July 15, 2012

This is the week that the election got framed as capitalism versus socialism.

Did you notice? Did you pay attention to how it happened, who made it happen, and why?

Our mindsets have been subtly arranged, and what we think will build from this template. These moves have been made. The question now is, what are the next moves? There are different ways to play from this point, different ways to win.

I'm asking you to look backwards — how did we get here? — and forward — what should the opponents do from this point? Feel free to disagree with me about whether something big happened this week, and we can fight about that too.

ADDED:

If the 2012 election comes down to capitalism v. socialism...
  
pollcode.com free polls 

129 comments:

rhhardin said...

It always seems to be about lying and mistakes in economics.

Jay said...

Obama has doubled down on attacking the private sector for sure.

After all he hit us with:

"If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen'"

But it is worth noting his campaign had no problem accepting donations from Bain executives.

Of course.

winchester leveraction said...

It should go forward from Romney with the amount of outsourcing Obama has done, the job losses he has helped and the drop in the American standard of living he has encouraged. Romney should show that socialism doesn't work anywhere, national heath care results in crappy care and that a weak nation is a nation under attack. MPW

Bob Ellison said...

Our mindsets have been subtly arranged...

Yours was arranged? Mine was not, I think, and I hold out hope most other people's were not.

Professor, here in a nutshell is the individual v. group analysis problem. You seem to have fallen into that trap, but only in a small phrase. It's not fatal to your argument.

Jay said...

By the way, the President who sold Chrysler to The Fiat Group, an Italian Multinational Corporation, shouting that Mitt Romney is an off-shorer is beyond ridiculous.

AprilApple said...

The democrats party is no longer the democrat party. They are the Socialist party and we should say so, repeatedly.

Bob Ellison said...

Opps. Should have written "persons'". I failed, too!

Ann Althouse said...

"Yours was arranged? Mine was not, I think, and I hold out hope most other people's were not."

Key phrase: "I think."

I told you it was subtle. The difference between mine and yours is that I noticed.

AprilApple said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick said...

Obama is painting "success" as evil. "Successful people" owe their success to the downtrodden. Successful people who do not devote their treasure entirely to the downtrodden are doubly evil. Coincidentally, one such doubly evil person is Romney, says Obama.

rhhardin said...

It's probably too late to distinguish outsourcing and offshoring.

The distinction is further clouded by both being good in fact and bad in populist economics.

AprilApple said...

If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

--Barack Obama

Wow. How can this know-nothing fascist freak show be ahead in the polls?

pm317 said...

Oh, you are talking about Obama channeling Elizabeth Warren but in a clumsy way. He can't even plagiarize competently. As to your question about what should happen going forward, Romney needs to grow his whatever to deal with the onslaught of Chicago thuggery. He needs to channel a Hillary and grow testicular fortitude.

Bob Ellison said...

I told you it was subtle. The difference between mine and yours is that I noticed.

Noticed what?

You said my mindset was arranged. How?

This seems like a movie script, probably from a French director.

Hagar said...

A Chicago version of Fabianism perhaps.

The NAACP is stuck in the 1950's and -60's.

Obama's economics are like a college sophomore's from 30-40 years before that.

edutcher said...

Torn between 1 and 2, as I remembered the words of Norman Thomas, grandfather of Evan ("we're all socialists now", "He's sort of God"), editor of Newsweek.

Anyone, though, who remembers the fight over Medicare remembers how people like Barry Goldwater explicitly framed it as socialized medicine.

Now, I think we know where the path leads.

God, An Original A-hole said...

Capitalism is who? Socialism is who?

Seems to me that both parties want to continue the status quo-- where Congresscritters get payoffs from interest groups to vote as they are told. You can have oppressive Democrat regulation. Or you can have oppressive Republican regulation. Either way, your local cop will still shoot your dog and the TSA agent at the airport will still molest your children and, more importantly, it will be impossible for you to make a living while having to deal with all this bought-and-paid-for regulation.

"Socialism". "Capitalism". Such convenient marketing terms! You'd start to think that there were some fundamental difference between the parties.

And this, indeed, is where Althouse detaches herself from reality. She believes that we Americans have a two-party state. Yet... if the parties act in the same way, do the same thing, talk the same talk.. do we really have two parties, with any meaningful difference?

I am very happy to be able to vote for Gary Johnson. Therefore I am for Liberty, which is at a level above both of these pathetic, meaningless marketing terms.

garage mahal said...

I'm always shocked when a Democrat plays hardball. This last ad from Obama was, as they say, high and tight. If that is the sort of capitalism conservatives want to promote, they should promote it. But it doesn't seem like they want to for some reason.

pm317 said...

As to your poll, I am thinking 2, people will be tricked to vote for socialism which is what Obama is doing. Times are tough and people are hurting and he is tricking them to think the govt will help, all the fake freebies. Romney should bring on the 'compassionate capitalism'.

rhhardin said...

You could say that in capitalism the power and knowledge coincide, and in socialism they're separate.

Obama's version wants absolutely no choices made where knowledge is.

Everything will come to you from the government. All private contracts are invalid.

GM and Chrysler alone probably ended commercial law in the US.

edutcher said...

AprilApple said...

If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

--Barack Obama


Wow. How can this know-nothing fascist freak show be ahead in the polls?


Who says he is?

Consider this and ask why Little Zero has to do so much (executive orders) to make sure his "base" stays loyal.

kimsch said...

Obama is painting "success" as evil. "Successful people" owe their success to the downtrodden. Successful people who do not devote their treasure entirely to the downtrodden are doubly evil. Coincidentally, one such doubly evil person is Romney, says Obama.

On the other hand, Jennifer Lopez, no longer on Idol because she asked for a $2 million dollar raise to $17 million and they didn't want to give it to her, is just hunkey dorey.

Tim said...

"...who made it happen, and why?"

While there is obviously a specific answer, the general answer is, the 53% who voted for the least experienced person ever nominated by a major political party for president made it entirely likely this would happen.

