Arrived in my pile


"Say it in 30 seconds" should be a new twitter account where sound economics are applied to current policy debates in punchy soundbites. Here's one to start: "Minimum wage is nice for the few people who get it."

Lower costs means lowering wages means lowering GDP per capita.

Of course, everyone arguing for lower wages by fighting higher minimum wages that match cost of living increases are demanding lower wages for them so they can be paid all of the wage others should be paid.

Then when some people get paid millions or billions but then only bid up prices for assets you want and do so after sticking it in banks where is is out of circulation - lower velocity of money - Obama is blamed for job losses and such, because its obviously Obamacare or food stamps that is cutting auto sales or driving up house prices, not the fact the minimum wage is so low minimum wage workers can't afford food much less buy a new car to replace the one they live in that does not run anymore, and the lack of auto sales means no one is hiring any auto engineers to design air bags or brake parts, but instead go with imports from Takata that are cheap and much be good because everyone installs them in their cars.

How deeply disingenuous. Mankiw argues conservative positions help the poor but doesn't offer evidence they do nor does he suggest any conservative policies should be changed to actually help the poor. Rather, he and Brooks just prescribe changing the packaging and hoping people don't notice.

Citing the EITC was particularly rich given almost all GOP presidential candidates intend to put in place tax regimes that repeal the EITC (in the name of "simplicity") while increasing taxes on the poor and reducing them on the rich.

Maybe instead of changing the messaging the GOP should change the message.

"Mankiw argues conservative positions help the poor but doesn’t offer evidence they do..."

Did you read the article?

"For evidence, he points to findings from his 2006 book “Who Really Cares”: Households headed by conservatives give, on average, 30 percent more dollars to charity than households headed by liberals, even though their incomes on average are 6 percent lower. They are also more likely to be blood donors."

"Fourth, there is a better way to help the working poor: the earned-income tax credit. This income supplement is well targeted to families living in poverty, it does not raise the prices of goods and services produced by low-wage workers and it does not discourage firms from hiring these workers. By incentivizing work, it increases the number of people enjoying earned success."

Oh, yes you did read it because you say "Citing the EITC was particularly rich given".

So you said that they didn't offer evidence that Conservative positions help the poor. But then you hand wave away the arguments they do cite. Now clearly the author didn't get into actually citing specific studies, but it wasn't that type of column.

>Households headed by conservatives give, on average, 30 percent more dollars to charity than households headed by liberals, even though their incomes on average are 6 percent lower.

Easy to get these numbers when poor conservatives face immense social pressures to "donate" to their local church, and rich conservatives "donate" to each others' charities to give each others' kids scholarships and get themselves some nice tax breaks

Easy to get these numbers when poor conservatives face immense social pressures to “donate” to their local church

We get it. There are wide swaths of humanity with which you are unacquainted and which you understand only on the level of caricature.

Local Church Full Of Brainwashed Idiots Feeds Town’s Poor Every Week

I know of a church that put everyone's donations in the weekly bulletin. And by "I know of a church" I mean "no such thing ever happened ever."

I was at the Mormon Temples in Oakland, and man, its a huge complex.

I got to thinking just how many people must be doing some serious tithing.

On top of federal and state income taxes.

I don't know how they do it without drinking alcohol.

The point about charitable giving isn't a good one, though. One would expect a conservative to donate to charity more since it carries the added benefit of lowering taxable income. Similarly, a liberal would be ok paying more in taxes because they view state programs as their means for poverty reduction.

I've never heard the one about blood donors, though. That's interesting.

Of course, Massachusetts actually has a box you can check on your income tax return where you can voluntarily pay more taxes. The state is very progressive, you see.

So, there might be a problem with your assumption that progressives are eager to pay more taxes. I find that they are eager to have other people pay more the 1%.

Warren Buffet could arrange his affairs to pay more taxes, and yet he does not! Again, strange. He probably has dedicate staff looking to reduce his taxes even as he bemoans low taxes.

