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THAT is the quote you picked from that interview? What about:

>Yes, that would be an event. Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

>Right. It’s ridiculous.

>So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

>It’s about white people adjusting to a new reality?

>Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.

No worries, I saw that up and down my Facebook feed all night long. The SJWs got that angle covered.

Chris Rock opines on a wide range of topics in that interview, some of which are only tangentially related. Surely it is appropriate to discuss some of these topics separately, especially when they're not in the part of the interview that is getting the most play elsewhere in the media?

I, for one, find Chris Rock's comments refreshing across the board. He tells it like it is.

breaking news: a liberal comedian offers his airheaded opinion about things outside of his expertise

"breaking news: a liberal comedian offers his airheaded opinion about things outside of his expertise"

Yeah. Like what would Chris Rock know about being black?

What exactly is airheaded about what he said?

Ha ha, when he says audiences are too politically correct -- he is referring to Republican audiences.

However, when he gets to audiences on campus being too politically correct, he says "in their social views".

Sigh, another liberal comedian who cannot understand that plenty of people -- black, white, etc -- don't share his views.

"Ha ha, when he says audiences are too politically correct — he is referring to Republican audiences."

That is actually the exact opposite of what he says.

Let's not forget his recent video -

Actually, not so recent, but still relevant.

I actually thought Chris Rock was a real cool guy when I saw this the other day....and then this interview, oi.

"Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for."

In decrying racism, he's advocating racism. Not all white's owned slaves, not even most white's owned slaves. You could say the exact same asinine thing about the majority of African Americans, if it weren't for American slavery they would be starving in Africa or non existent, the slavers would've butchered them or sold them up the Nile.

This guy bases his logic on pure emotion, it's ironic his dislike of pc given most of his positions are perfectly pc.

"..if it weren’t for American slavery they would be starving in Africa or non existent, the slavers would’ve butchered them or sold them up the Nile."

Hell, we did 'em a favor! WTF could they possibly have to complain about? Ungrateful low lifes...

F you I'm Canadian. We freed dem dere slaves!

A+ for ignoring the points you couldn't handle

Still, plenty of whites, even today, celebrate slave-owning.

Never seen this IRL. Where do I look?

Fox News, kiddo.

Links, links and more links please.

@XVO--I believe Chris Rock was accused of doing a modern blackface act, and shamed over it, well over 10 years ago, so XVO "where have you been" if you just realized that now? Still, comedy is comedy. David Cross is a fine comedian I've heard live and uncensored. Actually, I've done standup too, and would place myself in that category.

@myself -- Bonus trivia: a certain comedian back in the 80s used to play at a club called the "9:30 club" in DC, and some of us were privileged to hear him live. His name was Jay Leno.

Jay Leno used to do like 300 shows a year...and I believe still does 200+. Not really a privilege, Ray

I'm curious. If Chris Rock were white would anyone care what he thought?

Not everyone cares what he thinks now. If he was Louis CK or Larry David or George Carlin some folks might care.

Yet of all the links, it is the chris rock interview that garners the first comment. This website always generates the greatests volume of comments when race, particularly with regards to black americans is the subject at hand. This is a website who's participants are predominantly highly educated, mostly male, and mostly white, and therefore high status individuals within both our and world society. It is not coincidental that they are disproportionately interested in information and discussions reflecting on low status groups within our and world society. So thanks for confirming what we already knew, that your not curious at all about if "chris Rock were white" you imply, it is his blackness that draws the world to pay attention to him.

Race is still, and probably always will be, the biggest live wire 'issue' out there (in this country). The best comedy takes on those kinds of issues head on. So racially-charged comics will always have a place in the culture. There are other black comics out there, to me Rock is the second best out there (DC's own Dave Chapelle is #1 IMO)

I've always wondered whether Gregory Mankiw thinks everyone else is stupid, ignorant, or both.

Because as we all know, the only government is the Federal government, and the only taxes we pay are Federal taxes.

Doesn't that just make his point stronger?

doesn't help that most people when discussing economics fall into the ignorant and stupid category

Including economists

I can't help noticing that discussion of the effects of state taxes on the balance of government transfers almost always stop at merely mentioning that they exist and insinuating that this changes everything. I wonder if that's because you guys don't know that this doesn't change the sign and only marginally changes the magnitude of redistribution, or because you do know.

The bottom quintile nets 24,100 after transfers and the top nets 177,200. So the top quintile ends up with a standard of living is still over 700% larger than the bottom.