That 53% is as culpable as Obama himself.

There was no reason to expect Obama to understand markets, let alone act to defend or advance them.

Which is why answer #2 is correct, but more appropriately worded thus: "Americans might be tricked into picking Obama, but not if they think clearly.

This was also entirely true in the '08 election as well.

Those all-too-few Obama voters regretting their vote have no one to blame but themselves.

edutcher said...

God, An Original A-hole said...

Capitalism is who? Socialism is who?

Seems to me that both parties want to continue the status quo-- where Congresscritters get payoffs from interest groups to vote as they are told. You can have oppressive Democrat regulation. Or you can have oppressive Republican regulation.


As always, the inferior being omits people like Ronald Reagan and Scott Walker from his meanderings.

Only RINOs are Republicans.

bagoh20 said...

Althouse, do you even read your own blog? The capitalism vs socialism issue has been front and center among your commenters for as long as I have been reading it. If I had to pick one subject that best covered the comments here, that would be it. The straight up presentation comes almost entirely from the right though. The lefties never frame it that way, although they always argue the socialist side. They call it "fairness", or "compassion", or "the right side of history". Why is the left so afraid of the word "socialism", while loving it's tenets? Is there something wrong with it?

bagoh20 said...

It has become the center of discussion generally everywhere on the right, but that happened a long time ago, and I'd say the Tea Party made it so.

Bender said...

People have been voting for socialism in most big cities and many states for years, including California, Maryland, Massachusetts, etc.

And many voted for socialism in 2008, given that many people (including the man himself) made it undeniably clear that Obama was advocating socialist or socialist-like policies.

Like bagoh said.

AJ Lynch said...

To expand on what Edutcher quoted above, here is one outrageous paragraph from Prez Obama's speech the other day:

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

Jeez- when I go into the office today [a Sunday], I don't think anyone else will be there.

bagoh20 said...

"If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Well now you tell me, Barack. If I knew that I could have avoided all those 80 hour weeks, terrifying risky decisions, endless sacrifices of exotic vacations, material possessions, and simple pleasures for most of my adult life, we could have both hung out with the Choom gang, and just bullshitted our way to wealth like you did.

What an arrogant, stupid son of a bitch, this guy is.

Tim said...

"Our mindsets have been subtly arranged,

That's an assertion you can only apply to yourself.

But as you voted for Obama, I concede it certainly applies - but you can't pull others under that category either - you just don't know. Nor is your insult of Bob Ellison warranted; your condition is yours, and no one else's; you just can't claim you noticed, and he didn't.

...and what we think will build from this template. These moves have been made. The question now is, what are the next moves? There are different ways to play from this point, different ways to win."

Obama has framed, and Garage Mahal restates, capitalism as rapacious, evil, abusive - the source of all evil that plagues us, that must be tamed by the state to serve the state.

For far too many Americans, this is not only fine, but the way it should be.

In some very unfair way, the burden of defending capitalism now falls on Romney. Romney certainly did not shy away from touting his business experience as a reason as to why he is running, and his doing so has been entirely valid. But now, almost Wendell Wilkie-like, he has to argue against Obama's attack on private market capitalism, and he has to find a way to do so that explains that capitalism is what pays all the bills.

In many ways, the election should be a referendum on Obama. And if it is, assuming the polling data is unreliable (biased pollsters, "Bradley effect" in the respondents), then Obama is toast (assuming enough Obama voters are actually smart enough to learn from their mistakes - unknown if not unlikely at this point).

Chase said...

How Ironic that a black man would lead America BACK into slavery.

Spoke last week with a former neighbor who lived under Ceaucescu in Communist Romania. They cannot believe how stupid American's are in being so willing to give up so many freedoms to the government. They are literally stunned at American's naivete about liberty.

pm317 said...

AJ Lynch said...
------------

Damn that Elizabeth Warren for showing Obama the way. This kind of narrative might actually bring him the win.

bagoh20 said...

I'll tell you who didn't help build anything: The guy who never had a real job creating anything, and made his money by writing books about himself. I'm positive that didn't help me. In fact, I've been paying his expenses for some time now, and I never had time for golf.

The split is between the capitalists AND the workers on one side and the pampered on the other.

Freder Frederson said...

I have asked this several times, and have still not got a sensible answer from any of you.

By what bizarre definition is Obama a socialist?

Do you even know what the term means.

If Obama was a socialist we would have nationalized (not just bailed out) GM and Chrysler, not to mention the banks. And we would have never set up a health care reform system that relied on private health insurance. Everyone would get medicare and that would be the end of it.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
I'm always shocked when a Democrat plays hardball. This last ad from Obama was, as they say, high and tight.


Yes!

Because you watched the ad without any biases or anything!!

Really, you did!

Idiot.

Jay said...

If that is the sort of capitalism conservatives want to promote, they should promote it.

The Obama administration closed over 700 GM dealerships and cancelled Delphi pensions for 20,000 non-union workers.

And brags about it.

Idiot.

AprilApple said...

Right, Barack. Without all those roads, bridges and teachers, none of us would have ever amounted to anything. Let us bow our heads and worship big government.

Roads, bridges and teachers: They count, you don't. Pay up.

Obama, the unifier.

bagoh20 said...

The thing about America that is special and makes this fight different here is economic mobility. In America, capital and workers are on the same side, most of the rich earned it, most of the poor believe they can too. In that system, energetic people don't want equality. Equality is a very low standard.

AprilApple said...

What about all the secured government loans that were doled out to Obama's friends to form tax payer backed solar "start up" companies?
They have all failed, Obama's democrat friends got rich, the employees were fired and the tax payer was stuck with the bill.

Obama's sweet fascist crony capitalism. Paul Krugman's stimulus.

Chase said...

Freder,

Ok, I'll play. Give us your definition of Socialism and we'll engage. Be specific.

Jay said...

