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Monday, July 02, 2012

OT-P: July: Obamacare Decision as Baseball: the Runner is Safe, so Now What?

My favorite play in baseball is the second base steal. In the play, the base runner watches the pitch, and at just the right moment, he sprints toward second. The catcher snatches the pitch, springs up and rockets the ball to the second baseman who snags it and tries to tag the runner as he slides into the base. As the dust clears, all eyes are on the second base umpire who, in a split second, calls the runner safe or out. When the play is over, the players dust themselves off, and the game goes on.

Some on the field may disagree with the umpire’s call.  However, the umpire’s decision is final, and arguing can get you ejected. To stay in the game, great teams simply adjust their strategy based on the umpire’s call.

 

Morty Causa Posted: July 02, 2012 at 02:26 PM | 4025 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics, special topics

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   3501. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4193880)
The teacher is creating future economic value by building up human capital. The soldier isn't. Both need housing, transportation, supplies to do their job, and so on. Pretending the teacher doesn't is a bit disingenuous.

I thought we were talking about jobs within the context of stimulus? You want to count the future value of education as "stimulus"? No wonder people don't trust economists.

The point is the financial market is not at all worried about the ability to pay back the debt, which is why the interest rate is so low. They are not separate issues they are joined.

Right, but you keep claiming that the U.S. can simply print more money. If you believe the markets are loaning money to the U.S. with the expectation of being repaid with newly printed and thus devalued dollars, then either you're naive or the markets are incredibly stupid.
   3502. zonk Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4193892)
Right, but you keep claiming that the U.S. can simply print more money. If you believe the markets are loaning money to the U.S. with the expectation of being repaid with newly printed and thus devalued dollars, then either you're naive or the markets are incredibly stupid.


I'm certainly no expert in government borrowing, but I'm fairly sure that if I were to buy a big bundle of US debt at auction today - the rate of return is set when I lend it. I know that there are certain instruments like TIPS that have an inflation-indexed component, but T-bills, T-notes, and T-bonds do not. If the dollar becomes worthless, your return will be paid in worthless dollars at the rate you bought them at.

Sure - the price today may not be the price tomorrow... but then we're right back to the question of where else are those dollars going to go? And that's before we get into the whole idea that a suddenly ruined US presents much bigger problems for everyone -- including the lenders, current and potential -- beyond financing debt. If we reach that point, I don't plan on arguing fiscal policy -- I plan on getting my tribe organized so we can be sure we carve ourselves out a nice little patch of land -- perhaps in a nice gated community with a stocked pond and ample land to cultivate.
   3503. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4193893)
If you believe the markets are loaning money to the U.S. with the expectation of being repaid with newly printed and thus devalued dollars, then either you're naive or the markets are incredibly stupid.

The markets are loaning money believing it's all going to be repaid in non-devalued dollars. If they thought the US was going to default, they wouldn't be loaning at historically low interest rates, and if they thought the dollars they got back were going to be inflated away, they wouldn't be loaning at historically low interest rates.

It's really that simple.
   3504. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4193898)
I thought we were talking about jobs within the context of stimulus? You want to count the future value of education as "stimulus"? No wonder people don't trust economists.


You are correct it is not direct stimulus, but the other examples I gave all were. You know the ones you avoided. Like the Bomb versus Bridge example. Yes I eventually included future economic value in a stimulus discussion. Oh my. But it still is value and the stimulus is at least as good, and I would still argue better because a bunch of your soldiers are housed in foreign lands and spending on them in Europe, Asia and wherever does not exactly stimulate the US economy directly.

Right, but you keep claiming that the U.S. can simply print more money. If you believe the markets are loaning money to the U.S. with the expectation of being repaid with newly printed and thus devalued dollars, then either you're naive or the markets are incredibly stupid.


I am making no claims as to what the markets are thinking or not, except they are not worried about the US paying back the debt. At all. You seem to be claiming to be much smarter than the markets, because you know the US will not be able to pay the debt back (or something, you have not made it very clear what you think will happen). Your argument is with the Market in that case.

I have made what I think should happen pretty clear. And I agree with the market that the US will have no problem paying back the debt. Part of that is the fact that the US does in fact print the money*. Much of it is because with monetary easing the economy will pick up, unemployment will go down, and the amount the US has to pay in some things goes down and income (tax revenue) goes up.

* Technically the debt is not paid by printing money or anything nearly so straightforward. The real way monetary easing happens is cool, but a bit esoteric.

NOTE: I am off for a bit to go and play disc golf. And I have a busy evening, but I will try to respond to any questions when I am able.
   3505. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4193899)
Conservatives appear to have become immune to facts and logic. Apparently even being an economist somehow makes you unqualified to comment on economics. Everything is based on faith and ideology.
   3506. zenbitz Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4193908)
First - setting aside that the singlest largest holder of federal debt is actually the federal government itself (you can look it up -- the Social Security trust fund owns far, far more US debt than does China, Japan, or anyone else)


Mind. Blown. This is almost as cool as having my wages garnished to pay back a 401K loan to MYSELF. With interest!



And I think there should be some devaluation. I think the absurd fetish in keeping inflation rates low is hurting the US and world economy (and is a big chunk of the problem in Europe).


I think this should have been done the FIRST time instead of bailing out the banks. When they do devalue (and they will) it will be sort of hilarious because it screws the banks (and, for Joe's sake -- the Savers). The small savers are going to get s-c-r-e-w-e-d in the next 5-10 years. Although if they own any sort of underwater or barely above water mortgage they will come out OK.

My only question about the devaulation is how to manage it to prevent a complete credit crunch. Public banks?

   3507. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4193914)
I'm certainly no expert in government borrowing, but I'm fairly sure that if I were to buy a big bundle of US debt at auction today - the rate of return is set when I lend it. [...] If the dollar becomes worthless, your return will be paid in worthless dollars at the rate you bought them at.

Right, this was exactly my point. People aren't loaning money to the U.S. with the expectation of being repaid with devalued dollars, but the U.S.'s debt load is trending toward a level that is simply unsustainable vis-a-vis revenue and budgetary considerations. At some point, something will have to give, whether it's draconian budget cuts or printing trillions of dollars.

