May 20, 2016

Let's talk about this illustration of Trump that Rolling Stone used for "R.I.P., GOP: How Trump Is Killing the Republican Party."



Here's the article, by Matt Taibbi, which has the subtitle "Donald Trump crushed 16 GOP opponents in one of the most appalling, vicious campaigns in history. His next victim? The entire Republican Party." I don't really feel I need to read that. I clicked over there because I saw the illustration, in cropped form, over at Facebook, and I wondered what the hell it was supposed to be. You have to scroll down for the illustration, which is very nicely drawn by Victor Juhasz. Rolling Stone just plopped some video at the top of the page, but I've got to say that I love where the freeze frame just happens to be on my browser:



Speaking of DEATH!!! Hell, man. The party of Reagan is like a big, gooey sandwich, sliced down the middle by Donald Trump and sadistically eased apart by his famously tiny hands so that the gloppy cheese that is the establishment stretches with agonizing stringiness and the delectable ham remains securely ensconced within the thick slabs of the well-toasted bread of the people.

Now, step away from the sandwich — you've had enough, Miss Piggy — and feast your eyes on the fine Juhasz drawing of Trump as the Grim Reaper. The reference is to the chess game with death in the Ingmar Bergman movie "The Seventh Seal":



From the above-linked Wikipedia summary of the Bergman movie:
Disillusioned knight Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) and his nihilistic squire Jöns (Gunnar Björnstrand) return after fighting in the Crusades and find Sweden being ravaged by the plague. On the beach immediately after their arrival, the knight encounters Death (Bengt Ekerot), personified as a pale, black-cowled figure resembling a monk. The knight, in the middle of a chess game he has been playing alone, challenges Death to a chess match, believing that he can forestall his demise as long as the game continues. Death agrees, and they start a new game.
So the GOP invited Trump to play the game.
The knight and squire enter a church...  The knight goes to the confessional where he is joined by Death in the robe of a priest.... Upon revealing the chess strategy that will save his life, the knight discovers that the priest is Death, who promises to remember the tactics....
Trump learned how the GOP was playing the game.
After hearing Death state "No one escapes me" the knight knocks the chess pieces over, distracting Death while the family slips away. 
#NeverTrump!!!
Death places the pieces back on the board, then wins the game on the next move. 
Indiana!
He announces that when they meet again, the knight's time—and that of all those traveling with him—will be up....
Convention time. Here's the GOP on its way to Cleveland...



They go further away, away from the sunrise, in their stately dance to the dark country beyond the horizon while the rain gently washes their faces and cleanses the tears from their cheeks....

86 comments:

n.n said...

Not before aborting the Democrat Party.

AReasonableMan said...

I read this article by Taibbi yesterday. Very funny, although I doubt it is possible to kill either the GOP or the Dems at this point.

Fabi said...

Rolling Stone's concern about the Republican Party is duly noted.

Ron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

I think it's Bergman's film "The Devil's Eye" which begins "Chastity is just a sty in the devil's eye." Also applies to that whole "Trump's women" article!

Saint Croix said...

I am definitely on the right half of the Republican sandwich that has been viciously cut in two.

I remember when I was a kid, it was a big deal how my mom cut my sandwich. She kept going with horizontal cuts. Diagonal, Mom! Diagonal! She was like this. "You know you can make your own sandwich." And I was like this. "No, it's way better when you make it. But the cut needs to be diagonal." Later in art class I discovered that diagonal is way more active and interesting, bringing excitement to your frame. Or your sandwich, I could have added.

In my middle age, when I have to make my own sandwiches, there is no cutting. Either because I'm too damn lazy to cut my sandwich, or I'm a uniter.

MadisonMan said...

From the article:

"What the fuck do we do now?" whispered one.

I'm curious how this was overheard.

The Article seems a little too sneery for my taste. And I think its author should get out of the northeast and mingle with some real people to discern what's actually going on with Trump and why he is liked.

Nonapod said...

One of the reasons I like visiting this blog is it's the only place I'm likely to be made aware of Rolling Stone's sardonic concern trolling for the GOP. Of course it only reinforces my deeply held assumptions about the dingalings who write over there, which is fun too.

CWJ said...

Althouse,

I loved your analysis of the Wikipedia summary. Clever, funny, and spot-on!

Paddy O said...

