Assorted links

1. Ferguson on Facebook vs. Ferguson on Twitter.

2. Brief survey of the literature on police brutality and use of excessive force.

3. Obamacare attacks are losing potency as a campaign weapon.

4. The advantages of dyslexia (very good).

5. “RegData is an innovative new way of measuring the size and scope of US federal regulation. It is currently in beta. We welcome your feedback.”

6. Excellent Francis Fukuyama piece on American political decay.

7. Brad DeLong identifies The Great Reset, although he does not name it.  Falling AD and hysteresis are important, but we need more tools in the current toolbox.

Comments

1. Facebook is more about having a good time than having a bad time, and Ferguson is wall-to-wall bad time.

4. I've got a friend with dyslexia who considers it his hidden gift. He manages to read well enough and has great recall so he hardly needs to reread anything, but can quickly spot out of place things like in this article.

2. Anything about the use of tear gas? Particularly Mt. Pleasant, ca. 1985 in DC?

And how to tell I'm getting older - the rioting in Mt. Pleasant was apparently in 1991 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Washington,_D.C._riot

I'd like to give the cop who tear-gassed you a trophy!

Sorry, I have never been tear gassed - it was friends living on 16th Street (IIRC) who had the souvenir tear gas canister shot through their window. And it was pretty easy, coming from Arlington (why yes, I did live quite close to what is now Hazel Hall) to use the Rock Creek Parkway to visit them, even though the area was supposed to be shut down.

Besides, when it comes to tear gas, Prof. Cowen is the one with recent experience, not me.

#6 - Fukuyama piece was a trite review of history masquerading as something original. His thesis: special interests drive politics and balkanize political organizations (duh!). There was a book by Brookings in the 1970s on Federal red tape that concluded it was "of our own making" that made the same point (the government tries to appease everybody who comments on a proposed regulation, which causes the regulations to get more detailed). Nothing original here.

History trivia: in the racial desegregation law suit of "Brown v Bd. of Education" (1954) cited by Fukuyama, the court cited the work of US racial sociologist and Nobel prize winning economist Gunnar Myrdal, who some say (including Myrdal) that Keynes plagiarized, or at least read before publishing his General Theory (without crediting Myrdal).

On the contrary , I thought it was comprehensive, well-written and very perceptive. And the punchline:
."............. but no one dares suggest that what the country needs is a bit less participation and transparency."

+1

Anon,

I thought that Fukuyama's critique of America as a vetocracy was dead-on. When everybody (with the help of the courts) has a veto on everything, nothing gets done. I spent some time in NYC after 9-11 and New Orleans after Katrina. One of the interesting aspects of both, was how quickly major engineering works could be undertaken when the normal "rules of the game" are suspended. For example, subway service in NYC appears to have been fully restored in the 2 years after 9-11. To put this in perspective, the original twin towers took 5 years to plan and build (construction took 3 years). By contrast, the new WTC building took 12 years to plan and build.

Vetocracy has other dismal consequences. It appears that U.S. construction costs (public sector) are 4X anywhere else in the world. The data on this point is scanty. However, the very lack of data is revealing. Apparently, no one notices or cares that U.S. construction cost are so out of line with other comparable countries or that the have risen 10X in real terms since the 1950s.

The one rather large counterargument to Fukuyama, is that the European parliamentary systems (that he extolls) aren't delivering great results these days. He clearly regards the UK system (a "democratic dictatorship") as some sort of model. How well is the UK doing of late? Forget general economic performance, and focus solely on governance. Is the UK capable of "getting things done"? How long did it take to build Terminal 5 at Heathrow? 16 years as it turns out.

"the European parliamentary systems (that he extolls) aren’t delivering great results these days." They are in terms of construction times - the French government builds whatever it wants very quickly: knocks the US into a cocked hat. It's that old French get up and go.

d,

"They are in terms of construction times – the French government builds whatever it wants very quickly: knocks the US into a cocked hat. It’s that old French get up and go."

I believe it. However, isn't the French political system actually more like the U.S. than the UK. Doesn't France have a president, like the U.S.? If Fukuyama is correct, then France should be more dysfunctional than the UK. Is it?

d,

My sense of it is that France doesn't have a vetocracy culture. The courts don't regard themselves as superior to any other branch of government. France doesn't appear to have a culture of radical individualism that gives everyone the right to veto (or at least try) everything. it appears to me (an American) that French dirigisme isn't just limited to economic policy.

