Shikha Dalmia Faces Off with Charlie LeDuff and David Madland on What's Ailing the American Middle Class on Michael Moynihan's VICE Show

It ain't trade and automation


The middle class has replaced the poor as the latest cause celeb among politicians of all persuasions. Hillary Clinton's campaign is all about the middle class base — as is Scott Walker's, Jeb Bush's, John Kasich's, Rick Santorum's — you name it. And the emeging wisdom among them is that the perennial bugaboos of automation and globalization are doing a number on this backbone of the country.

But is that true? Watch Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia duke it out with Detroit's lovable but certifiable Charlie LeDuff and Center for American Progress' David Madland on VICE's Business of Life, hosted by former Reasoner: the peerless Michael Moynihan:

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  1. Oh boy, it's Shriekha.

    1. I'm not a fan of Shikha Dalmia, but I thought she was good in this debate.

      She could have been better if she had her own list of numbers or at least knew numbers to counter the one's that were thrown up by the host. Still, she was clearly better than the Center for American Progress presenter who just seemed to be speaking off of a pre-rehearsed list of talking points.

  2. Epic trolling, Russia. Epic trolling.

  3. OT: Bernie Sander's Utopia in Action

    Venezuelan farmers ordered to hand over produce to state


    Brothers, you asked for it!

    1. It ought to just evoke rolling eyes by now, but instead it always astonishes me the lengths collectivists will go to to suppress natural market forces and then turn around and simulate the exact same thing with bureaucratic paperwork.

      They make me think of bad actors thinking they are simulating ship captains by barking orders without having a clue what the words mean. "Splice the main brace!" "Three sheets to the wind!" "Buck up me hearties!"

      And then when it all goes to pieces, instead of pausing to figure out what actually happened and why, they just throw out more collectivism and top-down orders, as if throwing more and worse script writers at it will suddenly turn up the right simulated commands to get the ship back on course.

      1. Being able to bureaucratically dictate market winners & losers is a lucrative position, so of course they're going to keep pushing for top-down schemes like this.

      2. If it wasn't causing so much harm, it would be funny. What is going on down there is like if Woody Allen and Ayn Rand collaborated on a movie about what would happen if a Latin American country were taken over by committed socialists. It is just tragic comic.

        These idiots set prices below cost and then are shocked when the farmers sell on the black market instead of to the government run stores. So now they are going to go down and just steal the stuff from the farmers. Okay, that will just result in the farmers growing just enough to feed themselves and there being no food. The response to that will be the same as it was in the Ukraine in the 30s, steal any food the farmers produce and leave them to starve.

        But remember, capitalism is evil and causes all of the harm in the world and socialism is good and noble. The Pope told me so.

        1. Ukraine famine 2.0 on the way?

      3. AND greed and capitalism will still get the blame!

        1. If those farmers were not so greedy and would just work for the collective good, we wouldn't have this problem. They are only selling that food on the black market because they are capitalist exploiters.

          We laugh but that is where the logic of socialism leads you. It only works if people are willing to not work for themselves or game the system an only work for the collective. So, if I am a farmer working on the collective farm, my efforts all have to go towards the collective. The moment I start growing so much as a tomato vine in my back yard and selling it on the side, I have become a capitalist exploiter and must be stopped.

          And as evil as throwing someone in jail for growing tomatoes in their garden and selling them is, it is absolutely necessary in a socialist system.

          1. There needs to be a Sims game for a government run economy, and it needs to have all these things built into it. You try to set prices below market rates, people go black market and your crime increases. You set prices above market rates, product rots on the shelves, people go black market, and your crime increases. Basically make a thousand lose conditions just like in a real life attempt at it. I'm pretty sure we don't have a computer that could actually run such a simulation, though. At least not on a scale bigger than maybe a thousand simulated individuals.

            1. Yes, I wish creators of Tropico would go in that direction, so that it'd be easier to just plunder the island than to create Top Man Utopia. And you could simply cheat - every choice always ends up 'wrong' and you don't even have control over the scale of 'wrongness'.