Hillary destroyed the Dems even before the contest. Is it really the case that Hillary is the most capable Democrat at just about anything related to the office? Of course not. Very few other candidates were willing to face the Clinton machine, making so Dems offer a choice between a socialist and likely one of the most brazenly corrupt political families of the last century.

In light of the illustration referring to Trump, I suspect this is a much more appropriate clip

buwaya puti said...

The end was the worst part of that movie.

M Jordan said...

Trump isn't destroying the Republican Party in the least. He's outing the cucks, that's all. The party will stretch around him, incorporating some of the populism he brings, softening some of the rough edges he wears. It's actually the healthiest democratic process I've seen in a long time.

Roughcoat said...

The Article seems a little too sneery for my taste.

"Sneery" is Matt Taibbi's stock in trade. He's 46 but has the sensibilities of a college sophomore.

bagoh20 said...

The GOP returning from the crusades is a good part of the analogy on a few levels: 1) the wars in the M.E. that Trump promises to avoid, and 2) the GOP's national weakness due to the social conservatism and religiosity of many of it's candidates, which nobody really applies to Trump even if he tries to play at it now and then. Republicans have been winning big time down ticket and at state and local levels where that stuff is not really part of the decision for most.

mikee said...

So Trump is Death, and the GOP is playing to win some time for those it is protecting from the inevitable end? I can see that.

But oddly enough, after the game, Death is still around, and always will be, even after Death gathers in everyone who was previously, temporarily, saved. So will the Trumps of the world be with us always, too?

Paul said...

"It's actually the healthiest democratic process I've seen in a long time."

This.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

The illustration is clearly a hatchet job (no allusion to scythe intended) to accompany the prejudicial title of the article.

"How Trump is changing the Republican Party" would be more neutral, and probably more correct.

Another good reason to not give much credence to Rolling Stone.

Dan Hossley said...

Evidently irony isn't one of Rolling Stone's strong suit. There isn't one candidate that Trump defeated in the primaries that Rolling Stone would endorse. In fact, it is unlikely that Rolling Stone would lament the demise of the Republican party at all.

ganderson said...

I love the nostalgia for Reagan on the left- am I the only one who remembers how unhinged so many people were about Ronnie? Now he's like a kindly old uncle to the "pity the party of Reagan" types.

The Cracker Emcee said...

I want the sandwich. I hate mayo though.

Bill said...

Taibbi, of all people, bemoaning the 'vicious' campaign. Is there a more vicious writer anywhere?

cubanbob said...

Taibbi's false bravado is almost touching. He sees the Trumping to come and can't believe its happening.

traditionalguy said...

The Greek chorus is tuning up their instruments. They all are chanting now about how scary Trump is because he is a loose cannon and he is unpredictable and he is more liberal than Hillary.

Killing the institution that gave us Nelson Rockefeller and Thomas Dewey is still unsettling to some Republicans.

The first rule of negative agitprop is: Play to the fears of your opponent's base. Ergo: Trump is not a Christian. Trump is from the den of New York. Trump talks too vulgar to be seen by virtuous Christian women and children.

Quaestor said...

It's fascinating how the usual suspects who in the past abhorred — nay, passionately loathed — the Republican Party and all its works since Ike thrashed Adlai, are now mourning the supposed death of the GOP. Given their record as long as your arm one would think they'd celebrate the demise of despised home of elephantine knuckle draggers. But no, they weep salty tears as they sing the darkest dirge of woe.

Bullshit. The obituaries are are a form of magical thinking. They think they can shore up Hillary's fading campaign by selling the absurd notion that a vote for Hillary is a vote for the Grand Old Party (emphasis on Old), the perennial losers whose job it is to keep silent (accepting an occasional low-toned har-umph) and acquiesce to whatever PC/SJ lunacy the left can invent. The funerary chants are meant to disguise their fears of a rejuvenated Republican Party with a new agenda that they intend to keep, one that will rip to shreds the Obama legacy.

mockturtle said...

am I the only one who remembers how unhinged so many people were about Ronnie?

No, I well remember the scare tactics, even from the GOP. And, of course, there was Barry ['in your guts, you know he's nuts'] Goldwater. Teddy Roosevelt also had to fight the GOP establishment who were terrified of his reform policies. The media love to portray everything as new and 'groundbreaking' when it's all as old as politics. Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is a fine example.

Quaestor said...

The image of Trump as Death Incarnate is not well thought out by The Rolling Stone. Death always wins. The Game is over. The Game has just begun. Death always wins.

