Wednesday, June 13, 2018
The Minsky Moment in Constitutional Law
Gerard N. Magliocca
During the Panic of 2008, fresh attention was given to the economic research of Hyman Minsky. Minsky proposed a theory to explain periodic financial crises that went something like this: The further the previous crisis receded from memory, the more people discounted the possibility that such an event would recur. This led them to take on more risk or deregulate, which eventually triggered the next crisis. And so on.
That does help explain impeachment of Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Using such a tool for the reasons provided as compared to the issues at hand in the Nixon Administration (involving, elections, interference with criminal investigations of basic national matters) is a tad amazing. Also, do something like that after 911 would seem crazy.
Impeachment now is seen by some as so problematic and an excuse for partisan ends that even in cases much more worthwhile it is "taken off the table." In fact, the coverage of the new book by Matz/Tribe on impeachment is filled with warnings about its usage.
Remember that, in the Nixon case, you started with an actual crime, the break in at the Watergate. Which was fairly rapidly traced back to Nixon. And then you had the records he'd kept, which rendered the fact that he'd destroyed some of them rather conspicuous, and finally you had John Dean who was too honest to go along with the cover up.
Probably the ideal case for impeachment, which is why Nixon resigned.
The Clintons profited from Nixon's example. Their administration horrified historians by ending a lot of record keeping that had helped historians reconstruct administrations for the record books. Burning phone logs on a regular basis, for instance. Naturally there was no taping going on. And no hiring of John Deans, either. Omerta was the administration's creed. Clinton associates literally died in solitary confinement rather than testify.
So, between that and some tactical blackmail, Clinton's was probably the anti-ideal for impeachment cases.
In the Trump case you've got something different. Records being kept, no omerta. But, no crime, either. He'd be easy to impeach if they actually had any charges available. But, what to impeach him over? There's an embarrassing lack of serious charges available.
"no crime either"
Mr. W. et. al. has refuted this & meanwhile, there are multiple prosecutions & even convictions already. As with Nixon, the head is but part of it.
To be clear, the Watergate break-in was only part of the Nixon affair as seen, e.g., the break-in of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist offices, unauthorized bombing, campaign funding matters and even (though the impeachment count was rejected) tax related stuff.
As to "reconstructing" Clinton, from what I can tell, there was a whole lot of that for historians & the "horror" seems limited.
Yes, but the field of economics itself is one of the proximate causes of our moment. So don’t give aid and comfort to the enemy. Find a biology metaphor.
I understand that the election of such an obviously unprofessional buffoon can make people speculate on whether people have become less risk averse, but I think there's a plainer, more simple answer. One of our two parties and political philosophies has become quite radicalized. The Right and the GOP is increasingly, and for a while has been, the party of Limbaugh and Hannity, not the party of Buckley or Burke. And as such they are increasingly disdainful of professionalism, prudence, comportment, etc., and are instead increasingly embracing of bufoonery, trolling, extremism, conspiracy, resentment and outrage. A talk radio host doesn't make his living with careful, nuanced thought, they make their with a quasi-intellecutal, quasi-entertainment model designed to stoke resentment and outrage via hyperbole and paranoia.
The GOP establishment was fine with this because it provided them with an ever growing group of voters they could be confident would go pull the lever marked 'R' regardless of who that R was attached to. But, as often happens, they fed the dog so much it got so big it ate it's master. With the Tea Party the conservative movement essentially ran any moderating factors out of the party and now it's the establishment of that party, with all the resentment, paranoia and lack of expertise you'd expect from a group that was on the outside looking in for so long but being stoked to think of every issue as a literal life or death one for which any deviation from makes one a hated enemy. If it would make liberals mad I think they'd vote for a literal elephant.
Sadly this is starting to become true for the Democrats and liberals too. Instead of just embracing the center against a party and movement that is increasingly defining itself as extreme, the left is starting to move further left and demand the same from their politicos. If this continues down a path similar to what's happened to conservatism and the GOP, God help us all.
This isn't wrong, but bear in mind there's a fair quotient of BS and imperialism wrapped up the "global institutions" rhetoric.
Whatever one says about NATO's original function, people talk about it now as if it is the reason France and Germany aren't at war, and that is completely silly.
In other words, some of this may be entirely correct criticism by the public that elites pursued policies fir their own benefit and passed them off as serving a national interest.
I dispute Mista Whiskas' claim that Trump is an unprofessional buffoon. He is a professional buffoon.