***
The markets are loaning money believing it's all going to be repaid in non-devalued dollars. If they thought the US was going to default, they wouldn't be loaning at historically low interest rates, and if they thought the dollars they got back were going to be inflated away, they wouldn't be loaning at historically low interest rates.

Then the markets are incredibly stupid, because tax revenue simply can't support the current rates of borrowing in perpetuity. It's crazy to suggest the U.S. can continue to borrow 40 cents or more of every dollar it spends without any adverse future effects.
   3508. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4193921)
But it still is value and the stimulus is at least as good, and I would still argue better because a bunch of your soldiers are housed in foreign lands and spending on them in Europe, Asia and wherever does not exactly stimulate the US economy directly.

Why are you assuming they'd be housed in foreign lands? Are you unaware of the dozens of base closures in the U.S., and the incredibly adverse effects of those closures on the various states and localities?

You seem to be claiming to be much smarter than the markets, because you know the US will not be able to pay the debt back (or something, you have not made it very clear what you think will happen).

Well, I used to get obliterated for telling people there was a national housing bubble. Sometimes lightning does strike twice.
   3509. formerly dp Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4193927)
Are you unaware of the dozens of base closures in the U.S., and the incredibly adverse effects of those closures on the various states and localities?


Who argued that military spending has no effect on the economy? I thought this was a comparative question. Or have you moved posts again?
   3510. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4193932)
At some point, something will have to give, whether it's draconian budget cuts or printing trillions of dollars.
you know, there is actually a third option there--raising tax revenue. the fact that it wasn't even a consideration for you in making your statement is a pretty ####### large part of the reason why we are where we are.


for anyone who didn't get the genesis of "romneyshambles", here's a good rundown of it.
   3511. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4193939)
Who argued that military spending has no effect on the economy? I thought this was a comparative question. Or have you moved posts again?

Where did I claim someone said "military spending has no effect on the economy"? I never said any such thing.
   3512. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4193943)
you know, there is actually a third option there--raising tax revenue. the fact that it wasn't even a consideration for you in making your statement is a pretty ####### large part of the reason why we are where we are.

Even the best-case projection of increased tax revenue wouldn't put a dent in the current deficit, let alone the debt.
   3513. SteveF Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4193955)
I think the basic idea is that teachers create more economic value by doing their jobs than soldiers.

Whether or not the teacher is creating more economic value in the course of doing their job than the soldier is debatable. I highly doubt hiring more teachers would be the best way to create an economic stimulus, especially when the education system is doing such a poor job at training people to do jobs employers actually want done. I think the new WPA you mentioned is precisely what should have been done 3-4 years ago. Arguably it should have been done 10 years ago, but the housing bubble was hiding the problem.

As for why treasury yields are so low, part of that is how low US tax revenues are as a % of GDP relative to other western economies. There's two ways to look at that. First, it may be that there's room to increase taxes without doing major damage to the economy. You can't close the entire deficit gap that way obviously, but you can close some of it. Alternatively, the fact that tax rates are low in the US relative to other western economies indicates that the US economy is far likelier to rebound and grow at a healthy pace, thereby increasing tax revenues.
   3514. zonk Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4193961)
First - setting aside that the singlest largest holder of federal debt is actually the federal government itself (you can look it up -- the Social Security trust fund owns far, far more US debt than does China, Japan, or anyone else)



Mind. Blown. This is almost as cool as having my wages garnished to pay back a 401K loan to MYSELF. With interest!


For some extra mind blowage... consider that the loan you take from your 401(k) is probably ALSO against that very same debt. The largest grouping of US debt holders are "US individuals and institutions" - which includes everything from the $50 savings bond your grandma got you to almost certainly some portion of your 401(k) to pension funds to institutional investments. This makes up about 40-45% of the holders of US debt.

Social Security is next at around 18% of US debt holdings.

Next are federal retirement programs -- the US Military and US Civil service pensions -- about 8.5%.

Then, we get to China which owns about 7%, Japan which holds about 6%, the UK at about 3.5% and all other nations at roughly 11-12%.

It's actually one reason why that the chicken littling about debt/GDP ratio is misleading -- the number generally used INCLUDES "intra-governmental borrowing" like Social Security trust fund and federally run pension program investments. However, those revenues that those programs take in are NOT counted against the ledger.

From a technical perspective, and as a believer in Social Security -- I am glad for that... Payroll taxes aren't supposed to be general fund revenues. However, at the same time, it makes no sense to just stack that paper in a vault. So long as we don't have idiot-run parties playing games with either Social Security or the stupid 'debt ceiling' (which should have ended when WWI ended) - the SS trust fund SHOULD be investing in US debt. It's only logical to get some returns. My concern is that one party has been so thoroughly successful in muddying the water around Social Security, debt, and spending that it's becoming an increasingly risky endeavor for that to continue.

   3515. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4193992)
But borrowing from yourself, whether it's from a 401(k) or from the Social Security trust fund, is still borrowing. That money needs to be repaid somehow, or else a future obligation is underfunded. (And if the money is repaid with devalued money, the future obligation remains underfunded in net terms.)

***
I think the new WPA you mentioned is precisely what should have been done 3-4 years ago. Arguably it should have been done 10 years ago, but the housing bubble was hiding the problem.

I can't believe no one is even proposing such a thing. It's as if all of these unemployed workers are miraculously going to become architects and software programmers.

It seems like the people on the left don't want to make people work, and the people on the right are afraid they'll unionize.
   3516. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: July 27, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4194088)
I can't believe no one is even proposing such a thing. It's as if all of these unemployed workers are miraculously going to become architects and software programmers.

It seems like the people on the left don't want to make people work, and the people on the right are afraid they'll unionize.
considering that the stated objective for congressional republicans this session was to obstruct any legislation that might make obama look good, i don't really see what benefit there would be to making this an issue.


there is absolutely zero chance of this program being passed by this congress (hell, in reality, there's absolutely zero chance that this program would even get voted on in either chamber of congress), and it's not as if this one initiative is finally going to crystallize the differences between the parties in the minds of the average american voter. already, any voter who has even a passing interest in policy is well aware of the differences between the two parties, so it's not as if this is some gamechanging initiative in terms of its electoral impact.



it's just a waste of air to even think about any significant policy initiative so long as republicans are wholly and completely opposed to doing anything that might make a positive impact on the economy.

why bother?
   3517. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 27, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4194112)
why bother?


