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Is Obama Attempting to Buy Votes from College Students?

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It is an amazing thing how politicians believe that all you have to do is throw money at a problem and it will go away. Or perhaps I give the scoundrels too much credit, as their ultimate goal is to buy votes from an unsuspecting, naïve electorate. Whatever the case, Barack Obama is at it again, this time proposing to spend more money to stave off the negative effects of high college tuition on America’s higher education students.

Late last week, the president unveiled a plan to give relief to Americans affected by high college costs while at the same time providing incentives to colleges and universities to contain tuition costs. Key provisions of the plan include boosting federal spending on Perkins loans from $1 billion to $8 billion, keeping interest rates low for current student loan recipients, and doubling over the next five years the number of work-study jobs available to college students. Further, the president’s plan would force institutions of higher learning to contain tuition costs or risk losing federal funding.

Now, this isn’t the first time since becoming president that Obama has upped the ante when it comes to spending on higher education. In fact, he has more than doubled Pell Grant funding and spent billions more on college subsidies in his so-called stimulus act and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Given the fact that college tuitions continue to rise, you’d think that Mr. Obama would have learned that more money thrown at higher education doesn’t help college students. The direct opposite happens. Yes, college students take the money and go to school, but the end result is that many of them have debts they will never be able to pay off. In fact, student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt in America. Additionally, since many high paying jobs have gone overseas, college graduates are finding it harder and harder to acquire positions that will give them any chance to pay down their debts. Only about half of the jobs obtained by recent college graduates even require a college degree.

But more importantly, it is precisely because the government is spending billions every year to subsidize higher education that costs have gone through the roof. Since 1980, congressional funding of college Pell Grants has increased by 475 percent, after adjusting for inflation. At the same time, the cost of tuition has skyrocketed by over 430 percent. Economist Richard Vedder has pointed out that the same dynamic that causes health care costs to soar is also at work in higher education: third-party payments. When someone else is footing the bill, consumers are more willing to purchase the good or service provided. The inhibition of cost is removed, demand increases, and tuition, like medicine and medical care, gets more costly.

What has been created by Washington’s policies is a financial bubble in higher education.  As with various bubbles in the stock market, dot com industry, and housing before it, the federal government has pumped tons of cash into higher education, bidding up the price of the service. We are at a point where the benefits of a college degree do not offset the high costs thereof. At some point, when enough Americans realize it and stop being lured into the government’s financial trap, the demand for higher education will drop and with it the cost. Of course, Uncle Sam will continue pumping even more money into the system to feverishly re-inflate the bubble. That has been the track record of our government in the current financial bubble, there is no reason to believe it won’t do the same thing in higher education.

To solve the problem of high college costs, government must end its subsidies to the industry. In the absence of the market-determining interest rates, government should be raising rates for students, not lowering them. Government sponsored grants should be abolished altogether. These two acts would decrease the demand for higher education, causing its artificially high price to tumble back to reality. Since there are few jobs requiring a college degree right now anyway, this seems like a good time to burst the bubble.

With thirty years of proof that government subsidies to higher education cause higher tuition rates, you’d think the last thing President Obama would propose is more spending on college education. Perhaps his ultimate goal is to buy votes from an unsuspecting, naïve electorate?

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About Kenn Jacobine

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Wow. Look at the following train of logic:

    it is precisely because the government is spending billions every year to subsidize higher education that costs have gone through the roof.

    And what happens, according to Kenn? Demand increased because more prospective students could go to college, thereby driving costs up.

    So let’s say Kenn is right on the money. That means that if the government had just kept out of it, far fewer students would have been able to afford college, which means demand would have been lower, and so would costs…

    …but the key thing is, far fewer students would have gone to college, rather than far more. And which is better for the nation? Hm?

    Kenn, FYI, as in most other things, you get what you pay for – and if you want to live in a nation of people who have a higher-than-average level of education, you’re going to have to pay the TAXES in order to make that happen…which is why the oh-so-socialist nations of the world tend to have a much more educated population than those nations that provide little or no assistance to those who want higher education.

  • lucascapps

    I am sure High Speed Universities will offer an affordable and flexible alternative for any one seeking a higher education degree at an affordable price in a short time.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    As usual you haven’t a clue about how economics works. How do you know how many students should attend college? I would never pretend to. Maybe too many go and now there are no jobs for most of them. Is that an efficient use of our resources both monetary and human? Only the free market can decide that issue not some bureaucrat or politician..

    In the industries where government subsidizes there are high costs. The cost of technology generally goes down over time, but not technology in health care because Uncle Scam has his mitts all over it.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    Put another way, who decides how many computers Apple produces? The market. So why shouldn’t the same principle apply to education. The market should decide who goes and who doesn’t. You are belittling non-college jobs by saying everyone should be able to go to college.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Riiiiiight. It’s a bad thing to encourage more kids to go to college if the ‘free market’ says they shouldn’t.

    Hate to break this to you, Kenn, but America ain’t the freest market in the world…and that’s WHY we have more kids go to college! I’m going back to asking you the same kind of questions you’ve always refused to answer before – WHY is it that the oh-so-socialized First World nations have it so much better? WHY is it that the oh-so-socialized First World nations have a much more educated population even though they do NOT let the free market determine how many kids go to college? WHY is it that there are ZERO First World nations that are anything close to the free-market capitalist ideal that you think would result in a stronger economy? WHY is it that while there are ZERO First World nations that operate on libertarian ideals, there’s LOTS of Third World nations that operate on libertarian ideals…and yet REMAIN Third World nations?

    Kenn, perhaps it would be more understandable if we were to use a metaphor. In the Great Game of Socialists versus Free-Marketers, the score is determined by how many First World nations one has, compared to how many Third World nations one has. Right now the Socialists, who stacked their lineups with liberals, elitists, statists, and unions, whereas the Free-Marketers invested in corporatists, conservatives, and libertarians.

    And what’s the score? Well, so far the Socialists haven’t been perfect – there’s at least a quarter of socialized nations that aren’t in the first rank of the First World, but they’ve still got a batting average of well over .600.

    But what’s the score for the Free-Marketers? Zero! Their batting average is zero. They’ve got zero nations that are in the First World!

    And Albert Einstein is over on the sidelines pulling his hair out, jumping up and down, and pointing wildly at the Free Marketers and yelling, “Gott in Himmel! Dummkopfs! Do zey not know the very definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results! Zey do se SAME thing, refuse ze Socialist reforms to help the people, and it never works…but still zey do it again and again and again! Zey haff not learned that their way does not work because ze score is STILL zero, but zey do not try somethink else! But zey vill NEVER score zis way! Dummkopfs!”

    Sometimes, Kenn, the rhetoric of a certain philosophy can sound really, really good – as libertarianism does – but in the real world, the success of a nation is measured by how well the people of a nation live, by how educated their people are, by how corrupt their government is in comparison to other nations of the world. Libertarianism has zero successes, Kenn. Libertarianism has a zero batting average. Don’tcha think it’s time that it’s time to try something else?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn, if you think that corporatists are a part of capitalism then you don’t understand what capitalism is. Corporatism is a natural outgrowth of big government that you support. Under a “free” market system there would be minimal regulation thus the corporates would be unable to rig the system in their favor. Who do you think writes all the regulations you love so much? – corporatists. You system is corporatist dominated and thus we have the problems we have. Go to Mises.org and get some books on economics and for heaven’s sake stop listening to that goof Krugman.

  • http://demandedpolitics.blogspot.com/ Michael Alexander

    Interesting logic… Obama spending money on higher education isn’t doing anything for us anyway, in the past few years that Obama’s been supposedly “buying our votes” tuition rates for public and private colleges have been going up. I have a feeling that if he wanted to buy our votes our tuition rates would be dropping.

    What’s caused the current economy was the American public’s ignorance in the housing market and Obama’s ignorance about the economy with his bailouts.

