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U.S. Politics: A Wolff In Sheep's Clothing

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1 minute ago, Dr. Pepper said:

Wait, Oprah started Dr. Oz????  I can't imagine anything more disqualifying except perhaps kicking off Dr. Phil's career. 

And she reads, so there goes the 'centrist' vote.

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1 minute ago, Dr. Pepper said:

Wait, Oprah started Dr. Oz????  I can't imagine anything more disqualifying except perhaps kicking off Dr. Phil's career. 

Yep. And I believe most doctors would agree with you.

 

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11 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Don't take it personally, you just happen to be the one to say it today, but I take issue with the label "far left" here. It seems to me that most of the US's problems come from a lack of redistributive policies* that will have to be addressed at some point or the other. In other words, what you call "far left" may just be the most viable policies to fix things.

*And to be clear, this is no longer a leftist's opinion. The OECD, the IMF and the World Bank have all condemned the economic policies that the US has been implementing under Republicans since Reagan. There's a growing consensus that trickle-down, supply-side or whatever you want to call it, has been a disaster. The question then becomes: how do you fix this disaster without policies that will seem to be "far left" at a glance? Especially when the current administration is busy maklng everything even worse?

I personally think it's time to stop thinking about socialist or even keynesian policies as "far left" and start assessing them on their own merits.

Trust me, I don't believe in Republican economic policies. Hell, I don't believe in Republican policies for anything. I just have an issue with people like Sanders/Warren that have a lot of things they "want to do" and no actual plan on how to do it. And it's similar to what happens on the right in that it becomes almost a test for primaries and voters and if that person isn't liberal enough, he cannot be voted for. And then you end up with someone who cannot win independents and so on.

As an aside, I do not believe socialism would work in the United States. It works a whole lot better in a homogenous state with a smaller population but I cannot see any way that it'd work well in a diverse, racist country with two fundamentally different views on the role of government.

Edited by Mexal

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28 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

There is so much crap here I don't even know where to start. The fact of the matter is that GDP and industrial production took off right after Roosevelt's election in early 1933. The main reason for this was because Roosevelt was able to engineer higher inflation expectations lowering the real rate of interest. Roosevelt was doing forward guidance before forward guidance was cool. He was able to engineer higher inflation expectations because 1) he talked quite a bit about returning us the pre 1929 price level, 2) he suspended the gold standard, and 3) restored confidence in the banking system so monetary policy could operate.

Now you say, "FDR injected money into the economy". Yeah, well of course he did because the origins of the Great Depression was largely a monetary problem. Even Milton Friedman would agree. What in the hell do you think a Monetary History of The United States was about? And most likely the whole great Depression got started because the Bank of France and the United States Federal Reserve started to hoard gold, and that started to depress the price of commodities. And you know, since Walrasian market clearing is a fantasy, that's a real problem.

And the 37-38 recession was because the Fed tightened too quickly.

Finally, I think it's ridiculous for conservative sorts of people to say but, but, it was WW2 that got us out of the Great Depression!, but then turn around and reject Keynesian explanations. I agree though that the onset of World War 2 brought about then end of the Great Depression and finally delivered the fiscal spending that was needed. And according to Robert Gordon, who wrote a paper on the topic it looks like multipliers were fairly high until about 1942. 

The country was already in recession before the 29 crash. The stock market had become disconnected from the national economy so whatever good times it reflected  was a paper illusion. Companies listed were ridiculously overvalued  over valued.  one steel company saw it share prices go up to something like 250 dollar per share.  There is no question that  Securities and Exchange Commission was warranted and of course they picked the right man to run Joseph Kennedy who knew how quite well how the market worked.  The  short sighted. and foolishly protectionist Hawley Smoot Tariff didn't help 

Roosevelt  primed the pump in 1938  with about 4 or 5 billion which did was arrest the recession   Priming  the pump does work but only for so long .

I haven't read Mr Gordon's Paper so I can't say anything on that one.

 

 

 

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On 1/8/2018 at 7:50 PM, GAROVORKIN said:

The country was already in recession before the 29 crash. The stock market had become disconnected from the national economy so whatever good times it reflected  was a paper illusion. Companies listed were ridiculously overvalued  over valued.  one steel company saw it share prices go up to something like 250 dollar per share.  There is no question that  Securities and Exchange Commission was warranted and of course they picked the right man to run Joseph Kennedy who knew how quite well how the market worked.  The  short sighted. and foolishly protectionist Hawley Smoot Tariff didn't help 

Roosevelt  primed the pump in 1938  with about 4 or 5 billion which did was arrest the recession   Priming  the pump does work but only for so long .