I get where you are coming from, but you still have to keep on trying. And hey I won at Disc Golf, so there is always hope.
   3518. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4194125)
Why are you assuming they'd be housed in foreign lands?


So your Military stimulus is going to be all soldiers (no bombs) and all the soldiers are housed in the US (I wonder what % of soldiers are based in the US - the internet tells me 1.1 million are US and 300,000 abroad, roughly).

My stimulus (you say) doesn't get to be bridges, but has to be teachers and I can't count their output (teaching) as stimulus and we are ignoring the long term value. And yet my stimulus is still at least as good as yours. Change any of that and my side only gets better.

But if you want to think military spending is better I would love to hear why you think it is more stimulative. I have explained in detail why it is not.
   3519. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:08 PM (#4194129)
Regarding the deficit and debt. First of all the debt is basically meaningless. Once we get the deficit under control the debt just rolls over again and again. We pay more because of interest, we pay less because of inflation, but as long as someone wants to buy it it can be ignored.

The deficit is a bit more problematic. But during down times you want the government to spend more, and then during good times save up. So when Bush cut taxes it was the worst thing to do. Oh well.

Still I am not convinced the deficit is so amazingly terrible. If you think it is, how about some hard numbers?
   3520. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4194134)
does anyone else find these investments to be highly discouraging?
[url=http://www.salon.com/2011/06/28/eric_cantor_conflict_of_interest/]When Eric Cantor shut down debt ceiling negotiations last week, it did more than just rekindle fears that the U.S. government might soon default on its debt obligations — it also brought him closer to reaping a small financial windfall from his investment in a mutual fund whose performance is directly affected by debt ceiling brinkmanship.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, had between $1,000 and $15,000 invested in ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury EFT. The fund aggressively “shorts” long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, meaning that it performs well when U.S. debt is undesirable. (A short is when the trader hopes to profit from the decline in the value of an asset.)

According to his latest financial disclosure statement, which covers the year 2010 and has been publicly available since this spring, Cantor still has up to $15,000 in the same fund. Contacted by Salon this week, Cantor’s office gave no indication that the Virginia Republican, who has played a leading role in the debt ceiling negotiations, has divested himself of these holdings since his last filing. Unless an agreement can be reached, the U.S. could begin defaulting on its debt payments on Aug. 2. If that happens and Cantor is still invested in the fund, the value of his holdings would skyrocket.[/url]
[url=http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/07/27/590481/josh-mandel-shorting-treasury-bonds/?mobile=nc]The Republican nominee in Ohio’s Senate race stands to reap a significant financial windfall if the government defaults by not raising the debt ceiling, a move he opposed last year and has indicated he would vote against if elected to the Senate.
According to personal financial disclosure documents examined by ThinkProgress, Josh Mandel’s wife owns an undisclosed amount of ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury exchange-traded fund (ETF). This ETF aggressively “shorts” U.S. Treasury bills, meaning that it bets against U.S. debt and spikes when Treasury bill values drop. If a default were to occur, the desirability of Treasury bills would plummet and Mandel’s ETF would skyrocket in value.[/url]
   3521. Steve Treder Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4194138)
You aren't suggesting ... political CORRUPTION in the United States Congress?!?
   3522. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4194141)
does anyone else find these investments to be highly discouraging?

You honestly believe Eric Cantor is willing to tank the U.S. economy — and his political career — so a piddly $1,000 to $15,000 investment might increase in value?
   3523. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:30 PM (#4194148)
My stimulus (you say) doesn't get to be bridges, but has to be teachers and I can't count their output (teaching) as stimulus and we are ignoring the long term value. And yet my stimulus is still at least as good as yours. Change any of that and my side only gets better.

First of all, I've argued for a WPA-style program for years now, but no one seems interested. Second, counting teacher output (education) as "stimulus" is a reach. It assuredly has a lot of long-term value, but it has basically zero present-day stimulative value.

But if you want to think military spending is better I would love to hear why you think it is more stimulative. I have explained in detail why it is not.

Not persuasively. I find it impossible to believe that parking more teachers in classrooms would have a greater short-term stimulative effect than the U.S. military adding a similar number of active-duty personnel, with all of the accompanying (U.S.) military bases, vehicles, weaponry, uniforms, etc., such an expansion would require.
   3524. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:36 PM (#4194156)
Regarding the deficit and debt. First of all the debt is basically meaningless.

The folks in D.C. and the various statehouses will be thrilled to hear this.

The deficit is a bit more problematic. But during down times you want the government to spend more, and then during good times save up. So when Bush cut taxes it was the worst thing to do. Oh well.

Huh? The Bush tax cuts were passed during the early 2000s recession.
   3525. zonk Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4194157)

You honestly believe Eric Cantor is willing to tank the U.S. economy — and his political career — so a piddly $1,000 to $15,000 investment might increase in value?


Cantor? Maybe. I don't think Boehner would, I don't think McCain, McConnell or Lieberman would... but Cantor? Yeah, he's got enough weasel DNA that it wouldn't shock me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting Cantor would provoke a debt fight TO make some cash... but yeah, I could easily see him thinking "As long as I'm here..."
   3526. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:33 PM (#4194251)
I find it impossible to believe that parking more teachers in classrooms would have a greater short-term stimulative effect than the U.S. military adding a similar number of active-duty personnel, with all of the accompanying (U.S.) military bases, vehicles, weaponry, uniforms, etc., such an expansion would require.


This answer seems to be assuming the level of the latter stimulus would be greater than the former. Giving $1 billion to teachers living in the U.S. v. giving $1 billion to U.S. military personnel living in the U.S. would be essentially comparable - except that, as Bitter Mouse noted, in the latter case, some of those military personnel are likely to end up outside the U.S., and teachers are arguably more productive than soldiers. If increasing military personnel requires more of that other stuff (bases, vehicles, weapons), that would mean the soldiers would get less than the full $1 billion and would therefore have less money to consume in stimulating the economy.
   3527. Ron J Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4194278)
You seem to be claiming to be much smarter than the markets,


Ever read "The Great Short"? It does not defy belief that a non-professional could be smarter than the market.

