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Sunday, March 31, 2013

OTP: April 2013: Daily Caller: Baseball and the GOP: To rebrand the party, think like a sports fan

This week’s GOP autopsy report, commissioned by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, is a great start in the much-needed task of rebranding the Republican Party. As the chairman acknowledged, “the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough” and “we have to be more inclusive.” The report contains 219 recommendations to “connect people to our principles.” To achieve that goal, the party will need a strategic vision of how voters think about politics, which is something that the report lacks. For that, the GOP can learn a lot from another American passion: baseball.

This year, about 75 million Americans will go to the baseball stadium to watch a ballgame, about the same number as those who will vote in next year’s election. We rarely think about why someone becomes a baseball fan, or why they root for a certain team. Nor do we usually think about why someone chooses to vote for a certain political party. But it’s actually a very useful exercise.

When it comes to baseball, fan loyalty has almost nothing to do with the brain, and almost everything to do with the heart. In all of history, there’s never been a baseball fan who rooted for his team because it had the lowest ticket prices, or because it had the most taxpayer-friendly stadium deal, or because its players did the most community service. For the vast majority of Americans, rooting for a baseball team — not to mention, voting for a political party — isn’t really a rational choice; it’s more of a statement of personal identity — a statement telling the world, “This is who I am.” And for most people, defining “who I am” starts with family and community, before branching out into areas like race, age, gender, and class.

Family is pretty straightforward. If your mom and dad are Yankee fans, you’re almost certainly a Yankee fan. The same is true in politics. If your mom and dad are Republicans, you’re almost certainly a Republican.

Community is also pretty straightforward. If you grew up in, say, Philadelphia, chances are pretty great you’re a Phillies fan. Likewise, someone who grew up in Republican territory like, say, suburban Dallas or rural Indiana is much more likely to become a Republican than a nearly identical person from Seattle or Santa Fe.

Cities with more than one baseball team, like New York or Chicago, show revealing breakdowns by race and gender. The racial split in Chicago between Cubs fans on the North Side and White Sox fans on the South Side is well-documented. In New York, there’s an intriguing gender gap between Mets and Yankee fans, with women gravitating a lot more to the Yanks. While there’s a few theories out there trying to explain that, one obvious answer leaps out: Yankees heartthrob Derek Jeter.

In sports, as in politics, people’s convictions can’t be conveniently reduced to who their parents are or what they look like. But those things are an important foundation, upon which more rational sentiments come into being. Once you’re attached to your team on an emotional level — seeing them as a personal reflection of who you are and what you care about most — a rational exterior comes into being through phrases like “the Red Sox are the best team because they have the most heart” or “the Republicans are the best party because they know how to create jobs.”

Tripon Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM | 6544 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   5901. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4427482)
I think I was more saying that when a scandal is reported, it shouldn't be dismissed merely because you don't like the ideological priors of the reporter.


People don't/didn't dismiss Breitbart because of ideological "priors" of a reporter. They dismiss him/them because they have a documented history of making #### up and "reporting" it as news.
   5902. Tripon Posted: April 28, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4427492)

People don't/didn't dismiss Breitbart because of ideological "priors" of a reporter. They dismiss him/them because they have a documented history of making #### up and "reporting" it as news.


You mean editing footage to make people seem to say the opposite of what they're actually saying is unethical? Or breaking and entering a sitting senator's office to try to get a gotcha moment is also not a good thing to do?
   5903. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4427493)
No, it isn't. This wasn't the result of inefficiency; it was the result of racial politics. To be sure, Democratic OPM syndrome played a big role:

I agree. I just meant that if the Justice Department didn't have a $1– or $2 billion slush fund to play with, these types of things would be much harder for the government to pull off with little or no oversight or accountability.

***
Please explain to the class how inverting that logic leads to a more just or moral outcome, Davy. That is to say, defend as more just than the logic of the Clinton admin stated above, the following:

"It is better to err on the side of denying money to people who actually deserve it than to risk giving money to people who might not qualify."

People are getting $50,000 checks with zero supporting evidence. And not only zero evidence that they were discriminated against, but apparently zero evidence that they ever owned or even tried to own a farm.

Per the article, in some counties, four times as many people are claiming discrimination as there are farms in those counties.

***
So he did "exactly what Russia said he was going to do," which was "potentially" doing something. In other words, we don't know whether he did what Russia said he was going to do, we only know he might have.

The Russians apparently warned the U.S. that Tamerlan was preparing to leave the country, and then he ... left the country. Then, when he returned, after a 6-month trip, the feds apparently took no action.
   5904. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4427494)
People are getting $50,000 checks with zero supporting evidence. And not only zero evidence that they were discriminated against, but apparently zero evidence that they ever owned or even tried to own a farm.


Joe, this assignment is above your pay grade. Leave it to your betters, please.
   5905. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4427498)
People don't/didn't dismiss Breitbart because of ideological "priors" of a reporter. They dismiss him/them because they have a documented history of making #### up and "reporting" it as news.

LOL. This very story was probably where Breitbart most widely got the reputation for "making #### up." Oops.

***
You mean editing footage to make people seem to say the opposite of what they're actually saying is unethical? Or breaking and entering a sitting senator's office to try to get a gotcha moment is also not a good thing to do?

Speaking of "making #### up," you just did — twice. The entire video in question was online the whole time Breitbart was allegedly engaging in selective editing. (And, incidentally, the Obama administration fired the woman in question before Fox News had even mentioned the story on air, which is another falsehood that has turned into fact among lefties.)

The part about "breaking and entering a sitting senator's office" is also false. That was an independent filmmaker who sometimes gave footage to Breitbart, and he didn't "break and enter." He walked into a senator's office by claiming to work for the phone company.

***
Joe, this assignment is above your pay grade. Leave it to your betters, please.

How do you keep seeing my comments, Sam? You've claimed to have me on "ignore" at least a hundred times. Once a liar, always a liar, I guess.
   5906. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4427500)
You mean editing footage to make people seem to say the opposite of what they're actually saying is unethical? Or breaking and entering a sitting senator's office to try to get a gotcha moment is also not a good thing to do?


Snark notwithstanding, of course. And David knows that Breitbart does these things, yet he runs around with his head up his ass pretending otherwise because it's more convenient for his ideological priors to operate on the fantasy that it's just "liberal media bias" at play.
   5907. Gonfalon B. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4427510)
The greatest trick Friends of Hamas ever pulled was convincing the world it didn't exist.
   5908. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4427514)
The greatest trick Friends of Hamas ever pulled was convincing the world it didn't exist.

"Friends of Hamas" not only happened a year or two after Breitbart reported on Pigford, but 6 months after Breitbart died.
   5909. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4427522)
Please explain to the class how inverting that logic leads to a more just or moral outcome, Davy. That is to say, defend as more just than the logic of the Clinton admin stated above, the following:

"It is better to err on the side of denying money to people who actually deserve it than to risk giving money to people who might not qualify."

Please at least make a good faith attempt to do so without whinging off about "other people's money" as if that's an argument in and of itself.
It is an argument in and of itself. It is one thing to take money out of one's pocket and give it to people to whom one might not owe it, just to avoid the possibility of leaving someone out. It is quite another to take money from a random person on the street and give it to some other random person, just because you owe some people money.

But the other problem with the "logic of the Clinton admin" position is that it mistakenly compares the notion give-money-to-undeserving-people with the notion deny-money-to-deserving-people. But people who can't prove their claims aren't deserving people. If the issue were merely that they had filed their claims late (as many had) one might say that this was a mere procedural hurdle, and that it would be unjust to deny money to people who were qualified to get it just because of a deadline. But not having any evidence to prove one's claim is a substantive reason to deny a claim, not a procedural one. It's not unjust to not give money to someone who isn't qualified to receive it. In other words, there's no symmetry, any more than there is between convicting an innocent person and acquitting a guilty person for whom there's no evidence of guilt. The term for a guilty person for whom there's no evidence of guilt is "innocent." The system isn't making a mistake by keeping such a person out of jail; the system is operating as it's supposed to.