Poor Andrew Carnegie, he somehow made a business when America's school children were taught by religious instructors or people who weren't unionized.

And when the federal government had nothing to do with roads (in fact roads were dirt).

How did this happen!?

jjs said...

Please pay attention to the 2016 video that will be coming out July 27th. See the trailer below. Obama is neither a Marxist or socialist. He believes America should be punished for the sins against his father. He is using socialist, Marxist, White leftist liberals and the MSM as useful idiots within the US to make this happen.

http://2016themovie.com/media/

bagoh20 said...

Freder, what's wrong with being a socialist? I thought we were complimenting him. His mother, and father would be proud, don't you think, or do you think they were capitalists too?

Alex said...

Americans will vote for socialism as long as you don't call it that. Also take a look at the % collecting a government check. You do the math.

Alex said...

If socialist countries are so great, why was Apple spawned from America? Why no Steve Jobs exists in France, Sweden, Germany, Italy?

bagoh20 said...

Maybe a more accurate label for Obama would be "anti-capitalist". I don't know if there is a term for a system where free markets are destroyed and replaced with self-aggrandizement. He doesn't seem to fully advocate government ownership and management of the means of production, he just doesn't like rich people who don't appreciate him.

pm317 said...

If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Well we needed a Jobs to make money off of what Wozniak did. Capitalism is where Jobs thrived. Obama would have mucked up his genius with stupid interference. That should Romney's argument.

Old Dad said...

The President is such a sad little man. He leaves us with so many humiliating choices. we can accept his argument which means that we are incredibly lazy and selfish or blithering idiots. We can reject his foolishness which means that we elected a blithering idiot or a cynical sociopath.

When I started my first business I was 38 and had been paying all kinds of taxes for years. As I built my business, my taxes increased. In fact, over the years, I have paid more in taxes than most Americans earn in a lifetime.

In other words, I paid my own way Mr. President, you stuttering clusterfuck of a miserable failure.

h/t Ace

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freder Frederson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Freder - if you take blacks out of the equation, America is very upwardly mobile. But of course you don't want to do that. Legacy of slavery/racism and all that.

Freder Frederson said...

In America, capital and workers are on the same side, most of the rich earned it, most of the poor believe they can too.

This is simply untrue. Social mobility is poor in the U.S. compared to other advanced countries. If you have contrary evidence, other than your jingoistic belief that "America was the best country in the world until Obama screwed it up", please provide it.

Freder Frederson said...

Freder - if you take blacks out of the equation, America is very upwardly mobile.

Provide evidence of this assertion.

Regardless, last I checked, Blacks are still American. So as much as you would like to, you can't ignore them or their lack of social mobility. I'm sure you and Cedarford have your own final solution to the Black problem in this country.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

Freder is right. It is more accurate to call Obama a fascist. Fascism leaves the means of production in the hands of the private sector, while the government exerts significant control over it. The government now has significant control over the healthcare industry, banking and finance industry, and energy industry. Obama used about half the nearly $1 trillion "stimulus" to pay off public sector unions. He ignored the bankruptcy prefernce of the senior secured creditors of GM and Chrysler to pay off the auto worker unions in those bankruptcies.

Obamacare was designed to beneift special ionterests (health insurance companies, hospitals, Big Pharam, etc.). Consequently, it is the biggest wealth transfer to special interests in history.

The other feature of fascism is unchecked political power. Obama has now declared he will not enforce duly enacted laws relating to certain illegal immigrants, DOMA, the War Powers Act, and now welfare. He single handedly decides who to kill with drones, including American citizens.

He's clearly a fascist.

AprilApple said...

Pat Styker is a billionare Democrat. Her solar "start up" just went belly up.

http://energy.i2i.org/2012/06/28/co-solyndra-pat-strykers-abound-solar-goes-bankrupt/

Tax payers get the bill, employees get the shaft. Is that compassion?

Alex said...

Freder - when the average black has an utter revulsion to education as "being white", it's their fault not mine.

Alex said...

I'm sure you and Cedarford have your own final solution to the Black problem in this country.

You are an utterly repulsive creature Freder. How does pointing out the black community's utter disdain for civilization mean that I want to ship them off to concentration camps? I think it's projection on your part. I'm sure you have a real Final Solution to conservatives that doesn't include living.

Chip S. said...

Obama v. capitalism? Ho-hum.

The bigger issue is Obama v. the Constitution--specifically, Article II, Section 3: [the president] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.

In recent weeks the Obama administration has announced that it will not enforce the laws governing immigration and welfare.

What could possibly restrain Obama in a second term? Certainly not the Roberts Court.

And impeachment would be the most racist event in history.

We are all-in on this election, whether we realize it or not.

AJ Lynch said...

Freder- I bet most immigrants to America would be highly skeptical of your claim that upward mobility is a myth.

Robert Cook said...

It's a ludicrous notion. It's capitalism all the way, baby! The elites will win and the rest of us lose, no matter who wins the White House in November.

Rusty said...

Freder Frederson said...
Freder - if you take blacks out of the equation, America is very upwardly mobile.

Provide evidence of this assertion.


14.5% unemployment.

Dante said...

By what bizarre definition is Obama a socialist?

Socialism means control of the means of production. All Obama is doing is adding an indirection to the control. I'm going to mold the health care industry into what I want, forcing it to behave a certain way.

I don't care if the government "owns" the industry, or forces it to operate a certain way. It has the same effect of providing government control over the industry. To me, it's socialism in sheep's clothing.

Freder Frederson said...

Ok, I'll play. Give us your definition of Socialism and we'll engage. Be specific.

My definition of Socialism is irrelevant. That is the problem with this whole discussion, you have labelled everything Obama does that you don't like "socialism". The word has ceased to have meaning on this page.

So instead I will provide you with several links to the accepted and sensible definition of Socialism, here, or here

Jay said...

Oh now freeper wants to talk economic mobility?

The project found that blacks have a harder time exceeding their parents' family income and wealth than whites. And more than half of blacks raised in the bottom quintiles remain stuck there, while only one-third of whites do.