But that's not all that he is. He is evil, as he demonstrates by kidnapping children and babies, and other actions. That is not buffoonery.
"voters and some political elites may be taking for granted the benefits that have flowed from various institutions or practices developed since World War II (free trade, global institutions, rule of law, constitutional democracy, etc.)"
This analysis assumes that voters and political elites want the benefits. I don't know about voters, but political elites--Trump and his henchmen--do not want the benefits or they believe that the benefits of doing away with free trade, global institutions, rule of law, constitutional democracy, etc., would outweigh the benefits of retaining them. Doing away with free trade and global institutions would create the benefit of feeling tough, independent, and superior. Doing away with the rule of law and constitutional democracy would create the benefit of being able to engage in dictatorial rule, which includes imprisoning one's political opponents and oppressing people of color.
"Instead of just embracing the center"
Why would we expect this? The "center" is also not always right -- that is a moving line that has gone too far in one direction if anything. Then, again, Mr. W. voted for the libertarian in 2016, so is an atypical voter.
The sensible (and expected approach) would be a mixture, especially when the time is ripe for some strong left types to seize the moment with the other side weak and full with problems. The demand for pushback on Trump and Republicans would include not mere "centrist" safe choices but those who strongly voice the discontent of the electorate.
This doesn't mean that you are stupid about it. In a range of cases, a moderate choice ran for office and should be supported over the Republican. And, being strongly left leaning doesn't mean you are irrational or unreasonable either. Finally, the times will result in some strongly left leaning candidates especially in primaries and there has always been some minority wing that are purity ponies.
Net, the Democrats are a long way from the Republican path, though since that led them to have success locally and nationally, I can understand the temptation. But, the party still seems not to have the same qualities that even allows them to go all in there.
Joe, as a political matter I think the Democrats and liberals would be foolish to embrace the extreme of the Tea GOParty, there's more conservatives than liberals but there's more moderates and liberals than conservatives, and moderates don't like either extreme (quite rightly in my opinion). And that leads to my reason why I personally hope they don't go that route: I don't like extremists on either side. Their thinking becomes insular and sloppy, they are prone to easy outrage, paranoia, hyperbole, and conspiracy. I don't think that's good for anyone.
As I said, I understand the temptation, but doesn't mean I'd give in to it.
But, merely "embracing the center," especially in 2018 elections isn't quite that.
What is the "center" on foreign policy issues?
I think there's a tendency for urban cosmopolitan types to define it as the elite consensus-- internationalist, interventionist, imperialist, with free trade and high levels of immigration, and the US using its military power to attack other countries and dominate the world.
But large parts of that worldview are not supported by majorities. Majorities support reduced immigration (which pains me- I love immmigration). Majorities often oppose free trade and support protectionism. Support for US military adventurism goes up and down, but there are times when the American public is implacably opposed to our alliances and meddling in other countries.
So what's the "center"? Is it the elite consensus, or is it the set of views that garners closest to majority support?
I think one of the reasons we got Trump, and the British got Brexit, is because a lot of politicians were ruling as out of bounds political positions that held substantial minority or even majority support.
“I think one of the reasons we got Trump, and the British got Brexit, is because a lot of politicians were ruling as out of bounds political positions that held substantial minority or even majority support.”
I think that’s exactly right. Representative democracy has become increasingly ineffective on a growing number of topics, as elite opinion has unified in opposition to the general public. This has had a political effect similar to welding the lid down on a pressure cooker while turning up the heat: Instead of the public giving up, the pressure just kept rising towards an explosion.
Trump isn’t his supporters’ idea of a great leader. He’s a wrecking ball. If the establishment somehow manages to oust him and reassert its control, whatever comes after him will be far worse.
My hope, Brett, would be that the establishment learns a lesson from Trump and doesn't try to get so far out in front of the public.
For instance, on trade, we just had administration after administration who didn't give two hoots about all the job losses in the Rust Belt. Any wonder the Rust Belt voted for Trump?
But it didn't HAVE to be that way. We could have slowed the free trade train down. Insisted on more protections for rust belt workers. Or do what Matt Yglesias has suggested and relocate some significant parts of the extremely large federal government into places that have experienced job losses. Or do what Jack Kemp used to call for and create enterprise zones where we grant tax subsidies businesses who open factories in areas of high unemployment.
There's all sorts of things either party could have done. But they didn't, because they didn't give a crap about those people. Trump was right. They were the forgotten Americans.
