Minority Whipping, in California and Elsewhere

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman describes the budget-impassed Golden State as "Apocalypse Now":

Years of neglect, followed by economic disaster — and with all reasonable responses blocked by a fanatical, irrational minority.

This could be America next.

I don't know what time period Krugman has in mind for his alleged "years of neglect," but I do know that the size of the state's projected budget deficit–$42 billion–is almost exactly the amount by which Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic majority have increased the state budget in five short years, from a baseline of $104 billion.

From long experience, I do not doubt for one second that California Republicans are, on balance, "irrational." At the same time, blaming them for an altogether predictable budget shortfall after a decade-long government spending binge strikes me as not "irrational," just "wrong," and a harbinger of the kinds of Democratic arguments we will see constantly for the next four years at least.

I wrote about Schwarzenegger's failure in the February issue.

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  • Reinmoose||

    Now Matt Welch, do you have a Nobel Prize?

  • Calcium!||

    Eugenics ftw!

  • Potassium!||

    Wrong thread, I thought it was talking about some other minority. Can eugenics be applied to political beliefs or is "feeble-mindedness" independent of adherence to any given political dogma?

  • ||

    with all reasonable responses blocked by a fanatical, irrational minority

    Guild Navigators? The spice must flow.

  • ||

    Yet today it's reported that an attempted economic rescue bill is being held up by Republicans who refuse to consider a tax increase, ever. Given that we have taxes, why is it never appropriate to raise them?

  • It\'s Krugman||

    I would rather get my economic advice from my local drug dealer or hooker than from Krugman.

    The guy is a boil on the ass of academia, which for the most part is all ass. He is also definitive proof of the maxim that the loudest retard will be the person most often heard and quoted.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    I don't think they're going to be able to make these arguments for four years. Two years maybe. But by the midterms the Republicans will either have had their numbers in congress increased or be too depleted to be worth addressing.

  • Reinmoose||

    Given that we have taxes, why is it never appropriate to raise them?

    It is appropriate to raise them rather than take on debt ot pay for things. The reason for this is that it yields realistic burden on the population for what they are consuming in the same sort of way that people should actually pay for stuff instead of running up their credit cards. It should lead to a correction is how much one is consuming, whether it be at the state, local, federal, or personal level.

  • ||

    Krugman lied? Color me shocked.

  • ||

    economic rescue bill

    The debasement of the language continues.


    Why is it, Tony, that government and its fans are impervious to arguments for increasing efficiency? Or, for that matter, arguments (demonstrably correct) that there are things which government cannot successfully accomplish, at any price?

  • ||

    There was an article in the WSJ about one of the on the fence Reps. His two demands are a pay cut for legislators that don't pass a budget in time (makes sense) and open primaries for elected officials (WTF?). That's the problem with asserting it's some sort of principled move. These guys approved the budget increases and are playing chickenshit games to get their pet ideas on the ballot.

  • Warty||

    I once tried to read Dune and fell asleep. Is it worth another attempt? It seemed to suck.

  • ||

    Dune is the greatest tome ever assembled in the English language.

  • ||

    Krugman lied?

    Krugman doesn't lie, he just tells truths that can only be understood if you have a special Nobel decoder disk.

    BESURETODRINKYOUROVALTINE

  • ||

    OOPS Forgot to replace joke moniker

  • ||

    Warty, unless you like super-elaborate political and social backstories, you should probably give it a pass. I read Dune and respected it, but that was it--no more in the series.

  • robc||

    Dune is the greatest tome ever assembled in the English language.

    This.

  • ||

    The Player of Games by Iain Banks. I will restore your faith in literary science fiction.

  • robc||

    unless you like super-elaborate political and social backstories

    Wait a sec...there are people who dont like that?

  • ||

    The Player of Games by Iain Banks. I will restore your faith in literary science fiction.

    Seconded.

    Wait a sec...there are people who dont like that?

    Yeah, there are even people who think Tolkien is vastly overrated and that The Two Towers is like reading quicksand. Can you believe it?

  • robc||

    Can you believe it?

    No.

  • robc||

    Epi,

    I will grant The Two Towers as the weakest of the 3. Im still pissed that Tom Bombadil got cut from the movies.

  • ||

    And while we're on the subject, I highly recommend The Atrocity Archives and its sequel The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross.

  • shecky||

    I don't think they're going to be able to make these arguments for four years. Two years maybe. But by the midterms the Republicans will either have had their numbers in congress increased or be too depleted to be worth addressing.

