Tuesday assorted links


Funny that a place such as Utah functions much like a place such as Switzerland. I wonder what those two places have in common? Oh well, probably nothing.

None of them is at Appalachia or the Deep Sout or any of the American Coasts. Being far from the crazies, of one type or other, probably helps.


Utah was founded by Fundamentalist Mormons (the only kind there were at the time) and up until the 1980s the population growth of the state was mostly organic, albeit strong with Mormon families having 4+ kids each. So it is not that Utah isn't crazy. It is that it has the right kind of crazy.

The right kind of crazy is as good as being sane, it surely beats the wrong kind of sane.

Most MR readers, and substantially all George Mason professors, think Mormons are crazy. How do you feel about the belief that the angel Moroni showed Joseph Smith a trunk of golden plates which he read with special eyeglasses and which told him that Jesus had visited the New World Indians (descendants of ancient Hebrews as they were) after his time in Palestine?

As well as I feel about "God" finally allowing Black people to be ordained. The LDS is not worse than what was mainstream in America a few years ago. They are not even worse than, say, the Evangelicals that see a champion of Christianity in Domald Trump. Or born-again Christians who see no problem in groveling before the Saudis while they complain about Iran's Islamic Fundamentalism. What can I say? I grade on a curve.

Near the same as I feel about a story of enslaved Hebrews building the pyramids, some 2000 years before any archaeological trace of that language or culture.

(As much as educated people make fun of backwoods hicks for believing a literal interpretation of Genesis, let's not forget that most educated, urban people who celebrate Passover believe in a literal interpretation of Exodus.)

High levels of immigration from Central American in the last 2 decades? Oh wait, that's just Utah... My bad...




Utah ranks No. 10 for share of undocumented immigrants in workforce. One out of 20 Utah workers is in the country illegally, Pew Center reports, including 1 out of 5 farmhands and 1 out of 7 construction workers.

The study also says Utah is just one of seven states where the size of the unauthorized immigrant workforce has increased compared to the start of the Great Recession in 2007.

More really.


Roughly 1 in 7 Utahans are Latino or Asian—and they vote.
The Latino share of Utah’s population grew from 4.9% in 1990, to 9.0% in 2000, to 13.4% (or 387,569 people) in 2013.

More really.


Roughly 1 in 7 Utahans are Latino or Asian—and they vote. The Latino share of Utah’s population grew from 4.9% in 1990, to 9.0% in 2000, to 13.4% (or 387,569 people) in 2013.

The numbers aren't huge (like in New Mexico and California) but Utah ranks 12th in the U.S. in terms of the % of the population that's Hispanic. And the relative growth is huge.

Good skiing?

Sal Tlay Ka Siti
The most perfect place on Earth
Where flies don’t bite your eyeballs
And human life has worth

# 2 I really liked the photo of complacent old people reading at the beach.

2a. As I say in the other section (missing worker video) I dislike "disability" told as an incentive driven morality tale. Let's see some data on who these people are, and what their type of disability is. Here is what I found:


"The most common functional disability type was mobility disability, reported by about 1 in 8 adults."

Awesome. Another name for lack of fitness and obesity? The map pretty much looks like an obesity map.

Reading is NOT complacency!

If you squint, you can see that some of them are reading the Great Book of Brazliian Military Successes (the out-of-print and collectible Vol. 3, to boot).

As Brazilian poet Castro Alves wrote about the dedication of Brazilians to learning,

"Oh! Children of the great Century
Oh! Children of the great nation
When you show youselves before God
You will have a book in your hands!"

Yet, it is clear to me that they are complacently reading some lightweight romance instead of being at the office where their dynamism would conrribute ro defeat the Chinese competition.

And a book about Brazil's military successes would need dozens of volumes.

"And a book about Brazil’s military successes would need dozens of volumes."

Does it come with a packet of crayons? Or do you have to pay extra for those?

One does not need crayons to picture Brazil's battlefield glory. Nevertheless, our forefathers created many paintings showing glorious moments of Brazilian history.





I read #6 earlier this morning. I really liked it. I agree on all points of fact, but I think it leans a bit on a dilemma of our own making. It asks, if we don't like government, and we aren't all Mormons, what can we do?

Well if we can't all be Mormons, maybe we should improve government. We shouldn't let our "dislike" get in the way of our goals. We shouldn't let dislikes weigh stronger in our decisions than moral goals.

We're too diverse, ideologically and culturally, to reach a consensus on how government should be improved.

Do. Or do not.

That's what I'm talking about. Self-defeating and nation-splitting bias as a block on better things. I for one do not want to be that kind of complacent.

Certain conflicts are insoluble. That's why North and South Korea are separate countries. The other alternative is to shrink government down to a size where people don't feel compelled to fight tooth-and-nail over it.

I wonder if Tyler thinks this is his complacency? People who "do not" because they have convinced themselves not to try. If so, it doesn't look like a happy complacency, it looks like a paralyzing pessimism.