    I don’t support Obama, and there are plenty of reasons not to, but at least show some actually connected facts and figures when you degrade him. Punish for what he did, not for what he didn’t do.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Michael,

    Most Americans like my friend Glenn above don’t understand economics. Young voters will believe Obama is doing them a favor by spending more money on higher education, but in essense he is making the problem of high tuition costs worse by biddng up the costs of education with more dollars.

    Put another way, housing prices increased through the roof before 2008 because the government spent and lended lots of money for housing. Right now is a pretty good time to buy a house. The same is happening with high ed. The best time to go to college will be when the bubble
    pops and tuitions come back down to earth.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Claiming that corporatism – and giant corporations – isn’t a part of capitalism is like saying pregnancy isn’t a result of sex! And like unrestrained sex among teenagers will result in LOTS of teenage pregnancies, unrestrained capitalism WILL result in LOTS of giant corporations…and they WILL use every means at their disposal to influence any government they think presents even the possibility of a threat to their dividend report. To think otherwise is simply naive.

    Kenn, I really don’t care about what you think your philosophy and economic theory says, because when said theory is applied in the REAL world and the theory doesn’t work out as planned (as in the zero-point-zero-zero batting average mentioned above), something’s obviously wrong with the theory! Can you not grok that?

    What I DO care about is the reality of the world – and the more unrestrained the capitalism, the stronger the corporations get! There was a time when we tried to get corporations under control – under someone named Teddy Roosevelt, who was as close to a progressive president as we’ve ever had.

    Reagan broke up Ma Bell, and until conservative economics really took hold in the 90’s under Clinton – and YES, he was a fiscal conservative – the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was occasionally used to prevent huge monopolies. But now? Corporate money is SO strong in our political system!

    And Kenn – WHO was it that opened the floodgates of corporate money into our politics (e.g. Citizens United? WHO was it that demanded free-trade acts and removed the tariffs and taxes that protected our manufacturing sector? It was the oh-so-capitalist conservatives!

    Real liberals, Kenn, want to get those tariffs and taxes back to protect what’s left of our manufacturing sector. Real liberals want to get corporate money OUT of politics. Real liberals want to use the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to break up the biggest banks – and Wal-Mart, too. Real liberals want to use legislation and regulation to level the playing field so that ALL entrepreneurs have a chance, Can you imagine someone opening a mom-and-pop clothing store in a town where there’s a Wal-Mart? Where’s the opportunity? Where’s even the possibility of competition?

    When it comes to giant corporations, Kenn, regulation and legislation are the ONLY defense that small businesses have.

    If you want a strong economy, Kenn, go look at Germany. They’re very socialized, very unionized, unafraid of using legislation and regulation to enable small businesses in the face of giant corporations, and despite all the crap going on in Europe, they’ve still got a strong economy – and are one of the biggest exporters in the world!

    Again, what’s the batting average for libertarian nations in the world, when it comes to having First World status? ZERO POINT ZERO ZERO. Doesn’t that tell you something? Doesn’t it?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Michael Alexander –

    Um, I hate to break this to you, but Obama couldn’t simply snap his fingers and voila! down goes the tuition rates.

    What he did do was to get the private banks out of the college loan business – because all they were, were middlemen who added on an extra 8% on to each and every loan just for ‘processing’ the loan. That’s all they did – processing (and essentially duplicating what the government was already doing) – and got billions as a result, and it was the students (including myself) who had to pay up.

    If you’d take the time and look, you’d find that Obama’s proposing to cut financial assistance for those attending for-profit universities – because it’s those universities where the tuition has skyrocketed the most. BTW – when it comes to bailouts, what’s the biggest automaker in the world? Hm?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Kenn –

    Since you’re not really paying much attention to what I’ve written, I’ll just ask you two questions: why is it, despite all the nations that do operate with libertarian models – and yes, there’s many that do – why is it that none are First World nations, and why is it that ALL First World nations (outside of the Middle East) are by your definition too socialized to succeed?

    I’ve asked you that many times and you’ve never, ever answered. How about now?

  • Igor

    #6-Kenn reveals the source of his confusion about free markets:

    Under a “free” market system there would be minimal regulation thus the corporates would be unable to rig the system in their favor.

    But it is precisely because of de-regulation that corps are able to corrupt government and rig the system in their favor.

    And so-called “free markets” are easily gobbled up by monopolies to extend their empires and enrich their pockets.

  • Cannonshop

    Kenn, hate to tell you this this late in the game, but Obama doesn’t NEED to “Buy” college voters. He already had ‘em. Kind of a culmination of fifty years of declining educational standards and increasingly politicized educational institutions with their “Speech Codes” and Special-interest-lib studies courses.

  • Igor

    9-Glenn is right when he says:

    “When it comes to giant corporations, Kenn, regulation and legislation are the ONLY defense that small businesses have”

    Monopoly corporations RELENTLESSLY crush small business in their perpetual search to feed the unquenchable hunger for more money from their officers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @15

    Be nice now, Cannon. He certainly doesn’t have the OWS vote.

    And you’re underestimating the drift of liberal education (not liberal as in politics). It’s way too critical and Marxist to find Obama’s brand of make-believe socialism acceptable.

    But I keep on forgetting, you’re a latecomer.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn you have this weird thought that 3rd World countries are libertarian. lol lol lol Do those same countries have central banks? Do they require licenses to start businesses or go into select occupations? Do they have huge bureaucracies that eat at the sustenance of the people? Is nepotism rampant? If you answer yes to any of these questions then they are not libertarian. And I haven’t even gotten to the most important tenet of all – respect and absolute protection for private property. Go to mises.org and get a few books.

  • Zingzing

    See, Glenn, libertarian countries exist in this this perfect, gem-like state of beautiful impossibility, like a dream where everything wrong with humankind has been wiped away because they’re stacked up in a ditch and set on fire.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn, you know as well as I do that there is no perfectly libertarian society…and you also know as well as I do that many third world nations are much closer to that libertarian ideal since they have small, weak governments, weak – and usually unenforced – regulation of business and industry, no minimum wage (or one that it laughably small)….

    But that begs the question, Kenn – are you saying that a society must be completely libertarian in all respects before it begins progressing towards that libertarian ‘paradise’? At what point does the libertarian magic begin? I’d really like for you to answer that question!

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    In all the developing countries I’ve visited and lived in (which are many) there exists a central bank, licensing, big bureaucracy, disrespect for private property, and enormous amounts of nepotism, corporatism, and corruption. You saying these countries are anywhere near being libertarian shows your ignorance about libertarianism, capitalism, and economics in generous. Again, the site is mises.org. You can learn all about these issues on that site.

  • Clavos

    that’s WHY we have more kids go to college!

    We do indeed. We also have high dropout rates because too many kids have been socially promoted into college who have no business being there and who should have been encouraged to go to a technical or trade school instead.

    We have too many college students, Glenn, not too few. College is not and should not be for everyone; not everyone is qualified for higher education.

    WHY is it that the oh-so-socialized First World nations have a much more educated population even though they do NOT let the free market determine how many kids go to college?

    Except for language skills (i.e. being multilingual because unlike insular, provincial America, they require kids to take second language courses for years in primary and secondary school), they don’t have a more educated population.

    They do a much better job than we do of lower and secondary school education, but in Europe for example, kids are tested in secondary schools, and based on their scores are steered either into college or trade/technical/vocational schools.

    …go look at Germany. They’re very socialized, very unionized, unafraid of using legislation and regulation to enable small businesses in the face of giant corporations, and despite all the crap going on in Europe, they’ve still got a strong economy – and are one of the biggest exporters in the world!

    And they, more than any other European country, DO NOT send every Tom, Dick, and Harry to college. It is in fact their system that I described above.

    what’s the biggest automaker in the world? Hm?

    Toyota. Still. With VW poised to surpass it. The one mfr. you think is (GM) runs a distant third.

    …and you also know as well as I do that many third world nations are much closer to that libertarian ideal since they have small, weak governments…

    Say what??? They are almost always strongman dictatorships with no civil rights structure and no power anywhere outside the government — none

  • Arch Conservative

    Glenn seems to think that formal education is the only yardstick with which to measure one’s character or worth.

