Let's Call a Detente in the Denier Wars

Jonathan Chait has a three-page fulmination this morning that comes within a cat’s eyelash of branding as “income inequality deniers” those not taking a “new” CBO study about this topic seriously.

 He notes:

Rising income inequality, like climate change, is an ideologically inconvenient issue for conservatives. They would prefer not to discuss it altogether. If forced to discuss it, they will generally either deny its existence or simply carry on as if it doesn’t exist.

The underlying facts, like the facts of climate change, are stark.

I said something about these “stark” facts concerning income inequality in my morning column in The Daily and will have more to say about the specific “findings” in the CBO study and Chait’s accusations later.

But I scanned (with my super-duper Mac finder no less) Chait’s screed that Republican fiscal scrooges who oppose redistribution are worsening the problem and found that the word “deficit” appeared only once in it and that too in a quote by Paul Ryan. And the word “debt” didn’t feature at all.

If we are bandying “denier” charges, then does Chait’s omission show that he is a “debt-and-deficit denier?”

D-D-D does have a nice ring to it, but hurling denier charges is a cheap way of delegitimizing your political opponents. So I’ll drop it if Chait drops it. This is getting much too catty!

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  • ||

    Holy fuck, the left has been reduced to one fucking tactic. That's it. I really am starting to think that they are actually stupider than the right, and that's why they endlessly push the myth that they're the smart ones. Because they have to, because they're fucking mongoloids.

  • rts||

    I'm counting the femtoseconds until I see this meme promulgated on my Facebook wall.

  • ||

    The left is nothing if not mindless and repetitive. Well, so is the right, but the left really goes for the gold in being robot sheep.

  • juris imprudent||

    The left has nothing but cheap, self-justified moralizing. They are the Leftboro Baptist Church.

  • sarcasmic||

    Remember that by definition the median IQ is 100.
    As far as I'm concerned 100 is pretty dumb, and 50% of the population is dumber than that.

    And they vote. Heck, they run the government.
    Remember a while back, when some military guy was talking of putting troops on an island, when some elected representative asked if there was a danger of the island tipping over and capsizing?

    That's our government.

  • ||

    Idiot is the term you're looking for.

  • teh rael o3||

    Moron was defined by the American Association for the Study of the Feeble-minded in 1910, following work by Henry H. Goddard, as the term for an adult with a mental age between eight and twelve; mild mental retardation is now the term for this condition.

    PRESENT!

  • sarcasmic||

    Government is nothing more than idiots with guns telling the experts how to do their jobs.

  • teh rael o3||

    so im an "expert" along w the 50% of the pop below 100 IQ ?

  • o3's mommy||

    u r a byootiful n uneek flowah, honey

  • o2||

    pretty much ur only choice to answer since i used ur "expert" metric

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    There's this girl that comes in with her mom to the laundrymat I frequent--she's got to be about 10-12 years old, but she acts like a 5-year-old. Screeching, yelling for her mom across the damn laundrymat, crawling around under the folding tables, etc. I honestly can't tell if she's actually retarded or if her mom has indulged her so much that she's never emotionally developed, and is simply out of control as opposed to legitimately retarded.

  • ||

    She might be retarded. But if it is not, you know what it is? It is the end of parents being able to slap their kids. I am not kidding. In the old days, parents didn't have to at least in extreme cases try to reason with their kids. And that is not a bad thing. The fact is when you are a kid, a lot of times you can't be reasoned with. You don't have control of your emotions. And you don't have the experience or knowledge to make the right decision or understand what the right decision is. A good hard slap eliminates the need for that. You just understand the simple fact that you can't mouth off to your parents without their being an immediate lousy consequence. Any kid who is not emotionally disturbed can understand that. But few kids are going to understand a rational argument why it is wrong to mouth off to your parents.

    So since parents can't resort to the hard slap when they need to, parents are reduced to reasoning with their kids and trying to convince them to be good. And that is never going to work. Kids are neither mature enough to care or intelligent enough to understand what is being told to them. So they just ignore their parents. And you end up with variations of the scene you describe.

  • Mainer||

    Illustrating your point, a buddy of mine has a kid with woman to whom he is not married, they share custody. They agreed...no spanking. He tells me he found that a 2 year old acting up will respond to a swift and surpising swat on the butt. So he broke the agreement. Then his partner confessed to him that she would occasionally resort to a swat. What a surprise, you can't reason with a 2 year old. (BTW, he never told her he'd broken their pact.)

  • sarcasmic||

    Our daughter will be two in a couple weeks, and does not suffer from a shortage of corrective swats.

    As a result she is remarkably well behaved.

  • Apatheist||

    No the problem is shitty parents. Plenty of people manage to raise well adjusted kids without smacking them and plenty of people raise assholes who do smack them. Shitty parents create shitty kids either way.

  • ||

    I am not so sure that is true. Maybe some do, but they have really meek kids. And you don't have to hit them all of the time or really more than once. The threat is enough. The problem with most kids is that they are not really intimidated or afraid of their parents when they are angry. And just being kids, they ignore them and do what they want.

  • ||

    Gospel!

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    No the problem is shitty parents. Plenty of people manage to raise well adjusted kids without smacking them and plenty of people raise assholes who do smack them. Shitty parents create shitty kids either way.

