Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mail Call

I had to mail a bunch of letter sized documents; I sent them out of Friday and it cost me nearly nothing; I received confirmation that they had been processed today, which might mean they arrive on Monday. Since the foundation of these United States the Post Office, mandated by the Constitution, has made life for the average citizen better. Thanks to the machinations of neoliberals bent on destroying anything that makes life better, the USPS is on its way to the ash heap of history.

In one stroke they remove more decently paying jobs from a struggling economy and offer the private sector a chance to overcharge for an essential service. Will, one wonders, the average Chuck Todd get the story right? Or will he or she make stuff up and generally miss the point? My bet's on the latter.

Being Right is No Excuse for Being a Horrid Little Man, But Still

 Over to TPM, Donald Trump correctly correct Chuck Todd on two important issues and they suggest that it is Trump who looks stupid.

Trump's essentially vulgarity and stupidity is beyond a doubt. But the points to take away from the first is that the NRO employes people who are actually dumber and more ideologically committed than Gingrich. And the second is that Chuck Todd is such an incompetent reporter that Trump, poster boy for ignorance, can school him on matters of fact.

Image the things of greater importance that Todd gets wrong or makes up. No wonder people vote against their interests; the press is incapable of reporting the time of day acurately. Why, one wonders, does TPM miss the point on this fundamentally key issue?

It's Not the Intellecutal Dishonesty;It's the Faux Heroism

Over to Crooked Timber, Chris Bertram mocks Greg Mankiw for prizing method over substance and, to prove his liberal bona fides, mocks Marxists for the same reason. Leaving the latter alone and agree with the former, I would like to highlight this bit of silliness from Mankiw. On the day of the now famous walkout of his overly large course, 750 students in a class at an Ivy seems idiotic and counterproductive, he mentions that
[t]he university administration, which had heard about the planned protest, sent several police officers to sit in my class for the day as a precautionary measure. Luckily, they weren’t needed.
He feared, it would seem, for his life. Those violent nudniks who know nothing of the intricacies of a fictitious science might well have stormed his podium and torn him limb from limb in an excess of rage at being unnaturally privileged.

With a grasp of reality as keen at that, it's no wonder he's an economist.

Oh For Dumb

David Brooks on regulation:
Nor is it clear that these additional regulations have had a huge effect on the economy. Over the past 40 years, small business leaders have eloquently complained about the regulatory burden. And they are right to. But it’s not clear that regulations are a major contributor to the current period of slow growth.
So even if the evidence doesn't support the complaints about "burdensome" regulations, he argues, people should complain. Why, you ask, because Brooks is an idiot. Recent events showed that the libertarian/conservative/neoliberal conceit about the genius of the market is simply wrong.

Brooks recognizes that the whingeing about regulations is over the top and, one assumes, realizes that a narrow focus on regulations as unnecessary obscures their salutary role in protecting us from the ravages of profit-minded sociopaths, yet he can't bring himself to admit it.

Why? He cannot think straight is why. If he could his conclusion would not be a generic
Obama’s regulations may be more intrusive than some of us would like. They are not tanking the economy.
But rather an example of an "intrusive" regulation. Bloomberg, galtian ubermensch and general all around authoritarian sludge pile, passes intrusive dietary regulations. Republicans pass intrusive laws about what medical decisions women can make and, if they could, they regulate which adult could marry which other adult and which adult can do what with some other adult. Those are intrusive regulations that limit liberty of action for no good reason. Telling an industry that they need to provide ramps for wheelchairs, or that pizza isn't a vegetable or that you have to stop dumping toxic waste in the river isn't intrusive; its the state functioning to protect individuals from unnecessary harm.