    Colleges these days are churning out educated idiots by the thousands.

  • zingzing

    “Glenn seems to think that formal education is the only yardstick with which to measure one’s character or worth.”

    that’s simplistic and not at all indicative of the complex system by which each and every one of us makes character judgments. but you went to college, didn’t you?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    In all the developing countries I’ve visited and lived in (which are many) there exists a central bank, licensing, big bureaucracy, disrespect for private property, and enormous amounts of nepotism, corporatism, and corruption.

    HA! And what you don’t get is that such is that such is the inevitable result of strict libertarianism – because libertarian theory, just like communist theory, does NOT take into account not-so-simple human nature! And to address your (gasp!) ‘evidence’ that none of them are libertarian at all:

    “central bank” – Kenn, do you know so little of international commerce and relations that you think a nation doesn’t need a central bank? Do you really think that a nation’s currency is going to be worth anything if there’s no central bank? There’s a REASON why way back in the 1800’s we got away from different entities within the U.S. issuing currency of their own, Kenn – and you, being an historian, should know that. And if it’s the ‘gold standard’ you’re hankering after, tell me – what would happen to the prices of nearly ALL of our electronics if we went back on the gold standard? You want financial chaos and a complete disruption and destruction of the electronics industry, including all computers, cell phones, et cetera? Going back to the gold standard will do just that:

    …the Bank of England abandoned the gold standard in 1931 as speculators demanded gold in exchange for currency, threatening the solvency of the British monetary system.

    And why did we go to having a central issuing authority in 1836? Because of the problems that resulted directly from the lack of regulation:

    With minimum regulation, a proliferation of 1,600 local state-chartered, private banks now issued paper money. State bank notes, with over 30,000 varieties of color and design, were easily counterfeited. That, along with bank failures, caused confusion and circulation problems.

    “licensing and big bureaucracy” – they are all easily bypassed with bribes – don’t tell me they’re not! Furthermore, the small businesses often get away with having no business license at all. You KNOW this, Kenn – unless you really haven’t gotten to know the business side of living in a third world nation. I have.

    “disrespect for private property” – Not only by the government, but especially by unrestrained, unregulated industry and corporations – again, don’t tell me they don’t! The government can come in and say, “we’re going to do this and that”…but since the governments are relatively small and weak compared to ANY first-world nation, the government largely does not do so. A direct result is that industry and corporations are unrestrained and unregulated, and when they want to do whatever, wherever, the government has ZERO power to stop them. Again, you KNOW this! A strong government is the people’s only real defense against unrestrained, unregulated industry and corporations, and third world nations do NOT have strong governments.

    “enormous amounts of nepotism, corporatism, and corruption” – again, HA! Do you really think that with your ‘small government’ with a minimum of regulation, that nepotism wouldn’t be a problem? It’s HUMAN NATURE, Kenn – and where there is a lack of ethics regulation and strict enforcement of those ethics regulations, you WILL have runaway nepotism! Corporatism? I addressed that above – with a minimum of regulation, corporations run wild with no one to stop them from whatever they wanted to do wherever…and with a weak government, the people have ZERO defense against those corporations. And as for corruption? All that is, is the direct result of the nepotism and corporatism that are themselves direct results of lack of regulation and enforcement because the government is too weak.

    AGAIN, Kenn – third-world nations have (1) small, weak governments, (2) relatively low taxes which are difficult (and often impossible) to enforce, (3) little regulation of corporations and industry, (4) little or no social safety nets. All these are libertarian tenets that libertarians claim are essential for a prosperous nation, and most third-world nations have these libertarian requirements in spades to a FAR greater extent than ANY first-world nation – yet are the third-world nations becoming first-world nations? No.

    So I ask you again, Kenn – does a nation have to be TOTALLY libertarian before it begins to progress towards that promised libertarian paradise? And if not, then why aren’t the third-world nations which DO operate on largely libertarian principles surpassing the oh-so-socialist first-world nations?

    Hm?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    Show me where I said that formal education is the only way to measure one’s character or worth? I never said that or said remotely anything like that. It’s just something that popped up in your brain, and since it sounded like something bad, you automatically thought it applied to liberals like myself – sorta like the “Obama’s a narcissist” accusation, again, without the slightest shred of proof other than your own imagination.

    But when it comes to formal education, Arch, the education level of the population as a whole DOES go a long way towards determining the success of a nation…and if you’ll look around, the higher the education level of a nation, the more strongly that nation tends to accept socialist ideals! But don’t let that stop you from making wild unsubstantiated assumptions, now….

  • zingzing

    archie is the master of the empty comment. not that all his comments are empty, but when he wants to make one, it’s like a bubble that floats only on his own hot air.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    That site again is mises.org. You are totally clueless and an ideologue.

  • Zingzing

    kenn, I wouldn’t go throwing that ideologue word around so easily.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    About that ‘ideologue’ epithet – in the particular context you used, it denotes those who refuse to consider other viewpoints even in the face of significant evidence that argues against their ideology.

    That said, I notice you didn’t address a single one of the points I brought up in comment #23, even though in #23 I addressed your arguments you made in #16 point-by-point.

    So…I address your points one-by-one, you address mine not at all – and yet you call me an ideologue.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    We have too many college students, Glenn, not too few.

    You know I normally hold you in high regard, Clavos, but that statement is beneath you.

    Except for language skills (i.e. being multilingual because unlike insular, provincial America, they require kids to take second language courses for years in primary and secondary school), they don’t have a more educated population.

    “They don’t have a more educated population”? Um, Clavos – where does America rank on math and science levels? And when 30% of our students drop out while significantly fewer of their students do, you don’t think that has a direct effect on the education level of the population? Hm?

    When it comes to your observation about Germany, I suspect you’ll find that there are private universities where adults who wish to do so can continue their education. I’ll talk to my child’s nurse Nicole in a couple months in April after I fly overseas and return stateside – she grew up and was educated in Germany, has the accent and everything, and I’ll ask her about that. Hopefully I remember to do so.

    Toyota [is the biggest automaker worldwide]. Still. With VW poised to surpass it. The one mfr. you think is (GM) runs a distant third.

    Um, no. If you’ll read recent news, GM is on top – not simply because of their recovery stateside (thanks to the bailout LOAN that conservatives like you were sure would lead to disaster), but also to their operations in China where they sell more cars than they do in America.

    Say what??? [Third-World nations] are almost always strongman dictatorships with no civil rights structure and no power anywhere outside the government — none

    Maybe you’re thinking of what you saw in Vietnam, while I’m thinking of what I see not only in the Philippines, but also from the news stories from South America and Africa where international corporations buy off the local and national politicians and have their way with the countryside.

    And FYI, Clavos, third-world nations are NOT “almost always strongman dictatorships”. For every ‘strongman dictatorship’ like Myanmar or North Korea that you show me, I’ll show you two or even three (at least somewhat) functioning democracies like Ecuador and Thailand and Kenya and, yes, the Philippines.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    You make it up as you go. You acknowledge all these developing countries have central banks thus they are not libertarian, but then you say they have no choice in the matter. So, I guess I am to ignore that non-libertarian aspect and agree with you that these countries are libertarian anyway? Ridiculous. You are the one who makes it up as you go to defend your statism.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    As I’ve said before, Glenn, you’re barking up the wrong tree on this one.

    Impoverished countries like Peru and the Philippines are “libertarian” by accident, not by design. There simply isn’t enough wealth in those countries for the government to be able to afford to provide many services. It’s not a question of them deliberately choosing to keep that wealth in the hands of private citizens.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Peru, the Phillippines, and most of the developing world are kleptocracies, not libertarian.

  • zingzing

    is there a libertarian country? or, like attempts at communist nations, does the idea inevitably get corrupted?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    But that’s just it – whether they are libertarian by design or by accident, whether a nation is rich or poor, if libertarian theory worked as advertised, wouldn’t they be doing better than they are?

