Economic Growth

Economic Ignorance Is Something You Have to Learn

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Did the tiger-repelling rock repel enough tigers?

Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz trembles for a nation that believes Keynesian gobbledegoop:

Just when you thought economic ignorance couldn't sink any lower, a letter in the Washington Post criticizes Mitt Romney for repairing a brick walkway at his house rather than hiring a contractor — and thus "cheating people out of jobs."

Uh-oh. I just made myself a sandwich, thus cheating a deli employee out of a job. I drive myself to work instead of using a chauffeur, thus putting chauffeurs out of work. I do my own laundry — well, this could go on all day.

Of course, the writer's argument isn't really any different from the usual complaints about trade, outsourcing, and shutting down unprofitable businesses. Everyone seeks to produce as much output for as little expenditure as possible. That's why we trade with each other, so as to improve our standard of living. 

The point is well made, but this is a case where the real problem is the things people know that ain't so. For that you have to go not to the Wash Post's letters page but to its actual professional content. Sunday's paper contains a double shot of beard stroking on macroeconomics under the rubric "Did they do enough?" 

The question has two possible answers: Either the much-depleted Obama brain trust did enough or they should have done more. 

Were enough of them fired?

Taking the first option is Greg Ip, who alarmingly is identified as the U.S. economics editor of the Economist. Pressing the not-obscure insight that variations in economic vitality do not neatly follow the timeline of a four-year presidential term, Ip predicts that in 2014 our jet-pack-flying descendents will be pluperfectly enjoying "the economic rebound for which Barack Obama had worked so hard." Growth will be "humming," unemployment will be "steadily dropping" and the stock market will be "hitting one record high after another," but the ignorant voters will be giving all the credit to President Romney. Ip backs this up with some potted history that inevitably conceals more than it reveals: Jimmy Carter, who appointed Paul Volcker as Fed chairman and began large-scale deregulation (but who also, not noted here, rejected all the wooing of the supply-siders) gets credit for the boom on Ronald Reagan's watch. The boom that American enjoyed in Bill Clinton's time turns out to be the result of George H.W. Bush's decision (you guessed it!) to raise taxes in 1990. And so on. 

Simon Johnson takes up the didn't-do-enough theme in his double review of Noam Scheiber's The Escape Artists and Michael Grunwald's The New New Deal. (Here's Peter Suderman's review of the former book and my review of the latter.) Johnson briefly considers the central problem with the Post's dichotomy: 

As Scheiber's economists know all too well, activist fiscal policy got bad reputation in the decades before 2008, and for a good reason. It is very hard to fine-tune an economy using big and small changes in government spending and taxes. 

Half credit! It's "very hard to fine-tune an economy" using any tools. That seemed to be a clear lesson of the twentieth century workers' paradises, and it is implicit when politicians claim (usually following up with a "but") that the free market is the least-bad system for creating wealth. Spending and taxes can, however, have very destructive effects, and the best way for government to further an enterprise is by the alacrity with which it gets out of its way. As the Clinton-era example shows, you can have a boom even if you just slightly reduce the rate of spending growth. That's not fine-tuning, it's slightly easing the heavy hand of the state. The Post's rhetorical question leaves out such options as "Did they screw it up?" or "Did they do too much?" 

You get to this level of fantasy not by knowing too little economics but by knowing too much, by being persuaded that the same math you use when you shop around for bargains or balance your checkbook does not apply at the level of the macroeconomy. Unfortunately, Keynesian logic is like Videodrome: Once exposed to it you can never get rid of it, no matter how much trouble it causes. Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman recently claimed that brisk sales of the iPhone 5 will spur economic growth, thus proving the broken-window theory of economics. In fact, it's the opposite: People who buy the new phone think it will add value to their lives, not replace an equal amount of value that has been destroyed. As the Apple maps fiasco, the purple glare controversy, and this Jimmy Kimmel video suggest, they may be wrong about that. But that Krugman (who last year called for a hoax invasion by space aliens to spur spending) is down to such a transparently absurd argument suggests the time has never been riper to jettison both the new and old Keynesianism. 

Just don't look for either presidential candidate to do that. Right now the big question is whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will use his presidential job-creating powers to create more jobs. Mitt Romney is promising to create 12 million jobs, which strikes me as a strategic error. All Obama has to do is promise to create 13 million jobs and he'll obviously be the better candidate, because that's a lot more jobs. 