Wait are you suggesting that North Korea and South Korea are separate countries because they can't agree on the size of government? I must have lost the thread

The exact phrase was how government should be improved. For South Korea, this means impeachment and prosecution of executive branch officials for graft. For North Korea, it means making sure Kim Jong Un's lifestyle is sufficiently opulent.

Irreconcilable views of government can be accommodated either by secession, or by shrinking the scope of government to a point where nobody cares enough to fight over who controls it.

You need to read more carefully.

Most people in my orbit don't have any beliefs that aren't connected to something that government should or should not do, according to the opinion of their group. [They will sometimes unwittingly reveal that they believe quite the opposite thing, in candid conversational moments when they are talking about something actual and specific. An ER doc friend of mine does this all the time without ever noticing it.] I feel like this is about as close as you can get to actually having no beliefs at all, thus it is not at all hard for me to avoid with them those subjects that 50s etiquette books used to instruct hostesses to ban at their tables. It would be a waste of time for all, though sometimes I might wish the talk could be a little more stimulating.

So I agree that the magnitude of government greatly amplifies differences - whether important differences or slight - among ordinary people, who day-to-day are generally capable of getting along amicably enough, their thoughts where they should be, on their own families or tasks or enjoyments.


In case you missed history class, North Korea was set up as a communist puppet state by Stalin.

While South Korea also had dictatorships, it was not communist, and thus indeed has a smaller government.

Their disagreement at this point truly is about the size of government: should you be free to work your own land, for example, or should you be part of a collective farm.

We can't experiment with better welfare schemes in the US because of the gulf between North and South Korea.


No, we're not. But the decision-making element has discordant aims, and they're able to mobilize ordinary people to vote for them even though such people have zero investment in the shizzy projects of political professionals and attentive publics.

I'd say the voters regard themselves as highly invested in policy. The street fights are already starting.

Which voters? Okupiers are a tiny minority. As for 'street fights', you've seen that on the scale of one unfortunate St. Louis suburb, and that required some sorosphere rent-a-crowd.

Yeah, the article reads to me like the church has created a parallel state that provides social services.

I'd love to create a welfare state that functions like Utah's.

I know that every time I've suggested it, I've been called a monster, so I go and do something else with my time.

Perhaps because Utah's social safety net isn't the real social safety net. It's a top-up. If you had Utah minus the rest of America's welfare state, you would birth a monster for anyone who falls through.

Hey, some of my best friends are Mormon ;-)

I lived in Salt Lake City for 3 years. It is an awesome place in many regards, but the degree of control that the Mormon church has over every aspect of people's lives would cause the vast majority of Americans to come completely unhinged. It's pretty similar to how I imagine the role of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

Did you not notice the $6,000 / student spending on schools?

They have public schools just like NY except they spend $14,000 less per student and get better results.

Using the European Healthcare Postulate, we could be saving all that money by just having NY copy the
Utah system.

OK, sarcasm aside: it suggests its not just the welfare side. public schools are provided at better value, too.

"the article reads to me like the church has created a parallel state"

With the key difference being that participation is voluntary... there is a big difference between "I will give 10% of my income to the church because it does good works" and "I will give 10% of my income to the government because I will be put in jail if I don't."

More like, "I will give 10% of my income to the church because that's the price of membership, and there are many benefits." It's not really optional... if you're in the church.

I was looking for a reference to the fact that the social services basically come for an additional 10% income tax. I didn't notice one.

It's 100% optional. No one even knows if you do it or not.

She mentions right in there that the church had developed what they called "life scripts" which people could follow and did not, in any way require subscribing to the tenets of the Mormon religion. Maybe people should give them a try?

I have no problem with that. I imagine Nordic social services offer something similar. But we always get a lot of "we can't" here because we scare ourselves off the path.

We don't do this because we live in a low trust/litigious society. This would never fly, if it's not a violation of the equal protection clause, then it's at a minimum a political nonstarter. You can have a legalese based welfare system which people game, or a decentralized one in which some call through the cracks or are exposed to localized racism. It really is one or the other.

Utah gets away with this due to homogeneity and the application of welfare being outside the scope of government. That's not replicable by the government in any way.

We accept inefficiency, social ills, welfare dependency and gamesmanship for the comfort of knowing the welfare laws apply equally. And it's probably the right call. Or not, depending on how you value type 1 vs type 2 errors. Either way, wishing that the government could function like a government in a high trust society is magical thinking. Repubs have magical zombie jews, demos have ignoring public choice economics.

I'm not sure which is more absurd or irrational.

I don't think there is balance at all. Progressive politics is by definition based on the Idea of Progress, which asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition.

Contrast that with the "nine scariest words" clip. For real. We have half of this country apposed to Progress because Progress is perceived to help Progressives. The deadlock is not symmetrical at all. Sides don't both do it.

I have no idea how your reply is responding to any of my points. I'm not going to watch a YouTube of a senile buffoon, and I could care less what he thought or said. I don't know what straw man you think you are burning in effigy, I'm not a republican or a progressive.