(You'll note that I haven't even pointed out that the underlying complaint here is people whining for welfare. To be sure, welfare should be given out in a color-blind manner, but it's not like there's some entitlement to it in the first place.)
   5910. Gonfalon B. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4427536)
"Friends of Hamas" not only happened a year or two after Breitbart reported on Pigford, but 6 months after Breitbart died.

His pupils certainly honored his memory.
   5911. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4427545)
His pupils certainly honored his memory.

I believe the Breitbart media empire has gone substantially downhill since the death of Andrew Breitbart, but that's a different issue than the one being alleged in #5901. "Friends of Hamas" has nothing to do with whether people should have paid more attention to Andrew Breitbart's reporting re: Pigford.
   5912. Mefisto Posted: April 28, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4427554)
DMN's argument in 5909 is very typical of his arguments generally, but it's fundamentally wrong. It makes the perfect the enemy of the good.

A great deal of spending -- and this is true of corporations as well as government -- gets spent on items or persons who, in the strict sense, are "undeserving". That's not the test and can never be the test. The test is whether, on balance, the benefits are greater than the costs.

In this case, as in most, there are costs to achieving perfection. Those costs include delays in payments to those everyone agrees are deserving, plus denial of payment to those who are deserving but who can't locate the evidence to "prove" it to some arbitrary level of satisfaction.

The burden of proof is on DMN to show that, overall and taking all factors into consideration, the settlement perpetrated a greater injustice than not settling. He's ducking that challenge for a good reason.

   5913. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4427558)
A great deal of spending -- and this is true of corporations as well as government -- gets spent on items or persons who, in the strict sense, are "undeserving". That's not the test and can never be the test. The test is whether, on balance, the benefits are greater than the costs.

[...]

The burden of proof is on DMN to show that, overall and taking all factors into consideration, the settlement perpetrated a greater injustice than not settling. He's ducking that challenge for a good reason.

Utterly absurd. If the above is the test, the Obama administration failed miserably.

After extended legal proceedings, the federal government had narrowed the potential claimants to around 90, and it appeared poised to win the entire case. Instead, to the shock of the judge and to the career DOJ attorneys who had defended the case, the Obama administration decided to start paying thousands of people, including people who had never been involved in the litigation in the first place.
   5914. Gonfalon B. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4427582)
I believe the Breitbart media empire has gone substantially downhill since the death of Andrew Breitbart, but that's a different issue than the one being alleged in #5901.

As the apostate David Frum wrote of Andrew Breitbart, "The attack was everything, the details nothing." You may think the ideals of a man who repeatedly yelled "Stop raping people" at Occupy Wall Street protesters have been let down. You may think the Friends of Hamas scoop was not in keeping with the strict journalistic standards of the "bombshell" Obama college video that would "end his chances of getting a second term." You may think that Breitbart, had he lived, wouldn't have been as loosey-goosey with the Friends of Hamas story as he was about the "nationwide ACORN child prostitution investigation," or the White House overseeing the physical assault of Tea Partiers, or the great ACORN obstruction of justice "document dump," or community organizers leading prayers to their savior, Barack Obama (a non-BREAKING update conceded the site might have mistaken "Obama" for "God").

But Andrew Breitbart certainly "propelled" a few "stories" "into the national conversation." To make an omelet, you gotta break a few eggs-- or on occasion, describe an egg as really a "doorknob."
   5915. bobm Posted: April 28, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4427589)
Http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/26/how-a-discrimination-settlement-for-minority-farmers-turned-into-a-bonanza-for-fraudsters.html

All government programs face a tradeoff between Type I and Type II error--between false positives and false negatives.  Think of disability benefits.  We give disability benefits for things that are basically impossible for an outside observer to verify, like back pain.  We're pretty sure that at least some of the people who are on disability for their back pain actually could work, but prefer not to.  But we can't tell how many.  

We could tighten up eligibility criteria so that you can only collect disability for an externally verifiable disease, like asbestosis or lost limbs.  But then we'd exclude people who really are in too much pain to work.  

So we've settled on a sort of hybrid system: claims for things like back pain are basically automatically denied, while my understanding is that a claim for something like primary pulmonary hypertension pretty much sails through on the first pass.  Eventually, if you stick with your back pain claim long enough, you'll probably get approved (along with an award for back payments).  The thinking seems to be that if you are willing to stay out of work for four years in order to qualify for disability, you're probably really disabled.

 But this is obviously very imperfect: most people seem to agree that the program is funding at least some malingerers.  Meanwhile, it's causing suffering among people who really are disabled and have to go without income for years while they wait for disability to come through.  The problem is that these things are a direct tradeoff: if you make applications easier, you get more malingering, while if you go after malingering harder, you cause more suffering among the genuinely disabled.

 The judge in the Pigford case seems to have decided that false negatives were the only thing worth worrying about.  As a result, the Times reporting suggests, we got a whole lot of false positives.  And now the administration seems to be making the same mistake with the next round of lawsuits.  

And while I am sympathetic to the plight of folks who wanted to farm, but couldn't get a start, I do think that this is a mistake.  Cutting checks to random people is not a good way to remedy past discrimination in a loan program.  In fact, almost any other remedy seems like it would be better.  Especially since the Times story suggests that there's no evidence that the discrimination underlying the new settlement even happened.
   5916. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 28, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4427595)
It does sound like the FBI and/or CIA should have done more follow-up monitoring of Tamerlan post-2011, even if it was just a periodic Google search...


What's particularly strange about this is, why the ####, with all the money spent on this kind of thing, the Watch List database, which has 500,000 names on it, isn't constantly churned through the top 23 search engines, and when there are enough pings for certain behaviors, it comes to the attention of an agent, who takes a look and evaluates. I can do this with any name or topic I want to keep an eye on. While I loathe the fact that the government has this capability, why aren't they using it? Why is it even a remote possibility that a misspelled name on a plane reservation will lead to the FBI missing a plane reservation 'of interest'.

...the liberal MSM deliberately chose to ignore it.


MSNBC is now in the MSM. That's the only example of a large, routinely center-left outlet. The MSM generally is center-right. It never challenges, ever, the validity of our political and economic system. Please don't be stupid.

@5915: great excerpt. I reserve judgment on the farming issue, but the writeup on tradeoffs is top-notch.
   5917. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4427602)
The MSM generally is center-right. It never challenges, ever, the validity of our political and economic system.
This second sentence, which I think is loosely true, in no way supports the first sentence.
   5918. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: April 28, 2013 at 07:25 PM (#4427624)
The burden of proof is on DMN to show that, overall and taking all factors into consideration, the settlement perpetrated a greater injustice than not settling. He's ducking that challenge for a good reason.

The burden of proof is on the person *making a claim* or the person *desiring compensation*. We don't just throw money because something is bad and place the burden on the people paying to prove that it's *not* deserved.

There's a ding on my back bumper. I expect you to pay for the repairs, Mefisto, unless you can meet your burden to demonstrate that did you not do it. Burden of proof is on you, after all. I'm guessing if I choose to have the bumper replaced, it would be roughly $500, but I'll be happy to get a specific estimate after such time you fail to meet your obligation to demonstrate that it was not you. I'll be generous, how's 60 days?
   5919. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4427625)
It is an argument in and of itself.


No it's not. It's you begging the question.

This second sentence, which I think is loosely true, in no way supports the first sentence.


Any system or structure that never challenges the validity of current political and economic systems is, by default, a tool for the continuation of the status quo. The continuation of the status quo is, by defintion, a right wing "conservative" goal. QED.
   5920. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4427626)
The burden of proof is on the person *making a claim* or the person *desiring compensation*. We don't just throw money because something is bad and place the burden on the people paying to prove that it's *not* deserved.


You're confusing the question proposed to the judge of the lawsuit with the question posed to David.
   5921. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: April 28, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4427627)
You're confusing the question proposed to the judge of the lawsuit with the question posed to David.

I certainly didn't hit my own car while I was inside at a Reds game. I only drove one car there. Since there's zero chance that I hit it and a greater than zero chance that Mefisto hit it, it clearly appears to me that me paying the $500 is a greater injustice than Mefisto paying $500. Why make the perfect the enemy of the good?