But going forward, establishment politicians can stop forgetting about them and start doing something about rust belt job losses and protecting the jobs that remain.
And I can say similar things about the other issues that motivated Trump voters.
The question is whether this will be a learning experience for the establishment.
So the call I'm hearing seems to be for the establishment politicians to come up with redistributions to address the Rust Belt issue, aka some forms of subsidies.
And I detect somewhat of a shifting Brett with his:
"Trump isn’t his supporters’ idea of a great leader. He’s a wrecking ball. If the establishment somehow manages to oust him and reassert its control, whatever comes after him will be far worse."
How far would Brett and other Trump supporters go with Trump's wrecking ball? Does Trump have a plan to rebuild? Hotels and condo along the shores of North Korea? Rebuild "clean coal"? Is Trump the Pied Piper for his supporters?
In recent comments there have been references to the "establishment." Just as the "center" may shift, so may the "establishment." Currently the "establishment is Trump and his GOP in control of Congress. The Trump/GOP tax act of 2017 was redistribution to corporations and the wealthy. Are the wealthy and especially corporations using their tax savings to bring back good jobs to the Rust Belt? Or was the goal of this upward redistribution to provide the wealthy beneficiaries the opportunity to politically tithe Trump and his GOP with campaign contributions to make sure their tax savings continue? And references are made to the "elite," which may also shift, so that Ivanka and Jared are part of the new "elite" as are Trump's cabinet. So who constitutes the "establishment" that Brett is concerned might out Trump and bring about chaos? Changes take place all the time. Why Jim Crow started to change with Brown v. Bd. of Educ. (1954) from its beginnings post-Reconstruction, although remnants continue. That required about a century of time. Perhaps Trump's followers of the Forgotten forgot about the history of Jim Crow and what preceded it, but have to blame someone for changes that took place globally that America could not isolate itself from
"Currently the "establishment is Trump and his GOP in control of Congress."
You write that as though they were the same faction. But if Trump actually were part of the establishment, he wouldn't be having to deal with Mueller. The investigation would have been terminated over a year ago, or perhaps not even begun in the first place. Mueller's investigation represents the establishment trying to find a pretext for ousting him.
Rather, the GOP wing of the establishment controls Congress, (The bureaucracy continues to be controlled by the Democratic wing of the establishment.) while Trump represents an insurgency within the GOP, actually viewed as an enemy by the Congressional leadership, many of whom actively opposed him.
Now on the surface they must treat him as an ally, because he has the support of most of the GOP's voters. And they'll work with him where his agenda and theirs don't conflict, such as to some extent judicial nominations. But they are not actually allies, as can be seen by the way non-judicial nominations continue to be slow-walked, (To prevent Trump from taking command of the bureaucracy.) and various figures in the GOP leadership defend Mueller. Sometimes even retiring so that they can do so without paying a political cost.
It's a dangerous game they're playing, because he does have that support, and they need to not make it too clear they're actually opposed to him. At the same time they really want rid of him, viewing Pence as more tractable.
"He’s a wrecking ball." "the pressure just kept rising towards an explosion."
This couldn't make my point above any clearer. The Right has gone from Buckley to essentially the overboiling cartoon steampot from the Golden Age of cartoons.
Brett's 7:36 AM closing begins: "It's a dangerous game they're playing, ...." So soon may we expect Brett and the rest of Trump's Forgotten supporters to come to Trump's defense as 2nd A absolutists?
There's punchline to an old joke from WW II about the ladies at a brothel laughing at a soldier's nude body to which he responded: "The shorter the fuse, the quicker the explosion!" And Trump has demonstrated that he has a short fuse.
While Brett doesn't think Trump is a great leader, does he think Trump is great with the wrecking ball? Or is Brett just another lemming?
"The investigation would have been terminated over a year ago, or perhaps not even begun in the first place."
The GOP Congress has and can not terminate Mueller's investigation because 1. that Russia meddled in our electoral affairs is something that was determined by all of our, and our allies, intelligence agencies and their history of doing this sort of thing is far pre-Trump's candidacy and nomination 2. key figures in Trump's campaign were well known to be connected to these attempts and 3. Mueller is a long time GOP official with a long history of respected service to them. GOP congresscritters have several times tried to undermine the investigation to try to build grounds for terminating but their attempts based on transparently selective leaks and laughable reasoning therefrom have been so pathetic that only the most hardcore partisans were 'convinced' of anything other than how sad the attempts were.