When discussing the Channel Tunnel, Mrs Thatcher expressed some surprise that there would be no planning permission delays on the French side. The French minister replied "When one is draining a swamp one does not consult the frogs". This elicited gales of laughter in Britain.

France does have a parliament. I suspect that the key consideration is that France is run in the interests of the Haute Bourgeoisie in Paris, and if they want a channel tunnel quickly they ruddy well get it. They accommodate the masses by allowing them to let of steam from time to time; farmers besieging ports, that sort of thing.

d,

“When one is draining a swamp one does not consult the frogs”

Lots of laughter in the U.S. as well.

"I suspect that the key consideration is that France is run in the interests of the Haute Bourgeoisie in Paris"

I can't even begin to assess the accuracy of such a statement. However, two obvious questions come to mind. First, Is the U.S. missing a "Haute Bourgeoisie"? That would come as big news in many circles in the U.S. Second, is the U.S. NOT run in the interests of the "Haute Bourgeoisie"? That would also be big news in many U.S. circles.

By the way, the U.S. is deeply dysfunctional in some respects, but not in others. For example, the U.S. constructed 200 GW of natural gas combined cycle power generation from 1997-2004. Of course, the NG combined cycle sector, ended massively overbuilt with subsequent bankruptcies (a different type of dysfunction). However, the vetocracy didn't stop the plants from being built. I could provide other examples in wind energy and fiber data transmission of amazingly fast capacity additions.

In general, it is public sector projects that end up blighted by an excess of "rights" in the U.S.

Yeah, pretty underwhelming effort by Fukuyama. Too bad. I usually like him and Tyler said it would be excellent.

If Myrdal wrote in German, as Swedes often did (he was not American), then Keynes won't have read him. Scandalously, Keynes didn't learn to read German.

@dearieme - Keynes read Myrdal, he said so himself.

Not in German he didn't. Were there English translations available? Or did Myrdal write in English?

Fukuyama always struck me as the kind of guy who simply summarizes whatever the Serious People (tm) in the US are thinking. This piece doesn't change that assessment.

"the government tries to appease everybody who comments on a proposed regulation, which causes the regulations to get more detailed"

This sounds like a Brookings interpretation. As I've related before, my one personal experience with a regulator was when my firm attempted to implement a far superior regulatory protocol but was rebuffed in favor of the desires of the company that caused the problem in the first place. We didn't care so much because we did the superior testing before and after because quality was a competitive advantage. The testing wasn't that much more expensive and the product could be labeled with the expectations. So, it wasn't really about us trying to add a barrier to competition. But it was interesting that the "concerns" of the last people who should have been listened to because they probably hadn't even done the prior state of the art quality testing properly.

#4...With math it can be a bit of a curse. For example, I usually write down phone numbers incorrectly about half of the time because I transpose some of the numbers. It's very annoying to constantly be calling wrong numbers. That's why saved numbers on my cell-phone are so nice. But if I have to write them down again to plug in elsewhere, I have my girlfriend do it for me.

When I write a comment for this blog, I usually reread it quite a number of times. Before, I used to capitalize some words because it helped me correctly write down what I wanted to. For some reason, the box format adds complexity for me, as well.

And when I memorize things like word meanings for flash cards in learning another language, if I read the list as a,b,c, I often recall it as c,b,a. I guess this helps me remember less standard meanings of words, which is why I'm sometimes questioned about the use of a word from a native speaker, for example. I'm much more likely to speak using a more archaic vocabulary.

Looking back, I think my vision hurt me in math and logic courses because I sometimes misunderstood the problem being presented. No amount of staring at it in the confines of a test period could cause me to read the equations correctly. Afterwards, I was often dismayed to see how easy the question was when I finally read it correctly.

General George Patton was reportedly dyslexic. He had skills in "reading" a battlefield.

I beg to differ, IMO his skill was the application of new technology to the battlefield. That said, I am no war historian.

However, it is apocryphal that he did poorly in his training.

I like the part in the George C. Scott portrayal where he shouts to the Germans "Rommel, I read your book you son of a bitch!"

#1 - Demographic differences between FB and Twitter do exist, even if we don't understand them completely. From my experience, Twitter has a lot of "I can't wait to smoke 'dis bag of weed", whereas FB is more "Look at what my dogs are doing".