But, it's curious that you're trying to deflect me from the result with the maximum justice, so I can only suspect there's a non-zero chance that you might have done it (you own a car). So you and Mefisto are welcome to split it down the middle, 50/50, in the interests of achieving the least unjust outcome.

Or maybe, since there are a *lot* of people that could have hit my car, we can just collectively make all the suspects (let's call them "taxpayers" for short) pay equally for the repair of my bumper. Burden's on the government (and as a result, the taxpayers) to prove that the $500 collected for me is *not* a just outcome, after all.

But I'll be flexible. I don't really need to get the taxpayers involved; you and Mefisto can decide how to split up the checks written to me. If you email me, I can give you my mailing address.
   5922. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 07:34 PM (#4427629)
I certainly didn't hit my own car while I was inside at a Reds game. I only drove one car there. Since there's zero chance that I hit it and a greater than zero chance that Mefisto hit it, it clearly appears to me that me paying the $500 is a greater injustice than Mefisto paying $500. Why make the perfect the enemy of the good?


Take to a judge. Convince him of it. Have a day. (Your error was going to a Reds game.)
   5923. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: April 28, 2013 at 07:38 PM (#4427630)
Take to a judge. Convince him of it. Have a day.

I was just told that the burden of proof was *not* on the person claiming to be wronged and who desired payment. So, if we buy Mefisto's logic, the burden's on Mefisto and you to prove that you didn't hit my car, lest we reach an outcome that is more unjust.

(Your error was going to a Reds game.)

What good's media access if you can't abuse it?
   5924. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4427634)
Any system or structure that never challenges the validity of current political and economic systems is, by default, a tool for the continuation of the status quo. The continuation of the status quo is, by defintion, a right wing "conservative" goal. QED.

The current system in the US bears little relation to what "right wing conservatives" would want.

It's more like a Democrat's crony capitalist dream state.
   5925. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 28, 2013 at 07:54 PM (#4427638)
The burden of proof is on DMN to show that, overall and taking all factors into consideration, the settlement perpetrated a greater injustice than not settling. He's ducking that challenge for a good reason.

The burden of proof is on the person *making a claim* or the person *desiring compensation*. We don't just throw money because something is bad and place the burden on the people paying to prove that it's *not* deserved.


I won't get into the minutae of the argument with David, but DJS' claim is, of course, correct.

Any system or structure that never challenges the validity of current political and economic systems is, by default, a tool for the continuation of the status quo. The continuation of the status quo is, by defintion, a right wing "conservative" goal. QED.The current system in the US bears little relation to what "right wing conservatives" would want.

It's more like a Democrat's crony capitalist dream state.


It's a shame you give into your basest impulses and conflate "Democrat" with the "left" (it would also help you smarten up your posts to stop pretending that the left is monolithic). In any case, if you think mainstream Democratic pols are more enamored of crony capitalism in 2013 than the GOP, please just bow out of these threads.
   5926. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4427639)
It's a shame you give into your basest impulses and conflate "Democrat" with the "left" (it would also help you smarten up your posts to stop pretending that the left is monolithic). In any case, if you think mainstream Democratic pols are more enamored of crony capitalism in 2013 than the GOP, please just bow out of these threads.

No, the actual leftists would prefer something far more explicitly socialist; e.g. national health service.

The mainstream Democrats are much better at using crony capitalism to suit their interests than the GOP; just see the level of financial industry donations that go to Democrats, while the Republicans (like idiots) carry the water for the hedge funds and banks.

And you don't get to tell me when to comment, or not. Your next intelligent post will probably be your first.
   5927. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 28, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4427657)
The Daily Beast commentary that bobm posted in 5915 spells it out the way it should be. The specific case is an outrage, but the history of black farmers getting screwed over by government programs that started with the New Deal is a far more compelling story. OTOH that does NOT justify all the BS and political maneuvering depicted in the Times story.

I'm sure that this article will spawn a hundred hearings of outrage and indignant subpoenas, and it should. But I do wish that a bit of indignation could be spared for other and even worse examples of government corruption, such as the privatizing of many of our prison systems, or the systematic refusal of Medicare to cut costs in ways that wouldn't diminish the quality of medical care for those who need it most, as reported in today's Washington Post.

   5928. Mefisto Posted: April 28, 2013 at 08:56 PM (#4427658)
I won't get into the minutae of the argument with David, but DJS' claim is, of course, correct.


No, DJS is being cute. He's conflating two different things: (1) evaluating government expenditures; and (2) requirements in court in lawsuits between individuals (different rules apply in class actions). DMN was talking about #1 because the Pigford case involves a settlement, not a jury verdict, and I responded in kind.

I would add that the analysis quoted in 5915 shows that I'm right on this point (ignoring the merits for now), but I'm embarrassed to cite Megan McCardle on my behalf.
   5929. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4427663)
No, DJS is being cute. He's conflating two different things: (1) evaluating government expenditures; and (2) requirements in court in lawsuits between individuals (different rules apply in class actions). DMN was talking about #1 because the Pigford case involves a settlement, not a jury verdict, and I responded in kind.

I would add that the analysis quoted in 5915 shows that I'm right on this point (ignoring the merits for now), but I'm embarrassed to cite Megan McCardle on my behalf.

This is funny. Based on years of legal proceedings in this case, no more than about 90 people were found to have even semi-verifiable claims, and the DOJ's career attorneys — who, as a group, lean toward the political left — were confident the case could be won outright. Instead, the Obama administration decided to pay thousands of people, which means the fraud rate is likely to be well over 90 percent.

A private company wouldn't agree to a settlement like this if they were giving out $10 vouchers, let alone the $50,000 checks that Obama is passing out.
   5930. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:15 PM (#4427664)
Any system or structure that never challenges the validity of current political and economic systems is, by default, a tool for the continuation of the status quo. The continuation of the status quo is, by defintion, a right wing "conservative" goal. QED.
Gotcha. So Fidel Castro is a right wing conservative.

i would point out the manifold errors in what you just said, but since I know you already know them, it would be a waste of my keyboard.
   5931. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:18 PM (#4427666)
It's a shame you give into your basest impulses and conflate "Democrat" with the "left" (it would also help you smarten up your posts to stop pretending that the left is monolithic). In any case, if you think mainstream Democratic pols are more enamored of crony capitalism in 2013 than the GOP, please just bow out of these threads.
Who were bigger supporters of the Wall Street bailout? Was it liberals or conservatives? Who supported the Detroit bailout? Was it liberals or conservatives?
   5932. greenback calls it soccer Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:29 PM (#4427676)
So Fidel Castro is a right wing conservative.

Would you describe Castro as liberal?
   5933. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4427681)

No, DJS is being cute. He's conflating two different things: (1) evaluating government expenditures; and (2) requirements in court in lawsuits between individuals (different rules apply in class actions). DMN was talking about #1 because the Pigford case involves a settlement, not a jury verdict, and I responded in kind.


Why shouldn't burden of proof be required for those wanting part of a settlement? It's not a pizza party in which everyone's invited. Since it's a settlement, not a jury verdict, we should all dance and let the cash rain?

And frankly, liberals should be in *favor* of good government more than anyone - shrugging and just throwing money out like loaves of bread being chucked out from a 1950s bible epic set in Rome undermines people's faith in government.
   5934. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4427682)
Would you describe Castro as liberal?

Leftist certainly.
   5935. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4427687)
Who were bigger supporters of the Wall Street bailout? Was it liberals or conservatives? Who supported the Detroit bailout? Was it liberals or conservatives?


Which was the bailout where John McCain suspended his presidential campaign so he could rush back to Washington and work on pushing it through? I remember he gave some speeches about how Obama clearly wasn't serious about recovery, because he was still campaigning instead of working on bailouts like McCain.
   5936. Mefisto Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4427689)
DJS, that's not the way class action settlements work. Typically, class actions involve large numbers of people (hence the name). When the Court approves a settlement, there's a claims process established. Depending on the size of the class, this can be as simple as having a class member submit a form declaration that s/he suffered damage of the type, and for the reason, described in the class complaint. The claim is not evaluated much, it's just accepted. The settlement payment is then distributed according to a formula of some sort (often a percentage of the total).