Herb said...

I thought the frat house at UVA owned rolling stones now? They didnt clean house on staff yet?

Bay Area Guy said...

Matt Taibbi is a leftist, he wants his left-wing vision to prevail in the political arena, and he wants the GOP to die anyway. Concern troll.

But, he's wrong. Trump isn't killing the GOP. Rather, he has fought and won to lead it. If he loses to Hillary, then he must own the defeat. But, if he beats Hillary, I'm sure both he and the GOP will be delighted, and work out some modus vivendi.

Rolling Stone -- the magazine who brought us the Virginia rape-hoaxer Jackie Coakley. Yeah, we do really, really, really buy its political analysis.

Howard said...

"You People" should read it. He nails the who, what where and why. I've selected some of the best (IMO) bits:

Carly Fiorina, who stared out at the crowd with her trademark alien-abducted smile.... Cruz glanced back and forth across the room with that odd, neckless, monitor-lizard posture of his...The party of Nixon, Reagan and two Bushes had needed a win by Cruz, a man not just disliked but loathed by the party elite, to stave off a takeover by Trump.

There were now two Republican Parties. One, led by Trump...From there, this Republican Party would steam toward the White House, which, who knows, it might even win...The other Republican Party was revealed in the end to be a surprisingly small collection of uptight lawyers, financiers and Beltway intellectuals who'd just seen their chosen candidate, the $100 million Jeb Bush, muster all of four delegates in the presidential race.


Here is the Money Shot:

There was a time in this country – and many voters in places like Indiana and Michigan and Pennsylvania are old enough to remember it – when business leaders felt a patriotic responsibility to protect American jobs and communities. Mitt Romney's father, George, was such a leader, deeply concerned about the city of Detroit, where he built AMC cars.

But his son Mitt wasn't. That sense of noblesse oblige disappeared somewhere during the past generation, when the newly global employer class cut regular working stiffs loose, forcing them to compete with billions of foreigners without rights or political power who would eat toxic waste for five cents a day.

Then they hired politicians and intellectuals to sell the peasants in places like America on why this was the natural order of things. Unfortunately, the only people fit for this kind of work were mean, traitorous scum, the kind of people who in the military are always eventually bayoneted by their own troops. This is what happened to the Republicans, and even though the cost was a potential Trump presidency, man, was it something to watch.

traditionalguy said...

Taiibi delites in highlighting what ever his opponents are doing that works and say that it looks like strange and different stuff, and therefore it must be socially unacceptable.

That ridicules all creative solutions to problems.

But Trump and his sidekick Gingrich have a way of explaining new solutions that outflank the established hang ups.

mockturtle said...

Speaking of Gingrich, I'd love to see him in a lively VP candidate debate against, say, Elizabeth Warren. Or even Bernie. He would cut them to ribbons.

Rick said...

Howard said...

Here is the Money Shot:

But his son Mitt wasn't. That sense of noblesse oblige disappeared somewhere during the past generation, when the newly global employer class cut regular working stiffs loose, forcing them to compete with billions of foreigners without rights or political power who would eat toxic waste for five cents a day.


Isn't interesting that xenophobia is so open and yet so unremarked upon among leftists?

It always comes back to economic illiteracy doesn't it?

dreams said...

Liberals/progressives just aren't as smart as they think they are and they're not very good people either.

Qwerty Smith said...

Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain
We can be like they are

tim in vermont said...

forcing them to compete with billions of foreigners without rights or political power who would eat toxic waste for five cents a day.

Of course the Democrats bring them in to pad out their machine politics and make it so the same "Joe Sixpack" can't even do work that can't be sent overseas, like lawn maintenance. That's because Rolling Stone cares more about these people than Donald Trump.

AReasonableMan said...

Howard said...
Here is the Money Shot:
"There was a time in this country – and many voters in places like Indiana and Michigan and Pennsylvania are old enough to remember it – when business leaders felt a patriotic responsibility to protect American jobs and communities. Mitt Romney's father, George, was such a leader, deeply concerned about the city of Detroit, where he built AMC cars.

But his son Mitt wasn't. That sense of noblesse oblige disappeared somewhere during the past generation, when the newly global employer class cut regular working stiffs loose, forcing them to compete with billions of foreigners without rights or political power who would eat toxic waste for five cents a day.