It's worth noting that one of the guys who was very clearly "smarter than the market" took enormous abuse from his investors. He was also probably the only person in the world who actually read the prospectuses of those bundled mortgages.
   3528. tshipman Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4194289)
How does some teacher sitting in a classroom have a greater economic multiplier than a soldier who needs housing to be built, needs an automobile to ride around in, needs guns and weapons for training, requires a support staff to cook, clean, etc., and so forth?


Teachers spend close to 100% of of their income inside the United States.

Soldiers spend much less of their income in the US. In addition, soldiers probably have a higher marginal savings rate. Finally, most of a soldiers' consumed goods are provided from a centralized government, rather than the free market.

Even the best-case projection of increased tax revenue wouldn't put a dent in the current deficit, let alone the debt.


Reducing the deficit by 10% in the first year isn't "a dent" apparently. The CBO projects the deficit to go down drastically with the increased new revenues, reaching a low of 2.5% of GDP by 2017.

   3529. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 28, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4194320)
does anyone else find these investments to be highly discouraging?

While there are possible long-term uses, these ultra-short ETFs are designed for day traders. It's not surprising that a congressman doesn't understand that.

It's weird to read about the need for WPA-style stimulus from the same poster claiming we need to chop down Medicare and Medicaid distributions. I guess doctors don't spend money or invest it or do anything else with it.

He was also probably the only person in the world who actually read the prospectuses of those bundled mortgages.

This is wrong. Plenty of people read these things; whether they understood them is another matter. And ITYM "The Big Short", the Michael Lewis book.
   3530. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 02:01 AM (#4194354)
Huh? The Bush tax cuts were passed during the early 2000s recession.


Keynesian stimulus is needed when monetary policy fails, i.e. when interest rates are at the zero lower bound and when we are in a liquidity trap. When that's not the case, as in the early 2000s, there are better solutions. Moreover, given the piddly size of the 2000 recession, the tax cuts were a completely disproportionate response. Third, if you want to use tax cuts as stimuls, you cut taxes on those at the bottom of the scale, or at least something like a payroll tax cut, not on those at the top.
   3531. zenbitz Posted: July 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4194479)
I should point out that in @3528 while both the Presidents proposed budget and the "Baseline" (I guess lettting tax cuts expire?) both show a return of the deficit to "normal" levels - the baseline actually increases revenues significantly more, returning the deficit to PRE-REAGAN (estimated, the curve only goes back to 1982) levels
   3532. Ron J Posted: July 28, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4194512)
ITYM "The Big Short", the Michael Lewis book.


D'oh. I usually check titles. Got lazy.
   3533. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 28, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4194528)
Reducing the deficit by 10% in the first year isn't "a dent" apparently. The CBO projects the deficit to go down drastically with the increased new revenues, reaching a low of 2.5% of GDP by 2017.

CBO numbers are garbage. If Congress instructs the CBO to assume that 2+2=5, then the CBO is legally required to assume that 2+2=5 when making projections. CBO = GIGO.

***
It's weird to read about the need for WPA-style stimulus from the same poster claiming we need to chop down Medicare and Medicaid distributions. I guess doctors don't spend money or invest it or do anything else with it.

It's not about punishing doctors. It's about making promises that can't be afforded or kept. Chris Needham posted this great graphic in the "Eternal Stadium Tax" thread yesterday. If Medicare and Medicaid aren't brought under control, the deficit will continue to explode and other spending will be crowded out.
   3534. zenbitz Posted: July 28, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4194596)
Obvious answer to that is: single payer health care.
   3535. SteveF Posted: July 28, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4194607)
Single payer doesn't come remotely close to solving the problem. Changing end-of-life care (the so called 'death panels') doesn't get you there either, though that too will need to be done. Most of the medicare costs are associated with chronic diseases people used to die from much sooner.

The cost of treating these chronic diseases either needs to come down or we need to make hard decisions about the kinds of care/life extension we're willing to allow medicare to cover.

It's hard to tell someone with cancer medicare/medicaid will only cover the drug that will extend their life 4 months instead of 9 months, whatever your political ideology. If it were easy, they'd have already done it.
   3536. Steve Treder Posted: July 28, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4194683)
Sure, Mitt may be a slow learner, but have to admit that he is a learner.
   3537. tshipman Posted: July 28, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4194685)
CBO numbers are garbage. If Congress instructs the CBO to assume that 2+2=5, then the CBO is legally required to assume that 2+2=5 when making projections. CBO = GIGO.


Fascinating. Yes, if like Paul Ryan, you ask the CBO to assume a bunch of nonsense, they will dutifully run the projections. Noticeably, though, Obama's budget didn't ask the CBO to make those assumptions.

The Right's push to politicize and disparage completely reputable institutions of government is fascinating.
   3538. Steve Treder Posted: July 28, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4194698)
The Right's push to politicize and disparage completely reputable institutions of government is fascinating.

It's part and parcel of the larger pattern of pretending that higher education, technical knowledge and expertise, and rigorous analysis are trumped by ideology and dogma. Because the former is the domain of "elites."
   3539. Tripon Posted: July 28, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4194699)
The same elites that the top people of the right(i.e. any Congressional elected official) belong to?
   3540. Steve Treder Posted: July 28, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4194703)
The same elites that the top people of the right(i.e. any Congressional elected official) belong to?

There are no elites among the right! Stop engaging in class warfare!
   3541. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 28, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4194779)
The Right's push to politicize and disparage completely reputable institutions of government is fascinating.

Right-wingers have disliked the CBO for a long time. Nothing new about that.

I might have more respect for the CBO if it had a higher batting average.* Just look at the the CBO's shifting numbers for Obamacare. When pimping Obamacare, the CBO projected it would reduce the deficit by $140 billion between 2013 and 2019. Now that projection has been quietly reduced to $4 billion, which means these partisan hacks "experts" were off by $136,000,000,000 before the law even took effect. Not very confidence-inspiring. (Other Obamacare-related projections were off even more [see link].)

This is the same outfit that, like the good left-wing operation it is, predicted tax receipts would rise after the 1993 tax hike and fall after the tax cuts of 1997 and 2003. The CBO promptly went 0-for-3 on those predictions. The list of whiffs goes on and on.


