August 6, 2018

"I’ve been fretting lately about the state of mind of America’s capitalists."

"All these socialists coming out of the woodwork must have them in quite a lather. So I write today with some friendly advice for the capitalist class about said socialists. You want fewer socialists? Easy. Stop creating them. Every once in a while in history, cause and effect smack us in the face. The conditions under which the czars forced Russians to live gave rise to Bolshevism. The terms imposed at Versailles fueled Hitler’s ascent. The failures of Keynesianism in the 1970s smoothed the path for supply-side economics. And so it is here. As I noted recently in The Daily Beast, the kind of capitalism that has been practiced in this country over the last few decades has made socialism look far more appealing, especially to young people. Ask yourself: If you’re 28 like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congressional candidate who describes herself as a democratic socialist, what have you seen during your sentient life?"

Michael Tomasky — Daily Beast columnist — writes in the NYT.

1. "The terms imposed at Versailles fueled Hitler’s ascent." I've never seen such a short, blunt explanation for Hitler that didn't blame Hitler and his supporters. I'm not saying the terms imposed at Versailles did not fuel Hitler's ascent, just that it's conventional to avoid giving Hitler a neat, unelaborated excuse.

2. The other day we were talking about something Andrew Sullivan wrote: "One simple rule I have about describing groups of human beings is that I try not to use a term that equates them with animals." Tomasky violates that rule with: "All these socialists coming out of the woodwork must have them in quite a lather." I didn't agree with Sullivan's rule, because we are animals and because (as we've seen with Tahlequah the orca) some nonhuman animals seem humane. But I do crack down on mixed metaphors, and it's cockroaches and rats that "come out of the woodwork" and horses that get in a "lather." That's a mixed metaphor, because the woodwork is in a house and a horse is not in the house. (But now I'm thinking about that David Sedaris story that has him and his sister looking at magazine photos of a horse in a house: "Amy leaned closer and pointed to the bottom of the picture. 'Look at the mud on that carpet,' she said, but I was way ahead of her. 'Number one reason not to blow a horse in your bedroom,' I told her, though it was actually much farther down the list. Number four, maybe, the top slots being reserved for the loss of dignity, the invitation to disease, and the off chance that your parents might drop by.")

3. Even though I don't accept Sullivan's broad rule, I do think one ought to be careful about characterizing your antagonists as vermin.



4. Tomasky has room to deny: He didn't say socialists were cockroaches/rats. He imagined "America's capitalists" seeing them as vermin. They're the wrong-thinkers. Those horses.

5. Is it capitalists who are upset about all the socialism talk happening inside the Democratic Party? I think it is (and should be) the Democrats themselves. I think what Tomasky wants is for nonleftists to support policies that moderate Democrats would prefer to enact without calling any of it "socialism." But if they can't, because they're too bland to win support in the present-day media environment, then there's an opening for more exciting characters like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and they will say "socialism," and that complicates the Democratic Party's effort to regain power.

6. I seriously doubt that Tomasky is trying to help out capitalists. It's more: He would like their help. It's kind of a protection racket: Support my people before worse people come along.

197 comments:

Masscon said...

Classic concern trolling by the NYT.

Humperdink said...

"I've been fretting lately about the state of mind of America's capitalists" Lately? Lately?? Lately???

That headline made me laugh.

gilbar said...

Support my people before worse people come along.
Think these democratic socialists are pesky ? Welcome to the Shining Path!

exhelodrvr1 said...

"If you’re 28 like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congressional candidate who describes herself as a democratic socialist, what have you seen during your sentient life?"

Well, she barely missed the defeat/fall of the USSR. But she has seen capitalism defeating extreme poverty and hunger and leading the way in the dramatic reductions in pollution. However, she would not be aware of that, because the media doesn't like to make people aware of that, since it doesn't match the narrative. So she would have seen plenty, if she didn't have the blinders on.

Danny Lemieux said...

He's right! We need to stop creating socialists. Raze the universities and start over.

Truthavenger said...

I am as strong a capitalist and free marketer as anyone, but I think Tomasky has a point. We have seen greater income inequality over the past decade or two. The attitude among many business leaders is, "get as much for me and to hell with anyone else." They pursue a policy of maximizing profits by squeezing the workers and keeping costs as low as possible.

Capitalists and business leaders would generate a lot more good will by sharing the wealth a little more. Just give your folks a raise every now and then. Doesn't even have to be a big raise. Just show them you appreciate them.

Owen said...

“...during your sentient life?”

Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

rehajm said...

the kind of capitalism that has been practiced in this country over the last few decades has made socialism look far more appealing, especially to young people

More wishful thinking. The young people I meet all seem to enjoy the trappings of the capitalism practiced in this country over the last few decades, though in a multitude of different ways. Trump or Bernie supporter don't seem to matter.

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

We have seen greater income inequality over the past decade or two.

Only because we've been looking for more it feels like we're finding more.

gilbar said...

the top slots being reserved for the loss of dignity
the horse's dignity?

seriously, that story was The Definition of Stupid
He says: "It was a glass of Scotch, not Whiskey"

Hello?
Scotch is The Definition of Whiskey, unless you listen to Those Irish* that came over and tried to take the country

Those Irish* In the immortal words of The Glasgow Rangers Anthem:
The Famine is Over, Why Don't you GO HOME?

Browndog said...

Is capitalism the same thing as government sponsored corporatism?

Odd how Diane Feinstein got rich the same way Chinese Party Leaders did.

gilbar said...

Is there a socialist leader, Anywhere, that isn't Filthy Rich?

Shouting Thomas said...

The entire argument on every side here is gibberish.

Capitlism isn't a literary ideology.

It's markets. Human behavior. Evolved over millenia.

Capitalism wasn't and isn't enforced by argument. It's a voluntary behavior of humans.

AllenS said...

gilbar said...
Is there a socialist leader, Anywhere, that isn't Filthy Rich?

No

Shouting Thomas said...

So, the argument that capitalist ideologues should work to make sure that negative economic outcomes do not occur, is just silly.

There are no ideologues making capitalism happen.

Negative outcomes are simply one of the possible results of markets.

narciso said...

who was president in the last 8 years ago, it does not compute, unless he wants to excuse Obama,

Ralph L said...

He probably thinks the Panic of 2008 was caused by capitalism instead of the Federal government.
Open borders, which he probably supports, has created more income inequality.
So his solution is more government.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you’re 28 like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congressional candidate who describes herself as a democratic socialist, what have you seen during your sentient life?"

What's the function of the word "sentient"? Is he excluding the stage of in utero life when the brain wasn't formed enough to feel anything? But that idea -- the only one that makes literal sense — is wrecked by the use of the word "seen." What could be seen in the darkness of the womb? And do the unborn even open their eyes?

Lewis Wetzel said...

Aren't all the capitalists Democratic socialists themselves, these days?
Or does capitalists only refer to businessmen with whom Tomasky has political differences?
Also Russian standards of living were rising dramatically in the two decades before the Bolshevik Revolution, and of course the Bolsheviks didn't replace the Czar, the Oktober revolution overthrew democrat reformers.
The terms of the Versailles treaty were demanded by the people of France & Britain, not "capitalists." The victors made the Germans return vast amount of land the Russian socialists had already ceded to the Germans.
Tomasky, like most socialists knows nothing of history, especially political history. The problem with socialists isn't that they oppose capitalists, it is that they are ignorant, but consider themselves the vanguard of the educated class.

narciso said...

tomasky used to write for the village voice, then he went to work for the publication that was sold for a dollar, and the guardian,

robother said...

At least he didn't blame those greedy Jewish capitalists for giving rise to National Socialism, (or perhaps he did and the editor changed it to Versailles Treaty).

RNB said...

Another dam' leftist imagining -- with perfect confidence -- that he knows what's going on inside the heads of people he knows nothing about and has no sympathy for.

Tommy Duncan said...

The Democrats have a huge problem. Imagine a campaign video with clips of the gaffs of Maxine Waters, Nancy ("senior moment"} Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sheila Jackson Lee.

Cue the Benny Hill music...

Dave Begley said...

"It's kind of a protection racket: Support my people before worse people come along."

And that's EXACTLY how the Clintons and Barack raised so much money from the Street and Big Business.

I recall well Crooked Hillary speaking in Iowa about how she wanted to regulate non-bank financials and Big Pharma. My immediate thought (and I wrote it in my Power Line report) was that she would use that threat to raise even more campaign cash.

Hypo. HRC fundraiser to Mutual of Omaha or Mass Mutual, "That's a nice little insurance company you got there and it would be a shame if something happened to it."

narciso said...

yes Keynes was confused about cause and effect, just like reed misread Kerensky mistake re Kornilov, which allowed the Bolsheviks to take power. Solzhenitsyn has helped correct the historical record in the red wheel,

The Crack Emcee said...

"The kind of capitalism that has been practiced in this country over the last few decades has made socialism look far more appealing, especially to dumb people."

FIFY - if he's going to use Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as an example, anyway.

http://thecrackemcee.tk

narciso said...

that explanation forgets that the dawes plan, cured the hyperinflation, it was massive deflation after the collapse of the creditanstalt, which led to hitler in part,

narciso said...

more broadly, it was the collapse of the old regime, and many of the attendant values, that led to the Weimar republic,

William said...