    ^THIS^

    The problem is parents who want to be their kids "friends." They always thought their own parents were "mean" and they grew up with some resentful feelings towards their parents. They feel guilty for harboring that kind of resentment and they don't want their own children to grow up with the same kind of resentment against them. So they decide they're not going to be "mean" like their parents were to them. So they end up not setting any boundaries or telling their kids "no," and the kids end up being indulged and completely undisciplined.

    I have many times had people tell me how nice and well-behaved and considerate my daughters are. They are both teenagers.

    I smacked the older one, once, on the butt when she was about 2 and acting up. I immediately felt terrible about it, because I knew that she was acting up only because she was overtired, I had done so only out of losing my own patience because I also was overtired, and also that I really had scared her and it only upset her even more. So I decided right there I never was going to smack either one again. And I never have.

    But I have made it clear to them from the time they were little who was the parent and who was the child and that they will not get what they want by acting like a spoiled brat. It's called setting clear boundaries and then holding them to it. Part of that also is letting them learn from the consequences of their own action - letting them learn the concept that poor choices have consequences.

  • sarcasmic||

    BSR,
    More often than not when I see a parent playing the role of friend, there was a divorce somewhere down the line. Especially with fathers who want to be best buddy instead of disciplinarian.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Sarcasmic -

    My parents divorced when I was 9 years old. Although it was a pretty ugly divorce (as if there are pretty ones), and they did battle about the custody arrangement, there was none of that "I'm nicer to you than mommy" bullshit. It always was made clear that they were the parents, we were the kids, and ultimately we would deal with whatever situation we ended up with.

  • ||

    Corporal punishment is not the only way to be a strict parent.

  • ||

    True but it is the easiest way. Yeah, maybe some people are brilliant psychologists and manipulators and can pull of the miracle of getting kids to behave without even the threat of force. Bully for them. But most people are not. And when deprived of the weapon of corporal punishment, they are helpless.

  • Restoras||

    John, my own experience is that you are right. The non-corporeal route requires deep reservoirs of patience and not everyone has that.

  • ||

    As an example, we've made it clear to our kid that anything she does, ANYTHING, is at our discretion. My kid sleeps with a doll and with some background music. When the level of punishment needs to rise, those things are taken away. Or dessert. Or TV. Or computer time.

    One time I went into her room and cleaned it out. Took everything "fun" away. And left it that way for a few days.

    That was in the 2's and 3's. Those events are thankfully few and far between now at 5.

  • ||

    Holy Cow MP. Did you work for the North Korean government in a former life?

  • ||

    We actually tried corporal punishment. And then she slapped me back at 2 1/2. And I had no answer to that. What was I, just going to escalate? Be a hypocrite and say violence is OK for my anger but not for yours? I couldn't rationalize a way, to myself, how to deal with the mixed signals.

    So we moved to psychological warfare. Very effective.

  • ||

    Yeah, some kids don't respond to corporal punishment. I had a sister that was so hard headed there was no point in hitting her unless you just planned to get it over with and beat her to death.

  • fuck you john||

    A good hard slap eliminates the need for that.

    I was abused as a child.

    Often hit for no reason other then my mother wanted to hit something.

    I don't know what the role of government should be in that. Between being abused and being a libertarian I am conflicted.

    Either way I will never see hitting children as appropriate irregardless of weather or not government regulates it.

    Fuck You John.

  • ||

    Sorry you were abused. But not every kid who has ever been slapped was abused. That is like saying everyone who crossed the street was hit by a truck.

    And what sarcasmic said.

  • sarcasmic||

    I was abused as a child.

    So was I. You want some sympathy? It's in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.

    There is a difference between discipline and abuse. It's kinda like porn. You know it when you see it.

    Your inability to get over your past is not an excuse to equate discipline to abuse.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know. I still see plenty of people whack their kids and it's usually the [wrong kind of white] people with the kids who can't behave in public. Now, I'm not saying that some mild physical punishment is necessarily a bad thing either, but I don't buy that the lack of spanking is why there seem to be more poorly behaved kids these days. I'd say the "precious little snowflake" shit is more to blame, at least in the cases where complete lack of parenting ability is not the obvious problem.

  • Matrix||

    I experienced both extremes when I was a child. My mother and step-father abused me. I was thrown down a flight of stairs when I was 5 because I did not like scrambled eggs (still don't, really, except on breakfast burritos). Many times I was beat just for being around and being an easy punching bag.

    Then there was my Dad. If he ever spanked me, I was probably too young to remember it. He also never really disciplined me. I deserved some spankings and beatings from him, but I never got them. Only one time when I was extremely out of line, my family threatened to get my grandfather involved, and there was no way I was going to cross him. I immediately stopped acting like a spoiled brat and did what I was supposed to.

    That said, I am fine with people who spank or slap their children when the children are genuinely misbehaving. But that is NOT child abuse.

    If I ever have kids (doubtful), will I spank them? I'm not sure if I would unless it was an issue that was really serious. I would probably be pretty liberal when it comes to their upbringing, but I doubt I would try to "be their friend." Just someone to steer them away from major pitfalls and give guidance and advice, as long as they don't annoy the shit out of me or ruin my stuff.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm sure there is probably a utube video of The Ramones doing Beat the Brat with a Baseball Bat but alas I'm at work so can't get there to link.

  • Bender||

    So I ask you this one question: Have you ever tried simply turning off the the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them?

  • sarcasmic||

    I would guess the kid is in severe need of discipline.