NEXT: Mursi Pardons All Political Prisoners

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  1. If the government disappeared, we’d still have the economy. The reverse isn’t really the case. These people who think the government is the primary driver of economic success don’t get it at all.

    1. Stop slacking and get out there and break some windows dammit!

      1. I’m just waiting for Obama to nuke a few cities in order to usher in an economic boom. Well, a boom for the cities not nuked, anyway.

        1. As we speak, he’s transmitting an invitation to alien species to “pay us a visit”. We’re doomed! Or are we stimulated? I can’t tell anymore.

        2. He could just claim that aliens had landed there – if it doesn’t go over well, he can scapegoat Kruggie.

        3. Wouldn’t the cities that get nuked experience the biggest boom?

          1. Good point–I retract my conditional endorsement and now advocate the full nuke economy.

            1. VOTE PRO LIBERTATE 2012
              LEAVE NO WINDOW UNBROKEN

              1. Why else would they give one guy the power to nuke everything? That would be lunacy from a military perspective. However, it’s the last, best hope for a new and improved economy.

        4. Say what you will about Adrian Veidt, he was at least trying to -prevent- cities from getting nuked. Kruggymandias just wants to boost GDP numbers.

    2. like Christine responded I am startled that any body able to make $7710 in 4 weeks on the computer. did you see this web site website===?????? Silver16.comWOULD YOU LIKE TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY???

      1. Christine is a nincompoop who doesn’t know what the fuck she is talking about. If you want to go linking yourself to her, by all means do so, but you’re really showing your ass here.

  2. …repairing a brick walkway at his house rather than hiring a contractor ? and thus “cheating people out of jobs.”

    Mother of God, it’s Peak Stupid…

    1. Be careful, everytime we think we’ve hit Peak Derp, something comes along. Start installing the seatbelts on your toilets now, because when something tops that doozy, we’re all going to be exploding.

      1. Stupid is inflationary?

    2. I’d give 3:1 odds that that letter is a joke. Trolling letters to the editor are an American tradition going back further than motherhood and apple pie.

      1. Right, but that one is so believable.

        1. I guess the thing is that it still crossed a few sets of eyeballs to get printed, and not all of them were in on the joke. So maybe the letter writer isn’t stupid, but it sure seems like someone is.

      2. Good old Benjamin Franklin: America’s first concern troll!

    3. It is indeed a baffling worldview.

      I hesitate to call it stupid, though. There are people who, for whatever reason: born that way, injury, etc., have an IQ in the low to mid 80s. They are often good and capable folks who would never make a mistake like this. Astonishingly, you actually have to do some thinking to come up with something so wrong.

      1. There’s apparently an uncanny valley in intelligence, where as people from the stupid side approach closer and closer to actual intelligence, their thoughts become more and more disturbing and unnatural. This is where intellectuals dwell, which is why Americans hate them so much.

  3. “hitting one record high after another,” but the ignorant voters will be giving all the credit to President Romney.

    Which is why, sadly, Barack Obama must win a second term. Then we can observe the failure and get some real libertarian traction in this here political arena in 2016.

    If Romney wins and persues another four years of Obushma policies, then it will all be Romney’s fault. See how this works?

    1. No no they’ll BLAME US ANYWAY. If people are stupid enough not to blame O and his stupid policies after 4 years, what makes you thing another 4 years will do the trick!/!?!

      1. Blame knows no logic, rationale, or shame.

      2. Not saying we should try to help Obama win or vote for him, and yes, leftists will blame free markets, Republicans, etc regardless, but it’s a lot more convincing when Republicans are in power than when Democrats are. You mention the Obama and 4 years thing, but there are obviously a lot of people blaming him for it, whereas no one would have blamed him the day he took office. After four more years, the number will increase. How much I can’t say, but people will be more convinced that free markets are the problem if Romney is elected. Not saying that’s a reason to elect Obama, but it is true

    2. This logic would have worked if the Republicans had actually nominated a conservative.

      The problem is that the Republicans will likely be wooed in by that siren’s song that their entire problem is that their candidate was not conservative enough and go and nominate someone like Santorum (or someone equally repellent).

    3. I really believe the whole thing is going to come crashing down soon after the election.

      So, who would I rather have as Pres when this happens?

      On one hand, I would prefer Obama, just so the NYT and co. won’t be able to blame the evil rich and capitalism.

