Thursday assorted links

1. New Sam Peltzman paper about people moving to the political right as they age: “The change in mean Libcon from early adulthood (25) to old age (80) is substantial (over. 20 on the -1, 1 scale), and around half of this occurs after age 45.

2. Ryan Avent on E. Warren.

3. Meet the Pioneers crop of January 2020.

4. “Sperm donations taken from men after they have died should be allowed, a study says.

5. Malaysian 3-year-old joins Mensa (NYT).

6. Craig Palsson interviews Jason Crawford.

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My guess is allowing payment (beyond the 35 pound remuneration for travel etc.) would go a long in alleviating a shortage of sperm donation. But I guess that's much more complicated and morally fraught than taking sperm out of a dead guy?

This is why British couples come to the US for assisted reproduction. The availability of anonymous donation means comparatively many more donors.

That anonymity is an illusion. Already today, people are sending in DNA test kits to ancestry websites and discovering unknown relatives.

Twenty years from now it will only be faster and cheaper. Privacy laws are just a speedbump. Your kid will find you.

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Baffling to see Avent trying to balance the differences between the NY Times' endorsement of Warren and The Economist's take. Particularly when the NY Times really only gave her half an endorsement. And the NY Times gave us a rare glimpse into their process which hurt their credibility even more than the split outcome. Seeing some of their questions to the candidates and the subsequent deliberations was eye-opening.

That was a really awful article. He never explains what it is that Warren wants to do or why it would help anything, just makes totally unsupported assertions that the "distribution of power" should be changed. Straussian take: there is no defense of Warren aside from mood affiliation.

Avent

Problem: "Having neglected to take adequate account of the role of power in society, we have allowed power to concentrate in ways that make reforming the system very difficult."

Solution: Someone who promises to arrogate nearly the whole power of government to herself, even if it violates the constitution.

He's aware of the problems this would cause "If America’s problem is that power has become too concentrated in the wrong hands, the solution is not to concentrate lots of power in one set of hopefully benevolent hands."

But he wants to do it anyway.

He wants to give power to a liar and fibber etc like Warren. We’ve already got a POTUS who provides lies and fibs, but at least he’s not a fanatical social engineer.

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There is a big irony in Warren supporters in that they say they love her because she is a policy wonk and "has a paper for everything", but all the arguments in favor you typically hear are nebulous and nonempirical.

That's because if progressives openly state what they want in plain language, and why they want it, then they sound crazy.

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It’s like arguing that, because Nixon had such a high IQ, price controls must be a good idea.

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I kept scrolling trying to find the bit where he explains why he supports Warren and it never came. Bizarre piece.

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For those of us who chose not to look, can you give an example of what was on the NYT's' mind?

a movement performed in dressage and classical riding, in which a horse describes a circle of 6 yards diameter

A horse wearing a dress?
https://youtu.be/lWeNX5hQqo4

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Very hard to know what was on the NYT's mind. Transcripts are available for every interview. But the way the video presents it all in the 1 hour show is very telling. The biggest takeaway is that there are no adults in the NY Editorial Board room. I'm not talking about age as the group is diverse in every way, including age. I'm talking about someone willing to speak up at any point and point out that nobody is making any sense. The low point in the show is the clip where Binyamin Applebaum chastises Pete Buttigieg for being on the "front lines of corporate price fixing." They did a little dog and pony show of deliberations. Then they all wrote 2 names on pieces of paper, middle-school style. And a shocking number of editors wrote Booker's name even though he was already out of the race. And then you had to feel bad for Kathleen Kingsbury who had to decide and write the endorsement having received no useful input from the group of children on the Editorial Board. She then endorses two extremely different candidates, states "let the best woman win" and then we're all supposed to feel good about it. The whole thing was so laughable which is why I wonder what made Avent take it as something that required a serious examination.

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Anybody who leads with the idea that the "neoliberal world" began around 1980 is hard to take seriously. Government, at least in the U.S., is much larger (summing federal, state, and local expenditures as a percent of GDP) than it was in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or any imagined historical time when government had more power and resources.

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Hardly surprising that people move to the right as they grow up.

They also eat less paste. (Is there a paper on that?)

At its most fundamental level, this is the reason why immigration is so crucial for liberal politics. It's what I call the 'greater rube' theory. As a native population or middle class gain wealth, property, and skin in the game, they naturally want to defend these things from outsiders or those that wish to cheat. The importation of outsiders with nothing to lose and everything to gain completely unbalances the equation in favor of the cheaters and helps kick off the prisoner's dilemma.

This is why unfettered immigration and its cessation is THE ISSUE of our time.

Who is “cheating”? Immigrants gain wealth by working and creating goods and services that other people are willing to pay for, same as everyone else. The only difference is they were born in a different place.

Additionally, what does it mean to “defend” one’s wealth or property from “outsiders”? How do immigrants coming into the country reduce my wealth or property? They aren’t trying to plunder and confiscate my wealth. I own the same property as before and actually more wealth as immigrants grow the economy and therefore increase the value of many assets.

As for “skin in the game,” I’d argue that property and wealth and privilege are precisely what let people take skin out of the game. Your average immigrant is *far* more impacted by government policy than your average propertied middle-class person like me for whom politics is more of a spectator sport.

^

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The Inheritable IRA law just got changed. A lot of middle class citizens now have more skin in the game whether they know it or not because that’s how a lot of now middle class people probably built their wealth since the 80s.

The difference between what my parents inherited, what my husband and I inherited and what our family might inherit is vast to us. It might not be to others, but when one comes from nothing....
Most of our wealth is in our IRA.

“Outsiders” seems to me to be morphing into a broader term. “Outsider” could be anyone you think as alien because they have “alien” thoughts, like a “Deplorable.”

Virginia also seems it’s in the process of determining the definition of “Outsider.” A lot of its citizens want to defend their property against “outsiders.”

Outsiders

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The ideal national policies are found in:

Japan: monoculture, no immigration, aging population which means more conservative, less and less consumption leaving more for old people to consume

South Korea: similar to Japan

Italy, Greece, Portugal: aging socialist nations with high debt, the nations Trump models the future USA on

And the most right-wing and the majority of the FSU with leaders doing what Trump wishes he could do. Eg, Poland.

"The man who is not a socialist at twenty has no heart, but if he is still a socialist at forty he has no head."

What if he is a socialist at 77?

He runs for president.