Your definition of Progressive politics makes no sense since it is not a definition that is mutually exclusive to almost any other -Ism. Again, it comes back to magical thinking. I will not excuse it on either side of the idiot, sorry political, spectrum.

You need to study public choice economics if you want to talk credibly about government efficacy.

Potato, you made an argument that we don't do this because "we live in a low trust/litigious society." You capped that with some both-side-ism: "Repubs have magical zombie jews, demos have ignoring public choice economics. I’m not sure which is more absurd or irrational."

The definition of Progressivism is lifted off Wikipedia.

Now, to move forward one thing to note is that Bernie did run as a Nordic-endorsing Socialist.


It is possible that solutions like that, progress like that, will become more accepted and the straw men that we can't will die. It will be an interesting few months as Trump either aligns with the "nine words" or helping his base. The two, helping and can't-helping, are not compatible.

Unfortunately the reality differs from Wikipedia. In reality, no one objects to ACTUAL progress. This is like a definition of libertarianism that says it is "based on the Idea of Freedom, which asserts that freedom of choice, human rights, and liberty are vital to improvement of the human condition"

Read further in that Wikipedia article: "Sociologist Robert Nisbet defines five "crucial premises" of the Idea of Progress as being: value of the past; nobility of Western civilization; worth of economic/technological growth; scientific/scholarly knowledge obtained through reason over faith; the intrinsic importance and worth of life on Earth."

It is clear that this bears no resemblance whatsoever to the beliefs of people who consider themselves Progressive. Let's repeat those again. According to Wikipedia, the five MOST important, guiding principles of Progressives are as follow:



worth of economic/technological growth

scientific/scholarly knowledge obtained through reason over faith

the intrinsic importance and worth of life on Earth

1/2/5 are not accepted by modern Progressives
3/4 are accepted by everyone

So let's not play games about Progressivism

Do you have a reason for imagining this other than "Northern Europe Good Me Like Muchly?"

It's interesting, isn't it? McArdle touches bases with Denmark in her piece, as something we can't do, well because.

But it's not like that has to be the endpoint. It would be sufficient if a voting majority got on board for incremental change and improvement. And stopped blocking themselves with Reagan's nine word philosophy.

From that Bernie/Atlantic link above:

The United States is its own country, and no one expects it to become a Nordic utopia. But Nordic countries aren’t utopias either. What they’ve done has little to do with culture, size, or homogeneity, and everything to do with figuring out how to flourish and compete in the 21st century. In the U.S., supporters of not only Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but also of Donald Trump, are worried about exactly the kinds of problems that universal social policies can help solve: worsening income inequality, shrinking opportunity, the decline of the middle class, and the survival of the ordinary family in the face of globalization. What America needs right now, desperately, isn’t to keep fighting the socialist bogeymen of the past, but to see the future—at least one presidential candidate should show them that.

Are we talking past each other now? I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. I said your definition of progressivism isn't mutually exclusive with literally almost every other political philosophy and therefore meaningless. It's a slogan and almost tautological: progress is important to progress. The point is that it does not differentiate.

Socialism: a form of social organization where government owns the means of production. That's a definition. A terrifying one but a definition.

Fascism: a form of social organization where the means of production are privately owned but directed and controlled by the state. Another terrifying definition, but again one that defines a philosophy. But whatever. Your definition of progressivism is akin to saying: Communism: a government based upon the community. Potentially true-ish depending on how far you can stretch words, but ultimately meaningless in terms of differentiating a philosophy from others.

I don't get where you're going with Trump or Bernie, neither one is qualified to be a dog catcher, let alone a president.

Trump is the dog who caught the car. Bernie had a platform at least. But it was an insane one.

Your point seems to be that if we wish hard enough we will be Denmark.

I am really arguing against inaction, against a lack of experimentation. I am open to us finding our own destination.

I don't like blocking statements that begin "We don’t do this because we .."

#2. Complacency doesn't strike me as a burning issue in need of resolution, but I do agree that K-12 and higher education currently enforce conformism (with a decidedly left-wing bias). I'm all in favor of ending the public school system (yes, completely--see Gary North for more on that: http://www.garynorth.com/public/15930.cfm) and defunding the universities. Also, the Internet is fine the way it is--it has at last given "regular people" a chance to bypass and/or compete with the gatekeepers of academia and the mainstream media.

#6. I liked a lot of it but this paragraph is just way off...

"This follows what you might call the state’s “war on homelessness” — a war that has been largely victorious, with most of the state’s homeless resettled in permanent housing through a focus on “Housing First.”"

When she drove from downtown Salt Lake to Welfare Square, she must have avoided the areas around Pioneer Park. The homeless population has exploded in the last 10 years, and if it's getting better, it's just barely begun to do so.

Homeless people like clean, safe places with a generous social safety net too.

And though Utah is a "low tax" state, she forgot to mention that a large proportion of citizens donate 10% of their income to the LDS Church. It's not just volunteering time. It's money, too (though a decent proportion of that goes to poorer LDS communities across the U.S. and world. The donations from South Americans don't cover the costs of their church buildings).

