Monday, June 18, 2012

Out of touch

And in 1992, it was Bush The Elder that was amazed* by a grocery store scanner.

 (Sure enough, touch screens were developed - in part, and very early on - with government dollars)

(*'amazed may have been a wee bit of media exaggeration)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fun with something The National Review editor wrote

Context here.

I get too busy to pay attention to this site for a few weeks and they start bringing in the right-wing B-team brain trust? Lowry's argument amounts to saying, 'Obama BAD' and parroting the current, flawed talking points.  

All that stands between us and a robust economic recovery, in his view, is yet more deficit spending on more government workers and more public-works projects.

 This is false. Lowry is lying.  

That still leaves us 4.6 million private-sector jobs shy of the number the economy boasted in January 2008.

 I see what you did there; on the surface, that appears shocking; but when you fairly present the context, it changes a bit. The bulk of the job losses occurred in Bush's last year, we were on the edge of a housing-driven financial bubble, and businesses were in the midst of a global off-shoring boom which hasn't abated.  

Clearly, one man’s “fine” is another man’s “anemic.”

And one man's "anemic" is another man's "what the hell did you think was going to happen when businesses don't have the demand to justify hiring, much less having laws that favor 'made in America' goods and services?"  

State and local workers perform important functions. Never before, though, have they been considered engines of short-term economic growth.

 Bullsh*t. You can point to something like the Civilian Conservation Corps as an example of a popular program that served that purpose (among others). If anything, Obama is to the right of New Deal-era policy because some of the stimulus money went to private sector contractors to do infrastructure work instead of public-sector persons.  

Teachers aren’t entrepreneurs. Cops and firefighters don’t hire people.

Again, demand for goods and services hire people. What your public sector employees do - along with things like food stamp programs, unemployment - is provide a 'consumer of last resort' that acts as a backstop when the private sector isn't employing or as is more the case now, not paying the wages they did at the height of the bubble.

This is elementary economics that you would expect an editor to understand.  

Lacking the discipline of the market, the public sector is woefully inefficient.

a) The is no such thing as market discipline, there's only market darwinism. If Lowry had experience outside of the rarefied air of The National Review, he'd understand that. If he does understand that, then he's being a partisan hack.

 b) The private sector is driven by maximizing their profit by fulfilling a need while the public sector fulfills needs that cannot or should not be profit driven.  

In the decade prior to 2008, states and localities added public-sector workers at a double-digit clip. This wasn’t sustainable.

 And why was it not? Recession, tax cut fever, and unfunded pension obligations compounded by a stock market crash...primarily caused by the same policies being pushed in Lowry's magazine.  

With federal support receding, states and localities can’t–and shouldn’t–keep workers they can’t afford.

When you believe that government is the problem, that's a natural conclusion to make. It's the wrong conclusion, however. I'm less worried about the size of government than whether or not it is an efficient one that fulfills the needs of its citizens. Given that, there are services (and people providing those services) that we need to have, even if it means raising revenues through taxes.

 As a “timely, targeted, and temporary” measure, the stimulus was never supposed to subsidize elevated levels of public-sector workers in perpetuity.

 And it was never meant to. It was meant to place the government in the position of being the consumer of last resort, and the stimulus worked although it should have been larger and less allocated towards cutting taxes.

 ...the president’s administration has been hyperactive and ineffectual, a fatal combination, and all he can offer is more of the same. He is stuck on stimulus.

Again, the stimulus worked. Tax cuts, de-regulation, and trickle-down economics has not and is what put us in this mess to begin with...and what's funny is that Lowry doesn't even bother mentioning it because he knows that it does not work.

What's even more funny is that the policy - like that delusional bad joke of a Ryan plan - being pushed on the Right would create jobs and build demand more slowly than the undersized stimulus package did. Lowry mentions no proven, workable solutions. He's just doubling down on the Stupid.  

They are the Keynesian equivalent of the Communist sympathizers who used to insist that socialism never failed, it just had never really been tried.

And Lowry is the Austrian School equivalent of Capitalist sympathizers who insist that the free market never failed, it just had never really been tried. Thing is that it has, and that's why we (used to) place Business subordinate to Government.