I haven't read Mr Gordon's Paper so I can't say anything on that one.

 

 

 

Okay, a few things. When John Maynard Keynes met with FDR, FDR allegedly said, that Keynes starting writing down a bunch of equations on the chalk board and talking about his theories. From FDR's comments, it doesn't seem he quite bought into what Keynes had to say, though he should have. In 1953 E. Carey Brown had noted that Keynesianism hadn't been really tried in the 1930s. So no large fiscal spending (or I should say fiscal deficits more precisely)wasn't part FDR's program. That didn't happen until the 1940s, when we started to ramp up war production, which finally did get us out of the Great Depression. And according to Gordon multipliers seemed to be over 1 for about 2 years or so.

And of course you can only do fiscal spending for so long before you reach full capacity. Every Keynesian knows that. Every Keynesian believes that to be true. I have no clue what your point is on this.

And no I don't believe the Stock Market caused the Great Depression by itself, though it made the problem worse. We had a pretty big bubble burst with stock market in 2000s, and while it put us in a recession, it didn't cause anything like the Great Depression. The culprit where was the Bank of France and The US Federal Reserve hoarding gold, and that started in 1928. And remember we were on an international gold standard in those days, so every commodity was tied to the price of gold. It's not a secret that the quicker a country left the gold standard, the quicker it began to recover.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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Regarding Oprah being the Democratic Contender for POTUS in 2020:

 

Two years ago, the overwhelming majority of boarders on this site regarded the prospect of Donald Trump winning the White House as flat out impossible, or highly unlikely. 

 

Therefor, distaste aside, it is probably extremely unwise to disregard Oprah as somehow winning the democratic party nomination.  Face it.  She has name reputation, and, I believe a progressive reputation.  She might actually be capable of countering Trump during debates. Plus, money wise, she's loaded.  My understanding is that having lots of cash is critical to all national level political campaigns, and last time, the Democratic Party was so broke they allowed themselves to be hijacked by Clinton.

 

Now...

Imagine it is election time 2020.  The presidential contenders are Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey.  Which do you choose?  This goes especially to the likes of OGE and Dr. Pepper.

 

And remember how we ended up with Trump in the first place - a few hundred thousand democratic voters in swing states were so underwhelmed by their parties candidate they stayed home. 

 

Would it help if Oprah actually pointed to relatively competent sorts for cabinet positions?

 

I am NOT saying I support Oprah.  I am merely acknowledging a potential reality. 

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23 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

Imagine it is election time 2020.  The presidential contenders are Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey.  Which do you choose?  This goes especially to the likes of OGE and Dr. Pepper.

If it comes between Curly Howard and Donald Trump, I’m voting for Curly Howard.

If it comes down between Bozo The Clown and Donald Trump, Bozo has got my vote.

If comes down between Dumb & Dumber versus Trump & Pence, I’m voting for Dumb & Dumber.

So yeah, naturally, I’d vote for Oprah over Trump any day of the week. And obviously, Oprah is tons a lot better than the examples I mentioned. I'd vote for her over any Republican at this juncture, even if that Republican had prior political experience.

That doesn’t mean somebody like Oprah becoming president isn’t a problem. I don’t want it to become a habit of billionaire celebrities thinking they can just waltz right into the office of the presidency, with no prior political experience, or no real policy making record to look at. I think that's very bad.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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4 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

Now...

Imagine it is election time 2020.  The presidential contenders are Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey.  Which do you choose?  This goes especially to the likes of OGE and Dr. Pepper.

You choose Oprah and without a second look. She's a self-made billionaire who understands racism, poverty, domestic abuse and has a reputation for business acumen that didn't come from her own boasting. Oh and she's sane. If that's my two choices, I go with Oprah every day of the week.

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15 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

Regarding Oprah being the Democratic Contender for POTUS in 2020:

 

Two years ago, the overwhelming majority of boarders on this site regarded the prospect of Donald Trump winning the White House as flat out impossible, or highly unlikely. 

 

Therefor, distaste aside, it is probably extremely unwise to disregard Oprah as somehow winning the democratic party nomination.  Face it.  She has name reputation, and, I believe a progressive reputation.  She might actually be capable of countering Trump during debates. Plus, money wise, she's loaded.  My understanding is that having lots of cash is critical to all national level political campaigns, and last time, the Democratic Party was so broke they allowed themselves to be hijacked by Clinton.

 

Now...

Imagine it is election time 2020.  The presidential contenders are Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey.  Which do you choose?  This goes especially to the likes of OGE and Dr. Pepper.

 

And remember how we ended up with Trump in the first place - a few hundred thousand democratic voters in swing states were so underwhelmed by their parties candidate they stayed home. 