Germany had a number of historical grievances. Many of these grievances were legitimate, but it's fair to say that the Germans overindulged in their sense of grievance. Perhaps we can look to Hitler as an example of the harm that can come to a nation if it indulges too much in their sense of historical wrongs.

narciso said...

Burleigh's sacred spaces covers this issue, not only in germany, in Italy, in other countries,

PackerBronco said...

We have seen greater income inequality over the past decade or two

If everyone's wages were doubled, that would increase income inequality and hence, according to those on the left, would be a BAD thing.

William said...

I've always wondered why certain flaws In our society define us, but all those dead kulaks are just incidental.

Ralph L said...

Would Versailles have mattered that much if it hadn't been for the Depression?

According to schoolbook historians, in the 30's, everyone gave up on capitalism but Hoover.

SeanF said...

Truthavenger: I am as strong a capitalist and free marketer as anyone, but I think Tomasky has a point. We have seen greater income inequality over the past decade or two.

Before anything else, you need to explain why "income inequality" is something anyone should be concerned about.

Owen said...

William: “...the harm that can come to a nation if it indulges too much in their sense of historical wrongs.” We need look no farther than the grievance-mongering identity-politics industry of Progs in this country. White hetero males = composite bogeyman for all failures and misfortunes.

narciso said...

in Europe, specially after 1931, that's when it arrived in earnest, making 'bruening the hunger chancellor,' that's when stalin directed the communists to attack the social democrats,
branding them 'social fascists'

William said...

I'm an old man. I haven't been fabulously successful in life, but I now live better than the richest man on earth in the year of my birth,......If we somehow eliminated income inequality, I'd still be left with all those bastards who are better athletes or better looking or better something than me,

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I am as strong a capitalist and free marketer as anyone, but

Here we go again. It looks like we have a Life Long Capitalist (LLC) who just happens to spout the party line leftists line.

Is that you Chuckles?

gilbar said...

Black Jack Pershing strongly advocated AGAINST the Versailles Treaty. He said that it would lead DIRECTLY to Another War. And he was Right!

Black Jack correctly felt that ending war with the German armies in France would make the Germans think that they hadn't Really Lost (since their Armies WERE IN FRANCE!!!)

Black Jack wanted a Treaty of Berlin, which he felt would make the Germans think that they REALLY HAD lost (since the American Army would have been in Berlin!!!)

Hard to see the flaw in his plan; in November 1918, the German Armies were collapsing, as was the entire state of Germany. The American Army had FINALLY arrived, and was Good to Go.
Stopping in France would have been as stupid as if Colin Powell had advocated stopping the Gulf war before reaching Baghdad. Imagine if Colin Powell had been That Stupid? We would have ended up fighting ANOTHER war in Iraq in just a few years.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Good analysis. My son now says the mainstream or leadership of both major parties lost young people over the crash of 2008. Bankers and lawyers committed criminal fraud, or something close to it, on a huge scale, and were rewarded with bonuses and big promotions. In fact these people are now especially prized by both parties as advisors on what to do about the economy. (See our host on Deval Patrick at Bain Capital; https://althouse.blogspot.com/2018/08/i-have-many-many-longtime-friends-at.html). Young people are looking for something different.
Tomasky is caught up in the fallacy that those who suffer the most, are most likely to rebel. If you see a group rising up violently, they are probably the people who most deserve some redress. Perfect, almost automatic justice. Most suffering people just suffer and die. Anything like a violent uprising is very rare, and requires a lot more explanation. Proximity of the poor to the rich, so that staff and nearby residents at resorts become more dishonest as time passes, and rich tourists have to find a new "innocent" place with little crime? A memory of particular promises--our time will come, God or History is on our side? This probably needs some help from intellectuals, who may not have suffered much themselves. Roughly speaking, Germany was a rich country that fully intended to conquer the world, and they were just going to set aside that little problem of the United States. They came back in World War II with a crazier version of their WWI militarism. It's difficult to see what the Anglo/Francosphere powers were supposed to do about that. I just read recently that the peasants in Russia had a deeply held belief that a powerful conqueror--maybe a Tsar, maybe someone else--was going to take the land away from the rich and re-distribute it. Village "communes" had a lot of traditional power to decide who could work on a patch of land, and who couldn't; one big land-distribution had made these communes even more powerful; conditions were ripe for the Bolsheviks, with or without a particular famine or police crackdown or whatever.

Roy Jacobsen said...

... the kind of capitalism that has been practiced in this country over the last few decades has made socialism look far more appealing, especially to young people.

Right. "Pay no attention to the 17 years of indoctrination behind the K-through-University curtain."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This really hasn't that much to do with "Captialism" as an idea or even as a practice.

The reason for rise of Socialism or Communism is based on a mechanic that is ageless in the human condition. ENVY. The people who promote this idea of envy as a tool of manipulation of the masses as a way to gain personal power have been doing this since we first started wearing furs and living in caves....oook oooook.

Envy. "Look at what he/she/they have! You don't have this do you? How did he/she/they get this, you may well ask? I'll tell you how. They cheat. They steal. They are taking what is rightfully yours!!!! I will be the one to get your stuff back!!!! Put ME/US in power and we will get even for you!!!! Says Oook Oook the caveman about the abundance of furs that the top hunters have managed to STEAL from the rest of the cavemen. Envy works.

Oook Oook. Gets power and guess who has all the furs now. Not the other cavemen.

Sebastian said...

"The failures of Keynesianism in the 1970s smoothed the path for supply-side economics."

Let's ask any "socialist" if they can 1. explain "Keynesianism" and "supply-side economics" and 2. Describe how and to what extent these notions were implemented as policy, and with what results.

"the kind of capitalism that has been practiced in this country over the last few decades has made socialism look far more appealing"

Yes and no. No: capitalist creative destruction has been going strong, in a way even "sentient" "young people" may have noticed--Amazon in retail, Netflix in movies, Apple et al. vs. landlines, Lyft vs. taxis. Yes: the enormous wealth creation of the last few decades allows "young people" to think that you can have all the benefits of capitalism while imposing collective control and massive redistribution. After all, "we have the money."

"Ask yourself: If you’re 28 like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congressional candidate who describes herself as a democratic socialist, what have you seen during your sentient life?"

As a good prog, you will have closed your eyes to the results of actually existing socialism in Cuba and Venezuela.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Envy......the people fall for that routine every time.

anti-de Sitter space said...

Crony capitalism is bad for capitalism, though not necessarily bad for many crony capitalists.


IMHO.

Rae said...

It's a not very subtle threat. Give us what we want, or we'll come and take it from you. That's always the socialist subtext.

gilbar said...

GOD Bless Herbert Hoover (as Ralph says, the Only leader not to give up on Capitalism in the '30's) HH made fatal mistakes with tariffs and all, but!
Herbert Hoover was (and Remains) our most best Fly Fishing President
Herbert Hoover SAVED Europe from starvation, and did it through Private means!
(the Belgian Relief Organization)
Herbert Hoover, the head of the Food Administration made sure that food, Including Delicious WHOLE MILK made it over to Europe.

Faced with the choice of Starving To DEATH, or enjoying cookies and Delicious WHOLE MILK; the choice is Simple!

President-Mom-Jeans said...

We do need to stop creating socialists. We also need begin throwing them out of helicopters.

Darrell said...

Ask yourself: If you’re 28 like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congressional candidate who describes herself as a democratic socialist, what have you seen during your sentient life?

What's the function of the word "sentient"?


It serve to remind us that the author is too stupid to be familiar with the correct term "sapient."

Crazy Jane said...

"The problem with socialists isn't that they oppose capitalists, it is that they are ignorant, but consider themselves the vanguard of the educated class."

What Louis Wetzel said.

The fact that socialists are trying to "educate" the rest of us only makes the name-calling and condescension more annoying. Like the most ideological people of any moment, they run on emotion and disdain reason. It allows for cheap condemnation of arguments too difficult to understand and shallow adoption of policies with no concern for the downside.

History has a way of catching up with events like those in 1917, the Great Leap Forward, the People's "Democratic" Republic of North Korea, the Cuban Revolution and Socialismo. The Magna Carta, 1776, the election of LIncoln and the fall of the GDR, not so much.

Darrell said...

*serves*

Typing monkeys.

mockturtle said...

Capitalists are far from being 'in a lather' about socialists taking over the Democratic Party. We're downright gleeful.

Henry said...

Coming out of the woodwork is a dead metaphor. I don't envision any kind of animal coming out of the woodwork. I just kind of see the socialists themselves materializing in a brown study.

And who even has a mental image of what woodwork is? Or a brown study?

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

Further proof that if you were born into postwar America, you were born into a fantasy world, where most of the Iron Laws of history have been kept at bay for 70 years now. Even the Doritos-and-flat-screen poor have no idea what they’ve been spared. Hopefully it lasts the rest of my life. But it won’t last forever.

Rob said...

Remember all the times Democrats fretted about the viability of the Republican Party? Their solution, I recall, was for Republicans to get onboard and support Obama's policies. Tomasky's eagerness to help out capitalists is duly noted and greatly appreciated.

