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Offline DakotaT  
#31 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2013 2:17:08 PM(UTC)
DakotaT

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Personal income has increased by 143%. Where's that happening Wade? Try convincing the working poor that we shouldn't be hammering the wealthy on taxes. You know those folks doing all the work that really matters and being paid shit wages. No sir the people that looted the country can now get us all out of the shithole they created.

Please explain to me how Dubya took over the Presidency with a budget surplus and left the Presidency with the country on the verge of financial collapse - what was the process by which he fucked things up so bad. 2 things stick out that you can't deny - his tax cuts and putting unfunded wars on credit.

And what did the benefactors of the tax cuts do with the extra scratch in their pockets. These great job creators we always hear about - they outsourced their businesses overseas. And then they have the nerve to consider themselves patriotic. Had they actually trickled down their tax savings by expanding businesses and creating jobs, the economy would have been better off. But that fairy tale of trickle down economics is only swallowed up entrepenuer wannabes. The benefactors know they just screwed the neighbors cat and poor definitely know they have been bent over. Any adult person that is part of the famous Romney 47% income bracket that actually votes for Republican is a moron because he doesn't vote his economic interest.

Had Clinton's tax rates never been touched, we could have paid for our wars as we went along and this depression that all of you have been suffering through would have never happened.

I appreciate all the numbers you've thrown together, but they really are bulk numbers distorted to your argument.

Edited by user Tuesday, January 8, 2013 3:47:17 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline Wade  
#32 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2013 5:13:04 PM(UTC)
Wade

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As opposed to your using no numbers at all to support yours?

Of course I use numbers that support my argument. I don't know numbers that support yours. I'm not sure such numbers even exist, but I'm willing to listen if you or anyone else here puts them forth. The numbers I know are why I believe as I do. (Of which, btw, the above are just a small subset of what I could find; I looked them up between the time I read your post and the time I posted mine.)

Oh, by the way, those numbers that I found, on personal income, etc.? They're not mine. They're the government's. You don't trust the government's numbers but you trust them to spend your wealth wisely. (The only ones that weren't government numbers were the ones on the number of millionaires, etc., and I'm willing to bet someone was willing to dig deep enough, they're drawn in large part from government sources as well.

(Yes, your wealth. I'm safe. Thanks to my personal spending habits I have none for them to take. All they can take is my not-much-over-the-national-average income.)

Refutation still requires better numbers.

I expect I'll keep waiting.

Want me to admit that Bush The Younger was bad for the economy? Sure, that's not hard. Want me to admit that Clinton the Male was not as bad for the economy as Bush the Younger? Heck, I'll even admit that for the sake of argument. It's not the important question, anyway.

The important questions are (i) "why the heck has every President at least since Reagan, and probably since Eisenhower, been worse for the economy than the one who preceded him, and (ii) why, given fact (i), do people keep failing to realize that, when it comes to economics, "political solution" is an oxymoron?

Personally, I think the answer to (i) and (ii) both lies with our collective innumeracy and the poverty of our training in logic. If *we* paid more careful attention to logic, we wouldn't be so susceptible to public rhetoric from the right and from the left that constantly relies those fallacies that zombieslayer loves to rail against. And if we paid more careful attention to numbers, we wouldn't be so susceptible to quantitatively unsupportable arguments about big, small, fast, slow, significant, insignificant, etc.

But of course, three generations of increasingly shoddy educational practices and three generations of increasingly irresponsible journalism, exacerbated by several generations of technological change in communications, has moved us in the exact opposite direction.

Despite well over a century of public education, despite the land grant system and the GI Bill, despite the telephone and the television and the personal computer and the Internet, we are as a nation less literate, less competent at identifying logical fallacy, and less able to measure and weigh evidence.