 

Would it help if Oprah actually pointed to relatively competent sorts for cabinet positions?

 

I am NOT saying I support Oprah.  I am merely acknowledging a potential reality. 

 

5 minutes ago, Mexal said:

You choose Oprah and without a second look. She's a self-made billionaire who understands racism, poverty, domestic abuse and has a reputation for business acumen that didn't come from her own boasting. Oh and she's sane. If that's my two choices, I go with Oprah every day of the week.

I just saw her 'rousing' speech and wanted to kick her in the head.

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1 hour ago, Mexal said:

Trust me, I don't believe in Republican economic policies. Hell, I don't believe in Republican policies for anything. I just have an issue with people like Sanders/Warren that have a lot of things they "want to do" and no actual plan on how to do it. And it's similar to what happens on the right in that it becomes almost a test for primaries and voters and if that person isn't liberal enough, he cannot be voted for. And then you end up with someone who cannot win independents and so on.

So the problem isn't one of left or right, but rather about the proposed implementation (or absence thereof), ok.
It seemed to me that Sanders had rather decent proposals but that he was harmed by a "far left" label that was, in truth, not entirely deserved (from a eurocommie's perspective he's rather moderate).

Now of course, primaries are a separate issue. But is it really that much of an obstacle? IIRC Obama managed to be vague enough to appeal to both moderates and radicals.

1 hour ago, Mexal said:

As an aside, I do not believe socialism would work in the United States. It works a whole lot better in a homogenous state with a smaller population but I cannot see any way that it'd work well in a diverse, racist country with two fundamentally different views on the role of government.

Oh, for sure, socialism will never be popular in the US. Socialist policies, otoh can be surprisingly popular. In the US, it might be entirely a question of perception and marketing. I might be naive, but I tend to think that a Democrat could successfully sell a socialist policy to the public if he was careful enough to disguise it as something typicaly "American." In that respect, Sanders wasn't careful enough.

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31 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

That doesn’t mean somebody like Oprah becoming president isn’t a problem. I don’t want it to become a habit of billionaire celebrities thinking they can just waltz right into the office of the presidency, with no prior political experience, or no real policy making record to look at.

It is worrying for the state of politics when celebrity and financial success become more important than actual political experience or program.

And at the same time, it's a reflection of the times. It seems we have moved beyond the classic political paradigm of left-right that dominated much of the 20th century and the liberal-conservative one is far more prone to a show-business approach to politics.

It will take truly desperate situations before people take politics (as in public policies) seriously again. Except in the meantime, the right is destroying the means to achieve anything.

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6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Oh, for sure, socialism will never be popular in the US. Socialist policies, otoh can be surprisingly popular. In the US, it might be entirely a question of perception and marketing. I might be naive, but I tend to think that a Democrat could successfully sell a socialist policy to the public if he was careful enough to disguise it as something typicaly "American." In that respect, Sanders wasn't careful enough.

The vast majority of conservative voters in the US regard Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare as 'earned.'  They paid into it, therefor they are entitled to the benefits.  Most flat out refuse to believe these programs are the slightest bit socialistic.  Done very carefully, significant positive reform to these programs and addition of similar ones could pass muster with conservative voters. (I would suggest measures to prevent medical providers from cost gouging - that is charging $100 for a $5 role of bandages, or $50 for $0.50 worth of aspirin.) Passing muster with national level conservative politicians is another issue altogether. 

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23 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Sanders had rather decent proposals but that he was harmed by a "far left" label that was, in truth, not entirely deserved (from a eurocommie's perspective he's rather moderate).

I'm basically a welfare state Keynesian. In the bigger picture of things, that makes me rather a moderate, but in the context of United States politics,  it probably makes me part of the "far left".

 

23 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Oh, for sure, socialism will never be popular in the US. Socialist policies, otoh can be surprisingly popular. In the US, it might be entirely a question of perception and marketing. I might be naive, but I tend to think that a Democrat could successfully sell a socialist policy to the public if he was careful enough to disguise it as something typicaly "American." In that respect, Sanders wasn't careful enough.

"Socialism" is often popular in the US, just whatever you do, don't call it "Socialism".

Anyway, conservatives have often been able to shoot down an argument or policy discussion by saying it's "Socialism". In my view, if Democrats have a good piece of policy, then they should advocate for it, even if some conservative calls it "socialism", which they will. The retort Democrats should make is "how's that libertarianism been working out for you the last 30 years or so, if you're not in the top 10%? Where's all those awesome 'pro growth' policies Republicans keep talkin about. Are they like Brigadoon or something and just rise out of the mist like every 100 years or so?".