They are also more likely to be downwardly mobile. Some 56% of blacks raised in the middle fall to the bottom of second rung as adults, compared with 32% of whites. And in terms of wealth, more than two-thirds slip out of the middle, while only 32% of whites do.


Your ignorance is comical.

Freder Frederson said...

How does pointing out the black community's utter disdain for civilization mean that I want to ship them off to concentration camps?

I think this sentence is enough to convince me.

Richard Dolan said...

It's not that "something big" happened this week to "frame" the election, but only that the two campaigns are getting sharper in talking about how each saw themselves and the other team. Romney at the NAACP and his post-appearance comments about those wanting "free stuff" was a nice departure for him from more anodyne commentary, while Team O's attempt to turn business -- risk taking capitalism basically -- into a felony along with ever sharper "tax the rich" class warfare talk was the same kind of rhetorical honing of the pre- existing message for him.

The problem with looking at it as an exercise in "framing" the narrative is that such self-consciouly literary categories don't offer an especially helpful way to think about electoral politics. But it is the way that highly academically oriented folks look at such things -- the "what's wrong with Kansas" approach, or the Lakoff Berkeley-based stuff about the best words to use.

Rather than thinking of it as "framing the narrative," a more apt approach would be to use theater or movie-making as the model, and then focus on how the two sides are trying to sway the persuadable segment of the audience. There's a lot of black hat vs white hat, good guy vs. Dr. Evil stuff going on, but the pitch is more to the voters' emotional intelligence than to analytical intelligence. The buzz words that each sides' focus group research come up with are more a way of pushing those emotional buttons than they are of framing some overarching message. The message is there, of course, but it's not the main point.

So I have to disagree about how you frame the frame. It's not about trying to get voters to think in certain terms, but instead to get them to feel a certain way about the two campaigns.

ignatzk said...

America will this ...

America will that ...

If Obama gets re-elected there is no more America, only certain vestiges of it as process.
 

Please prove you're not a robot.  

David R. Graham said...

Poll is inconclusive, even meaningless, given a three-way tie. So too the national preference polls. The incumbent keeps the battle on a field of his choice and the opposing armies chasing decoys while his main effort drives straight at the opponent with overwhelming force -- the extended foreground index finger Drudge features. DOJ and/or SEC involved soon. There won't be an opponent, a tactic previously successful for this campaigner. Ruthlessness demands ruthlessness, not less. Only a Christian can defeat this incumbent.

Jay said...

Social mobility is poor in the U.S. compared to other advanced countries

Actually, it isn't "poor" you silly little liar.

Anyway, if social mobility in America is so bad, why does America have more immigration than the rest of the countries in the world combined?

Oh, don't worry, you're just good at repeating things you can not contextualize or explain.

PS: the average poor American lives better than the middle class in Western Europe.

Dope.

Alex said...

Freder you Nazi pig, admit your ignorance and racism.

Freder Frederson said...

The project found that blacks have a harder time exceeding their parents' family income and wealth than whites. And more than half of blacks raised in the bottom quintiles remain stuck there, while only one-third of whites do.

My request was to demonstrate that if Blacks were taken out of the equation, that the U.S. would have mobility figures as good as or better than highly mobile countries like Denmark, Canada or Australia. Not proof that blacks have a more difficult time escaping poverty. I fully accept that as true.

And as I pointed out, Blacks are still American and their problems are ultimately ours too.

Jay said...

Freder Frederson said...

My request was to demonstrate that if Blacks were taken out of the equation, that the U.S. would have mobility figures as good as or better than highly mobile countries like Denmark, Canada or Australia.


Stupid:

If you took the least mobile out of the equation, the mobility figures improve dramatically.

This isn't complicated.

Freder Frederson said...

Freder you Nazi pig, admit your ignorance and racism.

That's amusing from someone who alleges that the black community has an "utter disdain for civilization."

Alex said...

Freder - when Michelle Obama declares "she is proud of America for the first time when it nominated Barack", that to me shows their utter disdain for this country.

Freder Frederson said...

If you took the least mobile out of the equation, the mobility figures improve dramatically.

This isn't complicated.


Well if it isn't complicated, do the statistical analysis for me on how much the numbers would improve or point me to a link that shows what the actual improvement is.

Just don't make a blind assertion that it would "improve dramatically".

Alex said...

Freder - I'm talking about attitudes, not statistics. Just go to any black ghetto and ask them what they think of "whitey". That will show you who the real racists are. Go ahead and defend them you fucking asshole.

Alex said...

Or when O goes on about "bitter clingers" - more code words for "I hate whitey".

Freder Frederson said...

when Michelle Obama declares "she is proud of America for the first time when it nominated Barack", that to me shows their utter disdain for this country.

Gee, I didn't realize that Michelle Obama is the "black community". Nor did I realize that "this country" and "civilization" are equivalent terms. You know it is possible to not be American (or not even like the U.S.A.) and still be civilized.

But then again, maybe in your world, not.

Chip S. said...

Frederson linked to this definition of socialism:

...a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production.

Central planning? Let's see....How about the entirety of Obama's energy policy, from Keystone to Solyndra to "green jobs" to massive subsidies for high-speed rail to take people from one end of the Central Valley to the other?

How about his federalization of health-insurance regulation, previously a state responsibility? Not to mention the system's inevitable collapse into single-payer?

What about the use of financial regulatory power to channel credit according to nonfinancial criteria, as is done increasingly under Dodd-Frank?

GM is too obvious to even discuss.

Of course the man's a socialist, and always has been. Why do you think he was one of only four candidates endorsed by the New Party in his run for the Illinois senate in 1996?

jjs said...

Freder - I’ve spent time in the slums of Nairobi, slums in Tanzania, Haiti right after the 2010 earth quake, Mexico poverty, China and others. My friends ask me why I don’t help the poor African-Americans. I tell them the reason is that they (African-Americans) use the help as a weapon against you…the others appreciate the help and use it to try for upward mobility. You can never help someone who is not willing to help themselves. my opinion...