The Pigford case is no different than this. The government basically admits injustice in the past, and is willing to pay compensation for that. The compensation is fixed at $1.2 billion. The only real question in the circumstances is the extent to which any individual deserves some portion of that money. The amount of money won't change, so the taxpayers aren't harmed. The harm, if any, is to other claimants.

From the government's perspective, the correct question is the one I noted: was the amount paid a reasonable compensation for the past harm? It doesn't have to be a perfect settlement, any more than the Japanese internment compensation was intended to achieve perfect justice.
   5937. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 28, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4427691)
But I do wish that a bit of indignation could be spared for other and even worse examples of government corruption, such as the privatizing of many of our prison systems, or the systematic refusal of Medicare to cut costs in ways that wouldn't diminish the quality of medical care for those who need it most, as reported in today's Washington Post.


I eagerly await snapper posting on these outrages.

Gotcha. So Fidel Castro is a right wing conservative.


I know of no lefties who consider Castro one of them, if that's what DMN is implying.

And frankly, liberals should be in *favor* of good government more than anyone...

This is very true. Since liberals are proposing a larger government, corruption undermines peoples' belief in the efficacy of larger government. The horrors perpetrated by a predominantly Democratic Congress in the 60s and 70s surely did go some distance towards paving the way for the nightmare of the 80s, with Reagan and Gingrich.
   5938. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:00 PM (#4427692)
Since "Mefisto" is apparently an authority on "the way class action settlements work," perhaps he could name a class-action settlement in which people got $50,000 checks just for filling out a form and claiming they were wronged. I doubt he could name a case where people got $500 without a scintilla of evidence to support their claim.

***
I know of no lefties who consider Castro one of them, if that's what DMN is implying.

Michael Moore? Sean Penn? Any of the countless other liberals who've gone to Cuba to pay homage to Fidel?
   5939. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:17 PM (#4427699)
The Pigford case is no different than this. The government basically admits injustice in the past, and is willing to pay compensation for that. The compensation is fixed at $1.2 billion. The only real question in the circumstances is the extent to which any individual deserves some portion of that money. The amount of money won't change, so the taxpayers aren't harmed. The harm, if any, is to other claimants.

Taxpayer money going to make people unjustly enriched rather than justly compensated damages the viability of government.

They're not giving out free yogurts or coupons for 50 cents of their next purchase of Jiffy Pop - the amount involved and the seriousness of the allegations requires the proofs of claim to be seriously evaluated.


   5940. Tripon Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:18 PM (#4427700)
Fidel Castro was a leftist, he was also a conservative. The Chinese governing party is also Leftist, and conservative. Can we move on to a different topic?
   5941. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:20 PM (#4427701)
Again, what's missing in all the talk about the Pigford case is the fact that no monetary settlement could possibly make whole the amount of damage that was done to black farmers by the Agriculture Department over the past 75+ years. The historical root cause of this case was the Deal With The Devil that Franklin D. Roosevelt made with the Dixiecrats, whose support he needed in order to get passage of his farm programs. Without institutionalizing Jim Crow into the entire system of government-backed agricultural programs, those programs would have died stillborn within Dixiecrat-run congressional committees. The fact that there now may be relatively few remaining legitimate complainants speaks far more to the success of the Dixiecrats in driving black people off their land than it does about any lack of real injustice done to black farmers over the past three-quarters of a century.
   5942. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4427703)
Again, what's missing in all the talk about the Pigford case is the fact that no monetary settlement could possibly make whole the amount of damage that was done to black farmers by the Agriculture Department over the past 75+ years. ...

You might as well just argue for reparations. Otherwise, the above is little more than misdirection when discussing the merits of a lawsuit being litigated in 2009 with plaintiffs who were alleging — without any proof, in all but 90 cases — to have been wronged within the past few years (or decades).
   5943. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4427704)
5941/Andy: I thought this as well, though that doesn't make the implementation of this response appropriate.

Fwiw, I once got $800 in a class action settlement without really offering an evidence that I merited it. (I did.)
   5944. Mefisto Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4427706)
Taxpayer money going to make people unjustly enriched rather than justly compensated damages the viability of government.


What really damages the viability of government is racial discrimination in government programs.

You're just re-stating DMN's argument that the perfect should be the enemy of the good. The question is not whether perfect justice is done, the question is whether approving the money was better than not approving it. It was the same with the Japanese internment case. Given the behavior Andy alluded to in 5941, it's very hard to argue that the government shouldn't pay.
   5945. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4427707)
Fidel Castro was a leftist, he was also a conservative. The Chinese governing party is also Leftist, and conservative. Can we move on to a different topic?

That's non-sensical. Your definition means any party in power in "conservative".

By your definition, the Democrats are the "conservative" party in the US right now, b/c they have control of the White House. The Bolsheviks in 1920, and the Maoists in 1950 were "conservative", b/c they wanted to stay in power.

It's a ridiculous, useless definition.
   5946. Mefisto Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:38 PM (#4427709)
Fwiw, I once got $800 in a class action settlement without really offering an evidence that I merited it.


That's hardly surprising. I was one of the counsel in a class action which involved a settlement of $400 million. The claims process achieved a very rough form of justice, but no more than that.
   5947. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4427710)
What really damages the viability of government is racial discrimination in government programs.

The career attorneys at the DOJ claim there was little or no such discrimination in the case being discussed.

That's hardly surprising. I was one of the counsel in a class action which involved a settlement of $400 million. The claims process achieved a very rough form of justice, but no more than that.

Ha ha. A class-action lawyer likes the class-action lawsuit racket. Color me shocked.

Did the "rough form of justice" include your firm getting about a third of the $400 million?
   5948. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:42 PM (#4427712)
5941/Andy: I thought this as well, though that doesn't make the implementation of this response appropriate.

I don't disagree with that conclusion, as I stated previously in 5927. I only wish that the passage of time and the blurring of lines of direct responsibility hadn't made it virtually impossible to provide real compensation to the real victims, most of whom are long gone and their families scattered to the winds. And when all is said and done, the sorry politicization of the endgame of this lawsuit is but a rather ironic and bitter footnote to the shameful history that brought about the lawsuit in the first place.
   5949. Mefisto Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4427714)
One of the definitions of "conservative" is "tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions". By that definition, the Dems are "conservative" and the Republicans are a radical reactionary party.

That's not the only definition possible, of course.
   5950. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 28, 2013 at 10:56 PM (#4427725)
One of the definitions of "conservative" is "tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions". By that definition, the Dems are "conservative" and the Republicans are a radical reactionary party.

That's not the only definition possible, of course.


I've heard that another definition has something to do with drowning the government in a bathtub, but that couldn't be right.

But of course in the real world Castro's a leftist, Mao and Stalin were leftists, and Hitler and Franco were rightists. Not that any of those distinctions meant a damn thing to any of their many millions of victims, and not that it ever stopped many of our domestic conservatives from wanting to do business with any of them.
   5951. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4427727)
It was the same with the Japanese internment case.

No, proof of internment was established for those claimants.
   5952. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4427729)
5948/andy: yup.
Incidentally, the settlement did get a decent amount of press at the time, right? This isn't some sort of secret...

5947/joe: you know, I've arguably argued against the interests of my firm/career on this site. I think they're a good actor (as am I) within the current system, but that that system is inefficient and inequitable. Heck, haven't you argued against your financial interests in threads dealing with international signings?
   5953. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4427730)
DJS, that's not the way class action settlements work. Typically, class actions involve large numbers of people (hence the name). When the Court approves a settlement, there's a claims process established. Depending on the size of the class, this can be as simple as having a class member submit a form declaration that s/he suffered damage of the type, and for the reason, described in the class complaint. The claim is not evaluated much, it's just accepted. The settlement payment is then distributed according to a formula of some sort (often a percentage of the total).
In some consumer class actions, it can be as simple as submitting a form under penalty of perjury saying that you bought the product during the applicable time period, or the like. But that's to get a refund of $5, or perhaps a $3 coupon off your next purchase. I've never heard of a class action where you can get $50,000 for submitting a form.