Further lets not forget, the top quintile gets the benefit of the doubt in the legal system (how many people in the top quintile get shot by the police for stealing 5 dollars of cigarillos?), all of the representation in government (how many congressman are in the bottom quintile?), the better schools, better food to eat, on and on and on. I think pretty much anyone would trade being a life in the bottom for a life in the top even even with that horrible burden of paying for the government that serves their interests. Somehow I still don't feel bad for the top quintile.

How many people in the top quintile steal boxes of cigarillos in strong arm robberies? Having worked at a convenience store surrounded by sororiety houses once I know stupid theft is not confined to the lower orders, but I was never physically assaulted either.

"surrounded by sororiety houses ... I was never physically assaulted either"

Much to your chagrin.

The top quintile's better representation in congress should already be reflected in their transfer balance/income, for what it's worth.

The point, I believe, is that the middle three quintiles are undertaxed.

+1 Alternatively, we could spend less. Probably we should spend less and tax the big middle more.

We would be a better country if we had a government that we could realistically pay for. As it is we've got the government of a nation much richer than our own. The government of the 1 percent, you might say.

I tried to figure this out based on Washington state law and you'd have to spend more than the bottom three quintiles have in order to make up the difference. Starting with the benefit each quintile received, subtracting property taxes and then assuming a 9% sales tax rate, each of the bottom three quintiles has to spend more than they have in order to make up the difference. From $50,000 - $95,000, which is more than the average income for those three quintiles.

Ummm, so all Mankiw does is post some data (not even his own), and somehow he is condescending to you? I don't get it, would you prefer that all political discourse is nothing but shouting catchy slogans?

Most political discourse in 2014 is only a bunch of catchy slogans.

While it's true the numbers only related to federal taxes, not surprising given it's a breakdown of federal inflow and usage (not sure how the GAO caclulated it all though), it's also true that most of the big political debate focus on the federal level.

In the end, do I really care about tax policies anywhere I don't live?

#5: Government benefits by quintile are pretty hard to measure. For exapmle: Are they capturing the fact that homeowners don't pay tax on implied rents? Generally homeownership subsidies are very large, and they accrue more to the wealthy. Ditto for college education subsidies, govt expenditures on car-related transportation infrastructure, etc. These numbers probably wouldn't change the table dramatically, but they are nontrivial (see eg

In my area it is WAY cheaper to rent a really big house than to buy one...

Are 99 year leases with fixed rents common in your area?

Are 99-year ownership experiences common in your area?

Realistically, renting a house is a five-year experience and owning one is a ten-year experience.

I always say, you can't really own anything that's going to be around longer than you will.

Kevin, if it changes in the future you could always buy a house. So that's not an argument against renting

"For exapmle: Are they capturing the fact that homeowners don’t pay tax on implied rents?"
Why stop there? Own a car - pay a tax on the implied rental fees. Fry your own eggs? Payroll tax on the implied cost of hiring a short order cook to do it for you. With a little imagination we can make it so CPAs are never out of work.

The reductio ad absurdum works the other way, too. If we aren't taxing the output of houses, why tax any buildings? Why tax any machines? So your slippery slope does not persuade me.

Sure, you could argue that drawing the line at houses is somewhat arbitrary. But given the share of income that housing comprises, I think a reasonable argument can be made that it is special. This is why we count it in investment instead of consumption. And in any case, your quip does not change the fact that the tax system is regressive in this way. Owning a house means paying rent with pre-tax money.

This has become something of a debate in my town. Expensive houses are significantly more profitable for the local government than cheap houses (*) because town expenditures grow with number of people (police), number of dwellings (fire), and number of kids (education). But there's basically no correlation between household size and cost of the house. So a la Mankiw, the town wants the higher property taxes that comes with the wealthier folks who don't cost any more to serve.

(*) Everything's relative - the town is fairly wealthy.

That's not ad absurdum. There are pretty solid arguments for not taxing investment income.

Agreed. But are there solid arguments for arbitrarily taxing income from all investments but the ones the owner happens to live in?

And, regardless, the argument against taxing investment would not change the fact that homeowners--who are relatively rich--would pay living expenses with pre-tax money, and renters--who are relatively poor--pay living expenses with post-tax money. You will notice that I have not advocated adding a tax on implied rents. I have just stated the obvious fact that the way housing consumption is taxed is regressive, and that fact is not reflected in the table Tyler cites.