"This couldn't make my point above any clearer. The Right has gone from Buckley to essentially the overboiling cartoon steampot from the Golden Age of cartoons."
Mr. Whiskas, the voters are actually entitled to have democracy function, and rage is a perfectly reasonable response to finding that, no matter who you elect, they don't do what they ran on doing, but instead continue somebody else's agenda. If the people manage to elect somebody who will actually do their will, and the establishment finds a way to remove him, that's the stuff of revolutions.
"The GOP Congress has and can not terminate Mueller's investigation because"
I didn't say that Congress should be expected to terminate Mueller's investigation. Merely that, were Trump and the GOP leadership of the same faction, Congress would not be defending it.
Sure, Russia meddled in our election. They've been doing that for decades, and often on a much larger scale than 2016.
2. is just fiction. There's actually a better established link between Hillary's campaign and the Russians' efforts to meddle with our election, by way of her buying smears from Russian sources through cutouts.
And 3. is irrelevant. I said the conflict here is between the establishment and an insurgency, not between Democrats and Republicans. That Mueller is a long time Republican doesn't keep him from being part of that establishment.
Is the Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" song the theme of the new age?
If the people manage to elect somebody who will actually do their will, and the establishment finds a way to remove him, that's the stuff of revolutions.
Using the long recognized methods of investigation perhaps to the reach of impeachment is "the stuff of revolution?" Does this apply to judges you like too? As to "the establishment," this is an example of Brett vague use of labels. The people actually elected by the people at large -- Democrats and at least a segment of Republicans -- are supporting the Mueller investigation.
When it suits, going against such a majority of representatives of the people (perhaps by judicial review) would be deemed as anti-democratic. Now, some vague "establishment" is going against "the people" (a minority of the population voted for the guy & on top of that, many voted for the Republicans who support the investigation). Push comes to shove the "illegitimacy" here turns on whose ox is being gored like when judicial review is compelled and legitimate when it is done for "clearly constitutionally required" reasons but "anti-democratic" when otherwise.
Sure, Russia meddled in our election. They've been doing that for decades, and often on a much larger scale than 2016.
Ah. A novel twist. When did it meddle in "a much larger scale" than 2016, including involving leading members of the winning candidate's family, campaign staff & in some fashion (his ties to Russia has been in place for years) the candidate himself?
Put aside the "just fiction" comment about Hillary Clinton, unless this was done in a "much larger scale" in 2008 ... for someone who didn't even win the nomination.
"If the people manage to elect somebody who will actually do their will, and the establishment finds a way to remove him, that's the stuff of revolutions."
This stands out as worthy of special emphasis.
The Constitution itself sets up a means to provide a limited executive, who is not a king that can do no wrong, and in the process can be removed without a revolution. And, it isn't done by plebiscite. Representatives of the people are involved.
I put aside about how much Trump is doing "the people's will" exactly, but that's just something tossed in that can confuse another basic problem.
"rage is a perfectly reasonable response to finding that, no matter who you elect, they don't do what they ran on doing, but instead continue somebody else's agenda"
Rage isn't healthy for any one or movement, and conservatism historically, at it's finest, has been about measured prudence, which is just not compatible with outrage leading to radicalization.
Additionally, we have a system requiring a supermajority to do a lot and a divided country on a lot of issues. To imagine the political class is just ignoring the wishes of the 'people' rather than realize that it's supposed to be hard for things to be done in that setting shouldn't be the stuff of such rage.
"were Trump and the GOP leadership of the same faction, Congress would not be defending it"
Again, the things that are known beg for an investigation so obviously even many partisans just can't wave it away, it would look too bad.
"They've been doing that for decades"
Even were this true, this is the kind of answer you would expect from one who puts partisanship over patriotism (the latter would be concerned about what a foreign is doing *now* to subvert their country rather than using what they've supposedly done in the past to handwave about what they're doing now).
"a better established link between Hillary's campaign"
This is worse than fiction, it's partisan inspired fantasy. The charge is that the Clinton campaign hired a British intelligence officer to dig up what they could on Trump and his Russian dealings. That's not comparable in any way to having long known foreign agents of Russia with a history of working to subvert the elections of other nations in Russia's favor be the ACTUAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER of your campaign, a well established theft of internal documents and selective leaking of from one campaign tied to Russia with established ties to the Trump campaign (and with calls by the candidate himself for the leaks to be made, and established meetings with Russian officials where campaign matters were discussed and then later lied about.