(* Yes, I know batting average is a retrograde stat in these parts.)
   3542. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4194786)
Just to vent about a previous topic for a minute - airlines - WTF is up with all the noise pollution on the planes now? You get on and they start right in with the announcements, and the announcements go on and on and on for 10 minutes, with the most mundane obvious BS to tell us about. No, nobody -- nobody -- needs to be taught how to buckle a freaking seatbelt. What in the world is this?
   3543. booond Posted: July 28, 2012 at 08:15 PM (#4194791)
Sure, Mitt may be a slow learner, but have to admit that he is a learner.


Soon enough he'll go mime.
   3544. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 28, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4194793)
Right-wingers have disliked the CBO for a long time.


Since roughly Jan 19, 2009, in fact.
   3545. Steve Treder Posted: July 28, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4194797)
Since roughly Jan 19, 2009, in fact.

Give or take. Somewhere around then.
   3546. tshipman Posted: July 28, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4194803)
Just look at the the CBO's shifting numbers for Obamacare. When pimping Obamacare, the CBO projected it would reduce the deficit by $140 billion between 2013 and 2019. Now that projection has been quietly reduced to $4 billion, which means these partisan hacks "experts" were off by $136,000,000,000 before the law even took effect. Not very confidence-inspiring. (Other Obamacare-related projections were off even more [see link].)


Wow, that link is very misleading. It doesn't take into account the non-implementation of the CLASS act. The rest of it appears to be relatively transparent deception regarding implementation timelining (the CBO scores on 10 year periods). I mean, basically par for the course, and a good example of the attempts to discredit non-partisan actors who actually help keep government responsible.

Just to vent about a previous topic for a minute - airlines - WTF is up with all the noise pollution on the planes now? You get on and they start right in with the announcements, and the announcements go on and on and on for 10 minutes, with the most mundane obvious BS to tell us about. No, nobody -- nobody -- needs to be taught how to buckle a freaking seatbelt. What in the world is this?


It's been like this for at least the last 15 years, I thought. What do you mean by "now"? The safety announcement has been mostly unchanged, hasn't it?
   3547. CrosbyBird Posted: July 28, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4194818)
Corner Bistro is one of a couple dozen places that makes an excellent burger, and most of them are a lot easier to get into.

I have to head down there one of these days. It's either two subway stops or a mile walk from my apartment. I was pretty disappointed with Burger Joint (the small place inside Le Parker Meridien). It wasn't a bad burger, but not worth the hype.

The place I've been addicted to recently is New York Burger Company. Thick enough burgers to have a crispy outside and a nice pink interior (I order medium and get what I'd consider on the border between medium and medium-rare) and served on a plain bun that I think is a potato roll. They use sliced plum tomatoes and a good quality lettuce. A cheeseburger is around $7, and while I prefer it to Five Guys or Shake Shack or even In-N-Out, those really are entirely different animals.
   3548. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM (#4194880)
and a good example of the attempts to discredit non-partisan actors who actually help keep government responsible.

Total number of non-partisan actors in Washington, D.C.: 0
   3549. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:07 PM (#4194883)
It's been like this for at least the last 15 years, I thought. What do you mean by "now"? The safety announcement has been mostly unchanged, hasn't it?


Seems to me like it's at least 3 times longer now. Anyone know for sure?
   3550. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM (#4194892)
I haven't noticed any increase in the airline talk track on Delta, no. Then again, my routine is usually to nod "yes" when they ask me if I'm comfortable in the exit row - "Sure, babe. We go down in a ball of burning flames, I'm totally pulling this door handle thingy and calmly placing the door on the seat. Whatevs, sweetcheeks." Then I pretend to turn off the iPod portion of the phone and go to sleep against the window.
   3551. Lassus Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4194898)
"Sure, babe. We go down in a ball of burning flames, I'm totally pulling this door handle thingy and calmly placing the door on the seat. Whatevs, sweetcheeks." Then I pretend to turn off the iPod portion of the phone and go to sleep against the window. wait to get punched by someone tired of being called 'babe' and 'sweetcheeks'.
   3552. Dan The Mediocre Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4194904)
Total number of non-partisan actors in Washington, D.C.: 0


You do realize that people profess things for reason other than trying to win a political battle, right?
   3553. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4194910)
I'm totally pulling this door handle thingy and calmly placing the door on the seat.

Someone hasn't familiarized himself with proper exit-row procedures.

wait to get punched by someone tired of being called 'babe' and 'sweetcheeks'.

No, "babe" and "sweetcheeks" are still OK. But don't ever say "stewardess."
   3554. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4194932)
Seems to me like it's at least 3 times longer now. Anyone know for sure?
The actual safety part seems the same to me, but if you count all the pimping of airline credit cards, their frequent flier programs and whatnot, yeah there's a lot more yapping to my ear.
   3555. OCF Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM (#4194953)
Just saw an RNC-funded anti-Obama commercial, on Olympic coverage. Since I live in California, I'm not used to that - the national campaigns basically never run TV ads here.
   3556. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 09:04 AM (#4195046)
Who doesn't know how to buckle and unbuckle a seatbelt, who is old enough or smart enough to grasp the lesson being given by Sweetcheeks? Is this not the dumbest thing ever? Who is sitting there and suddenly goes, "Yes. Yes. Now I know how to buckle and unbuckle this seatbelt."
   3557. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 29, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4195079)
No, nobody -- nobody -- needs to be taught how to buckle a freaking seatbelt. What in the world is this?


FAR 121.571 (a)(1)(iii):

The use of safety belts, including instructions on how to fasten and unfasten the safety belts. Each passenger shall be briefed on when, where, and under what conditions the safety belt must be fastened about that passenger. This briefing shall include a statement that the Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with lighted passenger information signs and crewmember instructions concerning the use of safety belts.


   3558. tshipman Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4195088)
Who doesn't know how to buckle and unbuckle a seatbelt, who is old enough or smart enough to grasp the lesson being given by Sweetcheeks? Is this not the dumbest thing ever? Who is sitting there and suddenly goes, "Yes. Yes. Now I know how to buckle and unbuckle this seatbelt."


The law requiring the briefing on seatbelts probably predates the widespread adoptance of them in cars.
   3559. Greg K Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4195091)
I just read a book through the safety demonstration. Plus, within Canada the talk is given in English and then again in French.