The Pigford case is no different than this. The government basically admits injustice in the past, and is willing to pay compensation for that. The compensation is fixed at $1.2 billion. The only real question in the circumstances is the extent to which any individual deserves some portion of that money. The amount of money won't change, so the taxpayers aren't harmed. The harm, if any, is to other claimants.
No, that's not right. There's no reason the compensation should be fixed. If there are fewer than $1.2 billion in legitimate claims, then the leftover money (less, of course, attorneys' fees) should revert to the treasury. (The Times understates the cost of the settlement, by the way; in addition to the lottery cash payouts, the settlement terms also included tax relief and forgiveness of debts. The actual value of the settlement was almost $200K per claimant for the actual farmers, though only $62,500 for the attempted farmers.) Now, it's possible that there wouldn't have been leftover money from the black portion of the settlement, but from the Times story, there would have been lots left over from the other identity-politics claimaints.

That's assuming that this was even a legitimate class action in the first place. While black farmers denied loans is a certifiable class, people who attempted to farm is a different story.

From the government's perspective, the correct question is the one I noted: was the amount paid a reasonable compensation for the past harm? It doesn't have to be a perfect settlement, any more than the Japanese internment compensation was intended to achieve perfect justice.
There is a difference between rough justice in the form of making a flat payout to every internee rather than calculating individual damages, and giving money to people who were never interned in the first place. This is pretty much the equivalent of adding Chinese people to the internment reparations program because, hey, close enough.
   5954. Tripon Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM (#4427731)
That's non-sensical. Your definition means any party in power in "conservative".

By your definition, the Democrats are the "conservative" party in the US right now, b/c they have control of the White House. The Bolsheviks in 1920, and the Maoists in 1950 were "conservative", b/c they wanted to stay in power.

It's a ridiculous, useless definition.


Yes, that's the definition of being a conservative. If you want to talk about the Conservative Party (Big C), that'll be one thing, but I haven't seen that argument in this thread yet.
   5955. Tripon Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4427738)
Class Action lawsuits are dumb. You cannot honestly tell me that the lawyers who filed the case actually represent the number they claim that they do. Every time I get one of those emails claim that I can only opt out instead of opt in of such a lawsuit in spite of me not actually complaining of said product that is supposedly defective. And the 'rewards' are a joke, which amounts to pennies on the dollar.

You really want to help the consumers in these class action lawsuits? Make sure that the company in question you're so sure is causing harm, make sure they're not releasing their product without the defects. Which I don't see happening.
   5956. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:13 PM (#4427740)
5947/joe: you know, I've arguably argued against the interests of my firm/career on this site. I think they're a good actor (as am I) within the current system, but that that system is inefficient and inequitable. Heck, haven't you argued against your financial interests in threads dealing with international signings?

I'll concede all of the above, but I'm not sure what you're trying to say. "Mefisto" clearly isn't arguing against self-interest; he seems to love that the class-action system resulted in taxpayer money being thrown around without requiring the claimants to provide any proof.

***
Now, it's possible that there wouldn't have been leftover money from the black portion of the settlement, but from the Times story, there would have been lots left over from the other identity-politics claimaints.

Right. The Native-American portion apparently resulted in $400 million being left over, and the Justice Dept. apparently didn't bother to seek a court order that would have returned the leftover money to the government. Instead, the plaintiffs' lawyers are getting to play Santa Claus by passing out that money to various charities that deal with Native Americans. The whole thing is a circus, from start to finish.

***
And the 'rewards' are a joke, which amounts to pennies on the dollar.

Not for the lawyers!
   5957. Mefisto Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:15 PM (#4427742)
No, proof of internment was established for those claimants.


I think you mean evidence of internment was presented. That's what's happening with Pigford, too.

I've never heard of a class action where you can get $50,000 for submitting a form.


It depends. In the Honda Bribery Settlement, which was the case I mentioned above, the settlement amounts were arrived at by mathematical formula. Those were, necessarily, estimates.

As for Pigford, I don't know if any claimant can get $50k merely for submitting a form, but I suppose that depends on other facts known to the claims administrator.

There's no reason the compensation should be fixed.


Sure there is. The court approved the amount and Congress agreed to fund it. Any increase would require more money and thus additional approvals by both judiciary and Congress.

There is a difference between rough justice in the form of making a flat payout to every internee rather than calculating individual damages, and giving money to people who were never interned in the first place.


There are two types of "justice" at issue here. One is whether the government has paid enough to compensate for the unjust conduct it engaged in. The other is whether each individual claimant has gotten the exactly correct amount.

If your concern is the government, then the only question is whether the government paid enough to assure that it won't sin again (like the internment case). That's the balancing test I mentioned above.

If your concern is for the individual claimants, then you shouldn't be talking about "harm" to taxpayers because there is none.
   5958. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:16 PM (#4427744)
Yes, that's the definition of being a conservative.
No, it isn't. Conservative in politics has never ever been defined as wanting to keep the status quo regardless of what it is.
   5959. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:18 PM (#4427745)
I think you mean evidence of internment was presented. That's what's happening with Pigford, too.

Incorrect, for the vast majority of claims.

As for Pigford, I don't know if any claimant can get $50k merely for submitting a form,

You would if you read the article.
   5960. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:23 PM (#4427749)
My point, unargued by me, was that self interest can be independent of what you feel is right or argue for.
   5961. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4427751)
My point, unargued by me, was that self interest can be independent of what you feel is right or argue for.

I agree. This clearly doesn't apply to "Mefisto," though, so I didn't understand why you mentioned this when you did.

(I'm sure we both agree that people who argue against self-interest are the exception, if not a rare exception.)
   5962. Tripon Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4427752)
No, it isn't. Conservative in politics has never ever been defined as wanting to keep the status quo regardless of what it is.


DOMA, Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
   5963. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:29 PM (#4427754)
DOMA, Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Most conservatives support both of those.
   5964. Tripon Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:38 PM (#4427761)
Yes, and they were both the status quo, supported by conservatives in government. A conservative doesn't have to belong to a certain party in order to be a conservative, or we wouldn't have 'Blue Dog Democrats' or 'Social-Conservative' Republicans. We'd have the Conservative(Big C) party instead.
   5965. Jay Z Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:48 PM (#4427775)
There's a ding on my back bumper. I expect you to pay for the repairs, Mefisto, unless you can meet your burden to demonstrate that did you not do it. Burden of proof is on you, after all. I'm guessing if I choose to have the bumper replaced, it would be roughly $500, but I'll be happy to get a specific estimate after such time you fail to meet your obligation to demonstrate that it was not you. I'll be generous, how's 60 days?


You overrate the sanctity of property. Half of the wealth in the world is inherited. In particular inherited wealth is a reality but isn't particularly legitimate. Do you really think that some being that comes into the world with nothing that it's meet and right that half of the world is cordoned off? All inherited property has behind it is the point of a gun, to quote the phrase. People may comply, but that's just weighing the pros and cons.

Furthermore, billions in the world don't own $500 worth of anything that they can have damages made against. Why should they care about your system?

Private property is a reality and used right, it's a useful tool. But there are dirty hands behind every little bit of it. In fact there's some legitimacy behind EVERY claim of someone else on your or my property.
   5966. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4427778)
There's no reason the compensation should be fixed.

Sure there is. The court approved the amount and Congress agreed to fund it. Any increase would require more money and thus additional approvals by both judiciary and Congress.
That doesn't make any sense in response to what I wrote. You're talking about an increase, while I was talking about decrease.


It depends. In the Honda Bribery Settlement, which was the case I mentioned above, the settlement amounts were arrived at by mathematical formula. Those were, necessarily, estimates.
Could you get a payout if you weren't a dealer in the first place?
As for Pigford, I don't know if any claimant can get $50k merely for submitting a form, but I suppose that depends on other facts known to the claims administrator.
The court itself described the $50,000 payment as being "virtually automatic" for people with "little or no documentary evidence."

There are two types of "justice" at issue here. One is whether the government has paid enough to compensate for the unjust conduct it engaged in. The other is whether each individual claimant has gotten the exactly correct amount.