"That Mueller is a long time Republican doesn't keep him from being part of that establishment."
It makes it much harder to make the case that he's a pawn of the Democrats, in fact under any reasonable non-partisan observer the fact that the person leading the investigation into the alleged misdeeds of a Republican president is *himself* a life long GOP hack would lead one to question how the investigation is biased IN FAVOR of the GOP President. Were the roles reversed you'd scream bloody murder.
Brett's also using the dodge of using "Russia" to equate the Russian government (which Trump colluded with) and "random Russian people" (whom Steele contacted in order to confirm that the Russian government was helping Trump). Steele's conduct was perfectly legitimate; Trump's was very possibly criminal.
Exactly Mark. The dossier issue is like this: a person is known to associate with persons with mob ties, so an investigator is hired to look into it and the investigator talks to many sources some of which are paid informants on the 'inside' of the mob, and the investigator finds many reasons to implicate people in the person of interest's organization working with the mob, some of which are not later substantiated but some of which are. To complain that the worst mob related thing in this scenario was the use of the paid informants is chutzpah. But, it's to be expected from people with the primary motivating factor of defending the person that is the subject of the investigation.
Gerard: During the Panic of 2008, fresh attention was given to the economic research of Hyman Minsky. Minsky proposed a theory to explain periodic financial crises that went something like this: The further the previous crisis receded from memory, the more people discounted the possibility that such an event would recur. This led them to take on more risk or deregulate, which eventually triggered the next crisis. And so on.
The idea that a lack of regulation or enforcement of regulation causes financial crises is self-serving nonsense. The reality is quite the opposite.
Every financial crisis over the past century was caused primarily by printing fiat money to increase the availability of credit and/or regulation compelling the provision of credit to the subprime borrowers. The mass default of the government imposed and subsidized subprime home mortgage market offered both errors.
I wonder if we are now having a Minsky Moment in politics or constitutionalism. In other words, voters and some political elites may be taking for granted the benefits that have flowed from various institutions or practices developed since World War II (free trade, global institutions, rule of law, constitutional democracy, etc.). As a result, people think that we can take on more political or legal risk (in the name of one goal or another) without losing the benefits associated with those practices. Until, that is, there is a significant upheaval. Then everyone will reassert the older caution and learn their lesson until they forget again.
The institutions and policies imposed since the New Deal were the departures from the Constitution's norms.
The harms imposed by these departures were very real - an absolute bureaucracy supplanting our representative democracy, two depressions (recessions without recoveries) and a gradual reduction of economic productivity growth, job growth and population growth (until it fell below replacement level).
I see no evidence progressives have learned from their errors. To the extent they even considered the harms to the nation of their consequences, progressives dishonestly shifted the blame to the constitutional norms from which they departed.
"an absolute bureaucracy supplanting our representative democracy"
This does not exist, in the past year and a half alone we've seen a new executive reverse regulations and Congress do the same. So, not absolute by definition.
"two depressions (recessions without recoveries) "
Which were nowhere near as bad as the Depression which preceded the institutions you decry, so the smart money is those institutions.
"population growth "
Decreases in every industrial country. Why do you hate industrialization Bart? Would you return us to the days of plows and TB?
As I noted, there is no evidence progressives have learned from their errors.
During the first progressive depression, the imposition of progressive policy and institutions by Hoover and FDR created the 1930-32 recession and the years of depression (non-recovery) which followed. During the second progressive depression, Obama dramatically expanded regulation a pace unseen since the New Deal and the 1970s stagflation, made the tax code more progressively punitive and expanded the welfare state, most notably moving millions of long term unemployed into permanent government dependence under the SSA disability program.
The absolute bureaucracy imposes, enforces and adjudicates the vast majority of our law. Surges in regulation neatly correspond to the worst economies of the past century, the two depressions discussed above and the 1970s stagflation. Trump and to a lesser extent Congress have primarily stopped future regulations in the pipeline and worked on the edges of the past Obama regulatory tidal wave.
Industrialization was underway for decades before the collapse of the reproduction rate in progressive nations through government's replacement of the family as the primary economic resource (changing children from economic necessities to luxuries) and the widespread use contraception (enabling couples to escape paying for those luxuries).
"the imposition of progressive policy and institutions by Hoover and FDR"
It is laughable to say those administrations caused the tailspin they were already in.