I don't really have any complaints though as over the years I've probably absorbed so much through osmosis that I'd be a bit more on the ball in the event of a disaster than otherwise. Plus it doesn't really cost me anything to have people yammering away while I read a book so even if there's a tiny gain in terms of disaster management, it's a net positive.

RyanAir does spend pretty much their entire flight trying to sell you things...but since they're flying me to Spain for £7 I just treat it as the cost of my cheapness.
   3560. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4195127)
Who doesn't know how to buckle and unbuckle a seatbelt, who is old enough or smart enough to grasp the lesson being given by Sweetcheeks? Is this not the dumbest thing ever?
Getting indignant about being told how the seatbelt works is like getting indignant over having to press 1 for English. It cost you nothing, it takes no extra time, and yet somehow it's a reason to throw a little fit.
   3561. Steve Treder Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4195140)
Getting indignant about being told how the seatbelt works is like getting indignant over having to press 1 for English. It cost you nothing, it takes no extra time, and yet somehow it's a reason to throw a little fit.

Yes. There are legitimate issues over which to become frustrated with the airlines/FAA (and the world at large). This is SO not one of them.
   3562. CrosbyBird Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4195162)
Getting indignant about being told how the seatbelt works is like getting indignant over having to press 1 for English. It cost you nothing, it takes no extra time, and yet somehow it's a reason to throw a little fit.

I don't think that they're comparable.

Being told how a seatbelt works is a waste of time that doesn't really serve any legitimate purpose (since doing something because "it's the rule" is not itself a legitimate purpose). I don't think that there's a competent adult person alive who has the unique combination of having never experienced a seatbelt and the inability to figure it out through watching everyone else on the plane connect the pieces. A monkey could figure it out.

Pressing 1 for English is a signal to a large number of people who speak English well enough to understand basic phrases but not well enough to be comfortable conducting basic business. It actually does some good to a reasonably large pool of people. It's also the least inconvenient way to service English speakers that make up the majority of a customer base that speaks different languages without ignoring that minority.
   3563. Howie Menckel Posted: July 29, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4195182)

The real problem with the "here's how a seat belt issue works" is that is clear evidence that not even the most rudimentary piece of common sense - ending an instruction that has been useless for decades - is achievable by the system. That only encourages to assume that they can't do anything right.

   3564. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4195210)
Being told how a seatbelt works is a waste of time that doesn't really serve any legitimate purpose (since doing something because "it's the rule" is not itself a legitimate purpose).
That's not true at all. If they didn't do that, I would bet anything in the world that somebody is going to not figure out the seatbelt, and then sue the airline for not explaining in the clearest terms how and when to use one. Even if that suit is stupid and frivolous and DOA, it's the type of hassle that can be easily avoid by having someone stand up there for three minutes and tell everyone how to use a seat belt. Having designed hundreds of packages over the past decade, I can assure you that the vast majority of the instructions that go in and on packaging has nothing to do operation, and everything to do with CYA, because there's always someone out there looking to sue for something stupid, like not explaining out a seat belt works. In the rare circumstance that someone's never flown before, the instruction might actually be helpful. Either way, nothing is lost.

Besides, even if you think it's a waste of time, it's not a waste of your time. You're stuck on that plane regardless, and you can easily tune it out. It costs you nothing. But you know what? Go ahead and be indignant about it. You'll feel smarter about yourself and more dismissive of the world around you — yet another benefit of having seatbelts explained to you.
   3565. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4195212)
Being told how a seatbelt works is a waste of time that doesn't really serve any legitimate purpose (since doing something because "it's the rule" is not itself a legitimate purpose). I don't think that there's a competent adult person alive who has the unique combination of having never experienced a seatbelt and the inability to figure it out through watching everyone else on the plane connect the pieces. A monkey could figure it out.


Well, I'll just say this. There is no FAA requirement for standardization of safety belt latches. Yes, most if not all commercial passenger liners have simple to operate standardized latches. But what if you are flying Cooter's Air Service in a twin otter from Fairbanks to Ft Yukon Alaska, and it has some weird 4 point harness system that you have never seen before? There's plenty of commercial operations that have non-standard restraint systems in their airplanes. So, we can either have airlines go through a certification process ensuring their fleet has seat belts similar to automobiles, or they can leave in the 10 second blub of (mostly) useless information in their pre-departure safety video. I tend to think the latter is easier and less costly.
   3566. Steve Treder Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4195227)
Either way, nothing is lost.

Exactly. Of all the pipsqueak trivialities upon which to waste emotional energy, this would be it.
   3567. Kurt Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4195230)
Even if that suit is stupid and frivolous and DOA, it's the type of hassle that can be easily avoid by having someone stand up there for three minutes and tell everyone how to use a seat belt.

Stupid, frivolous lawsuits by people determined to file stupid, fivolous lawsuits can never be avoided, whether you stand up there for 3 minutes or 3 hours explaining the seatbelts.

Anyway, don't they check everyone's seatbelts before takeoff? "Excuse me sir, do you need assistance with your seat belt?". Done. Even easier for the six people on Cooter's Air Service.
   3568. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 29, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4195232)
Stupid, frivolous lawsuits by people determined to file stupid, fivolous lawsuits can never be avoided, whether you stand up there for 3 minutes or 3 hours explaining the seatbelts.
The righteous indignation of people determined to feel righteously indignant about something no matter how harmless is equally unavoidable.
   3569. Kurt Posted: July 29, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4195244)
The righteous indignation of people determined to feel righteously indignant about something no matter how harmless is equally unavoidable.

You really don't see the irony here?
   3570. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 29, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4195249)
I don't, though I see why you might think so. There are actual reasons why seemingly pointless safety directions are given, whether in an airplane or on surge protector packages or any number of things. There's no actual reason why any of this should bother you.
   3571. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 29, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4195265)
The real problem with the "here's how a seat belt issue works" is that is clear evidence that not even the most rudimentary piece of common sense - ending an instruction that has been useless for decades - is achievable by the system. That only encourages to assume that they can't do anything right.


