...

Of course they do - I guess that I am not shocked.

Examinator said...

Of course neither side(?) has a lock on brilliance or the idiotic that is a given . When I was speaking to Jon about observation I was talking in terms of *statistical significance* not in absolutes.
Notwithstanding it still doesn't change the facts that any argument based on left/right or conservative/ liberal dogma is little more than prejudiced mental masturbation.

The term 'conservative' as a noun has a clearly defined set of features criteria [Read “The wealth of nations” (real conservatism) it's very precise]. However, the US 'conservative' spin cycle has (mis) appropriated terms like 'Conservative' and 'Liberal' and turned them into functional emotive adjectives i.e. With a set of ill defined subjective emotional value judgements e.g. 'family values' (whose?), which can and does vary according to the users inclination.
e.g. social security isn't part of the US 'conservative' accepted process . However, I remember well the Tea Party (sic)(there are several) group waving placards that declared “hands off my Medicaid” By avoiding precise definitions Conservatives don't have to face the contradictions and simply wave the magic wand and declare them 'liberal' (what ever that means.) and as such it's evil and should be avoided.
While research has shown that self declared “conservatives” are more inclined process only convenient data, I'd suggest 'conservative' is simply a convenient term and if examined closely many so called 'conservatives' are functionally liberal in terms of the real meaning. Clearly the term is no more than a manipulative one to engender emotional loyalty to some other cause ( plutocracy?)

either way ANY plan that is predicated of pre-set criteria be that liberal or conservative is in my mind fundamentally biased and therefore flawed. Hence I have made the point several times that I AM NOT EITHER A LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE (BY EITHER THE REAL DEFINITION OR THAT OF THE SPIN CYCLE).
Being one or the other is in my mind a false dichotomy it assume there are only two states which is demonstrably a gross over simplification to the point of being well, absurd and misses the point .
Here is a thought experiment that illustrates the problem of using extreme poles to describe anything. In this case trying to define magnetism in terms left V right (+ V -).
To Argue/demonstrate that right is better than left one needs to isolate one from the other.
Cover the magnet with a sheet of paper and sprinkle iron filings ant lines of magnetism are clearly visible. Then break the magnet at the point where the two polarities meet.... instead of having two magnets one all left and one all right you have two magnets both possessing + and - .
The reality is that magnetism can't be understood in terms two opposing fields! Clearly the truth lies elsewhere and it's independent of left or right adversarial mind set
The lesson reasoning I draw from this is that thinking of issues in terms of single pole purity is overtly simplistic/myopic, scientifically ignorant and most of all counter productive.
Such partisan thinking is an emotionally imposed straight jacket on an examination.