"During the second progressive depression, Obama dramatically expanded regulation"
This recession was worldwide, it hit nations that were deregulating like Ireland just as hard, so your theory is laughable.
"The absolute bureaucracy"
This does not exist. Absolute means "having no restriction, exception, or qualification." The federal bureaucracy has been overturned by courts, Congress and changing executives. It is by definition not absolute. Your partisan fanaticism can not change the English language.
As to industrialization, there is a not a single society that has undergone it that did not, upon achieving it, have a lower fertility rate. This is true for Singapore, Ireland, Russia, the US, China, etc., despite different governmental forms and policies, every single society that has undergone industrialization has the same result.
SPAM's 3:05 PM comment, second paragraph, opens with this:
"During the first progressive depression, the imposition of progressive policy and institutions by Hoover and FDR created the 1930-32 recession ...."
FDR was not inaugurated until March of 1933. SPAM labels Hoover as a progressive, intended as a pejorative, to support his screed. Hoover faced problems immediately after the 8 years of Republicans Harding and Coolidge. Hoover could not correct the situation following the '29 crash in the more than 3 years remaining in his term, dumping all this on FDR.
Were Bush/Cheney also progressives with their 2007-8 Great Recession? Recall at this Blog how SPAM was in obscene lockstep with the Bush/Cheney Administration, finally, with SPAM like the proverbial rat finally abandoning that shipless state. All this was dumped on Obama and during his two terms the economy made a comeback.
SPAM continues to be a man of the past with The Gilded Age of the late 19th century as America's best years, which of course he did not personally experience. Some of us actually experienced the Great Depression, the Great Recession and the comeback from the latter during the Obama Administration.
When it is pointed out to SPAM how badly Republicans governed, SPAM labels those Republicans progressives. And SPAM labels nations as progressive pointing to reductions in reproduction rates. What SPAM is doing is shooting blanks once again. I wonder if SPAM looks at himself as a luxury product.. Perhaps SPAM's description in his closing paragraph reflects the plight of Trump's base looking to avoid "those luxuries" as compared to certain demographic groups perceived as threats.
I do not give a damn what letter follows your name on the ballot. If you enact or support the continuation of progressive policy, you are a progressive.
Hoover led the progressive wing of the GOP.
Hoover started a trade war; the new progressive Fed created a deflation; Hoover jawboned businesses into maintaining or raising wages during the deflation, raising the cost of labor and causing mass layoffs; then Hoover completed his perfect storm of progressive misdirection of the economy by imposing a highly progressive Millionaire's tax to pay for doubling government spending in the name of creating demand. It all failed spectacularly.
When the progressive Clinton era government directed and subsidized subprime home mortgage market defaulted, Bush and his Fed chairman addressed the resulting financial crisis in a very progressive manner - they printed and threw literally trillions of dollars at it, bailing out banks around the world and then the automakers. Afterward, Obama used this slush fund to temporarily nationalize the automakers and permanently nationaiize Fannie and Freddie.
Not a single free market policy to be seen.
There's an easy (and fun) way to demonstrate how lower fertility rates follow industrialization. Just google the fertility rate of Newly Industrialized Countries (ones that have become significantly more industrial and better off in recent decades) one at a time. For example, if you google fertility rate South Korea you will see at the top of the search results a graph showing that the fertility rate for S. Korea went from about 6 per woman in 1960 to 1.24 today, for Malaysia the numbers are 6 to 1.93 over the same time, for Brazil 6 to 1.78, etc.,. This is just a basic demographic pattern and truth that even an amateur demographer should be aware of.
SPAM as a libertarian regressive might point to a time when there was, in his view, a pure free market to compare with current markets, and how such markets impacted the peoples of those times.
Also, perhaps the discussion on reductions in reproduction rates should be expanded to address the Malthusian Theory of population as impacted by climate changes and advancements in technology (including people living longer due to progressive movements in health care). Are survival issues connected to such reductions in industrialized nations? Might it be built into the genes of people in industrialized nations? [Note: Wearing tight jeans might reduce rates of reproduction.]
Shag, what I've been describing is called Demographic Transition, it's one of the central concepts in the field of demography, if you google it you can find many excellent descriptions of the phenomena and theories about it. Bart's pontificating on the topic while seemingly ignorant of this central concept in the field shows the kind of blunders that an extreme partisan motivated by 'if all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail' (everything bad is caused by 'progressives') type of thinking that is exemplary of the general problems of extreme partisanship I described with my first comment in this thread.