    Or – as I keep asking Kenn – does a nation have to be 100% libertarian before it starts succeeding as he believes a libertarian society would?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I would argue there are none because man likes to dominate other men. Now having said that, America may have been the closest thing to it in my view (1800s) and we probably have the best chance to get closer to that ideal in my view.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, those countries’ governments are not applying libertarian principles. Even with a deliberately “hands-off” government, there has to be some sort of legal and economic structure in place to make libertarian principles work. So the “theory” isn’t even in play here.

    If you look at election campaigns in Third World countries, candidates almost always run on a promise of providing more government services, not maintaining the status quo.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    You keep dodging the question.

    You make it up as you go. You acknowledge all these developing countries have central banks thus they are not libertarian, but then you say they have no choice in the matter. So, I guess I am to ignore that non-libertarian aspect and agree with you that these countries are libertarian anyway? Ridiculous. You are the one who makes it up as you go to defend your statism.

    So…if a nation has a central bank, that means it’s ZERO percent libertarian? Are you saying a nation must be 100% libertarian, or it’s not libertarian at all?

    Or does the fact that such places have little or no regulatory enforcement over corporations or industry, no appreciable social safety net, little or no government subsidies for any business, and effective taxes on the public are fairly low…

    …all these libertarian tenets mean NOTHING as long as there’s even ONE facet of the government that is against libertarian theory?

    Must it be all or nothing, Kenn? Must a nation be completely libertarian in all respects before libertarianism begins to make a nation prosper?

    Hm?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Last I recall, libertarianism demands that the government stays OUT of providing economic structure, and any legal structure is kept to an absolute minimum.

  • zingzing

    well, kenn, implementation of a libertarian political philosophy is not going to change human nature. so, tis a pipe dream, much like a state functioning completely under communist political philosophy.

    libertarianism has some attractive ideas, as well as some that smack of pure greed and a lack of social responsibility. communism, or at least the watered-down version of socialism, also has some attractive ideas, as well as some that smack of corruption waiting to happen. same for capitalism and liberalism and any other ism.

    so what’s wrong with taking the best ideas of all of these things and trying to use the best ideas for the betterment of society? why must we be so simplistic and strict in our thinking?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    That is broadly true, Glenn, although even the US Constitution, which Kenn would say is the closest thing to a libertarian document ever adopted by a sovereign nation, has things to say about international treaties and interstate commerce.

    But the reason I’m skeptical is that you can’t reliably use Third World countries as a measure of whether libertarianism does or doesn’t work. Historically (although things are starting to turn around for a lot of them), those countries just don’t work, period.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    It is not all or nothing. But, you ignore private property rights. I knew folks in Zambia who lost their land to well-connected people just because. In Ecuador it took months to acquire a business license. Yes, taxes may be low but given that 80 percent of the population is poor it was hard for most people to pay the taxes. Then there is the instability of government. See you claim there is no government in libertarianism. But a government is needed to punish fraud and ejudicate civil disagreements. With instability in the government, folks are a little gun shy about investing and going out on a limb. Oh, to say nothing about strict gun control laws in the developing world meant to simply prevent any chance that the people would be able to revolt in libertarian style to bring about secession or a new government.

    So no, it is not all or nothing, but the developing world is so non-libertarian it is not even close. Your belief is ridiculous. I hope that answered your question although I am sure you will have more to say on the issue.

    zingzing,

    My problem with taking what you label the best of all isms, is that then we pick and choose what rights to give people. So you have the right to an abortion, but you can’t smoke pot. You can pick up a woman in a bar, take her home, and have sex with her, but you can’t go to a brothel and have sex with a prostitute. My philosophy is you should be allowed to do as you please as long as you don’t harm another’s ability to do the same. In a libertarian society the private sector would be free to associate with others to solve problems, insure against tragedy, regulate product safety like Underwriters Laboratories for instance. Contrary to popular belief, it would not be chaotic, quite the contrary.

  • Clavos

    Glenn,

    That statement [we have too many college students] is, I contend, very true. Nationwide, we have tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of students in college who are incapable of intelligible writing and equally lacking in reading skills. Every year, we “graduate” thousands of college “students” who lack the cognitive skills to hold down a college level job. My mother in law, a college English prof who has worked at several US institutions, had to teach at least one or two sections of remedial reading and writing every semester to freshman “students.” These are people admitted to college who can’t read or write at college level when admitted. They don’t belong there. The concept of “universal education” doesn’t and shouldn’t include college — not everyone is capable of college-level work. And finally; from a purely practical standpoint, we can’t have the entire population degreed and seeking work commensurate with their degree — who would repair the plumbing, wire new buildings, fix your car, etc.?

    Um, Clavos – where does America rank on math and science levels?

    Not an indicator of a “more” educated population, but definitely an indicator of a better educated population. As I’ve said for literally years now, we have one of the world’s worst lower school (i.e. K-12) educational systems, and those statistics you cite are proof of that.

    And when 30% of our students drop out while significantly fewer of their students do

    Dropouts don’t take the tests which establish the comparison data; that testing is done at or near the end of secondary school.

    When it comes to your observation about Germany, I suspect you’ll find that there are private universities where adults who wish to do so can continue their education

    Of course there are private schools in Germany as well as elsewhere in Europe, but there, as here, the private schools are usually more stringent and exclusionary in their admission criteria — precisely because they are elite schools and can do so. And my information about the German system comes from my German mother in law (mentioned above), who after retirement here, moved back and taught at university level there until her death a few years ago. She also taught at that level in the UK — she found the college students of both countries to be far better qualified for college than her US students. Face it Glenn, the US K-12 educational system is more baby sitter than educator these days.

    If you’ll read recent news, GM is on top…

    OK, I’ll grant you this one — for now. Industry insiders point out that GM’s seat at the top is likely to be short-lived; it got there by default because Toyota’s sales fell an estimated 6% in 2011 to 7.9m, hit by severe production cuts following an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan and deadly floods in Thailand.

    I’m thinking of what I see not only in the Philippines, but also from the news stories from South America and Africa where international corporations buy off the local and national politicians and have their way with the countryside.

    Glenn, I grew up in Latin America; for thirty years I worked for Latin American companies and traveled there constantly. Sure, international companies do that (particularly in Guatemala, which literally owned for decades), but how the hell do you think they’re able to do so? Because they only have to deal with one strongman or at most, aa few families running (and owning) the entire country; under those circumstances, it’s incredibly easy to buy one or a handful of caudillos (who always have all the power) and, as you put it, “have their way with the countryside.”

    You have heard of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay, Juan Peron in Argentina, and an entire dynasty of Bolivian dictators, going all the way back to Mariano Melgarejo, who ruled through most of the 19th century, on up to Evo Morales (a protege of Venezuela’s Chavez) today, Fidel in Cuba, Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, Brazil’s Emilio Medici, Ernesto Geisel (whom I once met personally), and João Baptista de Oliveira Figuereido, Peru’s Alberto Fujimori, Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua (and more recently, Daniel Ortega), the Duvaliers (father and son) in Haiti, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Mobutu Sese Seko, (Zaire) Congo, Idi Amin of Uganda — the list goes on and on. You mention Ecuador, and admittedly, Rafael Correa is a “good” caudillo, but even Ecuador had a military dictatorship (led by Admiral Alfredo Poveda) as recently as the 1970s. My home country of Mexico’s first “modern” dictator was the French-appointed Emperor, Maximilian. Even more recently, Mexico was ruled with an iron fist for more than 70 years (1928 to 2000) by the PRI, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party), whose “presidents” invariably won all the elections during those years, and who included “presidents” Agustin de Iturbide, Porfirio Diaz, Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna (yes, the famous general of the Mexican forces at the battle of the Alamo, who, when he took power, abolished the constitution) and Victoriano Huerta.

    All of these countries have histories of repeated dictatorships, and many continue to be ruled by individuals or central committees who hold all the power in the country. Others may be enjoying relatively benign rulers at this time, but only time will tell if those will continue; the histories of many (particularly in Africa and Latin America) indicate they are inherently unstable.