Then they hired politicians and intellectuals to sell the peasants in places like America on why this was the natural order of things. Unfortunately, the only people fit for this kind of work were mean, traitorous scum, the kind of people who in the military are always eventually bayoneted by their own troops."


The change in the relationship between George Romney and his employees and Mitt Romney and the plebes who toiled for him occurred within a generation. That is not conservative.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

It amuses me greatly that Taibi bemoans the "party of Reagan" becoming the "party of Trump". Taibi's ilk gave Reagan exactly the same treatment that they're trying to give Trump now, branding him a know-nothing celebrity with totalitarian tendencies. Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose

Howard said...

Rick: You need to get your Fox News induced rectal-cranial inversion fixed.

Rick said...

Howard said...
Rick: You need to get your Fox News induced rectal-cranial inversion fixed.


You need to learn how to think.

CatherineM said...

Nobody needs to read Matt Taibbi

Howard said...

Reagan was a tool who sold out the USMC and sold missiles to Iran, then took it up the butt from Paki ISI thereby sponsored the growth of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Bush II following in his footsteps did much of the same thing by selling out the Sunni's in Iraq thereby creating ISIS.

Someone needed to Kill the GOP to save it. Below is a clip from Morning Joe where Trump continues to kick the GOP establishment in the Balls. He completely destroys Mika Brzezinski who at the end has to invoke her Daddy... pathetic.

Trump Owns Joe, Mika and Minions

Nice to see him get back to substance and off the sex.

Howard said...

CatherineM: That is a tyrannical statement like something one would expect from the Soviets. Maybe we need reeducation and have little rickie teach us how to "think"

Rick said...

Howard said...
That is a tyrannical statement like something one would expect from the Soviets.


The Soviets used to say you don't "need to read" someone? Or did they say if you read someone we don't like we'll put you in the Gulag for 20 years.

We can add the Soviets to the growing list of things Howard knows nothing about.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

Matt Taibbi is complaining about something that is "appalling and vicious?" Really? Matt Taibbi? Dude thinks he's Hunter H. Thompson without the top of his head blown off. Sad delusion. Hell, toward the last 20 years or so, Dr. Thompson wasn't even his old, interesting self. I usta think HST was the shit. (We shared a birthday and all... I majored in journalism when pushing "New Journalism" was all the rage, at least in mid-size, midwestern colleges.) Taibbi is a jackass. A vicious, appalling jackass.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"forcing them to compete with billions of foreigners without rights or political power who would eat toxic waste for five cents a day."

And the Democrats solution is to move those foreigners on site. Really, leftists are hypocritical retards. But so many folks are.

Howard said...

Read the article, Cracker. Matt "Libtard" Taibbi says the democrats support the same offshoring of good paying American industrial jobs and they are whores (see BH Obummer in 2012) for big globalist money, just like the Bushes and Mittens. This is why Trump and Sanders agree on trade, apparently making them xenopholologists.

Howard said...

Bri & Traci: Trump was appalling and viscous, to his credit. That's how he defeated those 15 "nice guys" and one ugly face. It's also why men are voting for him in droves. We've seen him destroy the GOP without breaking a sweat. You sound like a deranged Koch-Head.

buwaya said...

" forcing them to compete with billions of foreigners without rights or political power who would eat toxic waste for five cents a day"

Comments -

The cruel long term view is that this is the inevitable result of technology. Its not just that technology removes the need for human labor, but that it also makes it feasible to employ even more of those 5-cents a day foreigners for more and more things. Its one, very, very interconnected world where pretty much the entire population of the third world, given the chance, could feasibly move to the first world in a few years. It would be much easier than Jean Raspail had it.

Rights or political power are irrelevant. At best they are speed bumps on inevitable economic consequences. You can mandate all the labor rights you want, but its like pressing down on a waterbed. Overall volume doesn't change.

Those 5-cents a day workers are not going to stay that way, labor costs are rising around the world, as is consumer demand; but there will be a limit to this as technology correspondingly progresses and lowers the threshold break-even for labor cost.

There's a good argument to be made re limiting immigration and raising tariffs. It would improve things for a while, or reduce the rate of degradation. That's worthwhile, for a while. After all, in the long term we are all dead. That's what Trump is selling. But ultimately, given no other competitive advantages (natural resources, social infrastructure, cultural capital, biological superiority) this will fail.

Altruism, accepting higher costs as a tradeoff for social or political benefits is also a short term solution. Any such system will break down.