Alex said...

Freder - you think I'm the only one who notices Obama racist code words? Althouse has notice too.

bagoh20 said...

Social mobility around the world is owed in major part to that in the U.S. We provide the stability, and protection that enables it, and our consumers, innovation, and investment powers the worlds industry and workers. Without the U.S. there is no upward mobility, and world wealth would be fraction of what it is. To improve themselves, people anywhere in the world, need to depend on the U.S. military, technology, capital, and consumers. The weaker we are in those regards the poorer the world will be.

David R. Graham said...

Puzzles me when leaving lid and heat on a pressure cooker became seen as wise politics. Who would do such a thing?

Dante said...

I just read Obamao's talk to Roanoke supporters. It's the same old tired crap I read back in "War and Peace," which tried to make the case that individuals do not matter. Great leaders do not matter, because their actions are forced by society. What crap, and thank goodness for things like "Butterfly Ballots." I think Gore could have won the election in Florida if it hadn't been for that ballot, and then instead of having George Bush standing on the rubble of the twin towers, we would have Al Gore wringing his hands. Does anyone doubt the whole world was not influenced by that poorly constructed ballot? Would Gore have had the fortitude to attack Afghanistan? Deal with the Middle East the way Bush did? The argument is not that Bush did everything right, only that individuals do make a huge difference, and there are many different paths from the present, to many different futures.

So sure, the environment creates conditions in which businesses can flourish. The government affects the environment. But to say individuals do not matter, that businesses do not matter, is a bunch of crap. Let's take his claim of the internet, as an example.

"Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

From wikipedia:

From 1973 to 1974, Cerf's networking research group at Stanford worked out details of the idea, resulting in the first TCP specification.[4] A significant technical influence was the early networking work at Xerox PARC, which produced the PARC Universal Packet protocol suite, much of which existed around that time.

Note, this layer led to xerox's XNS and Novell's IPX, which is a superior protocol to IP because it has a vastly larger address space than IP, which was actually designed for testing, not to run a massive network like it is. In other words, the government forced their inferior crap down our throats.

So in fact the internet did not originate from the government. It originated in business. And in fact, if it hadn't been for government meddling, perhaps a better protocol, IPX would be the internet protocol. There would be plenty of addresses to go around.

jjs said...

bagoh20 = 110% correct. Except in Socialist countries, including the US - they pay people to be non-upward mobile and non-productive parts members of society. Politicians, poverty baiters, race baiters, 501c3's and others make a good living off of the vitomization profession.

jjs said...

I need to learn to speel victomization profession after that I will work on grammer :(

Chip S. said...

Why restrict yourself to international comparisons of economic mobility? The US is a big, diverse place. Are there differences in this across the states?

Why, yes. Interesting ones.

rehajm said...

According to the CBO, socialism is winning at eh moment..

For 2009, the most recent year available, here are taxes less transfers as a percentage of market income (income that households earned from their work and savings)

Bottom quintile: -301 percent
Second quintile: -42 percent
Middle quintile: -5 percent
Fourth quintile: 10 percent
Highest quintile: 22 percent

Top one percent: 28 percent


CBO/Gmankiw

bagoh20 said...

Another reason that upward mobility is so high in other nations is that just a few decades ago most of these places were devastated by war and/or poverty. The U.S. avoided that, so in effect, we started out better off, and they had nowhere to go but up. We then used a great deal of our resources and purchasing power to lift the rest of the world.

The important question is not how strong was mobility before, but where has it gone? After widespread adoption of socialist policies, it has slowed dramatically except in very poor nations that are using free markets either officially or unofficially.

Socialism by design limits individual mobility. It's designed to be the crabs in a bucket analogy.

traditionalguy said...

The Obama Campaign for the last year has been saying between the lines that only Obama will keep the welfare checks flowing.

Those checks are all set to run out now.

But not many Americans will think that different from the Greeks when faced with mandatory austerity cuts that Paul Ryan and Romney are promising them.

In 2012 after 4 years of serious financial loss of income/jobs outside of DC's bubble and faced with the resulting withering away of savings, EVERYBODY is listening to that Obama/Axelrod siren songs about the government checks drying up.

That is a ploy to get elected. Then Obama can announce a world depression and play FDR for 4 years.

David R. Graham said...

Non-fulfillment of the Oath of Office is the ground on which to do battle with this incumbent. It features a copiously populated array of specificities, among them "the economy." That case would be won in the court of public opinion if prosecuted with sufficient assiduity and fervor. The country wants to see a fight, have a fight, and this one is closest to their hearts, all of them. So, let it be there.

David R. Graham said...

Correction: Non-and counter-fulfillment of the Oath of Office.

Seeing Red said...

--If Obama was a socialist we would have nationalized (not just bailed out) GM and Chrysler, not to mention the banks. And we would have never set up a health care reform system that relied on private health insurance. Everyone would get medicare and that would be the end of it.---

And that's why we have guns.

You didn't listen to him, that's what Obamacare was designed to do.

Frog - hot water

LilyBart said...

People want to talk about what government can 'do' for them, or 'give' to them. They don't want to talk about the economic realities of how we're going to pay for all this government, or what will happen to us when we're unable to pay it.

And make no mistake, we can't afford it – there’s not enough money to cover this spending and all the future promises. And even if 'rich people can afford to pay some more' as Obama says, it won't be enough. It’ll never be enough. We are headed for financial disaster - which will bring social and political instability. And the poor will be worse off. And there will be a LOT more poor. Maybe you. Maybe me. Maybe all of us here.

Cedarford said...

If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

--Barack Obama

April Apple - Wow. How can this know-nothing fascist freak show be ahead in the polls?