Edited by OldGimletEye

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8 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

I'm basically a welfare state Keynesian. In the bigger picture of things, that makes me rather a moderate, but in the context of United States politics,  it probably makes me part of the "far left".

 

"Socialism" is often popular in the US, just whatever you do, don't call it "Socialism".

Anyway, conservatives have often been able to shoot down an argument or policy discussion by saying it's "Socialism". In my view, if Democrats have a good piece of policy, then they should advocate for it, even if some conservative calls it "socialism", which they will. The retort Democrats should make is "how that libertarianism been working out for you the last 30 years or so, if you're not in the top 10%? Where's all those awesome 'pro growth' policies Republican keep talkin about. Are they like Brigadoon or something and just rise out of the mist like every 100 years or so?".

In some European countries you be be to the  right .  :D

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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48 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

Are they like Brigadoon or something and just rise out of the mist like every 100 years or so?".

"Brigadoon Conservative" I like it.  Good one OGE!

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I think there was a false dichotomy in the discussion upthread (and in the previous thread) on whether the 2020 Dem candidate has be appeal to "moderates" or turn out the base.  These two are hardly mutually exclusive - in large part because moderate voters do not vote ideologically.  Rather, moderates tend to vote on valence issues.  This is why economic voting models are still preferred among political scientists, and why their forecasts remain the most accurate (at least at the presidential level) despite often being much more simple and parsimonious than the forecasts you'll find on 538 or elsewhere:

Quote

Table 1 presents the individual forecasts and errors from our ten statistically estimated historical-fundamentals models along with the PollyVote composite forecast that draws on alternative prediction methods. Of the forecasts produced by the fundamentals models, three missed Clinton’s national vote share by less than a half of one percentage point! These three forecasts were more accurate than either the median of the flurry of mid-campaign “Polls-Plus” forecasts churned out by Nate Silver’s 538 website or the mean of the 10 pre-election polls gathered by Real Clear Politics on the day before the election.5

Seven of the fundamentals forecasts missed the actual vote percentage by only one percentage point or less. The seven include the forecasts from the Jeromes, Lewis-Beck and Tien, Lockerbie as well as the two forecasts by Erikson and Wlezien and the forecasts from my two models. Just beyond these seven are both Holbrook’s forecast and PollyVote. They missed by just under one and a half percentage points.

The most accurate model was the Lewis-Beck & Tien Political Economy Model, which forecast Clinton's two-party popular vote share within 0.1 percent of the actual result 74 days before the election.  The model runs basic OLS regression using prior results from 1948 to 2012 using the following equation:

V = Political Popularity + Economic Growth

Where Political Popularity is simply Gallup's July approval for the incumbent president and Economic Growth is the GNP growth in the first two quarters of the election year.  

There are two main takeaways from the success of such a model:  (1) the ability of campaigns to affect their overall vote share in presidential generals is ludicrously overestimated by the media and pundits as environmental factors predominate, and (2) to the extent the incumbent party does have control over the election result, they should avoid nominating unpopular candidates at all costs (even if the opposition party's candidate is equally or even more so unpopular).

The latter is the main "lesson" from 2016 (although I agree with Kal that I'm entirely sick of such a discussion).  There was a significant portion of "reluctant" Trump voters that disliked both candidates, but favored change over the incumbent's party in large numbers.  At least some of these voters are persuadable, as 37% disapproved of Trump by August.  For the Dems, this means finding a candidate with broad appeal - or at least a candidate with favorability ratings that aren't underwater.  This in fact may be crucial in 2020 if macroeconomic indicators continue to look great for the incumbent party. 

But again, to circle back, that doesn't mean the Dem nominee has to be "moderate" in order to appeal to moderate voters because the latter don't really care about ideology.  Further, as was touched upon above, any Dem nominee should be emphasizing that a Keynesian approach is moderate - and is not "socialist."

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5 hours ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

 

I just saw her 'rousing' speech and wanted to kick her in the head.

Why the disgust for her? I can understand not wanting her to run for President, but I don’t think she’s deserving of that. 

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Yeah, I think the idea that Oprah running or winning won't happen is just wishful thinking. Trump has already uncorked that genie. The only real important qualification for winning the POTUS is to be liked by enough people, or at least not hated by enough people. Things like policy, temperament, ideals, vision, governance or experience are not remotely needed. They are probably drawbacks, as they give people a record of what you've actually done, and that might not be bad.

Instead, you want to have a political blank slate that you can use to project whatever things you want onto that person, and that person should simply go along with it as best they can. 

And no matter what part you have you'll have partisan hacks saying how awesome you are or the other party's hacks saying how you're literally satan. 

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