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"How do immigrants coming into the country reduce my wealth or property? "

Well if they rock up and vote for candidates who support land value tax and reparation redistribution they could. And so on.

There's also the cascade where certain migration schemes probably would reduce property value in neighbourhoods they move to, if this is offset by new building, and if it's not offset by building, your kids probably face crushing property price increases. Migration isn't clearly very good for propertied incumbents...

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It's a spectator sport until they come for yours, Zaua.

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With respect to 2—believing Warren’s policy proposals are awful does not mean one thinks everything is perfect with the American economy...it just means one doesn’t believe the solution to every problem is cranking up ye olde printing press. In fact one of Warren’s plans is a solution to a problem created by federal money!?! So federal student loans made a mess of our higher education system and Warren’s solution is injecting MORE federal money into that system?!?

So a sound solution to the very real problem of high tuition costs is actually to (gasp) follow the lead of billionaire Bloomberg—wealthy people should donate specifically for tuition for students from middle class families. Once again, Harvard and Yale should take the lead on this with the goal of the top 100 private universities going tuition free for students from middle class families.

> believing Warren’s policy proposals are awful does not mean one thinks everything is perfect with the American economy

Yeah I resonate with this. Climate Change is a problem, but why are the only two stances that seem to exist "stick your head in the sand" and "ban all carbon energy"? That I'm not for the green new deal (because it's terrible and terribly stupid) doesn't mean I'm not for solving the problem.

Re warren student loans, this https://twitter.com/DailyCaller/status/1220388802285527046 is funny.

There is no reason to believe Anthropogenic Global Warming us a real phenomenon, let alone a real issue.

Sorry, Gregory, there is no reason to believe that AGW is not a real phenomenon, let alone not a real issue. What on earth drivel have you been reading or listening to?

The raw data without serious massaging yields no convincing pattern. There is no question that climates change over time; there is no evidence that we can successfully predict the manner or direction in which they change. It is certain that atmospheric carbon and other ‘greenhouse’ gases have an effect on solar capture; there is no evidence of an effect of great magnitude to this point. It is certain that we need to be restrained in our use of resources and restrict our pollution; there is no evidence that we are near running out of resources, or that catastrophic shortages or contamination of the planet is in progress.

The more alarms are sounded, the clearer it is that this is alarmists roleplaying what they wish were true, because if it were, their policies would be the only righteous and practical ones. It’s self-defeating. The more one cries that the sky is falling, the more people notice that the end times appear indefinitely delayed.

It is impossible for the average citizen to develop an educated first person view on climate change. 99% of opinions are mood affiliation.

My feeling is that the climate is changing and there are anthropogenic factors at play. In that regard doing something makes sense.

It is also clear that there is a huge degree of climate hysteria and that the most vocal and influential groups are either deceived or self-interested.

Views by courageous scientists such as Judith Curry are a welcome tonic, and solutions along the lines of those pose by William Nordhaus would have put us on a path to solving the problem 20 years ago if the climate-industry complex didn't in reality have ulterior motives

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Curry

https://www.dw.com/en/nobel-prize-in-economic-sciences-goes-to-william-d-nordhaus-and-paul-m-romer/a-45795842

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Nordhaus

+1, thread winner

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I agree. Please see the Wall Street Journal article today, featuring my book, at https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-invest-a-22-year-olds-tough-questions-about-capitalism-11579882164?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

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Let’s take a look at big government solutions for climate change. In America we chose to promote ethanol fueled by federal spending. In the EU VW, IG Metall, and Merkel convinced everyone that diesel passenger cars were the solution to climate change. Both of those big government solutions have been unmitigated disasters!

Guess what was happening in the private sector with limited federal help—Tesla and wind energy in America. So yes wind energy gets federal dollars but states must also invest in infrastructure to integrate that electricity into the grid. Yes Tesla received federal subsidies but its valuation is higher than ever as the subsidies have ended. So in both of those instances limited federal help was better than the more robust federal program promoting ethanol.

"In America we chose to promote ethanol fueled by federal spending"

We could have bought Brazilian ethanol for a fraction of the cost!

Ethanol is an agricultural subsidy masquerading as an energy policy, and so may not be a great example

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but why are the only two stances that seem to exist "stick your head in the sand" and "ban all carbon energy"

It's simple enough. Very few people actually believe that climate change is a problem.

On one side of the "climate" debate are a bunch of people who don't actually believe in it, but find it a convenient argument for a grab-bag of policy proposals that their tribe was already advocating back in the 1970s for entirely other reasons. On the other side is a bunch of people who notice that the people loudly screaming about it clearly don't actually believe in it, and therefore dismiss it as a disingenuous argument by the enemy tribe for that grab-bag of policy proposals.

The tiny fraction of people who actually view climate change as a problem to be solved are not just politically irrelevant, but are actively marginalized by the people using it to further their agenda. After all, if you're just trying to solve the problem, you might suggest actions like "build nuclear power plants" and "ocean fertilization", which would totally undermine the policy agenda.

+1

What is the empirical support for the claim that few people believe that climate change is not a problem? Whether true or not how does that change the best policy response?

Building from the above comments, the empirical support is simply revealed preferences. If people were serious about climate change being a problem, the two simplest, easiest, most effective, and most _cost_ effective things they should be supporting is a flat carbon tax and more nuclear power. Given that the vast majority of people claiming global warming is a threat (especially if they claim it is an existential threat) are instead in favor of cap-and-trade (a blatant patronage scheme) and rabidly anti-nuke gives the lie that that they actually believe what they're saying. And that's without going in to the wide smorgasbord of other policies that get pulled in that would have little effect on their claimed problem, or even exacerbate it.

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More and more I believe this is true:

Very few people actually believe that climate change is a problem.

On one side of the "climate" debate are a bunch of people who don't actually believe in it, but find it a convenient argument for a grab-bag of policy proposals that their tribe was already advocating back in the 1970s for entirely other reasons. On the other side is a bunch of people who notice that the people loudly screaming about it clearly don't actually believe in it, and therefore dismiss it as a disingenuous argument by the enemy tribe for that grab-bag of policy proposals.

The tiny fraction of people who actually view climate change as a problem to be solved are not just politically irrelevant, but are actively marginalized by the people using it to further their agenda. After all, if you're just trying to solve the problem, you might suggest actions like "build nuclear power plants" and "ocean fertilization", which would totally undermine the policy agenda.

This has been clear for 10+ years.