Andrew said...

I love the commenters here. It's refreshing to read real history, rather than superficial platitudes. And add me to the list of those who wonder what exactly is wrong with "income inequality." I always wonder what economic equality would even look like. Even socialist countries still have a wealthy elite. Probably the closest the world has ever come to income equality was Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.

Yancey Ward said...

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Lexus.

Yancey Ward said...

And the very first comment, of course, nails Tomasky to the wall- it is concern trolling.

Tom T. said...

The "condition" creating all of these socialists is prosperity.

Yancey Ward said...

Joe Crowley is going to be on the ballot in November, and I think he might actually beat Ocasio-Cortez.

Rory said...

"I think what Tomasky wants is for nonleftists to support policies that moderate Democrats would prefer to enact without calling any of it 'socialism.'"

One of the American Left's perennial problems has been that they can't make a deeply-rooted argument (such as in a speech), because there's never been a philosophical distinction between New Dealism and socialism. It's always just been a matter of degree.

jaydub said...

Income equality is incompatible with freedom and property rights because free people use their freedom in ways that lead to different property outcomes. The only way to force equal outcomes among 320 million individuals is by taking wealth from those who have accummulated more than the median amount of property and giving it to those people who possess an amount less than the median, i.e., by negating property rights. Free people will not give up their property to redistribution without physical coercion, and physical coercion is impossible without first enslaving the population and rendering it unable to resist. Hence, the confiscation of one's property must necessissarily be preceeded by the loss of one's liberty.

It is not a coincidence that leftists are viralently anti-constitution and anti-gun ownership. Nor is it a coincidence that socialist countries always resort to ever increasing tyranny to keep the populace enslaved to the state. Too many young people are ignorant of the history of socialist tyranny and too indoctrinated in leftist claptrap to realize they are being recruited to serve as the instruments of their own enslavement. That is not a coincidence either. For myself, I am certain I will be dead before the state takes my freedom or my property.

Comanche Voter said...

One should not compare people to tools. But then one would not be able to refer to Tomasky as "not the sharpest tool in the shed". And that's in the Guardian shed which contains a lot of rather dull tools.

mockturtle said...

The vanguard of the socialist movement is, as usual, not oppressed workers but bored, affluent university students.

narciso said...

neither kheu samphan, nor saloth sar, were remotely equal, it's just the bourgeoisie, was annihilated except for the except of say Elizabeth deng's parents, now year zero, was midwifed in part by Nixon's embrace of mao, who provided the umbrella group under prince sihanouk, not surprising because this was a pure maoist formulation, the kind that comandante gonzalo attempted in peru in the 80s and early 90s, the film dancer upstairs relates that period,

narciso said...

she is the congressional candidate, running against jim costa, in the central valley, whose life story was too crimethink for facebook, which seems to be run by disciples of noam Chomsky,

Fernandistein said...

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with a brand new car, just maybe not a Ferrari.

mccullough said...

Guys like Bezos and Zuckerburg aren’t likeable. Capitalists need to have more likeable people or be more interesting. And of course we all hate the finance people of Wall Street and their cousins in private equity. They are douchebags.

MountainMan said...

@gilbar at 8:24 AM: You are exactly correct. Note where the surrender of Japan took place: on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, surrounded by a display of more than 150 ships of the Allied fleet, nearly every type of ship, except for the fleet carriers. I think they made a point of having the USS West Virginia there, salvaged from Pearl Harbor and put back into action. There was no doubt about the outcome. When I think of this I am reminded of the comment from Quintus to Maximus in the opening scene of "Gladiator": "People should know when they are beaten."

mockturtle said...

Socialism and open borders go hand in hand, of course. If we create a nation of prosperity by hard work and shrewd enterprise there will be those who want come in later to reap the benefits. It's the Little Red Hen story.

lgv said...

It is more, "support my view of capitalism before something comes along".

It wasn't capitalism that created the new love of socialism. Quite the opposite. It was a lack of capitalism and free markets and a liberal of safety net that gives lots of "free" stuff from phones to guaranteed loans that no one can pay back. So we have a generation that believes that basic human rights includes college education, free healthcare, internet access, transportation and the right to a job in whatever field you want regardless of actual demand.

People need to understand what socialism is and what capitalism is. We criticize "pure" capitalism as too Darwinian, so our current system isn't near as capitalist liberals think, nor is it the source of economic disparities. It is the clear disconnect between supply and demand that government has created through legislation that gives us the desire for even more socialism. It is Maduro answer to every problem in Venezuela: take control over even more of the economy, e.g. food distribution.

Scrape all wealth with a one time 100% tax on anything over $100 million. Take most of the money from Zuckerberb, Buffet, et al to pay for healthcare for all or retire all student debt. Bye bye 450 ft. Geffen yacht. Take it all. See what happens.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

rehajm: "the kind of capitalism that has been practiced in this country over the last few decades has made socialism look far more appealing, especially to young people"

More wishful thinking. The young people I meet all seem to enjoy the trappings of the capitalism practiced in this country over the last few decades, though in a multitude of different ways. Trump or Bernie supporter don't seem to matter.
[emph added]

If they're Bernie supporters then they find socialism appealing, regardless of their enjoying the trappings of capitalism. That's hardly a new phenomenon, is it? (There was even a guy like that running for president - what was his name? Bernie something...)

If they're attracted to socialism to the point of voting for socialists, then it doesn't matter how misguided, ignorant, or hypocritical they are. *They're voting for socialists.* If you don't want socialists in office, it behooves you to examine why. I'd like to think these sorts of voters are negligible, or that the Dems are destroying their party by catering to them, but just in case, I'll join the dead metaphor club and keep my ear to the ground.

"We have seen greater income inequality over the past decade or two."

Only because we've been looking for more it feels like we're finding more.


No, objectively measured by the usual metrics, income inequality has risen. We can quibble about wealth vs. income, etc., etc., but again, the point here is about voting behavior, not absolute material well-being. The right errs with facile dismissals of people's concerns with the "yeah, there is increasing concentration of wealth and power, but you have a smart phone and giant-ass flat-screen TV!", if for no other reason (and there are other reasons) that those arguments haven't been working very well on the electorate recently. The prime recent example of this being Trump's defeat of the entire field of Conservative(tm) candidates whose economic platforms pretty much consisted of exactly that sort of CoC/Cato Institute "muh free markets" boilerplate.

Yet the guy who beat them appears to be doing far more for de-regulation, wage growth, and economic growth in general than the donor favorites would have or could have done. Again, the point being that old conservative farts like me and econo-spergs yelling "what, you want we should be Venezuela!" isn't going to convert Bernie Bros, or the millions of voters who've brought along the socialist/patrón political mindset of their countries of origin. If that were so they would all have voted for Mitt Romney.

How did that same guy get all those "blue wall" Obama voters to vote for him? By paying attention to, not glibly dismissing, the sort of observations about voters made by guys like Tomasky. I do, too, because I don't want we should be Venezuela.

JOSEPH ANGEL said...

Marxism/Leftism/Collectivism/Progressivism are all about control and nothing less. Dressing up the turd of Leftism in a pretty colored bow and Newspeak blather does not improve it or make it any less malevolent.

Henry said...

No matter what treaty ended the war, or whether the Allies advanced into Germany, the physical outcome of the war was going to be the same: horrific loss of life, destruction of the pre-war political order, failure of national institutions. Every country in Europe suffered from instability following World War I. Italy was well on its way to Mussolini's fascist state, and they were on the winning side.

narciso said...

in latin America, the rise of leftist and insurgent groups, was largely due to the scarcity of property rights, this is what the author of the other path, discovered with respect to his own peru, Fujimori who put an end to the largest part of the shining path, was one of these 'illiberal democrats' that the left has targeted, but they have been mostly silent about Ortega, because he is neither,

Truthavenger said...

"Before anything else, you need to explain why "income inequality" is something anyone should be concerned about."

Oh, come on. History is replete with societies where wealth was concentrated in the hands of the few, and the majority were serfs, or peasants, or worse. This is a situation rife for revolution.

We are a long way from that now, of course. But smart businessmen know that you have to keep the workers happy. And some companies that perpetually squeeze their workers and treat them like equipment are asking for labor trouble. It's just common sense.

Ralph L said...

who have accumulated more than the median amount of property

You'd better use the mean, not the median, or it won't work. This is the error that Lenin, Stalin, Mao, the Kims, Castro, and Pol Pot made, and we all know how those turned out.

rehajm said...

No, objectively measured by the usual metrics, income inequality has risen.

This statement is completely void of any intellectual nutrition. I encourage people to look at the tax data for differences in income- it is remarkable how close most US households are top to bottom. People hear about those tech people raking it in but it’s a remarkably small portion of the population. Most people would be quite surprised if they took the time to look.

narciso said...

I recall because I wrote a peace about vargas llosas quixotic tom wolfe like presidential campaign, running on said principles,

https://www.amazon.com/Other-Path-Hernando-Soto/dp/B001E95IPI

Ralph L said...

This is a situation rife for revolution.

Yet it so rarely happens.