================
Ten years ago, that message would have dropped like a lead ballon.
But we really have had a big change in attitude...building year by year.. about the Elites & "Jobs Creators".
That they would sell out any worker for an illegal or send any factory or service to China or India if it meant more wealth for the top dogs. And if government let them get away with it.

Obama socialism is a terrible idea...
But conservatives need to get their heads out of their asses about what has happened with 19th Century ideas about unfettered free markets, freedom to speculate, freedom to run international financing absent scrutiny because it is all About Freedom! That Free Trade for Freedom Lovers does NOT lift all boats.
That Elite owners offshoring to China does NOT mean Americans are now Free! to do even more valauble high tech jobs. It means more of them are jobless.
It also means that for those retaining jobs, a pervasive fear has come into the workforce that the Owners are looking to cut any job they can if China will do it for less or some illegal wants it for lowered wages.


Conservatives need to wake up to why socialism is more "thinkable" now than in say, 1995.
The failures of many of their economic ideas have laid fertile ground for socialism alternatives to come into consideration. (the conservative Freedom Lovers, tax cuts create jobs each time they are applied, globalization is great for Freedom Lovers, Borderless Freedom to do business economies).

Socialism says workers need not live in fear of losing their jobs and families left without means to subsist or have medical care.
It rarely works well ---but when the American workforce has been hammered by people telling them for 10 years that tax cuts and "high tech" would create all the jobs needed and didn't....when the Hero Jobs Creators are the ones instead going around telling most US workers that their job is in peril at any time and they are "lucky" they have jobs so shut up about pay increases, promotions, or sharing in the profits the top dogs Hoover up......
You cannot blame the US population to listen a little closer to socialist promises that they will end living in fear.

Dante said...

Another reason that upward mobility is so high in other nations is that just a few decades ago most of these places were devastated by war and/or poverty. The U.S. avoided that, so in effect, we started out better off, and they had nowhere to go but up. We then used a great deal of our resources and purchasing power to lift the rest of the world.

Frankly, I think one of the reasons upward mobility is low in the US is the massive regressive taxation on the "middle class", say, those who earn less than $250K per year, depending on where you live.

Social Security taxes at roughly 15% up to a maximum of $216K in 2010. Lay on top of that federal taxes, and the highest effective tax rate is married filing jointly with no deductions and $216K of income, at 36% effective rate.

Then there are all the other taxes, in water, electric, and just about anything the government can get its mitts into, and it's hard to accumulate the wealth needed for upward mobility.

And that 15% one pays all their lives for Social Security will return less than 50 cents on the real dollar, when adjusted for inflation using Social Security's own numbers. That's for a person who was born in 1960, retiring in 2027.

Meanwhile, the top 400 income rich people in the US paid an effective tax rate of 17%. Two points higher than the 15% base tax rate of social security for that $216K earner.

That's what is going on. Massive regressive taxation in support of redistributive programs at the federal, state, and local levels.

Don't get me wrong, I think 17% is a lot of money. But the regressive nature of taxation in the US makes it very difficult for individuals to accrue wealth.

That means stop taxing the middle class so damn much.

roesch/voltaire said...

Yes Citizen United was designed to give us socialism-- in the form of bailouts for capitalist and financial wizards who brought our system close to disaster-- I learned that from our Reblbiccan candidate Eric Hovde's TV ads

LilyBart said...

By what bizarre definition is Obama a socialist?

Do you even know what the term means.


I think we need a new word to describe what Obama and his type want for our country. I agree that a 1930's (?) text book definition of socialist just isn't cutting it.

What Obama and his ilk want is not necessarily government ownership of business, but certainly government control of the money, decisions, choices, etc, of our lives and our businesses.

We can call it neo-socialism; or perhaps collectivism.

But just because he doesn’t fit an old definition of a socialist - don't make him a lover of freedom and liberty. He wants control of us. Call it whatever you like.

Dante said...

Let's not forget Greenspan's rules that allowed massive fraud by Goldman Sachs based on the liberal watering down of loans, and the resultant housing bubble. How can that company still be in business?

No one should be doing business with that evil company. Yet, there it is, corrupt, rewarded with the work of future generations for it's massive fraud.

Unfortunately, societies can only flourish when the gatekeepers, the honest men and women, punish cheaters like this severely. Everyone of the Goldman Sachs employees who perpetrated these unethical violations should be digging ditches, because they can find no other job.

Cedarford said...

baghoh20 - "Socialism by design limits individual mobility. It's designed to be the crabs in a bucket analogy".

Unfortunately, the present analogy is that a few of the crabs in the bucket got significantly bigger, fatter and more powerful than the other crabs...and once they learned they could have Chinese crabs bring in food and other stuff for a lot less than the smaller crabs inside the bucket..they are throwing their kinfolk crabs out of the bucket.

And if all the smaller and weaker crabs had brains...they would understand the the fat crabs are no longer working in the collective interest of all crabs in the bucket - and also they had the numbers where if united, they could gang up and put the fat and powerful crabs on their terms.

Dante said...

According to the CBO, socialism is winning at eh moment..

I don't like the CBO calculations, because they take into account the amount of tax money spent by corporations and attribute it to those who own the corporations. Sure, sounds fair at first blush, but consider:

When you tax me, that's forced spending that goes into corporate earnings as consumed by some other person. When I buy something, that goes to corporate earnings and gets attributed to the owners of the corporation.

It completely neglects the fact that without a market for goods, there would be no corporate tax. It ignores the idea that consumers have to pay those taxes too.

To understand this, repeal the corporate tax, and make a VAT instead. Now the consumer pays for it. Should we then attribute all that taxation to the consumer? As you can see, it's a shell game.

Freder Frederson said...

Let's not forget Greenspan's rules that allowed massive fraud by Goldman Sachs based on the liberal watering down of loans, and the resultant housing bubble.

This is the first time I have ever seen Greenspan and liberal used in the same sentence.

Dante said...

Oh, and least we forget the massive ripoff of social security. Social Security trust fund was raided for programs to the tune of $1.5T. Furthermore, SSDI has taken off massively, particularly since the recession, as people realized "Oh, I can't work." In other words, it's another welfare program.