What gain is there for eliminating this process? It doesn't actually waste anyone's time. They're not holding your plane at the gate an extra 10 minutes to get this little demo done. It's done while the plane is taxiing back from the gate and out to the runway queue. Taxi before takeoff usually takes at least 15-20 minutes (45-60 if you're flying out of Newark or Philly.) You're literally stuck inside the plane with nothing to do but wait until the engines ramp up and throw you into the air. So what is the harm of having them spend 3 minutes running through the seat belt demo? And how does the fact that it's merely 3 minutes of talk track on a 20 minute taxi apply to the "we should do away with this calculus?"

I guarantee you that on at least every other flight, there's a passenger who has never flown before. The fact that you're bored with the demo doesn't mean they aren't paying rapt attention to it.
   3572. Kurt Posted: July 29, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4195268)
I don't, though I see why you might think so. There are actual reasons why seemingly pointless safety directions are given, whether in an airplane or on surge protector packages or any number of things. There's no actual reason why any of this should bother you.

Actually, my point was that there's no reason Crosbybird's (completely harmless!) post expressing his opinion on the usefulness of seat belt instructions should bother *you*, to the point that you accuse him of indignance, of having to feel smarter than everyone else and of being dismissive of the world around him.
   3573. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4195273)
Actually, my point was that there's no reason Crosbybird's (completely harmless!) post expressing his opinion on the usefulness of seat belt instructions should bother *you*
It doesn't bother me at all. I'm just saying that I don't understand why seat belt instructions should bother anyone. It just seemed notable to me that something could inspire such indignation ("the dumbest thing ever", "A monkey could figure it out") when it's so harmless and easy to ignore.
   3574. Kurt Posted: July 29, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4195287)
Some people are more bothered by extraneous noise than others, and don't find it so easy to ignore. (For the record, I'm not one of those people. Seatbelt instructions don't bother me personally).

Sam's comments about the costs could just as easily apply to a three (or twenty) minute presentation on the joys of Amway products, or of libertarianism. Seatbelt instructions have more benefits than either of those would, but the costs are exactly the same (very small but not zero).
   3575. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: July 29, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4195334)
   3576. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 29, 2012 at 06:26 PM (#4195356)
Some people are more bothered by extraneous noise than others, and don't find it so easy to ignore.
This is true. However, the little lecture is only a few minutes long, and as others have pointed out, it may be necessary for others on the flight. (It should be pointed out that even if you know how to use the seat belt, you may not know where the emergency exit is, or how to put on the oxygen masks, or how to activate the inflatable slide off the plane. Those are at least marginally useful in the event of an emergency.)

Sam's comments about the costs could just as easily apply to a three (or twenty) minute presentation on the joys of Amway products, or of libertarianism.
This is not true. The seat belt/emergency exit/oxygen mask/flotation device presentation is directly related to the endeavor that you'll be a part of (the flight). You are not required to do anything with respect to the presentation including pay attention to it, and unlike your examples they are not soliciting anything, nor are they imparting any sort of information that is not directly related to the flight.
   3577. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 29, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4195392)
Seatbelt instructions have more benefits than either of those would, but the costs are exactly the same (very small but not zero).


The costs of not doing them would likely be higher.
   3578. CrosbyBird Posted: July 29, 2012 at 07:27 PM (#4195409)
If they didn't do that, I would bet anything in the world that somebody is going to not figure out the seatbelt, and then sue the airline for not explaining in the clearest terms how and when to use one. Even if that suit is stupid and frivolous and DOA, it's the type of hassle that can be easily avoid by having someone stand up there for three minutes and tell everyone how to use a seat belt.

I think this is a huge part of what's wrong with this country today. We should dedicate time to the most incredibly unlikely situation (someone pretends to be or legitimately is incapable of figuring out the seatbelt AND the flight crew doesn't notice during the check AND there is a situation where a seatbelt could potentially make a difference AND someone gets hurt AND there's a lawsuit). It's not the one minute that bothers me, but the principle.

You say nothing is lost, but I say that a society that needs to exercise this much care to avoid a lawsuit has lost quite a bit. It doesn't really impact my life to see "DO NOT EAT" on my shampoo bottle, but the idea that someone might eat the shampoo and file a lawsuit is something that is embarrassing about the society I live in.

I don't think that people very many people are stupid enough to eat shampoo; it's more likely that a lousy parent allows a child to wander unsupervised and drink from the shampoo bottle, and then attempts to hold the shampoo company responsible for the consequences.

Besides, even if you think it's a waste of time, it's not a waste of your time. You're stuck on that plane regardless, and you can easily tune it out. It costs you nothing. But you know what? Go ahead and be indignant about it. You'll feel smarter about yourself and more dismissive of the world around you — yet another benefit of having seatbelts explained to you.

I'm not indignant about it. It's a very minor bother worth the very minor action of light mocking on the internet when someone brings up the topic. You read it as being dismissive of the world around me, but I read it as acknowledging a place where the world is dismissive of me. There are a hundred different ways that we're mildly inconvenienced by others all the time, and noting some of those things with a quickly-typed message doesn't make me into some sort of rage-hole.

In fact, most of the time I just check out the flight attendant's rack while she's giving the safety lecture, which I suppose is its own benefit.
   3579. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 29, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4195411)
Sam's comments about the costs could just as easily apply to a three (or twenty) minute presentation on the joys of Amway products, or of libertarianism.


Every flight over three hours will include the attendants schlepping their "signature cocktails" or something from the duty free catalog on overseas flights. Businesses will use any time they have an audience literally captive to upsell anything and everything they can upsell your ass. I'm surprised anyone finds this surprising. Invest in some noise cancelling headphones and move along with your lives, knuckelheads.
   3580. Kurt Posted: July 29, 2012 at 07:33 PM (#4195419)
3576 and 3677 - you're both describing the benefits of doing the instructions, which I already stipulated. The differences are in the benefits, not in the costs.
   3581. Steve Treder Posted: July 29, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4195421)
It's a very minor bother

It doesn't even begin to rise to that level. It's a pimple on a gnat's ass.
   3582. BDC Posted: July 29, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4195426)
It strikes me that, apart from any infinitesimal benefit in terms of passenger instruction, the old seat-belt spiel (which, on intercontinental flights, includes how to use your seat cushion as a flotation device and repel sharks or whatever) is really just a way of saying "yes, we're mostly incredibly blasé about this and take its boredom completely for granted, but after all there is a non-zero chance that we could all end up re-enacting a disaster movie, so let's just be reminded of that ever so briefly." That may not be its intention, but it's sort of the effect. It's like the brief prayer before some church barbecue that involves mostly overeating, complaining about work, watching kids hyperventilate and, no doubt, checking out the pastor's wife's rack during the prayer. A kind of indication that there is something a little more serious or urgent somewhere in the universe.