  • Cannonshop

    #15 Demographics don’t lie, Roger. Obama’s appeal to 19 year olds was a major contributing factor to his victory in 2008, and the trend isn’t dipping away from him in 2012, esp. when the “Option two” is likely to be either Romney or Gingrich.

    My suspicion this time, to be honest, is that he’s going for the college-student’s PARENTS, he’s got the Student vote sewn up, minus a left-leaning 3rd party bid as strong as Nader. *(Yeah, I’m committing the sin of going back to the original article instead of arguing Glenn’s 3rd world libertarianist hypothesis.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    First, take a look at Clavos’ #42 – as much as I disagree with him, he’s certainly the most cogent conservative on this site…and I’m sure he’d take it as a compliment if I called him a royal pain in my liberal posterior. I won’t do that, of course, because doing so would only give him cause to enjoy a smirk of satisfaction.

    But as to your comment about Zambia, the ‘well-connected people’ were able to do that because there wasn’t a strong government available to stop them. As far as the business license in Ecuador, if I were a betting man, I’d lay money that it was far more of a case of “this will go much faster if you make the right sort of contribution” – which means it wasn’t a problem with the design of the bureaucracy, but of the corruption within…which, btw, would be lessened (but never eliminated) by strong (and rigidly-enforced) ethics regulation.

    Kenn, I never said that libertarianism means ‘no government’ – please don’t put words in my mouth. I DID say many times that libertarianism demands small government, limited government…and it is and has been my contention that just as nature abhors a vacuum, having a small or limited government means the government has less ability to protect the people against the vagaries of corporatism, of runaway capitalism…and against the endemic corruption that always follows.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos #42 –

    Sheesh – I thought I was the only one who typed like a squirrel on crack….

    Okay…(takes a deep breath)…you ARE a royal pain in my liberal posterior, okay? So there!

    (1) The problem with our higher education system has squat to do with the number of people in college, but much more with the quality of education they’re getting, starting in K-12, thanks to (1) idiots in government who think that it’s a good idea to pay teachers so little that they have to get second jobs in order to live, (2) the consistent lowering of standards of education at ALL levels (largely because of liberal ideas on “let them all pass”), and (3) the power of the teachers’ union to keep substandard teachers on the job (also a liberal fault). Just because I’m a liberal does NOT mean I don’t hold my fellow liberals responsible for being wrong when they’re obviously wrong.

    But the point is, our problems with higher education has squat to do with too many people going to college.

    (2) I agree that the reason Toyota’s not #1 is because of the quake and tsunami…but the more important point is that it was government intervention in the form of taxpayer-financed loans that saved GM, and the loans have since been largely paid off, and hundreds of thousands of people still have good-paying steady jobs – which would have gone away had GM gone under like the Right demanded that it should. Reagan did the right thing with Chrysler, and Bush and Obama did the right thing with GM.

    (3) And when it comes to the dictatorships and lack of democracy in Central and South America…okay, dammit, you bitch-slapped me silly (please forgive my rarely-used but currently-apropos French). I’ll stand up for what I think is right, but I refuse to not admit when someone proves to me that I’m wrong, and here you proved me wrong. Thank you for the lesson, and I’ll leave that line of attack alone in the future.

    *turns around and stalks sullenly back to his corner, mentally composing a verbal assault for the rhetorical-boxing coach who didn’t tell him that Clavos was about to figuratively hand him his head on a plate…although Doc may have been trying to give him a clue in #40*

  • Igor

    #35-Kenn: is waaayyyy too broad:
    I would argue there are none because man likes to dominate other men

    Huh! Where do you get THAT? Many western men like to dominate others, but traditional tribes and aborigines don’t.

    It seems to be an offshoot of the ultra-hierarchical societies that we live in, but it doesn’t seem to make life better.

  • Clavos

    Okay…(takes a deep breath)…you ARE a royal pain in my liberal posterior, okay? So there!

    Allow me to return the compliment:

    Right backatcha!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor #46 –

    Actually, I would say there’s more truth than fiction to Kenn’s claim (although I really, truly don’t like having authority over others).

    What Kenn’s not getting, though, is that since there is certainly a significant percentage of men in any population who want to dominate other people, is that that particular sociological fact in and of itself is sufficient to prove that neither communism nor libertarianism can ever work as advertised…because both leave yawning vacuums of power at the local and at the national level, vacuums that will be filled, whether by local strongmen or by corporations (or other business).

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “archie is the master of the empty comment”

    how did that not get a QFT? You guys are slipping

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @46

    It’s straight out of Hobbes, Igor.

  • Zingzing

    Kenn, the maxim of “do what you will but harm no others,” although a beautiful ideal, and one that I apply to myself as often as possible, does not seem to apply itself fully to a complex society such as our own. It leads you down the Ron Paulish path of allowing establishments to discriminate based on whatever they want. No one was really harmed, and they have every right to go elsewhere, but they were harmed and their freedom to do as they please was infringed. It’s not as simple as it seems. From one perspective, all is as it should be, but from another, it’s completely wrong. And then, by siding with the wronged party, the other party is wronged, if the maxim is seen from their angle.

    The whole idea is fraught with potential conflicts of interest. And that’s why we have politics. Libertarianism wants to forget that, but it’s an unfortunate part of living with other people who don’t have your interests in mind.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Right backatcha!

    You mean Glenn is a pain in your liberal posterior, Clav?

    :-D

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    QFT.

    Whoever.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    zing,

    I have the right to assemble with whomever I please. By forcing me at the point of a gun/imprisonment to associate with others I care not to is a violation of that right. When you break down one right you open the door to others being destroyed. Now, eminent domain is used to confiscate private property for private developers gains. On this issue it is all or nothing for me. I pay off my mortgage and supposedly own my home, but if I don’t pay my real estate taxes the local government takes it from me. And don’t give me the “that’s the costs of living in a civilized society” crap. It ain’t civilized to steal even if you are the government and the school system in America is pathetic and I would choose not to send my kid there if I lived in America.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    I pay off my mortgage and supposedly own my home, but if I don’t pay my real estate taxes the local government takes it from me.

    Yep! Once I had that figured out (and also found out it’s the same in many other countries, too), I started feeling less possessive about my house and feel a lot less insecure about renting if I need to do so. Looks like the old saying about ‘death and taxes’ really is true, and we really don’t own anything in this world except for our own knowledge and emotions.

    And for the same reason I don’t feel so bad about leaving one place to go someplace else. It’s harder for the wife, IMO because she – as women normally do – focus on building the home and the household…which is why most little girls get all excited about getting a doll house, right?

    I guess my point is that instead of getting all offended that my house – even if it were paid off – would be confiscated by the government if I failed to pay taxes, I refuse to allow that to ruin my happiness. So instead of railing against the vagaries and seeming injustices of government, I change my own paradigm to where I still have my freedom, but I don’t hate the government.

    See “The Serenity Prayer”. It helps.

  • Clavos

    An important part of my freedom is hating the government; I get a special satisfaction out of doing that — especially at tax time.

    I have a house in another city which I have rented (property taxes) from the government for 24 years. The government’s rent is $400 a month, but I charge my tenants $1500 to live in it, so it’s worth it. For the first 15 years it was rented, I even got to depreciate it (but in fact, it was appreciating — substantially), taking the depreciation off my income taxes — legally!

    Stoopid gummint…

  • Zingzing

    But kenn, that is the cost of living in a civil society. Hope you can maintain that sewer and those pipes leading to your house, and I hope you’re an electrical engineer with the ability to create power using a wand or something, and hope you take all your own garbage to the dump and I hope you fucking built that dump and I hope no one robs you, but if they do, don’t you dare call the police and if the robbers burn your house down, go down to the river or whatever other source of water you have routed to your house over the years and don’t forget your bucket because the fire station isn’t rushing over to help, kenn, because you’re a fucking super human who doesn’t believe in civil society, you big strong man you. It’s not “crap,” kenn. Your bullshit is crap.