About a year ago, my wife rechristened it 'Dogbook'.

When I hit my 30's, it started to become "Babybook"

Demographic differences: only 3 of my 300 Facebook friends appear to be on twitter. They are uniformly business types. My facebook consists of almost my entire social circle, and the most popular thing at the moment appears to involve dumping ice water on your head, which somehow involves curing ALS through a mechanism I don't entirely understand and makes me question my knowledge of physics.

Both of them annoy the crap out of me. That said, FB is just terrible. I can hardly even stomach hearing people talk about it.

Here's the key difference: your aunt is not on Twitter.

#7 - DeLong is wrong: " There should really be three conversations: a macroeconomic structure for demand management conversation, a demography and inequality conversation, and an information economy conversation. Mashing them together does not do much to enlighten." -note he lumps demography with inequality, and equates technological progress with IT. Typical of economists -cum-historians acting like scientists. In fact, what is missing is demand due to a still panicked population shocked by the Great Recession, and, no incentive to go to the next level in innovation, since it rarely pays to be a pioneer (patent terms of 20 years are not long enough to reward true innovators). All great innovators were ripped off, and sometimes by their own government (Christopher Cockerell comes to mind). Today's economies are not that far removed from the city-states of medieval ages. What pays is buying low, selling high, and rent-seeking, not innovating.

RL,

"What pays is buying low, selling high, and rent-seeking, not innovating"

That's only partially true. All sorts of real innovations are rewarded in American society. Fracking comes to mind as a broad category of innovation. IT continues to produce substantive changes as well (not just Twitter and Facebook). As one example, some number of years ago an associate of mine left to found a new software company. An online check shows that the firm now has a market cap of many billions.

Is the US burdened with "buying low, selling high, and rent-seeking"? Sure it is. Any honest reading of "The Big Short" or "Flash Boy" or "Reckless Endangerment" would show that. Indeed, I would argue that the costs of rent-seeking in health care are actually worse than Wall Street (which is saying a lot).

@Peter Schaeffer - I agree that there are many examples of people getting extremely rich from nothing (I know of several I helped, some of which are household names), with or without patents, but I think you agree that the rewards for real innovations are a non-linear relationship, where it pays more to be a "me-too" copycat rather than a true pioneer. Many many many examples of this, including in today's news Shakira and her infringement of copyright of another rapper's song. In fact, it's practically a business model to copy a pioneer (besides Cockerill's hovercraft rip-off, GE's rip-off --and improvement-- of Damadian's MRI comes to mind). While I don't favor perpetual patents anymore than Disney's seemingly perpetual copyrights, the fact remains that the more reward you give to original pioneer inventors ---perhaps with a prize fund for dedicating your invention to the public as done in the UK (Harrison and others) and as proposed by AlexT for the USA--the more innovation you will get. This is a fact. It is not changed by the counterexample of saying there are many frivolous patents. That's an argument for fixing the system, not for throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Also I'm not against improvements of the original idea, perhaps with a compulsory licensing scheme of the blocking original patent, to prevent holdouts that hinder progress, though it's rare to have this happen (but it does happen, typically in the copyright field where the estate of the copyright holder, or a curmudgeon like the Catcher in the Rye author, refuses to bless derivative works or even license the original copyright)

RL,

GE paid Damadian's firm $128.7 million. Others paid substantial sums as well. Damadian’s real gripe has always been that he didn't get the Nobel prize. I have seen claims (http://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=ser&sub=def&pag=dis&ItemID=59603) that his approach alienated the Nobel committee. Actually, I do think that follow on innovations tend to be more commercially successful.

Clearly, Intel wasn't the first semiconductor company (although it did have the first microchip). Sun didn't invent the workstation and Oracle didn't invent relational databases. Google wasn't the first search engine. Conversely, Microsoft comes reasonably close to being the first PC software company and Cisco appears to have built the first routers.

That said, Damadian has been well paid for his patents, even if others have earned more.

Two useful notes on BDL are that he doesn't allow comments and he never even considers the "I" word (immigration). Flooding a country (the USA) with desperate immigrants in a stagnant labor market produces huge declines in LFP and employment.

Not too hard to figure out. Unmentionable of course. That fact that the stagnant labor market is partially a consequence of immigration is even less mentionable.

Actually it appears that the site doesn't allow comments...