Utah is not a "low tax" state. Tax foundation ranks it as #28. https://taxfoundation.org/state-and-local-sales-tax-rates-2015/

Also, most people in Salt Lake would not consider the homeless issue solved. The homeless problem, and fights about what to do, is regularly on the front page of the local papers.

Also, while it is easy to attribute unique Salt Lake attributes to the LDS population, Salt Lake is not heavily LDS and is surprisingly politically and socially liberal.

It's about half LDS and a third of the non are non practicing LDS, so similar demographics.

They save $14,000 per student. That could pay for a year of healthcare insurance.

Its not just the church taking up the slack.

#6. The winning formula: 89.2% white, 13% Hispanic, 2.8% Asian, 1.6% African-American, and a straight-laced, communitarian religious creed that prohibits intoxicants and tobacco use, and encourages marriage and childbirth.

Tyler is right.

Yes, that's over 100%. Some respondents checking multiple boxes,presumably.

I hate those ridiculous boxes with their unexplained/undiscussed biases -- one drop; one sixteenth of what? etc. -- and though I am caucasian, I can easily imagine being, I dunno, part Hispanic and part white, and being irked enough to tick two boxes.

PS -- I forget who it was here on this site who said something to the effect: "Why would a recent multi millionaire immigrant from Catalonia qualify for Affirmative Action as 'Hispanic'?"

My favorite Meso-American is the well-connected Xochitl Hinojosa:


I'm half white & half Asian by birth and I never know what to check. Usually I just choose white/caucasian because culturally I'm not Asian at all.

Congratulations! Your likelihood of being accepted to a competitive university just went up.

I'm at a stage of life where I don't really need to bother with strategic selection, at least for any personal benefit.

So, a guaranteed minimum income either has to be low enough to stil be interesting to relocate for opportunities, or other incentivizes towards facilitated moving to where labour demand is?

Maybe if the guaranteed minimum is highly portable, it will then become extremely easy for people to be mobile in seeking such opportunities?

Possibly, it is the constraints on access to minimum income, and not the fact of it, that limits people's ability (or preference) to relocate to where labour demand is stronger?

Consider that a comfortable living in many small towns where economic productivity is very low is not enough money even to get accommodations which meet minimum legal standards in high productivity major urban centres.

Also, maybe it's just not enough money. Say, you're on social assistance. You know you can get a job in SF. But you can't afford more than 3 days accommodation in that city until you're simply out of money. So you stay in buttfuck nowhere where you know you can afford next month's rent. (Shared dormitory accommodations are a solution to this - the market can provide such solutions, but a government would have difficulty proposing this as a solution. At any given backpackers hostel, there are almost always a few people who basically fit in this category.)

Past a point, probably age 35 if not age 30, most people will just not tolerate a barracks lifestyle. Otherwise, the problem of "homelessness" would be very easily solved. (Of course, there's also more going on, like schizophrenia and general sociopathy.)

We have a guaranteed minimum income for the poor which they can take with them all over the United States. Eventually people prefer to settle down in one place.

It's doubtful there are many vagrants who qualify as sociopaths. Bill Clinton is a sociopath. Schizophreniform disorders and alcoholism are the order of the day.

You cannot 'solve' the problem of vagrancy as long as you have a free society. You can run flop houses and soup kitchens, You can put some people in asylums. You can have police enforce laws against loitering and panhandling by rousting, rebuking, and occasionally arresting people. You will always have an irreducible minority who just fail.

Nothing like the freedom to be free from other people's loitering.

If there are doing something while loitering that is a particular problem, is it not that particular problem and not the loitering that should be addressed?

We have anti-loitering laws as an aid to public order maintenance.

Hah, 30 years ago I was one of those "few people" at hostels in the Bay Area, and parks like Big Basin, but back then I was the only one. I still have very fond memories of virtually every hostel in the area and a rather tattered AYH ID card with a photo of someone who looks seriously like a serial killer.

I'm fairly certain that this only worked because I was the only one, at least I never met anyone else, doing it.

2. One of the more interesting aspects of the latest drug epidemic is that the opiads has hit the white populations versus the African-American ones. Also the real wages of Hispanic and African-Americans are the ones increasing the most the last 3 - 4 years. These realities have never happened in US history so I am a little wondering why that is. I believe it is because the urban revivals are benefitting minority populations (real wages in Cali are going up).

So why are we so focused on moving populations here?

6. It Takes a Village. I never knew Ms. McArdle was a fan of Ms. Clinton, but this essay makes it hard to deny. Unfortunately, short of everyone becoming a Mormon and black people and brown people dyeing their skin white, I'm not sure Mormonism and moving to Utah are the answer. Ms. McArdle's solution is for Mormons to live in their village, white Protestants to live in their village, Catholics to live in their village, black people to live in their village, brown people to live in their village, Jews to live in their village, a solution that may well work but wouldn't be America. McArdle's real complaint is with America: it's more diverse than she would prefer. And I don't doubt that Cowen agrees with me on this one. I mean, have you ever been to Utah? The restaurants are about as diverse as the people who live there. Move on, not to Utah!