  • Zingzing

    Hey glenn, if you haven’t Seen it already, go check out what anonymous dug up on Ron Paul.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    zing,

    Everything you mentioned I pay for and use. I have no problem with user fees and tolls. That is the way it is supposed to work. What I don’t like is paying for somebody else’s things. Besides third party payments are a major cause of price inflation – like in health care, higher education, and public education.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    What I don’t like is paying for somebody else’s things.

    Yes, because that’s the way humans operate. We’re a solitary, independent species like cats, with no history of banding together into mutually supportive communities.

    [wanders away shaking head in wonderment]

  • Zingzing

    so it’s just greed and sociopathy wrapped up in what you view as some noble cause. if this brand of thought ever took over, you could enjoy it for a little while, but eventually, you’d have a French revolution on your hands and your head in a basket.

  • Igor

    50-roger: So what? Hobbes was just another ink-stained ideologue, trying to scratch out a living.

  • Igor

    54-Kenn: Tell it to Joe McCarthy and his descendants.

  • Igor

    59-Kenn: yeah, I know how you feel. I don’t like paying for someones else’s vanity wars, and I don’t like paying for a crooked bank’s bailout, but that seems to be normal these days.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @62 (Igor)

    No, he wasn’t. Like anyone, he was limited by the historical times in which he lived and was in earnest.

    Not that I’m defending Hobbes from the vantage point of the twentieth century, because know we ought to know better. But he was the founding father of liberalism and his political philosophy, both in the realm of politics and in the market place, continues to predominate.

    So when you hear people like Kenn and Glenn Contrarian both agree on the warlike, innate characteristic of man, you can bet your sweet bottom that both are liberals in the original sense because both are the followers of Hobbes.

    So yes, today’s rendition of liberalism is an ideology, but it wasn’t so in Hebbes’s day.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    … because now we ought to know better …

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Igor,

    All the statism leads to illegal wars fought for corporations and bailouts for reckless corporations. If I steal items from work or pick your pocket on the street it is still theft. If I give a person a welfare check or a bank a bailout what is the difference? I am still taking the property of one to give to another. It is still technically theft. In a libertarian world, the bank fails and its assets are bought by other banks and the individual gets help from family, church, community, or other charities. We have people on unemployment for long periods of time who are encouraged by it to not look for work. If charity was local there would be social pressures to be self-supportive. Right now it is a free for all.

  • Igor

    67-Kenn, is wrong. Unemployment insurance does NOT encourage people to avoid work.

    I can think of 3 guys off the top of my head who haven’t been able to find ANY work for at least a year, because there are NO jobs in this increasingly libertarian society. Libertarianism was advanced by reagan and some short-term benefits, that were skimmed off the top by the already rich, made everyone a little delirious, thus the drunken mess we are in now.

    “We have people on unemployment for long periods of time who are encouraged by it to not look for work.”

    Who? Do you have evidence?

    I think you’re making it up.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I wonder if Kenn’s ever been on unemployment insurance or welfare. I have and it was the best possible motivation to get out there and find another job. It’s humiliating and a pittance of money, at least here.

    Of course, here we pay into unemployment insurance from each paycheque so it is effectively our money we’re getting paid back when we lose our jobs for whatever reason. Judging from Kenn’s comments, it may be different in the U. S.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Jordan, I think it varies by state but here in California, at least, you also pay into a fund out of your paycheck. Your employer does too, though, which is why some of them fight tooth and nail to try and prove you don’t qualify and avoid having to crowbar open the corporate wallet.

    Kenn complains that unemployment benefits discourage people from looking for work but that’s just bull. Of course there’s always going to be a minority that abuses it, just as there’s always a minority that abuses anything.

    In California, unemployment insurance is designed to tide you over and help you keep paying your bills while you find a new job. It’s not a replacement for your regular income. You can only usually claim for twelve weeks, although depending on circumstances and the whims of Congress it’s sometimes possible to qualify for extensions.

    I’m unemployed right now and I’m very conscious of the fact that there’s a time limit on it. Haven’t reached the twelve-week mark yet, but it’s approaching.

    Point is, you can’t rely on unemployment to keep you in a living indefinitely. That’s not what it’s for.

  • Jordan Richardson

    That’s what I figured, Doc. Thanks. Our employers have to kick in for UI here as well, but I haven’t heard much by way of a skirmish against it.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Reagan was a libertarian?? He was the biggest government spender and taxer to that time. He also was protectionist and expanded government not cut it.

    Igor, really, I know that when the next big collapse comes that free markets and libertarianism will be blamed, but you are talking to me now not some guy who doesn’t know what those things are. Give me a break. If you really think that libertarian policies caused our current problems than you are way more statist than I gave you credit for.

    As to unemployment benefits causing long term unemployment, the University of Chicago put out a study in 2010 that found about 1-2 percent of the 9 percent unemployment at that time was due to unemployment benefits.

  • Jordan Richardson

    1-2 percent of the 9 percent unemployment at that time was due to unemployment benefits.

    What did the study mean by “due to?”

    I dare you to post at least once without labelling someone an “ist.”

  • Roger B

    I’d love to have an URL for that Chicago study.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @70

    Used to be 26 weeks, Dreadful. Has it changed?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    The Bureau of Labor and Statistics recently noted that for every help-wanted ad nationwide, there’s something like FOUR people looking for a job. Here’s a small chart from the Wall Street Journal showing the same. To be sure, at the height of the Great Recession it was more than SIX unemployed-per-job and it’s a bit better than it was then…but it’s still pretty bleak for the job-seekers out there.

    So…Kenn! Exactly how is it that it’s the unemployment benefits that are the reason that people aren’t going to work if there’s FOUR unemployed people for every job available out there?

    And the problem doesn’t stop there! The 800-lb. gorilla in the room isn’t just the unemployed-to-job-postings ratio…but it’s the type of jobs that are available! Many of those jobs are requiring professional licensing and experience that most of the unemployed simply don’t have!

    So that begs the question, Kenn – since there are FAR more unemployed than jobs available, exactly how are those people supposed to eat and feed their families, much less maintain a roof over their heads? Especially if we get rid of unemployment benefits? Hm?

  • Igor

    “Help Wanted” ads mean nothing. When I was a Hiring Authority we’d be placing ads for the same jobs for which we were laying off people. It’s cheap counter-publicity for the layoff bad news, and, indeed, we knew we’d be re-hiring for those empty jobs in the future (and we’d prefer someone new).

    Also, even when things are on an even keel it’s a good idea to put out ads to sense the market, check on current job skills and salaries, etc. It’s a good way to keep the HR dept. busy doing useful work.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    First of all Glenn you are exaggerating. All unemployed people are not still unemployed because of the benefits they receive. As I said, the study indicated 1-2 percent of the 9 percent at that time. Secondly, you fail to realize that many workers have given up looking for work and thus are no longer counted in the unemployment number. The unemployment number is much higher than the phony government number. So, really there are more than 4 people for every job posted.

    Lastly, Americans will have to and indications are that many have already looked overseas for work. It will be a reality to find work given that businesses like water seek the path of least resistance. Until the inflation machine reverses course, regulations ease, and talk of higher taxes subsides, there will not be permanent job growth.

  • zingzing

    well, kenn, there has been 20 straight months of private sector job growth at this point.

    and where’s the link to the study? and jordan asked about what’s meant by the phrase “due to,” which you haven’t answered. of course, a link to the study might clear that up.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Perhaps you should provide the link as well.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Here is one (PDF)

  • zingzing

    i’d love to read the whole thing, but to be honest, that’s probably not going to happen. is there any particular part that you’d like to point out where they go over the “due to” thing?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    And another.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    (1) As I said, the study indicated 1-2 percent of the 9 percent at that time.

    I tried your link – it said “page not found”. Still waiting on your reference.

    (2) Secondly, you fail to realize that many workers have given up looking for those work and thus are no longer counted in the unemployment number.

    No, I’m well aware of that – and what you’re probably not realizing is that because those people are no longer counted as unemployed, their numbers would almost certainly not be included in a comparison of “unemployed per job posting” statistics.