      On the other hand, they will blame the evil rich and capitalism anyway, which brings me back to my initial question, so I still don’t know who I prefer.

      Since I think we’re screwed either way, I would like Romney to win for 2 reasons:
      1) For the entertainment value. If the Libs went full retard after a debate loss, imagine the comedy that would ensue if Obama lost the election. Also, the riots will be fun to witness, and I need a new TV.
      2) The press will care about civil liberties and wars again, so maybe the gov’t will at least pause before they unleash the drones on us.

      1. Vote Johnson and have a clear conscience. The GOP won’t truly reform until they absolutely have to because of outside influence. The Democrats won’t reform ever.

        1. I’m with Scruffy and I think he has the exact correct read on the situation.

        2. The only reason I will vote is to vote for Johnson. I’m just talking about the 2 realistic scenarios.

          1. If you live in CA vote if only to vote down the tax hikes and bond measures….for the chirruns….and piss off Jerry Brown!

        3. Johnson should have run for Senate and had a chance to do some good instead of being a typical politician and switching parties so he could continue his run for presidency with no chance of winning.

          Having said that, if you are not in a swing state then vote for Johnson with a clear conscience. However, if you are in a swing state your choice is more complicated. Vote for Obama if you want the train wreck to happen faster. Vote for Romney if you think he can slow the train down. Or vote for Johnson if you don’t think it matters.

  4. Do Keynesians believe that subjective value is a superstition?

    1. I don’t think they understand the concept of value period. They certainly don’t understand the concept of capital.

      1. They understand the labor theory of value.

        A ditch dug by a hundred men carrying spoons is a hundred times for valuable than a ditch dug by a single man with a backhoe.

        1. “…a ditch dug by a single man with a backhoe….”

          The War on WOMENZ!!!

        2. The Hobbits and the Baku made that kind of logic work. Why can’t we?!

    2. If Keynesian means “lazy Marxist with a love of the material wealth provided by capitalism, and who therefore would prefer to seize the results of production rather than the means.”, then sure.

  5. “Mitt Romney is promising to create 12 million jobs, which strikes me as a strategic error. All Obama has to do is promise to create 13 million jobs and he’ll obviously be the better candidate, because that’s a lot more jobs.”

    Oh yeah?! Well I promise to create eleventy billion jobz! So write me in for God Emperor for Life.

    1. “I’ll create so many jobs that you’ll only be able to spend 1 hour a day on each of them, and that’s if you don’t sleep.”

    2. Hey mon! Got to go to work!

    3. You can’t promise that, there’s no such number as “eleventy”.

  6. The question “Did they do enough” implicitly assumes that there is only one option: government intervention of greater or lesser extent.

    Perhaps the question should be “Did they try to do the right thing?” Imagine, if you will, an alternate universe, where the imminent collapse of a cronytasic banking system merits the following response:

    (1) You idiots managed to tank your banks even though you were in bed with the powers that be? Well, sayonara, then. No bailout for you.

    (2) Since a banking system riddled with moral hazard doesn’t seem sustainable, lets strip out the moral hazard with a round of real deregulation and a severing of the financial strings that run from the banks through the Fed to the Treasury.

    IOW, exactly the opposite of what we did. But this is literally unthinkable under the question put forward, which contemplates on more or less of, well, more.

    1. But this is literally unthinkable

      Only because of the emotional reaction that it would generate.

      Emotion trumps rational thought every time.

    2. Rumor has it this worked out pretty well for Iceland.

      Now if they could only do something about their Bjork infestation.

      1. Now if they could only do something about their Bjork infestation.

        Don’t they have a spray for that, or am I confusing that with DDT for mosquitoes?

        1. You’re confusing swans for mosquitoes.

          http://media4.onsugar.com/file…..e-Hate.jpg

      2. Keynesians don’t talk about Iceland except to say that it was a DISASTER! They don’t mention how things are now improving instead of continuing to stagnate like we will be for the next however many years of QEQEQEQEQEQE.

      3. Gather up Iceland’s excess Bjorks and store them in my basement.

        1. [giggles behind hand]

  7. Is Ip British for Derp?

  8. Jesus fuck, the Economist has become a piece of shit.

    1. That happened years ago, unfortunately.

  9. That WaPo letter just knocked this horrorshow out of the running for “worst/stupidest thing I read today.”

    Not that it wasn’t close. We are so doomed.