This is less worthy than your usual posts, and I will now proceed to tell you why. Presumably Ms. McArdle is pretty smart and doesn't have a problem with adopting an idea or believing in a practice, just because Ms. Clinton also believes it. Only a truly partisan ideologue would be against learning from someone. (Also, "it takes a village" is vacuously unspecific. And there are communitarians on the centre right who presumably believe in both "villages" and "markets".)

If you have read this blog carefully you will know that culture matters. So why would people dye their skin? Huh? What ARE you talking about? That skin colour determines their/our behaviour? This is not the whole picture, but in my opinion, the issue with white trash and opioids is a culture of white trash (tats 'n trucks); the issue with the African American ghetto bs is a culture of welfare dependency, illegitimacy, disinterest in education (and presumably the gangsta culture isn't contributing much to the possibility of success either).

My niece's husband is black, from Compton, and Mormon. My other niece's husband is first-generation born-in-America Chinese, and Mormon. Gotta shake loose those old stereotypes about Mormons.

I'm sympathetic to Thomas Sowell's argument that integration destroyed the black village (Ms. Clinton's book is titled It Takes a Village for those not aware of my reference), the black-owed businesses in that village, and the community of black people who supported themselves and each other in that village since I'm old enough to remember the black village. But is that really the solution, to go back in time, back to segregation? Maybe diversity and progress are incompatible. And I have nothing against Mormons, even if some of their religious beliefs are nonsense (as is the case with all religions). But I've been to Salt Lake City and don't recommend it unless the goal is experience the sameness of the Mormon village, mostly boredom, and not very good restaurants.

Hillary's idea of Village is the government raising your children, while the Mormon village is supporting parents raising their children, with predictable results for both.

6. In terms of 6., why have other red states not followed Utah? Outside of Texas, I don't see other very red states following this avenue.

Is Idaho following this path? It has a lot of Mormons.

Yes, can we add Nevada (although not red in nature) as well? The Mormon population is quite large as well. However, there was a joke about Las Vegas casinos replaced all the 'Pit Bosses' from former Gang Members with educated Mormons from Utah. I sure there exaggeration to that but you be surprised how many Mormons work in Vegas.

Mormons in Vegas goes back to Howard Hughes and his phobias.

Mormons in Vegas go back almost to its founding. In the 40's and 50's, the mafia funneled money for their casinos and other operations through Mormon bankers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Las_Vegas#1829.E2.80.931905:_origins

My Mormon brother-in-law designs security systems, and he did some work on Vegas casinos. He said they prefer to deal with Mormons for security.

The article seems to suggest that "follow[ing] Utah" is difficult because of the large and hard-to-replicate influence of the LDS. Other states do not have comparable private organizations that can do charitable work on the LDS' scale or enjoy as much cultural buy-in.

#2...You could just as well ask how much charity or help from families adds to complacency, unless you're just interested in the source of funding as opposed to complacency. You could also ask how much belief in G-d adds to complacency, with people sitting at home waiting for help from on high by praying a lot. Perhaps atheists are less complacent. You could also recommend people ratchet up shaming people calling them lard asses. We are far too complacent about complacency.

6. Why can't Protestants and Catholics emulate what the Mormons have done? Weekly religious attendance in Utah is 51% but it is almost as high in some of the poorest states...e.g., Mississippi 47%, Arkansas 45%.

The most successful religious sects appear to be the ones that have as their first priority knocking off some of the sharp corners of life for their members. From there, they can proceed to take care of others. But for some reason Christians in the US (outside the Anabaptists) seem to have gotten incredibly atomized.

I think if you did a sociological survey, you'd discover the following about most congregations:

1. The people attending are abnormally bourgeois, which is to say that the wage-earning element is truncated.

2. The pastor's primary skill consists of managing petty confrontations in such a way as to avoid being held accountable for much of anything.

Mormonism requires a level of commitment and conformity that the other major denominations abandoned. Were they right to do so? Would it have mattered if they towed the line?

Is it founder stock?

Is it a historical accident?

Is it the specific social system of Mormonism? How does it work?

Take something as simple as alcohol. If the Catholic Church decreed tomorrow that God didn't want you to drink at all, what effect would it have? Would Catholics suddenly become Mormons? Hard to predict the outcome, short or long term.

The Catholic Church does not decree or implement abrupt changes in moral teachings which are then imposed and binding on the whole body of the faithful.

You have the ordinary Magisterium and occasional exercises of the extraordinary Magisterium. Sixty years ago, Mass-going Catholics usually respected both. Nowadays, no. An aspect of the problem has been the continuous production of verbiage by the U.S. Catholic Conference and diocesan chanceries on what are, for the ordinary communicant, extraneous matters.

The Decline of Black Business
And what it means for American democracy.