Does your tinfoil hat get scorching hot in the summer? Or do you just stay underground?

Jerome Lettvin did some fascinating research on dyslexia, which seems very compatible with this article, although he had a different perspective on it. His view was that it was fundamentally a matter of directing visual attention, rather than a broader cognitive difference. People with dyslexia are less sensitive to the centers of their visual fields than other parts of their visual fields, relative to the population that doesn't have trouble reading; effectively, when they look at a word, they see other words more and the word they're looking at less.

He mentioned in a lecture once that he saw a lot of cases, among people who had been children in the late 80s and early 90s, where the individual was most sensitive to points slightly to the right of where they're looking. The offset was, it so happens, the angle that, at usual viewing distances and television sizes, Mario, while running, traverses in the time it takes to see something and press a button. He couldn't establish causality, of course, but it was a handy mnemonic.

He also found a technique that enables most people (that he studied) with dyslexia to read at nearly the same rate as people without: cut a hole in a piece of paper, and hold it over the document, such that only a small number of words are visible at a time, rather than a full page being visible. A decade later, a dyslexic scientist also discovered effectively the same technique when he noticed that he could read eBooks without particular difficulty.

It would be interesting to see how the article's results apply to people (with or without dyslexia) who frequently read eBooks. If you learn to read in an environment where the page doesn't have a lot of words you have to ignore, does that preserve your ability to see everything at once?

I heard from my friend I mentioned above that one guy used a technique like hole-in-the-paper to "cure" his dyslexia. Afterwards, he wanted to get his dyslexia back, because he preferred (and his job may have benefited from) the "wrong" way he viewed the world.

6. This essay by Fukuyama expands on his essay in December published in The American Interest. I've commented before that Fukuyama's phrase, the "judicialization of administration", is equivalent to the "financialization of the economy", neither serving America very well. Of course, Fukuyama would prefer for America to replace the current form of government with a parliamentary system. I vividly remember the early 1970s when divided government brought government functions to a standstill, when problems became insoluble not because of a lack of solutions but because of a lack of political will. At the time, some observers, in particular Richard Strout (he wrote the TRB column in The New Republic for almost 40 years), were promoting a parliamentary system. It didn't happen then and it won't happen now. Or as Fukuyama concluded his essay in December: "Americans regard their Constitution as a quasi-religious document. Persuading them to rethink its most basic tenets short of an outright system collapse is highly unlikely. So we have a problem." Yes, we do.

I disagree that it's a problem. The way I see it, democracy takes over where individual rights end. I'm not a fan of 'consensual democracy' which seems to serve smaller, more homogeneous northern European countries ok. I bristle at community coercion. I don't even like my homeowner's association.

Segregation in the South reflected the will of the majority.

Even in counties where the majority was black?

The majority of voters, perhaps.

r,

As a critic of the “judicialization of administration” and the “financialization of the economy” I couldn't agree more. However, I am not so impressed by the performance of contemporary parliamentary systems. See my comments above. How well are the UK, France, Italy, etc. doing? Let's not even mention Greece and Portugal.

Of course, a few homogeneous Northern European countries are doing better. However, their system of government would not appear to be what distinguishes them. In my opinion, the core American problem is the triumph of radical individualism minus the ethic of personal responsibility normally associated with individualism (in other words personal license plus the welfare state). A good essay on the subject can be found over at

The Downside of Liberty
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/opinion/the-downside-of-liberty.html.

Interesting article ! Perhaps we need a constitutional amendment to " I , the people..." to reflect reality.

5. Well, anyone interested in the data can downlaod it here . http://regdatabeta.mercatus.org/downloads/RegData2_0.zip

I've had far too much experience in how things are hidden in plain sight to not be cynical, but sharing of data should always be applauded.

Fukuyama explains why business got exactly what it paid for with why Dodd-Frank.

Essentially every paragraph in that many pages legislation is in it because some business lobbyist worked very hard to get it in the law.

And crooks like Christopher (Friend-of-Angelo) Dodd and Barney (Fellator-of-Herb) Frank saw to it they got what they wanted.

AD,

Chris Dodd deserves everything you can throw at him and much more. Barney Frank drank the Kool-Aid before the Great Recession but seems to have been chastened by the crash. Quote

In an interview on Larry Kudlow's show in August 2010, he said "I hope by next year we'll have abolished Fannie and Freddie ... it was a great mistake to push lower-income people into housing they couldn't afford and couldn't really handle once they had it."