    1. It was probably a parody. It has to be.

      1. If you read more Lindy West (don’t, please), you’d know it wasn’t.

        1. In fairness cat feces has been linked to toxoplasmosis, and I suspect that there’s enough of it in West’s apartment to cast a shadow on the Materhorn.

    2. +1, this horrorshow was about to give me an ulcer.

      The vittrol and insanity out of liberals is really funny and really freaking me out right now.

      The ad hominem, the Strawman, the false dillemas, it’s like they come up with new fallacies to use so as to reject logic all the time instead of just when it suits the progressive cause.

  10. Holy crap she’s a moron. Drawing a direct equivalence between a positive and negative right and not even noticing a minor difference.

    1. Directed at nicole

    2. Well and like…missing the entire fucking point of anything in Haidt’s research. I’m at the point of seriously hating “feminists” like this because you know what, I really care about access to birth control and abortion?actual access and freedom, not everything being fucking free of charge because VAGINA. The shape they have twisted it all into is just revolting.

      1. The subtext of what she says is that the RIGHT PEOPLE should rule by fiat and everyone else be damned. If that’s the case, why don’t we just start shooting people who disagree? Oh wait, they’ve tried that already.

        1. why don’t we just start shooting people who disagree?

          We’re halfway down the road where offending (by voicing disagreement) the wrong person is considered a crime.

          Once we’re completely down that path it won’t be long before offensive opinions will be met with deadly force.

        2. I think my favorite part is this: “So the liberal objection, in that example, is to the inhumane restriction of women’s rights. It’s not some awkward ‘sacrilege,’ and it is certainly not ‘extremism.'”

          Haidt’s whole message was about different “sacred” values across the political spectrum. What I hold sacred is not “sacred,” it is JUST RIGHT, and what you hold sacred is just “some awkward” thing that I don’t care about. Doh.

        3. If that’s the case, why don’t we just start shooting people who disagree? Oh wait, they’ve tried that already.

          And get stuck paying the bill? No. That is when democrats truly go full retard.

      2. “…VAGINA. The shape they have twisted it all into is just revolting.”””

        Hmmm

        1. I realized that as soon as I submitted.

          And I stand by it…

          1. I always thought that if I were black I would be insulted by their paternalism.

            If I were a woman, I would be insulted as well by the thought that I’m too helpless to but my own rubbers.

            1. “I’m too helpless to but my own rubbers.”

              You’re using them wrong.

              1. shit. Looks like I need free rubbers and free instruction.

                4 More Years!

            2. I am. And so is my BFF, also a woman. And we were talking about just that this morning when she showed me this piece of trash. It’s absolutely insulting.

              But do Vagina-Americans even have enough agency to feel insults? Perhaps that is the key.

              1. The future must not belong to those who slander the Vagina.

                1. Yeah the problem with Democrats is they just give lip service to the Vagina.

                  1. Yeah the problem with Democrats is they just give lip service to the Vagina.

                    ISWYDT

              2. But what you are missing, nicole, is that it is also sexist to point out that it is sexist to patronize women this way. See, if no one ever noticed how horribly insulting it is to talk about and treat women this way, we would be in a paradise of free birth control and abortions and there would be no more sexism. Or something like that.

            3. If I were a woman I’d be too busy playing with my own breasts all day to care.

              1. I think most women get over that by the end of there college years.

        2. Yes, they don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.

          1. you mean.. coitus?

          2. Yeah, funny how it has become some sort of “empowering” word to some as well. It’s a fucking body part (in more than one sense). Part of the problem with “vagina”, though is that it is too medical sounding (and too many people use it to refer to the whole setup) and there is not a good alternative word which is not too dirty or insulting and which is broadly considered acceptable. “Cunt” is just too dirty (in American usage anyway). I’d go with “pussy” if it were up to me, but some people seem bothered by it.

            1. …and there is not a good alternative word which is not too dirty or insulting and which is broadly considered acceptable.

              Planet Uterus?

            2. My family’s term of art is “coochie”.

            3. An ex of mine referred to it as her punanee.

              To this day I cannot eat a panini without thinking about her.

            4. So, what happens if we exmanplain to Jezebellians that Vagina-American and rape are inherently patriarchal words? Vagina is latin for sheath (e.g. something in which to put your “gladius”) which basically makes it an ancient dirty joke, and not in the good, unfunnyfeminist way. Rape basically means to steal, plunder, or carry away, which makes sense if you think of women as chattel.