It was a good article but I still see the main issue of Decline Black Business:

1) They are no different that many local white businesses in that they have declined as well.
2) In terms of history, we have simplified the passage of impact of the Civil Voting Act. In 1966 the US was still mostly segregated and took a few generations for the economy to adjust. So Black business insurance focused African-American customers could still survive for the next 10 - 20 years.

'There is an answer to many of America’s problems, it’s just that many of you don’t want it.'

No reason to rub salt in Romney's wounds. Just think, if he had been president, he could have pushed his own health care plan, and likely stopped the rise of Trump too.

If only an ungrateful non-Mormon member of the working class hadn't recorded him at a fund raiser, that is.

You're trying to be a smart-ass, but it's true. Romney's loss was a pretty big loss to all of America. We're going to dig ourselves out of that hole for at least a decade.

"many of you" not "many of us"--be careful, Tyler, you'll give the game away.

#2b Tyler quote: "I think also that both higher education and K-12 systems enforce a great deal of conformism and complacency in this country, and that is another avenue for considering reforms."

More on this thought would be interesting. Tenuring is discussed as a process of filtering for conformity that could be reduced in academia, but it'd be interesting to hear about what K-12 changes would work to this effect if it is a problem.

>There is an answer to many of America’s problems

Yes, we know. The Dems have been pushing it for years.

Pot legalization.

Not sure when, or if, Utah will ever see the light on that.

Let us not stereotype people, particularly when viewing their documented past actions - 'The U.S. House toasted Utah on Wednesday, so to speak, for being the deciding state to repeal Prohibition 75 years ago and allow resumption of legal alcohol sales nationally.

The House passed by voice vote a resolution sponsored by Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., to mark the upcoming 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, and "celebrate 75 years of effective state-based alcohol regulation."

The resolution noted that "on Dec. 3, 1933, Utah became the 36th state to approve what became the 21st Amendment to the Constitution" to repeal Prohibition created by the 18th Amendment in 1919.

Utah put the amendment over the top even though Heber J. Grant, then president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had urged church members not to support repeal, noting for example that highway deaths had decreased greatly during Prohibition.

Despite the official stance of the church, many prominent Utahns argued that repeal was inevitable and a better alternative than the gangsterism, bootlegging, bathtub gin production, speak-easies and other illegal activities that mushroomed under the ban.

The state held a special election on Nov. 7, 1933, to gauge Utah sentiment and set up a ratification process. In it, 99,943 votes were cast for repeal and 62,437 against.

At 3:33 p.m. on Dec. 5, 1933, the 21 members of Utah's Constitutional Convention unanimously endorsed the 21st Amendment — setting off what newspapers of the time described as drinking celebrations nationwide.' http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700259759/House-marks-Utahs-role-in-repealing-Prohibition.html

So, in other words, if the past is any guide, Utah will likely see the light around the time that national efforts to repeal such laws have reached a critical mass and are on the cusp of success.

Interesting that Utah is the first


maybe highway deaths have increased in the intervening years.

LDS could mean Licensed to Drive Safely.

Nope. Utahns are terrible drivers even with less alcohol: http://www.sltrib.com/home/4654990-155/nations-worst-drivers-utahns. "After examining 2 million data points on national driving records, QuoteWizard gives Beehive State the bottom score."

This is partly because alcohol is stigmatized... it leads to more drinking away from home (so people can't see you), and thus to more impaired driving.

Well, if anything Utah shows that legalized drugs are not a panacea. Actually, prescription drugs are a major problem in Utah.

#6...Mormons generally have a strong sense of duty, but they also have a strong sense of responsibility. Does that sense of responsibility for each other exist among Americans?

1. If you are going to compare Charlotte and SLC you should look only at white people (how are generally work crazy).

2. "A child born in the bottom quintile of incomes" is that as of when the child was born. When I born my father was lower income but by the time I was a teen he was doing quite well. If it was the money.

Utah seems have the least corrupt state government and teh lowest spending on schooling and health care does that point to corruption as the cause of sky rocketing healthcare and school spending? http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/health-spending-per-capita/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Health%20Spending%20per%20Capita%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D


Astute as always. This is a fallacy of composition, by people smart enough to know statistics give them credibility but not smart enough to know how they work.

Mormons have children younger than most. They marry right after mission sometimes. They're thus born "poor". This is, of course, bullshit. People move through quintiles as they work and age.

What we need is lifetime earnings, are they moving up for people or not.

Get some actual data, follow people through generations and get a real look.

"intergenerational income mobility"

Those are good points. If Mormons are statistically poor at birth because their parents married young, but their parents quickly climb back into the middle class then the mobility statistics may be misleading.

The outcomes are still good though.


Charlotte is 35% Black, 13% Hispanic
SLC is 2.7% Black, and 10% Hispanic

I am guessing that makes a difference.

Christopher Lasch was skeptical of much of the discourse about 'upward mobility' and insisted that early 19th century correspondence and public discussion was suffused with the concern that every young man find a 'competence', a rather different thing. Also, if one family is upwardly mobile, another is downwardly mobile. More 'upward mobility' also means more insecurity, so you do reach some point where more isn't better.

