Balkinization  

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Looking forward" to 2016

Sandy Levinson

It's clearly not too early to begin thinking of the 2016 elections.  Unlike most such analysts, I'm not particularly interested in predicting the particular identity of the candidates--though I withdraw my prediction that David Petraeus might well be the next President!  Instead, I remain far more interested in the implications of our dysfunctional structures, many (though not all) imposed by the Constitution. 

The best example of the latter, of course, is the electoral college.  The New York Times has an editorial on the "tarnish" of the electoral college, pointing out, quite rightly, that suddenly it's Republicans who are wondering about their devotion to this aspect of the Constitution.  In any event, they endorse the Fair Vote proposal by which the 10 largest states would simply agree to allot their votes to the winner of the national popular vote on a first-past-the-post basis.  As I've undoubtedly written before, I have strong hesitations about this proposal precisely because it does absolutely nothing to address the problem of "minority presidents," defined as popular vote "winners" who, nonetheless, have not received the support of a majority of the voting population.  The most dramatic example, with the most significant consequences, is surely Abraham Lincoln, whose election, with 39.8% of the popular vote, triggered the ensuing War.  But I've also noted that both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton got to the Oval Office with only around 43% of the total popular vote.  Thus, I strongly support a procedure whereby the winner could make a truly plausible claim to be supported by the majority.  Easiest to imagine is a run-off system, as in France or the state of Georgia.  Harder, but with its own virtues, is "approval voting," whereby voters are asked to indicate all of the candidates they'd in fact "approve of" with regard to their becoming president.  There are other options as well, but first-past-the-post has nothing to be said for it as a mechanism for assuring majority rule.  The reason that the Fair Vote proposal has legs, for the Times and others, is because of the most dreadful single aspect of the Constitution, Article V, which, by making amendment nearly impossible, forces us to think of solutions that don't require such amendment, of which the Fair Vote proposal is a good example.

Having criticized Fair Vote and its indefatigable chair, Rob Ritchie, I should note that the Washington Post has a superb op-ed by him on what might be termed (by me, not him) the "illegitimacy" of the House of Representatives inasmuch the substantial Republican majority in no way reflects the 52% of the voters who in fact voted for Democratic representatives.  Instead, it represents the triumph of partisan gerrymandering, defined very well as the process by which politicos pick their voters rather than the other way around.  It is this dreadful feature of our political system, NOT required by the Constitution, that explains why it now counts as "success" if the United States doesn't go over a "cliff" or continues to pay its debts, as against genuinely confronting the serious problems that face us as a polity.  No one expects that to happen in the next two years, given the ability of the House to veto any progressive legislation.  Barack Obama once famously said, "elections have consequences," but he was misleading us.  That might be true in some political systems, but in our own, the Constitution assures that elections too often are extremely limited in their consequences, save for discouraging ever more Americans to have any genuine faith in their government.  On one end of the spectrum, this leads to chatter about secession; on the other, a simple "inner emigration" from any participation in a corrupt and gridolocked political process. 

Instead of viewing 2016 as the occasion for just another horse race--will Christie lose enough weight to outpace Rubio?--we should, instead, be talking about what might be needed in order to make that election more truly significant than this one's was (save that, for most of us, it saved us from the dreaded spectre of the "leadership" of the monumentally clueless Mitt Romney and his Ayn Rand sidekick).  It also strikes me as highly likely that the Republican Party will fragment, as social conservatives and nativists (not necessarily the same) reject the triumph of either libertarians or country-club business (again, not the same) and run their own candidates.  Consider only the fissures already being revealed re immigration, let alone the response of the GOP to the repeal of DOMA should the Supreme Court (rather surprisingly) uphold it in a rare exercise of what the majority would undoubtedly term "judicial restraint."  Social conservatives might well like the Electoral College, incidentally, if they figure, probably rightly, that they can win at least the same number of electoral votes won by Strom Thurmond or George Wallace and, should the election be thrown into the House (which, remember picks a Preisdent on a one-state/one-vote basis), be able to exercise great influence at least over the Cabinet picks of ultimate winner. 

So there will still be many opportunities to go over the cliff even if Barack Obama and John Boehner manage to put together a "grand bargain."  Think of it as the Compromise of 1850, which kind-of-worked for ten years, and then all hell broke loose. 

Comments:

Sandy:

The only substantive difference in the results of the 2010 and 2012 House elections was that the GOP lost a handful of seats to gross Democrat gerrymandering in places like CA.

The fact that the overall House vote favored the Democrats in 2012 is a tribute to Obama's ability to turn out voters in Dem urban districts and Romney's inability to turn out as many voters in GOP suburban and rural districts.

The votes within these districts remained largely unchanged from 2010 to 2012. Nearly all of the same people won in both elections.

The reality since 2010 is that the voters are electing the GOP to a majority of every level of American government with the exception of the White House and Senate. The GOP has not been this strong top to bottom since the 1920s. 2013 will essentially be the mirror image of 1981, when the Dems held a majority of every level of government apart from the White House and Senate.

FWIW, Rubio is the early buzz 2016 favorite for the GOP nod as the Hispanic Reagan - attracting both Hispanics and the base.

When it nominated Romney, the GOP again demonstrated itself to be the "me next" party which nominates prior participants in the presidential sweepstakes. This means Ryan is very much in the running as the Romney VP nod, who was actually more popular than the candidate.

Christie burned many bridges in the party by embracing Obama during Hurricane Sandy and I do not see the GOP trusting another Blue State governor of questionable conservative principles.
 

Baghdad, you don't have much credibility after predicting that Romney would win in a landslide...

Just kidding! You had no credibility long before that
 

"The votes within these districts remained largely unchanged from 2010 to 2012. Nearly all of the same people won in both elections."

I think most of the redistricting people are talking about was in existence in both elections.

"Christie burned many bridges in the party by embracing Obama during Hurricane Sandy and I do not see the GOP trusting another Blue State governor of questionable conservative principles"

What makes Christie's 'principles' questionable, that he said kind things about a President visiting his storm torn state?

"Rubio is the early buzz 2016 favorite for the GOP nod as the Hispanic Reagan - attracting both Hispanics and the base."

It will be interesting to see if he could survive a GOP primary contest with his immigration views, Perry was bounced for lesser stances.
 

I'd like to think that Perry was bounced because it was painfully clear that he's an idiot. But it probably was his immigration policies.
 

"It's clearly not too early to begin thinking of the 2016 elections."

I dissent.
 

"I'd like to think that Perry was bounced because it was painfully clear that he's an idiot."

This is the GOP nomination process we're talking about here...
 

"is because of the most dreadful single aspect of the Constitution, Article V, which, by making amendment nearly impossible,"

That again. Article V has not changed since the Constitution was adopted, and plenty of amendments were sent out and ratified under exactly the same Article.

Don't mistake, "Amendments I like have no hope of ratification, or "Congress doesn't bother with amendments I like." for "Article V is broken." All that has happened is that a supine Court no longer requires the text of the Constitution to be amended for Congress to increase it's power, so Congress no longer bothers originating amendments when it wants more power. They just exercise it, and dare the Court to stop them.

Might as well declare your door was broken, because somebody blew a hole in the wall, and is using it instead of the door.
 

Mr. W:

Redistricting occurred after the 2010 election based on the 2010 census. Newly elected GOP legislatures redistricted formerly Blue states for the first time since the New Deal in some cases.

Christie is a standard Blue state GOP pol - a progressive who believes in government within a budget.
 

"All that has happened is that a supine Court no longer requires"

Brett again implies there was this special date before which when they DID so require, but I'm not sure when it was, e.g., since it seemed to "amend" the 14A pretty early. The favorite date of many is c. 1937, but (1) that's pretty bogus (2) several amendments were ratified after that date.

It is noted that the Constitution was amendment "plenty" of times. 11 were sent out all at once. Three was related to a Civil War. That's 1/2 of them. A couple tweaked things some.

But, still, I'm not as upset about Art. V. Things didn't work THAT badly. And, since "this is an constitution we are expounding" (though some like Brett and Prof. Levinson don't really like parts of it), yes, there is some flexibility over time. This is a feature, not a bug, though again, some don't like it.

Less so for some of the structural parts, but even there, like the Electoral College, there is some flexibility. I'm game for some change but there really isn't enough demand for it. It probably will take a true non-popular vote candidate (Bush in 2000 was really w/i a margin of error) or something to force change there.
 

Sandy,

Approval voting is a seriously terrible idea. When used in the real world it rapidly defaults to first-past-the-post because it is against the interest of the 2 leading candidates to have their voters vote approval for anyone but themselves.

The constitutional law branch of political reform really needs to spend some time visiting the political science wing.
 

This is the 21st century, not the 17th; For legislatures at least, you can use at large proportional representation. The form I favor is one where everybody who runs gets seated, with votes weighted according to how many votes they received. You have to pass some threshold to have physical access to the chamber, but could vote online any time a vote is held.

We should view legislators has holding peoples' proxies, not a position.
 

I'm looking forward to 2016 and beyond to see how it (the Constitution) all turns out as well as enjoying life as best I can and Obamacare will permit. A lot of problems may be resolved by 2016 but experience informs me that further problems will arise, political and otherwise, many of which surely will be beyond the control of which party has political power. The world may be our oyster, but then there's the environmental effect on oysters to contend with. So I'll be reading the back and forth on this thread without too much commentary on my part. I enjoy Sandy's posts and his comment policy.

That last sentence said, this part of Sandy's post:

"Think of it as the Compromise of 1850, which kind-of-worked for ten years, and then all hell broke loose. "

traverses my brain cells as I think of some of the extensive research I have conducted on the 1850s, especially in the Boston/MA abolitionist days, which challenges Sandy's "kind-of-worked for ten years." I'd hate to live through a comparable ten years. [Note: Bush/Cheney was only eight (8) years but its effects extended into the next four and perhaps years beyond.]
 

Is this Brett's idea of representative governance?

"The form I favor is one where everybody who runs gets seated, with votes weighted according to how many votes they received. You have to pass some threshold to have physical access to the chamber, but could vote online any time a vote is held."

Now if we had some idea of the threshold to determine the size of the chamber, we might take a stab at costs/benefits study. But that online voting for every Tom, Dick and Vagina who runs and calculating weighting of votes can get complex. Perhaps Google, Facebook, etc, could be of (privatized) assistance. Of course, there is the matter of compensation and whether it will be weighted as well.

This proposal would really re-engineer Congress. Is there a bright engineer out there to guide Brett's proposal for a Cockamamie Congress? Is there a bright constitutional scholar out there to address Article V compliance for such a Cockamamie Congress?
 

Strikes me as far LESS complex than many things we do successfully.

My proposal would completely kill off Gerrmandering, for one thing. It would also eliminate the barrier to third party formation posed by first past the post.

Perhaps the most radical part would be still requiring a quorum to conduct business, a quorum of proxies, not bodies. It would abolish the gain from voter suppression, as keeping somebody else from being elected wouldn't get you one bit closer to having enough votes to accomplish anything.

The Constitution, whatever I or anybody thinks of it, (And academics like Sandy live in something of an echo chamber, unaware of how popular it is compared to the people supposedly implementing it.) is on it's last legs. We really need to do some basic thinking about what comes after it, because something will, whether we think it through or not.
 

Brett, with this:

"The Constitution, whatever I or anybody thinks of it, (...) is on it's last legs. We really need to do some basic thinking about what comes after it, because something will, whether we think it through or not."

extends well beyond a Cockamamie Congress. Thinking it through can be quite complex. But not thinking it through can be worse.

The recent change in China's government might be looked at as a possible model. China's 1.3+ billion population may dwarf America's 300+ million but it is difficult governing America. The pure free market won't work. Libertarianism cannot govern by definition. Communism would not work. Democracy has its faults and limitations but like halitosis it's better than no breath at all.