Here is some of the data on the effect of public pensions on fertility across the world.
Shag: SPAM as a libertarian regressive might point to a time when there was, in his view, a pure free market to compare with current markets, and how such markets impacted the peoples of those times.
We have never enjoyed a pure free market.
However, our first century provided the most net economic freedom for the most people, with the obvious problems being slavery and a tariff system. The latter was mitigated by the fact the US itself was the largest free trade zone in the world.
During this period, our people became the most productive, best compensated, healthiest and enjoyed the greatest availability to goods and services.
If we continued to grow at the nearly 5% rate of this first century, our GDP would be about two or three times as large today.
SPAM continues his Archie Bunker theme song with " ... those were the days" refrain on America's first century that concluded with The Gilded Age and its Robber Barons.
"We have never enjoyed a pure free market."
That being said, can it be said that a pure free market would indeed have been enjoyed? Perhaps SPAM could point us to what he means when be bandies about the phrase "free market" from time to time with his economic anal-yses. I anticipate that SPAM will provide a Humpty-Dumpty response.
"Here is some of the data on the effect of public pensions on fertility across the world."
The real tragedy of the commons is that, in spite of knowing just what a bad idea they are economically, governments continue to insist on creating them. But making a commons of the next generation was probably the single worst case of the phenomenon, because it resulted in an underproduction of people, not just articles of commerce. And to a degree comparable to a major plague or famine, only sustained.
Whatever the effect of public pensions on fertility (and it's a much debated topic), it is minuscule and marginal compared to the much more widely accepted effect of industrialization on fertility rates found in the Demographic Transition. Like I said, you can look at the data yourself on country after country after country, you will find invariably that when the country industrializes fertility rates don't just go from something like 3 to 1.9, they go from something like 6 to 2.
"comparable to a major plague or famine, only sustained."
This is appalling. Your comparing the free choice of people, when they have such a choice, to have less children to plague and famine. It's sick.
Here is data on the birth and fertility rates in the US historically. As you can see, there is no correlation with 'progressive' policies and decline. Birth rates have fallen *every Census* since the Census has been conducted. Fertility rates fell from nearly 8 in 1850 to 2 in 1940, experienced a slight bump to 3-3.5 in 1940 and 1950 and then fell back to 2 from 1970 on. If Bart would like to argue that 'progressive policies' were in placed during the plummet in birth and fertility rates from 1800 on I'd love to see it.
Shag: Are survival issues connected to such reductions in industrialized nations?
Sort of, but not for the reasons you offer.
Part of the reason for the demographic collapse in progressive nations is the endemically high under and unemployment of young adults entering child bearing years. Couples will avoid marrying and having children if they cannot easily support a family.
Brett: But making a commons of the next generation was probably the single worst case of the phenomenon, because it resulted in an underproduction of people, not just articles of commerce. And to a degree comparable to a major plague or famine, only sustained.
Our current demographic collapse is economically worse than plague or famine. The latter would generally take young and elderly economic dependents first. A demographic collapse increases the percentage of elderly dependents and leaves behind an ever shrinking labor force. As you noted, this self-inflicted plague is ongoing.
"our first century provided the most net economic freedom for the most people, with the obvious problems being slavery and a tariff system"
Other than the fact that somewhere between 1 in ten and 2 in ten (during that time period) were 100% CHATTEL SLAVES, with no freedom at all over anything, that period was more free today where people have to face the horrors of getting permits before building houses or minimum wage laws. This is the absurdity of much conservative/libertarian thinking in a nutshell.
Also, all countries enjoy very high levels of economic growth during industrialization. This is as true for communist nations as it was for nations like the US during the 19th century. But post-industrialization countries simply do not tend to be able to sustain this kind of growth, it's a coming from the baseline type of thing.
Mr. W: Here is data on the birth and fertility rates in the US historically.
Read the last paragraph of my 3:05 pm post for content. What element are you missing in your amateur sleuth search for demographic correlations? Seriously, a great deal of scholarship has been performed on this topic because even progressives are beginning to realize a demographic collapse and a growing welfare state = a failed state.
BD: "our first century provided the most net economic freedom for the most people, with the obvious problems being slavery and a tariff system"
Mr. W: Other than the fact that somewhere between 1 in ten and 2 in ten (during that time period) were 100% CHATTEL SLAVES, with no freedom at all over anything, that period was more free today where people have to face the horrors of getting permits before building houses or minimum wage laws. This is the absurdity of much conservative/libertarian thinking in a nutshell.