    (3) – The unemployment number is much higher than the phony government number. So, really there are more than 4 people for every job posted.

    Yes, that particular statistical bugaboo began in the fiscally-conservative Clinton years…and Clinton – since he was in the White House – bears the ultimate responsibility for it…but I do wonder who came up with that particular system since Clinton adhered much more closely to what the Heritage Foundation wanted than did, say, Ronald Reagan.

    (4) Lastly, Americans will have to and indications are that many have already looked overseas for work.

    That would work for tens of thousands, Kenn, but NOT for the millions we’d need in order for it to make a real dent in our unemployment stats. What’s more, since the Americans would be competing against those who gladly work for much lower wages, most of those who would stand any chance of getting hired at a decent wage would be those Americans who have bachelor’s (or higher) degrees…and again, the numbers wouldn’t – couldn’t – make a dent in our overall unemployed percentage. AND let’s not forget that the lion’s share of anything an American would earn overseas would be spent right there and not sent back to America – which means that while he or she would no longer be ‘unemployed’, the American would not be contributing much (if any) to the American economy.

    And Kenn – you STILL haven’t told me how all those unemployed (since there’s WAY too many unemployed for each job available) are going to feed themselves or their families, much less maintain a roof over their heads if they can no longer draw unemployment insurance. What are they supposed to do – start standing on street corners offering themselves for a few dollars? Or just go rob a bank every month or so?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I checked the link and they both work. The fact you are having trouble explains a lot.

    If America elects Ron Paul those unemployed will not have to worry about being out of work. He will cut federal spending, restore sound money, and alleviate regulations – the same recipe that put millions of GIs to work after WW II

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    I checked your study – go to pages 39 and 40 of the .pdf file. They reference two studies, one of which they admit may contain bias, and another which they believe may be less biased. So instead of tossing out the first study, they state: In order to reflect our uncertainty over the true effect, we use both estimates.

    Um, no, that stinks.

    BUT I am not going to dismiss their findings out of hand, because while their study may not be perfectly done, they might still be right. I don’t know for sure, and neither do you.

    That said, I’m still wondering what all the excess unemployed (you know, the 4 unemployed for every 1 job posting) will do to eat, much less feed and shelter their families….

  • Igor

    Glenn, your queries to Kenn are in vain. Libertarian economics has NO solution for this kind of economic condition. So all they recommend is to wait and let markets take their course. They are the ultimate faithists.

    As for your hungry peasants yearning for bread: “Let them eat cake”.

    EXCEPT that they really don’t believe their own BS. For one thing, they always believe in ‘controlling inflation’, and this is where the schizophrenia that disables them starts to set in, because they abide pro-inflation actions by their beloved 1% but insist on anti-inflation policies by the 99%. They really have no principle.

    Most libertarians are upward-admiring peasants who fancy themselves joining the upper-crust Soon, real Soon.

  • Zingzing

    “I checked the link and they both work. The fact you are having trouble explains a lot.”

    what was the point of that?

    “If America elects Ron Paul those unemployed will not have to worry about being out of work. He will cut federal spending, restore sound money, and alleviate regulations…”

    Really? Messiah much? Did you see the anonymous thing?

  • Igor

    #83-Kenn; Terrible! This citation is just another rightist U. Chicago prof with an UNSUPPORTED opinion. He’s just guessing. No reference to any report.

    Here’s all that he says:

    “”Those programs subsidize unemployment,” explained Robert Shimer, economics professor at the University of Chicago. “There could be good reasons to do it, but we should be clear on the cost. It has a pretty substantial impact.”

    He reckons that the current level of benefits probably accounts for 1 to 1.5 percentage points of the 9.7 percent national unemployment rate.”

    He reckons? How the hell does ‘he reckon’? There’s NO explanation whatever how ‘he reckons’.

    Is this the way you come to your opinions, Kenn, with unsupported guesswork?

  • Igor

    #81-Kenn: Please state your point. This report is 28 pages and contains a great many graphs. If you think it supports your point, then tell us where. Nobody here is obliged to wade through all that to make YOUR point!

    Are you just lazy, or what?

  • zingzing

    ah, university of chicago. didn’t even think about that. although very little in economics is gospel truth, citing uic when it comes to economics is like citing the devil on the history of heaven.

  • zingzing

    uoc, whatever.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Is this one the reasons?

  • Clavos

    @#68:

    I can think of 3 guys off the top of my head who haven’t been able to find ANY work for at least a year, because there are NO jobs in this increasingly libertarian society.

    Wrong.

    Libertarianism has nothing to do with it. This is Obama’s responsibility, and the dumbass and his equally dumbass advisers haven’t a clue as to how to fix it.

  • Igor

    94-Clavos: the unemployment rate is dropping and is at a new low for the past 3 years and 240,000 jobs were created and filled last month. ALL due to the Stimulus, because the business incentive money is dormant in bank and business savings.

    If only we had made the stimulus twice as big and not wasted half the money on business incentives (as demanded by the republicans) we’d almost be out of the woods now.

    Libertarianism has NO way to solve these problems. Their only counsel is to wait for the ‘markets’ to flush out bad debt, as if they would.

  • Clavos

    Careful with those rose colored glasses, Igor, they have a tendency to blind one to reality.

    The unemployment rate is still 8.3 percent (and they aren’t even counting the “discouraged” workers), and dumbass is doing nothing to restore people’s confidence in the economy, so NO ONE is spending; not consumers and, because consumers aren’t there’s no reason for businesses to do so.

    The “stimulus” was a stupid idea; it stimulated nothing; if it had been doubled it would have been a case of throwing good money after bad.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    @ 95, 96:

    Playing with statistics to paint the desired picture.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    This was a little gem of an exchange, up above there:

    Glenn: What’s going to happen to the unemployed if you abolish unemployment benefits and they can’t feed their families?

    Kenn: If Ron Paul is elected they won’t have to worry about any of that.

    Just wondering if Kenn can provide a link to wherever Ron Paul gets his magic wands from, because I want one.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    As if we needed any more evidence that the political debate in the USA is off balance.

    In #68 Igor criticises libertarianism as destroying jobs and in #94 Clavos argues against that and says it is Obama’s fault.

    Libertarianism doesn’t destroy jobs (to say nothing of how Igor’s thee examples seem totally gormless; if there aren’t jobs for them, they could move or even start their own businesses); nor is it the President’s fault if people haven’t got jobs.

    Both wrong!

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I provide the links and you want me to do the work for you of indicating exactly where my point comes from. You are only going to label the study biases anyway – as if your view on Keynesianism is not biased?

    Two things on the new unemployment rate – many discouraged workers have dropped off the roles and are no longer counted in the government number.

    Secondly, I have maintained all along that Austrian Business Cycle Theory will prevail. We had our bust in 2008. The Fed and the Administration have pumped trillions into the economy to stimulate it. This will produce another phoney boom with lots of price inflation and then the Fed will raise rates and stop quantitative easing which will bring the next bust. Then the powers that be will do the same thing, more spending. At some point no one will buy our new debt and the charade will be over.

    If Ron Paul gets elected he will cut spending by $1 trillion in his first year, alleviate regulations, and return us to sound money. In 1946 when Keynesians were claiming we were headed for another depression without government stimulus, spending cuts and sound money propelled the U.S. economy out of depression and into prosperity. We should have done the same thing in 2008 and that is why 14 million Americans are still unemployed or underemployed.

  • Zingzing

    kenn, if you know where your point comes from in that 30 page doc, it shouldn’t be any work for you just to say so. where’s the relavent text?

  • Zingzing

    and do you think someone from the left would expect a completely biased Keynesian study would be the best way to get to you? Or do you think you’d scoff at that a bit?

    Besides, I’m beginning to think you haven’t read the study, just the article where the guy puts forward his opinion about what the study supposedly says. Just a theory.

  • Clavos

    nor is it the President’s fault if people haven’t got jobs.