Brett's Chicken Licken "The Sky Is Falling" is not constitutionally or environmentally sound as a political franchise. But maybe Brett can come up with a "chicken licken" re-engineered detailed proposal for governing America that's "finger lickin' good."
 

"Brett: All that has happened is that a supine Court no longer requires"

Joe: Brett again implies there was this special date before which when they DID so require..."

There is no neat dividing line.

Congress rarely attempted to break its constitutional bounds until the progressive era and then the courts were divided over these attempts until they completely caved during the New Deal.




 

"The Constitution is on its last legs."

Not seeing it unless this means "without change." The Constitution continued w/o slavery, with popular parties and suffrage, the modern administrative state, post-WWII foreign policy etc.

[Brett still doesn't say when the "fail date" was when the Constitution was ignored. He once actually admitted that there really never was this better time he implies existed, there always some underenforced -- in his view -- part of the Constitution. The real world is more messy but it does gets points for being real.]

It will continue in all likelihood thru our current times, which with respect, seems less dangerous than some that Shag lived thru in his earlier years.

Ending gerrymandering with Brett's approach seems akin to dealing with termites by burning down the house or the like. He started okay. Some form of proportional voting might work in some form. We can have at large representation in Congress, e.g.

Still, "everyone running" amounts to a lot of people. Consider the number of people running for the Republican position for president alone. Having thousands of people in the Congress might not do it. Also, I'm for representative government myself. Yes, that includes positions where representatives govern.

Fantasy football is fun and all, but I do prefer watching the actual players play on teams. Yes, even as a Jets fan.
 

Brett:

Are you truly proposing that anyone who gets a vote in an election have a proxy equal to that vote in Congress and the state legislatures?

How precisely are the several thousand new Congress critters in the House supposed to organize to draft and enact legislation? Will legislation be proposed through proxy statements mailed to all the Critters who cannot fit into the chamber?

This is why shareholders elect a board to run corporations rather than trying to run them themselves.
 

The New Deal was again cited.

The Supreme Court "amended" the Constitution [using Brett's originalist sentiments, at least] by restraining the discretion of Congress to pass civil rights legislation before that date.

Meanwhile, it "amended" the Constitution by under-enforcing various other provisions.

This allowed Art. V to continue by representing what a majority of the population (or at least, those with political power) wanted w/o the supermajority needed to formally amend the Constitution to replace the provisions that were ignored or under-enforced.

Not protecting civil rights is a more blatant thing than recognizing interstate commerce in practice covered more ground in 1937 than 1787, even if the Framers didn't expect it would occur. They were mistaken about what would occur in various ways, not being gods.

The new state of interstate commerce expanded national power in practice & if the resulting government was too broad, the Constitution could be amended just as ending slavery saw the need to amend the federal ratio so states couldn't deny the blacks the vote and still get 3/5 counted.

Didn't happen and some don't like it. Art. V made it harder. BTW, I'm somewhat less critical than some of the underenforcement. See, e.g., Justice Souter's excellent Harvard commencement speech.
 

"Redistricting occurred after the 2010 election based on the 2010 census"

Yes, but this doesn't necessarily refute the idea that the redistricting didn't matter in 2012; even if the same folks tende to win in 12 v. 10 they did so with a less favorable electorate in 12, which could imply they won because the districts were tweaked.

"Christie is a standard Blue state GOP pol - a progressive who believes in government within a budget"

Funny, this guy was the toast of many conservative's ball just a little while ago.


 

BD: "Redistricting occurred after the 2010 election based on the 2010 census"

Yes, but this doesn't necessarily refute the idea that the redistricting didn't matter in 2012; even if the same folks tende to win in 12 v. 10 they did so with a less favorable electorate in 12, which could imply they won because the districts were tweaked.


The House is decided district by district, not by a national vote. The fact that there was more turnout in Dem urban districts than in GOP suburban and rural districts during this cycle does not demonstrate that the roughly 66 districts the GOP gained in 2010 were gerrymandered to allow them to retain power in 2012.

The Democrats are at a natural disadvantage in House races because their voters are increasingly concentrated in urban areas, leaving the GOP with a narrower advantage in suburban and rural districts.

BD: "Christie is a standard Blue state GOP pol - a progressive who believes in government within a budget"

Funny, this guy was the toast of many conservative's ball just a little while ago.


Christie is pure entertainment when he publicly slaps down Democrat unionists and technocrats. That entertainment value pretty much evaporated when he gave Obama a big sloppy kiss after Katrina on the Hudson. Even Bloomberg knew better than to join the Obama campaign during the hurricane.
 

So there will still be many opportunities to go over the cliff even if Barack Obama and John Boehner manage to put together a "grand bargain." Think of it as the Compromise of 1850, which kind-of-worked for ten years, and then all hell broke loose.

Not a bad analogy.

On our current borrowing and spending trajectory, the bond market will start charging the United States a risk premium in about 3 years as they do Spain and Italy now and in 6 years we will join Greece in sovereign insolvency and economic depression.

The proposed "grand bargain" of reducing the planned increase in debt by roughly $400 billion a year will delay sovereign insolvency to maybe the ten year mark.

I see no indication, however, that Mr. Obama is serious about even that modest delay and the GOP House probably lacks the sand to make a stand and compel a balanced budget by using the debt ceiling to compel the necessary reductions in borrowing and spending.

Both sides will probably act only when the bond market starts charging us about 7% to roll over our debt and our interest payments begin to soar.
 

"Are you truly proposing that anyone who gets a vote in an election have a proxy equal to that vote in Congress and the state legislatures?"

Yes, I thought that was clear. Rather than leaving whatever fraction of the population voted for the "loser" entirely unrepresented.

"How precisely are the several thousand new Congress critters in the House supposed to organize to draft and enact legislation? Will legislation be proposed through proxy statements mailed to all the Critters who cannot fit into the chamber?"

The number already in the chambers, especially the House, is too large to function without hierarchy. If you like, give the top 435 chamber privileges, let the rest vote online. Why even suggest mail?

I suppose they'd elect leadership.
 

Brett:

You didn't answer the question.

How precisely do you organize several thousand Congress critters to draft and enact legislation?

As you noted, the current system with several times fewer members is unwieldy enough.

You cannot eliminate losers in a representative democracy based on majority rule.

You could require supermajority votes of elected representatives for key acts like raising taxes and raising debt to ameliorate the problem, but even then you will have losers.
 

The same way you do several hundred. Hierarchically. You hold leadership elections. We manage to have elections among millions, we can certainly do it among thousands. Holding the votes on bills isn't the slightest bit challenging. This is the 21st century, we're not communicating now by carrier pigeon, why have a political system designed around the limitations of 17th century communications and data processing?

The thing about first past the post, is that it imposes a severe, binary granularity into representation. It creates situations where to vote for somebody who agrees with you on X, you have to vote for somebody who disagrees with you on Y, because there can't be enough practical options to represent the various permutations of opinion. If the top two parties decide to agree on something, they can deny the voters the power to influence public opinion on that issue.

With weighted proportional representation, you vote for somebody who is essentially in agreement with you on all the issues of concern to you. Their "electability" is of no concern to you at all, they don't need to get a plurality to represent you. They simply vote on each issue as it comes up, with the coalition to achieve a majority shifting from issue to issue.

It's a system designed to deny the political class the power to take subjects off the table.
 

"With weighted proportional representation, you vote for somebody who is essentially in agreement with you on all the issues of concern to you."

Millions of electors out there with a myriad of interests and a limited number of people running for office or functionally being in position to be in power. ["leadership elections," for example]

Chances are in any realistic system everyone ("you") is going to have people who on something of importance is not in agreement with you. Even -- whatever that means -- "essentially."

This is not a bad thing. Cloning is not a great means of reproduction either for a successful overall human society. This is not a matter of a lack of communication but a basic value of representative government that requires some compromise and realistic balancing of concerns.

Again, some sort of proportional representation that gives more power to the people -- who in this nation is part of the "political class" (the people, e.g., don't elect libertarians; the "political class" don't stop them ... the people as a whole aren't really libertarian) -- to put a diverse number of people in power is one thing.

Various nations have such a system. But, red flag, the regime Brett aims for goes further & unlike the wisdom of the founders, ignores the realistic limitations (which results in imperfections) of human governance.
 

"The Democrats are at a natural disadvantage in House races because their voters are increasingly concentrated in urban areas, leaving the GOP with a narrower advantage in suburban and rural districts"

Of course this kind of gives the game away, the districts could be drawn in ways where those urban voters are not 'crammed' into a few 'urban' districts.

"The fact that there was more turnout in Dem urban districts than in GOP suburban and rural districts during this cycle does not demonstrate that the roughly 66 districts the GOP gained in 2010 were gerrymandered to allow them to retain power in 2012"

Well, part of my point was that a significant amount of gerrymandering had been done previous to 2010. Perhaps the fact that the Dems got more votes but the GOP ended up with significantly more seats doesn't demonstrate gerrymandering, but it sure suggests it.

"Christie is pure entertainment when he publicly slaps down Democrat unionists and technocrats. That entertainment value pretty much evaporated when he gave Obama a big sloppy kiss"

We're back where we started: the penultimate conservative virtue now seems to be simply dislike of President Obama.
 

"Of course this kind of gives the game away, the districts could be drawn in ways where those urban voters are not 'crammed' into a few 'urban' districts."

Well, yes, they could be, but it would be a clear case of gerrymandering, since that's not the way you would normally draw district boundaries. Normally districts are supposed to be drawn to be compact, and follow the lines of existing political entities.

In order to cancel the effect of Democratic urban concentration, you'd have to draw the districts in the areas around cities in the form of long, thin, radiating spokes, reaching far out into the countryside. Each wedge of suburban and rural territory being given just enough core city to give Democrats a small majority.

It would be about as grossly blatant an example of gerrymandering as you could imagine, short of making the districts discontinuous.

It would also, not incidentally, be a violation of the Voting Rights act, as in doing this you'd destroy every single "minority-majority" district in the country.

The Black Caucus would essentially cease to exist.
 

If Brett's proposal brings this about:

"The Black Caucus would essentially cease to exist."

might it be replaced by a "White Caucus"?

As for this from Brett:

"In order to cancel the effect of Democratic urban concentration, ...."

perhaps he doesn't understand that urban concentration is not going to diminish - look at China - but what is to prevent the Republican Party from demonstrating to urban dwellers that that Party would better serve them? It's clear that R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 failed in this regard. Just as the Democratic Party progressed over many decades, perhaps the Republican Party can in due course become more progressive. Continued income/wealth inequality will not succeed.
 

BD: "The Democrats are at a natural disadvantage in House races because their voters are increasingly concentrated in urban areas, leaving the GOP with a narrower advantage in suburban and rural districts"

Mr. W: Of course this kind of gives the game away, the districts could be drawn in ways where those urban voters are not 'crammed' into a few 'urban' districts.


You mean like the Democrat gerrymanders where the district has a slice of a city and winds outward seeking a narrow minority of Republicans and independents who vote Republican?

The Democrats with the help of a Democrat judge did just that in Colorado to take back the House they lost in 2010.

Because Democrats and minorities which vote democrat tend to be geographically compact, the GOP rarely has to resort to gerrymanders.

We are quite the divided nation.

BD: "Christie is pure entertainment when he publicly slaps down Democrat unionists and technocrats. That entertainment value pretty much evaporated when he gave Obama a big sloppy kiss"

Mr. W: We're back where we started: the penultimate conservative virtue now seems to be simply dislike of President Obama.


You form and join parties to elect like minded representatives. Helping a non-likeminded opponent get elected pretty much defeats the purpose.

I really have no idea what on Earth Christie was thinking. Payback to Romney? For what?
 