+1
Environmentalism (much like "diversity") is also turning into a career path for a bunch of people in the corporate world. Like investments where a bunch of people with ivy league degrees but who suck at investing and at forecasting are now turning into high paid climate change crisis advocates for 50 year forecasts that will be wrong. Which makes them suddenly "important" in the profession.

That's why the need the carbon taxes. How else are they going to pay for all those people?

A set of coordinated country-level carbon taxes that are revenue neutral and have border adjustments would do more to solve the problem than anything the IPCC has ever proposed.

But it won't pay for stuff

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2. But that means that to take best advantage of markets, you need to have in place all the various institutions which restrain and counterbalance the power that has a tendency to accumulate in an under-policed marketplace.

Quis custodiet ipso custodes?

This guy doesn't understand that markets are a natural, spontaneous part of human relations and that coercive modifications to them are the problem.

No, they are not.

Yes, they are. The tendency to specialize and trade rather than aspire to personal autarky is organic; people don’t need to be told to do so by a state. Even property rights conventions tend to develop without explicit state enforcement of private property.

Is there a single neolithic tribe practicing anything remotely like laissez-faire capitalism?

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“There is a loose consensus that handing so much of the job of allocating society’s resources over to markets and technocrats was a mistake”

Handing? Yikes

I thought that there were only two ways to allocate scarce resources: markets and government (technocrats). What other option does the author propose?

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> This guy doesn't understand that markets are a natural, spontaneous part of human relations and that coercive modifications to them are the problem.

Got a source on that?

How about the history of the world? There were markets before there governments.

Try reading Hayek some day....

MR. HAYEK: I know that, but there are a good many people in America who oppose planning who do not mean by that opposition that they think that there ought not to be any government at all. They want to confine the government to certain functions. You know, I do agree that this discussion here, as elsewhere, has been very confused. What I was trying to point out is that there are two basic and alternative methods of ordering our affairs. There is, on the one hand, the method of relying upon competition, which, if it is to be made effective, requires a good deal of government activity directed toward making it effective and toward supplementing it where it cannot be made effective."
"Hayek on Hayek: An Autobiographical Dialogue"

Hayek doesn’t seem to be saying anything about government preceding trade. Are you confused?

Anyhow, I agree with Hayek: trade is better when rule of law exists. But that has nothing to do with regulating trade, just protecting the right of people to own property (and dispose of it freely, as they see fit).

Anyhow, describe to me human life before trade and markets, but after government. That ought to be interesting.

An economy nowadays based upon of competition needs both government and rules. Fukuyama's two volume work addresses the evolution of government in a convincing manner from my point of view. Also, Braudel, Wallerstein, Skinner. Could you cite a source explaining your position to me? If you do, I will read it.

All you need are two guys out in the woods trading corn for fur pelts and you have a market. Really simple.

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1 - But they really move to the right in the specific political issues, or is more the lef/right frontier that moves to the left?

Seems like the latter. The study asked people to self-identify as “conservative” or “liberal” even though those terms have meant completely different things in different eras. At one point, free trade was the “liberal” position while protectionism was the “conservative” one, then it flipped, now it’s flipping back again.

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Maybe the left is moving further left. Today, JFK would be far to the right of the idiotic Bushes, Romney and most other fake conservatives.

"far to the right of the idiotic Bushes, Romney and most other fake conservatives."

They even allow Blacks to seat on the bus. This is clearly communism.

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+1

This is the key limitation here: asking a question on a self identified term, rather than on a spectrum of policies. I realise the author is trying to work within the GSS and identify aging impacts specifically, but still.

I'd be keen to see whether there are changes in the Hofstede Cultural dimensions with age. Several of these can be interpreted as 'conservative' (or liberal as the opposite), such as power distance, long term/short term orientation, uncertainty avoidance, or indulgence/abstinence. You could understand how an individual could transition from one side to the other as they age.

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That kid never took a real test if I recall. It was based on an evaluation.

That seems dubious and when I read it yesterday it felt like a publicity stunt.

Was the test “live“? I suspect parental fingers on the scale.

It was, I think, the result of an evaluation done by a physiatrist(s). I don’t think it was standard testing but the general impression of the professional. That is why I was suspect.

It's a stunt. IQ tests are hardly meaningful that young and usually one speaks of 'infant development' or something like that. The correlation with adult IQ is going to be low, <.5. He's likely going to regress to the mean, hard. He might not even qualify for Mensa as an adult if he's only at 142.

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Interested to link #1 with the study you tweeted about on girls that fail catastrophically on the dating market.
When young girls decide instead of their family, they choose liberal and useless boys, and then they regret.

If you click through, it wasn't a real study. It was a joke.

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#1 is encouraging. #2 is definitely not. I wonder if this guy even understands the implications of his post-modern "power is everything" mentality...

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#2 - Excellent write-up that aptly summarizes why I am partial to Elizabeth Warren, even though some of her proposals, such as on private equity, aren’t entirely sound. Power isn’t everything, but unchecked power is underrated as a value-destroying phenomenon.

Medicare for All is the single most important thing we can do politically today, and probably in our lifetime, and I think she is the most likely candidate to get it done. We also need to modernize anti-trust law and bring anti-trust enforcement back from the dead. Capitalism doesn’t truly work as intended without proper anti-trust enforcement. Our market system is partially broken, and a lot of deadweight loss is incurred because of rent-seeking monopolistic practices.

"Medicare for All is the single most important thing we can do politically"

Why? What would be the benefit?

"We also need to modernize anti-trust law and bring anti-trust enforcement back from the dead. Capitalism doesn’t truly work as intended without proper anti-trust enforcement. Our market system is partially broken, and a lot of deadweight loss is incurred because of rent-seeking monopolistic practices."

Do you have any evidence for this? Anti-trust laws were enacted to help producers and hurt consumers because efficient "monopolists" were driving prices too low.

One small example of monopolistic practices hurting the consumer: mobile phone, peripheral, and computer prices are too high because of Apple's monopolistic practices. Don't get me wrong, I love Apple more generally, and they're doing what they should be doing which is maximizing shareholder value.