Anyway, I'm getting on flights to Frankfurt and then Copenhagen tomorrow, so the seat-belt announcements are also a chance for me to learn some German and Danish. See y'all in a few weeks :)
   3583. Steve Treder Posted: July 29, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4195427)
I'm getting on flights to Frankfurt and then Copenhagen tomorrow

Copenhagen rocks hard. I highly recommend finding a tavern that serves "Slow Beer."
   3584. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 29, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4195500)
Copenhagen rocks


It's Drew Carey's come back.
   3585. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 29, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4195505)
You say nothing is lost, but I say that a society that needs to exercise this much care to avoid a lawsuit has lost quite a bit.
Oh, I heartily agree, but this type of action — the meticulous legalese that every package of everything now comes burdened with — is a reaction to the world, not the cause of it.
   3586. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4195516)
Has anyone linked to this?
Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.
— Richard Muller, head of the Koch-Bros. funded Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project
   3587. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4195520)
Besides, even if you think it's a waste of time, it's not a waste of your time. You're stuck on that plane regardless, and you can easily tune it out. It costs you nothing.


And that's what I'm disputing. It does cost something.
   3588. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 29, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4195527)
And that's what I'm disputing. It does cost something.


What? What does it cost?
   3589. Tripon Posted: July 29, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4195530)
Brain cells, probably.
   3590. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4195531)
What? What does it cost?


He wants more life, ######!
   3591. Steve Treder Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:21 PM (#4195545)
What? What does it cost?

A pimple on a gnat's ass. At most.
   3592. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:29 PM (#4195548)
A pimple on a gnat's ass. At most.


He's seen things ... that you people wouldn't believe!!!
   3593. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4195554)
A pimple on a gnat's ass. At most.


It's not nearly that large. Maybe a virus on a microbe on a pimple... Honestly, aside from a one time cost (a sunk cost, mind you) of a few demonstration models per aircraft (amoritized over thousands of flights), and a few minutes in Flight attendant training teaching them how do do this, there is no cost. And most flights do it by video now anyway, so the cost of adding that portion to the safety video is what, a millionth of a cent per flight?
   3594. CrosbyBird Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM (#4195559)
Florida welfare drug-tests cost the state more than they save.

Shocking! Another anti-drug policy that wastes money. I'm glad we're living in such a great economy that we can afford to piss our money away on this stuff.
   3595. Lassus Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4195566)
— Richard Muller, head of the Koch-Bros. funded Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project

This, plus the quote from Blade Runner, have thrown Ray into a great depression. Or it would, if he believed in science.
   3596. Langer Monk Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4195576)
Shocking! Another anti-drug policy that wastes money. I'm glad we're living in such a great economy that we can afford to piss our money away on this stuff.


And supporters of the bill still think it's a great idea, except now it's the principle of the thing or the children, apparently. I suppose maybe cutting the state's budget wasn't that important in the scheme of things.
   3597. booond Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:55 AM (#4195582)
And supporters of the bill still think it's a great idea, except now it's the principle of the thing or the children, apparently.


It wasn't the WMD, it was getting rid of Saddam.
   3598. Jay Z Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:56 AM (#4195583)
This is the same outfit that, like the good left-wing operation it is, predicted tax receipts would rise after the 1993 tax hike and fall after the tax cuts of 1997 and 2003. The CBO promptly went 0-for-3 on those predictions. The list of whiffs goes on and on.


In what sense are you claiming that tax receipts didn't rise after the 1993 increase? 1997 and 2003 are more debatable, but why are you omitting 2001? You can't call something "0-for-3" when you're intentionally omitting an at-bat.
   3599. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 30, 2012 at 02:00 AM (#4195592)
In what sense are you claiming that tax receipts didn't rise after the 1993 increase? 1997 and 2003 are more debatable, but why are you omitting 2001? You can't call something "0-for-3" when you're intentionally omitting an at-bat.

Because I couldn't find the CBO's projection for the 2001 tax cuts in a quick search. Regardless, there's no real difference between 0-for-3 and 1-for-4 in this situation. The CBO whiffs so often that it's simply not a trustworthy operation.

***
Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

Even if this is true, what should the U.S. do about it? It would be idiotic for the U.S. to undertake the environmental equivalent of unilateral disarmament. Without all of the world's major economies getting on board, anything the U.S. does would be futile. (And make no mistake: Developing countries aren't going to sacrifice their improving standard of living in 2012 to help prevent the Earth's temperature from possibly rising by 2 degrees by 2050.)
   3600. Jay Z Posted: July 30, 2012 at 02:33 AM (#4195595)
In what sense are you claiming that tax receipts didn't rise after the 1993 increase? 1997 and 2003 are more debatable, but why are you omitting 2001? You can't call something "0-for-3" when you're intentionally omitting an at-bat.
Because I couldn't find the CBO's projection for the 2001 tax cuts in a quick search. Regardless, there's no real difference between 0-for-3 and 1-for-4 in this situation. The CBO whiffs so often that it's simply not a trustworthy operation.


But 1993 was widely known as a tax increase, and 1997, 2001, and 2003 as tax cuts. From looking at the receipts as % of GDP, 1993 and 2001 had a big, sustained, impact, and 1997 and 2003 was a minor blip at best. But 1997 and 2003 were MEANT to be tax cuts. Of course the CBO is going to forecast a revenue decrease. Unless we're all living in Lafferland now, where tax cuts equal revenue increases, usually the point of a tax cut is for revenues to go down. If the bills were meant to be that way, of course they are going to forecast that way, otherwise they wouldn't have passed the bill. 1997 and 2003 were Republican bills anyway, so why would "left-leaning" projections have anything to do with it? And you haven't addressed 1993. Are you saying the CBO forecast a revenue decline with that bill?
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