Do you realize just how few in the "voting public":

1. Can identify an order-of-magnitude error?
2. Realize that the margin for error in a national income statistic like GDP is at best 1/10th of 1% (and probably one or two orders of magnitude bigger)?
3. Realize that an error of 1/10 of 1% for GDP of the USA is going to be about $150 billion dollars?
4. Realize that we are better at measuring GDP than any other aggregate economic variable?
5. Realize just how often the numbers the idiots in Washington use to make their arguments and counter-arguments, the numbers the idiots at CNN and Fox and NPR purport to "report" about, are almost always numbers SMALLER that that margin for error, and that therefore how meaningless the "quantitative" part of their argument is?

Do you realize that in historical terms an increase in average per person real income of just 1.5% a year had never existed ANYWHERE prior to 1750 for more than a few years? That the average rate of growth in per person real income per year prior to 1750 ANYWHERE IN THE FUCKING WORLD was about 0.02 percent? Not 2 percent, 2/100 of a percent.

Do you realize that 1.5%/yr is two orders of magnitude greater than 0.02%/year.

Do you realize that in historical terms an increase in real average real income of about 1.5 percent per year means a doubling of per person income in just two generations worth of time. (As opposed to 175 generations under the old system?)

Oh, yes, and how long is a "two generation" period of time? Somewhere between 30 and 40 years.

Do people seriously think we are worse off today than we were in our grandparents' day? SERIOUSLY????

Are we more neurotic? Perhaps. Are we bigger whiners? Perhaps. Do we have more sense of entitlement? Absolutely. Are we more spoiled? Absolutely. Do we have more stress? Probably.

I mean, how many of us think an average return on investment of about 1.5% per year over our lifetime would be a good one? Of course not. We want more, more, more.

But are we worse off for having averaged that much? Not hardly.

LET ME SHOUT THIS LOUD: WE ARE NOT WORSE OFF THAN OUR GRANDPARENTS WERE.

Fact: Purchasing power is higher.
Fact: We have the ability to choose far more leisure. (That we don't do so, doesn't mean we have fewer choices; it merely means we have more things we want to do with our wealth.)
Fact: We have better health. Our children have better nutrition. We have better prescription meds and we have better over-the-counter care. We have better diagnostic tools (even those of us who can't afford med insurance).
Fact: We live longer. Look at life expectancy. Look how many more people are surviving well past 75 or even 80.
Fact: We can do things a lot longer. Look at the things 70-80 year olds do today and compare it to what 70-80 year olds could do 30 years ago.
Fact: We can do a lot more things. More travel. (How many people do you know who have been to a foreign country, or to 10-20 different states. How many of your grandparents never left their own state?
More education.
More stuff of a thousand different kinds. More expensive hobbies.
More choices of a thousand different kinds. More food choices. More sports to choose from. More than three kinds of beer on tap. More of just about anything to choose from.
Fact: Our environment is in far better shape. Anyone remember what the Great Lakes looked like 30 years ago? How much highway litter there was 30 years ago? How much more gas we wasted per mile 30 years ago? Anyone remember what the skyline over Gary, Indiana looked like 40 years ago?
Fact: We know a lot more about a lot more. Wikipedia is BETTER than the World Book Encyclopedia OR the Encyclopedia Brittanica. We know a lot more about what is bad for us.

Yes, the gap between "rich" and "not rich" has increased. And I'd rather be rich than as effed-up financially as I am, and I'm glad I'm in my financial position rather than that of those in the bottom 10% of the population.

But I'd also rather be in the bottom 10% of today's population than in the bottom 10% of the population 30 years ago. And it wouldn't even be a hard choice.

Yes, I wish I were 30 years younger, but that's a different sort of problem. I'll take being 30 years younger today over being 30 years younger 30 years ago; and I'll take being 30 years older today over being 30 years older 30 years ago. Every damn time.

Because you can pick any segment of the population you want -- shall we say the bottom 10%, just to be crotchety about it? And look at the numbers. And you'll find, for any measure of human well-being I can think of, that people in that segment of the population will be better off today than they would have been 30-40 years ago.