In my view, those best able to pay for welfare should pay more of it, and it should not be regressive, as it is with so many things in this country. If we want to have a huge welfare state, let those best able to afford it pay a higher index, not lower index, for it.

Dante said...

This is the first time I have ever seen Greenspan and liberal used in the same sentence.

Not to imply Greenspan is liberal. He merely set up a system in which a group of people were able to take advantage of a bubble created by liberal policies.

He essentially said derivatives for loans would be self regulating (a conservative idea), which left Goldman Sachs on the one hand selling loans they knew were bad, and shorting them at the same time.

The problem is the mixing of approaches: let's water down loan requirements, making them more risky, on the one hand, and unregulated use of derivatives from Greenspan. We know the result: Disaster our kids have to pay for with their future productivity.

Freder Frederson said...

Why, yes. Interesting ones

I don't know what you are trying to show with this link, unless you are siding with Rusty and implying that the poor black folks in those states are just keeping the good white folks down.

Your post demonstrates that mobility is better in the hellhole states with near-universal health insurance, more social programs, stronger unions, and better (mostly unionized) public schools.

This is a link I would provide.

Freder Frederson said...

That means stop taxing the middle class so damn much.

Except the countries that do much better than us have considerably higher tax rates at all levels of the economy. So your theory just doesn't hold water.

bagoh20 said...

"---but when the American workforce has been hammered by people telling them for 10 years that tax cuts and "high tech" would create all the jobs needed and didn't"

I don't think raising taxes, attacking industry, and pining for more low tech jobs that cost 10 times the global rate is likely to work better.

You do realize that people are free to take their jbusiness, investment and jobs wherever they want, and consumers don't have to pay what you want them to. Would you propose we force them to do what you want, or entice them to?

AJ Lynch said...

RV:

Please STFU about Citizens United.

Afterall, we conservatives have to listen to a corporate media apparatchick that never ever questions the growing size of our govt and which never fails to take the liberal side of an issue.

LilyBart said...

Except the countries that do much better than us have considerably higher tax rates at all levels of the economy. So your theory just doesn't hold water.

Are you sure? Those countries tend to have higher unemployment rates. Also, a 'middle class' lifesytle appears to be different with less disposable income.

Further, taxation is different - in those countries almost everyone pays taxes and benefits from government - they don't have this perverse system where a few people pay a lot and get 'means tested' out of benefits, while 50% pay little to no income tax and but enjoy large large beneifts and subsidies.

AJ Lynch said...

Dante makes an excellent point - it's hard for a person making less than $75-$80K per year to build a nest egg because he does not have much leftover to save after Uncle Sam and his state and city cronies take their big bites out of our paychecks.

LilyBart said...

I love that people stand here today, in 2012, and say, "The mess we're in proves that capitalism doesn't work". We've had big government for quite a while now. And I think its demonsratably true that government intervention in the housing and mortgage market (for a good cause, of course) has been a major contributor to the current economic mess we find ourselves in today.

Chip S. said...

@Frederson, You should have read the article accompanying the map I linked to. Then you'd know this:

The study used Census and Social Security Administration earnings data for individuals born from 1943 to 1958. It focused on prime working years, the 10 years from ages 35-39 and 45-49.

That is, like any other study of long-term mobility, it observes people who were born quite a while ago.

Surely you are aware of the profound differences in the educational opportunities available in the American South during the years that the people being observed were in school. That was the result of a government-run educational system, BTW.

Now, can you see why you can't infer anything from these data about capitalism vs. socialism in terms of economic mobility?

You can, of course, infer plenty about the hazards of trapping kids on the bottom rung in terrible public schools.

Freder Frederson said...

That was the result of a government-run educational system

Yeah, that's right, there aren't public schools in the north.

Chip S. said...

Are you really this stupid, or just intransigent?

Dante said...

Except the countries that do much better than us have considerably higher tax rates at all levels of the economy. So your theory just doesn't hold water.

I think you are missing my point. The wealthy in those countries are not paying 17% effective tax rate. They may be paying 70% effective tax rate. So the government has to spend that money, and perhaps they do it on things that make sense, like public transportation that works. Here in CA, public transportation does not work, because there are no well defined city centers, with the exception of San Francisco. So we middle classers get to pay for this costly, worthless public transportation with our property taxes. We get to pay for it with regressive sales taxes. And it does NOTHING to improve our ability to save.

Taxation of the middle class is forced spending. I suspect the wealthy get a net positive return on their government investment. Just consider how great it is the US military has made outsourcing possible. The middle class in the US gets a net negative return.

Here are some other things to consider. Illegal immigration is great for ownership class folks. They get pools of cheap labor. But the wages can simply not pay for the government services the illegals and their progeny consume. For instance, while CA had essentially no Hispanics in 1970, CA K-12 students now make up 50% of the HS population. That's a cost of about $30B to the state, or roughly 1/3rd of the budget. But illegals and their progeny make nowhere near enough money to pay for these state services in their taxes. That means the middle class has to suffer with worse schools, since they cannot be funded properly. So many take their kids out and put them in private schools.

Then there is "low cost housing." How does that work? Well, developers tack on costs to better homes to subsidize the low cost housing. Another regressive tax.

It goes on, and on, and on. All regressive.

So this is what I think. The ownership and income rich folks (and I am talking about the very wealthy here), get a net positive return on their investment in government. Money is accumulating at the top levels, as is becoming increasingly clear. Yet, due to the positive return on investment, these influential people have no incentive to change the status quo. In fact, perhaps they like it. It sets up a two tier society.

I say tax the wealthiest on income at the highest marginal rates. It makes no sense to me why someone of lesser means should shoulder a higher burden as a percent of their salary to support the welfare state. this will also recruit a strong ally for smaller government. Wealthy people who want to hold on to what's theirs.

Freder Frederson said...