Even though I tend to think that the rich pay too much tax in the US, I find it funny that they are so unwilling to admit when they are being subsidized in some form.

Ryan, homeowners pay for maintenance, real estate taxes, home owner's insurance, etc. out of post-tax income, expenses that renters do not have.

Until you hit the AMT.

Actually you still get to deduct mortgage interest when you are subject to AMT.

You can only deduct the interest on mortgages up to $1 mil so some coastal elites don't get a full subsidy to own.

Only some kinds of mortgage interest are deductible under the AMT. It is more restrictive.

Well if the reductio ad absurdum doesn't persuade you, you just might be the absurdum.

The bigger problem is lifecycle effects. The lower income brackets consist mostly of retirees and young adults. Retirees get a lot in government services (Social Security and Medicare), so this somewhat exaggerates the amount of downward redistribution. Obviously there's still quite a bit of downward redistribution going on, but determining how much happens over the course of a lifetime is quite a bit more complicated than just looking at a single-year snapshot and calculating based on that.

Failure to account for lifecycle effects also leads to absurd conclusions like "consumption taxes are regressive" and this silliness.

On this chart "average government transfers" = "payments and benefits from federal, state and local governments including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance."

While it's appropriate include these direct transfers, and convenient to include only these direct transfers, it's unreasonable contend that this is complete or accurate.

A genuine analysis would allocate every dollar in the budget (and all tax credits and out of budget military deficient spending) to each group. Such an analysis would require some tough but necessary questions like "how much of each additional dollar spent on X does the bottom quartile benefit from?" For much of the budget outside of "direct payments," I would hypothesize the answer approaches $0 -- unlike the top decile.

I sort of agree that this is incomplete, but military spending benefits the population pretty evenly with perhaps a slight low-income lean. So it just makes his point stronger.

Also, defense and domestic spending are small potatoes compared with the big transfer programs.

Military spending isn't really small. It's about 1/8 of total US government spending. But yeah, I do agree that there's no particular reason to score it as benefiting primarily the rich. The other major spending category is education. The rich tend to send their children to private school, so if anything, they get less from that. The bottom line, really, is that the lower and middle classes are receiving large net transfers from the government. Someone has to be paying for it, and it's not Santa Claus. It's simply not possible, given the government's actual spending and revenues, for the rich to be getting proportionally larger transfers.

Your view of rich people benefiting less than the poor from government is myopic. It acts like the baseline is government with private property protections, courts, laws, roads, infrastructure, etc.and anything above that is a benefit. The rich are only able to have what they have because of the structure the state provides. I think that's pretty incontrovertible. It's why Russian businessmen have contracts designating London as the venue for any legal action. The structure facilitates trust and trust allows business to happen smoothly. The rich gain much more than the poor from having a government.

"military spending benefits the population pretty evenly with perhaps a slight low-income lean"

Let's agree that military spending far exceeds what is necessary for the protection of the lives of the citizenry (a pro rata allocation). Each additional dollar spent is for the benefit of whom?

If a given instance of US military activity is disproportionally for the benefit of US economic interests, then the benefits disproportionately map to those who have vested interests in the US economy (both savings and income).

How much do different quintiles benefit from the Federal Reserve?

I do enjoy the feeble attempts to invalidate AEI's calculation of the net taxes paid by each quintile. Why, this can't be right! It just can't!

The numbers look fine to me, and I am generally in the camp that feels the rich pay more than their fair share of the US govt's expenses. My comment above is simply meant to illustrate the point that this sort of thing is hard to measure. There's no such thing as "right" on this sort of question, though AEI's numbers are probably a close approximation to what most people want to think about.

It's too late to use Seinfeld. Undergrads have no idea who you're talking about.

The egg and breadcrumb part was clever, but no way those shrimp are cooked.

Oh yeah? You probably don't think this meat is tender, either.

Thanks for that article, I used to live there. Btw, Shanghai Dumpling King around the corner is a much better restaurant.

>What has Obama done wrong?

When Obama first got elected, he should have let it all just drop.

>Let what drop?

Just let the country flatline. Let the auto industry die. Don’t bail anybody out. In sports, that’s what any new GM does. They make sure that the catastrophe is on the old management and then they clean up. They don’t try to save old management’s mistakes.

Am I the only one for whom in the quote Tyler highlighted, plus this one, he sounds much more like Tea Party than a typical Dem? Who else was standing up against the bailouts?