This was the main point of "The Bell Curve".
A large part of humanity is already obsolete.
The only real way out is to engineer humanity.

buwaya said...

"Trump was appalling and viscous"

He may be appalling, but hes much too fast-moving to be very viscous.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
Altruism, accepting higher costs as a tradeoff for social or political benefits is also a short term solution. Any such system will break down.


This is essentially what all liberal democracies do. They may break down eventually but they are taking their time about it.

Unknown said...

That sandwich definitely puts me in the mind of Mom's Apple Pie [NSFW]..

buwaya said...

"This is essentially what all liberal democracies do."

No they don't. There's nothing about being a democracy that raises labor costs.
There's a good argument that, for the most part, democracies are a consequence of economic conditions, not a cause.

Rusty said...

buwaya said...
Altruism, accepting higher costs as a tradeoff for social or political benefits is also a short term solution. Any such system will break down.

Except governments aren't altuistic. It is an impossibility. They are, at their very best, amoral. To expect them to be anyhing else is naive.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
No they don't. There's nothing about being a democracy that raises labor costs.


In a textbook this might be true, but, as should have been clear, I was referring to actual liberal democracies in this actual world. Obama just put a tariff on Chinese steel, just like Reagan. Social stability is a real world good.

buwaya said...

"Obama just put a tariff on Chinese steel, just like Reagan."

This is a short term policy, like Reagans. At some point the users of steel will demand removal of the tariff.

"Except governments aren't altruistic."

Governments can be altruistic, in a general sense. There are governments that have ruled, and suffered consequences, for purely ideological reasons, or if one wants to be a pain about it, to suit such ideas held by their constituents.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"Romney's father, George, was such a leader, deeply concerned about the city of Detroit, where he built AMC cars." Just like Trump!

"But his son Mitt wasn't. That sense of noblesse oblige disappeared" Mitt lacked noblesse oblige? Compared to any other contemporary political, the man is n.o. in the flesh.

"somewhere during the past generation, when the newly global employer class cut regular working stiffs loose, forcing them to compete with billions of foreigners without rights or political power who would eat toxic waste for five cents a day." This must be more evidence of what voters are "thinking." We deserve Trump and Bernie.

cubanbob said...

This was the main point of "The Bell Curve".
A large part of humanity is already obsolete.
The only real way out is to engineer humanity."

Buwaya the scary part is you might be right. I recall reading that Chinese researchers are working on creating genetic modifications to increase IQ. If such a thing is possible imagine shifting the top of the bell on standard deviation to the right. In a country of over one billion people over several generations this would be a really huge change.

Gahrie said...

Except governments aren't altuistic. It is an impossibility. They are, at their very best, amoral. To expect them to be anyhing else is naive.

It is worse than that...government often use the pretense of altruism to oppress and enslave the people they govern.

Mr. Fabulous said...

buwaya and ARM,

Excellent exchange! Please continue on this and future threads. ARM, great job - you're at your best when you work to persuade others and defend your ideas, not when you're slinging mud.

Thank you both - this is what keeps us lurkers lurking at the Althouse blog.

cubanbob said...

If Trump's positions on his web site are indicative of what he really thinks and intends he really isn't removed from mainstream Republicanism.

Gahrie said...

It amuses me greatly that Taibi bemoans the "party of Reagan" becoming the "party of Trump".

Reagan's "conversion" to being one of the "good" Republicans is still so new that many of the Lefty hacks haven't gotten the talking points, and still talk shit about him. (Especially in California..they still hate him from when he was governor) Their confusion when I start posting quotes from other Lefties praising him is priceless.

In about 20 years even Bush will be a "good" Republican compared to the current candidate.

Mr. Fabulous said...

My apologies for not also complimenting others for their contribution to this thread. The above comment wasn't in any way meant to suggest that cubanbob, Gahrie, Sebastian, etc haven't also posted great comments. Except for Howard. Not a fan of Howard.

cubanbob said...

Blogger Rusty said...
buwaya said...
Altruism, accepting higher costs as a tradeoff for social or political benefits is also a short term solution. Any such system will break down.

Except governments aren't altuistic. It is an impossibility. They are, at their very best, amoral. To expect them to be anyhing else is naive.

5/20/16, 2:55 PM"

There is no compulsion in charity and no charity in compulsion. Why so many people can't grasp this is a mystery to me.

GRW3 said...

I'm continually amazed at the Demos who are worried about the demise of the Republican party. Starting to sound more like whistling past the graveyard to me.