We might concern ourselves less with equality or social mobility and concern ourselves more with what ordinary wage-earners have that they can call their own, including certain intangibles.


They're "concerned" because it gives them license to do things they want to do anyways.

The myth is the "blank slate" model of humanity. We should have perfect churn in incomes and life outcomes. Anything else is racism, classism, patriarchy, fascism.

The fact that people turn out like their parents is basically equivalent to denying the holocaust. It is a thoughtcrime. If the government guaranteed no show jobs for the poor, we could eliminate poverty in 5 years!

A lot of the newer methods often used in poverty and inequality analysis incorporates a lot of stuff like that.

So the thresholds and what goes into the indices can be debated. It's not like the number that comes out of the method then determines some precision response on that basis. But the point is that a variety of methods are developed and in use to do precisely that. In media outputs, most often you're getting one or two of the simplest indicators reported. But those snapshots are not really useful for practical purposes, compared to other methods that are useful in targeting policy approaches.

It's very related to a lot of stuff that Angus Deaton worked on.

So what can happen is that along the course of a thorough analysis, the Gini and periodic income mobility are reported, and this is the only part that the person writing about it in the media really understands with certainty. After all, they probably saw it in a first or second year class. So then you start to get this notion that academics have a really simplistic idea of what poverty and inequality can mean for a variety of purposes and are very removed from it.

But when you're trying to determine how to weight 1km from a potable water source compared to in the home (should all variables simply receive the same weighting and let magnitudes speak for themselves in outputs?), or how to address its various ways of being colinear or 'perpendicular' with other variables or aggregations of variables.

I'm not aware of much work on this for the case of the USA, however. "Multidimensional poverty index" is one way of putting it, and there are a huge variety of methods used. A lot of the things you find in the indices will not be very relevant to the USA because they are not possible due to building codes, etc.

Re 6, I have spent a fair amount of time in Salt Lake and it is an impressive place -- for reasons the author identifies. A lot of this article fits in with the points Charles Murray made in "Coming Apart." Here in NYC there is a big industry in administering the government bureaucracy that supposedly addresses the various ills that Salt Lake addresses very differently. The problems seem to get worse year after year yet the bureaucracy grows. It is highly unlikely that this bureaucracy will relinquish its power in favor of individual responsibility, family, church and peer pressure.

"6. Megan McArdle visits Salt Lake City, recommended. "

Highly recommended. Well researched and well thought out. It's an intelligent post with a lot of good points.

What I do not understand is after reading so many good things about Utah is why is it one of the poorest states in the country --- for example the per capita personal income is 81% of the national income and its rank is 44th. Its cost of living is about 90% of the national average and that makes the real numbers somewhat better, but not a whole lot.

Personally, I was surprised by this data and had an impression that it was a lot better.

It's actually 41st. The main reason should be larger families and stay at home wives. If you look at the median household income it is 14th. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income

6. What is the origin of the word Mormon ? Mor mon(ey) ?

#1 If 16 sq. m. is dog kennel, what are those numerous 4.5 tatami (9 sq. m.) apartments in Tokyo? Sheesh.

They don't usually have a kitchen, and laundry space and sometimes toilet and bathing facilities are communal, something barely acceptable for westerners.

Does anything about LDS encourage less assortative mating?

If the brightest men and women (and the dimmest men and women) are less likely to pair off in Utah than they are elsewhere, that would increase mobility.

I would think meeting your spouse in church or high school are less assortative than in college or at work (which is what has become more common in our America). And when Mormons do meet in college it's often BYU which I imagine is pretty IQ diverse.

The McArdle article is fascinating because A) it's mostly good B) says a lot about the writer.

She hits a lot of the reasons Utah is an admirable place (emphasis on compassion, marriage, education, travel, economic mobility etc).

It's also absolutely bizarre that McArdle makes no reference to tithing. Mormons are supposed to donate 10 percent of their income to charity. And there are other charitable donations of money and time. Most LDS members appear to give (I have spent a lot of time in Provo and Salt Lake). The reason state and local government budgets are small in Utah is because the Church has created a quasi-state that taxes its subject.

I would also guess that the total sums spent on social services are therefore higher in Utah.

She doesn't explicitly use the word tithe, but she devotes several paragraphs to Mormons donating time and money.

" A job center at Welfare Square harnesses the still-prodigious energies of retirees; when I was there, an immigration center, also staffed with volunteers, was just starting up. The assistance offered is not unique, but the sheer scale of it is; few other churches could muster a similar army of willing, helpful people, or deploy them so efficiently."

The answer to it all is WASP theocrats that heavily push 1950s life scripts. It was better when most of the country was that way, and its still better now.

"The answer to it all is WASP theocrats that heavily push 1950s life scripts." Are you sure? They even accept ordaining Black people now. Are Salt Lake City buses integrated?

Come again? Those 'life scripts' were followed by just about every racial and ethnic segment in this country in 1955.