    CA Republicans tend to be from very safe districts that have been gerrymandered to be so. Democrats, too. As such, the system tends to encourage extremists on either side. It's been like this for a while now. I'm not aware of any demographic changes, but that's about the only thing that'll really invalidate the argument once and for all.

  • phalkor||

    harry potter > dune

    in my eyes they are essentially identical stories except one has quidditch.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Dune rules. Of course, since you have no hope of being or siring the Kwisatz Haderach, it's no surprise that you have sour grapes.

    My eleven-year old son is attempting Dune as an unabridged book-on-tape. I read the book when I was ten, but I was a huge reader as a kid. He isn't, which explains the tape. I have a feeling he's either going to rewind a lot or throw the CDs around the room like frisbees.

    phalkor,

    Go to your room and don't come out until you've eaten all your spice essence.

  • ||

    in my eyes they are essentially identical stories except one has quidditch.

    Harry's name is a killing word? Wait...Dean Stockwell played Dr. Yueh in the Lynch movie. Battlestar connection!

  • T||

    And while we're on the subject, I highly recommend The Atrocity Archives and its sequel The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross.

    I haven't read anything Charles Stross has written that wasn't good. Similarly with Ken MacLeod, even if he is a raving socialist loonie.

  • ||

    PL,

    I put Dune down the first time I read it. I was 8, though. Finally managed to read it around 10 myself. I hope the books on tape work. Has he tried any of the Heinlein juveniles? They are a little smoother starting point.

  • ||

    Why is it that as long as one dollar remains in private hands, the govt is "starving" and that is the cause of all our problems?

    I watched the Rifftrax VoD of the original Little Shop of Horrors last weekend. Can anyone rig up an animation of Pelosi saying "Feed Me, Seymore!!"?

  • ||

    I haven't read anything Charles Stross has written that wasn't good.

    I'm not a fan of the Merchant Prince stuff, but I will readily admit it might be my own prejudices.

  • ||

    I read the book when I was ten, but I was a huge reader as a kid.

    The proper starter book for huge tomes is Watership Down. The violence alone keeps you fascinated, and you bang it out.

    Dune, LOTR are not so good for that.

  • phalkor||

    @jsh

    true story, that movie made a good friend of mine go into dentistry.

  • ||

    true story, that movie made a good friend of mine go into dentistry.

    Wrong, so, so wrong.....

  • Warty||

    The proper starter book for huge tomes is Watership Down. The violence alone keeps you fascinated, and you bang it out.

    I believe I started with Treasure Island, though I don't know if that counts as huge. My first properly huge book was probably the first in the Wheel of Time series, whatever it was called. I think I gave up around book 9, when things stopped happening and Rand was just a dick.

  • ||

    I'm not sure what my first big book was--Dune and LOTR were early examples of that to be sure. I started reading science fiction when I was 7-8. Bradbury and Asimov primarily, with some other books tossed in.

  • ||

    The Player of Games by Iain Banks.

    Thirded. Also, a big fan of

  • ||

    The Player of Games by Iain Banks.

    Thirded. Also, a big fan of

  • ||

    My first properly huge book was probably the first in the Wheel of Time series, whatever it was called. I think I gave up around book 9, when things stopped happening and Rand was just a dick.

    Robert Jordan is a dick who strung that series out just to keep people buying books. I stayed with it far longer than I should have (6 or 7 in) just hoping I could sunk cost fallacy it. Fuck you, Jordan.

  • ||

    The Player of Games by Iain Banks.

    Thirded. Also, a big fan of Consider Phlebas (major props for naming a warship No More Mr. Nice Guy) and Use of Weapons (although it has its flaws).

    Hell, any Culture book by Banks is worth reading.

    I'm not a fan of the Merchant Prince stuff,

    Me neither. I read the first two, and the third is sitting unread, and will likely stay that way.

    Stupid HTML tags.

  • JB||

    Is there anything in the world as stupid as a Democrat? Nothing makes me more in favor of abortion than thinking of aborting these idiots.

  • ||

    My first "big book" was a culmination of reading Heinlein starting at 8. I cruised through the juveniles and his early science fiction at the school and then public library*, then read The Past Through Tomorrow and Time Enough for Love. reading TEFL at 9 explains a lot of what is wrong with me as an adult.

    *I was able to buy the hardcovers I read as a child when the library had a sale after weeding old books. I picked 4 Heinlein juveniles first prints and 5 PKD first prints. For 10 cents apiece.

  • ||

    Hell, any Culture book by Banks is worth reading.

    Word. Have you read Matter yet?