Which specific practices? One is iMessage/FaceTime exclusivity. Customers are much more price insensitive to Apple's products as a result of those proprietary applications, which could very easily be made to work with other devices. As silly as it may sound, people are much more likely to stay in the Apple ecosystem because of those two services. Furthermore, because demand for iPhones is more insensitive than it otherwise would be, people's demand for iPhone peripherals, such as the Apple Watch, and even for iPhone-compatible computers (Macbooks), is more insensitive. I understand and support Apple's logic of "design software that is tightly integrated with the hardware, because that helps the consumer," but that logic does not hold in all circumstances. There is no doubt that consumers would benefit if iMessage is opened up. Even owners of iPhones would be happy, because their messages with non-iPhone owners would not arbitrarily break or disappear.

Apple's App Store also has monopolistic properties. Chiefly, it uses the sledgehammer of "we have millions of users" to extract a massive 30% fee from developers, who then pass a large portion of the fee onto consumers. There would be a more robust market for apps, and prices would be lower, if Apple didn't do that. The 30% fee takes an advantage in one area (iPhone sales) and uses it to extract rents in another area (sale of non-Apple software) with very little added value. That is definitionally monopolistic.

The damage doesn't end there. Because Apple consumers have a more insensitive demand curve, Android users also face higher prices and less innovation. They are more locked into their own ecosystem, because it is costlier to switch into the Apple ecosystem. As a result, Google and its manufacturing partners have more leverage to charge higher prices and/or innovate less.

That is one example of many of a monopolistic practice in the modern economy, and our antiquated anti-trust law is not fully equipped to deal with it. I am aware of the current App Store lawsuit, which may succeed. However, a Supreme Court decision in favor of developers would stretch anti-trust statutes to their limits. It's time to rethink anti-trust and take into account not only tech companies, but how much digital technology can enable previously impossible/impractical monopolistic practices among non-tech companies.

Dude, you don't have to buy Apple products. They aren't even over 30% of the market for smartphones and well under 20% for computers. The prices of non-Apple products in those products have been plummeting for decades. You're only hurting yourself if you have to have Apple products. "monopolistic" LOL

I hope the rest of your post was more intelligent than this.

It's a shame that you didn't read past the first paragraph because I made a direct connection to how that monopolistic practice raises prices and lowers innovation for everyone. You cannot opt out of the harm that is done.

There's no apps that you need that are only available on Apple. Non-Apple phones are as good or better, and far cheaper. Non-Apple computers are even more so. I don't use any Apple products (my wife does, it's not a big deal) and I have every bit as much utility as you do paying Apple too much.

You aren't discussing monopolistic practices, you are just saying Apple is too expensive. They aren't monopolizing anything.

Apple's anti-competitive practices reduce competition across the entire personal computing industry. The benefits of competition accrue when consumers are more likely to jump between different vendors. Apple's monopolistic practices make that less likely. You did not faithfully grapple with that argument.

Additionally, I want to make it clear that Apple isn't a monopoly. They aren't even creating local monopolies. My argument is that they are engaging in specific monopolistic behaviors, and monopolistic behavior is prosecutable under anti-trust law.

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"Medicare for All is the single most important thing we can do politically today..."
So you want long lines, long waiting periods, central command economy in the health sector, research in pharma to disappear, etc etc?
There is a reason why Canadians come to the US for treatment, there is a reason why Brits also buy private insurance, there is a reason why we have private markets in pharma development.
Medicare for All is just a gigantic Soviet system in the health care sector that will impoverish us all.

Let's not pretend that the healthcare market is capitalistic. It's not. It's crony capitalist. It's at the toxic intersection of zero price transparency and obscenely price insensitive consumers. 8-10% of our GDP is circling the toilet because doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and healthcare executives are extracting as much rent as they could. They do not deserve 20% of our GDP. The money wasted on healthcare, for outcomes that are just as good as countries that spend 10% of GDP, can be used towards infrastructure, education, and R&D.

The fact that we don't have better outcomes proves that statements about "Soviet waiting lines" are just gear mongering. Why should we pay double for the same outcomes? Besides, we can have a parallel private insurance system where you can pay for expedited service. Done. You can make another common argument which you haven't resorted to yet, the blame the fatties argument. Any regression on obesity and healthcare prices around the world would convince you that that is utter nonsense. Obesity has some impact, but it's small relative to the aforementioned 8-10% in waste. Besides, Medicare for All would incentivize the government to undertake Australian-style public health initiatives and build out pedestrian-friendly infrastructure that encourages a healthier lifestyle.

Last year, 50,000 Canadians (of 35 million people, 1 in 700) went abroad for medical treatment, almost all to the US, mostly for exotic cancer treatments which probably won't save them anyway.

One in 230 Americans went abroad for medical care, almost all for lower prices. Not for plastic surgery, but for joint replacements, fertility, dentistry, stuff that tends to be not insured.

Border control on both sides keep track of these numbers.

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It's almost like you're not even aware of the enormous literature on healthcare costs in the U.S. If you think Medicare for all would reduce prices (let alone 8-10%) you're just living in a fantasy. There's no justification for thinking that.

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Furthermore Medicare for All (M4A) actually makes more sense at the state level...but Warren and Bernie refuse to provide the leadership to make it happen in their respective states.

So in states like Vermont and Massachusetts all of the money necessary to fund a M4A program is currently being spent on health care. So you simply start the program by getting state employees and university employees to hand over their health care spending to the state Medicaid office. The state Medicaid office would then prove they can supply cheaper and better health care than BC/BS and then all employers will hand over their health care spending...which employer wouldn’t want to spend less on health care while delivering better results as promoters of M4A promise??

The reason they don’t do this is because state employees are satisfied with their health insurance and hospitals and doctors would revolt if they only had one entity to “negotiate” prices with.

"Hospitals and doctors would revolt" I would fully expect some of them too. All rent seekers kick and scream when you threaten their rents. I would be skeptical of any healthcare reform that didn't make them go into conniptions, because they are the problem.

to*

But that is why Bernie and Warren don’t implement M4A in states with very high support for M4A!! So if it can’t happen in Vermont in which it would be extremely easy to implement it obviously isn’t going to happen on a national level.

State M4A =/= Federal M4A. The latter is much more practical and doesn't have to contend with issues posed by the former. If balkanized monopsony healthcare was in any way a practical path to federal monopsony healthcare, you would have seen it much more in other countries that adopted a federal monopsony model (in the lead up to said adoption).

Canada’s health care system is run at the provincial level.

Once again, if all the money necessary to run a M4A program is currently being spent on health care in Vermont then it makes more sense at the state level...and yet Bernie fails to provide the leadership to make it happen???

I am aware of Canada's provincial system, but that is different from each province, on its own, in lieu of healthcare monopsony in other provinces, adopting provincial monopsony care.