They aren't worried is the fact, if the Republicans crashed and burned with a standard candidate and lost House and Senate they would do a happy dance. There problem is the increasing chance that Trump will win and wreak havoc on the cushy DC class, all of whom share the pleasure of ruling over us rubes.

Don't ask for whom the bell tolls...

Howard said...

I'm heartbroken, Mr. Fab... I so much crave luv from blog comments.

Tariffs are usually targeted political paybacks. Right now, American workers are not competing on an even playing field. Ideally, a form of broad-based fair trade to incentivize stricter behavior would be more effective. To import into the US, companies would have to comply with equivalent US worker health & safety, environmental air and water pollution controls, allow unions, require some minimal pay based on spending power, etc. Also, I would like to see some minimal product quality standards. Have you guys noticed how hard it is to buy a decent pair of channel locks, screw drivers, screws, etc.

Quaestor said...

Another good reason to not give much credence to Rolling Stone.

Why would anyone read Rolling Stone when one could read something that leaves you smarter for the effort?

Sammy Finkelman said...

The Seventh Seal - a 1957 movie I see in Movies on TV 1989-1990 by Steven H. Scheuer.

Achilles said...

Tariffs are a poor method of retaliation. But we need to break down the whole situation with steel prices and chinese dumping to see why.

China has a huge trade surplus with the US. They accomplish this with cheap labor. Whatever everyone knows that. But China is a very much centrally controlled economy. You are required to have party owners in any company and you really need permission from the central party to operate.

The central party misapplied capital and built far to much steel production capacity. There was a tremendous financial loss as loans are collapsing and there is obviously too much steel being made. Their return on investment was obviously negative. So much so that as the world price of steel is collapsing these steel producers in any kind of free market would have gone bankrupt and liquidated long ago and the excess capacity would have disappeared. Except they are publicly owned and subsidized by the trade deficit. Tariffs would be an entirely short term solution and would protect steel makers in the US. Obviously Obama has unions to protect.

A better plan would be to deregulate steel production plants in the US and allow them to quickly retrofit their plants to take the cheap steel from China and make it into things we need. In order to do that you have to let the free market go and adapt to the situation. A company that builds steel buildings would be thrilled with cheap steel. Auto manufacturers, skyscraper construction etc. could all take advantage of this.

buwaya said...

Its an interesting thought experiment to update Marx. The Marxian idea was that technology would cheapen labor. I'm not sure thats whats happening, or happened. Marx left out quality levels in labor. In his argument labor was a uniform quality overall - if you wanted to do something complex, you just got more brains, or one big brain substituted for many lesser, or whatever, and the rule applied regardless. But of course it isn't that way.

What we are seeing isn't simply that labor is being cheapened, but that the lower levels of labor quality are being so massively cheapened that there is no reasonable wage that anyone would be willing to pay, if for no other reason because the ancillary costs of employment (supervision, management, accounting, security, facilities, tools, training), not mentioned by Marx either, are too costly. Automation can be cheaper even with zero wages.

Many people, through no fault of their own, just have no economic value. They are useless from the point of view of production. This was always the case to a degree for many of the disabled, and the aged, dependent on charity. But now we have whole classes of fit people in this condition. Call these Group A.

70 years of educational and social experiments have shown that there is little scope of improving the capabilities of Group A (within current knowledge) such that they have economic value. And the threshold point of value keeps moving further away as technology advances.

Conversely, at the highest levels of labor quality (generally speaking, this is a messy, compartmentalized and very dynamic situation) labor costs are going UP. Call these Group C.

Lets lump the remainder, those who still have a positive value but whose real wages are stagnant or falling, Group B.

There is absolutely no way to substitute scarce workers in Group B from plentiful spares in Group A. There is very limited ability to "bump" those of Group A into Group B, or B to C.

This is one of those cases where ordinary economics breaks down because it doesn't have a quantitative measure of those levels of labor quality. Its way too complex to model, but we can observe it.

AReasonableMan said...

Howard said...
Have you guys noticed how hard it is to buy a decent pair of channel locks, screw drivers, screws, etc.


It is not so much that everything is crap but it is very hard to tell what is and isn't crap. This is the value of brands, which the Chinese, in general, haven't established (Lenovo and a few others are an exception).

AReasonableMan said...

Mr. Fabulous said...
not when you're slinging mud.