  • ||

    While we're on this topic, what do y'all think about Hyperion? I read the series in my 30s, so it's not an early book for me, but I thought I'd ask.

    Outside of science fiction and fantasy, one long book I remember reading at a young age was Shogun.

  • ||

    Meh. One more.

    For "straight" fantasy Big Tomes, read the Malazan books by Steven Erikson. They bog occasionally, and are incredibly dense, but man, are they worth it.

  • ||

    Have you read Matter yet?

    Not yet. Too cheap to shell out for the hardcover.

    While we're on this topic, what do y'all think about Hyperion?

    Great book. The series fell off after the first one, IMO.

  • ||

    Years of neglect, followed by economic disaster - and with all reasonable responses blocked by a fanatical, irrational minority.

    This could be America next.


    Change "minority" to "majority" and you have America right now, right?

  • ||

    Well, if we have moved on to big "fantasy" tomes, the A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin is amazing. Unbelievably rich world and characters to whom he is incredibly cruel. You never know what will happen to even the most "main" characters; he'll kill them, maim them, destroy their lives, etc. at a moment's notice.

    But he's being incredibly slow with each book.

  • ||

    I liked Hyperion and even would suggest finishing it by reading the second one (which is not really a sequel, but the rest of the story,) but the last two skitter off like butter on a too hot pan.

  • ||

    Someone here mentioned the Terry Goodkind Sword of Truth having individualistic / libertarian themes, and I picked up the first one this weekend.

    Am I wasting my time? That's a lotta books...

  • alan||

    A few years ago, I visited a non political forum where I chanced upon a conversation about Reagan and the host spieled on about how Reagan had gutted the California Dept. of Education and destroyed the schools as Governor. There was more than a whiff of bullshit to this argument so I looked up California's own budget office record keeping and found that educational spending rose during every one of Reagan's years as governor at rates similar to what it rose by in every other governor's tenure with the sole exception of one year under Jerry Brown where the escalating rate increase met a speed bump. I posted a polite response with links to the data I found, and for that I got a ban. Stupid liberals.

  • ||

    Krugman. Definitely one of my top ten least favorite people alive.

  • Bingo||

    Ilium and Olympos by Dan Simmons are ridiculously good. Stross is 50/50 for me so far, I loved Accelerando but Glasshouse was a disappointment. I'll definitely check out your recommendations Epi.

  • ||

  • ||

    SugarFree | February 18, 2009, 11:06am | #

    And while we're on the subject, I highly recommend The Atrocity Archives and its sequel The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross.



    Can someone pull this knife out of my back?

  • Bingo||

    Oh god, I just got SugarFree and Episiarch mixed up!

  • ||

    It's OK. The only real difference is that his pancreas works. (Stupid pancreas.)

  • ||

    Bingo, we are all NutraSweet now.

  • ||

    Robert Jordan is a dick who strung that series out just to keep people buying books. I stayed with it far longer than I should have (6 or 7 in) just hoping I could sunk cost fallacy it. Fuck you, Jordan.



    Correction, he WAS a dick. He actually died of cardiac amyloidosis in September 2007, pissing off his erstwhile fans just one more time. I believe that they're trying to cobble together a concluding volume from his notes.

  • ||

    Am I wasting my time? That's a lotta books...



    The Sword of Truth books are all downhill from the first. He really runs into some ridiculous "having main character spout poorly written philosophy instead of having plot" problems.

  • ||

    I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Sugarus Freeigula, I am all men, as I am no man and therefore... I am a God.

  • ||

    The Sword of Truth books are all downhill from the first. He really runs into some ridiculous "having main character spout poorly written philosophy instead of having plot" problems.

    Aka the "Neal Stephenson" syndrome.

  • Warty||

    FrBunny - the first book is the best; after that they get more and more overtly Objectivist. On the other hand, there are more fuckin' hot gang rape scenes and lesbian dominatrices as you go on.

  • Warty||

    Aka the "Neal Stephenson" syndrome.

    What? Stephenson's characters engage in discussions of philosophy, while Goodkind's spout plagarisms of Howard Roark.

  • ||

    He actually died of cardiac amyloidosis in September 2007, pissing off his erstwhile fans just one more time. I believe that they're trying to cobble together a concluding volume from his notes.

    What do they need notes for? He was so god damn formulaic by book 6 that a computer could keep writing them indefinitely. "Why aren't you sweating in this terrible heat, Rand?"

    AARRGGGGHHHHH

  • Bingo||

    Nynaeve tugged on her braid. "The nerve of those wool-headed men!" she thought as she put her fists on her hips. Repeat times 500+ pages.