At least you admit the way M4A “saves” money is by paying doctors and hospitals less. You do realize eventually that will lead to more high achievers going into investment banking??

Damn right it will save money by paying them less, and I'm disappointed that Warren doesn't say that explicitly. M4A will deprive them of their unfair economic rents. There is no other profession in the U.S. with so many people capturing so much economic rent.

As for the supply of medical labor, you just gave me an opportunity to point out another one of the myriad ways in which the healthcare sector is not capitalistic: Congress restricts the supply of medical residents, which is something that the healthcare sector lobbied for long ago (to increase economic rents) and has stuck around until now. Medical lobbying organizations were warning of an impending oversupply of doctors in the 90's, making their case that the number of residencies should not be increased. Only now have they changed their tune, playing 4D chess and avoiding further ire from the American public. Congress should have no role in regulating the number of residencies. Moreover, the cartel governing the number of medical schools and number of medical student admissions should be disbanded.

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Please don't talk about the Canadian Health Care System when you are woefully ignorant about it. I live in Canada, and I spent 120 straight days at one point last year in the hospital. That doesn't include numerous other visits to the doctor, hospital, etc. I had the best doctors, nurses , and aides one can hope for, and they saved my life. To insult such people is a disgrace. Oh, and I never received a bill. If you like your health care provision, that's fine, but don't lie to make a spurious comparative point.

10/10. Thanks Don. A Canadian perspective was sorely needed. Your people are constantly misrepresented on the healthcare issue in America. Clearly, your experience with the Canadian healthcare system was not a Kafkaesque, Soviet nightmare.

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Is “provincial” a dirty word??

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Want to trade anecdotes? I was just telling my friends yesterday about the time a Canadian doctor ripped my I.V. out, spattering the walls with blood, and then laughed about it, right there in my face.

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"but unchecked power is underrated as a value-destroying phenomenon"

Yes, and isn't that exactly the reason to oppose Warren? Her signature 'achievement' is the CFPB and she tried to make its power as unchecked and unaccountable as possible. Combine that with the economic unsoundness of her proposals and her promises to use executive orders to implement them wherever possible, and I agree with Tyler that she's the least attractive major candidate in my lifetime. Bad ideas combined with a will to impose them unilaterally and make them unaccountable to the Democratic process? What's not to hate?

Wilkinson and Avent supporting her isn't raising her status (for me anyway) it's lowering theirs. Significantly so.

The CFPB marginally adjusted an equilibrium that was skewed towards corporations and away from consumers. Let's be real, that is not problematic, especially considering the fact that the U.S. taxpayer is directly subsidizing our banking system, a fact that was made all too clear in 2008.

Whether or not it had good or bad effects is beside the point which is that Warren tried to make it unaccountable to any branch of government. This is a consistent problem with lefties -- they don't care how bad the process is as long as they think it will produce the desired result (they are willing to Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil). Do you really want Warren as autocratic bureaucrat in order to balance the 'skewed equilibrium'? (And why am I afraid your answer is 'yes'?)

Bypassing our Constitutional checks and balances in a way that violates the spirit of the law (as adjudicated by the Supreme Court through extremely thoughtful deliberation) is...unconstitutional. I have faith in our Constitution, and in the ability of our judicial system to ensure it reigns supreme. You can find many examples of what most of us would deem excessive executive power, in multiple past administrations. The fact remains that the Supreme Court prevents the most egregious violations from even being considered, because they're just a non-starter guaranteed violation of both the letter and spirit of the law.

How does asset forfeiture fit into the Constitution? Ignorant of anything discussed in the debate kabuki, has anyone bothered to question the best examples of presidential potential for their opinion of government theft and what they would do to end it?

The wealth tax can be viewed as another progressive tax. Constitutionally, the government is allowed to tax for both present and future expenditures. The government can either jack up the marginal tax rate (on both income and investments) to achieve revenues similar to a wealth tax, or it can add a wealth tax to its toolset. Think of it as discounting future marginal taxes to the present in a time of great need, perpetually until that need is resolved - viewed in that light, a 2% wealth tax is a discounted future marginal tax hike. The magnitude of that future marginal tax hike, and the number of years over which it is discounted, depends on some modeling assumptions. The primary variable is: when will the average American stop crying of desperation? When will the crushing burden of our modern economy be lifted, with its historic levels of automation, weak anti-trust enforcement, thieving, malincented tertiary education system, and comically uncapitalistic, kleptocratic healthcare sector?

The only difference between an extremely high marginal tax rate and a wealth tax is that wealth tax revenue would be more diffuse and affect new money and old money alike, rather than primarily new money.

If you're responding to the immediately above you've missed the point. The idea that government employees can confiscate moneywithout charging its possessor with a crime would have every president from Washington to Harding rightfully foaming at the mouth. If the constitution indeed allows such happenings it's past time to redo the system.

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That’s not an argument, that’s an empty vagary. The CFPB didn’t ‘tilt an equilibrium.’ It did specific things, like punish lenders for giving loaves to consenting borrowed and thereby violating laws that don’t exist other than in the minds of the CFPB.

You might as well say “broken window policing shifted the equilibrium against crime in favor of law abiding citizens” all the while ignoring those pesky details like the 4th amendment and the merits of not shredding it.

*giving loans to *borrowers.

Now you're getting into the nature of free-will. How were anti-usury laws constitutional, especially back when they were more prevalent and actually enforced? Surely no one will accept a loan with a rapacious interest rate, right?

It is completely within the purview of the government to constrain rapacious corporate behavior. That is much milder than other powers of government which have been exercised with no contest from the Supreme Court. It is also warranted by the fact that the banking system is subsidized by the American taxpayer.

The only legitimate question regarding the CFPB's Constitutionality is that of its structure. That is exactly what is being adjudicated. I am partial to the view that the President should be able to replace the head of the CFPB, so I really don't mind if that particular aspect of the CFPB is deemed unconstitutional.

I am partial to the view that the President should be able to replace the head of the CFPB, so I really don't mind if that particular aspect of the CFPB is deemed unconstitutional.

Good to hear -- but that is not a minor, neither-here-nor-there point. The idea of setting up an unanswerable department was to make sure that it would be immune to democratic elections -- sure, Republicans might win an election, even running in explicit opposition to what the CFPB was doing, but it wouldn't matter since the President would be powerless to change the direction of the CFPB (and its director could nominate its own successor). That's not how any of this is supposed to work. That was a de facto attempt to create a new 'deep state' bureau. That is evidently the way Elizabeth Warren prefers to operate (reinforced by her executive order promises) and surely would operate until a court stopped her. I don't want anybody with such autocratic tendencies anywhere near the levers of power.