Really so the big banks wanted to have to pay into a fund to finance future failing banks instead of getting bailed out by the government? Banks wanted a consumer protection agency that's already made them refund consumers billions of dollars. Big banks wanted to have to pay more for deposit insurance then small banks? Banks wanted to no longer be the ones paying the agencies that regulate and rate them? Banks wanted an end to the being able to package and insurance shitty loans and sell them all off as triple A loans?

#6...My view has been that the growth of government after WWII had to do with previously excluded groups finally gaining some access to the system. Since the groups that had been running things didn't want to give up its perks ( Farm subsidies, for example. I grew up in the shadow of JG Boswell. ), the size of government increased. Somewhere in the 1970s we hit stalemate. I view Ronald Reagan's claims about reducing government not as an intention, but as a very tough sounding statement that had no chance of being implemented, and so very easy to trumpet. But then, after reading Lou Cannon's "Ronnie and Jesse", I never thought Reagan was serious about a lot of what he said.

All in all, though, I might phrase the problems a bit differently than Fukuyama, but I would end up with a very similar bottom line.

I tried to read 4# but couldn't

Well, there's a cool Escher drawing you might like.

Re #3

Well we've seen a great rhetorical downsizing in Obamacare attacks. We went from screams of socialized medicine, massive job losses, and, of course, 'death panels' to horror stories about people having to wait on hold when they call their insurance company's 800 number.

I think this is because Obamacare is a fait accompli. Its opponents understand that the only chance to stop it was before implemenation. Now people just lay back and accept it. Kind of like the TSA.

You forgot to mention that little fact of facilitating millions of americans in getting insurance and hurting a much smaller number of those that are well off.

1.6% of the population has been added, not netted out for those who lost insurance because of ACA. It would have been much cheaper just to expand Medicaid and not annoyed the 90% who were happy with their insurance.

1.) first of all 1.6% is well over 10 million people.
2.) liberals were the one's opposed to just expanding medicaid (single payer option anyone).
3.) liberal states are not the places subverting the expansion of medicaid
4.) 90% of the people are still happy with their insurance.

not were -> weren't

1. 1.6 % is about 5 million, which is what insurers report as paid participants.
2. Because it did not give them the additional control they wanted. ACA is not really about helping folks who need it.
3. True
4. Most people have had their rates raised more than what would have been necessary to help out these extra 5 million people. Many are not happy about this.

Where are you getting your numbers?
The un-inusrance rate (for those 18 and older) went from 18% to 13.4% in total percentage terms that is 4.6% in a percent drop it was 26%. Numbers wise that comes out to slightly over 11million people. And that leaves out the .7million medicaid expansion that Illinois implemented before hand the 1.6-3million people who gained insurance form their parents age 24-26, and the people who gained insurance due to Obamacares early pre-existing plans and tax credits for companies providing insurance
http://www.gallup.com/poll/168821/uninsured-rate-drops.aspx
And that leaves out the

ACA is not really about helping folks who need it.

Tell that to the more then 11million people who now have insurance or the millions people who now can get affordable insurance at less then 100 per year or anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Most people have had their rates raised more than what would have been necessary

Is that why the GOP in about a year has not been able to find a single valid claim of someone being harmed by Obamacare? Given that your 5million number is over by a magnitude of 100% would it be safe to say that you don't know what you're talking about?

"Most people have had their rates raised more than what would have been necessary to help out these extra 5 million people" Thats because: 1.) it isnt 5 million people we are talking about, and 2.) rates have been rising every year by double digits. On a related point, have you noticed the data suggesting that the cost curve has, in fact, been bent?

No one lost insurance due to the ACA. Don't confuse policies that are not renewed with losing insurance. In reality in the private insurance market most plans have a half-life of less than 5 years as insurance companies constantly retire old plans and introduce new ones...probably in hopes that by periodically rejiggering their risk pool they might end up with healthier policy holders.

ACA is not really about helping folks who need it.

Notice how this is yet more rhetorical downsizing in the attacks on Obamacare? We began with hearing how Obamacare was going to hurt people. Now its horrible because it's not as helpful as it should have been (which is actually a BS attack, what on earth is ever as helpful as it should be? ).

Sure, boonton, they banned a bunch of policies, but no one lost anything. That makes sense.

