Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Darren Lewis, 45. I always thought his reputation for having a good glove was legitimate. Obviously, if you gave him 500 PAs it wasn't going to work out well, although it's hard to blame him for the Giants falling shot in 1993, I guess; amazing that the Red Sox gave him almost 700 PAs in 1998 and sort of got away with it. Although looking at that roster...wow, that is a depressing group of OFers. By the way -- that 1993 team sure had a lot of gloves, didn't it? Although the fielding stats at least as compiled at b-r shows them about even with the Braves, so no advantage there. What a great, great season for fans, even with the bitter ending. For all of the problems with the new double WC system, at least it brings back the possibility that we'll see something at least close to that again.

Enough about that: the good stuff.

1. Nice Walter Shapiro column on covering the conventions.

2. Ross Douthat points out why James K. Polk is the wrong model of presidenting for Mitt Romney.

3. Excellent piece on race, Romney, and Obama, by Ezra Klein. Interesting to see how mainstreaming of political science research on race will go.

4. Byron Shafer is blogging from the conventions. Recommended. (Via John).

5. And, sure, why not; Rebecca Schoenkopf on Obama, Breitbart, my brother, whatever.

25 comments:

  1. Conor Freidersdorf's piece on Security at the RNC definitely worth a read.

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  2. Also, David Frum got an awesome critique. His response was to shill his own book.

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  3. "Interesting to see how mainstreaming of political science research on race will go."

    .

    Wow, this statement is just a wonderful encapsulation of contemporary lefty thought.

    "political science research"

    That's just sort of a surreal, disjointed sort of reaching, isn't it?

    And this to describe the historical leftist race pimping. Plus ca change, I guess.

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    1. Anon: why do you come here? Are you concerned that there is not enough urine in our corn flakes?

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    2. Well, thanks for asking. And to answer your question, I'm interested in where the hard Left is currently at, and it appears you're in the same place you've been the past 40 years or so.

      Time for a change, isn't it?

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    3. But that's just it. You don't seem interesting in discovering where those who differ from you are. You seem to just want to cast aspersions about the positions of the Left.

      Take the "political science research" jab. Since Bernstein is a political scientist and a number of readers of the blog are, that is only antagonistic. It doesn't start a positive discussion about where perspectives might differ and what we might learn from each other. It's basically "F You." Have you read Tesler's work? Is there some way in which Sears has screwed up his data?

      There are PLENTY of academics out there who lead with their opinions. I happen to think there are fewer of them in Political Science than in a number of other fields. But the folks Klein is referring to are basing their research on hard data, not impressions. They have survey research and statistical analyses to back up their claims.

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    4. In your taxonomy, is there any such thing as center-left or center? If so, are the people in those categories liberals from the past? If that's the case, you must know that your Bircher and Dixiecrat forebears have attacked every notable Democratic (or Republican liberal and moderate) politician as un-American and overly fond of dark-complected people and Communists - even tax-cutting, civil rights-neglecting JFK was despised by the right.

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    5. Oh I'd gather the political "scientists" recognize what use most of us involved with science have for them. No real reason to go through it (again). They've heard it all before, especially since they're most all of a lefty persuasion.

      I'm just intrigued by the jargon used by this guy... "political science research". It speaks volumes.

      To find the root of my disparagement of the historical lefty race pimping bound up in the above tortured jargon, you can scroll up and down in this discussion, or many of the others on this lefty site. As I say, plus ca change.

      Time to change, folks.

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    6. And forgive me, but although I could possibly be directed at me, I don't have any idea what the historically sweeping rant that guy just above is going on about, so I'll have to skip that one over.

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  4. The redistributive welfare state in the USA on balance takes substantial resources away from whites and Asians and gives them to blacks and Hispanics. Of course, many individual blacks and Hispanics are net payers and many individual whites and Asians are net receivers of government largess, but as a collective the racial impact of a redistributive welfare state is obvious. Affirmative action makes it easier for blacks and Hispanics to obtain employment, promotions, government contracts, and admission to college and professional schools, and makes it more difficult for whites and Asians to obtain these things. So of course, whites tend to vote for Republicans (by 60-37% in 2010 House races, but by somewhat smaller majorities in other races) who favor a stingier welfare state and are less enthusiastic about affirmative action, while blacks and Hispanics vote overwhelmingly for Democrats who favor a generous welfare state and are strongly supportive of affirmative action. Why does this surprise anyone? And why does the left find it admirable that blacks and Hispanics vote heavily Democratic, in their own economic self-interest, but not admirable at all that whites tend to vote Republican (but by smaller margins) in their own economic self-interest?

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    1. Got some real numbers for that, other then the % of white voters in 2010?

      Because looking at income disparity over the last decades, it would seem income has been redistributed up to the top quintile. (Hint: that's the line that goes up.)

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    2. The redistributive welfare state in the USA on balance takes substantial resources away from whites and Asians and gives them to blacks and Hispanics.

      Please provide a citation which provides an iota of evidence for your despicable racist fantasy.

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    3. Anon 10:21, I would actually dispute the idea that the welfare state disproportionately helps out "blacks and Hispanics." Perhaps if you are just looking at simple cash transfer programs. But this changes if you include tax expenditures ("the submerged welfare state"), which disproportionately help the middle and upper classes.

      In 2011, the federal government spent $466 billion on safety net programs (which include the refundable portion of the EITC and child tax credits, SSI, unemployment insurance, SNAP, school meals, low income housing assistance, child care assistance, assistance in meeting home energy bills, etc.). Not sure of the utilization rates of these programs across demographics, but its probably fair to assume that because blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately likely to be poor relative to their share of the population, they utilization of these programs will also be disproportionate.