If your concern is the government, then the only question is whether the government paid enough to assure that it won't sin again (like the internment case). That's the balancing test I mentioned above.
This isn't a private defendant. This is the government, playing with OPM. There's no such thing as "paid enough to assure it won't sin again." There's no deterrent effect from a big payout, and it isn't more just to give away a bigger amount of money merely because the government was allegedly the wrongdoer. With a private defendant there are two types of justice. With the government as defendant, there's only one type.
   5967. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 28, 2013 at 11:57 PM (#4427779)
You overrate the sanctity of property.
That's unpossible.
   5968. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM (#4427781)
Yes, and they were both the status quo, supported by conservatives in government. A conservative doesn't have to belong to a certain party in order to be a conservative, or we wouldn't have 'Blue Dog Democrats' or 'Social-Conservative' Republicans. We'd have the Conservative(Big C) party instead.

Conservatives supported the status quo with DOMA and DADT because they supported the status quo, not because it was the status quo.
   5969. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4427783)
Conservative in politics has never ever been defined as wanting to keep the status quo regardless of what it is.

If you can ever come up with a definition of "conservative" that all self-defined "conservatives" would (a) agree upon, and (b) agree to apply consistently over the top 10 hot button issues, I'd love to hear it.

It's really absurd when you think about it. Just to take one example, is gay marriage "conservative" in that it enables gays to settle down legally and give them a bigger stake in the game? Or is it some sort of a "radical" plot against God and / or nature?

The point isn't which of these two POVs you'd agree with (though I'd guess the former), but that people who identify as "conservatives" are split on the issue---as to a lesser extent are "liberals". It isn't just "conservatives" who have problems with definitions.

   5970. Mefisto Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:07 AM (#4427784)
You're talking about an increase, while I was talking about decrease.


Both court and Congress approved the payments, so there is no decrease. It's the amount the government agreed to pay in order to settle. Just the way it is for any corporation.

Could you get a payout if you weren't a dealer in the first place?


Yes. Those who were wrongly denied dealerships got compensation for that.

   5971. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4427786)
This isn't a private defendant. This is the government, playing with OPM. There's no such thing as "paid enough to assure it won't sin again." There's no deterrent effect from a big payout, and it isn't more just to give away a bigger amount of money merely because the government was allegedly the wrongdoer. With a private defendant there are two types of justice. With the government as defendant, there's only one type.

Since the roots of this case go back to the New Deal era and the historical villains are Dixiecrats and New Dealers (FDR specifically), I'm curious as to how you think this historical injustice should have been rectified before it ever reached the point of an outcome to a lawsuit that nobody really wishes to defend. Surely you're not thinking that individual black farmers would have been able to obtain justice from a legal and bureaucratic system that was rigged completely against them, without the help of some lawyers with clout, and without banding together in some sort of class action.

Or maybe you do think they could have. But in that case, then how specifically should they have proceeded from Point A to Point B?
   5972. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4427787)
Yes. Those who were wrongly denied dealerships got compensation for that.

Such claimants assuredly had to prove they pursued dealerships and not just say, on a claim form, that they dreamt of owning a dealership.
   5973. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4427793)
No, that's not right. There's no reason the compensation should be fixed. If there are fewer than $1.2 billion in legitimate claims, then the leftover money (less, of course, attorneys' fees)...

Can we just pay these pricks $500 an hour instead of handing that blowfish enough to buy the Baltimore Orioles? It IS amusing, that David's team was bought with ill-gotten gains.

Fidel Castro was a leftist, he was also a conservative. The Chinese governing party is also Leftist, and conservative. Can we move on to a different topic?
Yes. Please. That Hitler would surely have voted Republican in 2012 should be of no interest to us whatever.

Who were bigger supporters of the Wall Street bailout? Was it liberals or conservatives?
And who were the biggest benificiaries? Your question, though, is misguided, since without paying the blackmail money, the hostage would have been killed. It wasn't an issue that was particularly decided by deep-rooted political philosophies. It was certainly decided by a desire for re-election.
   5974. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4427802)
Just listened to This American Life's month old episode on disability payments (trends with benefits). It's good, folks across the political spectrum can find fuel for their talking points.
   5975. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4427803)
Speaking of which ...

U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination

Free money! Come get your free money!

What's really disturbing about the story is that it's not news. The massive fraud in these settlements was discussed extensively quite some time ago... but because it was discussed on conservative sites (like Breitbart -- mentioned in the article), the liberal MSM deliberately chose to ignore it....

Other than the sheer hysteria of claiming the MSM is liberal (it just tars you as completely untethered to reality, fwiw), this is the price sites like Breitbart pay for treating the truth as just another opportunity to slander (think about that for a moment). When you cry "Wolf!" for the thousandth time, why would you expect anyone to listen?

Just listened to This American Life's month old episode on disability payments (trends with benefits). It's good, folks across the political spectrum can find fuel for their talking points.


A preliminary search turns up zip. Do you have a link?

edit: thanks, DK.
   5976. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 29, 2013 at 12:57 AM (#4427807)
TAL ep page
I think they charge if you don't download it the week it's released.

That link contains another link to a long piece that summarizes the broadcast and is loaded with infographics: Said 2nd Link
   5977. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 29, 2013 at 01:07 AM (#4427808)
My pleasure, sir
   5978. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 29, 2013 at 01:13 AM (#4427809)
@5976: okay--a preliminary skim reveals a sensationalist bent. "The number has doubled in the last 30 years!!" Well, the population has gone up around 40$, too. It's like shamelessly talking dollars without adjusting for inflation.

This paragraph gets buried well into TFA:

Part of the rise in the number of people on disability is simply driven by the fact that the workforce is getting older, and older people tend to have more health problems.


This, the increase in population, and far better diagnostics over the last 30 years could easily account for the doubling of people on disability, but the writer and the publication simply isn't honest enough to go there. It's entirely possible there's some meat here, but TFA isn't interested enough in finding it.


Then there's,

The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined.


So far TFW hasn't mentioned WHICH program(s) are under discussion, but I doubt he's talking exclusively about SSDI, which is what 'former workers' who worked long enough get, while those who haven't, or haven't worked at all, are eligible for SSI. There aren't 14 million people getting SSDI.

Then there's,

Sonny Ryan, a retired judge in town, didn't hear disability cases in his courtroom. But the subject came up often. He described one exchange he had with a man who was on disability but looked healthy.

"Just out of curiosity, what is your disability?" the judge asked from the bench.
"I have high blood pressure," the man said.
"So do I," the judge said. "What else?"
"I have diabetes."
"So do I."


TFW can't be serious. This barely anecdotal conversation is near the front of the article?

Dr. Timberlake is making a judgment call that if you have a particular back problem and a college degree, you're not disabled. Without the degree, you are.

Over and over again, I'd listen to someone's story of how back pain meant they could no longer work, or how a shoulder injury had put them out of a job. Then I would ask: What about a job where you don't have to lift things, or a job where you don't have to use your shoulder, or a job where you can sit down? They would look at me as if I were asking, "How come you didn't consider becoming an astronaut?"

That's an interesting point w some validity.

People with only a high school diploma did have a better shot thirty years ago at getting a sit down job.

People who leave the workforce and go on disability qualify for Medicare, the government health care program that also covers the elderly. They also get disability payments from the government of about $13,000 a year.


Okay--he's not doing even basic homework. This is simply wrong in all parts.

Going on disability means, assuming you rely only on those disability payments, you will be poor for the rest of your life. That's the deal. And it's a deal 14 million Americans have signed up for.[4]


The close is perfectly senseless. People who are genuinely disabled haven't signed up for a 'deal', they've signed up for the pittance they can get so they don't freeze to death in winter.
   5979. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 29, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4427813)
Both court and Congress approved the payments, so there is no decrease. It's the amount the government agreed to pay in order to settle. Just the way it is for any corporation.
What happens if the fund isn't all claimed?
   5980. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 29, 2013 at 01:36 AM (#4427814)
The next section, titled Kids, "Jahleel Duroc is on disability" is simply grotesque.

In neither of these articles are we treated to anything as robust as, say, what percentage of the federal budget actually goes to these programs (never mind having a clue as to what these programs are actually called). Further, where is the comparative point, about how many dollars go to the Corporate Welfare Queens?