Extreme inequality is the norm. The modern West is the great exception.

narciso said...

this is who I was referring to:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/elizabeth-heng-campaign-brings-conservative-values-to-california-race/

which facebook has decided her formative experience, surviving the khmer rouge, is just double unplusgood,

exhelodrvr1 said...

"some companies that perpetually squeeze their workers and treat them like equipment are asking for labor trouble"

And over the long run, those companies will either change, or lose out.

JOSEPH ANGEL said...

All fancy PC-speak aside, the 'income equality' and America's economic turmoil of the last 45 years has been due to the jew's control of every power lever (banking/finance/law/politics/government/academia/press/entertainment,etc) in America. No one can dispute this. Their plan was to keep us dependent on Middle East oil (they birthed the so-called environmental movement to make it impossible to become energy independent after the 70s oil embargoes) and keep us tied at the hip in the Middle East to secure Israel and do its dirty work. The next part of the plan was to gut the white American middle-class and our manufacturing base/jobs and ship it all overseas/across the border (ensuring huge profit for them as share-holders) and then import tens of millions of legal foreign aliens and allow tens of millions more illegal aliens whom they could amnesty to replace us as citizens/cheap labor/voters. They were well on their way to success until we elected GEOTUS Trump (thus why all of the visceral hate and malice toward Trump and the white American citizens who voted for him) much to the consternation of the jewish press which has done everything possible to impugn and subvert him and his agenda. We do not need flowery ten-dollar words or William F. Buckley verbiage to explain what can be made clear via simple truth.

Michael K said...

It's all envy, as several commenters noted. We see it here with a couple of the leftist trolls.

Lewis Wetzel summarized it well.

The conditions under which the czars forced Russians to live gave rise to Bolshevism.

This is horse shit. Russia was growing rapidly and Germany was afraid of Russia in 1914, one reason for the war. The Tsar thought he was the most powerful ruler in Europe and the other countries agreed.

His generals were incompetent, just like Conrad was incompetent in Austria. France and Russia wanted the war.

The Bolshies destroyed the Mensheviks and set Russia back a century. The Tsar had nothing to do with it.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"No one can dispute this."
(Waves hand) I do! I dispute this!

Pianoman said...

You should do a separate post about WW1 and the rise of Hitler. It's pretty clear why Versailles happened, and it's also clear that *someone* would have risen to lead the Germans into totalitarianism.

Digging deeper into the rise of Hitler would also make it clear that Hitler != Trump.

Michael K said...

I see we have acquired a MOBY.

narciso said...

Yes, the batista regime, could have transitioned with a stronger hand, and perhaps not Herbert Matthews category error, at the times, a transition like happened in peru after prado, or Betancourt after marcos jimenez of course fidel's example inspired countless aspirants all through out the region,

roesch/voltaire said...

One needs to redefine these terms in the modern contexts; it seems the so-called socialist are more democratic socialist modeled on Scandinavian countries( not Russian or Central American) or more interested in what passed as New Deal ideals of control over capitalism while offering a base line of security and education vs the Neo-Liberal Capitalism which is global and corporate controlled( with little free market completion) allowing the mass of wealth to be accumulated by less then 10% of the population. Some results include our medical supples being produced in tainted factories in India and Chana, our infrastructure in shambles, our homeless and drugged population swelling, and even middle class folks having a hard time finding affordable homes or meeting medical emergencies. Politicians and citizen who address these ideas, often at the local level, in new ways as opposed to the status quo of the present congressional swamp will find support no matter what their label.

buwaya said...

The fellow overstates the "threat" of socialism.
Because its not a threat.
It is an opportunity, rather, if successful.

The whole point, the desired state, of long term corporate management or the owner class is stability. A state of "socialism" in fact is helpful for that purpose. A Mexican PRI in other words, where government and owners both benefit.

The suppressed in a socialist system are the economic disruptors, the new business, small business, and their would-be financiers. The middle class in other words. The "helping" professions would be fully employed if ill-paid.

narciso said...

well Austria hungary which was the true culprit, was no longer around, so germany took the blame, although the Russian were backing the black hand if hastings account was accurate,
it's arguable that this fragile Christmas tree of alliances would clash at some point,

the character of the Versailles agreement was because Clemenceau in particular, sought revenge going back to Sedan and 1870, although Lloyd George pressed the advantage,

buwaya said...

Roesch, a socialist system is something you have a very great deal of right now.
And, just to pick on one of your points, infrastructure, its very nature is to get in its own way. The federal and state governments find infrastructure construction and even maintenance to be massively costly, because their own system of bureaucracies and xternal feeders on the regulatory system pile on costs and risks.

The effect of socialism is to create an enormous useless mass.

narciso said...

Same as with the Iranian revolution, which need not have ended in the proscribed way, the shah could have held off Khomeini, until the summer of 1978, after that we have zero barrier, according to the author of 'fall of heaven', however it was the alliance of the bazaaris and the mullahs, two middle class factions, that sealed his fate, as it was with Mossadegh a quarter century earlier,

narciso said...

You look across the pond, and the nominally tory regime of Cameron, the boutique socialists of macron, and likewise with merkel, suffer the same strains, not so much with victor urban, curiously enough in hungary

narciso said...

although the former, seems almost hellbent in delivering the country, to Corbyn's Trotskyism, as Frederick forsyth, warns in the express,

PackerBronco said...

Within every socialist beats the heart of a thief.

PackerBronco said...


Blogger Roy Jacobsen said...
... the kind of capitalism that has been practiced in this country over the last few decades has made socialism look far more appealing, especially to young people.


I'd rather think that kids who have grown up with participation trophy and put on the honor roll because they managed to wipe their own noses and their own asses without assistance have found the idea of true competition and reward for true merit too daunting to contemplate and much prefer a system in which they are continued to be given things until the grave.

mockturtle said...

Within every socialist beats the heart of a thief.

Indeed.

Big Mike said...

The US has, over time, developed a system which encourages talented individuals to work hard. Add a tincture of good luck, and they make a lot of money — but they make life better for millions of people and create financial opportunities for millions more. Should I be upset that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs (in his heyday), or Larry Ellison are (were, in the case of Jobs) absurdly wealthy assholes? These people, and others, created my career. A good case can be made that I have a comfortable retirement because these people got rich. Under socialism there would be no personal computers — who besides government and major corporations needs them? I’m an old man and I can remember when IBM — IBM! — took the position that there would never be a need for more than six computers in the entire world.

MikeR said...

Basically I agree with him. The modern Democratic Party is an alliance between billionaires and poor people. The poor people aren't being paid for their support with a chance to get up in society, just with free medical care and food and stuff.
The modern Republican Party, at least till Trump came along, was mostly lower-to-upper middle class, along with some less connected billionaires. It also had nothing to say to poor people.

Francisco D said...

Why would we want a system that guarantees wealth equality?

Think of what the government would have to do suppress the actions of the high achievers who create technological change.

Atlas Shrugged is a must read for anyone debating this issue.

Ralph L said...

Hooray for voluntary transactions!

Francisco D said...

Truthavenger said: "I am as strong a capitalist and free marketer as anyone, but I think Tomasky has a point. We have seen greater income inequality over the past decade or two. The attitude among many business leaders is, "get as much for me and to hell with anyone else."

Right. I suspect that you are a capitalist in the mold of James Taggart.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I've never seen such a short, blunt explanation for Hitler that didn't blame Hitler and his supporters. I'm not saying the terms imposed at Versailles did not fuel Hitler's ascent, just that it's conventional to avoid giving Hitler a neat, unelaborated excuse.

Seriously? That's the standard explanation of how Hitler managed to come to power. He didn't arise in a vacuum. Go to bing.com or google and use the search phrase Versailles treaty hitler. I count six links to articles about how the Versailles treaty contributed to Hitler's rise to power on the first page of results alone.

buwaya said...

Poland and Hungary and the Czech Republic are all just as "socialist" as the Swedes. The rightist/populist current Italian government likewise.

Right and Left in Europe do not fit in what are becoming obsolete American ideological categories.

Amadeus 48 said...

Occasio-Cortez has seen Venezuela. She is seeing the era of "New Normal" (1 to 1-1/2% annual growth in the US) blown to smithereens.

If everyone that wants a job can have one, the pie just got a lot bigger. Want a piece?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

In fact, I've never read any history of WWII and of Hitler's rise to power that didn't mention the Versailles Treaty and how it helped propel Hitler into power.

SeanF said...

Truthavenger: "Before anything else, you need to explain why "income inequality" is something anyone should be concerned about."

Oh, come on. History is replete with societies where wealth was concentrated in the hands of the few, and the majority were serfs, or peasants, or worse. This is a situation rife for revolution.

We are a long way from that now, of course. But smart businessmen know that you have to keep the workers happy. And some companies that perpetually squeeze their workers and treat them like equipment are asking for labor trouble. It's just common sense.


"The majority were serfs, or peasants, or worse" and "companies that...treat [their workers] like equipment" are problems, indeed. But they're not "income inequality".

The first is close - when you have a majority being peasants, and a minority not, there is income inequality. But it's not the inequality that's the problem, it's the existence of peasants. If everybody were peasants, there'd be no inequality, but it wouldn't be better.

For what it's worth, I agree that people can be led to vote for socialism with arguments of "income inequality." But the solution to that problem is not to try and find a non-socialist way of eliminating income inequality!