His thoughts on race seemed vague and I was a little disappointed by the broad brush he was painting with. He seized on one quote out of context, and otherwise lacked any concision in his commentary on the subject. Too bad, just perpetuating bad stereotypes, and offering little insight.

It's amazing how so many people on both sides think that Obama bailed out GM.

Obama certainly thinks he did.

Reihan Salam as the executive editor of the neocon magazine National Review, very fitting to give that position to a Bengali of Muslim background who supports homosexual marriage, and is a writer for They don't even pretend to be anything more than a controlled opposition. Here's a article by Salam demanding Whites be willing to miscegenate:

@Clover - a comedy writer from the South, I think it was David Berry, once said the same thing: you can't really claim to be a non-racist, 100% wise, until you concede that you would be willing to marry a black woman if you are white. I came to this Jesus moment and was willing to marry an African (not an American ghetto black, who has baggage) when in Greece, but I could not find one, even after asking some African asylum guys there. But some of the girls from the Horn of Africa make me horny! Kenyan girls are super dark and sexy too, don't you think Clover? Don't you think at all? LOL.

Ray - you know, my guess is "you" are probably a bunch of guys at some middling Filipino college - probably in an economics dept, but maybe in a sociology department, with at least one good chess player and one guy with some connection to whatever passes for academic economics at a place like that - and "you" remind me of "Basil Ransom Davies" who wins a lot of competitions given by the Spectator (Jaspistos, write us a fifty word parody of Shakespeare's best Black Lady Sonnet in the style of a BBC commentator lost at the Olympics and missing his wife) but who is in actuality a bunch of funny high-IQ cheaters at some middling polytechnic (not that there is anything wrong with that) who regularly pool their best efforts and thereby regularly defeat the non-pooled individuals who innocently think they are competing on fair grounds. Anyway, you ought to put some effort into apologizing for trying to mess up a recent thread on economic PhD grads looking for a real position - those were real people, you know - rather than continuing your constant doubling down of foolishness (the Book of Proverbs would be a good place to start). Also, welcome to the real world, "ray", there are many many many attractive black women in places you think of as ghettoes who would not want in a million years to spend a lot of time with you, if you are in real life what you represent on the internet. Perhaps you imagine you could not find such women. As the guard at the art museum said, you are not here to judge the art.

I'm in the 1%, you're smoking something, judge for yourself. But your rant did remind me of something: a lot of Filipinos get accused of sandbagging in chess, it's true!

It's not exactly an insult to say that "attractive black women in places you think of as ghettoes" wouldn't want to "spend time" with someone. We all know who the types they do like to spend time with.

Ray - it was not a rant, read it again. There were some compliments in there, too, sorry if the compliments were too subtle. Hint to help your comprehension - I have memorized much more of the Book of Proverbs than you. If English is not your native language, look up a couple of the harder words. Another hint - Basil R. Davies is very witty. Clover - I was thinking of the attractive young women who go to church weekly, and who want a good man who would be a good father.

That seems to be endpoint of the logic of "anti-racism" the amalgamation of all the races. Kenyan girls might be good for you, they see it as typical to have sex with someone twice their age, but I don't know if you'd be very attractive to them, being as r-selected as they are. As for me, I don't think of them as sexy any more than I think of them as smart, the few smart ones doesn't change that fact.

Peter Brimelow (who has his axes to grind) has said National Review has suffered from 'injelitence' for some time, Richard Lowry has not been able to recruit any engaging contributors from the post-1969 cohorts; those hired from the post-1978 cohorts (Jason Lee Steorts, Robert ver Bruggen, and Daniel Foster, to name three) have commonly been embarrassing. Judging from the neuralgic reactions to Steorts on the comment boards, Mr. Lowry is in the curious position of harboring as his deputy a man despised by his more attentive readers.

You have to wonder, though, is it Lowry or is it the applicant pool? Other than Ross Douthat, it's hard to think of a capable producer of starboard topical commentary under the age of 45.

The only writer worth reading there now is Michelle Malkin, but if you look at who their past contributors were, you'll see many interesting writers who were purged for not towing the neocon line:

1. There is no such thing as a 'neocon' line. 'Neocon' is a nonsense term.

2. The alt-right (who harbor most of those who fancy nonsense terms like 'neocon') produces little or nothing of value.

3. Michelle Malkin is an independent operator who began as metropolitan newspaper reporter and was then distributed by Townhall. She may have contributed pieces to NR, but they did not midwife her career. They need her, not the other way around.