I enjoyed the McArdle piece; but given that Utah backed Trump, I don't see using it as a model for American progress. Global warming and nuclear proliferation are far more concerning than economic inequality, and a plurality of Utah's voters think that a man who wants to dismantle the Iran nuclear deal, and to roll back Obama's climate change initiatives is fit to be president. Like another commenter, I have read several articles over the past year highlighting impressive points about Utah, namely it's start-up culture and openness to refugees, but all of that is subsumed by it's national political preferences. Salt Lake City may very well be better than D.C. for the local inhabitants; but, at least for now, I think that D.C. is better for the planet.

If you care about nuclear proliferation at all, you would have voted for Trump. Obama, in the middle of his second term and desperate for at least one foreign policy win in his career, made a secret deal that allows Iran to continue it's nuclear program. Iran, sensing Obama's neediness even get Obama to pay for their program. Anything done to roll back this bastardization of foreign policy will be a plus. Unfortunately the cat is out of the bag, and the world will now live under a greater threat of nuclear war than it has in decades.

Oh gag, TMC. You must repeat one of the bigger lies handed out by Trump, Fox News, and the GOP, as well as Bibi Netanyahu. Even Israeli military-intel types know this is a lie, and the retired ones who can say so have said it. Even the Russians know it and may well be the ones to keep Trump from really messing it up.

This is the matter of the Iran nuclear deal. No, it is not a secret deal to let Iran continue its nuclear program. It has put that program in a serious box and so far the Iranians are keeping to it, despite all kinds of things. Let us hope that our military-intel people, who all know it is the best deal we could get, will have enough of Trump's ear time to get him to keep it. So far that looks like it might be the case.

Sorry you are so completely out of touch with reality on this very important issue, but you are.

It has put that program in a serious box and so far the Iranians are keeping to it

That shrink you're seeing in Harrisonburg needs to adjust your meds.

Oh, you believe this bs too, AD? In what way has this deal "allowed Iran to continue it's [sic] nuclear program" as claimed above? Please provide credible sources for this claim.

re: last comment; I did Salt Lake an injustice, one of the two Utah counties that went for Hilary.

Something McArdle didn't write explicitly, is that Mormons highly value the traditional single-income family model of a wife who doesn't work for pay and a husband who is the sole financial income provider. Holding to this model was explicitly, strongly preached through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Over the last twenty years, the preaching on this topic become muted.

A couple days ago at a website aimed at progressive Mormons (who think their church is wrong about most things) there was a post looking at the recent Raj Chetty study of colleges and income mobility. The progressive Mormon writer pulled out the BYU data and found:

"By their mid-30s, people who attended BYU (and the study measures only attendance, not graduation) can expect to be earning a median income of almost $72,000 a year and to be disproportionately represented in the upper echelons of society.

"Well, some people at least. The male ones. Women who attended during the same time period made a median salary of $800 a year.

"Yep, you read that correctly. $800 per year placing BYU in dead last place among 2013 schools in income disparity, with a whopping 8887% difference between men and women."

The creative capacity of Mormon women doesn’t vanish when they’re not working for a company for pay. It flows into the strength of their communities through other avenues then paid work. It is a valuable thing that is not valued by some on the left who prize gender neutrality, nor by some on the right who prize capitalism.

On the matter of labeling Greenspun's argument as saying that it is welfare state that leads to complacency, this is s complete misrepresentation. His "welfare state" turns out to be basically one thing: no-fault divorce. That is not a welfare state, sorry, although he may be right that it has contributed to lower rates of interstate mobility.

I see that Noah has just caved on what is being talked about. Earlier he did well arguing that maybe the complacent are really the fearfuil, which Tyler even sort of maybe agreed with a bit. But in this "debate," he fell back on yes, it is the complacent class and why are they? Then he came up with something truly silly, the claim that maybe it is because the US has become so wealthy. But if one looks at median per capita income and wealth, they have basically not moved in 40 years, and the US is astoundingly far down the ranks on median per capita wealth. Many nations are ahead of the US, including many that most Americans think of as much poorer than the US. So, no, it is not some rising wealth, especially recently, that is responsible for this.

Indeed, the much better explanation remains the one Noah first said last time, and this is supported by the apparent evidence that some of the worst of the symptoms Tyler identifies are going on with younger people, especially younger males. We are not dealing with a large welfare state, we are dealing with fear induced by the recent Great Recession. These people are very much in the fearful class, not at all any sort of complacent class.

Megan cherry-picked. If you look at the Chetty paper, SLC Utah is not the highest at the statistic she keeps pointing out (the likelihood of moving from the bottom quintile to the top). It's fifth, and the four cities better at it are in coastal, big-government states: San Jose, San Francisco, D.C., and Seattle.

So, she found the one outlier among the top performers and used its low government spending to claim that government solutions don't work.

Dog kennel apartments? Yikes, they need to working on marketing a better name. Our own dogs don't even see a kennel! www.modernpetliving.com

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