Crimso said...

"Ask yourself: If you’re 28 like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congressional candidate who describes herself as a democratic socialist, what have you seen during your sentient life?"

I did, and the first thing that came to my mind was "An economics degree." That, coupled with the things she says, tells me that in her particular case she can't be expected to draw any sound conclusions about anything she has witnessed.

Char Char Binks said...

Cortez the Killer

Ron Winkleheimer said...

This is from the Wikipedia entry on the treaty.

"Regardless of modern strategic or economic analysis, resentment caused by the treaty sowed fertile psychological ground for the eventual rise of the Nazi Party.[citation needed]"

narciso said...

Versailles did dictate certain elements, like the Allied Control Commission, which strove to reduce the German army, they found ways of getting around that, training in the Soviet Union, the choice that led to the ruinous inflation, was in part due to the reparations clause but bad economic management, but it was the overall dislocation in culture as well as economics that led to hitler,

Clyde said...

Tomaskey is valuable because he's like a compass that always points south. People who are sometimes right are more problematic, but we don't have to worry about that with him.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

How galactically lame do you have to be if you consider Bernie Sanders an exciting character?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Needs a Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is like Hitler tag.

Michael K said...

Think of what the government would have to do suppress the actions of the high achievers who create technological change.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as ‘bad luck’.”

– Robert A. Heinlein

Howard said...

One might say what good for the too big to fail goose (socialist bailouts for megahuge multinational moneychangers) is good for the little man and the fierce womyn.

traditionalguy said...

Makes me wonder how Trump can succeed. On the one hand , there are the under 30s being tortured by today's capitalism that told them to run up $150,000 in student debt at age 22 and then laughed at them as all jobs for them went to other countries where the Capitalist sent the Capital in our new One World of Mony Flow. On the other hand are the One World Capitalist who are being blind sided by a surprise honest President who ditches the Paris Accord, NAFTA, Trans Pacific Partnership and Tariffs for all who do not build plants in the USA and says Americans come first,

Our magnificent bastard Trump is attacking in both directions.

Howard said...

PackerBronco has a point. The selfie esteem bowel movement practiced by guilt-ridden babyboomers on their millenial spawn leads to more socialist leanings for sure.

Michael K said...

Packer Broncho

I'd rather think that kids who have grown up with participation trophy and put on the honor roll because they managed to wipe their own noses and their own asses without assistance have found the idea of true competition and reward for true merit too daunting to contemplate and much prefer a system in which they are continued to be given things until the grave.

I think this is key. I think this is what we are seeing and why. These kids are triggered by anything that is negative. They have never faced any adversity and think Socialism will protect them from any consequences.

Peasants rarely revolt. Revolutions are begun by envious middle class lawyers and educated. Like Robespierre, and like Robespierre they are convinced of their own virtue and capable of astonishing evil.

narciso said...

yes Crane brinton noted this, re the environment for revolution, winik in age of upheaval, sketched out the social justice pretensions of most of the leaders of the terror,

gilbar said...

It's kinda disturbing how many of us here know (&quote) Heinlein

Heinlein had a WELL KNOWN affinity for smart redheads... Coincidence?

Friedrich Engels' Barber said...

Socialism is never about the people and always about a self-selected vanguard. What are we to do?

Don't normalize socialism!

Howard said...

Mike K: Given the huge debt and lack of good jobs and the great recession starting just as the bulk of Millenials hit the jobs markets, saying they never face adversity is just plain wrong. Also, millenials are doing the majority of the fighting dying maiming in the endless/hopeless/thankless war on terror.

Your generation had it best. No war to fight and the peak of the post-war boom.

n.n said...

It's kind of a protection racket: Support my people before worse people come along.

Political congruence. This is why "=" is exclusive and unchallenged. Even liberals are not fully or monotonically divergent without qualification. As for socialism, there will always be an interest to form monopolies, engage in monopolistic practices, and rationed redistributive change, care, etc. as leverage.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The last 3 decades have seen one of the most precipitous drops in worldwide extreme poverty in the recorded history of mankind. Literally BILLIONS of people have emerged from extreme poverty/a bare subsistence living. Most of them, of course, live in China & India but it was the embrace of capitalist market-based systems and capitalist-fueled international trade that did the lifting. The few nations moving in the opposite direction just so happen to be those that have turned away from capitalism (either towards authoritarianism as a result of war or just of socialism or communism like those wonderful Venezualan authorities).

Anyone who can't see that, whether they're 28 or 88, is an idiot of exactly the kind it'd be very dangerous to allow to wield power.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

lgv: People need to understand what socialism is and what capitalism is.

No, people need economic opportunity and the sense that they if they play by the rules they can enjoy some basic level of economic security. Free(er) market economies will provide these better than (more) socialist ones, but if the "capitalist" party in question isn't delivering, they look elsewhere.

Why did people vote twice for Obama and turn around and vote for the nominee for the 'pubs? Not because some chap from the Cato Institute got through to them about what socialism is and what capitalism is, and how much of each we've got here. But because in the first instance they noticed that the political message to them from "capitalists" and their think-tankers was "FOAD, losers" (all on perfectly sound economic grounds, btw). Eventually they figured out that Obama's party felt the same way about them, on essentially the same post-war neoliberal "free" market grounds, just with the addition of a bit of socialist redistributionist rhetorical bullshit.

If Trump continues to deliver on job and wage growth, and people are confident about the economy, then people will vote for him and his (sort of) party. The growth will be the result of making the economy more capitalist is some ways (e.g., de-regulation), and they will endorse capitalism to the degree that they see its benefits in their lives. Not because some conservative(tm) think-tanker explained it all to them - fact is that guys from the Cato Institue and the CoC and "conservative" outlets like National Review really wanted these people now enjoying the fruits of freed-up (in some ways) markets to FOAD in the name of efficient global markets, nation-wrecking externalities be damned.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...What's the function of the word "sentient"? Is he excluding the stage of in utero life when the brain wasn't formed enough to feel anything? But that idea -- the only one that makes literal sense — is wrecked by the use of the word "seen." What could be seen in the darkness of the womb? And do the unborn even open their eyes?

He means to count only the time she can be expected to have been politically aware but instead of saying that he went with what he thought was a more-sophisticated term. The intended function is to make the author look good/smart. The actual function is to demonstrate the author's imprecise understanding of the vocabulary he chooses to use in order to try and win admiration from easy-to-impress people.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Lewis Wetzel said...Also Russian standards of living were rising dramatically in the two decades before the Bolshevik Revolution, and of course the Bolsheviks didn't replace the Czar, the Oktober revolution overthrew democrat reformers

Yuup. WWI has much more to do with the pain Russians felt (and blamed, naturally enough, on their rulers) than Czarist "capitalist" policies. It should go without saying that the relatively minor political repression the Czars imposed paled in comparison with what the Revolution wrought (the Cheka, Stalinist megadeaths, etc) to the point that all the political prisoners, exiles, and murders committed by all the Czars combined amount to a slow afternoon in the post-Czar period...but I can't be sure the kind of people this author is talking about actually know those basic facts.

Robert Cook said...

"They pursue a policy of maximizing profits by squeezing the workers and keeping costs as low as possible.

That's always been capitalist SOP...CAPITALISM 101.

Robert Cook said...

"He probably thinks the Panic of 2008 was caused by capitalism instead of the Federal government."

Oh, yeah? How is that?

The government did exacerbate the effects of the 2008 collapse by giving billions in bail-outs to the criminals who wrought the collapse, while providing no relief or help for the victims, and making no attempt to prosecute any of the criminals.

Roy Jacobsen said...

traditionalguy said...
On the one hand , there are the under 30s being tortured by today's capitalism that told them to run up $150,000 in student debt at age 22...

It wasn't "capitalism" that told them to do that.

Robert Cook said...

"I'm an old man. I haven't been fabulously successful in life, but I now live better than the richest man on earth in the year of my birth,"

Either you're underplaying your degree of success, or you have no idea how well the richest man on earth in the year of your birth lived, and certainly no idea how well the rich of today live.

n.n said...

So, no apes, chimps, and other simian relatives (and derivatives), even to appease evolutionary creationists?

How about a colorful clump of cells denied anthropomorphic evolution and empathy?

That said, every American with retained earnings is an American capitalist. It's a wholly organic, democratic system of economics.

Robert Cook said...

"If Trump continues to deliver on job and wage growth...."

"Continues?"

Michael K said...

Howard, you have a good point in the 2008 collapse and Cookie has a good point that no one was ever punished.

I would nominate Barney Frank and Maxine Waters along with Franklin Raines and James Johnson.

The story centers around James Johnson, a Democratic sage with a raft of prestigious connections. Appointed as chief executive of Fannie Mae in 1991, Johnson started an aggressive effort to expand homeownership.

Back then, Fannie Mae could raise money at low interest rates because the federal government implicitly guaranteed its debt. In 1995, according to the Congressional Budget Office, this implied guarantee netted the agency $7 billion. Instead of using that money to help buyers, Johnson and other executives kept $2.1 billion for themselves and their shareholders. They used it to further the cause — expanding their clout, their salaries and their bonuses. They did the things that every special-interest group does to advance its interests.