Shag: but what is to prevent the Republican Party from demonstrating to urban dwellers that that Party would better serve them?

I completely agree.

Given how grossly mismanaged many of our blue cities are, this should be a target rich environment.

NYC's habit of electing Republicans after it nearly collapsed a generation back is a good example.
 

"Because Democrats and minorities which vote democrat tend to be geographically compact, the GOP rarely has to resort to gerrymanders"

The problem with this view is that it assumes gerrymanderd districts are not so if they avoid cities, when the reverse is just as, if not more, likely.

"I really have no idea what on Earth Christie was thinking"

Perhaps putting decent manners and the needs of the state he governs above partisanship? Has the GOP devolved to such a state that this is anathema to them?
 

"The problem with this view is that it assumes gerrymanderd districts are not so if they avoid cities, when the reverse is just as, if not more, likely."

As I said earlier, one of the standard rules for non-gerrymandered redistricting, is that you avoid crossing jurisdictional boundaries. This doesn't cease to be a normal, neutral principle of redistricting, just because Democrat insist on clustering in particular jurisdictions, instead of living all over the place.

We're not going to resort to pro-Democrat gerrymandering just to compensate for Democrats' self-segregating behavior.
 

Brett seems to have stumbled upon a New Southern Strategy what with demographic changes finally sinking in after the recent elections. Perhaps Brett has in mind some variation of the original Constitution's 3/5th rule but with voting rights for the new 3/5th. Proportional representation may provide some benefits for certain units of government such as cities and towns. But Brett's ultimate proportional representation is unworkable.

On the urban/rural brouhaha, the NYTimes website features Karen L. Cox's "A New Southern Strategy" that differs from Brett's. Brett's New Southern Strategy may be better identified as "A Confederacy of Dunces." One solution to all this is to modify the "one drop rule" so that one drop of white blood results in a white classification. That change would significantly decrease, and perhaps eliminate, the Black Caucus.
 

" But Brett's ultimate proportional representation is unworkable."

I'd like a technical explanation of why you think so. I believe there's not a chance in hell of it being adopted short of a revolution, but I see no technical obstacles to implementing it.

What's your objection to a system where nobody has to go unrepresented in the legislature?
 

Brett's goal as an engineer may be to design a bridge to nowhere, which may explain his New Southern Strategy that he concedes would go nowhere without a revolution - and I even doubt that a revolution would take it any where. It's like a national weighted town meeting. Even CNN wouldn't cover a meeting of Brett's Cockamamie Congress. While Brett's plan may be as detailed as The Mittster's five-point plan, it doesn't even qualify as a TV reality show. Brett hasn't addressed federalism issues. Maybe Stephen Colbert might pick up on it.
 

"Democrat insist on clustering in particular jurisdictions, instead of living all over the place"

Why do Republicans insist on clustering in particular jurisdictions instead of living all over the place?

Of course, both parties exist in each state, looking at state legislatures alone. Urban migration and residential habits have various causes, including various discriminatory practices.

People are represented now. Pick a group, there is some likely representation. Heck, Rand Paul to take an example seems to represent many of Brett's "essential" causes. Since a "revolution" isn't around the corner and even Bart* finds his solution impractical, good thing really.

---

* Bart and Shag on the same side ... Hades must be frosty.
 

Suburbs aren't divinely appointed regions inherent in nature. They were created by people. And to a large extent, they were created in order to isolate black people (and poor whites) in the central cities. The argument that says "let's draw lines to reflect existing boundaries" is in essence an argument to isolate poor and black people based on historical racism. The Republicans who gerrymandered themselves into a House majority for the next 10 years took full advantage of this.
 

"one of the standard rules for non-gerrymandered redistricting, is that you avoid crossing jurisdictional boundaries"

I'm not sure I get what you're saying here. I've heard of compactness as a measure of gerrymandering, but what do you mean by crossing 'jurisdictional boundaries?' We're talking about setting the electoral jurisdictions here.

"The argument that says "let's draw lines to reflect existing boundaries" is in essence an argument to isolate poor and black people based on historical racism."

Well said Mark.
 

Here's The Economist on Republican gerrymandering: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/11/congressional-representation-0?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/callvotersuppression
 

Joe and Mark:

Our social divide and the political one between the GOP and Dems is largely a divide between urban megalopolises and everywhere else.

The cities are where the elites in the bureaucracy, professions, academia, media and finance (and the poor who work for them) live and work.

These elites go by many names.

I called them the credentialed elite in my book.

David Brooks calles them the "educated elite" or "bourgeoisie bohemians" in his book and op-eds.

Rasmussen and Schoen call them "the political class."

Less generous pundits call them the ruling class.

They are the progressive cousins of the German and French bureaucracies built to service Napoleon and Bismarck's autocratic states and transitioned easily into service to the socialists and fascists.

Rasmussen and Schoen's polling show that the Credentialed Elite (to use my term) have an almost completely different world view than much of the rest of the country both socially and politically.

Thus, it is no surprise that the urban megalopolises are politically distinct from the suburbs and rural areas in the House and elsewhere.
 

Actually, suburbs have become distinct from rural areas over time.
 

Bart, Bart, less than two weeks after being chastened by the election you slip into that over-the-top hyperbole...That kind of thing clouds analysis.

"The cities are where the elites in the bureaucracy, professions, academia, media and finance"

1. I think most, or at least a significant amount, live in the adjoining suburbs, though they may work in the city (another reason btw why electoral districts that encompass parts of the city and the adjoining suburbs make sense imo).

2. Are you arguing those who work in finance are mostly Democrats?

3. Napoleon and Bismark created progenitors of modern bureaucracy, yes, but first and foremost they were military minde leaders, creating a winning organizational model for large modern armies. If you want to blame any institution for fostering our massive bureaucracies look no further than the military.

4. It's interesting you invoke Rassmussen's polling after it was so spectacularly wrong in the recent election.

BTW-You should skip the Rassmussen and Brooks and study the work on the "New Class" by Gouldner and Dilas and popularized by Irving Kristol back when I was in college.
 

Mr. W: Bart, less than two weeks after being chastened by the election you slip into that over-the-top hyperbole...That kind of thing clouds analysis.

There is a fundamental difference between dabbling in prophecy and simply noting what is in front or us.

BD: "The cities are where the elites in the bureaucracy, professions, academia, media and finance"

Mr. W: 2. Are you arguing those who work in finance are mostly Democrats?


What makes you think all the elites are Democrats? GOP establishment progressives are also past of the Credentialed Elite.

Finance is probably split to some degree between the parties.

Mr. W: 3. Napoleon and Bismark created progenitors of modern bureaucracy, yes, but first and foremost they were military minde leaders, creating a winning organizational model for large modern armies. If you want to blame any institution for fostering our massive bureaucracies look no further than the military.

Agreed completely.

4. It's interesting you invoke Rassmussen's polling after it was so spectacularly wrong in the recent election.

Spectacularly wrong? It was off by about 1% for Romney and the Rasmussen undecided broke for Obama.

In any case, research concerning attitudes within groups is not the same as predicting election outcomes. The positions of the Credentialed elite and the roughly 50% of American who Rasmussen/Schoen call "the Mainstream" are so massively opposed that a margin of error does not change their findings.

Mr. W: BTW-You should skip the Rassmussen and Brooks and study the work on the "New Class" by Gouldner and Dilas and popularized by Irving Kristol back when I was in college.

Alvin W. Gouldner? You are really going back aways.

I haven't read Irving Kristol since university some 30 years ago.

Is there a book of his in particular that you believe covers the idea of a credentialed elite?
 

Back in 1956 there's C. Wright Mills' "The Power Elite" which was republished in 2000 BBC* with an interesting "Afterword" by Alan Wolfe that might respond to our yodeler's request on "a credentialed elite."

* Before Bush/Cheney
 

Back on topic, I assume that our yodeler has read Nat Cohn's The New Republic article "For the GOP, It's Colorado of Bust by 2016":

http://www.tnr.com/blog/electionate/110228/the-gops-key-test-colorado#

Our yodeler may have to come down from his idyllic mountain community to fight the "barbarians" with tea bags or relocate in North Carolina.
 

Shag:

Too many California refugees bringing their partisan preferences with them to Colorado.

In any case, so long as we have TABOR, a constitutional amendment capping both spending and taxes subject to a vote of the people, Democrats govern like conservative Republicans.

We badly need this at the federal level.

 

Democrats govern like conservative Republicans.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 10:43 AM


Colorado is planning to invade Iran to trigger the The Rapture?
 

Brett wrote, "I'd like a technical explanation of why you think [my proxy voting scheme is unworkable]. I believe there's not a chance in hell of it being adopted short of a revolution, but I see no technical obstacles to implementing it.

"What's your objection to a system where nobody has to go unrepresented in the legislature?"

There is a fatal practical roadblock. Beside, more conventional methods of proportional representation would work just fine (and do work in most of the world's democracies).

When legislative bodies work, it is because every member's vote is as important as every other member's. When legislative bodies fail to work, it is often because certain members (floor leaders, whips, rules committee chairs, etc.) have too much power. There are other reasons, too (e.g. supermajority rules), but these unequal relationships are clearly part of the problem.

Proxy voting schemes would make this situation much worse than it already is. How would you pick committee members, much less committee chairs? Most of the work of legislative bodies is done in committees. You can't just wish these practical problems away.

There are perfectly good methods of proportional representation that don't contribute to this problem -- the German/New Zealand mixed member system and the Australia/Ireland single transferable vote (STV) system.

Someone has already pointed out the weakness of approval voting for executive offices. Again, there happens to be an extremely good alternative: instant runoff voting (IRV), also called the alternative vote. It happens to be the single-winner form of STV.

As many have already pointed out, the advantages of these proposals do not translate easily into constitutional amendments, or even legislation. I seem to recall something about foxes guarding henhouses ...
 

Bart

Kristol talks about the New Class in Two Cheers for Capitalism.

As to Rassmussen, I was referring to his state-by-state predictions, quite bad with the swing states. Additionally, his Political Class/Mainstream America Index is imo created with loaded questions and is unhelpfully simplistic (for example, Obama certainly didn't win the last election because of the small number of people in the Political Class voting for him).
 

Mr. W:

Rasmussen/Schoen's (you keep forgetting to include the Democrat half of this study) "political class" are only 7% of the population. Of course, these are the folks who score three out of three on the poll's admittedly general screening questions. What I call the Credentialed Elite is larger.

The Credentialed Elite are not close to a majority of the electorate, but they control nearly all the levers of political power - media, money and the bureaucracy.
 

Our yodeler's not-so-subtle attempt at a "Clash of 'The Credentialed Elite'" is with whom? Other categories of Elites? The "Un-credentialed Mountain People"? What we need is a scorecard to identify and distinguish among "Elites" and from the washed/unwashed masses. Or is our yodeler attempting to create a strawperson to explain away the failures of R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 AND the Tea Party? Or is he working on this theme for a new work of FRICTION? [In a few months we can Google "Credential Elite" to see if our yodeler's strawperson has standing.]

My encounter with the "Elite" goes back to my pre-teen radio days of the late 1930s, early 1940s , listening to "Duffy's Tavern" with the ringing phone picked up with this response: "Hello, Duffy's Tavern, where the elite meet to eat, Archie the manager speaking, Duffy ain't here."
 

Find Free Online Jobs from home and Part time Online Jobs without investments
www.jobzcorner.com
 

Shag:

There are a variety of elites in the country, but none as large or as powerful as our modern Credentialed Elite.

The conflict which I and several other writers have described is between this Credentialed Elite and what remains of our constitutional republic.

If you want more details, go read the last section of my book.
 

If you want more details, go read the last section of my book.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 12:06 PM


That's very funny.
 

I have a very, very hard time buying the idea that the business elites of this nation would identify with the federal government on two of Rasmussen's three questions.
 