              1. Incidentally some of the free-er market approaches of Tropico do work well. I.e. Private buildings create jobs and housing. It's just that they're not as nice for the treasury

                1. I remember creating a perfectly sensible economy in original Tropico with some ease. Of course, every TV channel was "El Presidente - all day, every day" because goddamit, it's MY island!
                  I just want a game that basically crosses "everyone is a piece of shit and everything sucks, but what fun" ethos of GTA with a Top Man simulator. Tropico has an awesome theme for it.

          2. It takes more than willing gullible farmers. It takes reality. Even aside from the equivalent of wages for the farmer, it takes capital in the form of seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, equipment, fuel, maintenance, and everything else. When the State compensation doesn't even cover costs, lest alone wages/profit, the crops *cannot* be grown. Yet these collectivist geniuses can't see even that basic economic reality.

            1. No they can't. The entire system is one giant evil denial of the fundamental reality that there is no such thing as a free lunch. These idiots cannot understand why the grocery store can't just give them food or why everyone has to work or nothing ever gets done. It is just appalling how delusional these people are.

      4. Hey, no one said it was easy to steer a ship back on course after the previous skipper and his crew sailed it straight into a ditch!


  4. Moynihan has a VICE show? Is it part of what's on HBO?

    1. No, it's an internet show, it looks like.

  5. Except for Bill Gates and Warren Buffet everyone is middle class in the US.

    1. That's kinda the idea, isn't it? An enlightened political aristocracy of philanthropic elites lording over a socioeconomically uniform mass of neo-serfs who believe themselves 'middle-class'?

      1. "over a socioeconomically uniform mass of neo-serfs who believe themselves 'middle-class'?"

        I'm not a neo-serf. Nor are any American's I know. I don't think you really understand what the word serf means.

        1. I was referring to an eventuality.

          1. Hmmm, ok, fair enough. There are certainly politicians who believe the people can't be trusted to make their own decisions. That the state must constrain the potential choices for every major decision an American might make down to a socially preapproved list of options.

            1. Yes. That's basically the ideological core of progressivism.

  6. But 90% of Americans are currently making less than the median income.

    Leftists actually believe this!

    1. Median, mode and average, they are all the same thing. Take your racist math somewhere else bear.

      1. I know. I am truly horrible human being!

  7. WTF is a $2,000 dollar emergency and why is that a defining line?

    I guess if you have the ability to generate $2,000 of 'negative value that you can't immediately squash you probably shouldn't be in the middle class anyway. It seems like any poor schlub with zero credit could get a $5,000 line with Visa at the stroke of a pen.

    1. No, I don't think so. The banks wrote off a lot of bad debt in 2007-2009. Credit is harder to get. So, if you've got a really low credit rating, about all you can get is a pre-paid debit style card.

      1. I realize that we've come a long way since signing students up for credit cards with free t-shirts, but credit *still* isn't that hard to come by.

        I know, more than once since 2009, I've increased my credit limit by at least triple that amount on more than one card with no more or less than a phone call. True, I've already been verified and have a credit line, but the +$2,000 Now! criteria doesn't stipulate. Considering the recent calls to crack down on crooked payday lending, it would seem that credit is *too* available.

        More to my point, what exactly is a $2,000 emergency? A $2000 medical procedure? A $2000 'emergency' repair on your car? It's almost like the figure is saying 40% of the middle class doesn't have $2,000 in cash within arms reach at any given moment or doesn't consistently keep a checking balance above $2,000. And, still, the only way I see incurring ~$2,000 in negative value that isn't covered by some other financial construct like insurance involves activities of questionable legality (NTTAWT).

        40% couldn't pay off a $2K emergency because $2K emergencies don't happen nearly as often as $500 or $50,000 emergencies. Big whoop.

    2. Usually when the left creates an entirely arbitrary cut-off point, it's because they know that it's the best way to exaggerate a problem.

  8. I shouldn't have read those YouTube comments. I think I caught the stupid.

    1. YouTube comments comprise some of the best comedy on the Internet.

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