  • SFC B||

    I'm going to guess indulgence. I know several parents with retarded children, and while they can have their problems, the parents of even the most seriously challenged kids have the ability to get their kids to behave. They're also acutely aware of how other people can view their kids and generally try to keep them on their best behavior.

  • Mainer||

    Now I understand why it was funny when Moe called Curly a moron, and Curly said, no, I'm an imbecile.

  • ||

    It was funny because it was the Stooges, dude.

  • Mainer||

    Oh, a wise guy...Nyuk nyuk nyuk

  • ||

    You know he was reelected, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    Yep. Which means his constituents are really fucking dumb - IOW he truly represents them.

  • jasno||

    Speaking of retarded...

    As far as I'm concerned 100 is pretty dumb, and 50% of the population is dumber than that.

    My liberal hippie douchebag friend used to say this alot, and I believed it, until I completed calculus. Some people, believe it or not, are actually of average intelligence. Therefore less than 50% of the population is below the median.

  • Apatheist||

    Jesus that's being really picky isn't it? How many people have exactly 100 IQ? If it is alot then I see your point. If not then you're the one being a douchebag.

  • jasno||

    Well you see how that bell curve swells in the middle? That's because most people fall very close to, if not exactly on(because IQ values are discreet numbers) average IQ.

    And, assuming it's symmetrical, just as many people are above average.

    This all assumes that median intelligence somehow correlates to the amount necessary to function effectively in the world today. I'm guessing that it isn't sufficient, therefore your point that 'most folks are dumb' may still stand. But, this being the internet and all, you're wrong, so suck it.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    It depends on if there are an odd or even number of people. If there are an even number, I can possibly/probably* pick a number that bisects the population, and then properly call that number a median.

    And a median is a type of average .... average does not necessarily imply arithmetical mean. So don't go there.

    If N is the number of questions on the IQ test, then P->1 as N->infinity.

  • sarcasmic||

    By definition an IQ of 100 is both median and mean.

  • Sidd Finch||

    By definition 100 is the white median and mean. That means there's a lot more sub-100 than 100+ IQ's in the US.

  • sarcasmic||

    50% minus those sitting on the median.

    Is that better?

    You and your douchebag friend have something in common: you're both douchbags.

  • jasno||

    Would it compound my douchebaggery if I pointed out your typo?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Is there a D.Q.? Douchbag Quotient, not Dairy Queen.

  • ||

    Then I'll start to say that more than half of all people are either average or stupider.

  • jasno||

    And you would be correct!

  • Banana||

    More picking. IQ is normalized by year. The raw score has been constantly going up over the last few decades. So someone with a 100 last year has ~25% more IQ then some one how got a 100 in the 80s.

  • Sidd Finch||

    The Flynn effect isn't nearly that strong (something like 20 points from pre WWII to today). There's a lot of debate about whether there's been a substantial Flynn effect over the last two decades and whether the raw scores are actually declining recently.

  • ||

    He was being sarcastic. You could tell by his tone.

    God I hate that Hank Johnson is from my state.

  • sarcasmic||

    You sure? I only heard it once, but he sounded more stupid than sarcastic.

  • ||

    That was his excuse. His ceaseless droning puts me to sleep within seconds.

  • skr||

    Everytime I think that I'm surrounded by idiots, I remember that the median IQ is 100 and I shudder a little. But knowing is half the battle right?

  • Tman||

    Hey Epi, cut them some slack. Coming up with a way to sell socialism without actually calling it socialism is hard work man.

    Look at the shoulders on Tony and Mingey. Them goalposts are HEAVY dude.

  • ||

    If they are so heavy, then why can they move them so easily?

  • Simon||

    Can the left make goalposts so large that not even they can move them?

  • WTF||

    Practice. Lots and lots of practice.

  • sarcasmic||

    She's so..
    der da der dee der der der da der dee der der
    Heavaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaay!
    She's so Heavaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaa-aaaaaaa-ay!

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Yeah, I thought their ONE tactic was telling anyone within earshot how racist anyone who disagreed with them was.

  • Chupacabra||

    Racism Denier!

  • Zeb||

    I think that the tactics of calling everyone who disagrees racist, stupid and suffering from false consciousness can all be combined into one, just to keep things simple.

  • ||

    In all the talk of rising income inequality, nobody seems to include the fact that in recent decades we've imported tens of millions of poor illegal aliens from the Third World. Whatever your feelings about open borders, you've got to admit that's going to have an effect on the statistics.

  • ||

    Dude, fuck off. No one wants your fucking obsession with immigrants that has fucking nothing to do with this topic.

  • ||

    I mean, I'm an open borders advocate and his point is not totally unrelated. The fact that infation-adjusted income has grown 18% for the bottom quintile and that bottom quintile is largely made up of immigrant workers actually speaks to the arguments that massive immigration brings more wealth for everyone instead of economic harm and poverty nativist idiots warn about.

  • juris imprudent||

    Something that should be considered is SS recipients in that bottom quintile. They should no inflation-adjusted income growth, and as the boomer cohort expands (and the older than boomer generation keeps hanging on) that will be the anchor on income.

  • ||

    It actually has everything to do with this topic. The Left imports poor immigrants. And that is fine. But of course they are poor. The problem arises when the Left then uses the fact that there are all these poor people, who just got here and they let in, are well poor and we should do something about it.