Are you really this stupid, or just intransigent?

You said that the lack of mobility in the South was due to a poorly run government run education system. Even if this simplistic assumption were true (and education is certainly part of the mix), your reasoning is flawed unless you can show that the states that do well don't have significant government-run education systems.

Chip S. said...

No, FF, all I have to do is show that African-Americans--who constitute a disproportionate share of the population in the American South--were given unusually shitty educations in those days b/c of state-sanctioned policies imposed through the state-run educational system.

Did you not know about that?

La Pasionaria said...

I wish I had a socialist to vote for, but there is nobody like that.

The Democrats are New-Left libertarians, with moderate views on the economy. They are actually social issues standard bearer for Hollywood millionaires and billionaires and completely out of touch with the working class.

What was the Obama Presidency good for? We didnt get a public option that would make the healthcare mandate something more than just state enforced consumption of corporate products, but instead we got a meaningless gay marriage endorsement from the President. Not exactly socialist priorities.

Bob Ellison said...

Wow, La Pasionaria. Did you just wake up, Rip Van Winkle-like, from about 1962?

AprilApple said...

The Democrats are New-Left libertarians."

No. You obviously do NOT understand the meaning of libertarian. Look it up. Limited government is it's backbone.
Democrats are the antithesis of libertarian.

Rusty said...

Freder Frederson said...
That means stop taxing the middle class so damn much.

Except the countries that do much better than us have considerably higher tax rates at all levels of the economy. So your theory just doesn't hold water.


WHich ones?
Europe?
Japan?
China?

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm asking you to look backwards — how did we get here? — and forward — what should the opponents do from this point?

Looking Backwards:

Barack Obama got Oprah's NewAge cult behind him.

And Forward:

Mitt Romney needs to get more than his own cult.

What Should The Opponents Do From This Point?

Keep all talk of their respective cults as hush-hush as humanly possible.

Good luck,...What Should The Rest Of Us Do From This Point?

Expose everything about these bastards we can so, no matter who gets in, they know we've got their number,...

Dante said...

I don't think raising taxes, attacking industry, and pining for more low tech jobs that cost 10 times the global rate is likely to work better.



I work in the high tech field. I work almost exclusively with Indians. It's like being a foreigner in your own country, but what the heck. I'm glad these people came here. I see nothing wrong with getting the best talent available.

What I do not understand is how it makes sense to import tens of millions of people with an 1800's agrarian view of the world into the US. I'm not saying for them, it makes a lot of sense for the illegals. But to stop importing great talent, by limiting H1B visas? I don't get it.

Anyway, that game is over. India is setting up high tech shop, and while the gains aren't as much as many think, it's substantial. And there is less desire for Indians to come to the US, and some are even heading home.

Someone has to be a lot smarter than me, because I can not see how this makes any sense whatsoever for the interests of the US.

You do realize that people are free to take their jbusiness, investment and jobs wherever they want, and consumers don't have to pay what you want them to. Would you propose we force them to do what you want, or entice them to?

I agree with the sentiment. But it is not true in the following sense. Consumers are forced to spend their money on things they do not want to, federal, state, and local governments. Look at this HSR disaster. Apparently, there were some reasonable deals offered by two foreign companies who would have worked in partnership with CA to build the HSR, one a French company. And by in partnership, I include capitalization of the project. Yet, they were rejected.

A person who is jaded might think this is some government payback to Unions. And it's doing it with my money, and I have ZERO control over it. I am a forced consumer.

Freder Frederson said...

Hope this helps. As you can see, the three countries that have the highest mobility according to the link I provided earlier are Denmark, Austria, and Norway. All those countries have significantly higher tax rates including top income tax rates above 45% and VAT taxes in the 20% range. Austria does not have a payroll tax but the other two have payroll taxes similar to the burden here. And of course gas taxes in those countries are much higher.

Alex said...

Guess what Freder - America is paying for those countries national defense.

Dante said...

Let's take Norway.

There is a 7.8% tax for National Insurance, I assume with no cap. But it does have a floor of NOK $39,600, below which you don't need to pay. It appears there is a flat tax rate of 28%, that everyone gets to pay. In addition to that, there is a 12.0% tax surcharge on incomes over NOK 796K, for a total of 40%, then there is the 7.8% National insurance, for nearly 50% of income. I don't know the "employers" obligation for this tax, so it could be higher still.

I also have no idea whether Norway has all these regressive hidden taxes as they do in the US, for homes, electricity usage, property taxes, water usage, etc.

So yes, it seems in Norway perhaps they have the money flows handled better than in the US.

In the US, we tax the wealthy very little as a percent of their income compared to the effective tax rates on the middle class.

What would help mobility in the US is to stop smashing down the middle class with regressive taxes.

rehajm said...

Dante said...

What would help mobility in the US is to stop smashing down the middle class with regressive taxes.

Of course, even once you cherry pick the CBO numbers to your preference, the fact remains the middle class no longer funds government, but is firmly part to he welfare state.

the middle class, having long been a net contributor to the funding of government, is now a net recipient of government largess.

Dante said...


Of course, even once you cherry pick the CBO numbers to your preference, the fact remains the middle class no longer funds government, but is firmly part to he welfare state.

the middle class, having long been a net contributor to the funding of government, is now a net recipient of government largess.


What's your definition of "Middle Class?" How about basing it on mean income and mean wealth. Mean household wealth is about $700K. Mean wealth available ought to be GDP divided by number of households, which is about $187K.

So if these are the means, what's a good definition of the middle class? You really ought to at least be average. And as I pointed out, the effective federal tax rates for dual income earners of $216K is an effective rate of 36%, and a marginal rate close to 50%. It drops down after the social security cap, but it's massively higher than the 17% of taxes on earnings paid by the top 400 earners in 2010.

rehajm said...

What's your definition of "Middle Class?"

I'll stick to CBO's definition- the middle quintile. the 40-60% group. As you can see, the people in that quintile are net takers.