You're such an ass.

You got a few people to get insurance by subsidizing them and making a huge stink about punishing people who don't get insurance

Where do you want your cookie?

The farm bill subsidizes growing corn, but not fruit. Does that mean fruit is banned?

The surest sign is that lefties and the MSM are comfortable calling it Obamacare again and left off calling it a Republican Heritage Foundation idea. Ain't politics a gas?

Personally, I'm waiting for Romney to run for president in 2016, and instead of calling it Obamacare, it will be rebranded into Romneycare. Which would at least have the advantage of being somewhat accurate, considering that Romneycare laid much of the groundwork for ACA - http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/11/13/romneycare-vs-obamacare-key-similarities-differences/

Of course, I recognize that Romney, to avoid being called a RINO, was able to perform the following triangulating contortions -

'While Romney consistently claims that he does not support the state law being implemented nationally, in the hardcover version of his book "No Apology," Romney writes "we can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country."

In the paperback version of his book Romney amends that line to say, "It was done without government taking over health care," a change Romney's spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said was made after "Obamacare" was signed.

"They were simple updates to reflect that we had more information at the time the paperback came out," said Fehrnstrom.

At the Las Vegas debate last week, Romney said, "It would be wrong to adopt [the Massachusetts law] as a nation. "In the last campaign, I was asked, is this something that you would have the whole nation do? And I said, no, this is something that was crafted for Massachusetts," Romney said.' http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/mitt-romneys-top-contradicting-comments/story?id=14805513

But nothing to stop Romney, a man capable of believing anything he believes his audience wants to hear, claiming Obamacare was just a lame rip-off of his own universal health insurancee program.

It is really funny that the the Republican party rejected their market based health care policies once democrats adopted them.

Plenty of funny to go around on this one.

We seem to be a sort of 'phony war' period of Obamacare, where the web site issues have been smoothed out but before many potential long-term effects have had a chance to materialize -- either because it's still early or because of the many extensions and waivers. What will happen when insurance companies adjust rates for year 2 based on the pool characteristics they experienced in year 1? When the employer mandate is finally imposed? When the penalty for not carrying insurance really starts to bite? When the 'Cadillac Tax' is finally imposed? When older policies are no longer grandfathered? When all those newly minted Medicaid recipients all try to find PCPs? When people really start to feel the impacts of the new narrow provider networks? And then there's Halbig making its way through the courts...

Well preliminary data on premiums show that next years rise will be about half of the typical rise that occurred before obamacare.

If those things fail to materialize as major problems, what will happen to people like Slocum? Will they all admit they were wrong at once? Or will they admit they were wrong one at a time? Or will they fall into one of these boats:

1. Civil Rights Group - pretend they were for it all along.

2. Micro-pickers - troll thru the news for any problems (i.e. people waiting too long when they call their insurance company's 800 #) and claim that was the real issue they were concerned about all along.

Not going to predict the future but while it is still possible Obamacare is going to blow up the world, the fact that it hasn't yet reduces that probability. If you want to double down by betting this is the quiet before the end comes, go ahead.

We have all moved on (for now) to the other disasters that Obama has brought upon the country ( see Iraq, withdrawal of troops for a start). Worrying about the Obamacare wreck is like being concerned that your deck has collapsed when your house is on fire. I note also there is no evidence that the Democrats are trumpeting the great triumph which is Obamacare, the reason being that it sure ain't.

The conservative war hawks are back. Missed you guys!

You have to be impressed when (Iraq, withdrawal of troops) is touted as an disaster for the country. What would we be facing now with a large contingent of troops in Iraq?, Was ISIS not going to cross the border and challenge any of them? Would a chastened central government be minus Maliki today? How would a video portraying a brutal beheading of a U.S. soldier not going to prevent us being dragged into perpetual war?

like so many of Life's basic lessons Rich, there is a nursery rhyme you will get to learn when you start mixing in with the older kids later in life. It's called Humpty Dumpty. Learn its many lessons!

Obama, the pentagon and the many, many foreign policy experts in D.C. who spend decades and their entire careers learning this stuff, have evolved their formula to bake the cake you need with the ingredients you have. The political opposition at home is as vicious and merciless as any nasty new strain of jihadi ebola lurking in the swampy chaos of collapsed post colonial sectarian states.