    What you don't understand Episiarch is that you want to let immigrants in so they can live productive lives. The Left wants to let immigrants in so they can point at the resulting income inequality as and excuse to rob you.

    That is why it is relevant.

  • ||

    I am hesitant to ascribe such planning and foresight to either the left or the right, John. As this very blog article shows, they're far too fucking stupid to carry out any kind of plan. They promote immigration because their opponents oppose it; nothing more. Partisans aren't capable of any thought higher than that.

    Remember, never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by partisan stupidity.

  • ||

    Fair enough. I doubt they planned it that way. But they are too stupid to take into account immigrants in their whining about disparity or just too dishonest. And don't kid yourself, they only want immigrants because they think they will vote for them. If Mexicans woke up tomorrow and became evangelical Republicans, Democrats would turn on them and open borders in a heart beat. And Republicans would be drinking tequila and wanting to merge with Mexico.

  • ||

    Oh, I agree 100%. This is why partisans are scum. They have no principles, just opposition.

  • ||

    Thank you, John, for being reasonable as usual.

  • o2||

    john reasonable? then explain his contention that "the left" are the farmers & builders who hire illegals. >that's as stoopid as his wingnutism about illegals taking jobs fm americans...americans who quit the fields at noon despite $15/hr

  • ||

    Wow, you really don't read well do you? I never said they were leftist you half wit. I said Howell Raines who was all of the sudden on their side was a leftist.

  • o2||

    John|10.27.11 @ 1:12PM|#
    "It actually has everything to do with this topic. The Left imports poor immigrants."
    _
    ur words. again, farmers n builders use "poor immigrants" so are they "the left" ?

  • ||

    Yeah, you really can't read. The Left "imports poor immigrants" in the sense of opening the borders for them to come in.

  • o2||

    yaok that makes centz

  • o2||

    no, i answered exactly what u wrote. list the gop administrations who closed the borders.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I have to go DA on this one. The elitist/populist divide is larger than left/right WRT immigration.

  • ||

    what? If you import lots of dirt poor people, your income inequality goes up by definition.

    I don't have anything wrong with that, but thems the facts jack.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    I don't deny that income inequality exists, I just deny that it's an important metric.

    As a stand-alone statistic it doesn't tell you enough about events to form a meaningful moral or practical judgment.

  • ||

    Yeah, and likewise most libertarians and conservatives don't deny global warming exists - as the green lobby has failed to scientifically quantify anthropogenic impact, we're skeptical of the expensive and interest-conflicted government "solutions" based on overexaggerated, incomplete or patently false evidence and apocalyptic warnings of "impending doom".

    "If you don't except our premises and solutions, you're a denier who wants the third world to die" is only a convincing argument for intellectual cretins.

  • Mike M.||

    I don't deny that income inequality exists, I just deny that it's an important metric.

    Exactly. Nobody is going to deny that Warren Buffett is making a lot more money than the janitor who cleans his building. Many of us just don't see that as automatically being some crime against humanity is all.

    Chait has put up a strawman so absurdly large, it's creating a fire hazard.

  • ||

    Exactly

  • JMW||

    Nobody is going to deny that Warren Buffett is making a lot more money than the janitor who cleans his building. Many of us just don't see that as automatically being some crime against humanity is all.

    If Mr Buffet gave me $1,000 per week to clean his toilets I'd be over there in a heartbeat.

    Far as I'm concerned that's pretty darn good, even if, in the end, he'd still have tons more dosh than me.

  • ||

    According to MNG, you'd be a fucking troglodyte and a liar for either saying you would do that or for actually doing it. Either way you are wrong.

  • JMW||

    To who? MNG?

  • ||

    Yeah. Sorry, that was because of a "thought experiment" that MNG had in the morning links, I wasn't personally saying that you were wrong cause I would clean his toilets too if I was getting paid 1k a week to do it.

  • ||

    "I just deny that it's an important metric."

    Exactly. If everyone is better off, who gives a fuck if the "rich are getting richer"?! Of course, in zero sum Lefty economics, that means someone, somewhere is getting poorer and we can't have that.

  • ||

    Indeed, and sometimes it's a totally misleading metric. Let's say absolutely everyone in a city made $30K/year. Now half of them get big raises and make $60K/year. According to the income inequality types, this is a bad thing, although nobody is worse off and half of them are much better off.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I don't deny that income inequality exists, I just deny that it's an important metric.

    ^^THIS^^

    I'm not sure that there is an income metric that is less important than income inequality. It's simply a made-up metric used by the left skew the important data, such as how the living conditions and quality of life in all income levels continues to rise.

  • Chupacabra||

    The politics of greed and envy.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Yep.

    Their entire political philosophy can be boiled down to "if someone else has something I want but cannot afford for whatever reason, I should be able to get the government to steal it for me. Only we're going to do it under the auspices of helping poor people (which if you ask the cooks at OWS, we obviously don't give a shit about)"

  • ||

    Anything on inflation? Easy money policies? Or the dreaded "FED"?

  • ||

    Of course we have income inequality. We still have the shards of a free market system, which rewards (generally speaking) the more productive over the less productive.

    Since we know that systems of wealth redistribution don't solve that problem and, when taken too far, dramatically reduce the overall wealth of the nation, just what is the solution?

    I say let's make the economy as strong as possible, with greatly reduced government intervention, tax reform, government welfare reform or elimination, and massive deregulation--at all levels of government. Since we still have a great deal of economic mobility in this country and would have even more if we were in a sustained boom, that would help the poor as well as the not-poor.