4. The four notables struck from their contributor list over the last 20 years include Joseph Sobran, Steven Sailer, Ann Coulter, and John Derbyshire. Sobran was nut who expressed himself elegantly; he was given every opportunity to keep his job and he flipped them all the bird (because he was under the illusion that other outlets would publish him without his NR affiliation). Sailer's obsessed with psychometrics and race-matters; his custom is not their custom. Coulter makes good coin by being verbally incendiary. Her custom is not their custom either. As for Derbyshire, the editors were extraordinarily tolerant of his intemperate excursions for years (not firing him, for instance, when he published a stupid and vitriolic attack against a staff editor's recently published book). Little lost from cutting loose this quartet.

Mark Steyn?

What am I supposed to call them? "Conservative?" You'd like that, wouldn't you.

There were other notable contributors purged in the last 20 years, Jared Taylor and Charles Murray come to mind.

Chris Rock says some interesting things. Interviewer (Frank Rich) is a tool.

@#5 - government transfers across quintiles-- the table is wrong, or we have a more serious problem in DC with hysteresis than I thought :

Add up the numbers that are black: $47200
Add up the numbers that are red: $30200

So you mean to tell me $17000 is used by the Federal government in robbing Peter to pay Paul? That's worse than I thought. Either that or the table is incomplete.

Shame that the CBO, which has a reputation of being competent, can't get the right numbers.

Or, it reminds me of the famous (Steve Sailor, you remember this one?) political cartoon in Reason, which showed Uncle Sam on a hospital bed, with blood being withdrawn from one arm, and replaced in the other arm, with the federal government inbetween as the nurse. Hysteresis is the blood missing, stuck in the tubes and bottle. The implication is it's all a big waste of time and effort, Coarseian and Straussian meaning-wise, lol.

You might step aside from the brilliant glow of your intellect and consider that US government expenditures do not consist solely of transfer payments. As far as I can tell, approximately 2/3 of the expenditures are transfers, so the fact that the gap is roughly $17K out of $47K makes sense.

@#8 - Cochrane's review of Piketty is wrong. What I wrote in his comments, but he moderates so there's a chance the world will not read this brilliancy:
WRONG! This blurb is COMPLETELY WRONG! (Cochrane writes to defend McCloskey on Piketty): "She left out two important conditions: The wealthy do not consume, and they leave estates intact to one child. With characteristic self-contradiction, the Pikettys of the world bemoan the excessive and garish consumption of the rich, but then claim wealth grows as if it is not consumed, if not directly then by spendthrift heirs. The correct equation is r - c - n > g, where c is the ratio of consumption to wealth and n is the growth rate of heirs. "

No. The correct equation is still r > g, which is nearly always true (capital is scarce, and 66% of the time--as the data show-- r > g), and it holds for the 1% WHEN TAKEN AS A CLASS. You cannot 'trace' just one family, call them the Rockefellers, and say that eventually (after several generations, though the actual Rockefellers seem to be defying this trend) they will become middle class. Instead, you must look at the 1% as a whole. And Piketty's equations hold.

Now you can counter to the above: 'well, if entry and exit into the 1% class is easy, Horatio Alger style, then it should not matter, right?'. Right, but the problem is entry is not easy, see the works by economist Gregory Clark, using Swedish data.

Right, but the problem is entry is not easy, see the works by economist Gregory Clark, using Swedish data.

Not many people marry into the Wallenberg clan. Do not need much data to demonstrate that. N

#1 Bitcoin can be shaped to be a form a general gift vouchers. As such unless government wishes to ban all gift vouchers bitcoins will live on. Iceland's ban of buying bitcoins with krona is meaningless as the krona can be used to paid for electricity for mining bitcoins.

While somewhat "neat" the Pizza Hut plan seems ill concieved. It seems primarily aimed at turning over the table quickly I I'm reading between the lines correctly.

be interesting to see how many pizzas get remade or comped due to unwanted toppings that were not noticed before sending the order in.

The highest quintile gets more in transfers by three times, than what the lowest earns, and Mankiw rounds that amount down by a third of what lowest pays in taxes as well. Mighty generous of(to) himself. Combined with the net difference it is a four fold measure of inequality benefitting the top quintile whose taxable burden dropped over two thirds in the past half century. Such inequalities are not sustainable in a macro scale sense.

That 'economic history reading list' is extremely weird to say the list and does not seem to include any of the field's classics. I am giving up as everything on it that I have checked out of curiosity has turned out to be either crackpotty, not economic history but something else, or hopelessly out of date.

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