We both agree that the original structure of the CFPB is wrong. However, I don't think the CFPB is an example of Warren displaying autocratic tendencies above and beyond those of past presidents (& current president), including the widespread, unchecked, clandestine wiretapping of American citizens that was explicitly authorized by Bush. That isn't what-aboutism: I like to focus on meaningful differences between candidates. The notion of Warren as an autocrat, trampling civil liberties and ushering in a neo-fascist era, just doesn't pass the sniff test for me. With all the checks and balances that we have, I don't think she'll even take us part of the way there (nor does she want to). It's just not going to happen.

She already has and she promises to do it more, but that doesn't pass the sniff test for you.

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"The notion of Warren as an autocrat, trampling civil liberties and ushering in a neo-fascist era, just doesn't pass the sniff test for me"

That's not what I'm suggesting. I'm suggesting she's promising to govern by executive fiat as far as she can get away with (cancel all college debts and ban fracking everywhere just for starters) and she's already shown (with the CFPB) that she likes the idea of creating immortal, anti-democratic government programs that are impervious to modification or control by the opposing party control when they are in office.

I suspect you can't smell the autocrat in any of this because you like the autocratic actions on offer.

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2. In the Soviet Union people felt that things had to change. The old system just wasn't working.

Along came Gorbachev. Things did change. A lot. And the situation developed not entirely to their advantage. Overall it was a good thing for the world. But not for the Russians themselves, in the immediate aftermath and a good long while after.

It seems inevitable now that America will get its own Gorbachev. If not this year, then surely in 2024, especially if the next recession has started by then. Change is in the air.

Executive orders will be used to ram through reforms. But radical disruptive change means big short term pain. What will last longer, the seemingly endless restructuring or the people's patience?

More than likely, things will come apart at the seams. Just like they once did in a very different time and place.

Unsurprisingly, a Russian Federation style system is the goal of the DNC. The policies and desires are very similar.

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What will last longer, the seemingly endless restructuring or the people's patience?

This is an interesting question because in the American corporate world, "seemingly endless restructuring" is pretty much a daily occurrence now. And no one much cares.

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1- Moving to the right. I wonder how this stacks up if controlled for Net Worth. In general, you make more money and have a higher net-worth as you age. Perhaps people find it harder to vote for higher taxes for themselves.

It's been said that everyone is conservative about the things they know best. So it makes sense that young people with no experience in the world would be liberal, but as you grow older and start a career, raise a family, maybe start a business, pay your taxes, and otherwise engage with the world you would become more conservative.

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#1, interesting to quantify it, but it's also pretty tautological. Progressive versus Conservative is always based on the state-of-politics in a given time. It's that way by definition: a progressive stands to gain from political changes, a conservative stands to lose from political changes. In most societies, a young person stands to gain from public investments, while an old person stands to lose. If you've accumulated wealth, a car, and a house over a lifetime; then you are pretty happy with the state of things. If you're young and have little to call your own; then you're angry at the state of things.

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#2. Scott Sumner has a good post up on this on EconLib. Sure things are rigged, but the progressive left including Warren completely misses the role of the regulatory apparatus in creating the rigging. It's a giant blind spot. Avant claims that we handed too much power over to "technocrats" and the market, but who are these technocrats, if not the bureaucrats running the regulatory agencies? Unions, and anti-trust enforcement, and consumer financial protection agencies - in large part these are mechanisms to rig the system in favor of or against varying interests. That's all part of how things are rigged. We've been here before, we've been where unions had a lot of power to determine wages and benefits - it didn't work out well. Unions support occupational licensing, precisely because it rigs the market in favor of licensed technicians.

Moreover, the parties themselves are now pretty thoroughly co-opted in their ideologies by the same interests who they think have this disproportionate power. They just have a massive blindspot for how they are themselves foot soldiers for various powerful interests. They're always pointing at amorphous and vague "corporations" and markets, but can't seem to understand that it's not "markets", it's the the interaction between markets AND government. More regulation, more control by government over the market, is not going to solve this problem, it's going to make it work. It will just add tools to the arsenal of everyone who wants to rig the market.

If they think that more direct democracy will prevent regulatory capture it will not. As I mentioned the parties themselves have been "captured" already and act as the means by which powerful market interests capture the regulatory apparatus. And the Democrats are completely blind to the ways in which they have been captured which makes their proposal to increase the regulatory power of government all the more dangerous.

It's a fine point you're making, but I think somebody like Avent would argue that you can't not have the regulatory agencies. Unregulated markets are scary and bad. Better to put the bureaucrats in place and then complain about them.

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For me, and this is just IMHO, today's (1/23) editorial of the Wall Street Journal "Warren't Banana Republic" is way more than enough not to vote for her, and to make all the effort that she disappears into the wilderness forever.

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2. Well, that sounds like it was written for me doesn't it?

I think it's legit, but if I were to point out one flaw it might be that it makes a better case for "someone like Warren" than Warren herself.

It might be that n+1 wonky plans aren't the best way to address abuses of power politically. It may even be that Sanders pulls people more towards "freshman socialism" for that reason. He doesn't have better plans, but he hits the problem politically every day.

That's sad for me because I'm no socialist. Still, I'd vote for chaotic good over chaotic evil.

Say what you want about Bernie, at least he’s not a liar.

Unlike the current POTUS, Warren and Biden.

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'Cuz that's who's getting the Democrats' nomination. He'll probably tap Kamala Harris for VP.

Biden is the institutionalist who thinks things can be corrected. It would be nice if that were the case, but progress on impeachment says maybe not.

Too few are actually standing for institutional integrity.

But that's who's getting nominated. And looks like a coin flip on the winner.

I’d tend to agree with you, but I think there’s still a chance Sanders pulls it out. Maybe 20%?

If Warren drops out after NH Sanders would definitely have a real shot. Bloomberg might pull enough voters from Biden on Super Tuesday who doubt his ability to go the distance.

The timing of Warren dropping out is probably one of the deciding factors of how 2020 plays out.

Pelosi delaying the impeachment to keep Sanders and Warren stuck in DC right before Iowa was a potential master stroke for cutting the legs out from under the progressives.