Then there's

"The high blood pressure, how long have you been taking medications for that?" one PCG employee asked over the phone the day I visited the company. "Can you think of anything else that's been bothering you and disabling you and preventing you from working?"


OF COURSE there are companies (this one employed by states) to help people get disability. The entire federal apparatus is bent on keeping people from getting disability, creating as many hurdles as possible, belittling pain, then throwing people off it on technicalites if they DO get it. But, it's presented as shameless opportunism.

The PCG agents help the potentially disabled fill out the Social Security disability application over the phone. And by help, I mean the agents actually do the filling out. When the potentially disabled don't have the right medical documentation to prove a disability, the agents at PCG help them get it. They call doctors' offices; they get records faxed. If the right medical records do not exist, PCG sets up doctors' appointments and calls applicants the day before to remind them of those appointments.


Oh my God! Someone is helping these people! What a disgrace!! I find this reminding folks with brain injuries to bring paperwork appalling!

I'm interested in facts, so I'm pretty much SOL here, but it would obviously be interesting to know, by age, what percent of each age group is likely to be unable to work by any reasonable definition. What's a useful, likely range? It's also my understanding from friends that the motives to work while in pain are absurd. What would be the prudent and specific way of helping people work who can, and get back to work when that's possible?
   5981. GregD Posted: April 29, 2013 at 01:53 AM (#4427816)
Kevin Drum wrote a short response to the piece based upon the fact that almost all of the increase in disability was projected 18 years ago because an aging population puts more people on disability. There is some gap--10 to 18%--that does seem caused by the recession, so that's meaningful, but most of it seems caused just by the Baby Boomers getting older. And was predicted back in the 1990s. link

That does not of course mean the system shouldn't be fixed for other reasons.
   5982. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 29, 2013 at 04:56 AM (#4427832)
Fidel Castro was a leftist, he was also a conservative. The Chinese governing party is also Leftist, and conservative. Can we move on to a different topic?

That's non-sensical. Your definition means any party in power in "conservative".

By your definition, the Democrats are the "conservative" party in the US right now, b/c they have control of the White House

It's not about supporting the status quo of who is in power. It's about supporting the status quo of laws and social norms. The dems may be in power, but they are still trying to enact change on tons of issues (e.g. healthcare, gay marriage, drug policy, gun control etc). Hence they are not conservative.

The GOP mostly wants those things to remain as is, along with keeping low tax and low regulations in place. Hence they are conservative.

   5983. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 29, 2013 at 06:20 AM (#4427839)
That does not of course mean the system shouldn't be fixed for other reasons.


What would you change?
   5984. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 29, 2013 at 07:39 AM (#4427846)
It's not about supporting the status quo of who is in power. It's about supporting the status quo of laws and social norms.


Not necessarily the status quo of who is in office, but the issue of power has a great deal to do the status quo of laws and social norms. You can't sustain the status quo without a fair amount of power. I don't think it's possible to separate them.

Also, a conservative will find herself strongly opposed to the status quo when the status quo is anti-conservative values, whatever those might be. One can hold conservative values, of course, but it's much more difficult to hold up a time when conservatism was the status quo. It can't be the 50s, when separate but equal impoverished and destroyed families, surely the soul of conservatism. It can't be the 60s, when social equality, surely a treasured value of any conservatism that prizes, as it must, individual rights.

I'm also interested in the point where conservatism becomes mere nostalgia. It gets even odder when that nostalgia is for a time that didn't exist. Today's "conservatives" (and odder still when those called conservatives simply are not that) can't even be thought of as nostalgic, because the lost days they pine for never actually existed.

Buckley's man, athwart history, whining "Stop!" has no place currently to stand. What would an authentic conservative, all but unrecognizable now, stand for? Would she ardently support gay marriage?

It's clear substantial corporate power and concentrated wealth is hell on families. Would she therefore support high marginal rates, and limited corporate charters? She'd clearly be a union woman, given that unions strengthen families, and union wages help families keep one parent at home when children are young.

edit: Thanks for the link, Greg. I have a couple of disabled friends who have struggled within the program so the facts of the issue are particularly important to me. Some good comments after the article, too.

Btw, something not mentioned elsewhere is the obvious issue of, how many people booted off welfare thanks to Clinton and the Repugs were able to move to Disability?
   5985. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 29, 2013 at 09:23 AM (#4427878)
Also, a conservative will find herself strongly opposed to the status quo when the status quo is anti-conservative values, whatever those might be. One can hold conservative values, of course, but it's much more difficult to hold up a time when conservatism was the status quo. It can't be the 50s, when separate but equal impoverished and destroyed families, surely the soul of conservatism. It can't be the 60s, when social equality, surely a treasured value of any conservatism that prizes, as it must, individual rights.

I'm also interested in the point where conservatism becomes mere nostalgia. It gets even odder when that nostalgia is for a time that didn't exist. Today's "conservatives" (and odder still when those called conservatives simply are not that) can't even be thought of as nostalgic, because the lost days they pine for never actually existed.

Buckley's man, athwart history, whining "Stop!" has no place currently to stand. What would an authentic conservative, all but unrecognizable now, stand for? Would she ardently support gay marriage?

It's clear substantial corporate power and concentrated wealth is hell on families. Would she therefore support high marginal rates, and limited corporate charters? She'd clearly be a union woman, given that unions strengthen families, and union wages help families keep one parent at home when children are young.


Thanks for putting this into a bit of much-needed perspective, Jack. It's worth recalling that nearly every historical movement in our country's history was opposed by the "conservatives" of the time, even if most of today's self-styled "conservatives" claim they would have been on the right side of things if they'd been around then.

IMO real conservatives would try---both on the individual and societal levels---to create a society with inherent stability, not a society in which a paper stability is only possible by filling the jails to class levels. No real conservative can possibly be pleased with the ever-increasing income stratification that we see today, nor with the increasing racial gaps in wealthy. But then by that definition, most of the real conservatives today are seldom found among the ranks of those who use that term to describe themselves.
   5986. Ron J2 Posted: April 29, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4427890)
#5850 Warning is a big overbid if what I've read is accurate. Indeed what I've read backs up my initial hunch that they saw "Chechen nationalist, not our problem"

There was nothing actionable in the first communication from Russia and the CIA's request was basically the same. And the lack of an answer from Russia to the follow-up suggests to me that they didn't exactly see him as a major problem either.

The lengthy trip is weird but not scary. The Islamist postings that everybody finds so ominous were probably not up (remember the initial investigation has to be closed within 90 days -- timing is probably going to turn out to be important)

Look, it's going to cost people at the FBI their career and maybe that's appropriate (though I don't think it's likely that the people that replace them would have done better with the same information or will do better in the future). I'm not saying that there was not a failure. It's one of analysis and analysis is hard.

It probably didn't help that the Boston office had a major anti-terrorism investigation going on at the time. I suspect we'll find that most of the seior people got sucked into that one.
   5987. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 29, 2013 at 09:49 AM (#4427891)
It's clear substantial corporate power and concentrated wealth is hell on families. Would she therefore support high marginal rates, and limited corporate charters? She'd clearly be a union woman, given that unions strengthen families, and union wages help families keep one parent at home when children are young.

Yes. A true conservative would support those things, with the possible exception of the "high marginal rates," which wouldn't do anything to strengthen families and communities, or civil society generally.
   5988. Ron J2 Posted: April 29, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4427894)
Seriously, I'm not sure Id be taking the FBI's due diligence claims at face value right around now, seems to be me that they (and some other agencies) may be in full bureaucratic CYA mode right around now


Sure. And in a sense it looks like the CIA's request is what you might call preemptive CYA. They got eviscerated for failure to communicate in the run-up to 9-11 and now it looks like they pass on everything. "Hey we warned them"

But yeah, it's certainly possible (even probable) that they missed something glaring.