You are back to offering your favorite logical fallacy - the false choice. There is no reason we need to suffer under slavery or totalitarianism.
However, the comparison you make is interesting on another level. An economy where 10% of the population was reduced to chattel slavery, but the rest were relatively free, grew at just under 5% per year; while a totalitarian economy where the government reduced everyone's freedom grew at only 3% er year punctuated by long depressions.
"that period was more free today where people have to face the horrors of getting permits before building houses or minimum wage laws"
There were of course a range of regulations at that time, including ones that inhibited free speech and other basic liberties for the general public (or particularly, certain classes, such as women), too.
Golden ages are hard to come by. This includes "technicalities" in the courts, after all, Charles Dickens in at least one of his books satired never-ending lawsuits.
I wanted to add a bit about the whole slavery in Constitution thing.
If you want to consider a constitution where slavery was a fairly central concern, look at the many provisions in the Confederate Constitution-- including expressly calling a slave a slave (not circumlocutions that at the time were admitted to be a reflection of a certain shame) -- that protected it even from state interference.
Slavery was a basic part of society in 1787 and it is magic pixie dust land to think any national constitutional enterprise wasn't going to include some benefits to it. As is, as Don Fehrenbacher wrote in his final book, the biggest pro-slavery move there was a matter of some choice.
For instance, the Fugitive Slave Clause didn't require a strong national enabling act (cf. the handling of the fugitives from justice clause) and left open (in fact fairly compelled given the 5A) protections. Since persons were involved. The hand-waving of that word and speaking of "slaves" and "property" was not compelled by the document. Rep. Tristram Burges (RI) in 1828 even noted:
"Our Constitution admits no representatives of property; persons alone are represented. He, therefore, who votes his constituents are property, votes to vacate his own set on this floor."
People like Frederick Douglas might have undersold the breadth of slavery protection to some degree for effect, but the Constitution especially given the power of the interest group at issue is actually fairly remarkable in its limited explicit protections of slavery. This is a large reason why the Slave South was horrified at the prospect of Republicans getting into power.
That was years ahead. Until then the only provision that was locked in that would not have been applied at any rate given current practice was the 3/5 ratio. But, the status quo ante was better for slave states -- each state had one vote and amendment had to be unanimous (at least for important matters).
"own seat on the floor"
Anyway, to circle back to the original post, this is basically a matter of being lackluster with their oaths (focusing on state and federal officials) and lazily expected things won't get too bad. Human nature but can have horrible effects.
It's important to understand what's being argued by our conservatives re population. The logic behind the idea that public pensions decrease fertility rates is the same logic behind why industrialization does: when life becomes less precarious, especially for older people, then people have less children because they don't feel they have to have children for the purpose of those children helping them through the precariousness. In other words, the fact that public pensions make people's lives less precarious makes more people have children only when they want the joy of having and raising a child instead of as a security measure out of fear of poverty when their older, and our conservatives think *that is a bad thing* equivalent to a famine or plague. I think this fairly demonstrates again how they don't value liberty (in terms of choices made out of something other than fear of abject poverty) but rather tribalism.
Slight reductions in freedom, touching lightly if at all on fundamental freedoms and decided on democratically, for all is exponentially better than sans that plus total, 100% deprivation of freedom for 10-20 percent of the population (note that the closer you get to the Founding the closer that number gets to 20%) for any sane idea of liberty in a society.
Joe: There were of course a range of regulations at that time, including ones that inhibited free speech and other basic liberties for the general public
For an attorney used to plowing through libraries of law and opinions interpreting this morass, I was amazed at how few statutes and regulations existed during our first century. Our Colorado courthouse displays the books used by the first state judges in this jurisdiction. The book of statutes was less than an inch thick and was accompanied by a single treatise concerning the principles of law.
Bart, look at the data in the article I supplied you.Post a Comment
The white fertility rate was 7.04 in 1800. It was 6.55 in 1850. It was 4.55 in 1870. It was 3.87 in 1890. By 1930 (before social security) it was 2.98.
The fertility rate was *more than halved* in the period you yourself say was the time most free of progressive policy in this nation's history. You cannot point to anything close to a comparable drop in the period you describe as involving progressive policies.
So how do you explain this? Did the effects of progressive policies from 1930 on somehow ripple back into the past when such policies did not exist to have a greater effect on that past than they did and do during their own time? Lol.