              Would they keep using them, or come up with some jargony word that everyone else can mock or ignore, like womyn?

      3. Despite all of the economic foolishness, this “war on women” bullcrap is the most disgusting thing to me this election season. The conflation of access and being able to force other people to pay is just retarded, yet otherwise decent and intelligent people just lap it up.

        On the more amusing side, I got one of my liberal-ish friends to admit that she mostly supports Obama as a sort of political fashion accessory so that her European friends won’t make fun of her.

        1. What’s not to love about Moar free ztuffs!

        2. “The conflation of access and being able to force other people to pay is just retarded,”

          This applies to about 100 other public-policy debates as well.

        3. I got into an argument about this with a Lib the other day.
          Her take was that it’s better for us all if poor people stopped having so many babies. I pointed out that they still have to get off their asses and go purchase/acquire the stuff, so the fact that it’s “free” won’t really have any positive results.
          And that was the end of the argument.

        4. Orwell’s line We’ve always been at war with Eastasia has never rang more true than it has with the outbreak of the War on Women. You would think free sex devices as a right was a long standing principle for which they have fought for for years given the rhetorical overload if you had no memory of what life was like before the administration decided to make it a part of their free shit campaign to win reelection.

          1. You would think free sex devices as a right was a long standing principle for which they have fought for for years

            Yes, this, for reals. (Minus one “for,” take your pick which one.) Very few people actually thought any of this before recently.

            1. Stupid preview, I set that phrase construction up to eliminate the following ‘for’ in the first place and it slipped by by slipping down a line.

            2. Yeah, it is such blatantly manufactured outrage. It amazes me to see so many fall for it.

          2. That’s their M.O. Every policy is based on polarization. It’s so transparent, but it works.

  11. “Mitt Romney is promising to create 12 million jobs, which strikes me as a strategic error. All Obama has to do is promise to create 13 million jobs and he’ll obviously be the better candidate, because that’s a lot more jobs. ”

    What’s the minus of 12 million and 13 million?

    1. 32 million.

      1. That’s a big minus.

  12. “The boom that American enjoyed in Bill Clinton’s time turns out to be the result of George H.W. Bush’s decision (you guessed it!) to raise taxes in 1990.”

    Yeah baby. Just raise more taxes on the working class and the economy with ROAR. MOAR taxes!

    1. Yeah, the end of the cold war had nothing to do with it. Tax increases were the only thing that happened in the world int eh early nineties.

      1. Don’t forget Big Al’s Intertubes.

        1. Right. Don’t forget the Clinton-Gore new economy, which, as all right-thinking people recognize, had nothing whatsoever to do with the dot-com bubble.

          1. All good things come from government. Biden said so.

  13. Flipping through through the channels, and read the on screen ticker on CNN: “Obama dedicates Chavez national monument“.

    Later found out it was a monument to Cesar Chavez. Still, maybe not the best day for the President to be linked to the name “Chavez”.

    1. Cesar was no bastion of liberty himself. He helped cause our illegal immigration problem by killing the Bracero guest worker program.

    2. I don’t think BO’s voters care or even recognize the implication of that headline.

  14. I would say that it doesn’t quite reach the hilarity level of this troll/letter to the editor that hoodwinked no less than Dr James Dobson himself:

    Meanwhile, the boy’s father has to do his part. He needs to mirror and affirm his son’s maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.

  15. Actually I like the other letter that was paired with this one, from John Ruth of Annapolis:

    The Post reported that Mr. Romney pops popcorn at home and puts it in his wife’s purse when they go to the movies. A political adviser described watching him walk to a nearby convenience store to bring back Perrier to drink with a meal. He does not want to spend the extra money charged for the same products at the cinema or restaurant.

    At the movies this is a clear violation of policy. At the restaurant it is less clear, but it is clearly wrong. Is this what we want from a presidential candidate? Someone who sneaks food into the movies and is unwilling to pay a restaurant its prices?

    I expect better of my children and have taught them better.

    1. It’s a good thing he is teaching his kids to be the kind of people who always do what they are told, so my kid will have contemporaries to boss around in the up coming decades.

      Seriously, who does this guy think his audience is that he would scorn people who bring their own food into theaters?

      1. I actually find the movie theatre story disturbing.

        It shows that Romney has no respect for the movie theatre owner’s right to run his establishment as he chooses.