Mr. W:

"I have a very, very hard time buying the idea that the business elites of this nation would identify with the federal government on two of Rasmussen's three questions."

Which two questions?

Which businesses?

Entrepreneurs and to a lesser extent business executives who are not products of and owe their positions to "elite university" credentialing are not normally part of the credentialed elite.

That being said, businesses can be born again progressives and socialists when they are the recipient of government redistribution of wealth.
 

Our yodeler reveal, with this:

".,, 'elite university' credentialing ..."

his apparent motivation for his new strawperson. It could be that the Tea Party has not attracted significant membership with such credentialing. So perhaps the title for his next work of FRICTION may be: "CREDENTIALED ELITISM FOR DUMMIES!"

Apparently it hasn't taken long following CO's approval of its MILE HIGH STATE OF MIND referendum to influence our yodeler's apparent attack on elite universities. Is it envy as he struggles with the finances of his DUI law practice? Or does he truly believe that elite universities are significantly contributing to America's problems? Keep in mind that his one-time guru, George W., was credentialed by Harvard Business School (as was The Mittster).

[Note: I did not attend an elite university but some of my best friends did.]
 

I think I may have attended an elite university. How does one know for sure?
 

BB:

When Louis Armstrong was asked "What is jazz?", he answered "If you gotta ask, you'll never know."

But that was before the days of our yodeler, the Great Foudini on "The Credentialed Elite."
 

Is an elite university one that would not admit the likes of one Baghdad Bart? If so, I went to an elite univerity...
 

"Entrepreneurs and to a lesser extent business executives who are not products of and owe their positions to "elite university" credentialing are not normally part of the credentialed elite."

I'm concerned your definition of credentialed elite is one you might be arriving at working backwards Bart. How do you define who falls into it?
 

I'm thinking, for example, of military officers, especially graduates of the acadamies. Are they credentialed elites in your view?

I'm also curious as to why credentials would be a better marker of elite status than, say, just plain wealth. A Harvard PhD can't match the social and political influence of the college drop outs Sheldon Adelson and Bill Gates for example.


 

Mr. W: How do you define who falls into it?

Fair enough.

In the nineteenth century, Napoleon and to a much greater extent Bismarck created a university educated caste of professionals and bureaucrats to run their autocratic states.

The Germans called them the Bildungsburgertum ("educated middle class") to distinguish them from the merchant class. The Bildungsburgertum considered themselves the elite of German society and superior to the merchants by virtue of their university education and thus superior intellects.

American progressivism is an import of the Bismarckian state. (Nearly all of the early progressive advocates were taught by German professors in US or German universities.) Progressives advocated government by "experts" or an American Bildungsburgertum.

This dream was fully realized in the 1960s when Harvard adopted the SAT to identify the "best and the brightest" with the explicit goal of educating those who would run America. The other "elite universities" quickly followed suit.

As expressed in the Port Huron Statement and other manifestos, American and European socialists sought to convert these students into a New Left with "real intellectual skills" who would ally with or replace labor entirely as the vanguard of socialist revolution. The SDS and other groups made a great deal of progress in this direction. The Credentialed Elite are very much left, if not particularly revolutionary because they operate most of the levers of political power.

These folks stayed in academia or flowed into the bureaucracy, professions, media or finance in the large cities. Media was entirely changed during this period from the work of journeyman writers to a professional group all coming from the same universities.

In his book Bobo's in Paradise, David Brooks reports in great detail about the social and political positions shared by what he now calls the "educated class." Brooks is one of this class and reports on what he sees every day.

In their book Mad as Hell, Rasmussen and Schoen confirm Brook's anecdotes with months of polling on what they call the "political class."

The common element I saw in Brooks' and others' reporting and my personal experience is that this elite defines itself with credentialing.

The Bildungsburgertum considered itself an elite because of its then relatively rare university education. Because university education is far more common now, today's Credentialed Elite instead cites its attendance at the correct "elite" universities and then joining the correct think tanks and organizations.

Credentialed Elite politics ranges from progressive to socialist and they see government run by themselves and supported by the professions and academia as the solution to nearly every economic and social malady and inequity.

Credentialed Elite social mores are more libertine than libertarian and they share secular values even if they happen to belong to a church.

The Credentialed Elite are now very much a caste, marrying one another and having children that go on to the same universities and work.

Citation to authority is their favorite logical fallacy. Regardless of the actual facts, this elite will always cite their credentials to "prove" the correctness of their positions and attack your lack of credentials as proof that your positions are incorrect.

This is why I call them the Credentialed Elite.

I disagree with Brooks' term "educated class" because there are far more university educated Americans outside than inside this elite.

I disagree with Rasmussen/Schoen's term "political class" because this elite is also very much a social movement.
 

Mr. W: I'm thinking, for example, of military officers, especially graduates of the acadamies. Are they credentialed elites in your view?

Good question. I had not honestly considered the military in this analysis. On first impression, I would say not.

Your standard member of the Credentialed Elite considers the military as something semi-barbaric and would not consider serving themselves and knows almost no one that does.

Officers and NCOs define themselves less by the universities they attended than their membership in the military itself.

While I believe the volunteer military is also becoming a caste with the same families providing members over multiple generations and with a view that they are distinct from the civilian world, I never got the impression from anyone that they considered themselves an elite who should be running the country.

I'm also curious as to why credentials would be a better marker of elite status than, say, just plain wealth.

When all you have is credentials and you have never created anything like a business in your life, then you value credentials.

A Harvard PhD can't match the social and political influence of the college drop outs Sheldon Adelson and Bill Gates for example.

I do not believe that is the case any longer.

A President and administration made up almost top to bottom with the Credentialed Elite just won a second term supported by a Credentialed Elite media and financed by Credentialed Elite financial and professional sectors by demonizing a successful entrepreneur supported by the business community as predatory plutocrat.

I think we have crossed a line.
 

Recall from Shakespeare's King Henry VI - "The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers," [I won't explain the context.]

Our yodeler is no Willie Shakespeare literature-wise but he seems to be suggesting doing something about "The Credentialed Elite," exactly what we don't know, yet. Is our yodeler dangerous? I don't think so. It's a variation of penis envy.

And note our yodeler's accusation of The Credentialed Elite that won re-election::

" ... demonizing a successful entrepreneur supported by the business community as predatory plutocrat."

but failing to mention that the demonized person (R-MONEY) was credentialed to the extent of two Harvard degrees (JD and MBA) compared to a mere one (JD) for the victor. Was this a matter of The Credentialed Elite eating one of their own? Is that what our yodeler means by a line being crossed?

If our yodeler hasn't read C. Wright Mills' "The Power Elite" originally published in 1956, he might learn a lot more about America's elite rather than Napoleon and Bismark in the 19th century. At a minimum, our yodeler might just read the chapter headings in the Table of Contents. Our yodeler might learn that the elite colleges and universities have been contributing to the power elite in America at least since the Gilded Age.

By the Bybee [expletives deleted], are The Credentialed Elite in power all socialists, or just one of them?

It seems obvious that second hand Ganja smoke is influencing our yodeler.

 

Shag:

1) The fact that the Credentialed Elite graduate from "elite" universities does not mean that all such graduates are part of this elite.

2) Mills was a quasi-Marixist who employed a class dialectic to his work. In the Power Elite, he had a go at the favorite hobby horse of the left at that time - an alleged military industrial complex running the country. Because the precept was incorrect, the analysis was useless.

The prevalence of military veterans at that time was simply a matter of supply and demand - WWII created a large number of veterans and voters/employers (many of whom were themselves vets) liked voting or hiring veterans. Today, we have far fewer veterans.

The US did not have a "war economy." Even when we went to war, military spending usually made up a single digit percentage of the economy. Contrast this to the US spending nearly half of its GDP on the military during WWII and with the Soviets spending over 25% of GDP on the military before they collapsed.

The U.S. military is one of the most apolitical in human history. The country has demobilized after numerous wars with little complaint from the military, nevertheless coups and the like you see in other countries.

Given that Mills' work was an inspiration for the New Left SDS and its Port Huron Statement, it would have been interesting to see what Mills would have made of the SDS becoming part of the Credentialed Elite. I wonder how that would fit into a class dialectic?
 

A President and administration made up almost top to bottom with the Credentialed Elite just won a second term supported by a Credentialed Elite media and financed by Credentialed Elite financial and professional sectors by demonizing a successful entrepreneur supported by the business community as predatory plutocrat.

I think we have crossed a line.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 8:16 PM


Dumbfuck, Mittens was demonized as a predatory plutocrat by his fellow Republicans in the primary.

 

It was in 1961 upon departing the presidency that Ike warned the nation of the military/industrial complex. In an earlier draft of his comments, he had included "congressional" in a trinity complex, but removed it on the advice of his advisors. It is possible that Ike was influenced by Mills' "The Power Elite" that referenced the economic, the political and the military as the foundations of the power elite.

Our yodeler peddles that the military is "apolitical." This is patently el crapolo.

I doubt that our yodeler has actually read "The Power Elite." After 56 years it holds up well.

It should be noted that our yodeler refrains from telling us what he would propose to resolve the great problem perceived by him caused by The Credentialed Elite. It's clear that this is his strawperson. But note he comes to the defense, presumably, of The Mittster and perhaps some other graduates of elite universities.

All of this is merely an extension of our yodeler's vileness going back to day one of Obama's first term. Is it possible that our yodeler's attack is against The Credential Elite who happen to be of color and who happened to have attended an elite university? Or, as I earlier suggested, is this a variation of penis envy? It must be professionally frustrating for our yodeler with his great talents, to reach the peak of his mountain community as its top DUI legal specialist, perhaps better described as making a mountain out of a mole hill. Alas, ignorance is not always bliss.
 

Our yodeler's mea culpa for R-MONEY:

"1) The fact that the Credentialed Elite graduate from 'elite universities does not mean that all such graduates are part of this elite."

is also a mea culpa for George W. (Yale and Harvard) and many of the Bush/Cheney neocons. (Cheney gets a half mea culpa as he failed to complete at Yale in the course of his five (5) college draft deferments plan.) One could spend hours in the archives of this Blog during the Bush/Cheney 8 regrettable years in vain for comments by our yodeler on the subject of The Credentialed Elite that our yodeler then fawned over. Consider that the lack of WMDs did not diminish the military/industrial complex (aka Cheney/Halliburton).

Our yodeler is a combination of the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion in what they lack.

 

Further regarding our yodeler's claim that the military is "apolitical," take a peek at Maureen Dowd's NYTimes column today "Turning Brass Into Gold," and this reference:

"In the 'Military-Adulterous Complex,' as Time called it, ...."

Query (as a follow up to Mr. W): Are West Point and the Naval Academy elite universities?
 

bb: Mittens was demonized as a predatory plutocrat by his fellow Republicans in the primary.

And Obama campaigned on a net spending cut to reduce the budget by half by the end of his first term.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Shag: "The Power Elite." After 56 years it holds up well.

In what possible way?

I laid out why it was wrong then and it is wrong now.

Marx's class dialectic is an error.

Military veterans are now a small fraction of business and an even smaller fraction of the civilian government. They do not run the country.

The GDP we dedicate to defense is now less than 5%. The military is about half of what it was during the Cold War and it does not run anything.

Shag: It should be noted that our yodeler refrains from telling us what he would propose to resolve the great problem perceived by him caused by The Credentialed Elite.

The problem is posed by the progressive and socialist state. The Credentialed Elite are merely the support staff for the state.

I am half way through writing a book laying out why the progressive/socialist state is unsustainable (and indeed is approaching collapse across the world) and proposing a new Bill of Rights for the Constitution reharnessing government. Our progressive/socialist government is now nearly beyond democratic check no matter which party is elected - something both the Occupiers and Tea Party can see.