  • Warty||

    "Why aren't you sweating in this terrible heat, Rand?"

    Just how many books did it take them to find that fucking bowl and fix the weather? I don't think I made it that far.

    He actually died of cardiac amyloidosis in September 2007, pissing off his erstwhile fans just one more time.

    I had a hearty laugh when I saw he died. Fucking douchebag.

  • T||

    For "straight" fantasy Big Tomes, read the Malazan books by Steven Erikson. They bog occasionally, and are incredibly dense, but man, are they worth it.

    I'll second this and the Song of Ice and Fire. Lots of violence and told from the ground up, in most cases. Although, these two and Jordan made me swear off picking up a new series until it was finished. Once Erikson finishes, I'm gonna go back and reread them all back-to-back.

  • ||

    read the Malazan books by Steven Erikson

    I read the first three, and they were very, very good, but just way too frigging dense. Too long, too many. I'm 45, I've got a limited number of years left on this earth and there are other books I'd like to read. I keep saying I'm going to go back and finish Stephenson's Baroque cycle. It's a commitment, but nothing like the Malazan books. And Stephenson's prose is addictive.

    I want Stross to do more Laundry tales. I couldn't get into the Merchant family thingy.


    My 7 year old is an advanced reader, but easily scared, and so far she wants nothing to do with magic or mystery. It's Ramona the Pest over the Spiderwick Chronicles and we can't even think about Harry Potter yet.

    And oh yeah - go California Republicans, and f*** Krugman. California has almost literally taxed itself to death; there is absolutely no reason to believe that another round of tax hikes will solve the state's budget woes or prevent the bloat from growing. California is approaching a serf state - everyone who doesn't work for the state is a serf. They've completely soaked the rich and are now preparing to soak the working class and the poor - this round of proposed tax hikes is regressive. Meanwhile, Hollywood - the one segment of the state's economy that is prospering and might be expected to cough up more taxes - is going to get tax credits instead. It's fucking surreal. The state of California - and I mean the State, not the people who live there - must be starved. It simply must. Otherwise, like the zombies that Hazel and I talked about on the other thread, it will grow and grow and grow, and suck and suck and suck, and there will eventually be no one resident in the state who doesn't work for the State or live off the State. Seriously, where does this end?

    Did I just describe the future of the US as a whole? Yes, I believe I did.

    Excuse. I have some Loretta Chase novels to go read.

  • Xeones||

    stubby, i believe Stross' next Laundry book is due out later this year. Supposedly, it will involve the opening stages of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN, which actually began in late 2007 but won't really pick up steam until the stars align in 2017.

    I'm enjoying the Merchant Princes series, but then i'm a sucker for alternate histories.

    Also, on topic: fuck California, yo. The sooner it falls into the ocean, the better.

  • ||

    Bingo, Warty--I had forgotten the sublimated rage I had towards Jordan for wasting my time. Thanks a lot. At least he's dead.

  • ||

    stubby,

    Think about Orbital Resonance by John Barnes when she's a few years older. Heinlein pastiche with a female lead character. And his Sky So Big and Black is a gender-flipped Red Planet.

  • ||

    The Charles Stross Laundry-universe short story "The Concrete Jungle" is available here in its entirety.

  • ||

    Once Erikson finishes, I'm gonna go back and reread them all back-to-back.

    Same here. I'll be really interested to see how well it all hangs together when you know what's coming. I think the best authors actually improve when you know where they are going.

  • ||

    Warty, you had me at "fuckin' hot gang rape scenes".

    Nynaeve tugged on her braid. "The nerve of those wool-headed men!" she thought as she put her fists on her hips.

    You just reduced months of my life to a single phrase. Crossroads of Twilight finally pushed me over the edge, and I haven't looked back.

  • Rand, Matt, and Perrin\'s Sens||

    Burn you, Robert Jordan! By the Light, burn you!

  • ||

    Laundry Book 3, The Fuller Memorandum is not due out until 2010.

    Another Laundry short story, "Down on the Farm" is on-line here.

  • Warty||

    At least he's dead.

    I hope hie punishment in hell was to be chained to a rock for all eternity, forced to edit the series for brevity. At night, the text regenerates itself.

  • ||

    "Down on the Farm" is on-line here.

    Phew, that was close. I almost decided to get back to work!

  • ||

    I hope hie punishment in hell was to be chained to a rock for all eternity, forced to edit the series for brevity. At night, the text regenerates itself.

    No, what would be just is to put him in a incredibly hot desert where he sweats a lot and has women, who he just can't seem to understand, who constantly get super-exasperated with him.