This is like me thinking I should be on a diet as I have my personal chef make me chocolate mousse three times a day.

I would be interested to know how much of the conservative giving gap is because of greater donations to churches. As someone who gives a fair bit to a church - and was formerly the chair of the church's governing board - I can tell you that a lot of church donations do not go to what would fairly be called charity. Of course, the same can be said for some of the other lefty causes I support.

Check the book out, Brooks addresses a number of these issues. He uses the blood donor evidence, as well as donations to non-religious affiliated charities (like United Way), broken down by political ideology, to show that conservatives donate more, even to non-religious causes.

It's not only money and blood they give more of, they also give more time. The issue is that its not easy to measure the amount of charity provided, while the amount of welfare provided by a government entity is easy to measure.

Brooks recommends Republicans present the party to voters as kinder, gentler. Haven't we heard this before? And does it take an entire book to say it? Nancy Reagan's reaction to such spin was to ask "kinder and gentler than whom?" Donald Trump, I suppose.

Kinder and gentler than Geraldine Ferraro's debt retirement committee, which featured William Pelligrino ("Billy the Butcher") Masselli.

"I'm so old my grudges don't make sense to anyone but historians."

I remember watching George W. Bush on Meet The Press announcing his first presidential campaign describing his "compassionate conservatism". It sounded pleasant enough. But I also remember the country subsequently spending trillions of dollars in the Iraqi rabbit hole. The GOPs compassion only extends as far as the Pentagon.

The GOPs compassion only extends as far as the Pentagon

Partisan Democrats' compassion extends to selling the body parts of aborted fetuses.

Yeap, a transient right-wing tantrum about conducting mundane scientific research is *totally* on the same level as a trillion-dollar imperialist venture whose consequences are still playing out in the catastrophe that is the current Middle East regional war.

I'm ambivalent about the subject. But widespread abortion has been going on for 40+ years in the US with over 50 million abortions. If someone believes that abortion is tantamount to murder then it's a far greater moral calamity than the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars ever were or could be.

And referring to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as "imperialist ventures" is either a silly juvenile insult or shows a complete lack of understanding of what the words mean.

Silly juvenalia married to the seniblities of Dr. Mengele.

And...Art Deco loses the thread, by decree of internet law.

That you conceive of it as 'mundane' is indicative of psycopathy.


Claims by social conservatives to be morally superior because of their opposition to abortion are hollow unless they are also economic liberals. The standard joke is that social and economic conservatives are pro-life only from conception to birth. Once the unwanted child is born to a poor woman, whether the child lives or dies is pretty much a matter of indifference to economic conservatives if they have to help support the child.

As some commentators have already mentioned, how does this differ from George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism"? I'm very sympathetic to this idea, but I'd like to hear from Brooks how this time is different, and how to convince voters that this isn't a rehash of the Bush administration.

Just as a layman (who may or may not be in tune with ordinary voters), I disliked the term 'compassionate conservative' because it seemed to concede two or three points to the opposition that one should not, for reasons of integrity (the opposition is wrong) and for reasons of prudence.

Dr. Brooks is president of a policy shop. I'm not sure he's the optimal source for advice on political marketing, nor would a book by him about political marketing be the best use of his time.

Let Frank Luntz be Frank Luntz, and the rest of us be someone else.

My opinion of Makiw just went down a bit after he praised AEI. Serious economists should not be associated with that place.

Serious economists should not be associated with that place

Or, unserious combox denizens haven't a clue as to what a serious economist looks like.

Google returned no definition for this term, so I'm not sure what you mean. English please? Are you addressing my comment, or AEI?

Consider adding a "harrumph" at the end.

It doesn't look like Brooks' empirical claims about conservatives and charitable giving have held up:

Nor his claims about conservatives and happiness:

Maybe this should be shouted from the rooftops?

Because when a sociologist wishes to attempt to replicate someone's research, he publishes a newspaper op-ed.

No, they didn't just publish an op-ed. Here is a link to the full paper available for download:

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