Shag: Further regarding our yodeler's claim that the military is "apolitical," take a peek at Maureen Dowd's NYTimes column today "Turning Brass Into Gold...

People migrating between the bureaucracy and related businesses does not make them a political elite running the country.
 

Notice this from our yodeler:

"Our progressive/socialist government is now nearly beyond democratic check no matter which party is elected - something both the Occupiers and Tea Party can see."

Is our yodeler attempting to bootstrap the dwindling, failing Tea Party to the Occupiers? Let's hear from the Occupiers on this attempt. Perhaps our yodeler wants the gullible to believe that the Tea Party is against the 1% in the manner of the Occupiers. And didn't the Occupiers significantly contribute to Obama's victory over R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012?

And yet another work of Friction we don't have to look forward to. Just imagine our yodeler's upchucking " ... proposing a new Bill of Rights for the Constitution reharnessing government." Maybe he can make room for Brett's Cockamamie Congress proposal.

 

And Obama campaigned on a net spending cut to reduce the budget by half by the end of his first term.

What the fuck does that have to do with Mittens being a predatory plutocrat? People use that narrative because Mittens makes it so easy for them by acting like a predatory plutocrat.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and sneers at the 47%, it's probably a predatory plutocrat.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

People migrating between the bureaucracy and related businesses does not make them a political elite running the country.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:45 AM


What if they migrate from directing The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) to a position where they can instigate an invasion of Iraq? Does that make them a political elite running the country?
 

Our yodeler was a grunt in the military and thus ineligible for the military/industrial complex benefits/rewards.

As for retired Generals, see:

http://presstv.com/usdetail/273440.html
 

Bart

I still don't understand why officers wouldn't be a credentialed elite. They have credentials (in the case of the academy grads those are indeed quite elite schools); they have government positions and authority; and they have a great deal of social and political clout (veterans in general are perhaps one of the best lobbys in the nation). I hope it is not that they are overwhelmingly Republicans is not why they don't get counted (that's what I mean by working backwards).

"Me: I'm also curious as to why credentials would be a better marker of elite status than, say, just plain wealth.

Bart:When all you have is credentials and you have never created anything like a business in your life, then you value credentials."

But this doesn't seem to answer the question; an elite would be someone with disproportionate influence, and I think wealth sans credentials still certainly has that. Again, I would hope that this too is not an instance of working backwards (many of the wealthy are again Republican and so don't fit your narrative that our nation's elites are in with Obama).

"President and administration made up almost top to bottom with the Credentialed Elite just won a second term supported by a Credentialed Elite media and financed by Credentialed Elite financial and professional sectors by demonizing a successful entrepreneur supported by the business community as predatory plutocrat"

There's some big problems with this narrative. As you yourself have conceded Obama's main point of victory was his unprecedented proportion of the black and Hispanic vote, hardly bastions of the 'credentialed elite.' Also, Romney is more an example of inherited wealth than an entrepenuer (his father would fit the bill more), and of course more importantly Romney himself is a penultimate "credentialed elite" (Harvard MBA and JD!). I'm betting if you looked at Romney's campaign team it would be made up of people with credentials matching Obama's.



 

"The fact that the Credentialed Elite graduate from "elite" universities does not mean that all such graduates are part of this elite."

This certainly does little to quiet my concerns you've worked backwards to get your credentialed elite! When someone (Romney) who is more credentialed than someone you count as a penultimate credentialed elite (Obama), and that someone obviously has the most essential elite characteristic of having the means of social and political clout (milions, and political success), but he doesn't count because....he's Republican??? Yikes!

"Military veterans are now a small fraction of business and an even smaller fraction of the civilian government"

Iirc Mills focused not so much on veteran voting blocs but on wealthy defense contractors and their cozy relationships with politicians.

"The military is about half of what it was during the Cold War and it does not run anything."

"The GDP we dedicate to defense is now less than 5%"

I don't think that counts things such as spending on veteran services, energy department projects tied to the military, etc., but more importantly even at 5% it becomes the largest single point of federal discretionary spending.

"The military is about half of what it was during the Cold War and it does not run anything."

Yes, but no one segment of your "liberal Credentialed Elite" does either. Lawyers by themselves, social workers by themselves, academics by themselves, likely have less influence and clout than the military by itself. The only reason I can see to exclude them from your elite category is you are really measuring "liberal elites" not actual elites in this country (liberal elites might be elites, but they are not all of them).

"People migrating between the bureaucracy and related businesses does not make them a political elite running the country"

Again, another sign of working backwards. They have credentials, they have maginified political influence, why in the world wouldn't they be credentialed elites unless you've adopted a highly idiosyncratic definition for those terms?

"proposing a new Bill of Rights for the Constitution"

Yikes, call me an old conservative but I like the Founder's one just fine, thanks!







 

BD: People migrating between the bureaucracy and related businesses does not make them a political elite running the country.

bb: What if they migrate from directing The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) to a position where they can instigate an invasion of Iraq? Does that make them a political elite running the country?


You are probably referring to one of the GOP members of the Credentialed Elite. The GOP establishment plays this game as well.
 

The GOP establishment plays this game as well.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 11:51 AM


The only difference being that it's OK by you when it's done by the GOP.
 

Mr. Whiskas: I still don't understand why officers wouldn't be a credentialed elite...I hope it is not that they are overwhelmingly Republicans is not why they don't get counted (that's what I mean by working backwards).

I understand your arguments, but disagree for the reasons I noted above.

The Credentialed Elite is NOT an exclusive partisan club. Most the the GOP establishment belongs as well.

Mr. W: "an elite would be someone with disproportionate influence, and I think wealth sans credentials still certainly has that.

I agree. The Credentialed Elite is not the only elite, just currently the most politically powerful.

BD: "President and administration made up almost top to bottom with the Credentialed Elite just won a second term supported by a Credentialed Elite media and financed by Credentialed Elite financial and professional sectors by demonizing a successful entrepreneur supported by the business community as predatory plutocrat"

There's some big problems with this narrative. As you yourself have conceded Obama's main point of victory was his unprecedented proportion of the black and Hispanic vote, hardly bastions of the 'credentialed elite.'


Elites are by definition only a small percentage of the vote.

They are elites by virtue of holding the levers of power.

Why minorities support progressivism and socialism when they have been devastated by these ideologies is an entirely different topic.

Romney himself is a penultimate "credentialed elite" (Harvard MBA and JD!). I'm betting if you looked at Romney's campaign team it would be made up of people with credentials matching Obama's.

As I noted above, while members of the Credentialed Elite almost always come from "elite" universities, not all graduates of elite universities are part of the Credentialed Elite.

The Credentialed Elite disdains business and believes that a government run by experts (themselves) could manage the economy better.

This is an echo of the rivalries between the merchant class and the aristocracy or intelligentsia for the past several centuries.

BD: "The military is about half of what it was during the Cold War and it does not run anything."

Mr. W: Yes, but no one segment of your "liberal Credentialed Elite" does either. Lawyers by themselves, social workers by themselves, academics by themselves, likely have less influence and clout than the military by itself.


Are you kidding?

The bureaucracy enacts the vast majority of our laws today, Congress a minority and the military none.

Lawyers in the courts and in practice have a monopoly on running the legal system which enforces the laws. The military has no part in this.

The major media is the propaganda arm of the Credentialed Elite. While they do not completely dominate information dissemination as during the 60s and 70s, the major media still decides what information is disseminated to a heavy majority of the population and essentially act as de facto support staff for progressive and socialist campaigns, repeating campaign talking points as news and spiking scandals and unfavorable news. The military has no media.

Academics train the Credentialed Elite and inform a substantial portion of their world views. The military only trains its own and part of that training is to remain apolitical.

Mr. W: Yikes, call me an old conservative but I like the Founder's one just fine, thanks!

Progressive courts and even conservative jurists under pressure from the overwhelmingly progressive legal establishment have largely gutted the Constitution's original checks and balances on government power.

Also, the Constitution never contemplated today's welfare state and massive borrowing to support it.

Sandy is correct. The Constitution requires a rewrite, just not the kind he is proposing.
 

"while members of the Credentialed Elite almost always come from "elite" universities, not all graduates of elite universities are part of the Credentialed Elite.

The Credentialed Elite disdains business and believes that a government run by experts (themselves) could manage the economy better."

This says a lot about where we might be missing each other. My issue is that while you talk about 'The Credentialed Elite' you exclude many groups that are Credentialed and Elite (military officers), and even individuals who are clearly both (Romney). See, you're not studying Credentialed Elites, you are studying "People With Credentials Who Think the Government Should Play a Larger Role Than I Do."

You're also downplaying the political effectiveness of the military by the questions you ask/areas you focus on. For example, of course by definition lawyers play a big role in our legal system. But there's about a million and a half lawyers in the US and over two and a half million people serving in the US military. By sheer number the latter dwarfs the former, but more importantly the military maintains close and tight control over their members in ways lawyers (or academics, etc.) do not. Additionally, note how politically effective the military is: when was the last time the Pentagon substantially did not get the budget it asked for? When veteran groups had their programs significantly cut?

This is not to say anything about other groups of 'elites' such as clergy (more people go to church than go to college) and business owners (the person that employs someone, other than being an 'important person in the community' has control over that person's environment about eight hours a day, not too uninfuential that).
 

Mr. W: My issue is that while you talk about 'The Credentialed Elite' you exclude many groups that are Credentialed and Elite (military officers), and even individuals who are clearly both (Romney). See, you're not studying Credentialed Elites, you are studying "People With Credentials Who Think the Government Should Play a Larger Role Than I Do."

:::sigh:::

You are nitpicking individual characteristics.

I was quite specific about the SET of characteristics which make up the Credentialed Elite:

1) "Elite" university
2) Works in the bureaucracy, media, academia, professions and finance.
3) Ideologically progressive to socialist
4) Culturally libertine and secular

The Credentialed Elite are a cohesive group. As the Brooks, Rasmussen and Schoen work suggests, these people live in the same neighborhoods, intermarry, their children tend to join the same elite, they all talk the same way, they have markedly different views than the citizenry at large, and they exclude others who are not like them.

Yes, businessmen and military officers attend "elite" Universities, but they do not generally share the other characteristics of the Credentialed Elite. Indeed, with the very interesting exception of finance, the Credentialed Elite denigrate business and the military.

Yes, most of the Credentialed Elite are Democrats because Democrats are the official party of government. The GOP establishment, which is nearly as dedicated to government, are definitely part of the Credentialed elite.

The Credentialed Elite is hardly an original insight on my part. There are previous examples of this phenomenon throughout history from the bureaucracies and courts of ancient China and Byzantium to the modern technocracies of the EU, Japan and China.
 

Why does anyone attempt to do anything other than mock this idiot?
 

Some find it more productive to answer him and/or feel a desire to use him to voice their own opinions.

Mocking is to some a bit childish and sometimes even annoys those who actually agree with the mocker, especially when curses are used. This in fact at times makes the person a bit sympathetic.

OTOH, some don't think Mr. W.'s path is worth it. Even they might find his arguments interesting. Some might find mocking enjoyable. To each their own though mocking is less in the spirit of this blog (there is some of that, but usually in more verbose posts that toss in some mocking).
 

"The Credentialed Elite are a cohesive group"

Bart, of course if you define the group in such a way that it excludes those with different ideologies you get an ideologically cohesive group!

You're left with saying "Credentialed Elites that Believe in Liberal Things believe in Liberal Things to a Remarkable Extent!" Respectfully, how useful is that?
 

Mr. W:

Respectfully, read for content.

Which part of "set of characteristics" did you not understand?

Roughly, 20% of the population self identifies liberal, there is a base of about 45% now that votes consistently for progressive and socialist candidates, although both the voters and candidates pretend to be something else.

Only a small subset of these are part of the Credentialed Elite and meet the other three characteristics in addition to ideology.
 