    Nor did I say it was…

    What I DID say is that nothing Obie has done worked to restore the people’s confidence in the economy (which is obvious, from the failure of the economy to improve measurably enough to restore their confidence after three years of his watch), so the unemployed continue to be without work: many have become discouraged and have had their unemployment benefits run out, so they’re not even counted in the unemployment rate anymore.

  • troll

    ??

    Daniel Aaronson is a vice president and economic advisor
    in the Economic Research Department at the Federal Reserve
    Bank of Chicago. Bhashkar Mazumder is a senior economist
    in the Economic Research Department and the executive
    director of the Chicago Census Research Data Center at
    the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Shani Schechter is
    an associate economist in the Economic Research Department
    at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

  • troll

    …and Glenn Contrarian already pointed out a significant problem with the Fed study (imo) in a comment above

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    What I DID say is that nothing Obie has done worked to restore the people’s confidence in the economy (which is obvious, from the failure of the economy to improve measurably enough to restore their confidence after three years of his watch)

    Obama: I know how to fix the economy. Work with me, and America’s economy will get a lot better.
    GOP: Obama’s wrong, and we’re going to prove it by not going to let him pass ANYthing.

    [time passes, and thanks to the most obstructionist Congress since the Civil War, Obama’s able to get very little of what he wanted to get done passed after the stimulus package – one third of which were tax cuts that he knew didn’t help]

    GOP: See? Obama’s policies are an utter failure! Don’t pay any attention to how in most months we used more filibusters than were used in some entire presidential administrations, ignore the fact that we blocked everything including the most routine legislation and forced America to have its first-ever credit downgrade, don’t worry about the fact that while only 3 Bush nominees had been held up more than 3 months during his first year, 63 Obama nominees had been subjected to delay tactics during the same time period, leaving important posts left unfilled…

    …just pay attention to what we tell you, that Obama’s a failure!

  • troll

    Kenn – …many discouraged workers have dropped off the roles and are no longer counted in the government number.

    I haven’t looked at the new numbers – was there an increase in U6 reflecting this?

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, your bitter cynicism seems to be blinding you to your own words.

    In response to Igor’s remark about libertarianism and the lack of jobs you said that had nothing to do with it and that “This is Obama’s responsibility, and the dumbass and his equally dumbass advisers haven’t a clue as to how to fix it”.

    So you are saying that (and you are name-calling like a child as well). That is what I responded to, as I clearly indicated.

    In a separate comment you went on to say that “and dumbass is doing nothing to restore people’s confidence in the economy, so NO ONE is spending; not consumers and, because consumers aren’t there’s no reason for businesses to do so”.

    The facts are that the US economy is growing, unlike in Europe, and unemployment is falling, again unlike Europe. It seems reasonable then to consider that the current US Government’s policies are helping the situation.

    Of course, the ability of government to drive economic recovery is limited, particularly with the current balance of power in the USA.

    Th problems don’t really lie with government at all, which is why changing it will make little difference either.

    The problems are systemic and aren’t going to improve significantly without substantive changes to the system, both in governance and the wider world.

  • zingzing

    if someone were to say “the economy’s going great! obama is a god!” then that would be stupid. equally questionable would be to say something like clavos is saying. it’s overly negative and politically motivated. there truth lies somewhere in between. no, the economy is not where it should be, but it’s been moving in the right direction (less negative, then positive) since obama took office. maybe it’s not improving quick enough, but it IS improving, with employment and dow stock numbers on a consistent upswing since at least 2010 (with small bumps along the way, some attributable directly to dumbass republicans).

  • Kenn Jacobine

    troll,

    In this article it explains that between Dec. 2011 and Jan 2012 1.2 million Americans dropped off the labor force participation rolls. The article utilizes a graph from the Labor Department. In the most recent unemployment number, those 1.2 million workers are ignored. There is no way they all died or retired and we know they didn’t get jobs. So what happened to them? They gave up on looking for work?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    You know how how Clavos Just Knows how bad the economy is? Because the NASDAQ is at its highest point in 11 years, and the Dow is at its highest point since before the Great Recession began, we’ve had 23 straight months of private-sector job growth, and unemployments at its lowest level since February 2009.

    THAT is how Clavos Just Knows that Obama’s ruining America’s economy!

  • Clavos

    Chris,

    US voters, who have shown in the past that collectively they are smarter than the pundits and media, and who are the people most affected by the economy, would seem to disagree with your analysis of the root problem with their economy, if for no other reason than that they have (again, collectively) retreated, hunkered down and quit spending enough to help the economy revive.

    The facts are that the US economy is growing…

    Almost imperceptibly. More — much, much more is needed, and obama’s responses to the people center on how the recession is not his fault, it’s his predecessor’s.

    Th problems don’t really lie with government at all…The problems are systemic and aren’t going to improve significantly without substantive changes to the system, both in governance and the wider world.

    Would that be the same government that has successfully guided US out of multiple recessions just in the span of my lifetime? That government?

    Wait, you’re right! None of the previous governments were headed by community organizers — they all had presidents in charge.

    I agree with you, calling him dumbass IS childish, but it gives me satisfaction, so I reckon I’m not going to stop — chalk it up to my “inner child.”

  • Clavos

    Because the NASDAQ is at its highest point in 11 years, and the Dow is at its highest point since before the Great Recession began…

    Read the WSJ, Glenn. The state of the stock indexes has little to do with the overall economy, as any good money manager will tell you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Exactly. I have no bloody idea what makes some people think that the vagaries of the Dow or NASDAQ indices are any kind of indication as to the health of the economy. But actually, I do. If you want to believe in something, you’ll scratch and scrounge until you’ll find something, anything, to substantiate your belief.

    Want to get a good feel about the health of the economy — look at the fundamentals, stupid!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @112

    In addition, the level of consumption is but an artificial index. Production is the key.

  • Igor

    What we have in the USA is a CONSUMER economy. There’s no denying it. 70% of the economy is retail trade.

    The heart of a consumer economy is DEMAND. It is DEMAND that pumps the cash which is the blood of the economy through our veins.

    The rightist austerity programs so beloved of libertarians reduces demand and thereby starves the economic system.

    The best thing we can do is increase unemployment compensation, thus putting more money in the hands of people who will immediately start paying their bills and upgrading their circumstances. It is SPENDING not saving that enlivens our economy.

    After the unemployed, we should improve the wages of the lowest wage earners because they are good spenders. It is SPENDING that makes the wheels go ’round. It is spending that enriches everyone, and we’ve proven it over and aver again in the last 80 years.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    … so I reckon I’m not going to stop — chalk it up to my “inner child.”

    Atta boy! To the child in all of us. The world would surely be a better place.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    This in itself is the problem, Igor, and it should make you think twice. And for how long, do you suppose, this can last without substantial increase in productive activity?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Yeah, the stock market isn’t a great indicator of the health of the economy…but funny thing is, unless a bubble’s forming, it’s pretty hard to think of a time when the indices were broadly higher when the economy was crappy, and it’s just as hard to think of a time when the indices were broadly lower when the economy was doing really well.

    Why is that, Clavos?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    If Ron Paul gets elected he will cut spending by $1 trillion in his first year, alleviate regulations, and return us to sound money.

    No, he won’t.

    Not unless the American electorate also returns 535 mini-Rons to Congress, which ain’t going to happen.

  • Igor

    115-roger: if you are right, then why do we have $5trillion in frozen capital sitting on the sidelines instead of deployed to new production?

    The answer is, that businessmen will NOT invest in production if they can’t see markets to sell into.

    Demand is what calls the shots. Production is the tail that the big dog of demand wags.

  • Igor

    100-Kenn: so Ron Paul would sideline ANOTHER $trillion to join the $5trillion that’s already dormant? What good would that do?

    “Sound money”? Nobody cares about ‘sound money’ except some academics who can’t handle a dynamic economy such as ours. The only time money becomes ‘sound’ is when everything goes to zero and you’re frozen at broke!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The business doesn’t invest, Igor, because America is poor investment — too expensive, in short. So how are you disproving anything I said?