And I dare anyone, again, to find me quantitative evidence that says otherwise.

And if you do so, any time in the next four years, I'll vote for whichever political candidate you wish.




None of the above. It wouldn't have been a wasted vote. Obama and Romney -- Those were the wasted votes.
Offline DakotaT  
#33 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2013 6:00:56 PM(UTC)
DakotaT

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I hope you didn't neglect your students to write that on our behalf. I don't think we're better off than 30 years ago, and it has nothing to do with quantitative evidence - it had to do with the mood of the country. People were happier back then and this country wasn't polarized like it is today. I absolutely hate the mood of this country, and I live in the ivory tower.
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Offline Wade  
#34 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2013 6:45:33 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DakotaT Go to Quoted Post
I hope you didn't neglect your students to write that on our behalf. I don't think we're better off than 30 years ago, and it has nothing to do with quantitative evidence - it had to do with the mood of the country. People were happier back then and this country wasn't polarized like it is today. I absolutely hate the mood of this country, and I live in the ivory tower.


No. I don't teach this J-term, so I don't see a classroom until the last week in January. The only student I have this month is my student worker who is doing an independent study, and I'm pretty much ready for our next meeting on Thurs.

Actually, writing my responses to you has served double duty for me. I'm teaching a new course in "quantitative awareness" this spring, and you help me see what works and what doesn't. Big Grin

I actually agree with you on the mood part and the polarization. I agree with you that people were happier back then.

My disagreement is about the actual conditions of life. Based on what we have, both in material things AND in opportunities, we are better off than our grandparents were. But we have convinced ourselves that the reason we're less happy is that we have less things and less opportunities.

The basis of our unhappiness, the real basis, is not economic. If it were truly economic in nature, we shouldn't be unhappy at all, because by every economic measure I know, we are better off, a lot, than our grandparents were.

I don't claim that my numbers explain why we're unhappy. They merely highlight that the real reasons run far deeper than ones of economic well-being or lack thereof. We may associate it with being "rich" or "poor," but that's an incorrect association.

I think this is why I so often point my fingers at politicians and educators. I don't rail against the educators because they are evil or bad, I rail against them because they have helped ensure our ignorance. I don't rail against politicians just because they evilly take "my" economic wealth from me (tax issues are, in the end, some of those side issues of economics again), but because they are in the business of encouraging people to be unhappy and blame others for their unhappiness, and because they feed better the more ignorant we stay of what they are doing.

But in the end, I agree with Pogo. The enemy, if we must label someone an enemy, is not the educators, and it is not the politicians. It is not the Rich and it is not the Poor. It is not Big Business and it is not The Labor Union the Republicans or the Democrats, the Liberals or the Conservatives or even the Libertarian-anarchists. The enemy is none of these abstract groupings we place other people to and then assign the capital letters of The Enemy. No, the enemy, the real reason for our happiness can be seen in our own mirrors. The enemy is us.

It is WE who have the whacked values that we must have more and more stuff. It is WE who are jealous of wealth we consider ours and envious of wealth held by others. It is WE who let ourselves be dependent on our schools for our learning and for other's credentials. It is WE who let ourselves be manipulated by Madison Avenue and Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and CNN and FoxNews and, yes, by the abusers of numbers, too.

I don't know why we are so unhappy as a people. Heck, I can't figure out what I the individual am so unhappy so much. I only know that economics should NOT be the reason for our unhappiness, because economically we have it better than anyone else ever has.

I agree and share your fervid dislike of the mood in this country. I just believe, to my very core, that we aren't ever going to cure our unhappiness until we recognize that it isn't grounded in economics but in something else, and put our efforts into figuring out what that something else is. And in getting that something else, whatever it is, fixed.



None of the above. It wouldn't have been a wasted vote. Obama and Romney -- Those were the wasted votes.
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