Bart

I'm not sure I'm explaining it correctly or perhaps you're missing it, but let me restate it.

What you've done is say "I'm going to classify as my Credentialed Elite those who 1. went to an elite university 2. work in certain sectors 3. are politically and 4. socially liberal.

You've excluded people with elite credentials, even those within those named sectors (though why those sectors is a question), who are not politically an socially liberal, and then you go "a-ha, now here is a politically and socially liberal group of credentialed elites!" My point is, what good is that? What can you say about that? You can't say that most credentialed people are politically and socially liberal nor that most people in those named sectors are, because you've excluded those who are not politicaly and socially liberal at the outset! You've simply found that politically and socially liberal credentialed elites in those sectors tend to be politicaly and socially liberal. But that's tautologous at best, right?

Additionally, I'm not even sure it stands as it is. For example, you include the media. Those in the media are usually not highly credentialed via elite universities. This is certainly true for the entertainment industry, but it is also true (to a lesser extent) for even fields like journalism. Here is the Washington Posts Investigative Reporters:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/washingtonpostinvestigations/investigative-team-meet-the-re.html

I looked up the credentials and here are the ones that I could find:

Dana Priest-BA UC Santa Cruz
James Grimaldi-BA U of Missouri
Debbie Cenziper-BA U of Florida
David Fallis-BA U of Oklahoma
Scott Higham-BA U Stony Brook, MA Columbia
Mari Horowitz-MA Oxford
Walter Pincus-BA Yale
Joe Stephens-U of Miami
Cheryl Thompson-U of Illinois

Most simply have undergraduate degrees, and while there are some elite schools there, most of them are certainly not.
 

Joe, it was a rhetorical question. Everyone here appears to be mocking Baghdad Bart in their own way.
 

There is a range of mocking and Mr. W. is a lot more substantive.
 

I've been reading his bullshit for almost 10 years. I gave up on "more substantive" many years ago.
 

Bob Richard is quite wrong about Instant Runoff Voting. IRV is the worst of the five commonly discussed alternative voting systems, whereas Approval Voting is basically second, if you look at overall performance plus simplicity.
http://ScoreVoting.net/BayRegsFig.html

Clay Shentrup
Co-founder, The Center for Election Science
 

The claim by "Alan" that Approval Voting degenerates into Plurality Voting in real elections is absolutely ludicrous.

http://www.electology.org/bullet-voting

Clay Shentrup
The Center for Election Science
 

Remember that the right wing Southern Strategy challenged affirmative action (primarily for people of color and other minorities of color and not) on the basis that America is a nation of meritocracy (excepting of course the foundational slavery of the original Constitution). Now, all of a sudden, our yodeler attacks meritocracy (indirectly?) with his screed on The Credentialed Elite. Logic even on the part of an idiot like our yodeler requires him to concede that not all persons who attended elite universities are part of The Credentialed Elite, e.g., The Mittster, George W., (partly) Dick Cheney, and so many of the Bush/Cheney 8 years of neocons. Our yodeler seems to be focusing upon Obama and his Administration. Coincidentally, Obama is America's first African American President. Do you get the picture? Perhaps our yodeler's goal is affirmative action to reflect the demographic changes taking place in America so that wannabees like our yodeler will have a crack at elite universities and thus an opportunity to join The Credentialed Elite. Perhaps our yodeler's fear is the same fear of the slavemasters who did not want their slaves to be able to read and write, to be educated. With the end of slavery, despite the hurdles of well over 100 years, the situation has changed. Our yodeler does not like this. He can't attach Brown v. Bd. of Education. But the changing demographics are here to stay. Fear - what to do about that fear? Attack the elite universities!

Folks, I'm all for substance. But as I suggested in an earlier comment on this thread, spend some time in the archives of this Blog to understand our yodeler and his lack of substance. He is a mere tool and doesn't realize it. At bottom, to repeat from earlier comments, this is a variation of penis envy on the part of our yodeler.

So onward with mockery of a self proclaimed DUI legal expert who accompanies his comments with his ageless photo.
 

Shaq

Excellent points. I can't make sense out of a concept of 'credentialed elites' which focuses on the Obama administration but not the highly credentialed, college/think tank connected W. Bush one.

Your observation about the switch from championing meritocracy to loathing its resulting effects is a great one, and it can be generalized. Conservative-Libertarian Charles Murray lamented what he saw as the attack on standardized scholastic and employment intelligence testing a decade ago in the Bell Curve, now his latest book, Coming Apart, laments the resulting elite class catapulted to success via their high SAT scores. What gives?

Is it because this meritocracy created an elite with a lot of liberals and Democrats?
 

DFTT then, huh? That is, if someone thinks it fits.

To each their own. Happy Thanksgiving.
 

Mr. W:

Nice research into the degrees of journalists. Now compare them against rankings in general for universities and those for journalism programs. At first glance, I'll bet most of them are top 50 universities and or top 20 journalism programs.

Next, the Credentialed Elite serves the state and the state is progressive/socialist by default here. In Germany, the Bildungsburgertum happily served an alternating series of right and left wing governments. If we ever suffer under a fascist state, this elite will adapt easily.

 

Shag:

Seriously, what is the source of your fixation on race?

The Credentialed Elite are not racially exclusive in any manner not did this group suddenly appear with Barack Obama and his merry band of socialists.

The Credentialed Elite started reaching critical mass back in the 70s and 80s and the lilly white Clintons are archetypes
 

Tis the day to be thankful for the freedoms we are still allowed. Cherish them for they may not be here tomorrow.
 

Our yodeler suggests, with this:

" ... the freedoms we are still allowed."

that wee have less freedoms than we had sometime in the past. Perhaps our yodeler with his historical (hysterical!) knowledge might identify that magic time in the past, including identifying WHO had such greater freedoms.

This is Thanksgiving Day. I have a lot to be thankful for as do so many others. Even though I was born the year after the Great Crash, I have never gone hungry involuntarily, although I saw others who did. I remember in the late 1930s the local "Wellie" [Welfare] store that I saw some of my schoolmates come out of carrying large bags of groceries. There was no sign on the store. I asked my father, who was fortunate enough to have a job (and was in a union), and he explained to me the economic difficulties many were having; that thanks to FDR steps were taken, including the "Wellie" store, to help those less fortunate. That's what progressives/liberals strive for. And now many millions have Obamacare for their health AND the health of the nation.

So I'm curious about our yodeler's response on the idyllic days of freedoms that he suggests.
 

Bart

I can grant that a place like U Florida might have a highly respected journalism program within a non-elite overall university, but I'm afraid any concept of "Credentialed Elite" that includes a simple bachelors degree from US Santa Cruz and U of Oklahoma has seriously stretched that concept beyond much usefulness imo. And of course you did not address my point about the entertainment industry which is not awash in highly credentialed folks. Why do they get included, because of their politics? That's working backward again.

"the Credentialed Elite serves the state and the state is progressive/socialist by default here"

Let's take the very first part of that first: 'the Credentialed Elite serves the state.' Now I really can't see excluding folks like the military officer corps (not only credentialed but who serve the state 24-7, 365 days a year). Additionally, I don't get that, by here do you mean the US? We're likely the least socialist and most pro-market nation among any Western ones. How would our 'credentialed elite' be more socialist than in nations where socialism is much more highly accepted?

"Tis the day to be thankful for the freedoms we are still allowed"

I have to echo Shaq here. I think we are far more free today than we were in the 1920s, or 1890s for that matter. First off, of course blacks, women, and GLBTs were terribly off back then, lacking even the most basic rights and protections in many areas. Secondly, before incorporation of the BoR state and local governments oppressed people somewhat regularly. Thirdly, the federal government itself was not above striking at things which today most Americans enjoy (think Prohibition, but also lottery and porn) and rights today we think of as basic (think of Lincoln's war-time activities). Fourthly, citizen ability to engage their government has increase tremondously. Party bosses no longer rule nominations via shady conventions, instead we have open primaries in most places. Citizens have greater standing to sue their governments in many areas and government has passed many laws (like FOIA) empowering citizens. Incorporation has allowed citizens to have tools to combat state and local malfeasance and repression. Whatever the overreach of the dreaded 'progressives' at the turn of the century they fought a patronage system that resulted in a government that reeked of corruption and lacked the most basic competence.

In Malcom X's autobiography he tells of a teacher who saw promise in him saying that he could not aspire to be a doctor, but should instead set his eyes on something more realistic such as a carpenter. In just a few generations from that time we now have a black man serving his second term as POTUS.

If I want to watch porn, or have 'liqour by the drink', or buy a lottery ticket, or shop on Sundays (remember blue laws?), I could not through much of our history, but I can now.

I'm thankful for the progress we've made.
 

Shag:

Government has progressively exanded its power and reduced our freedoms for over a century now and this trend massively accellerated during the Obama adminisration.

Government now controls health insurance and thus health care and consumer credit.

In my personal life, the Obama regime has now outlawed light bulbs, my HSA as it existed when Obamacare was enacted and my current HSA after the new HHS decrees, my local cheap coal power plant, and my Jeep within the next few years under CAFE mandates.

That was just four years.

The Courts are useless in enforcing the Constitution and 51% of my fellow citizens who bothered to vote ratified this tyranny a couple weeks ago.

Alexis de Tocqueville was correct when he observed that soft tyranny leads to a loss of hope and revolt.
 

Mr. W:

UF is a most selective school and #54 out of 1,600 universities ranked by USNWR. And so on with your sample of media almer maters.
 

UC-Santa Cruz is ranked 77 by USNWR, U of Oklahoma is 101 and yes U Florida is 54, but that is not "out of 1600 universities ranked by USNWR;" USNWR ranks within certain categories and those schools fall into the "National Universities" of which there are only 280 ranked by USNWR. So these schools are not elite, in fact anything lower than 50 is considered 'second tier;' lower than 100 is 'third tier.'

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/09/05/methodology-best-colleges-ranking-category-definitions

 

Bart

People can differ on such things, but I'd say allowing gay persons to serve in the military without official reprisal > ban on some lightbulbs (and btw, the light bulb ban is imo an amazingly stupid thing).
 

Our yodeler's timeline for the good old days of real freedom was the Gilded Age, it seems. And the deterioration since, according to our yodeler, was accelerated four years ago, coincident with the election of America's first African American President, with these personal impacts on our yodeler's freedom:

"In my personal life, the Obama regime has now outlawed light bulbs, my HSA as it existed when Obamacare was enacted and my current HSA after the new HHS decrees, my local cheap coal power plant, and my Jeep within the next few years under CAFE mandates."

I thought the market outlawed light bulbs with better products that are more environmentally sound long range. Perhaps he could explain in more detail his HSA problem. And cheap coal has long range costs that impact health and the environment that is not paid for currently, as is the case with CAFE standards.

Yes, let's go back to the good old days of ruining the environment. Perhaps global warming is a fraud and not based on sound science.

So, per our yodeler, we should have the freedom to pollute. Health care is not for The Uncredentialed Masses.

Yes, our yodeler raves like a lunatic, all because of that variation on penis envy he seems to be suffering from.

Now let's talk about the Bush/Cheney Patriot Acts that our yodeler saluted during their 8 years and loss of freedom.
 

Mr. W:

It is true that past laws denied minorities the full spectrum of freedoms enjoyed by the majority of Americans and freedom for minorities did increase when those laws were repealed. However, over the past century, government has progressively reduced the spectrum of freedoms enjoyed by Americans.

Prohibition of alcohol has been replaced with an even more onerous prohibition of drugs.

How is the government running a lottery represent a freedom for the citizenry? You will be thrown in prison if you run a lottery.

Citizen engagement with the government has increased? The bureaucracy has all but replaced our Congress as the lawmaking body of our fading Republic. They are not accountable to you.
 