Fannie Mae co-opted relevant activist groups, handing out money to Acorn, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other groups that it might need on its side.

Fannie ginned up Astroturf lobbying campaigns. In 2000, for example, a bill was introduced that threatened Fannie’s special status. The Coalition for Homeownership was formed and letters poured into Congressional offices opposing the bill. Many signatories of the letter had no idea their names had been used.


So who should the millennials blame ?

And who should have been punished ?

As to fighting wars, I see those kids all the time and they are not going to college and worrying about being "triggered."

Some of them, the smart ones, are going to college AFTER service.

I talked to one a couple of weeks ago who had served four years in the Air Force doing avionics servicing. He got out and went to college. After four years, he got his BSEE and was going back into the AF.

No, he is doing fine.

FIDO said...

Hmm.

It isn't capitalists making socialists. It is the Academy of failed Marxists, operating as non-tenured professors, tenured professors immune to any influence. Folks who were told 'no' by their parents and went nuts, following French Communists because they were French...but picking up the Communism.

So our empty headed little teenagers go to so called adult classes, sipping their $8 lattes, seeking meaning, ANY meaning.

And these pseudo Marxists, who very much enjoy being fat and happy in a rich capitalist nation, while decrying all of it's supposed sins, teach these children that they are garbage unless they 'change the world' (see Obama for a great example)

Our poor are richer than they were 20 years ago. Perhaps not as rich as the rich have become, but still richer. I remember 20 years ago.

It is just the toys have gotten more expensive as technology has boomed.

So I have a much simpler solution to our Socialist problem. It involves applying some Market Forces to our institutions of higher learning. It means exposing our Most Coddled Class to the feelings of the masses at their wretched disdain.

Evergreen and Oberlin are likely merely the first dominos to fall.

This clown is on the wrong playbook again. This is the Era of Trump. They actually have someone in the White House who will NOT back this standard shake-down (Does anyone else notice that Sharpton and Jesse aren't so vocal in their shakedowns when it is a Republican president?)

So the only way this guy CAN apply pressure is to have a big win...in both houses. Anyone else think he is going to get a big win this November?

Me either.

This is a "Hail Hydra" brag as he knows he is about to be mowed down, hoping to pull a bluff.

My biggest fear is his reaction when his side loses again. Because these folks are already violent, albeit very poor shots.

hombre said...

I don’t see the problem for Democrats. They are mostly “neo-socialists” - that is, socialist by the current Bernie definition - or too ignorant or stupid to understand the inevitable consequences of socialism. The few who are not socialists are sufficiently committed to Democrat graft that they remain loyal to the party however insane it becomes.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Roesch, a socialist system is something you have a very great deal of right now.
And, just to pick on one of your points, infrastructure, its very nature is to get in its own way. The federal and state governments find infrastructure construction and even maintenance to be massively costly, because their own system of bureaucracies and xternal feeders on the regulatory system pile on costs and risks.

The effect of socialism is to create an enormous useless mass.”

Nothing against infrastructure, but the big reason that the left loves infrastructure spending is that there is so much opportunity for graft. It is one of the biggest ways for politicians to get filthy rich. Probably to no ones surprise, infrastructure spending has greatly lined the pockets of such notables as Harry Reid and Dianne Feinstein.

Michael K said...

It is just the toys have gotten more expensive as technology has boomed.

One simple index that people like Cookie don't understand is house size.

When I was in college, one of my fraternity brothers' parents lived in a two bedroom, one bath house that had 700 square feet. They were middle class and could afford to send a son to USC a private university.

My parents had a larger house in Chicago. I don't know the square footage but it had one bathroom.

What is the average middle class house now ?

gilbar said...

you have no idea how well the richest man on earth in the year of your birth lived
sorry Robert Cook, but i've been waiting (a long time!) for you to say the sort of idiocy that i've come to expect from left wingers.
{i'm assuming an old man is around my dad's age}
1929
medicine: basically non-existent no matter HOW much money you had
. In 1929, if you got an infection; how many Trillions of dollars would antibiotics cost?
Transport:
. HOW much was 1st class JET travel back then? JET travel
Entertainment: Were TV and color movies enough better in 1929, to make up for computer games?

Now, Robert will say, ALL THAT'S IRRELEVANT those are just 'technical things'.

Michael K said...

the big reason that the left loves infrastructure spending is that there is so much opportunity for graft.

City Journal on why infrastructure costs so much.

Big Mike said...

Your generation had it best. No war to fight and the peak of the post-war boom.

Howard never heard of Vietnam.

Bruce Hayden said...

“As to fighting wars, I see those kids all the time and they are not going to college and worrying about being "triggered."”

The Dems politically want a lot of dissatisfied military veterans because they did so well politically as a result of Vietnam, ignoring, of course, that it was a Dem caused, and Dem mismanaged war. One big difference this time is that we now have an all volunteer military. My generation came of age, worrying about being drafted and sent to die in rice paddys half way around the world by politicians who were squandering their lives, and didn’t really want to win, just not lose. We are talking millions drafted for that war, and sent over there, and almost 60k killed. No wonder the country was ripe then for an anti war movement. Now, many fewer are affected, many fewer are dying, and none of them were drafted. They want to be there. So, while the Dems can, maybe, lie enough about out military situation to convince some of the millennials to oppose war, it will never be that effective driving politics because the worry there isn’t personal, nor is it the visceral fear that gripped the Baby Boom generation.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

SeanF: Before anything else, you need to explain why "income inequality" is something anyone should be concerned about.

I don't think people who are going to go out and vote socialist because of what they perceive to be "too much", or unacceptably widening levels of income inequality, care about what you or I consider an adequate argument for why we should concern ourselves about income inequality.

If only a handful of malcontents are concerned enough about any particular prevailing level of "income inequality" that they're going to go out and vote socialist, then no, it's nothing for anybody else to be concerned about. If a significant number of people are, then I need to be concerned about it, regardless of whether or not I personally have any problem with prevailing levels of income inequality.

That's the thing, you see. All sorts of tom-fool policies have been enacted in my lifetime without anybody showing the slightest regard for justifying them to *my* satisfaction. So I've become more interested in what will persuade people who are *not me* to stop supporting tom-fool policies. (Sorry lolbertarians, hand puppet shows with characters from Ayn Rand novels don't do the trick.)

Btw, I realize that most people view threads like this as merely an opportunity for a slogan-slinging wank-fest about the stupid commies!, but the notion that people are het up about *any* degree of income equality, income equality per se, is a straw man.

hombre said...

Cook: “ ... collapse by giving billions in bail-outs to the criminals who wrought the collapse, while providing no relief or help for the victims, and making no attempt to prosecute any of the criminals.“

So the criminals were the ones who doled out the bad loans and the victims were those who knowingly took them? Interesting.

How about the facilitators at Fannie and Freddie and the Democrats in Congress who covered for them?

Rabel said...

Winkleheimer,

You seem to be in almost complete agreement with Althouse that the treaty of Versailles played a part in Hitler's rise to power. She simply points out that blaming that exclusively on the treaty is a too convenient shorthand that discounts the role that Hitler and his supporters played.

In other words, Versailles plus Hitler equals WWII. Versailles minus Hitler would have been a different story.

There were, of course, other factors (such as the resistance to the rising Communist Party), but Adolf Hitler was the sine qua non of the entire affair.

John said...

He probably thinks the Panic of 2008 was caused by capitalism instead of the Federal government.

Did the Federal Government also cause the real estate bubble and crash in Ireland and Spain that occurred at the same time?

tcrosse said...

It's time for someone to deliver an If-By-Socialism-You-Mean speech. It would take a better pen than mine to write it.

Leland said...

"Income inequality" is just a group tested acceptable way of saying the supporter of it wants government mandated wages. The only way equal income has come close to being implemented is when very few in power had enough force to keep the vast majority in equal poverty (see Venezuela for example).

Balfegor said...

I don't think the wealth of the Warren Buffets and the George Soroses of the world is really what's driving the fad for "socialism" today -- it's just not salient to most people. There's a few places in the US (Manhattan, some neighbourhoods near Los Angeles) where you see the "impudence of wealth" on parade, but mostly, the super-rich enjoy the same stuff normal people do; where they have extravagant luxuries, the super-rich move through a world that's closed off from the rest of us, visible mostly on television. How often do you see their yachts in person, for example? Do you watch them eating course meals for $500 a person? The brief glimpses of wealth you see in public are mostly unobtrusive, like a Rolex poking out of a man's shirtsleeve, or perhaps a Birkin bag slung around a woman's shoulder. And let's be honest -- you can get decent knock-offs for a fraction of the price. Outside of LA and Manhattan, the conspicuous consumption just doesn't seem that conspicuous to me.

My guess is that the envy driving socialism today is more about the vast gulf opening up between "elite" professional salaries and median incomes. New law graduates starting as associates in large lawfirms can make $190,000 a year -- that's over three times the median household income in the US. Young bankers can similarly make hundreds of thousands a year. Tech workers are well compensated too. But they have classmates who are working as baristas at Starbucks, freelancing, and maybe driving the odd Uber or Lyft on the side. There's a tension in that the latter feel like they ought to be making a lot of money, but instead, they're clipping coupons and living paycheck to paycheck.