      (Figures from: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258)

      However, in FY 2011, the federal government spent $177 billion on the exclusion for employer sponsored health insurance, $104 billion on the home mortgage interest deduction, about $110 billion on the net exclusion of pension contributions and earnings, $44 billion on the deduction for charitable contributions, and $44 billion on the preferential rate for capital gains, which all add up to more than the spending on safety net. Again, not sure of utilization rates by demographic, but I think it's safe to say that a lot of white people are utilizing that capital gains preference.

      Source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/tax-breaks-a-primer/

      So it's super simplistic to say that the welfare state "takes" from white people and "gives" to black people and Hispanic people. But it's a really good way to get working class white people to vote Republican.

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    4. Super simplistic is the way most people like their information.

      Although I am sure you are correct on the facts, Anonymous is correct on the perception many people have. Voters vote on perceptions rather than facts so if he is correct on those perceptions driving voting behaviors he doesn't have to be correct on the facts.

      As an aside, that is the sweet spot for Republicans - wrong on the facts, right on the perceptions. Without that, they fall apart.

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  5. "Despicable racist fantasy?" Wow! Look at the Fed numbers on wealth and income by race. Are you really unaware that high income earners are disproportionately white and Asian and that low income earners are disproportionately black and Hispanic? Are you unaware of the large racial gaps in SAT scores, with Asians at the top, whites a bit behind Asians, Hispanics well behind whites, and blacks at the bottom? Just google "race and income" or "race and SAT scores"; these are facts, not racist fantasy.

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  6. A quick google search on "race and income" brings up infoplease.com/ipa/A0104552.html 2010 median income by race: white $54,620; black $32,068; Hispanic $37,759.

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  7. In response to the other anonymous, I do not accept that tax deductions = transfer payments, because net of tax deductions the US income tax is rather steeply progressive, in fact more progressive than average for OECD countries, most of which rely heavily on value-added taxes which are roughly proportional, not progressive taxes.

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    1. However, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center (link here: http://www.urban.org/publications/412495.html), tax expenditures on average raise after-tax incomes more for upper-income than lower-income taxpayers.

      I'm just looking to point out that it's not true that government predominantly gives from "makers" to "takers"; we aren't living in an Ayn Rand novel. The middle class and upper class benefit substantially from government help, but they often either don't know it or won't admit to it.

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  8. There is no such thing as a "tax expenditure." That is simply a case of a citizen keeping what is his. Unless, of course, you believe that all wealth belongs to the government and it is merely by its leave that it is not confiscated.

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  9. Budget-wise, the government deducting $1000 from your taxes (tax expenditure) is exactly the same as if the government cut you a $1000 check (cash transfer). Ask any economist, right or left, Greg Mankiw, Martin Feldstein, Paul Krugman, etc.

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    1. Not just budget-wise. In every practical sense.

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    2. This is absolutely not true, on two levels.

      Firstly, if you pay no income tax, then the government deducting $1000 from your income tax does not function as a cash transfer to you, it does nothing. The tax deduction only operates as a transfer if you already pay more in tax than the deduction in the relevant tax. This has important consequences (and is one reason why cash transfers are so much more pernicious than tax deductions).

      Secondly and more importantly, you are taking as your starting point the citizen's income post-taxation, and treating that as the baseline, in order to claim that the tax deduction acts as a transfer to you. Of course, this is erroneous. What on earth makes this the privileged position, to assert that the tax taken is somehow "gone" but the deduction now acts as largesse? The starting point is the citizen's income pre-taxation, as that is what he has earned and is his. The tax deduction simply means that the government is not confiscating as much as it would without the deduction.

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    3. Dude... forget it... they're rolling.

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  10. When Romney's aides say he is going to be like Polk it is very clear what they mean:

    1) Go to war with Mexico, and take about 1/3 of it for new states for the US. Now what are people going to say about his dad being born in Mexico? It's part of the US now, baby!

    2) Annex the good (non-Quebec) parts of Canada. It's unclear whether this will be some sort of deal with the Queen or if he will have to deal with actual Canadians, but the new slogan is "84 degrees or bust!" Fortunately this also serves as the new Republican climate target. Double duty!

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  11. I caught a discussion on NPR this afternoon about the diminished role of integration in American schools. An African-American woman very intelligently outlined the case for integrated schools, lamented its decline, and then made a curious, oblique observation that she could sort of understand where opponents were coming from. The host was startled; the woman added softly that she is a mother of twins first, activist second; her primary responsibility is her childrens' well-being.

    That interaction brings up two points bearing on Klein's article. The first is that liberals are fond of "big picture" approaches to thorny social problems; unfortunately, the big picture is typically little more than the sum of a billion small pictures. In the 'big picture' women like the one on NPR today are aligned with progressive goals; in the small picture they're going to do what's best for their family. If there's a mismatch there, the small picture always wins.

    The second point is more pernicious. To his credit, Klein acknowledged that these issues are tricky. A big part of the difficulty comes from terminology - thinking follows language, after all - and how we tolerate incredibly unhelpful language where racial matters are concerned.

    To illustrate, we have a word for attitudes like those of the woman on the radio today, who sympathizes with progressive goals but places her family's needs ahead of such things. We also have a word for virulent rednecks who would happily return to an era where blacks were lynched for the slightest transgression.

    Stunningly - and this fact seems to bother, or even occur to, almost no one - its the same damn word.

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