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Which institutions? The electoral college? The allotment of police powers to the states?

Pretty much no one, least if all anyone running for president or the emergent Warren fan club of Wilkinson, Taylor, etc., cares about institutional integrity; they care about strengthening institutions they believe are conducive to their favored policies, and destroying institutions (who’s existence is redefined as ‘corruption’) that aren’t. I wish we could all just admit that we’re all cynical consequentialists, and some people would stop hiding their cynicism behind (highly selective) “institutionalism.”

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One thing Warren and HRC have in common is that both are utterly detestable to the average Joe or Jane voter, because they are both shrill people who give off an extremely bad vibe. Another thing they both have in common is that people in the Democratic echo chamber seem totally unaware of this and extremely keen on voting for her.

If the goal is to defeat Trump in the next election, nominating Warren seems like lunacy.

I wonder what the critical variable is here *thinking*

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#2: Power undermines markets’ capacity to do good for society. It would be nice if that weren’t so, but it is. But that means that to take best advantage of markets, you need to have in place all the various institutions which restrain and counterbalance the power that has a tendency to accumulate in an under-policed marketplace. You can’t count on well-meaning policy-makers to do that for you, because the system becomes corrupted by the influence of powerful economic actors.

But you can count on Elizabeth Warren, because _________________!

All in all, I found that essay kinda lame. We get it, the author has this gnawing fear that powerful, unnamed economic entities are going to transform the US into an oligarchy, but of course he never says who and he never says how. Gee, why might that be? Because if he stated it explicitly, his paranoia would be revealed for being exactly that. Because if Standard Oil and its successor organizations were really going to take over, they would have done it by now.

Power is necessarily zero-sum. Correcting the balance of power means reducing the power and privilege that the powerful and privileged now enjoy. And that’s a very icky notion to a lot of people.

Imagine that, if you go around telling everyone that power needs to be redistributed from them to you and people like you in order to "correct" some imbalance, they might be a tad suspicious of your motives. Ain't it funny how your self interest just happens to align with the self interest of the nation writ large in this formulation, eh, buddy?

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Again, if there is one idiosyncrasy of this forum, and it's leaders, is that we must maintain utter silence on the most pressing, and precedent setting, abuse of power in the last century of government.

Avent did actually call it out, but you didn't pick up on it because?

".. the old, law-respecting way of doing things isn’t going to magically re-establish itself. Things are not ok, and they aren’t going to get better on their own."

To me it's really just comical at this point. You all at MR act like abuses of power are theoretical risks of future Democrats, and *that's* when you'll notice.

I don't know why you keep doing this. This is like three comments threads in a row now where you've deliberately ignored the risks of regulatory capture because Trump is a nutjob.

I agree, Trump is a nutjob. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that regulatory capture is awesome. It doesn't even mean that regulatory capture is better. But more importantly than that, we're talking about candidates in the Democratic primary election. It's not Warren vs. Trump. It's Warren versus a bunch of other Democrats, some of whom favor policies less susceptible to the risks of regulatory capture.

So, no, we're not going to talk about Trump right now because, right now, Warren isn't running against Trump.

It's a deflection. He doesn't like reading things critical about Warren, so he tries to engage in some whataboutism re: Trump without seeming like he's doing that.

Come on. You have an impeachment in progress. You don't want to talk about it. You want to hand-wave about what Warren might someday do.

And you accuse me of whataboutism?

Get a mirror, stand in front of it.

The 'impeachment in process' is pure theater, as the outcome is known well in advance. So it's just each side grandstanding hoping to rally their base for November.

It's dysfunction that makes it kabuki, and makes abuse of power "beneath mention."

The Dems are mentioning it with every breath they take. It's just predetermined that Trump will not be convicted, and everyone including the Dems know this. That's why it's theater, we already read the script.

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You have an impeachment in progress. You don't want to talk about it. You want to hand-wave about what Warren might someday do.

Your third sentence is wrong; I was commenting on the essay linked above, just like everybody else. Sorry if you didn't like what I had to say, but that isn't my problem. All else equal, I'd prefer to never think about Elizabeth Warren again. Your second sentence assumes facts not in evidence, and the first sentence is irrelevant.

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If you think Trump's call to Ukraine was even in the top twenty abuses of power by a federal government official this century, you're an utter idiot.

Agreed. I don't like Trump, I didn't vote for him in '16 and won't in '20, but it appears to me that the abuses of power deployed against his campaign and administration are far worse than his own.

That's just a sound bite. It isn't a Mueller Report. It isn't the President's defense copping to the charge. It isn't the President himself on tape saying yup I did it.

But you don't care.

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+1

Credit where it’s due, unless different anon. We’re not even 18 years past “forced rectal feeding” at Guantanamo. Iraq invasion. Abu Ghraib. Rendition. Droning American 16 year olds. Libya.

It was a different anonymous, and those are different in kind. All overseas for one thing. But more importantly not striking at the foundations of democracy.

"...not striking at the foundations of democracy."

Perhaps not those, but how about weaponizing the IRS to deny non-profit status to opposing political organizations? Or using a bogus 'dossier' and lies and omissions to fool the FISA court into giving you permission to wiretap the opposing campaign and hobble the new administration? Trump trying to get Ukraine to investigate the (obviously corrupt) Bidens just doesn't rate. In my opinion. I still won't vote for Trump (or any of the Democrats on offer for that matter), but I think the impeachment is banana-republic farce.

"weaponized"

I know those cases, and they were brush back pitches, not weapons of mass destruction.

So to recap:

Rape, extrajudicial murder (of American children) and torture under orders of the President is less bad than withholding foreign military aid for politically motivated (but real) corruption investigations.

I’d believe your case at least marginally more if you come out strongly with an argument that Burisma is not corrupt, and Bidens appointment to the board was not an exercise in corruption.

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Nobody said anything about mass destruction. But political groups that can't get non-profit status approved can't operate (which is its own outrage). And it doesn't necessarily take a lot of those kinds of dirty tricks to tip a close election.

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"Or using a bogus 'dossier' and lies and omissions to fool the FISA court into giving you permission to wiretap the opposing campaign "

Exactly. This is far worse than what Trump did. The FBI repeatedly lied to the oversight Judge to get illegal wiretaps on a Presidential candidate. That's pretty close to Watergate level.

Dude we’re so far gone beyond unhinged. Let’s hear from the actual witnesses. Subpoena Joe and Hunter Biden. If it smells like corruption....