Kristian Holvoet said...

I am as strong a capitalist and free marketer as anyone, but I think Tomasky has a point. We have seen greater income inequality over the past decade or two. The attitude among many ... leaders is, "get as much for me and to hell with anyone else."

I thought we were talking about the US, not Venezuela?

rehajm said...

that's over three times the median household income in the US

So 3x for an individual who likely sacrificed a full time income for seven years for the privilege of working the equivalent hours of (at least) two full time jobs. That's what all the bedwetting is about?

It's sounds just like the 78 cents BS...

Rabel said...

I read through a few pages of the Democratic Socialists of America's website and:

1. It's a fairly small and amateur operation which looks to be made up of wannabe Communists who couldn't pass the final exam on dialectical materialism.

2. It scares the living hell out of the Democrat Party. If it grows and splits off they have no future.

3. I may send them a few dollars.

Balfegor said...

RE: Leland:

"Income inequality" is just a group tested acceptable way of saying the supporter of it wants government mandated wages. The only way equal income has come close to being implemented is when very few in power had enough force to keep the vast majority in equal poverty (see Venezuela for example).

I would disagree. You don't get equal income, but you can constrain income inequality pretty easily by limiting the pool of labour on the bottom end. Yes, that causes some substitution of capital (machines) for labour, but on the whole, a tight labour market produces an increase in wages at the bottom end -- basic supply and demand. In the modern globalised economy, it's possible to substitute cheaper overseas labour to some extent (e.g. in China), since manufactured goods and the IP that goes into them move pretty freely across borders. But there's still a lot of domestic work that really can't be substituted, e.g. construction, maintenance, hospitality, and many aspects of medical care. If you cut down on low-skill immigration (and stop illegal immigration), we may end up slightly poorer overall since consumers of all these services will have to pay more.
And if we restrict immigration, I'd expect the stock market to drop since it will force precisely that reallocation of profits between capital and labour. But I am confident you would see incomes at the bottom rise.

Balfegor said...

re: rehajm:

So 3x for an individual who likely sacrificed a full time income for seven years for the privilege of working the equivalent hours of (at least) two full time jobs. That's what all the bedwetting is about?

Haha, no. Let's leave the 4 years off of it because the people who we're comparing also took 4 years for undergrad. Your first two years you may not earn much -- at most you might get a stipend for your summer job between the first and second years. But then your second summer, you probably earn between $35,000 and $40,000 as a "summer associate." And then after you, you take a summer to study for the bar exam, and then you start drawing a salary for your stub year.

So it looks like Year 1: 0, Year 2: $35,000, Year 3: ~$63,000, and then full time work: ~$190,0000.

TreeJoe said...

Income Inequality Talking Points = playing with statistics and the natural reality that those with some wealth will, short of making bad decisions or having something terrible happen, continue to accumulate it through compound interest on their wealth.

I'm not saying it's not real. I'm saying people don't even seem to be able to assess where and how it's a problem. I've seen income inequality presentations:

- Present the income differences between groups of 18-34 year olds and 35+ year olds as a problem and symptom.
- Present income differences between regions (not within a region) as a major concern
- Ignore differences in educational background and experience
- I've seen people showing statistics ignoring things like bringing the totality of earnings in balance against the years worked and educational expenses incurred to achieve a level of earning power.

Much like taxation, I'd like to see people complaining about income inequality actually define what "equal" income (Or "fair" tax) looks like - explicitly.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

Leland: "Income inequality" is just a group tested acceptable way of saying the supporter of it wants government mandated wages.

Funny, I've enjoyed lots of interesting discussions about the issue of income inequality where nobody had the slightest interest in "government mandated wages", or any kind of redistributive "solution" at all.

The only way equal income has come close to being implemented is when very few in power had enough force to keep the vast majority in equal poverty (see Venezuela for example).

I've also never met the person for whom an interest in the issue of "income inequality" had anything to do with holding that everybody having the same income was a good idea, or a social ideal to be pursued.

As I said, straw man.

hstad said...

".....You want fewer socialists? Easy. Stop creating them?" Throw away comment! There are very few "Capitalist's" in the World today it is without exception a lonely group. So let me ask, what was the trigger point of creating "Socialism" [a lite form] for the Scandinavian countries, etc. Such rationals are lazy from writers who just want to sound chic and be part of the Leftist society. Citing Tomasky is all I needed to know that the B.S. content was high in this article.

rehajm said...

because the people who we're comparing also took 4 years for undergrad

Why would you assume that?

rehajm said...

Also to consider- how many hours/week are those associates going to work? 40 hours a week then they get to go home, right?

Fred Drinkwater said...

Rehajm,
Many moons ago I used to explain to friends that my other friend on wall street got paid overtime, too.
For every hour over 168 per week.

Michael K said...

New law graduates starting as associates in large lawfirms can make $190,000 a year -- that's over three times the median household income in the US.

This is going away. Law is much more subject to AI and macros in word processing than Medicine. That's why law school and LSAT applications have been down for several years.

I think the envy is from people like Ritmo who thinks he deserves more than he is getting.

A lot of young people are staggering under student loans.

They especially hate people like my wife's son and his family who are all making very good livings with no college degrees.

We got into it on another thread when I described how her son's brother-in-law builds and repairs winery machinery and collects 1933 Model A Fords. He has six that he has restored and doesn't plan to sell them.

Model A Fords from 1933 are worth about $50,000 and up.

His restored cars are worth nearly a million dollars.

Another of her grandsons works for his uncle restoring old Porsches.

One of their cars sold for a million dollars.

These are people working at skilled trades and making fortunes while supposed intelligent college students, like Ritmo, are staggering under student loan debt,

That is what we are seeing with Trump hate. Some is empty ideology but most is envy,

Bruce Hayden said...

“I don't think the wealth of the Warren Buffets and the George Soroses of the world is really what's driving the fad for "socialism" today -- it's just not salient to most people. There's a few places in the US (Manhattan, some neighbourhoods near Los Angeles) where you see the "impudence of wealth" on parade, but mostly, the super-rich enjoy the same stuff normal people do; where they have extravagant luxuries, the super-rich move through a world that's closed off from the rest of us, visible mostly on television. How often do you see their yachts in person, for example? Do you watch them eating course meals for $500 a person? The brief glimpses of wealth you see in public are mostly unobtrusive, like a Rolex poking out of a man's shirtsleeve, or perhaps a Birkin bag slung around a woman's shoulder. And let's be honest -- you can get decent knock-offs for a fraction of the price. Outside of LA and Manhattan, the conspicuous consumption just doesn't seem that conspicuous to me.”

Beat me to it. How do you spend the sort of wealth that the really rich have? A decade or two ago, Bill Gates and Michael Dell got into a house competition. Gates won with one a bit under 50k sq feet - for him, his wife, and their two daughters. 11k-12k each. And it cost maybe 1/1000 (0.1%) of his fortune. His jumbo jet cost maybe another 2/1000 of his fortune. Sure, he could, and probably has, bought additional houses. But that quickly becomes counterproductive - we have 2 houses, and that is a pain. I have thought of buying another, but why put myself through the hassle?

You look at that insane level of wealth, and maybe think about spreading it around a bit. But what does that really mean? Number one thing is that political insiders would get their cut, eating up most of it, with little going to those in whose name the redistribution would be done. The Clintons left the White House in debt. By the time that their bid to return in 2016 had failed, their personal fortune was north of $100 million, and better than a $billion$ had been shoveled through their personal slush fund/family foundation. They are in the “can afford a private jet, but not a jumbo jet” category now. With the money flowing towards the Obamas right now they can probably expect to do almost as well without trying too hard. The reality is that income redistribution, as envisioned by so many Dems, would mostly just go to making political elites and their cronies filthy rich.

On the flip side, leaving it with the people who created the wealth likely would mean that it was far more effectively spent. The Gateses are spending much of their fortune fighting disease around the world. Or, they can get involved in getting man back into space. Etc. We have made major strides in that area, and much of it was because NASA had been pushed out of the manned space situation. L

gilbar said...

welding! People, the answer is Welding!
don't be like me, and throw your life away on some crappy IT job; Welding!!!!
My cousin in North County San Diego has a mobile welding firm. He works so much he can hardly go to Catalina Island on his boat very often. He drives from site to site in his welding truck doing jobs; Think His job will be outsourced?

gilbar said...

okay, here's the Classic Case from back in the early 1990's
I'm in a bar, trying to get into an el-ed major's pants; so i'm agreeing with everything she's saying.
Then she says: "Do you Realize! that Garbage Collectors make MORE than Teachers!?!?!"
and I (realizing that i'm going home alone) say: "Maybe you should be a Garbage Collector?"
And she says: "Oh My GOD! No Way in HELL would i do that; that work is SO GROSS!!"

MountainMan said...

gilbar said: "welding! People, the answer is Welding!"

Exactly right. At the advanced manufacturing training center in my community a high school graduate can go to school for four semesters and get a welding certificate and almost immediate employment making at least $50K/yr, sometimes more.

Total cost of the training $0

Balfegor said...

re: rehajm:

Also to consider- how many hours/week are those associates going to work? 40 hours a week then they get to go home, right?