  • ||

    I think a valid point both sides make is that the existing market does not reward the productive over the unproductive so much as it rewards the politically connected. The Left's solution to this problem is pretty WTF, though.

  • ||

    Obviously, that has to go. Part of what I meant about reducing the scope of government intervention and regulation (the latter includes indirect regulation via taxing power).

  • jasno||

    Since we know that systems of wealth redistribution don't solve that problem and, when taken too far, dramatically reduce the overall wealth of the nation, just what is the solution?

    I'd say the opposite as well - no income redistribution leads to social instability. Some segment of the population is composed of folks who don't want to contribute and want a free ride. Not everyone can get a job in government, so those folks turn to crime unless properly bribed.

    Seriously though, I don't think all income redistribution is a bad thing, because I believe positive feedback exists in the economy. But we really should be doing it as simply as possible - say by eliminating income tax deductions and keeping some form of progressivism in the rate. Yeah, it's not constitutional or whatever... I'm a pragmatist, so fuck off.

  • ||

    Leaving aside the legal and ethical questions, practically speaking, I think government welfare doesn't work very well, and it creates all sorts of political corruption in the "buying votes" sense.

    We can provide charity without government intervention, and I firmly believe that this country's proven generosity would more than make up the difference if the paternalistic hand of government were taken away.

  • jasno||

    I think Milton Friedman had some sort of negative income tax proposal that sounded like a good idea. Kinda balances the ideals of a free market with the reality of freeloaders.

    You may be right regarding private charity, I just don't think we're ever going to see that system in our country.

  • CE||

    The key difference, of course, between denying climate change and denying rising income inequality is that rising income inequality actually exists.

  • CE||

    I should add that rising income inequality is the inevitable result of human progress and economic growth, and should not be fussed over too much. As a great man once said, the poor will always be with us. If the rich are getting richer, that's a good sign that things are getting better.

  • Banana||

    What? So when the vast majority of humanity went from slaves, to serfs, to free-men. It was a big step backwards?

  • Apatheist||

    And todays poor have greater wealth than kings of the past. Isn't freedom and progress great?

  • o2||

    so CE sez climate change doesnt exist & has never existed?

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Exactly why is income inequality a problem, anyway? Is the expectation that everybody earns the same thing?

    I don't get it.

  • Simon||

    level playingfield

  • ||

    There's a difference between a level playing field and having every game end in a tie.

  • Apatheist||

    Everybody in the NFL plays on a level playingfield but somebody wins every game and some teams are downright awful. What we have is a corrupt bunch of referees (the government) making sure we aren't on a level playingfield.

  • MiNGe||

    It's not FAIRRR!!!11!!!

  • MNG||

    I blame the JOOOS!

  • adam||

    Who's denying income inequality? I don't know of anyone who denies the facts. What many deny is that 1) income inequality is a relevant metric, 2) if it is relevant, it's a problem that the government can effectively address.

  • Apatheist||

    3) that Chait's solutions are the correct ones

  • tarran||

    The purpose of the denier label is to essentially label meaningful opposition as being beyond the pale so that Chait does not have to address their arguments.

    It's an attempt to extend the contempt rightly pointed at Holocaust deniers to apply to people who don't accesp CAGW and now their redistributionist fantasies.

    Of course, in the long run, this is a losing proposition. I've run into several people who rushed - politically - into Ron Paul's arms based on the fact that his arguments resonated and the political pundits called him a kook or worse.

    I know several people who reacted simmilarly to the Climategate white-washes. They started out assuming that the consensus must be based on science, but after hearing reasonable arguments being dismissed as being the product of deniers and the laughably insufficient investigations that went into the 'exonorating' 'inquiries' afterwards flipped to assuming that every pronouncement by IPCC and its insiders were untrustworthy bullshit until proven otherwise.

    Bulshitting people is getting harder and harder. At this point it's so easy for dissenting voices to attract and hold an audience that these tactics produce an every shrinking echo chamber rather than gaining hearts and minds in the battlefield of ideas.

    The pale that Chait is building will become his prison, not his redoubt.

  • ||

    ^^This^^

  • teh rael o3||

    "...Chait’s screed that Republican fiscal scrooges who oppose redistribution are worsening the problem and found that the word “deficit” appeared only once in it and that too in a quote by Paul Ryan. And the word “debt” didn’t feature at all."
    _
    Chait's subject was income inequality NOT the debt n deficit.

  • teh rael o3||

    holy shit im so stupid i miss every fucking point or maybe i just got no reading compreheshun derp

  • o2||

    and yet im an expert as sarcasmic sez above

  • o2||

    an expert in diddlin with little boyz

  • JMW||

    im an expert

    Your English teacher might beg to differ.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    I fully acknowledge that not everybody makes the same amount of money.

    Even assuming I actually give a crap, what do they want to do about it? Change some rules? if so then lets talk about what specific rule changes they want.

    But if they just want to increase the amount of theft in the system, then they get the reply they deserve "fuck off slaver".

  • Tman||

    PJ quote time-

    Collectivism makes for a very large and, hence, very powerful group. This power is centralized in the government. Any power is open to abuse. Government power is not necessarily abused more often than personal power, but when the abuse does come, it's a lulu. At work, power over the whole supply cabinet is concentrated in the person of the office manager. In government, power over the entire military is concentrated in the person of the commander-in-chief. You steal felt tip pens. Hitler invades Poland.