"Prohibition of alcohol has been replaced with an even more onerous prohibition of drugs"

While I oppose the WOD I don't think it more onerous than alcohol prohibition since the latter banned a drug with much wider societal usage.

"How is the government running a lottery represent a freedom for the citizenry?"

It provides me at least with the freedom to play a lottery, something most states barred until recently and something the federal government brought its might to bear against (and in 1890 to boot!)

"The bureaucracy has all but replaced our Congress as the lawmaking body of our fading Republic. They are not accountable to you"

Of course they are. They are not voted out but most any government worker knows citizen complaints are a big problem for them. And these government workers are legally accountable to an extent they were not in the 'olden days' of Tammany Hall and such.



 

Mr. W:

We only sporadically enforced the prohibition of alcohol, but have filled our jails with those who violated the prohibition on drugs.

Citizen complaints are a big problem for the bureaucracy? Are you kidding?
 

Our yodeler, with this:

"We only sporadically enforced the prohibition of alcohol, but have filled our jails with those who violated the prohibition on drugs."

may wish to illuminate us on the racial issues with such incarcerations that do not reflect demographics at large. Was the War on Drugs part of the Southern Strategy?
 

Shag:

Government abridgments of freedom are always arbitrary and fall heaviest on those with the least influence with the state.

Yet another argument for limited government.

Yet another irony of overwhelming minority support for the party of unlimited government.
 

According to our yodeler, that overwhelming minority would have been better off if there had been no Brown v. Bd. of Educ., and the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. Is our yodeler suggesting a pure laissez faire would provide greater freedoms for all - or some?

Nixon's Southern Strategy in 1968 was extended in the early 1970s to his War on Drugs, to counter the Civil Rights Acts enacted prior to the 1968 election. The irony (if that is the correct word) is that excessive government was utilized by Republican Nixon to counter civil rights of minorities that had been denied for about a century following the Civil War Amendments.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Shag:

Brown and its progeny and the constitutional parts of the Civil Rights Act removed Democrat government laws imposing racial discrimination and thus brought America closer to laissez faire
 

Our yodeler's claim that:

" ... removed Democrat government laws imposing racial discrimination ... "

fails to note that these were laws of Democrat governments of former slave states that became part of Nixon and the GOP's Southern Strategy beginning with the 1968 presidential campaign - and recently endorsed by R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012. Surely those former slave states that switched to Republican were not endorsing the Republican Party of Lincoln. The Democrat federal government had been taking some steps to address discrimination, succeeding with certain actions by Pres. Truman. But it was the states primarily and not the federal government that was fostering racial discrimination.

And our yodeler's concept of laissez faire doesn't square with the conservative view, which seems to go back to the good olddays of the Gilded Age.

Note that our yodeler seems to qualify endorsement of the "Civil Right Act" - actually there were several such Acts, including voting - with 'constitutional parts." Perhaps he can enlighten us on what he claims are the unconstitutional parts.
 

Shag:

What you call the Gilded Age had the highest growth in the economy (5% per year on average, recovery level growth during the progressive era) and highest growth in standard of living in US history.

It was the era of inventors who did not need bureaucratic approval for their inventions.

It was an era of amazing progress in engineering.

Individuals could and did create new industries.

The United States became a world power during this time because no one else was as free and could grow as fast as we could. Only the relatively free British Empire was more powerful and we passed them after WWI.

This was the era of the American Dream when immigrants from around the world flooded into the United States, including the Italian and German branches of my family.

Unless we fundamentally change course, America will never see a golden age like it again.

***

You keep talking out of your hind quarters about a South a half century ago that simply does not exist anymore. Time and the migration of tens of millions of Yankees from failed Blue states seeking a better life have fundamentally changed the South.

I have lived in both areas and you will find more bigots in Southie near where you live than in most cities in the South.

***

The Civil Rights Acts were constitutional to the extent that they enforced the 14th Amendment against state governments.

Congress had no authority to enact anti-discrimination laws against individuals.
 

Bart, you are full of shit. The "failed" Blue states are currently subsidizing your Red states. And your racist GOP is carrying the Confederate states for 1 reason, and it not difficult to figure out.
 

Our yodeler's admiration for the Gilded Age as the best of times for freedoms fails the historical smell test. I imagine our yodeler living at that time with this song parody in his honor:

"HE'S ONLY A TURD IN A GILDED AGE ...."

In our own time, our yodeler is a NOAGN.*

*NIT ON A GNAT'S NUT

As for Southie, the demographic changes have been quite significant since the busing days. In time the Seaport District adjoining that community will blossom. Of course bigotry is not dead in Southie or the rest of the nation. Take a peek at Charles Blow's NYTimes column today about the two Americas, reflecting upon Lincoln and the new movie. (Contrast Blow's column with that of David Brooks yesterday on the same movie.)

By the Bybee [expletives deleted], would the inventions, etc, of the Gilded Age have thrived for the then elite without subsidies from both state and federal governments (bureaucratic approvals)? Yes the then 1% fared well; but what about the 99%?
 

Watch/listen to Bill Moyer's (Journal) interview of June 13, 2008, of Steve Fraser for comparisons of The Gilded Age with the Second Gilded Age. The podcast runts about 25 minutes, and includes a 2+ segment on Sen. Bernie Sanders' take on the losing middle class. Keep in mind the events that occurred AFTER June 13, 2008, while watching/listening.

Bill Moyers Journal website served as a reminder to revisit Mark Twain's "The Gilded Age."

But for the ignominious defeat of R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012, we might have been subjected to:

"THE GALT-ED AGE"
 

Shag:

America suffered only two economic depressions with long term unemployment and no business cycle recovery in our history - under progressives Hoover and Roosevelt and socialist Barack Obama.

The period since 2008 is nothing like the Gilded Age boom.
 

America suffered only two economic depressions with long term unemployment and no business cycle recovery in our history - under progressives Hoover and Roosevelt and socialist Barack Obama.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 1:49 PM


This was the Bush Crash, you imbecile.
 

"This was the Bush Crash"

Indee, and some blame has to go to Coolidge for the other one Bart mentions.

Interestingly while conservatives like to cite Bull Connor as a Democrat and hence liberal note how Republican Hoover becomes a progressive in their eyes.

As to the Gilded Age, apart from any economic arguments it is hard to see this pre-incorporation decade as some golden age for liberty in any sense.
 

Also, wasn't the GDP growth rate in the 1960's comparable to the Gilded Age growth? And post incorporation of the BoR and a non-supine Court, that strikes me as more of a golden age.
 

Mr. W: Indee, and some blame has to go to Coolidge for the other one Bart mentions.

Coolidge?

We have market corrections all the time followed by business cycle recoveries.

The 1929 correction was no different than the 1920 correction a decade before.

Because Harding cut spending, tax rates and stopped borrowing, the 1920 correction lasted about a year and was followed by a boom.

Hoover took the progressive route of increasing spending for public works and imposing a millionaire's tax. FDR doubled down on stupid with added taxes, borrowing and regulations. Those policies were the first to destroy a business cycle recovery and turned a correction into a depression.

Agreeing with bb on anything is hazardous to your credibility.

Once again, the 2007 mass default of the government directed and subsidized subprime home mortgage market begun in 1997 caused the 2008 recession. This collapse was made worse by the inane mark to market accounting required by the Democrat Congress at that time. Bush was not responsible in any way for the former, but did sign the latter legislation.

Obama followed much of the Hoover/FDR prescription for depression and threw in a dash of socialism. Today, we are in about the same position as in 1937.

wasn't the GDP growth rate in the 1960's comparable to the Gilded Age growth?

Only for a few years.

The economy was in stagnation during the beginning of the decade until Kennedy suggested and Johnson enacted the first set of income tax reductions to reverse the FDR rates. The economy took off for awhile until the Nixon loose money policies kicked off inflation, which kicked everyone up the unindexed progressive tax rates of the time and started stagflation.
 

Agreeing with bb on anything is hazardous to your credibility.

Says the dumbfuck who was predicting a Romney landslide...
 

Baghdad, it's funny when you pretend that your economic views have credibility.

 

"Coolidge?"

You don't think any of Coolidge's policies led to the market crash of 29? I realize you argue that crash would have corrected, but I doubt you would argue the preceding administration had no effect on the crash itself.

"The 1929 correction was no different than the 1920 correction a decade before"

Well, I'm not an economist but at first glance one difference seems to be a rather sharper dip in GNP in 29-30.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depression_of_1920%E2%80%9321#Overview


"The economy was in stagnation during the beginning of the decade until Kennedy suggested and Johnson enacted the first set of income tax reductions to reverse the FDR rates"

The problem with this narrative is that the tax cuts proposed by JFK were enacted in 1964, and as you can see by selecting 1960-70 here growth was about as high in 1962 as it was in, say, 65 (and higher than it was in 66. I understand tax cuts are immensely powerul in Austrian thinking but I doubt you want to argue they can cause economic growth two years before enacted!


http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth

"Agreeing with bb on anything is hazardous to your credibility"

Could it lead to massively getting an election prediction of which you had supreme confidence in wrong ;)
 

Mr. W: "You don't think any of Coolidge's policies led to the market crash of 29?"

I can't think of one and you are not offering any. The market was overvalued and corrected.

Hoover's subsequent missteps included the Smoot Hawley tariff triggering a trade war and then the millionaire's tax.

1960-70 here growth was about as high in 1962 as it was in, say, 65 (and higher than it was in 66).

62 was a cyclical recovery from the 60-61 near recession. It was over by 63.

The tax reforms hit in 65 and 65 and 66 were boom years. I thought the boom lasted longer than that, but my recollection was wrong. The last three years of the decade had slow growth.

To answer your original question more accurately, the 1960s were not close to the average growth of the Gilded Age.

Could it lead to massively getting an election prediction of which you had supreme confidence in wrong ;)

There is a fundamental difference between dabbling in prophecy and reporting facts.

No one else here (including your self) had the guts to offer an election prediction to compete with mine.

If you do and if yours is better, than you get bragging privileges. ;^)


 

Our yodeler, with this:

"No one else here (including your self) had the guts to offer an election prediction to compete with mine."

demonstrates no glory with guts like his that no one can compete with. Our yodeler exercised his freedom to make an ass of himself once again.
 

"I can't think of one and you are not offering any. The market was overvalued and corrected"

And there were no steps Coolidge could have taken to stop or mitigate this? Following the great depression we went decades without something similar...

"Hoover's subsequent missteps included the Smoot Hawley tariff triggering a trade war and then the millionaire's tax."

Wasn't the latter signed in 32? GDP plummeted every year of Hoover's Presidency before that, so it's hard to see how the later enacted millionaire's tax was the cause.

"The last three years of the decade had slow growth"

Tax cuts eventually sputtered out, eh? But again, all of this looks like a 'just so' story. The good year of 62, pre-tax cut, is waved away; the good years of 65 and 66, post-tax cuts, are attributed to the tax cuts, the less impressive years following are again waved away.

"To answer your original question more accurately, the 1960s were not close to the average growth of the Gilded Age"

That simply appears incorrect. The 10 year average for 1960-70 is 4.4% and you yourself gave the estimate for the Gilded Age at 5%.

"No one else here (including your self) had the guts to offer an election prediction to compete with mine."

With respect I think you're missing the point here (I think Shaq gets it), overconfidence in such matters often indicates faulty analysis tainted by wishes that feed selective observations and confirmation bias. Could something similar be happening in your analysis of past trends?