No, maybe 60? But it varies, really. Sometimes it will be 40, and sometimes it will be 80. Billable hours expectations for associates are about 2,000-2,100 per year at large law firms, although you get some associates who will do 3,000 (60 hrs/week), and others who languish at 1,600. 2,100 works out to 52 weeks of 40 hours a week. But of course, there's administrative tasks, CLE, and nonbillables to factor in too, so you might be looking at 2,400 hours total on 2,100 of billables. Assuming two weeks holiday (so just 50 weeks), that would mean you're looking at an average of a 48 hour week, or just under 10 hrs/day (or 8 hrs a day for 6 days a week). But that's an average. Biglaw associates have to be prepared to work really long hours when the job calls for it, but on average, they're not working really long hours every day. Cases are really active, and then die down (or get settled). Deals close. In a big firm, when you're dealing with, say, first year associates who know nothing about anything and are all basically interchangeable, you can keep them busy at a steady pace by shifting them from doc review to due diligence to whatever, but as they move up the skill hierarchy, the swings from extremely busy to idle become more frequent and more severe.

Anyhow, I would guess that there are a lot of people who make well below median income who work 10 hours a day too, although I would only be guessing because I work in a large lawfirm and live in a moderately posh social bubble.

Re: why I would be looking at the comparison from the perspective of a graduate of a 4 year college rather than, say, a high-school graduate, I would have thought that obvious:

First, there's a highly salient reason why college graduates would be making more than high-school graduates: they're, uh, college graduates, and the mythology of "college" in the US is that college is an "investment" whose payoff is that graduates earn more. High-school graduates might think that's deeply unfair -- and they are not necessarily wrong! -- but they live in a culture that tells them that college graduates should be earning more than high-school graduates. There's no dissonance. College graduates looking at other college graduates who went into ibanking and tech earn more than they make working at Starbucks? Dissonance.

Second, and perhaps more significantly, there seems -- to me -- to be a sharp social disconnect between college graduates and high-school graduates. I literally don't know anyone in my generation who did not graduate from college. I mean, maybe a construction worker I've hired to do renovations? I'm really reaching -- I don't know them socially. I'm sure there's a fuzzy edge, but from my vantage point it's a sharp disjunction. Thus, you have recent college graduates still moving in the same social circles as lawyers and bankers, but earning much, much less. That's a source of envy and resentment -- and one I've observed (although, thankfully, not directly in connection with deciding to don the black mask and become an Antifa thug who goes about bashing people in the head in the street).

Howard said...

Blogger Big Mike said...

Your generation had it best. No war to fight and the peak of the post-war boom.

Howard never heard of Vietnam.


Wrong again, BM. Doc Mike's generation was pre-Vietnam. I have quite a few friends from that era who were drafted in the late 1950's and served peacetime duty. I do remember Vietnam even though I was in elementary school at the time. My oldest brother flew slicks in the Mekong Delta from 1968 to 1970 and my Mom was on edge the whole time.

Howard said...

gilbar: Machining. Was at a client's factory today and they complaining how hard it is to find guys to run their old milling machines.

Michael K said...

Doc Mike's generation was pre-Vietnam.

All the doctors I was in school and training with went to Vietnam unless they had already been in, as my two partners and I had been. The three of us had been enlisted swine.

How about you ?

Michael K said...

Maybe you should be a Garbage Collector?"
And she says: "Oh My GOD! No Way in HELL would i do that; that work is SO GROSS!!"


I feel like saying that to my art gallery daughter. She should go to Texas and drive a truck.

William Chadwick said...

Statists never say that the primary cause of various forms of statism is plain old power-lust. Someone wants to force someone to do something--or someone wants to take something from someone--and State power is the easiest and safest way to do so.

AJ Lynch said...

There is a TV series on Netflix or Amazon called Comrade Detective which was made in the 1980's I believe in one of the Soviet bloc nations. It shows you how grim and sparse it was to live in that country but that was not the intent of the show. The intent was to denigrate the USA [Cold War days and all that]- at least I think that was the intent.

I will say the series was entertaining to watch while I did my 90 minute walks on the treadmill.

tcrosse said...

There is a TV series on Netflix or Amazon called Comrade Detective which was made in the 1980's I believe in one of the Soviet bloc nations.

Actually, Comrade Detective was made in 2017 as a parody of the Cold War. Gotcha!

AJ Lynch said...

Tcosse- if you look on Wikipedia, it seems to indicate the series was based on actual episodes that were thought to be lost. But whatever, it depicts the absence of prosperity in a socialist state.

Francisco D said...

The true purpose of socialism is not fairness or equality. It is control by government apparatchiks.

Competence and hard work are no longer rewarded. The "right" people with the right ideology and connections run the show. Innovators, if they play their cards right, may get some rewards, but that is up to the State not the markets.

What better way to control the deplorables than socialism with an ever deeper and more powerful State?

AJ Lynch said...

Tcosse:

You are right - they got me. I pretty much ignored the Channing Tatum commentaries but I did think they were commenting on an actual Soviet era TV show.

AJ Lynch said...

And I guess Apple & Facebook now need to strike my earlier comment as "Fake News". Heh.

Jim at said...

Capitalists and business leaders would generate a lot more good will by sharing the wealth a little more.

A 'capitalist' wrote that.

The primary objective of a business is to make a profit. Period. It's not to generate good will. It's not to be a good neighbor. It's not to give back or any of the other nonsense spouted by those who don't understand how to run a business.

If a company/corporation can do those things and chooses to do those things while maximizing their profit? Good for them.

But it's bullshit when it comes to actually running a business.

President Pee-Pee Tape said...

"The terms imposed at Versailles fueled Hitler’s ascent." I've never seen such a short, blunt explanation for Hitler that didn't blame Hitler and his supporters.

You should try learning history sometime.

But it would take, you know, a sense of initiative. It's not like your right-wing commenters will encourage it.

Big Mike said...

@Howard, I think Michael K. got you. Just in case you weren't aware.

AJ Lynch said...

I have been in a bad mood all afternoon- work pressure. But seeing hyper angry Ritmo make his appearance has lifted my spirit. Thanks asshole!

President Pee-Pee Tape said...

AJ - you should try talking to a psychiatrist, Fat Man. I mean, you're one of those Republicultists who worships whatever wealth you feel you have so I'm sure you can afford it, right? You'll learn not only to judge only yourself and not others, but that speaking the truth doesn't mean someone's somehow uncontrollably angry.

Work on yourself. Judging by that avatar, you might want to start in the gym. And then maturing psychologically about 40 years.

Darrell said...

There is a TV series on Netflix or Amazon called Comrade Detective which was made in the 1980's I believe in one of the Soviet bloc nations.

No, that's the phony conceit of the show. It was made for Amazon in 2017--filmed in Romania. In 2017.

Gretchen said...

The left has a complete lack of understanding history. Unemployment is low, the American poor would be middle class or rich in most countries as they have access to housing, food, K-12 schooling and most own cars and AC units.

truth speaker said...

Farking allah, talk about OVER ANALYZING an article...

Michael K said...

I see failed molecular biology student, Ritmo, is back ranting.

Do you have any plans to go back and graduate ?

I guess if you flunk out, it's tough to get back in.

Howard said...

OK Doc... I remembered you saying you were in the service before Vietnam, but you missed it by that much. I take your point that many in your generation served in Vietnam. All's that happened while I was in besides the cold war was Beirut and Grenada, neither of which I participated in.

Michael K said...

I remembered you saying you were in the service before Vietnam,

Oh yes. My point was that doctors all got drafted unless they had prior service. Some of us did.

Another classmate was a fighter pilot before medical school. While we were there the NASA tried to recruit him for the Astronaut Program. Nothing doing.

Nobody was shooting at doctors in Vietnam, at least most of the time. A friend in practice was a Green Beret in VN.

That was different.

One of the things I agreed with the anti-war people with was that student deferments should have required that the recipient have to serve once he got his degree or spent four years, whatever was less.

Lots of left wing students stayed in grad school until the war was over and, as a result, ended up the left wing faculties that have destroyed college education, especially the Humanities.

tcrosse said...

Lots of left wing students stayed in grad school until the war was over

During the Periclean Age of LBJ's Great Society the Government was a full-employment progamme for them. Then Nixon came along to upset that particular apple-cart. That made Law School more attractive than was good for us.

Earnest Prole said...

The richest capitalists in America are now almost exclusively Democrats, so the battle between capitalism and socialism is mostly a civil war within the Democratic Party.

President Pee-Pee Tape said...

Do you have any plans to go back and graduate ?

I guess if you flunk out, it's tough to get back in.


Said by a dumbass resentment-mongerer whose kids couldn't even get through college.

Typical. Republiconnivers.

President Pee-Pee Tape said...

Michael K. really is one miserable son of a wet nurse, isn't he?

I'm sorry -- I meant, one miserable son of a bitch.

Bob Loblaw said...

The left has a complete lack of understanding history. Unemployment is low, the American poor would be middle class or rich in most countries as they have access to housing, food, K-12 schooling and most own cars and AC units.

The problem is the blue state model has made most cities impossibly expensive for anyone but the rich.

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