    Most government abuse of power is practiced openly, and much of it is heartily approved by The Washington Post editorial board and other such proponents of the good and the fair. But any time the government treats one person differently than another because of the group to which that person belongs-whether it's a group of rich, special-interest tax dodgers or a group of impoverished, minority job-seekers-individual equality is lessened and freedom is diminished. Any time the government gives away goods and services-even if it gives them away to all people equally-individual dependence is increased and freedom is diminished. Any time the government makes rules about people's behavior when that behavior does not occasion real and provable harm to others-telling you to buckle your seat belt or forbidding you to publish pornography on the Internet-respect for the individual is reduced and freedom is diminished.

    http://www.buildfreedom.com/tribute/o'rourke/explain.html

  • Zeb||

    Good old PJ. He actually lives quite close to me. I really want to try to make friends with him.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "those not taking a “new” CBO study about this topic seriously."

    Since when has the CBO been elvated to the status of ultimate authority on everything economic?

  • o2||

    esp when the CBO is activist by saying stuff i dont agree with.

  • BakedPenguin||

    What is the income inequality in North Korea? I bet the disparity between rich and poor is very small in actual wealth, excluding Kim Jong-Il.

  • o2||

    ez metric in n korea when income inequality is measured in lightbulbs

  • ||

    That is funny. But it is actually measured in grains of rice.

  • Banana||

    http://www.futureofcapitalism......orth-korea

    High. Probably higher then here.

    You know the communist system is actually pretty unfair by liberal standards.

  • Zeb||

    The more important disparity there is between the people who are starving and those who aren't. I also suspect that factory managers, military officers and other important ruling class people are doing quite well.

  • poetry||

    Allow me to push back on the developing consensus, here:

    Income inequality is a problem in America. The rich are getting richer more quickly than the poor are getting richer – but not because they are visionary risk-takers who had a great idea and a voluntary market. No. The rich are getting richer because they have captured the regulatory industries and lobbied congress for anti-competitive laws favoring their pursuits.

    When an OWS comrade complains about income inequality, they are right to do so. The CIA puts the USA's income disparity in the worst 30% (just a few over from Iran - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2172rank.html ).

    I doubt a free market, sans regulatory capture and commerce clause bastardization and general-welfare-clause bullshit would allow such disparity. (Then again, it just might. It certainly would allow degrees of disparity. But who knows how many.)

    Perhaps I'm not worthy of my monocle. But, yeah.. I'm with them. You guys make it sound like the current system doesn't favor the already-rich, the crony-capitalist assholes who used the government to violently take their place in the financial firmaments.

    Come on. The system is fucked, especially from our perspective. Instead of telling these very emotional people that their concerns are invalid, we should instead educate them on why their concerns are more valid than they even know, and point them towards the real solution of the (actually) free markets.

  • ||

    I think you make some valid points. But I think you are pissing in the wind if you think you are going to convince this group of public school victims that the government they love is what is causing all of the income disparity.

    You correctly point out a major but not only cause of the rising disparity. But, we didn't get here because people realize the cause. We got here because government really is that insidious. The worse it makes a problem the better able it is to convince people that the government must do something about it.

    Yeah, we are that fucked.

  • kinnath||

    Income inequality is a problem in America.

    No it isn't. The rest of you post is moot.

  • kinnath||

    Another threading failure. Posted to poetry.

  • ||

    It is a problem if a large number of people are getting on top by gaming the system. I don't think most Americans have a problem with Bill Gates being a billionaire. But if we get to the point that most rich people are political insiders who are sucking off the system rather than productive business people, we will have a big problem.

  • kinnath||

    I'm arguing that the fundamental premise "inequality is a problem" is false. Inequality is an unavoidable outcome of freedom.

    The issue of "people gaming the system" is a matter of "fairness" which is basically undefinable for any meaningful conversation about economics.

    When people say "inequality is a problem" they are telegraphing "inequality is not fair" which is a function of their own personal definition of "fair".

  • ||

    "The issue of "people gaming the system" is a matter of "fairness" which is basically undefinable for any meaningful conversation about economics."

    I thin it is very definable. Maybe not precisely but you know it when you see it. Having a society where everyone who is rich or a large portion of those who are rich got there by being political insiders and working the system is a terrible situation if for no other reason than it encourages people to become insiders rather than productive.

  • kinnath||

    I think it's not fair that it a government sponsored agency cut a check for 50 million dollars to some sucker that coughed up a buck for a piece of paper with 6 random numbers on it that just happen to match the behavior of a bunch of ping pong balls on a given day.

    But since I can't be forced to buy one of those pieces of paper, I don't spend much time worrying about it.

    Gaming the system is part of the system. If people aren't actually breaking the law, that means they're playing by the rules. Fairness has nothing to do with it. The system cannot be designed to be fair, because life is random and life cannot be fair.

    The best we can hope to do is design a system that maximizes freedom.

  • ||

    You missing my point Kinneth. If you create a system where they only way to get ahead is to game the system, that is what people will do. And gaming the system just takes wealth. It doesn't create it. Further, if you create a system where the people who don't get ahead feel those who did cheated to get there, you are asking to end up with heads on poles or for everyone who is of any value to the society to leave. Either way you are screwed.

    It is not the inequality. It is how and why the inequality was created.