Some other points, perhaps nit-picky:

"Brown and its progeny and the constitutional parts of the Civil Rights Act removed Democrat government laws imposing racial discrimination"

This is interestingly incorrect since the specific law challenged in Brown was a "an 1879 Kansas law, which permitted (but did not require) districts to maintain separate elementary school facilities for black and white students in twelve communities with populations over 15,000". In 1879 every state-wide elected official in KS was a Republican (in fact, this was true from 1861-1883). Even one of your partisan confidence is going to have to engage in some impressive gymnastics to ascribe that law to Democrats!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_party_strength_in_Kansas

Additionally, one of the companion cases to Brown was Gebhart v. Belton, focusing on Delaware's 1935 segregation law. As you can see here in 1935 the Gov, Lt. Gov and Att. General were Republicans (in fact, this was true from 1921-1936, so there was no way that law wasn't stamped by a GOP governor).






 

The links for the Delaware claims:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gebhart_v._Belton#Background

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_party_strength_in_Delaware

 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Mr. W: And there were no steps Coolidge could have taken to stop or mitigate this? Following the great depression we went decades without something similar...

I suppose Coolidge could have imposed confiscatory tax rates like FDR did. FDR succeeded in preventing major downward corrections for decades because the market was crippled for decades.

BD: "Hoover's subsequent missteps included the Smoot Hawley tariff triggering a trade war and then the millionaire's tax."

Mr. W: Wasn't the latter signed in 32? GDP plummeted every year of Hoover's Presidency before that, so it's hard to see how the later enacted millionaire's tax was the cause.


Smoot Hawley did a number on its own, but take a look at GDP after the millionaire's tax.

BD: "The last three years of the decade had slow growth"

Mr. W: Tax cuts eventually sputtered out, eh?


Kennedy/Johnson dropped the rates from insanely confiscatory to merely confiscatory. Real reform would have to wait for Reagan.

BD: "To answer your original question more accurately, the 1960s were not close to the average growth of the Gilded Age"

Mr. W: That simply appears incorrect. The 10 year average for 1960-70 is 4.4% and you yourself gave the estimate for the Gilded Age at 5%.


Were did you get that average?

BD: "No one else here (including your self) had the guts to offer an election prediction to compete with mine."

Mr. W: With respect I think you're missing the point here (I think Shaq gets it), overconfidence in such matters often indicates faulty analysis tainted by wishes that feed selective observations and confirmation bias.


I provided you the detailed historical basis for my prediction. Go to my latest blog post discussing the final count of the 2012 vote. This election was like no other in our lifetime - a massive turnout of African American voters and perhaps the lowest white turnout in American history. Hispanics were actually an afterthought in the swing states apart from Florida and Colorado.

My hat is off to Team Obama. They were apparently doing the most massive polling and voter contact in human history. They were directly polling hundreds of thousands of registered voters in the swing states.

Most impressive. The GOP has some catching up to do.

BD: "Brown and its progeny and the constitutional parts of the Civil Rights Act removed Democrat government laws imposing racial discrimination"

Mr. W: This is interestingly incorrect...


I was referring to Jim Crow. However, I stand corrected concerning your other items. Thanks for the info.
 

My hat is off to Team Obama. They were apparently doing the most massive polling and voter contact in human history. They were directly polling hundreds of thousands of registered voters in the swing states.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 11:55 PM


Nate Silver didn't do any polling and he figured out who was going to win. You didn't need to poll hundreds of thousands of voters to see what was coming. You just had to get your head out of your ass.
 

Our yodeler has segued from the Gilded Age as the Promised Land of Freedoms. There is a publication The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era that had been referenced at the Legal History Blog that I commented on, available here:

http://legalhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/immigrants-and-absconding-embezzlers-in.html

Perhaps someone knows more about the distinctions between the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era. Maybe Jack Balkin will address this in his upcoming (I hope) The Second Gilded Age (unless Jack thinks Obama's reelection may have made it moot).
 

The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era - "all aspects of U.S. history for the time period from 1865 through 1920."

Interesting scope of time - the last part of the laissez faire era and the beginnings of the progressive period.

Of course, I am viewing this from the point of view of political economy and not necessarily history.
 

"I suppose Coolidge could have imposed confiscatory tax rates"

I was thinking more of regulating margin trading, or not encouraging this via Fed policy or regulating the sale of stocks back and forth between brokers to push up the costs of shares.

"Smoot Hawley did a number on its own, but take a look at GDP after the millionaire's tax"

By all means, let's do that, remember that tax was signed in 32:

US Gross Domestic Product (current dollars)
The Great Crash, 1929-1933
in 1929: $103.6 billion
in 1930: $91.2
in 1931: $76.5
in 1932: $58.7
in 1933: $56.4

New Deal Recovery and Recession, 1934-39
in 1934: $66.0 billion
in 1935: $73.3
in 1936: $83.8
in 1937: $91.9
in 1938: $86.1
in 1939: $92.2

http://www.shmoop.com/great-depression/statistics.html

So following this tax there was a small (compared to the plummeting pre-tax), one year decrease in GDP followed by rising GDP for years. Yes, the tax certainly seems like a killer for the economy!

"Kennedy/Johnson dropped the rates from insanely confiscatory to merely confiscatory"

This dodges the point, which is that GDP shot up in years prior to the tax as well as years following, but that in some years following it was pretty tepid. Cut taxes, get economic boost hardly seems supported by such a record.

"Were did you get that average?"

I did it myself, but for comparable results go here and select 1960-1970 and 1880-1890 and you will get 4.2% and 5.02% growth in real gdp for each respectively.

"I provided you the detailed historical basis for my prediction"

And I said at the time I thought it was wrong, and many folks like Silver and Wang were doing the same.
 

Ah, the site for the gdp growth calculations is here:

http://www.measuringworth.com/growth/


 

BD: "I suppose Coolidge could have imposed confiscatory tax rates"

Mr. W: I was thinking more of regulating margin trading, or not encouraging this via Fed policy or regulating the sale of stocks back and forth between brokers to push up the costs of shares.


Once Reagan removed the confiscatory tax rates, we went back to the historical market business cycle and experienced corrections despite all the regulations you mentioned.

It is important to recognize that stock market corrections do not have to lead to recessions (1987). Recessions or government distortions of the economy more often cause market corrections.

BD: "Smoot Hawley did a number on its own, but take a look at GDP after the millionaire's tax"

Mr. W: By all means, let's do that, remember that tax was signed in 32

US Gross Domestic Product (current dollars)
The Great Crash, 1929-1933
in 1929: $103.6 billion
in 1930: $91.2
in 1931: $76.5
in 1932: $58.7
in 1933: $56.4

So following this tax there was a small (compared to the plummeting pre-tax), one year decrease in GDP followed by rising GDP for years. Yes, the tax certainly seems like a killer for the economy!


You are erroneously starting in 1932. The Revenue Act of 1932 went into effect in 1932. Thus, the proper comparison is between 1931 (the last year of the Coolidge tax rates) and subsequent years under the new Hoover rates. As you can see GDP collapsed under the Hoover tax rates.

FDR campaigned in 1932 against the Hoover tax increase and properly blamed it (as do nearly all economists today) for deepening the depression. Of course, once in power, FDR kept the Hoover tax rates and the raised them over time. As I posted above, doubling down on stupid.

BD: "Kennedy/Johnson dropped the rates from insanely confiscatory to merely confiscatory"

Mr. W: This dodges the point, which is that GDP shot up in years prior to the tax as well as years following...


Once again, you are comparing the apples of recovery GDP growth to a boom in a mature economy after the recovery. Recovery GDP growth is making up for lost ground in a recession, not breaking new ground.

BD: "Were did you get that average?"

Mr. W: I did it myself, but for comparable results go here and select 1960-1970 and 1880-1890 and you will get 4.2% and 5.02% growth in real gdp for each respectively.


These sound reasonable.

The Gilded Age growth was 25% higher than a high point decade in the progressive era and, compounded over time, massively higher.

"I provided you the detailed historical basis for my prediction"

Mr. W: And I said at the time I thought it was wrong, and many folks like Silver and Wang were doing the same.


Silver and Wang simply theorize that the average of polling is the most accurate predictor of electoral outcomes. They were not using a historical basis.

During this ahistoric election, their approach was more accurate than mine.

Once again, I have never seen a prior election in the modern polling era where an incumbent with a bad economy managed to suppress the voting enough to remain in office.
 

Once again, I have never seen a prior election in the modern polling era where an incumbent with a bad economy managed to suppress the voting enough to remain in office.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 1:28 PM


First, Obama didn't "suppress" anything. Mittens got more votes than McCain. Second, I told you that people still blamed Bush for the bad economy. You said that they blamed Obama. You were wrong. Again.
 

"The Revenue Act of 1932 went into effect in 1932. Thus, the proper comparison is between 1931 (the last year of the Coolidge tax rates) and subsequent years under the new Hoover rates"

It went into effect in June, but I'll concede your point. GDP fell 17.8 in the first year of the tax, but of course it fell 14.7 the previous year with no tax (and 12.4 the year before that, no tax). Then in the subsequent years (after the tax) which you point to it fell only 2 billion, then GDP, under the tax, increased several years in a row. Again, this is hardly strong evidence off the ill effects of the tax.

"you are comparing the apples of recovery GDP growth to a boom in a mature economy after the recovery"

I'm comparing growth in years before and after this vaunted tax cut, and no pattern seems to emerge, contrary to your claim. If you want to discount 'recovery growth' do you want to apply that to much of the growth in 1880-1890 (which saw several recessions and recoveries)?

"compounded over time, massively higher."

What do you mean by this? We're talking growth in real gdp for each period.

"During this ahistoric election, their approach was more accurate than mine"

You were involved in some ahistorical stuff yourself. I pointed out to you that Hispanic, black and youth votes are always a higher share in Presidential elections than in mid-term ones and yet you insisted, based on polling data, that you could discount that historical pattern because those polls showed a 'lack of enthusiasm' among those groups. The critical eye you turned on 'Democrat media polls' should have been turned on those 'lack of enthusiasm' polls!





 

Mr. W: Again, this is hardly strong evidence off the ill effects of the tax.

Once again, the Hoover tax errors were TWO fold - first the Smoot Hawley tariff causing a trade war and then the millionaire's tax accelerating the collapse.

BD: "compounded over time, massively higher."

Mr. W: What do you mean by this? We're talking growth in real gdp for each period.


I presume your figures were the average annual increase in GDP.

Compounding a 5% GDP increase over a 10 year period ends up with a 63% increase in GDP.

Compounding a 4% GDP increase over a 10 year period ends up with a 48% increase in GDP.

Compounded, the Gilded Age growth is 31% higher.

BD: "During this ahistoric election, their approach was more accurate than mine"

Mr. W: You were involved in some ahistorical stuff yourself. I pointed out to you that Hispanic, black and youth votes are always a higher share in Presidential elections than in mid-term ones.


I was applying the white turnout for the 2004 presidential election cycle, which was nearly identical to the 2010 cycle.

The enthusiasm differentials in the 2012 polling were the same or better for the GOP than in 2004 and 2010.

On election day, white voters who voted Obama in 2008 stayed home in droves and almost none went to Romney, resulting in probably the lowest white turnout in American history. Enthusiasm polling has never been this wrong.
 

Baghdad, I'm sure there are lots of excuses for why you were wrong. None of them matter. All that matters is that you were wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. Again.
 

"the Hoover tax errors were TWO fold - first the Smoot Hawley tariff causing a trade war and then the millionaire's tax accelerating the collapse"

But the evidence doesn't seem to show an 'accelerated collapse'; the first year of the tax saw a decline comparable to the two years prior to the tax, and the second, third, fourth, etc., years of the tax saw first a very small decline and then year after year of increase in GDP!

"I presume your figures were the average annual increase in GDP"

They were the annualized growth rate.

"I was applying the white turnout for the 2004 presidential election cycle, which was nearly identical to the 2010 cycle"

I told you the electorate was not going to look like 2010. Enthusiastic or not, groups that tend to support Obama by a lot vote in Presidential elections unlike they do in Congressional ones.
 

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