But I also suspect that one thing that's going to come out is that because of the sheer volume, they rely heavily on automated (statistically based) analysis to winnow things and that by sheer bad luck Tsarnaev didn't trip the big markers.
   5989. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 29, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4427895)
IMO real conservatives would try---both on the individual and societal levels---to create a society with inherent stability, not a society in which a paper stability is only possible by filling the jails to class levels. No real conservative can possibly be pleased with the ever-increasing income stratification that we see today, nor with the increasing racial gaps in wealthy. But then by that definition, most of the real conservatives today are seldom found among the ranks of those who use that term to describe themselves.

I agree with this. I've been harping on the plight of the working class for years.

But, you and the other liberals aren't willing to address any of the major drivers of this growing inequality, in order of importance.

1) Globalization/Free trade - completely predictable impact of raising returns on capital in the US, and suppressing returns to labor
2) Disintegration of the nuclear family among the non-college educated - one wage earner instead of two, and all the social pathologies that go along with single parent HHs
3) Dysfunctional and incredibly wasteful public schools in poor areas, run for the benefit of local politicians and public employee unions
4) High levels of illegal immigration

All you want to do is throw more taxpayer dollars into maintaining the underclass at a slightly higher level of squalor.
   5990. Mefisto Posted: April 29, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4427897)
What happens if the fund isn't all claimed?


That's a meaningless question in a class action settlement. The defendant in such cases is interested in one thing only: how much money will it take to get rid of the litigation? Once the defendant agrees on the sum, it's up to the class to decide how to distribute it. There is no "left over".
   5991. Ron J2 Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4427903)
#5875 A small fraction of a half million (and growing) is still very large.

But the big thing is that currently if they find nothing after 90 days they have to close the investigation.
   5992. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4427906)
All you want to do is throw more taxpayer dollars into maintaining the underclass at a slightly higher level of squalor.

Entirely correct. That and ##### about "racism." That's modern liberalism's essence and consumer of its intellectual energies (*) -- increasing dependence and the dole, and ######## about "racism."

(*) Such as they are.
   5993. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4427910)
The Drum response leads off with:
Last week I blogged about a Planet Money story on the steady increase in Social Security disability payments over the past couple of decades. The story was more nuanced than I think its critics gave it credit for, but there's no question that the big takeaway for most people was the notion that lots of workers with only minor disabilities are being allowed into the program simply because the economy is bad and they probably can't find work after they've been laid off.

(emphasis mine)

That was actually not the major takeaway for me, though - in retrospect - that probably says more about me than the story. Anyway, a few notes:

* the article isn't that different from the transcript. That quote from the judge? You hear the judge in the broadcast - this was written for an hour long radio show, rather than being a broadcast of a standalone article.
* People who are genuinely disabled haven't signed up for a 'deal', they've signed up for the pittance they can get so they don't freeze to death in winter.
I took issue with that as well. To the extent that some people are choosing this as a "career", that might be true - but that's a slap in the face of loads of "genuinely" disabled people. There were several other places where I thought the language needed softening.
* ...and far better diagnostics over the last 30 years could easily account for the doubling of people on disability, but the writer and the publication simply isn't honest enough to go there.
What exactly does this mean? Better diagnostics means ease in coming up with a rationale for claiming disability, but should also mean that less people are "genuinely" disabled (as it makes coming up with effective treatment easier and does not lead to many more people where it would be suddenly determined that they should not be working).
* If you accept the MJ estimate of 10-18% increase being caused by changes in the ecnomic environment, etc... - that's still a lot. One of the MJ comments said:
In other words, we're trying to shoehorn a program to deal with economic obsolescence into a program designed to deal with physical disability. I strongly doubt such a practice is anywhere near an optimal way to go about it.
And that's one of the things I left thinking. This program does not sound like one that's particularly well designed, in terms of incentivizing beneficial behaviors/change... that's a problem.
* The section on kids was heartbreaking (Jahleel was a really exuberant voice) - and is independent of the baby boomers.
* I have no desire to ever live in Greensboro Alabama (where the story is set and kind of a worst case scenario).
* More than anything, I liked that this was a subject of discussion - it's a relatively large percentage of the economym relative to how much people talk about it - which is to say that we don't. This is a forgotten population...
   5994. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4427911)
It's clear substantial corporate power and concentrated wealth is hell on families. Would she therefore support high marginal rates, and limited corporate charters? She'd clearly be a union woman, given that unions strengthen families, and union wages help families keep one parent at home when children are young.

You're acting like all of a sudden corporations corporations got greedy and started screwing over workers. They've been that way for ever.

The difference is the rise of globalization, free-trade, off-shoring and out-sourcing has given employers leverage over workers that they didn't have 30 years ago. Even with white-collar jobs; you can now move your whole accounting dept. to India.

If you want to strengthen unions in the private sector, you need to strengthen the overall position of labor vis a vis capital. Otherwise, more unionization will just drive more jobs overseas.

   5995. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM (#4427912)
* People who are genuinely disabled haven't signed up for a 'deal', they've signed up for the pittance they can get so they don't freeze to death in winter.

You also have to account for the fact that many of the non-legitimately disabled claimants probably work off the books as well as collecting SSDI.
   5996. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:21 AM (#4427918)
The difference is the rise of globalization, free-trade, off-shoring and out-sourcing has given employers leverage over workers that they didn't have 30 years ago. Even with white-collar jobs; you can now move your whole accounting dept. to India.

I both agree with this and think that this is a good thing.
If you want to strengthen unions in the private sector, you need to strengthen the overall position of labor vis a vis capital.

My argument (as you know) is that this is best done at the federal level, with regulation, tax rates, and income redistribution - rather than unions, etc... - but that's for another day.

   5997. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4427926)
I both agree with this and think that this is a good thing.

And I think it is a terrible thing for the US as a whole.

My argument (as you know) is that this is best done at the federal level, with regulation, tax rates, and income redistribution - rather than unions, etc... - but that's for another day.

We've seen repeatedly this doesn't work. The welfare state creates social pathologies that undermine whatever economic gains the programs produce. A gov't check is no substitute for a job.

Edit: maybe you could achieve something with a wage-based subsidy of some sort. i.e. the Federal gov't will give an employer a tax-credit of 25% of an employees hourly wage starting at 25% above the minimum wage, and phasing out at higher levels.
   5998. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:37 AM (#4427932)
Not big on the welfare state either - there's a lot of ways to skin that cat.

Incidentally, there's an interesting conversation to be had about the relationship b/w societal income inequality and how people feel about that society (as you might imagine, they're inversely related).
   5999. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4427935)
Edit: maybe you could achieve something with a wage-based subsidy of some sort. i.e. the Federal gov't will give an employer a tax-credit of 25% of an employees hourly wage starting at 25% above the minimum wage, and phasing out at higher levels.

Basically you need something like this, together with confiscatory tax rates for management salaries above a set baseline. The baseline could start at maybe $800K for the CEO and work down.(*) If the society is going to be corporatist anyway, there's zero reason the government shouldn't be significantly involved with the income distribution from the output generated by the big companies.

For entreprenuerial and start up companies, these rules would not apply, and in fact philosophically I'd go in the opposite direction with very low rates on the capital gains from founders' stock.

This is clearly a far better solution than the modern liberal prescription of low wages, always under pressure from abroad, and an expansive dole.

(*) Specifically, I'd take comparables from the era of the Great Consensus and adjust for inflation.
   6000. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 29, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4427941)
Basically you need something like this, together with confiscatory tax rates for management salaries above a set baseline.

What's confiscatory? I don't think you want to go much above 50-60% at any point.

For entreprenuerial and start up companies, these rules would not apply, and in fact philosophically I'd go in the opposite direction with very low rates on the capital gains from founders' stock.

Unfortunately, massive accumulations of wealth (which are horrible for Democracy) tend to come this way. I'd have very low capital gains rates up to say $50M, after that, they should be quite high.

Likewise, I'd have no estate tax up to say $3-5M per heir, above that, 50%+. I'd also completely disallow charitable foundations. If you want the tax break, you must alienate all control of the assets; no giving your kids no-show jobs at the foundation, spending the minimum required by law, and then recapturing the assets 20 years later.

My theory is you make a small fortune by being smart and hard work, you make a large fortune by being a crook, or blind luck. So, small fortunes should be taxed very little, large fortunes should be taxed heavily.
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