  • Gojira||

    The masses of people who believe otherwise and are willing to vote based on that belief indicate otherwise.

    It's a problem even if only in the fact that the widespread belief that it's a problem will result in people voting in worse and worse redistributive measures.

  • poetry||

    You're right, I should have been more careful (did that sound sarcastic? It wasn't):

    The current levels of income inequality are a symptom of a problem in America. Specifically, those levels a symptom of cronyism, protectionism, "consumer protection" legislation, regulatory capture, and the belief in government in general.

    I'm more satisfied with that, anyway.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, I think that is about right. Inequality is not a problem in and of itself, but a high degree of inequality may be a symptom of other problems which are real problems.

  • GARNET||

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    OWS will never accept the chaotic unpredictability of the free market, they want guaranteed outcomes.

  • cynical||

    Income inequality is the symptom, not the disease. Moreover, attacking the inequality itself punishes those who earned what they have just as much as those that cheated -- when a system punishes innocent and guilty in equal measure, it isn't just.

    The only stable solution is separation of economy and state -- commercial freedom needs the same protection as freedom of speech and freedom of conscience, and the largest obstacle to that ideologically is the left.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Rising income inequality, like climate change, is an ideologically inconvenient issue for conservatives. They would prefer not to discuss it altogether. If forced to discuss it, they will generally either deny its existence or simply carry on as if it doesn’t exist."

    Or they could quite correctly point out that it isn't any of the federal government's business who has how much money or any authority to be attempting to rearrange it as it's not pursuant to any ennumerated power delegated to the federal government in the text of the Constitution.

  • Mainer||

    Not the federal government's business ? The other evening Charles Rangel said that he took an oath to make the lives of his constituents better. So of course, if there's a problem that's affecting his constituents, he's duty bound to fix it.

    Funny thing is, I looked up the oath Rangel took, and it doesn't say anything about making people's lives better. He actually swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic.

  • ||

    He thinks he swore to defend the Living Constitution.

  • ||

    It's really the case law Constitution. Same dif I guess. In short. The Living Constitution turned the U.S. Constitution into a dead letter.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Isn't that going to to interfere with his oath to have multiple tax-free domiciles in various resort areas?

  • ||

    Apparently Chait believes that the Clinton years were really shitty, because the CBO report shows massive inequality growth then.

    Recessions are where it's at.

    Or perhaps we're just using the wrong damn metric.

  • KPres||

    Normally, during a recession, the rich lose big...that is, until the lefties step in with the stimulus spending. Then their losses level off.

  • Banana||

    Fucking leftist at the Federal Reserve?

  • Apatheist||

    Why did you add a question mark?

  • ||

    See, I consider myself "on the Left" because income inequality would be naturally lessened by a free market. The current political-economic system is so arbitrary, needlessly complex, restrictive, perverse and politically manipulable, it's very difficult for the lower classes and small businesses to succeed, find stability and grow. Subsidies go primarily to the politically connected, and lower and middle-class entrepreneurs tend not to be.

    Also, in a free market without the market distortions of limited liability and bankruptcy, the wealthy would have to pay for the full costs and risk their businesses impose on society instead of leaving victims, creditors and taxpayers holding the bag.

    I'm not convinced that libertarians need care so much about inequal outcomes so much as inequal opportunities disproportionately resulting from government market distortions and political favoritism. I also support public education (in concept, not current execution) and naturally progressive land value taxes for the reason of making a playing field where most economic "losers" deserve less sympathy and the welfare state becomes far less necessary. Government should be minimally burdensome to the poor while allowing them a door out of poverty, and should remove all additional roadblocks to economic mobility. A creative, economically mobile market economic system reduces the arguments for state socialism and thus in effect would maximize liberty.

  • Tman||

    I consider myself "on the Left" because income inequality would be naturally lessened by a free market.

    Not sure if serious.

  • ||

    I mean, by definition, "progressive" means a system which advantages the poor more strongly than the wealthy. I do agree that the tax code should be progressive because I'd rather the poor use their own money to buy food and medicine instead of paying taxes and then expecting even more welfare state in return for their increased poverty.

    I argue that a laissez-faire market with a single naturally progressive and non-distortionary tax, successful and competitive public education and a government that consistently enforces rights and nothing more would benefit the poor far more than this current system of distortions, disincentives, favoritism towards the politically connected or politically manipulable and roadblocks to economic mobility. Mobility is the key. That's what the modern Left miss and the classical/pre-Marxist Left understood.

  • Zeb||

    Well said.

  • ||

    That is the argument libertarians and conservatives don't make enough. It is not that they don't care about the poor. It is that using the government to help the poor is a stupid way to do it and ends up hurting more than helping.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Why argue that when it's going to get us to the same ideological place where this article starts in that if you don't recognize income inequality, and what he disingenuously fails to mention here, that government is the best, fastest, most logical way to "fix" the "problem", you're just a cretin denier?

    It's all they have left. If you don't tacitly agree with their diagnosis of the problem(s) in society and their government-laden prescriptions for them, you're a denier. In this fashion, they can intellectually justify to themselves that we're simply not worth listening to and can be excluded from the conversation.

    This line of thought only leads to one place. Ask the tens of millions of dead Chinese and Russians Soviets about where that place is.