    Then shoot out his knees with a 12-gauge.

  • ||

    FrBunny,

    If you're lost you can look--and you will find me. If you fall I will catch you--I will be waiting...

  • ||

    I often daydream of one day discovering SugarFree, robc, Epi, Pro Lib, joe or somesuch is actually my boss IRL.

    After an initial silence, we nod, go back to our offices, and change our H&R handles forever. The one-day spike in my department's productivity is never explained.

  • ||

    Get back to work, FrBunny!

  • ||

    Hello strangers. So, what's the skinny on this "Hit and Run" thing?

  • robc||

    I never started Robert Jordan. I learned my lesson before I did and wont start any series until it is done.

    The LAST time I made that mistake was the Turtledove WORLDWAR series (the first series...sigh).

    Im just about convinced that Harry Potter really is over and may consider reading it some day, even though it really isnt my thing.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Nobody with a functioning brain takes Krugman seriously.

  • ||

    There is not government spending that Krugman will not masturbate over. And no tax cut that he will not shit on. I understand there are Chatty Krugman dolls that you cannot distinguish from the real thing.

  • Kunal||

    >>The LAST time I made that mistake was the Turtledove WORLDWAR series (the first series...sigh).

    What about Timeline-191? The only reason he did slightly better than Jordan was that that fucking timeline's got to end somewhere. You can't make a Hitler analogy last past 1945, thank FSM.

  • Stagman||

    reading TEFL at 9 explains a lot of what is wrong with me as an adult.

    Wow. Just wow. I read it at 22 and still felt I wasn't mentally mature enough for the last 1/3 of the book.

  • Stagman||

    My eleven-year old son is attempting Dune as an unabridged book-on-tape. I read the book when I was ten, but I was a huge reader as a kid. He isn't, which explains the tape. I have a feeling he's either going to rewind a lot or throw the CDs around the room like frisbees.

    Pro Libertate,

    Give your son Tunnel in the Sky and The Mote In God's Eye. In terms of just a plain old entertaining story, TMIGE is my personal favorite sci-fi novel of all time.

  • Mike Laursen||

    The thing about the California budget is that there are so many mandatory expenditures put into place by a combination of ballot initiatives and court decisions that there is little discretionary spending that can be cut. Sacramento is a huge, automatic money-eating machine.

  • ||

    Most of Niven's books are available to the boy in the vast Libertate library, but he's insistent on attempting Dune.

  • ||

    Now I have this image of fat bald Arnold reading "The Hollow Men" stuck in my head. Damn you Krugman!

  • DannyK ||

    I kinda think both sides should just have at it in California. RAISE TAXES or CUT SPENDING and see how the people like it. All this stuff where everyone predicts doom but nothing is happening... it's like Lost. Or one of the fantasy series y'all were talking about.

  • robc||

    In terms of just a plain old entertaining story, TMIGE is my personal favorite sci-fi novel of all time.

    Cover blurb:

    "Possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." -- Robert Heinlein

    I prefer Dune, but it is up there. Niven is probably my favorite sci-fi author. In order to get that blurb, Heinlein made them cut a huge amount from the opening. Apparently the battle at New Chicago and the rescue at the prison camp were cut.

  • ||

    The proper starter book for huge tomes is Watership Down. The violence alone keeps you fascinated, and you bang it out.

    I liked the book so much, I gave the hardcover away to a 12 year old who, despite her family, loved reading.

  • ||

    God I love this forum, I click here to make fun of Krugman and a discussion of fantasy novels insues.

    For my own two cents

    Robert Jordan got lame after book 7. Pretty much agree with everyone here on the reasons why. You can stop after that book then make up your own ending, you'll be happier.

    I like the Goodkind books though they are really hit and miss. I would read the first three (its almost like he made a trilogy, but they were so popular he expanded them into a series) then go with "Faith of the Fallen" which is the most libertarian oriented of his books. The rest are kind of throw away or bleh.

    I personally like David Eddings though at this point a computer can also write his novels because they're so repetitive.

    I also like Elizabeth Haydon who is a lot newer than most of the authors mentioned.

    Trying to read The Two Towers is the equivalent of drowning in quicksand while being forced to listen to Krugman read every article he's every published for the NYT.

  • ||

    Hey Matt - you're wrong. California Republicans would rather have a heckler's veto then be a competitive political party.

    I wanted the budget reform to pass. The Dems need to be held accountable for the growth of the state govt, but as long as the Repubs can mount a guerilla rear-action [in all it's double entendre glory] the Dems have an out.

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