Lesson 1: DON'T OWN IT. You can't get the central government, the Kurds or anyone for that matter to act like adults as long as your acting like the designated adult.

Lesson 2: DON'T PUT AMERICANS IN HARMS WAY. Everyone and their crocodile wrestling uncle back in the sates has a strong opinion about upholding American dignity with some good old fashioned ass kicking of bad guys. BUT, this is all the huff and puff of a mid life crises nations ego projecting itself. As Benghazi scandal roundly showed, Nobody, and I mean nobody is prepared for what it looks like to take risks, let alone real risks. Remember the President has his own domestic jihadi problem, and they own an entire TV Network, thousands of Radio stations and a very well armed. Best course of action, provide the technological prowess, and let the locals do the dirty work. Had we not gotten into a whole thing with the Russians, they could have been doing the same for Assad from the West, and ISIS would have been pincered in the middle.

Lesson 3: If things don't work out, Pack up your aircraft carriers and go home. ISIS has real neighbours with real muscle who loathe it. Turkey, Iran, Isreal, heck even the Saudi's. Aside from Iran (shame really, as they would have been/ are (very small font) perfect allies for this mess) are all big customers for the kind of military hardware were demonstrating for them. Economic bonus, some good high paying manufacturing jobs to be sustained

.....Dear Gulf State, virulent semi-psychotic jihadi's taking over the neighbourhood?, We have just what you need in the latest in Airpower and Drone's.....Yours, Lockheed Martin.

That's called WIN, WIN ,WIN, and if you start losing just claim your leaving your allies to finish the Winning and sail home. The trick is not having your f****** soldiers on the ground, so that the nightly news carries no video of 5 year old kids saluting coffins as Taps is playing in the background. That's a sure as hell vote loser, And if the American public tells you otherwise they're LYING.

+++1

Obama's basically been pulling out and staying out of things we damn well needed to not get involved in. This is what ending our role as World Cop looks like. This is what shrinking government looks like...this and reforming entitlements, still to come...

What he said.

How is Iraq a disaster brought on America? Are you not aware that Iraq is its own country in the Middle east and not a part of America?
You should go to town halls and demand that republicans demand that Obama re invade iraq its they're only way to victory.

People like Rich seem to think the lives and blood of US troops is free while only the lives of Iraqi's is worth caring about. That would, to me, seem to be the only possible explanation for his implicit assumption that it is the US's responsibility to keep Iraq a nice place but not Iraqis.

It hasn't had the negative impacts because it hasn't had any impacts yet.

And it's unlikely to have huge negative impacts in the future either. People are not that dumb and markets are less dumb. If 5 years from now Obamacare is going to sink the economy, then that's going to have an impact now. The lack of negative impact to date indicates there's a higher probability that there will be no serious negative impact in the future either.

Nothing to the RegData. Krugman says regulations are no big deal in the US because the bureaucrats' salary is only a sliver of GDP.

Yea that is wrong, hell the Clean air act regulations alone save the country trillions of dollars.

Krugman never said any such thing. Prove me wrong, $100.

"…the cost of bureaucracy is in general vastly overestimated. Compensation of workers accounts for only around 6 percent of non defense federal spending, and only a fraction of that compensation goes to people you could reasonably call bureaucrats."

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/libertarian-fantasies/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Nice try, except you ignored the paragraph before that:

Mike Konczal takes on a specific example: the currently trendy idea among libertarians that we can make things much better by replacing the welfare state with a basic guaranteed income. As Mike says, this notion rests on the belief that the welfare state is a crazily complicated mess of inefficient programs, and that simplification would save enough money to pay for universal grants that are neither means-tested nor conditional on misfortune. But the reality is nothing like that. The great bulk of welfare-state spending comes from a handful of major programs, and these programs are fairly efficient, with low administrative costs.

Krugman was not talking about regulation but about changing welfare and entitlements into a guaranteed income system with large amounts of money freed up by not needing a bureaucracy doing things like figuring out whether an applicant qualified for food stamps. The 6% figure isn't about regulators but administrators of welfare programs.

Are you a liar or did you just not read the piece? Will you be sending me $100?

Am I the only person who noticed that whilst the dsylexia stuff sounds good the actual evidence, for the variety of assertions made, is pretty meagre.

We made up a word that literally (more or less) means "trouble reading" and are then trying to infer infinite cognitive facets from it. Any evidence is a miracle!

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