  • ||

    This is why I think it's important to beat the Left at their own game. They claim to care about the poor more than anyone else, yet their policies in reality hurt the poor more than anyone else. They claim to hate corporatism more than anyone else, yet their policies only worsen it by creating incentives for corporations to influence their political bosses to move the arbitrary system in their favor.

    If you accept their premises that mobility, equality, fairness, etc. are important values, then they are forced to defend the shortcomings of their policy outcomes when compared to the fact that market freedom has led to more economic progress for the world's poor than any other philosophy, despite the corporatism, inflation and market distortions that do harm the poor disproportionately.

  • AlmightyJB||

    We would all be better off if EVERYONE quite prentending that they care about the poor. The poor especially would be better off.

  • ||

    I disagree - libertarians should absolutely care about poverty's political effects. The notion that markets create extreme poverty and oppression for many and government is the only realistic solution to this poverty is the core theory of Marxism. It has been widely accepted yet has no basis in real world economics. The political redistribution that results from the acceptance of this falsehood is the antithesis of libertarianism.

    We can prove that free markets (combined with full and equal rights enforcement) create both wealth AND economic mobility, and socialism creates neither - providing equality in subsistence-level mediocrity for all at very best. Also, unlike the Left, we are not using the poor as political tools via "compassionate" welfare policies that breed political dependency and discourage independent advancement.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The rising income inequality is for the most part directly attributable to the federalization of the financial, and specifically home mortgage, markets. The outright manipulation of regulatory frameworks and currencies led to a massive bubble in which the politically connected made off with vast sums of capital at no risk to themselves, just to the taxpayer.

    The reduction in income inequality we are seeing now is due to the implosion of those unsustainable and corrupt systems. Unfortunately, a lot of capital has gone missing in the process. That's an incredible waste of potential and a setback for the nation as a whole as well as individuals.

    OWS and their friends would worsen this situation by increasing that framework, doubling down on the implicit guarantees, and stifling opportunities for small business everywhere. When I hear them say that Obama and Bush were wrong about TARP and the stimulus and that Krugman is full of shit, I will start giving them some credence. Until then, they are just useful idiots for the nomenklature.

  • Matrix||

    I wondered about something as I read this and thought back on the topic earlier this week about Ron Paul not accepting Medicare and Medicaid money in his medical practice.

    Is it legal for an American business to refuse to sell their products or services to the United States Government? I mean, perhaps, they don't want to accept money extorted from the citizens of this country. And perhaps a manufacturer could also stipulate that their products could not be sold during resale to the USG.

    Sure, it would hurt financially, but it would definitely give them more clout when claiming they don't accept money from the theft of tax payers.

  • ||

    It is very legal. And it is very common. Medicaide and Medicare doesn't pay what private insurance does. So doctors are just not taking it. It is very hard to find a doctor who will.

  • Devil Inchoate||

    It won't be legal much longer.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    When I saw "denier wars," I thought this was going to be about linen manufacturers trying to outdo each other with ever finer and finer threadcount sheets.

    Denier here.

  • Trespassers W||

    Lulz, I keep reading "denier" that way too.

  • Zeb||

    I didn't realize that it was deny-er until about halfway through the comments.

  • KPres||

    The vast majority of the "rising inequality" is an accounting triviality. Most honest economists know this.

    When the top marginal rate was 90%, rich people hid their money in corporations where it was taxed 40% lower, making their reported incomes much smaller than they really were. As the top rates fell (starting with Kennedy), they began reporting it more and more as personal income instead. Voila, rising inequality.

    That's why the share of total tax revenue coming from CORPORATE taxes falls over time (~30% in 1950 > ~15% today) with the drop in top PERSONAL rates, even though the corporate rate was largely unchanged over that time.

  • ||

    The climate denier meme comes from the idea that man made global warming skeptics are equivalent to holocaust deniers.

    it is a propaganda campaign to dismiss them as dangerous lunatics.

    Looking at polls it is pretty obvious that it has not worked....perhaps an argument can be made that it it did not create climate alarmists but it did save some...

    But whatever, it did not stop the rising tide against the climate change hoax.

    It should be no surprise that being a complete failure that the left chose to adopt the use of the word to push for other failing memes.

    Picking a desperate propaganda strategy proven to fail is what the left does.

  • Whappan?||

    I haven't read any analysis of this current CBO income inequality report, but I seem to recall reading that much of the supposed increase in equality was because of lowered tax rates. As rates came down, the wealthy shifted more of their income to taxable categories, rather than tax shelters, etc. Which is also why there share of total taxes rose.

  • kinnath||

    Let's imagine a game with a set of rules. One of the rules is that the players can change the rules in the middle the game. The rules also include the rules for changing the rules in the middle of the game. Yet still, more of the rules govern the process for changing the rules that govern the process for changing the rules in the middle of the game.

    Can this game ever be fair?

  • ||

    Can this game ever be fair?

    Certainly, if you believe fairness consists of treating like cases alike, rather than treating everyone the same.

    The definition of what constitutes a "like case" is, in effect, a rule of the game, subject to change as conditions change.

    The fairness becomes axiomatic.

  • ||

    Since when is income equality a right? Fuck all the income equality people. When I was making $1.10/hr. at KFC in 1970, I did not believe that I would always make that, and I did not give a shit that someone else was making more.

    If anyone is on the street rioting for equality of income they should be gunned down. Stop the genetic crime of allowing those people to breed.

  • AlmightyJB||

    ok. but you have to clean up the mess. Bloodstains are a bitch.

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