        And then there’s the fact that we’re talking about someone with nine figures in assets here who is going out of his way to cheat a business owner out of a couple of bucks by trespassing. It makes about as much sense as George Soros jumping the turnstile in the subway to save two bucks.

        Frankly, I’m not that impressed by the brick walkway story either, but not because he failed to “create jobs”. It’s because he doesn’t appear to know how to value his own time. It’s like finding out that a heart surgeon is taking a day off from work to catch up on yard work. It’s an irrational economic decision.

        (Maybe it wasn’t purely an economic decision – he might have done it for fun, or the surgeon might love to mow his lawn. But it’s being presented as “thriftiness” and it’s only thrifty if your own time is worth less as labor than the price of the labor you’d have to hire.)

        1. thrifty if your own time is worth less as labor than the price of the labor you’d have to hire

          That assumes that 100% of your time could be put towards more productive uses.

          1. We’re not measuring sleeping vs. working.

            We’re measuring spending time to replace labor you could hire (he set out intending to hire here; he got estimates and everything) vs. spending time on your own labor.

            He didn’t actually save money if he could have given a paid speech during the time he spent working on the walkway. He lost money.

        2. It’s like finding out that a heart surgeon is taking a day off from work to catch up on yard work. It’s an irrational economic decision.

          How is it irrational if it is their preferred way to spend time? That they have a set of talents and skills they chose not to utilize 24-7? You are not going to get peak performance that way. You’ll only burn yourself out.

          I have a set of skills unique to me, but I’m not a slave to those skills. I like to rake leaves and burn them, I even like to set bricks into place to create overall designs. Those are not my money making skills, but so what? I’m not a slave to the most advantageous things in my capacity in terms of profitability. If I were, I would be miserable, and was it profitability to me except on factor in the pursuit of happiness?

          1. and was what is it profitability to me except one factor in the pursuit of happiness?

          2. I specified that if they did it for fun, that’s different.

            But the anecdote’s not being presented that way.

            It’s being presented as a parable of thriftiness. He got an estimate and decided to save money by doing it himself.

            Do you send shirts out to the cleaners? If you do, you should be thrifty and iron them yourself. The fact that your time is worth more than the time of the person who presses your shirts shouldn’t dissuade you from wasting potentially productive time doing minimum wage work.

            1. But the anecdote’s not being presented that way.

              By someone trying to cast Mitt in the worst light possible.

        3. Who knows, but I’m inclined to think that he did it for the same reason lots of high-income people do things around the house: its satisfying for someone who pushes pixels around all day to do something physical with their hands.

          OTOH, if he’s just reflexively one cheap SOB, well, damn, that sounds like just who we need in the White House.

        4. Bringing popcorn into a theater is nothing like stealing service. How is he cheating the owner out of money? All he’s doing is circumventing the owner’s attempt to force people to buy the owner’s popcorn. I do the same thing by eating before or after I go to the theater so I’m not hungry during the movie.

          You could argue that it’s trespassing, but it’s very minor.

        5. I actually find the movie theatre story disturbing.

          It shows that Romney has no respect for the movie theatre owner’s right to run his establishment as he chooses.

          Really, you find this Nothingburger disturbing? Why the fuck do you think people sneak in food?

  16. Holy shit. I am a huge proponent of DIY, more as I learn how to fix more stuff on my own. It’s not just economic ignorance, it’s general knowledge and skill ignorance that’s being advocated.

  17. “At the movies this is a clear violation of policy.”

    I love this. So beautifully statist.

    1. Well, technically the the theater is private property so they can set rules for the use of that property. It’s not so much statist as nitpicky… TBH I think it would be great to have a president who sticks it to the man like that.

      1. Mittens clearly understands the first rule of becoming wealthy. You don’t do so by spending your money.

        1. Yup. Rich people are generally tightwads.

          1. *ding* especially Dutch millionaires billionaires.

          2. It’s not about the couple of bucks he saves; it’s about a mentality.

            You know how every time someone says that our tax money shouldn’t pay for PBS, the Lib response (other than “war on the children!”) is always that it’s only a drop in the bucket anyway? Well, the % of the budget isn’t the point.

            Respecting the work that went into getting that money is especially important these days.

      2. It’s kind of refreshingly nerdy in this day and age.
        I sneak in booze.

      3. TBH I think it would be great to have a president who sticks it to the man like that.

        “So really, you’re sticking it to yourself.”