Let’s hear from the witnesses. If it’s all above board then Trump did something wrong. If Not...

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Well, we have Biden admitting on national TV to exactly what Trump is being accused of. Also Obama's using the IRS against the Tea Party, and of course, his use of the FBI to spy on Trump's campaign. All these are actually illegal, not like what anything Trump's being impeached for.

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Who doesn't secretly want an enema, deep down? Read about the crowd around Louis XIV.

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“The old, law respecting way of doing things..”
Jesus Christ, go read a history of that three centuries, then spare us this “back in the day” horse shit. The golden age didn’t happen.

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Ah well, done for now, but I think we've demonstrated something about the MR tribe.

Sure they are happy to fret about Warren and the future.

But remind them of crimes worthy of impeachment this week?

They'll overturn the furniture.

Why lie when people can scroll up?

9/10 commenters as per usual express a visceral dislike of Trump and would much prefer a different president. Of course the topic is Warren, because that’s the link for discussion.

The person that disagreed with you the most said they didn’t vote for him and wouldn’t again in 2020.

Good lord.

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The linked article was about Warren, so we're talking about her. It's called staying on topic.

A couple of days ago there was a link about the Queen's eldest grandson advertising milk on Chinese TV. Be sure to go over there and point out that Trump is totally doing worse.

Actually he did.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/01/sunday-assorted-links-247.html#comments

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Nice motte and bailey.

If people were arguing that Warren is less bad than Trump, fine, that’s not unreasonable. I’m not convinced, but it’s not unreasonable. But no, Aventa, And Wilkinson, and Taylor etc. are actually jumping over the more obviously sane choices like Biden and Buttigieg to positively promote Warren, even though she’s not remotely on track to win the nomination. That’s what’s absurd here. If this discussion were happening in July after she’d won the primary, it’d make sense; or even if she were the front runner. But as it is, all this positive support she’s getting from formerly reasonable people while her campaign is on its death bed is disturbing.

*damn it, supposed to be response to anonymous one post above. Damned iPhones. That’s it, I support breaking up Apple.

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Avent ties it to Trump three times in his essay.

Am I the only one to read that far?

There is a long time columnist in Canada that says when politicians run as leader of the opposition they usually win that position.

Avent quite clearly outlines the current accepted wisdom among those who have no constituents. The Democrats have been tripping over each other to line themselves up with the enlightened thoughts that they read in the NYT or Economist magazine. The current impeachment strategy was dreamt up at CNN and the Democrat house leadership are dutifully carrying it out.

Of interest was Trump's speech at Davos yesterday where he pretty well laid out his election platform. He said that decisions are made with the interests of the working class in mind. You can argue whether that is true, but Avent laid out policies who are purposefully going to hurt the working class, and the Democrats are gleefully repeating them.

The media world has changed; at one point in the past what the media had to say was roughly representative of the interests of the citizenry; it had to be because they depended on them subscribing or watching to cover the enormous expenses of production. But that isn't the case anymore. Media is the shortest route to political influence, unmoored from any accountability or feedback mechanism to keep the level of stupidity at bay.

Trump recognized that fact, that they can make enormous amounts of noise with no real influence, and won the election in 2016. Since then he has strategically attacked and weakened the power of the media, recognizing that their whole business model is based on making noise, so he provides them opportunity to make lots of noise. He successfully convinced enough Republicans that such is the case, and started dismantling the regulatory state, setting a torrid pace at appointing judges; now 1/3 of the Federal judiciary are Trump appointees, and dramatically changing the US foreign policy structures and practices.

In 2015-16 within the Republican party whoever threw a political consultant out of a second floor window was going to win the nomination; Trump simply didn't have any, so he won.

In 2020 the Democrat who throws a journalist out of a second floor window will win the nomination and likely the presidency. But no one will, and that is their problem. They believe that the media actually represents opinions of the citizenry at large. They don't. But good press is so intoxicating that they will crawl over glass for the next hit, and lose the election.

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What is the "it" that he ties to Tump? The reason why Warren is better than every other Dem candidate? Because he never actually gives any reason other than that "power needs to be redistributed"

"It" is the same thing the NYT endorsement essay, and I, have talked about.

It's whether you think "this is fine" (or at least within the range of adjustment) or you think we face serious structural problems (and need more radically transformative solutions).

As I say, I'd like to believe it is the former, but worry that is the later.

Increasingly the institutions of democratic government are not just undefended, they are off the radar of concern. At least for the 40% of Americans who think they are getting their way.

I swear, a lot of you seem more concerned with your tax bill than whether you even have democracy. Not even your tax bill, you're more worried that the billionaires don't lose a dime.

3 years of crying wolf and no lessons learned.

What institutions of democracy are under attack? I can think of a few ..

The institutions under attack are the Electoral College, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. All of which leading Democrat nominees for president have vowed to completely dismantle.

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Avent claims healthcare "doesn't have to suck", but seems to miss that the tax structure of the current system is the largest tax subsidy in the US, and so far as I can tell, in the world. It is beyond silly to think that will change.

Avent laments US climate policy, as though (a) this policy can actually run against the wishes of the median voter for any sustained period of time and (b) it somehow matters what the US does regardless of China, India, and the rest of the developing world. This makes as much sense as suggesting that political reform in Alberta would have prevented WWII or that a better agricultural policy in Texas would have prevented the Spanish Flu epidemic.

But above all, he assumes that power in the hands of a Warren or the like would be in any way more righteous than power other places. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FROM HISTORY TO SUPPORT THIS THEORY.

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Re 5 - not the first parent who has compromised the privacy and wellbeing of their child due to the pathological attention craving impulses which are enlivened by Instagram.

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#2 My fundamental disagreement with Ryan is to question the implicit assumption (unless I misunderstood his point?) that fundamental change has to be linked to a lot of specifically "bad" policies like wealth taxation, "Green New Deal" and (by silence on the issue trade restrictions) instead of progressive taxation.

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Ryan Avent says we need “an outbreak of social activism and political mobilization which guides reform-minded politicians, which strengthens their hand politically, but which can also serve as a check on the power of those at the top.” This is pie-in-the-sky silliness. Why not just call for all people to act like knowledgeable, intelligent, omni-benevolent angels? Then we could largely dispense with politics.

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I guess that applies to Tyler and Alex too. I suspect Tyler may be cyclical, so his rightward shift could stop or reverse.

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