Hey, I sling some quality mud, sometimes. It's not as easy as it looks.

Michael said...

We'll see who's laughing by October. I'm guessing not Taibi.

Lucien said...

Based on the quotes I've seen in the comments, the overwhelming impression is that Taibbi is trying -- and failing -- to sound like Hunter Thompson.

But just imagine the fun if the real Hunter Thompson had been writing about his campaign. (Guess I picked the wrong week to stop snorting Ibogaine).

JCCamp said...

Matt Taibbi is a troll, who writes high-school level trash. Rather than cater to this moron, why not cite something a little more substantive? Rolling Stone is the graphic novel of current events periodicals, geared toward those appreciative of body-function humor and anything that sounds anti-establishment. And bare breasts. Rolling Stone can never have enough skin. It's Sports illustrated, only not as subtle.

Michael K said...

" Have you guys noticed how hard it is to buy a decent pair of channel locks, screw drivers, screws, etc."

Howard is an idiot who says stuff that he has no idea about.

There are cheap imitations around but good quality tools are easily available.

The Reagan stuff you put out is standard Democrats' BS. Reagan let the Marines make a mistake about where they put the troops and then made the sentries carry unloaded rifles. They saw the truck driver as he drove into the basement of the barracks. I very much doubt he knew anything about whether the rifles were loaded.

The Iran missiles were a deal with Israel and an attempt to rescue CIA station chief Bill Buckley.

He would have better advised to do what the KGB did but you lefties would have gone nuts.

mockturtle said...

I do think the Trump caricature is awfully cute.

richardsson said...

Well, if I were an astute partisan Democrat and I saw that the Republicans were proceeding to commit suicide, I would keep quiet about it. On the other hand, as Richard Nixon used to say, if I were that same Democrat and saw that the punching bag Republicans were finally ousted from their positions of power and replaced with a guy who won't take any crap, I would write an article about hos the Republicans were committing suicide. I think the future of the Republican Party is a lot brighter than, say, the future of Rolling Stone Magazine. Their heyday gets father away every day.

By the way, I think some of the cynical humor of the Seventh Seal in Swedish is lost in translation.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
This is a short term policy, like Reagans. At some point the users of steel will demand removal of the tariff.


I'm not buying this. Take lawyers. Spectacular inefficiency, across the globe. They essentially function as a tax on the productive elements of the economy. Yet, nothing changes.

Or, take South America. They have relatively few trade agreements and large tariff barriers largely due to unresolved regional rivalries. It has been like this for decades, harms all the economies, nothing changes.

Any argument that relies on the frictionless Homo economics rationalis is a very weak argument. People and societies just don't function like this. The earth is not flat and the forces that have acted to flatten it in recent decades are all very reversible, given the political will.

richardsson said...

how not hos

Zach said...

There was a great parody of that scene in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn6BDeKn-qc

Not a great movie, but there were a lot of clever scenes.

buwaya puti said...

Lawyers inefficiency has hit its limit - the market has turned on them. Technology has moved the automation breakeven down into their cost of labor.
The only reason the US still has employment for most of the lawyers still got is the bureaucracy.
The master class doesn't need to be efficient. They are rentiers.
S.A. is a case in point of the failure of development economics. Economic rationality need not drive policy, and usually doesn't. Policy decisions have unavoidable economic results though. Economics can't be wished away.
And somewhere in the world someone will be more rational. It only takes one.

Howard said...

Big picture Doc. You gotta get you head out of a necrotic bowel once in a while. Sometimes you gotta buy tools on the road in a hurry to bang it out. Reagan set up the paper tiger meme among islamic extremists that directly lead to 911. He also called his cheating wife Mommy. Just your LA disco blow dry kinda guy.

Howard said...

buwaya puti: You make great points. Millennial gearhead robot guys are seeing 60+% of the population as useless eaters inside 20-years. It would be grand if the Law-Yers got mechanized first. Recent op-eds call for bans on automation to protect $15/hr minimum wage no skill jobs... only in Cali.

tim in vermont said...

Millennial gearhead robot guys are seeing 60+% of the population as useless eaters inside 20-years.

It is still critical that we import massive numbers of low skilled laborers though, the Democrat Machine needs the votes.

Rusty said...

Howard said...
Have you guys noticed how hard it is to buy a decent pair of channel locks, screw drivers, screws, etc.

No.
But to be fair I live in a sprawling suburban area that offers a lot of choices.