        “Maybe.”

    2. It’s not statist.

      If I have a restaurant and a sign that says you can’t bring in outside food, and you sneak outside food in, you’re a trespasser and a petty cheat and chiseler.

      If Romney does that, I assume we can count on him going out of his way to evade the Constitution, too, whenever it conflicts with some desire of his.

      1. Yes, but I write on all my dollar bills, ‘if you accept this for the purpose of payment, all of your qualifying stipulations are rendered null and void.’

        Get’s me off the hook every time.

      2. The sentiment about doing something because it’s “policy” is statist.

        1. No, it isn’t.

          If I have a sign on my store saying that it’s my policy that you have to wear a shirt and shoes to get service, that has nothing to do with the state at all.

      3. The sign doesn’t say that people with food aren’t allowed to enter. You’re only a trespasser if they ask you to leave and you don’t.

        1. I have seen that very sign.

          If there’s no sign, why hide the food? If you know it’s totally cool for you to bring food in, just bring food in. Right?

          1. If you don’t know one way or the other, it’s not trespass.

            I don’t go up to the front desk of the grocery store to ask if it’s OK for me to bring my CCW in the store. If there’s no sign I assume it’s OK.

      4. There are degrees of trespass, Fluffy. This is a very minor one.

        I guess I’m cheating the theater owner too by eating before I enter the theater?

  18. “””All Obama has to do is promise to create 13 million jobs “”” Except that he’s been president for 4 years and has a track record. And 12 million is just Clinton era growth. Not unobtainable with modest spending cuts moderate deregulation.

  19. So we have several recessions since the end of the depression and they all rebounded fairly quickly.

    Now we have our first long term stagnation of the economy since the depression. What is different is that we have massive intervention into the economy (stimulus, TARP, etc) just like we had during the depression.

    How hard is it to see that what is preventing the economy from rebounding is the government intervention?

    We have 60 years of the economy simply fixing itself in short order and the one time the government tries to fix it the economy stagnates….what more evidence do you need?

    1. The government only does good so clearly the economy is stagnating because the government isn’t doing enough.

    2. Well first of all, without the government intervention the economy would make the Great Depression look like paradise. And secondly, we would have had 5%+ growth if those evil rethuglicans and libertarians haven’t thwarted out savior’s policies.

    3. Not that this rebuts your point, but I would say that the Johnson-Nixon-Ford-Carter years of stagflation count as long term stagnation. One thing that ties that era to the Great Depression and our current Bush-Obama era is that we had big government Republicans and Democrats in the White House.

  20. All Obama has to do is promise to create 13 million jobs and he’ll obviously be the better candidate, because that’s a lot more jobs.

    Five million more, when you factor in the MULTIPLIZER.

  21. I’m not that impressed by the brick walkway story either, but not because he failed to “create jobs”. It’s because he doesn’t appear to know how to value his own time.

    And George W Bush should have had the Secret Service some Mexicans clear that brush.

    1. If what you’re saying is that Romney repaired the walkway himself specifically in order to have the political anecdote about the repair available later, I guess that wouldn’t surprise me.

      But that would kinda be the worst of all. I’d prefer chiseler to scheming poser.

      1. I think he was suggesting that Romney was doing work to look like a common “does his own work” kind of guy. Not to set up the anecdote.

  22. lol, wow I never thought about it like that man. Makes sense dude.
    http://www.EasyAnon.tk

  23. THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRATS ACTUALLY BELIEVE

  24. I think he was suggesting that Romney was doing work to look like a common “does his own work” kind of guy. Not to set up the anecdote.

    Actually, I was suggesting he* might just have felt like doing it himself, for whatever reason; personal satisfaction, working up a sweat, who cares?

    *meaning either Bush or Romney

    1. If I were ever hyper-wealthy, I’d do some work on occasion, to remind myself of why I wasn’t doing it the rest of the time.

    2. I see why we misunderstood each other.

      I never thought that for a minute.

      Rove instructed Bush to buy the ranch. I assumed that every moment Bush spent being photographed clearing brush was a set-up. More of his playing dress-up, like on Mission Accomplished Day.

  25. This Stossel video is the best thing I have ever seen on economic perceptions:
    https://reason.com/reasontv/201…..media-libe

  26. Isn’t Krugman confusing Schumpeter’s creative destruction with the broken window fallacy?

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